If I'd have known how much my new back brace was going to make girls love me, I would've taken a car and driven into a tree myself a whole lot sooner. But because I was a dumb teenager, even then I had no idea what fun I was in for.
It started a couple of weeks after the wreck when one girl placed a decorative band-aid onto the chest cover on my back brace. It was a simple white plastic brace that had three horizontal velcro straps that went across my torso. It had two curves that came over each of my non-existent pectoral muscles and a very high ridge in the back that almost sliced into the back of my neck and made me sit in a ridiculously perfect posture. Everyone called me "Posture Man."
I would usually wear a t-shirt under the brace and an unbuttoned button-up shirt outside the brace. I kept it unbuttoned because people stared at me LESS if they could see the brace. If the brace was covered, people would stare at me with looks that said, "Why in the hell is that guy holding himself so perfectly upright. He looks way too confident. Prick!" I could tell that's what they were thinking.
After the first girl decorated the exposed part of my back brace with a band-aid, it seemed that every cute girl in the world would pull a different designer band-aid out of her purse and stick it on me and tell me that her band-aid was the one with the magic healing powers that I needed. I ate this shit up! I won't lie. I fucking loved it! I swear I think girls were going out to the drug store and trying to buy the coolest band-aids for me to one-up the other girls who had grafffitied me with them.
Even though I loved the extra girl-attention, I was still too drugged and immobile to intentionally milk it. Then again, I didn't need to milk it. This brace was a self-milker! The band-aids didn't have the magic power... the brace did! Once school let out for that Summer, that brace I was in made every girl, even the ones who never noticed me before, want to totally make out with me. It was great.
I don't know if it's because girls are just such insanely sympathetic nurturers, or if they just like the thought of an immobile boy that can't run away from them (Like I'd ever want to), but whatever the reason, I kept finding myself on my back in the woods or by a lake begging some new sweet girl to be very careful when they she laid down on top of me and laid some lips on me. That was the only semi-safe way I could make out. Sometimes, I'd take the brace off, and sometimes I wouldn't. Either way, once I laid down, I'd say, "You have to be very still and not move me too much. But I think I can do this." (I always knew I could do it.) It was stupid and risky to my condition, but it was worth it. I think girls enjoyed the extra thrill of thinking they could get me so swept away by them that I would be willing to risk never walking again for them. Man, come to think of it, I WAS stupid!
And I was still a stupid virgin. No boy wants to be a virgin after 12, and I had just turned 16. This sucked!
Then, sometime in June, I had my chance! There was Hawaiian Girl, who I was totally obsessed with. Here's the weird thing: She was from Hawaii. And she looked Hawaiian. But she wasn't a native Hawaiian. Her parents were regular old white people like my family. But for some reason, she had the odd coincidence of having those crazy sexy big hips and legs without being fat, and she had that semi-Asian girl brown hair that was so soft and straight and she was from Hawaii... but not Hawaiian.
One night, when I had my buddy B.S. spending the night, we snuck Hawaiian Girl and her red-headed friend into my living room after my parents went to bed.
At some point in making out with my disabled self, Hawaiian Girl said this to me (without me even asking her)- she said to me: "Roth, I've been thinking about it, and - well, I've never done it before. But I'll let you right now. You know - if you really wanna. It's up to you. I'll do whatever you want. I don't know. It's whatever you think."
And get this. As horny of a 16 year old as I was, and as much as I wanted this girl, and as much as I didn't want to be a virgin, and as much as I thought this felt almost perfect; I gave her an honest answer. I said, "Well, I'm dying to have you. And I've thought about it forever. But you know what. I don't want to do this if you're only doing this because you think that I want to. And I can tell you're only willing to do it because you know I want to. I can tell you're not really ready. So thanks, but let's not. Damn, I can't believe I'm saying this to you. But I couldn't enjoy having you if you weren't also enjoying having me."
Am I the dumbest guy on Earth? In some ways, yes. In some ways, no. But one thing is certain: I am the only 16 year old horny boy in the history of 16 year old horny boys who has ever said and meant exactly what my dumbass had just said to that girl.
But don't feel sorry for me about losing Hawaiian Girl. Three years from then, there would be a story called "Guess Who I Ran Into When I Was Back Home From College On Christmas Break." And that's a great story I'm not going to tell. Besides, you already know how it went now.