Human sexuality – beautiful, confusing, pleasurable, fun, stressful, rewarding…….even bruising.
Most of us have given and/or received a hickey. ‘Hickey’, it’s a strange sounding word, isn’t it. I never really stopped to think about this word, but I’m doing so right now:
Huh – apparently it came into use in the early 1900’s but its origin is unknown.
Learning about our own sexuality is a very important part of our journey towards self knowledge. Performing various sexually related acts becomes part of that journey.
When did I first experience the hickey? I’m glad you asked because it’s actually this week’s story topic. It was in the summer before entering the 7th grade with my girlfriend Diane. (Diane was written about in this story). The educational topic of hickeys had come up one day in one of our small alley friendship circles. I think it was Joann who had brought up the topic with us. Jo was Diane’s age, one year older than I and because Jo and Diane were the only two girls of this age in our alley, they were friends (usually). Otherwise, they were each very different, all the way down to their appearance. Joann was a natural redhead and a traditional doll-playing girlie, Diane a solid brunette with a strong athletic ability. The same applies to most of us kids in the Prytania neighborhood I guess – we were all very different but the Alley is what brought us together and made us all friends during our childhood.
Anyway, Joann had come home one day with a small hickey on her neck. I never really gave it much thought, (mostly because I didn’t know yet what they were), but heck I just thought maybe she bumped against the ironing board. There was the usual small crowd of us hanging around. Usually we’d hang out on our back porch or up at the park, or sometimes just milling around the alley. Joann’s face flushed a bit and she had a big smile on her face as she told us about how great it was getting a hickey from her boyfriend. (We didn’t know it at the time, but today we recognize hickeys as the preamble to sexual encounters).
What? What’s a hickey? Joann explained – you see, when a boy and girl are steadies, boyfriend and girlfriend, they’re supposed to mark their territory, sort of like branding cattle. You mean you guys don’t know about hickeys? You gotta’ get with the program. She made getting and giving a hickey sound exciting and dangerous, something that we shouldn’t be doing but something that we knew we’d enjoy if we were doing it. Diane and I both looked at each other and I knew we were both thinking the same thing; we’re in with this hickey thing, sign us up!
Pretty much the next day we were in her garage sucking face. Diane’s garage had a perfect sized wooden edge that when I stood on it, I was actually slightly taller than she so we did a lot of necking in that garage, (when we thought we could get away with it). Back to the hickey making out session – Diane went first as the giver. Right above my right side collar bone, she latched on; like a barnacle attached to the bottom of a boat. One thing I always loved about Diane – she always gave it her 100%. She didn’t let go of me for a good 60 seconds and what blood cells she wasn’t killing, were running to other parts of my body. Hmm, maybe Joann was right about this hickey thing.
When she finally released me from her alien pod grip, she stepped back to admire her handy work. She was obviously pleased with what she saw because she said, ok me next. She said, “I don’t want Bill to see it though, so here, put it down here under my shirt”. She sometimes called her dad by his name, Bill, usually if she was saying something she thought was funny. She pointed to a spot right above her left breast. Well after Diane sucked on my neck, I didn’t think it could be possible that giving them was going to be as much fun as being on the receiving end, but she just showed me how wrong I could be! (And yes reader, naturally I had to get a grip….you didn’t want me falling off of that huge ledge, did you?)
It took two attempts. Evidently the blood vessels are closer to the surface of the skin the closer to the neck you get. She looked down and saw my feeble first attempt and then ordered me back in to finish the job. (Darn, the things we men do for our women). As ordered, I went back in to finish the job. This time I held my breath and stayed in until I thought for sure I had satisfied my demanding woman – mission accomplished! With a look of satisfaction, we both admired the bruise atop her breast as if it were a Picasso. No doubt she had something now she could giggle about with her girlfriends and Bill would be none the wiser.
Another chapter in growing up and exploring our human sexuality was completed. After Diane, it would be several years before I practiced the art of hickey making again. The next, (and last time), would be with my girlfriend, (now wife), Kim. I remember the moment well. We were making out on the couch in her basement. We were lying prone on the couch, Kim on top, me latched onto her neck. After I placed my brand on her, she pronounced it was now her turn and proceeded to mark up my neck with three or four well placed bruises on my neck. It’s official now – we’re hitched.
Hickeys – they’re ugly. Today I look at them as an adult and I see them as most other adults see them, they’re just not attractive and they shout – hey, look at me, I’m having sex, aren’t I cool? No…we are not cool. But like many other acts we do in our teens, the doing of a new act makes us feel closer to being an adult. We’re all in such a rush to grow up. Too late in life, we often realize that those precious few years are sometimes the best we ever have – free from duty, responsibility and fear. What would we all give to be that young, geeky teen again, standing on the garage ledge in our Prytania alley, our arms around our girl or boy, about to take that next step into adulthood