friends with benefits

Purity Culture guy who slut-shamed me was arrested for prostitution

Sometimes, in the years after breaking free of a narcissistic and/or abuser or rapist, you will find out new information that proves you were not to blame.  One ex kept pretending to be something he wasn’t to get girls to date him.  Another has various psychological disorders and sleeps around on his girlfriends.  An ex-friend nearly choked his stepdaughter to death.

In the 1992/3 section of my College Memoirs, you’ll find the story of Shawn, a guy who accused me of separating him from God and not doing enough to stop his advances while he kept pushing and pushing for physical and sexual favors.  I let him do it because I was in love with him and–after growing up with a learning disorder and bullying–didn’t know how to stick up for myself.  I didn’t know how to give myself some self-love by telling him to stop and getting away from that situation.  I was only 18 and 19 years old and kept hoping one day he would say he loved me.  And meantime I kept letting him do whatever he wanted after initially resisting.

He kept saying we were “just friends” and he didn’t want to have an actual “relationship” with me, but he kept coming over to see me and inviting me over.  We both intended to save sex for marriage because of Evangelical Purity Culture, but he kept pushing my boundaries until I stopped wanting to stop him, then he blamed me for giving in.  Then his ultimate slut-shaming of me was saying he couldn’t be my friend anymore because I had given in to him and that made me so repulsive to him.

He severely psychologically damaged me.  I wrote about my realization that his attitudes, the way he shamed me constantly for everything from my introversion to giving in to him to my alleged “imperfections,” came from patriarchal purity culture and his own psychological disorders, here and here.  I wasn’t raised with the idea that I was responsible for stopping him, but HE apparently was, so he blamed me for his own transgressions, while I was left confused, wondering how it could be my fault when he’s the one who kept pushing.  He made me feel like I was forcing myself on HIM when I was actually very passive through the whole thing, letting him take the lead.

He did eventually call me again to try to bury the hatchet.  We connected a few times over the years, briefly.  He finally let me friend him on Facebook a couple of years ago, for a day, but there I discovered he’s a Trumper who listens to far-right con artists like Sean Hannity and Vicki McKenna.  I think he unfriended me again because of my liberal views and disdain for far-right con artists.

Well–I just learned that in June of 2019, Shawn was busted for sex with a prostitute.


Details are sparse.  But here are the facts:

He’s married and has daughters.

He pled guilty and paid over $1000 in fines.

It was “Prostitution-Nonmmarital Sexual Intercourse.”  He was required to “Provide biological specimen to state crime lab for DNA analysis, and pay DNA analysis surcharge.”

Apparently prostitution rings are common in that part of the state, and they regularly do stings, so maybe he was caught that way, but I have nothing but conjecture to go on.  I know that whether prostitution is “bad” or should be a crime is controversial these days.  But I think most people can agree that a married man with daughters going to a prostitute is disgusting.


I dodged a bullet!

And I can’t help but wonder at the implications of an Evangelical guy who slut-shamed me, going to a prostitute.

Friendship, lust, doubt, Evangelicalism: response to Wondering Eagle

My friend Wondering Eagle just put up a blog post that covers a wide range of topics based on Evangelical culture, regarding friendship and loneliness and doubt and lust etc. etc.  I posted this in reply:

1) Years ago, songs like this one probably would have struck me as blasphemous, because of how Evangelicalism “trained” me:  Nowadays, after almost two decades of doubt and disillusion combined with stubborn refusal to give up on God, I can truly appreciate that Gary Numan is the Gothic Job.  (He’s an atheist, BTW.)  Every now and then, I get obsessed with this song; here we go again. 🙂  It helps a lot that Orthodoxy and Catholicism actually let you have doubts and the dark night of the soul.  In Evangelicalism, I felt like I wasn’t supposed to have doubts (“ye of little faith”) or question the moral values the elders passed down (“you just want to sin”).  And that made me harder on others than I should’ve been.

2) My church has usually been a fairly safe place, with both Republicans and Democrats.  I come back to church after getting vaccinated, and after church a newcomer is yelling at the church president and a couple others because everybody’s wearing “carnival masks.”  A few weeks ago, she wondered about a necklace I was wearing (I wear Gothy jewelry; this piece was based on Poe’s “Raven”) and said, “I thought, it couldn’t be Harry Potter!”  It’s put my spidey senses on alert: Is it a Trumper? Is she like the Evangelicals I used to go to church with?  Around that time, we’re told that TWO members of the board have submitted resignations, and I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes.

3) My narcissist ex-friend, at least according to the stories he told me and others, was once a promising up-and-coming preacher in Foursquare, packing churches.  Some TV celeb wanted to get him on TV.  Yet he told me that secretly, he didn’t believe any of it, and whenever he spoke in “tongues,” it was just a bunch of gibberish he made up.  Unlike the other preacher celebs, though, he finally got disgusted and walked away.

