One of the things I thought about including in my "Tagged" posting was how my friends have always counted on me for advice, how I'm a good listener, offer good suggestions and tend to make them feel much better about themselves.
It has been this way for most of my life.
When I was in 5th grade, my best friend T was the class stud, and he had a girlfriend. This wasn't a cute little kid crush. They actually would go into a dark hallway in our school's basement and make out in the afternoon after class.
I could only imagine what was going on down there. Sometimes they talked about "necking."
What the hell was that?
Did that mean they rubbed necks? If so, that didn't sound like much fun.
I was clueless and jealous.
Even though I didn't know what it all was, I liked girls. I wanted in. Or sort of. Once a cute girl C, asked me if I wanted to go into the dark hall with her. I came up with excuses not to. I was sure I would screw it all up. Better not to even go down that road.
But I digress.
After a couple weeks of making out, T pulled me aside one day. He needed help.
His girlfriend, D, wanted more than he was willing to give.
I put a serious look on my face, my arm around his shoulder, took him into the classroom's book nook.
"Talk to me." I didn't say that, because I was 10, but if I'd been older, that's what I would have said.
He looked scared.
"It's okay," I said. "You can tell me."
He took a deep breath. "She wants me to french kiss her."
My God, I thought. "Go on..."
T continued. "I just don't think I'm ready for that."
I nodded. I looked him straight in the eye, the way friends do when there's a lot on the line. "I understand."
"What should I do?" T was distrought.
I smiled, a comforting grin. He knew I had the answer. He knew I would help him see the solution. All of my mother's lessons about sex and being grown up were about to pay off.
"T (actually I used his real name)... She needs to respect you and your body. If you aren't ready to french, then you shouldn't do it. No one can make you do things like that if you don't want to. Tell her the truth. That's all you can do."
It was solid advice. I had done my work. Well, most of it. There was still one thing left for me to do.
I spent more than two years trying to figure out what the f@#* french kissing was. I was too embarassed to ask... but my imagination... oh boy did I have ideas. None of them made any sense to me then, or now, looking back at my 10 year old mind. The french were sexy people, this french kissing must have been a doozy.
I went to libraries, bookstores, watched movies, eavesdropped on older kids. Whatever it was it had to be big, if T was sweating bullets over it.
It was quite a letdown when I discovered it was tongue kissing. Turned out I'd done it before I knew what it was called.
But from that spring day in 5th grade, I knew I had a talent. I could talk people off the ledge, lead them to the light, help them in their times of need... all while talking out of my ass.