Three Times a Virgin

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He picked me up in a restaurant. I’d learned that men would buy me food and drinks if I sat alone at the bar with a notebook, nursing a water — that was my pose. I was seventeen.

It was the mid-1970s, and underage girls didn’t have a problem getting served; the bar staff tolerated me, and besides, I was good for business. I say “girl” because that’s how I presented and how I saw myself. I didn’t cross-dress in an overt fashion, but wearing women’s slacks and blouse, with auburn hair down my back, the way I held myself, all conveyed a clear impression.

The sad truth was that by this time the ravages of an incongruent puberty were taking hold, my voice was dropping, and a close look told men what they were getting. They often liked what they saw.

My circumstances were pretty dire. My father, fed-up with my continued insistence on presenting myself as female and his inability to remake “his son” in his own image, had ejected me from his home. I had rapidly exhausted the hospitality of friends, and I was now overnighting in warehouses, prettying myself in public washrooms, and plying strangers for meals.

I inclined toward heterosexuality despite being generally frightened of men. I’d learned that they would feed me and buy me things. There were of course expectations, which were challenging to manage at best, dangerous at worst. But it was clear where all this was going were I to continue to feed myself in this fashion. After several awkwardly-ended evenings, I gave in to the inevitable. There is always a first time…

Read the rest of the story (for free) in SELF Magazine, here.

(CW: Contains two sex scenes, but not graphic.)

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