4) The messaging on lust doesn’t just destroy young men.  In college, I was in a friends-with-benefits “relationship” that never actually went “all the way.”  It was with an Evangelical; I was Fundie, influenced by Evangelicals.  For that reason, it was full of so much lust and guilt and blame that it almost destroyed me.  I had normal feelings and desires, which he did his best to stir up, but he made me feel like a slut who was driving him away from God.  And I thought demons were tempting me, and poured it out to my prayer partner.  I told the guy what was going on, hoping for his help–and he turned around and treated me like an evil temptress he had to avoid like the plague.

5) I was raised in the 80s, when nobody around me said opposite-sex friendships were somehow bad.  Both in the church and out, it was expected and normal that people, both single and married, would have whatever friends they like.  I didn’t encounter this part of purity culture until my friendship with that narc ex-friend in #3, during the naughts.  The wife was very controlling and believed it was her prerogative to tell him who to be friends with, whether male or female.  She decided I was a threat.

Apparently the purity culture affected Orthodoxy through converts, because I confided in some converts online and they treated me like *I* was the problem for wanting to have a close friendship with a man!  It shocked me.  For years I wrote about it on my website/blog, seeking out articles proving that I wasn’t some kind of deviant and that it isn’t right to tell your spouse who to be friends with.  And yes, I still maintain various friendships with men!  One is in my own church, which is mostly “cradle” Orthodox, and nobody has ever so much as given me a side-eye for being close friends with him.

In recent years I finally found out this attitude was coming from Evangelical purity culture.  Samantha Field, who is bisexual, would hear this and think, “Samantha, you can’t have any friends.”

Struggling to Trust Again After Being Discarded by Loved Ones

Going through my college memoirs for publication on this blog, and adding all sorts of things which I kept private before, has brought something very forceful to mind: the experience of being repeatedly thrown away with disgust by people whom I opened up to and loved in special ways:

1. Shawn: I loved him, opened up to him my deep dark secrets, wrote him long letters over the summertime hoping that revealing my innermost thoughts would inspire him to love me back.

But he kept using my body in various ways, constantly pushing me to do more with him, taking all he could get, then verbally and emotionally abusing me afterwards.

Then he finally tossed me away in disgust and refused to have anything more to do with me for some time, because our religious beliefs told us we were sinners for having sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage.

2. Phil: He got me to forget about Shawn and Peter.  He was the love of my life.  I told him my secrets; we secretly formed a spiritual marriage; we passionately desired each other.

Then he, too, tossed me away because I refused to let him break my spirit and make me an obedient wife who did everything he wanted no matter how painful, degrading or disgusting, and refused to let him verbally and emotionally abuse me without my fighting back.

3. Richard: Because we were both already married, this was friendship and platonic love, no sexual elements at all.  But it was a deep, emotional and intellectual connection: my spiritual mentor, my best platonic friend, a roommate for a time, so I told him very personal things, all my secrets.  Those secrets included details about my exes and religious struggles.  I trusted him and called him my brother.

Then his own dark secrets began coming to light: physical violence, manipulation, child abuse, vindictiveness.

After seeing with horror just how violent he could become with his own best friends over misunderstandings, because his wife forced him to do her bidding and abuse his own best friends (my husband, me, and at least one other friend), my husband and I broke off the friendship–only to receive no attempts at all from Richard to reconcile.

No apologies, just the expectation that all apologies and changed behavior would come from me and me alone.  And, a couple of years later, the beginning of a year-long campaign of intimidation and stalking which continues to this day.

They just don’t want to face the fact that we broke off the friendship not because of me doing anything “wrong,” but because my husband and I both see them as abusive, histrionic, deceptive and manipulative.

Once I got out of the FOG during the process of writing about this, it was much easier to trace the lies and manipulations and put them all together, to recognize how they tried to gaslight me from the very beginning and still tried as recently as last year.

For them to admit that their own actions led to the breakup, would shatter their delusions and make them admit they behaved badly and wrongly.

I feel once again discarded with disgust by someone to whom I had opened up and shared my life story and secrets, to whom I told all the musings which my introverted mind usually keeps locked up for its own use.

I am quiet, shy, introverted, and have NVLD/Asperger tendencies.  Making friends has never been easy, finding dates was never easy, and for many years I’ve lived far away from family and the people I grew up with.

So while I have made many good friends over the years, some of whom I still keep up with, I have been through many periods of loneliness.

Outgoing people tell shy people to just “be more social” and “talk to people” as if it were something everyone can just do and if you’re not doing it you’re just being stubborn.  That isn’t the case at all.

