I shot up, inhaled and digested. I did it all. Tried it, liked it, did it a lot more. Booze, drugs, tons of sex with strangers. I took the virginity of 14 guys in high school. Well, they gave it to me or something. (Do you think they knew each other?) I was having sex with a dirt bag under a bridge when my girlfriends were getting busted for buying pot half a block away at the National Arts Centre.
I was a risk-taking slut. No names, no numbers, no sentiments. Abortions.
I shot heroin, coke. Did speedballs, highballs and some concoctions of my own. And drank and drank and drove drunk. Out of control, it seems now, but planned and executed perfectly then.
Well, things are different now. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old. I met the biological father in front of Sneaky Dee's after last call at the end of my last big drunk. He seemed nice, and on the third go I realized that might "do the trick." When I thought to name my son John, my analyst asked if it was after his father. (Funny lady!)
After all these years of bringing up baby on my own, it's time for something for myself. I accidentally re-awakened my libido when an old housemate came over (drunk, but how was I to know?) and had repeated unsafe sex with me in the yard, sitting room and kitchen.
Well, have I ever changed. Now I'm Mrs. "All the Rest of Your Life." One night, three fucks, and I notice that in my imagination I'm all married and moving his piano in. All for naught, but I'm planning the perfect weekday breakfasts and all our holidays till 2010.
Well, I am the backwards girl. I got the kid, then bought the house, and now I'm looking for my retirement dream guy. Once I find him I plan to have sex at least once a day until the day I die.
A few months later and I think I really have found a Mister Sure. So this is what happened.
He picked me up at the annual office "forget your worries with these oysters and martinis, maybe the gossip will tide you over till next year" event. Boy, he was good. He stuck by me all night. His friends checked me out individually, making sure I wasn't going to hurt his feelings. He only gently nuzzled me in front of my co-workers, then paid for the cab home into bliss.
Strong and gentle, into kissing and slow petting, he was a dreamy lover. The next day he left a halting, determined message on my machine. He'd looked my number up in the book!!
Sweet-voiced, we talked and started having sex on my days off. Some of it was unprotected, but we just liked it more that way. We were awkward and slow on the draw with condoms. I considered practising on cucumbers, I thought I could perfect an unfelt whore's touch, but never did.
Then he whisked me to visit his lovely folks. It was time to fess up.
Truth time. I got a tiny blister on my lip. To explain why we weren't going home for a quickie, I told him, "I have herpes."
He took it very well; he was informed. That gave me courage. I'm thinking, "Now, get it over with," and blurt out, "I have hep C, too."
He isn't so well informed about hepatitis, and I'm not up to date with my facts either. If you've been having unprotected sex with someone you like, don't tell them like this. It will hurt their feelings and they might not ever be able to feel safe with you again.
He feels I have made a decision for both of us. He is just as angry with himself for not knowing better and insisting on condoms, though he loved my raunchy stories.
If this ever happens to you, I suggest you practise old-fashioned safe sex. At least until you give the other guy all your info. Talk to your doctor or hassle-free clinic to get a complete picture of worst-case and likely scenarios. Then make time, a real dedicated hour or so, and gently break it. Don't ask, "How are you feeling these days?" or "Do you have any secrets you'd like to tell me now?"
It would seem we all have herpes. Eighty per cent of the people tested for it are positive, and now there are low- toxicity drugs to reduce transmission. There's a likely cure for hep C, too. Blood-to-blood transmission means less than 2 per cent of all cases are contracted from a sexual partner, and couples can go for years and never transmit. I don't consider it a STD.
Actually, I don't know how to tell someone you might spend the rest of your life with something like that. I did it wrong. Even though my glorious past was so much fun, I realize I'm so stuck with it. If I ever think I might be interested in someone again, I'll be the one defiantly challenging, "Did you get through unscathed? Well, I didn't."
Tina Chance is a pseudonym