When I think of Kennedy, I think of the Cuban missile crisis in October, 1962, which in turn makes me think of how it almost made me lose my virginity.
We formed a club called NOSDAV when I was a sophomore in high school: No One Shall Die A Virgin. That was the month I turned 15 and I was very much a virgin, despite the efforts, from about age 10, of my uncle Saul, who felt me up whenever I escaped from my mother’s violence to their house. Later he tried to get me to drink liquor so that he could do more. That was also the year before I met the first love of my life when she joined our class.
But in 1962 when we were all on the brink of nuclear war – and oddly enough it turns out that we actually were on that brink – all we could think about was the tragedy of expiring with our cherry intact. There were a bunch of us, boys and girls, and we made buttons that said NOSDAV and wore them around school. As things worsened on the international level, we huddled and made secret plans.
We were in Pittsburgh but not so far away was Wheeling, West Virginia. For us it had the reputation of being a wild place. When boys in my high school turned 16, they would be driven to Wheeling to pay a woman to take their virginity. In Wheeling you could buy near-beer at a pretty young age. So we decided that we’d pair up and drive to West Virginia to get motel rooms so that we wouldn’t die as virgins.
I don’t remember who I paired up with, but the whole plan fell apart when the person who was old enough to drive (16) and thought he’d have the use of his parents’ car was grounded and we weren’t able to get there. It took a few days before it occurred to anyone in NOSDAV that we could actually fuck right there in Pittsburgh somewhere somehow. But by that time Kennedy and Khrushchev had figured things out and to my great relief I didn’t have to do it with what’s-his-name.