First Love: Not What We See in the Movies

By Chloe Jeffreys

Our first loves are rarely our lasting loves, but that doesn’t stop our inexperienced hearts from throwing all caution to the wind and believing they’ll last forever.

I knew everlasting first love existed because I’d seen it in movies. What would begin as a strong dislike-at-first-sight would be followed by verbal sparring. Then came the delicious sexual tension, building to its thigh-clenching climax as the woman would tilt her head just so and signal to the man that it was time to bend over her waiting lips and lay his passionate kiss upon her perfectly opened mouth.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Bogart and Bacall had this true love and we saw it on the screen. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler had it and we longed for it. Omar Sharif as Dr. Zhivago had it for Julie Christie, playing Lara, even though he was married to someone else. This forbidden love was very, very wrong, but somehow being wrong made it all the more excitingly right.

I can’t say that I saw movie-style true love in real life, but that didn’t stop me from believing it was possible. I knew for certain that someday it would happen to me – true love.
I don’t remember meeting E. Shouldn’t one remember how they met their first love? Well I don’t. It bothers me a great deal that I don’t remember how we met, or even the first time we kissed. I was in high school and he was a sophomore or junior at a local college. It’s possible we ran into each other at a cast party at his school, but I don’t know for sure. What I do remember is that I was already besotted with E by the time we made that trip to Magic Mountain.

When you’re young and in love, the line ride at a theme park on a warm summer day provides ample opportunity for kissing and fondling. We spent hours in protracted foreplay at a time in life when I really didn’t even know what foreplay was. I doubt the other line ride participants were all that thrilled watching E fondle my butt while I nuzzled his neck, but when you are 16 and oh-so-passionately, painfully in love, no one else in the world exists.

E was a good kisser, but more importantly he gave great repartee. From watching the movies, I’d always known that someday I’d fall in love with a man who was witty and could banter. Bantering is foreplay as much as necking, but even more erotic. Plenty of boys wanted into my tight Dittos, but precious few of them saw that the quickest path was through my mind.

E wasn’t like the other boys. He was a man.

In his twenties when we met, E was tall, dark and very handsome. He had piercing blue eyes and beautiful straight white teeth. He’d been very obese as a child and lost over 100 pounds in his senior year of high school. Despite being so young, his skin hung off his belly like a woman’s after birthing a 10-pound baby. I may not remember exactly when I became aware of his heavy hanging panniculus, but I do remember I loved him madly, even though I was pretty sure Dr. Zhivago wasn’t sporting a big loose flap of skin hanging nearly to his flaccid penis.
I only bring up this comparison as E’s his condition played such a huge — no pun intended, although that would make it funnier if it had been — role in our ill-fated love story.

Maybe I remember Magic Mountain so well because of how “eager” he’d gotten me on the rides. We hadn’t had sex yet, but I’d never been so sexually excited in my young life. When we were driving home, he was hard as a rock, and I was wet as a rain puddle in March.

Arriving at his place, he carried me up the stairs to his condo – like in the movies – and he had a condo where he lived alone! We pulled and clawed at each others’ clothing until we were wrapped up in each other, naked on the floor. He climbed on top, and I’m sure I didn’t notice that hanging skin, not at the time, anyway. I was so ready. And he was… suddenly… not.

Over the next several weeks (or maybe it was months), he lost his erection each and every time we tried to consummate our relationship.

I had no idea what to do. (This didn’t seem to be a problem on the big screen.) I did all the things girls / women do, or that I thought we were supposed to do. I reassured him (and myself). I promised him it didn’t matter. I tried to get him hard with every skill that was in my admittedly limited adolescent repertoire of sexual tricks. Nothing worked. No matter how ready he was when we started out, it was a no go at the crucial moment.

But we were in love, weren’t we? Kissing and bantering and madly in love. What about all my film heroes? Did Omar or Humphrey or Clark ever suffer erectile dysfunction? And if they did, what would Julie or Lauren or Vivien have done to fix it?

Maybe it was the heart-wrenchingly, thigh-clenchingly painfully unrequited sexual tension that confused me. I knew from the movies that true love was painful, and sometimes unrequited, but I hadn’t imagined it would be unfulfilling quite like this! Still, I was wildly in love with him, and I figured somehow we would work it all out and live happily ever after.

It seems that E kept a diary. It was part of what made him so unique, being a man with thoughts and feelings so strong he needed to journal them. And so, desperately trying to get inside his head so I could fix our problem, one day I snuck a peek. What I saw was a blow, though it comes as no surprise now that he wanted to break up with me. At the time, reading his words, I was utterly devastated.

I made it easy for him. I told him I’d read his diary and knew he wanted to end things. And so we broke up. And my heart broken into a million little pieces.

Looking back, I’m left wondering if E was gay, but nothing in his diary pointed to it. What he wrote about was his desire to go to Hollywood and pursue a movie career as a romantic leading man. Irony much? He didn’t even mention his problems in bed or the fact that we were supposed to get married and be in love forever.

After we broke up, we tried to “just be friends”, but I couldn’t do it. I was heartbroken, and I stayed heartbroken for a very long time.


Just as I was getting over E – almost there, but not quite – we ran into each other at a grocery store. He was as handsome has ever, and just as funny and clever as I remembered. Despite what I knew about his performance issues, he was, as always, extremely sexy. After some intense flirting in the produce section, he took me back to his place and for the first time we had sex without any obstacles or complications. It was nice, but nothing spectacular. At his invitation, I stayed for the entire night although he had to go to work early the next morning.

The next day I woke up in his place all by myself and sitting next to the bed was his diary. Yep. Of course I read it!

It turns out that in the time we’d been apart he’d fallen in love with another woman who had just dumped him a couple of days before. Oh, and maybe now he was going to Hollywood.

I gathered my clothes, got dressed, and let myself out, locking the door behind me. I never saw him again.

© Chloe Jeffreys

Chloe Jeffreys is a writer, speaker, labor and delivery nurse, former homeschool mom, long-time wife to the love of her life, and an outspoken advocate for women growing into their power as they grow older. She writes about everything that touches her life – no holds barred – at her blog, Chloe of the Mountain. You may follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at @ChloeJeffreys.

Part 6 of an essay series on First Love.

Image of Julie Christie as Lara captured by me, still, via Dr. Zhivago Youtube clip.