35. “I was too nervous to actually be aroused by the occasional lurid activity happening onscreen. [Ghomeshi & some high school pals snuck in to see the R-rated Cat People in a Toronto multiplex after paying tickets to see something else.] But I saw this as an opportunity for education. It was all about sex. I was committed to discovering more about sex. And I wanted to be old enough to watch Cat People [You had to be 18 & over to see it in Canada. Ghomeshi was 15 at the time of its theatrical release.]…And I had increasingly become preoccupied with girls.”
(Chapter 11, p.234)
36. “The truth is, seeing Wendy with another guy was strangely liberating. It sanctioned a whole new world of carnal possibilities for me. It allowed me to follow my libido with no reservations…Wendy had been a tremendous romantic aspiration for me…But Wendy had never really been a sexual fantasy. Not once. I really didn’t want to have sex with Wendy. I wanted to be with Wendy. And in my early teens, those were two very different desires.
Sometimes you could have a dream girl and not want to have sex with her.”
(Chapter 11, p.238)
37. “If there was one thing I was definitely interested in by the time I hit Grade 9, it was sex. And girls. Any girls. And now my heart had some sort of free pass.”
(Chapter 11, p.239)
38. “Kim Inglewood and I had stripped naked at her house [when we were Grade 8 students], and I had pursued a forensic fascination with her chest. I stared at her breasts with a mixture of excitement and curiosity and then tried to caress them in a seductive way that would turn her on. I had no idea what I was doing. I remember looking up to see a befuddled expression on Kim Inglewood’s face as she stared at me staring at her naked breasts…I’m not really sure she really enjoyed it. Kim Inglewood and I never really said that much to each other. But I liked her. Or at least, I liked her breasts…Part of the problem was that I didn’t have the benefit of pornography. That might have helped.”
(Chapter 11, p.239)
39. “…we had pornography, it existed, but it was virtually inaccessible to kids. This was a real liability. Without porn, how were we supposed to learn how sex was done? Of course, pornography was often sexist, exploitative, patriarchal, and full of the wrong messages about human relationships and intimacy.”
(Chapter 11, p.240)
40. “Benny was a thirteen-year-old reading this stuff [used Penthouse books purchased from a neighbour’s garage sale] to a bunch of eleven-year-olds [including Ghomeshi]. I never quite understood what I was supposed to be experiencing when I listened to Benny read tales from Sex Takes A Holiday, but I know it was exciting. It was also illicit and somehow very wrong. That made it more exciting.”
(Chapter 11, pgs.243-4)
41. “Starting in 1980, I would host sleepovers at my place on Friday nights…we would turn on our console TV with the volume very low and quietly watch the [softcore Baby Blue] movies on channel 79 [Citytv] in our sleeping bags. Sometimes there was snickering. Sometimes there was silence. Sometimes there were other sounds.”
(Chapter 11, p.244)
42. “Paula Silverman helped me learn the ropes when it came to some mutual sexual exploration in Grade 9. By ‘learn the ropes’, I mean she allowed me to grope her. And she groped back…”
(Chapter 11, p.251)
43. “You see, the good news about high school is that, for the most part, over the course of your time there, things get better. That is, you get older. And as you get older and move into the higher grades, there are waves of young new recruits who enter the school and struggle to build their courage and get their bearings the way you once did. So you can look at the younger students and laugh at them, and then you feel better about yourself. That is what high school is ultimately designed for: laughing at others to feel better.”
(Chapter 12, pgs.260-1)
44. “My crush on Janelle felt strangely mature. I felt little of the nervousness and insecurity that had come with Wendy. On one of our first occasions alone in the hallways of Thornlea, I had spontaneously kissed Janelle on the lips outside the photography room. I remember her looking quite shocked and commenting on how I had some gall to do such a thing…soon we were seeing each other regularly.”
(Chapter 12, p.262)
45. “Janelle…was what others would see as an ideal partner. But we didn’t actually become boyfriend and girlfriend…At least, I never fully acknowledged us that way. She asked me on a couple of occasions if I was her boyfriend, and I changed the subject. Maybe Janelle was just too good for what I was ready for. She was not my sexual fantasy girl or ersatz New Wave role model. She was solid and real. That probably scared me.”
(Chapter 12, pgs.262-3)
46. “By early December , my countdown [high school] dance event at Thornlea was set to become a reality…Voting to choose the most popular songs was held with good intentions each year, but the results would somehow end up mirroring my interests. I accept that this looks suspicious.”
(Chapter 12, p.268)
47. “Janelle and I agreed that if we weren’t too preoccupied running the event, we should dance the final dance together…’You better save ‘In The Air Tonight’ for me,’ she said.”
(Chapter 12, p.270)
48. “As promised, we heard the opening keyboard notes and drum machine sample of ‘In The Air Tonight.’…I suddenly wasn’t sure what to do. Wendy was standing in front of me…At the same moment I realized I had totally forgotten about Janelle…I could see Janelle approaching. This was the song she loved. This was the song we’d talked about dancing to. I didn’t look at her. I didn’t want to look at her…I turned fully towards Wendy. She looked up at me and extended her right hand.
‘So…you want to dance to this?’
I took her hand.
Wendy and I started slow dancing. I soon had my arms around her waist and was pulling her closer to me…This was all happening as it should.”
(Chapter 12, pgs.276-7)
49. “I was ready to take the initiative…The new confidence I felt inspired physical action. I pulled Wendy closer to me and looked straight down into her eyes. The look on Wendy’s face was curious. It seemed to suggest some confusion or hesitance or excitement. I couldn’t tell which, but I sensed it was excitement. It must have been excitement. I pushed my lips into Wendy’s and gave her a long kiss. I could feel her kissing me back…The song [Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight] was over. Wendy pulled away a little and pretended to fan herself with her right hand. ‘Well, I didn’t really expect that!’ she said with a laugh. She had a strange sparkle in her eye.
‘There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Wendy.’
The dance was officially over. Wendy shifted away from me slightly, but I kept my arm around her. She didn’t move it.
[Wendy said] ‘I just have to get my coat. I’ll be back in a minute, okay?'”
(Chapter 12, pgs.277-8)
50. “Wendy walked towards the back of the gym and into the hallway beyond, where everyone had left their coats. I turned and spotted Janelle by the exit. I looked directly at her….I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. I gave a little wave of my hand but got no response. She had an expression on her face that I’d never seen. It was devoid of emotion. No familiarity, no engagement, but no sadness, either. Nothing. The characteristic warmth I’d grown to depend on in Janelle was absent. There was no acknowledgement. I’m quite sure she saw me, but she hurried towards the doors.
I turned away. I thought about my kiss with Wendy. I could still taste her lips.
The coat check was probably backed up. It had been more than 10 minutes…I saw the students in charge of the coat check putting away the tables in the hallway. The doors were now closed.
(Chapter 12, p.278-9)
51. “To my fluffy, dutiful traveling companion, Big Ears.”
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 6, 2014