The mandate hissed in my head like air escaping from a deflating tire. The truth of the matter was: I didn’t want to Do it! The idea of it terrified me. They terrified me. Yet, here I was goaded on by a couple of horny teenage boys.
Robin was in my English class. She walked into the classroom dressed in an outfit meant to elicit controversy. It was really a poorly executed attempt at mimicry. We were highly influenced by the images of the barely five-year-old MTV network. Like the visionary artists of that time, the attempts at high art were very hit and miss. She was no exception. Her entrance was always greeted by astonished silence and an occasional gasp of awe. Her previous outfits included looks from Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benetar, Aimee Mann of ‘Til Tuesday, and even Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. Today she was dressed with purpose.
Our assignment, “Our Hero” would be presented to the rest of the class. Today was her turn. She made her way to her desk dressed in a short black dress with dayglo green tights. She wore a lace bodice top that revealed some of her bra. She accessorized with rosaries and crucifixes worn around the neck and as bracelets around her wrists. She tied a big, black, floppy lace bow on the top of her head to complete the look.
In spite of her carefully crafted outfits, it was her breasts that were the topic of conversation. They started to develop in the fourth grade and so did the teasing and it looked like it would culminate here, in class. Doug, the leader of these goof-offs, came up to me and dared me to snap the back of Robin’s bra. I was an easy target, as I sat directly behind her. He manipulated me with his world-class smile and good looks. He dressed somewhere between Sonny Crockett and Simon Le Bon. When you really get down to it, I agreed readily because I really wanted him to like me.
“Just pinch it back and let it go,” he said.
So there I was halfway into our first period. I was looking at Robin at the front of the class discussing the making of Madonna’s video, “Like a Virgin.” She looked uncomfortable as she tried (unsuccessfully) to adjust her bra. She rolled her shoulders one way, then another to no avail. She read from her prepared script.
“Madonna had problems with the lion in the video because she was having her period at the time and lions are attracted to the blood so this lion kept trying to lick her crotch.”
There was a burst of laughter from the back row.
“Thank you, Robin. We get the picture. Sit down.” Mr. Gonzalez rolled his eyes and called up the next student. Robin made her way back to her desk and gave me a quick, nervous smile. With her back to me, I had a clear view of her bra strap. I looked back at Doug and his goof-offs. They looked on like hungry lions waiting for me to pounce on the prey. I turned around and just did it. I heard the sound of the elastic snap on flesh and then the hook snapped off.
She never spoke to me or even acknowledged me after that incident that sent her running from class in tears. I didn’t gain a friend in Doug, either. And it wouldn’t be the last time I would do something as stupid as this.