Kissing Stanley

I’m pleased to report that Perigee, a respected online literary magazine, has published my essay, “Kissing Stanley.” This is “creative non-fiction,” and even though it’s about a very small event in my life that happened a very long time ago, I stand by its significance. I’ve changed some of the names to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the dead.  Here’s a teaser.  For the rest of the essay, follow the link at the end:

 

Perigee FictionKISSING STANLEY
                                          FRAN DORF

The biggest, baddest cooties in my whole high school belonged to Stanley Gluck, and I was simply not going to kiss him. I had turned seventeen that December, my friend Merry and I had spent the previous summer practicing oral sex on bananas, and I’d already had actual sex with one boy, but I had my standards. If I kissed Stanley Gluck, I’d be tainted with his cooties and no matter what the consequences of not kissing Stanley, I wasn’t going to do it.  

It wasn’t that Stanley was ugly, or fat, or smelled, or had obvious canker sores; he may have been a rather good looking young man, even if he had a cartoonish triangular head.  But it’s one of those unfortunate facts of high school that some get singled out for universal derision, often for reasons that aren’t necessarily clear. Other than the triangular head, Stanley’s main offense—and the reason I was so dead set against kissing him—was that he talked like a professor, and not just any professor, but some upper crust Wasp professor with a pole up his butt. We all spoke American teenage vernacular of the groovy anti-establishment era, and there was Stanley with his peculiar, patrician affectation, enunciating each syllable to within an inch of its life, using odd, formal sentence structure, and speckling his speech with ten dollar words that no one our age used, like “impertinence,” and “erudite,” and obsequious.” As in, “Mr. Shis-sler, Char-lie is sleeping in the back of the classroom. I simply cannot fathom why you would tolerate such impertinence!”

To continue, click here to go to Perigee, then click on “Non-fiction.”

 

 

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One thought on “Kissing Stanley

  1. Great story. It’s a very good lesson to remind us how you can’t judge much about people whose shoes you haven’t walked in. The irritating guy who’s honking at you at a traffic light…maybe he’s going to the hospital? The person who’s driving way too slowly…maybe carrying a cake or a goldfish in the back, as we’ve all done? And then there’s Stanley, the person who didn’t have it together, but didn’t let anyone know what he was coping with, things that affected him until perhaps the last moment of his life. He’d love that you remembered this. I hope you will use your talent to send a long note to his family very soon.

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