Recently at a dinner with my husband and friends, the topic arose on how young we were when we first had sex with another man. The four of us went around the table listing our ages and the ages of the men we first played around with. My turn quickly garnered gasps from my fellow tablemates for more than one reason. It’s my #metoo story long before #metoo was a hashtag.
I was 15 years old living in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I connected with an older friend in his mid-20s and we became good friends. It was sexual at times but nothing forced or uncomfortable. He invited me out for drinks and dinner one night even though I was well below the legal drinking age. He knew that but figured having dinner with older gays might be an interesting experience for me. We went out in downtown Greenville to a bar that served beer, wings, and all things fried. There were about six in the group including myself. I sat next to my friend but my attention quickly went to a guy sitting across the round tabletop from me. He was noticeably older than my friend. I’d say in his late 20s, possibly early 30s. I never asked and didn’t care because he was hot with scruff and a tight muscle shirt. We made eye contact all night long with a few moments of light conversation.
After dinner was done and the buckets of Bud Light were empty, we got up to leave. The guy I’d been eyeing all night long approached me with a grin and then asked if I’d like to head back to his place to hang out. My heart startedracing started racing and my hands started to sweat as I quickly nodded and left by his side. I drove even though I wasn’t supposed to because I still had a drivers permit which meant no driving without an adult. But me being rebellious, I did it anyway. Once we pulled up into his building parking lot just minutes from the bar, I got out and followed him in his building, climbing three flights of stairs, where we entered into his loft studio apartment.
It was dark and the apartment smelled of cedar and cigarette smoke. It was messy as well. I felt slightly uncomfortable as my intuition told me to cut this encounter short and flee home where I was supposed to be, but I didn’t listen. A few minutes later, he approached me throwing me onto his bed just feet from his front door. He was on top of me kissing me while he held my arms on each side of my head. My 150lb body was no match for what seemed like a 225lb fit body. I began to panic as he took one arm and began to unbutton my shorts. I was being held down by the weight of his upper body while his legs pinned my lower body down. At this point, the erection I had when he began to kiss me had quickly turned soft as I began wondering what terror was about to happen. The moment I made a move was when he decided to remove his shirt releasing my arms from his hold. I pushed him off of me and rolled off the bed pulling my shorts up as I made a run for his front door.
I flung the door open and raced to the stairwell where I stumbled down what felt like thousands of stairs until I made it to the front door of the building. I pushed the door open and made eye contact with my car. Without automatic door locks, I had to be precise in opening the door because I had no idea if he was behind me or still in his apartment. Thankfully I got my doors open and jumped into the driver’s seat to start the engine. My tires screeched as I pulled away onto the nearby street that led to the interstate.
Was I about to be raped by someone I didn’t even know? The questions of what could’ve happened in that studio apartment haunted me for months and even years. To this day, visiting the city gives me anxiety, and even when my husband and I visit someone else’s home, I always prepare a plan of escape just in case something goes wrong. I wish I would’ve known better but these situations prepare us for life itself. For that, I am grateful.