“Your mother’s been doing this to me ever since we became engaged. Everything’ll be okay one minute, then the next she’s mad at me and I never know why.” Sometimes, though, she did.
“Sorry, baby. I don’t know what she’s trying to prove.”
Snuggling close, “Mitchie, don’t let what happened just now bother you and spoil our day. We have this beautiful new car, and we’re getting married tonight…”
“In the eyes of God!”
“Yes, ‘in the eyes of God’, and tomorrow we’ll go home.”
“Yeah, and tonight…” he said slyly, kissing her forehead.
Knowing what he was thinking. Knowing it was time she told him, “Mitchell,” she said seriously, “I’ve got to tell you something...”
December 17, 1955: The Day of the Wedding Two…
...Looking at her, Marsha’s expression and tone of voice causing his heart to lurch because, for a second he unreasonably—especially since she’d just said, ‘we’re getting married tonight’—thought she was going to tell him that she didn’t want to marry him. “What’s wrong?”
“Mitchell, I’ve… I don’t know how to tell you this, but… Look, it wasn’t supposed to happen for another nine days, and that’s one of the reasons we picked today for the wedding, but…”
Alarmed, steering to the curb, “Marsha,” putting the car in Park, “what’s the matter?”
“Last night… I, uh, I got my period.”
“Your period?” Relieved that that’s all it was…. for a moment. Then “my period” sunk in and, “Now!” he said in an accusatory tone of voice. “You got your period now?!”
“Yes, more than a week early. I’d guess because of all the excitement, but I wasn’t feeling well yesterday…”
“Yeah, I know,” he said facetiously. “Whenever I come home you get sick!”
Ignoring him, again, “….and when I woke with cramps last night, I prayed that it wasn’t, but this morning I knew it was.”
“And,” he said thoughtlessly, “that’s why you look so lousy?”
A bit upset at his choice of words, “Yes, I guess. The cramps are terrible the first couple of days.”
“Isn’t there anything you can take?”
“For the pain?” Thinking he may mean for a way to eliminate her menstrual cycle.
“Yes, of course, for the pain.”
“Sure, pain pills. I took one when I got up this morning, but it’s worn off now.”
“And this means we don’t…?” Remembering “yuckie”… “We can’t… No sex?”
Yes! “Yes?” he said hopefully.
“Yes! No! I don’t mean yes we can, I mean yes, we can’t.”
Sighing, looking out the window, I should have known! “Marcie,” turning back, taking her hand, “I know it’s not your fault, and I know you don’t feel well, and I know that you’re looking forward to it as much as me…” Thinking, No one could possibly be looking forward to it as much as me!
“Yes, Mitch,” she said sincerely, “of course I was… I am!”
“Marcie… there’s something I want to tell you.” He had debated with himself whether or not to tell her and he’d come to the conclusion that not only would Marsha appreciate his honesty, but also the fact that they’ll be doing it with each other, truly, for the first time. “I’ve… never gone all the way with a girl.”
Disbelievingly, “What?” she looked at him.
“I said I’ve never gone all the way with a girl.”
Almost every guy she knew had gone all the way with some girl. Not that she’d asked, of course, or that they had all told her—well, some of the jerks with big mouths bragged about all the times they’d done it. Also, she’d heard some of her girlfriends talk—not that any of her girlfriends had gone all the way, because if they had and she found out they wouldn’t be girlfriends for very long—but some of her girlfriends had talked about guys they knew—leastwise all the guys that weren’t creeps—had done it, or said, or intimated that they’d done it.
Mitchell was one of the best looking boys she’d ever known, and Marsha could not believe that any guy that looked as he looked would not have gone all the way by this time with some girl… hell, with a dozen girls!
“Mitchell,” she said, “I can’t believe it!”
“Marcie, don’t get the wrong impression; I’ve tried! Good, God, how I’ve tried! But all my life things have always happened to keep it from happening. Like when I fifteen, a pal of mine, an Italian kid from the south side…”
Frankie! Thinking of Frank Rizzo for the first time in years, feeling a pulling in his heart.
“…fixed me up with a shiksa… Frankie and me went to military school together during the war, and he’d told her about me, and she wanted to do it with me so she could see what a Jewish guy’s… you know, thing looked like.” Remembering, he laughed.
Glad the tension over her period and Myra had eased, laughing with him, “What’s so funny?”
“Gina—the shiksa’s name was Gina—Gina couldn’t understand why Jewish guys get circumcised, and the big thing in her life was to see what I looked like with the tip of my… the tip whacked off.”
“Yeah. That’s what Gina called it: whacked off. And all she wanted was to see what mine looked like, and to, uh, go to bed with me.”
“Sounds like a real nice girl. So, what happened?”
“I… I…” Laughing again, harder, “got drunk on homemade Italian wine and…” exaggerating slightly, “puked all over her.”
“Mitchie…” Holding her stomach, rocking back and forth with the cramping pain, exploding into laughter, “… you puked all over her? I can’t believe it! Were you guys dressed, at least?”
“Nope. We were both naked.”
“You puked all over her, naked!”
“Yeah! And to top it off, we were in her girlfriend’s bed.”
“Oh, my God! You puked all over her, naked, in her girlfriend’s bed, yet. I can’t believe it!”
The laughter subsiding, becoming serious again, because, truly, this was a serious subject, at least to Mitchell Lipensky.
“Yeah.” Going on with his poor-Mitchie-why-he’d-never-been-able-to-go-all-the-way story, “There were other times too. A girl that was ready to do it right then and there, a lot of times, told me that if I do do it, she’ll make me marry her, so I didn’t, leastwise, we didn’t, uh, go all the way, uh, that way.”
“Uh, go all the way, ‘that way’? What way did you go, then?”
Not wanting to go into what he meant by “that way.” “I’ll tell you some other time.” Meaning, I’ll show you some other time. Oh, yes! “And lots of girls said no, like you. Yeah, I know that sometimes when a girl says no she may really mean yes, but I can’t read what a girl means when she says one thing and really means something else, and”—completely passing on the Ina Dorfmann story because, though, he knew—at least in retrospect—that the flashlight episode was hilarious, he could not think of a delicate way to explain it, nor a way to tell Marsha the story without sounding like a complete idiot, but, in any case, no longer embarrassed at being a virgin at age twenty-one—“in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a nice guy, and when a girl says no to me, it’s no.”
“Yeah, I remember,” she said, half jokingly, “that’s when you become a centipede.”
“Yeah, Marcie, you know I keep trying, but I’d never force any girl to do what I think she doesn’t want to do, no matter how much I may want to and, oh, baby…” Bringing her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles, “you know how much I’ve wanted to!”
“Yeah, I sure do. But, Mitchie, look at you! Almost every guy I know has, you know…”
“How do you know they have? Not all guys that say they have, really have.”
“And you’re a sailor, yet! Everyone knows about sailors!”
“Okay. So how do sailors meet ‘that kind of girl’?” Answering himself, “In bars! I’ve gone to bars, too, but I’ve got to, at least, like someone before, I… uh, make love to her… Hell, before I even kiss her!”