By Lisa Scottoline
Do you remember the term heavy petting?
If you do, read on. If not, read on anyway.
Because you’re about to get an education in antiquated euphemisms for sex.
Or more accurately, antiquated euphemisms for foreplay.
Or foreplaying around.
Where do I start?
With the fact that a few friends and I were talking the other day, and we started to wonder if anybody still used the term making out. And there was a younger person in our midst, an actual young man with an actual young manbun, so we asked him if young people still use the term making out, and he said yes.
There are a few things in this world you can still count on, and a euphemism to talk about something that doesn’t need a euphemism is one of them.
When I was growing up, sex was dirty.
And the good news is, it still is.
Keep shame alive, people.
Why don’t we say kissing?
Or even really great kissing?
Because that makes too much sense.
Or it might invite more of same, God forbid.
You wouldn’t want to make love sound too good, or people might get distracted from all their hating.
Instead we have terms like making out, or back then, we had jokey terms, like tonsil hockey.
If you think kissing is like playing hockey, you’re not doing either right.
And don’t get me started on sucking face.
Because that term sucks.
But that got me thinking about sixth grade, which was when the girls in my class started talking about everything you could do short of going all the way, which was very far into our futures, or maybe a magical place like Oz or an exotic getaway like Turks and Caicos.
These talks usually took place in the girls’ bathroom at school, after a makeout party where we had played Spin the Bottle or Post Office or Seven Minutes in Heaven.
I played Spin the Bottle with a real Coke bottle, that’s how old I am.
Nowadays good luck finding a glass bottle.
Spin the Dasani Bottle is unsexy.
And I never understood the post-office reference, because what I associate with the post office is standing in line, not making out.
Although that would make the line go faster.
Next time I’m in line at the post office, maybe I’ll start making out with someone.
And go straight to jail.
I remember playing Seven Minutes in Heaven in sixth grade, in which I went into a dark closet with a boy whose name I can’t remember, and we did absolutely nothing but giggle nervously for two minutes, so the name of the game was misrepresentation on both counts.
Way back then, one of the very strangest terms we used was petting.
Do you remember petting?
It was fun, for such a weird word.
When did girls turn into chihuahuas?
And conversely, when was the last time you petted your dog heavily?
That sounds gross and/or felonious.
My favorite euphemism was getting felt up.
Am I taking you back to sixth grade?
Or in my case, college.
And then, as I recall, there was the question of whether the petting was over or under, which meant your bra.
Your training bra.
Which trained your otherwise unruly breasts.
Of course, in sixth grade, this was all just talk, because what obsessed us was ID bracelets, which signified you were going steady.
If you don’t remember ID bracelets, or weren’t born yet, they were chunky silver bracelets that the boys wore, which had their name on them, and if you were going steady, the boy gave his ID bracelet to you.
So you could actually wear a bracelet with a guy’s name.
Like a brand on a horse.
Alternatively, you could have hung a sign on yourself that said, PROPERTY OF SOMEONE WITH A PENIS.
I never got an ID bracelet, because I didn’t go steady with anyone, as I had braces and was in Latin Club, which explains everything.
But if you were going steady, there was talk of The Bases.
Please tell me you remember First Base, Second Base, and Third Base.
Allow me to refresh your recollection:
First Base was making out.
Second Base was petting, not heavy, but light. Like the Splenda of petting.
Third Base was dirty, so stop even thinking about it now.
Of course, nobody ever scored.
Not according to the talk in the girls’ bathrooms, even through high school.
In the boys’ bathrooms, it may have been a different story.
I don’t know what boys talked about when they were together, but I remember that girls talked about how far they let him go.
Like if he got a single or double.
All of sudden, we’re baseball fans.
Nobody was getting to triple in my friend group.
We weren’t fast.
We were Good Girls.
And now, we wish we’d been bad. Just not in the post office.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2019
Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays. With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of their honesty, warts and all.