THE BLOG
10/18/2011 04:58 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2011

Dipping, And Other Ways We Touched As Teens

Yesterday when I was driving to my co-op, my local radio station played an oldie-but-goodie 50s dance tune. Immediately I was transported back to the small hall where kids in my crowd held dances. One Saturday night, some older boys who were already in high school swaggered into the room. My heart started beating faster, although I always had boys my own age to dance with, and even a boyfriend of sorts, if you can have a boyfriend when you're twelve. One of the high school boys was awfully cute. He looked around the room and then seemed to be heading in my direction. My girlfriend grabbed my hand and I held on for dear life. Then this sophisticate asked me to dance.

My girlfriend let go as he reached for my other hand and led me out on the dance floor. He pulled me close -- my God, how exciting that was -- and we moved in unison to the music. I was thrilled because I could feel his body against mine. Charlie, my 'boyfriend' held me close, but there was still a sliver of space between our bodies. He was a good boy, and I a good girl. This high school-er, whose name is long forgotten, was clearly not a good boy. And I was thrilled, though the best part was yet to come. About half way through the song, he slid his hand into the small of my back, held me even tighter, his leg slipping between mine, and then he bent me backwards towards the floor. I must have looked totally shocked because I remember him explaining, "It's called dipping." I could have dipped forever. His leg between mine moved when he bent me backwards and the feeling that came with the move was like nothing I had ever experienced. I knew it was something I should not tell my mother about. She usually waited in the living room for me to come home if she was not the driver for the night, and we would talk about who I danced with, what songs were played, etc. There was plenty I would still be able to share with her, so I wasn't worried. I was way too excited to think about anything else.

I noticed that Charlie did not look happy as he danced by with another girl, but I didn't want to think about that either. He was not yet prepared for dipping. Like me, he may not have known about it, or if he did, hadn't had the courage to try it with me. If only he had! Much to my sorrow the dance ended, the high school boys left shortly thereafter, and the evening continued. I don't remember if they returned another night, or if I ever danced with that brazen boy again. I certainly never forgot him. Charlie and his best friend, Bruce, didn't compare, though I never said a word to them about it. I think they both knew something momentous had occurred that night, but neither of them had any idea what to do about it. We girls certainly talked about what had happened later -- apparently some of the other older boys had also 'dipped' -- but I have no idea if our boys did, or if they did, what they would have said.

We had other games we played though, when we went to parties at one another's homes. I think we played spin-the-bottle (remember that game?), and when the bottle stopped, the spinner and the chosen 'other' would go into the next room to kiss. Bruce was a better kisser than Charlie, who had mushy lips, but they were best friends and he didn't make my heart go pitter pat. There was another game where the girls ended up in the laps of their boyfriends, though I have no idea what it entailed other than the finale. Whatever that flashlight was in Charlie's pants, that I certainly remember. What a wonderful way to have begun to explore our sexuality, where it was safe, and a little daring. I wonder if my daughters played the kind of games at their parties that we did. Though there isn't much we haven't talked about over the years, back then I never asked. I didn't wait for them downstairs either. I knew they had a right to keep their experiences to themselves. Of course I didn't turn out my light and go to sleep until they were in their beds either.