I was in the third grade and had on my “Rainbow Brite” one piece swimsuit. I was excited to swim with my friends. My friend Amber, from Daycare invited me. She was very athletic and a gymnast. She was an upbeat girl, but had a cloud that hung over her that tried, at times to stifle her bubbliness. Her parents were divorced, like mine. Her Dad was hosting the party. Her Mom lived directly behind the Daycare that Amber and I were forced to go to after school, as well as many days during the summer. Her Mother seemed to despise her ex husband. Anytime Amber or her brother Philip spoke of their father, their Mother almost flinched. I thought that he must be quite scary, but I didn’t tell my Mom this because I didn’t want her to keep me from going to a pool party. I had thought pool parties were fun, up until then, and for many years following the other real life eye awakening not so fun parties that I attended–or didn’t.
There were probably about ten young girls there, all friends of Ambers. Her Dad was there, along with about three other grown men who looked unbecoming. They stared at us and talked. I overheard one of them saying that they wondered which of us were early bloomers. I didn’t know what that meant. I thought perhaps I misunderstood and thought that they were making a joke about us wearing bloomers? Like I said, I was in the third grade, and was wearing a Rainbow Brite swimsuit. THAT was what I thought about, playing with dolls.
We were all playing duck-duck goose around the pool. We’d sit on the scorching cement with our feet dangling in the pool, desperately hoping that the luke-warm water would somehow lessen the blazing cement beneath us. This was the middle of summer after all, in North Texas. If the temperature stayed below 105, it was a good day. Duck-duck-goose–duck-duck-goose—we’d get up and race around the pool in hopes of not getting caught. I hadn’t been caught yet. Amber was really fast, too, so she was still safe, too. Amber’s Dad decided that he wanted to join in. At first, I thought to myself, that’s nice of him. Amber’s Dad became the “tagger” in Duck-duck-goose. We all raced around the pool, screaming in delight of the sheer fun of a free summer day. Then, all of a sudden I felt a tug at my swimsuit. It was firm, and it startled me. Amber’s Dad pulled my swimsuit down around my waist and grabbed the water hose and held it over my chest. He said he was watering my chest for it to grow and that he was hoping there was more there. I was mortified, shocked, embarrassed, confused, and then—-silenced. He noticed my frozen response, and laughed at me. He said that it’s not a big deal, and that I can pull up my suit now. He also told me not to tell my Mom, because she would think that I was being a baby, and that he was just having fun. ” You like to have fun, right? Don’t you like to have a good time?” I was humiliated, violated. The rest of the girls just stared at me, not knowing how to react. Amber’s Dad’s friends laughed, and Amber’s Dad told all the girls to jump in the pool and to play Marco Polo. They did. I just sat there, frozen, for the remainder of the party until my Mom came to pick me up. I didn’t tell my Mom. When she asked me why I was so quiet, I told her that I was tired and didn’t think I wanted to go to another pool party.
I started my period early, in the sixth grade. By the time I was in the eighth grade, my uterus had decided that it would not disappoint me in the PMS and the lengthy period departments. I had cramps that would cause me to double over in pain, barely able to walk. I had periods that lasted two to three weeks, raging war on my body. I couldn’t just wear a tampon, either. I was one of those girls who wore a Super Plus tampon, and an Always long pad with wings. I had to “change” myself almost every hour. This conundrum put a damper on fun parties, especially pool parties. I would pray to God that when I received a birthday party invite, that it wouldn’t include a pool. I wished that I was like all the girls who had lite periods, that lasted 3-4 days. Some girls could wear a slim tampon all day and be fine. Me? No way. Having enough time to “change” myself during classes at school created huge anxiety for me. Huge. Needless to say, my raging monthly femaleness took up most of the month. Hence, pool parties were not something I could attend comfortably, unless it was one of the 7-10 days where I felt like a free human being, and not a prisoner in, and of my own body.
Like most High School girls, I became aware of my body and unlike some, I didn’t like the attention it garnered from males. At the age of 16, I was already tired of being ogled, cat called, and harassed by grown men (especially those whom society deemed trustworthy, like teachers). My high school band director, as I would later know, was inappropriate, a sex addict, a compulsive person, and obsessed with young women and young girls. We had a band swim party at the end of every summer marching band camp. Let’s just say that I NEVER wanted to attend. I was an officer in the band, and a drum major my senior year, so I was expected to attend. My band director, who deemed me his next inappropriate, compulsive obsession, told me that he couldn’t wait for me to attend the pool party so that he could see me in a swimsuit. WTF. WTF? Adults who cross boundaries like this and cause discomfort and who are inappropriate should not be around children or teens. Period. I would attend the pool parties, but I would wear athletic shorts and a long T-shirt, and refused to get in the pool. My band director actually tried to take off my shirt at one of these parties. I ran out of the well lit park where the pool was, got in the car, and drove off. I got pulled over that night because I forgot to turn my headlights on. I was trying to escape so rapidly, that I drove off in the night with no lights turned on. The police officer asked if I was drunk. Of course, I was not. I was just scared, and wasn’t thinking straight.
I attended a child hood friend’s pool party after my junior year in college, only to have a college aged boy approach me and tell me that he’d like to fuck my friend and I in the pool after everyone left. What did I do?—— I exited the party.
Men who have compulsions, who have no self control, who are inappropriate and who treat women as if their main value in life is to somehow contribute to men’s sexual pleasure are rampant. RAMPANT. I now have been around thousands of men, have spoken to them, have been violated by them, have been harassed by them, have been raped by them, and have been discarded by them. There are good men, but THEY are few and far between. Most men love pool parties. Not because they get to hang out with their friends and chat, not because they want to enjoy their time with their significant other, and not for exercise. Many men love pool parties because they can’t wait to “soak in” all the women and then fixate on them like rabid dogs who have been starved for months. They stare, make comments, touch their dicks, tell you what they’d like to do to you, make “eyes” at you, and then create a visual spank bank for their own fodder. So, as I have made my way through this shit storm that is sometimes life, the only pool party that I want to attend—ever—is one where it’s just me, or my friends, my dog, and close family (preferably women only). Don’t tell me I’m a man hater, or a bitter feminist, or the likes. I’m not. That’s not fair. I am a woman who, out of my cumulative experiences, good and bad, have become who I am, and that is a young girl who has turned into an extremely cautious woman, who would really just like to be, just like to live in peace, without being objectified, harassed, and more.