Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Three lessons I learned on spring break

Your clocks have moved forward, the official start of spring is here, and you’re preparing by planting new seeds and packing old sweaters. At one time you were on the road to a beach destination this time of year for spring break, and I was piled in a car with several friends heading to Panama City Beach where I learned these valuable life lessons:

Virginity is a state of mind, depending on what state you’re in. I had already been in a relationship with a woman by the time I went on this high school spring break trip, and knew I was a lesbian for life.  Not interested in sleeping with men and still in the closet, I had been able to use this cover with the teen boys who wanted to be physical – I was a good Southern girl who was waiting for marriage.  It seemed to deter them in Tennessee without question, but when we ran into a guy we knew from home on Front Beach Road, he decided he was going to give it one more try.  I again said no and he reminded me that we were in Florida and when you cross state lines “it doesn’t count.”  Nice try, but I still said no and he simply started making out with one of my buddies and tried his luck with her.

If it’s your birthday, anything goes. Speaking of Front Beach Road, it’s the main drag of Panama City Beach. During spring break it serves as a parking lot for the scores of students bottlenecking onto the small road to meet one another. We made our slow trek with everyone else on one of our friend’s birthdays and she hung out of our car announcing that to the world. Guys reacted by coming up and giving her a kiss, encouraging her mantra to evolve into very slurry, “Kiss me, It’s my birthdayyyyy!” One guy approached the car and surprised us all by asking me if it was my birthday too. I sweetly told him no.

Never go into a maze drunk. Panama City Beach has something called the Gran Maze about the size of a football field that you should be able to navigate in a short period of time. That’s if you’re sober. We were not, and easily got lost within the confusing human labyrinth. Add to that the fact we were teenage girls and as a group always engaged in laughter to the point of tears. Fellow maze patrons began making a wide berth to avoid our gaggle of fools. That’s when our friend informed us that if we didn’t get out of there in a hurry she was going to pee on herself. We made a spirited attempt to carry this crying, laughing, drunk arm-in-arm to an elusive exit but it proved in vain. She had to duck in a private cubby of the maze as we stood guard and watched her drop her shorts like she was in the woods. Urine poured into the main pathway of the maze as others stepped over the spillage, which motivated us to quickly find the exit before we were escorted out.

Not sure I will pass these ideals on to my son, but they seemed important in 1988. So if you see me cruising down Peachtree spraying “Sun In” in my hair and blasting Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” it’s my teenage way of celebrating spring.