Introverted brains work differently in social situations than extroverted brains do, and if shy people could just flick a switch and stop being shy, then they would never be shy in the first place.

When I open up to someone, and especially if I love him/her in some way, it’s because that person makes me feel safe emotionally.  My quietness ends as I begin pouring out my innermost thoughts in long letters/e-mails to that person, whether it’s a lover or a friend, male or female.  In person, the two of us can talk for hours.

When that person turns around and discards me with disgust, I feel that something about me is deeply unlovable, that the innermost thoughts people say they want to hear, must be bad somehow.  Then the next time, it’s even harder to open myself up to someone else, for fear that it will happen again.  I grow even quieter, even more reserved.

Extroverts and outgoing people should take note that these things do happen, that maybe that shy/quiet person is still like that because opening up to others keeps leading to pain and heartache.

This is why it’s been even harder after Richard’s discard of me, to move on to a new best friend.  The more pain you get from opening up to people, the harder it is to open up to someone new.  But I have opened up to three new people in the last year and a half, who have not discarded me.  I think I can trust them.

I need to focus on the ones who have not discarded me: My husband knows me intimately in every way, yet has not discarded me after 18 years.

My best friends from college are still there for me.  Mike still loves to hear from me.  Sharon still loves to visit me.  Catherine made it very clear on July 4 that she still loves me.

Old friends are still very kind on Facebook even though we have lived in separate states for many years.  Friends nearby with whom I lost touch, are there for me again.

I need to realize that the ones who discarded me, are abusive and probably narcissists as well.  That it is not a reflection on me, and does not make me unlovable in the least.  I just need to be more careful whom I care about.

You will find that you have changed during the course of the relationship with a narcissist. You will walk away completely far removed from the beautiful woman you were when you entered it.

You may have gone from soft, sweet and feminine to hardened and bitter. From trusting, open and receptive to suspicious and untrusting. From self-assured and confident to being full of self-doubt and insecurities.

It will take some hard work on your part to let this damaged part of you go and find your old self again.


For most of us breaking up with a narcissist can leave us feeling confused, devastated, and untrusting of all men in the future.

Usually, when a relationship ends both parties grieve some, both parties have regrets and both parties have done things that they feel remorseful for.

But not a narcissist! He walks away from you with a cold, callous disregard. He feels nothing.

……A narcissist can turn from loving you to discarding you almost abruptly as it took for him to ‘idolize’ you after his first meeting you. Uh, what was that? About one date would you say?…….

Truth is, you didn’t exist to the narcissist. He is so totally and completely self-centered to the point of his being the only person in his life – ever.

You simply were a temporary ego-boost. A narcissist supplier (an enforcer and validation of his self-love). His mirror.

You were taken in by his phony charm simply because you trusted men. And now you are left with doubts, insecurities, questions, and extreme hurt that one you cared for could so easily ‘dismiss you’ and then walk away completely unmoved and untouched by the experience.

You want him to hurt, too. To show sorrow. To feel remorse.

So that you can feel important again. Like you mattered.

But you didn’t. And it has nothing to do with you. He simply is unable to care for anyone other than himself, no matter whom they are.

And deep inside you know that you have just wasted years of your life on someone who is an empty fraud. It’s like you imagined everything; nothing was real.

He was a masterful actor when he was getting his ego fed; but now that he is not getting his narcissistic supply from you anymore he simply – and completely – has totally erased you from his life.

It is important to remember that narcissists are ‘plotters’ and he has been plotting the destruction of the relationship since the very first moment his charming, but fake persona met you.

Expect your world to fall apart whereas his world will remain unscathed – as will his emotions. OOPS, pardon me, I made a mistake! Make that “his ‘lack of’ emotions”.

Narcissistic men haven’t any empathy for others, and will never take any direct responsibility for any pain they may have caused. They will never acknowledge their wrongdoings, or apologize to you, because they truly believe themselves to be perfect.

They project all their faults and flaws onto you, accusing you of the very things that they, themselves, are guilty of.

In fact, throughout your entire relationship, you probably were lead to believe that you were the problem when in actuality it was their narcissism that was at fault. You have subconsciously learned to take his attacks personally, because he is so very good at manipulating the people around him….

Yet, the narcissistic ex continually acts in abusive, bewildering and confusing ways. He is not above committing destructive acts. When the breakup becomes a reality, it is likely that his ‘false persona’ will completely disappear all together and you will most likely experience the most hurtful of behavior from him.

He is completely lacking in empathy, and – since he is not receiving any admiration from you anymore – he will dismiss you and discard you as worthless to him, consequently dropping any fake front that he use to put up in order to keep you in the relationship. –SexandMiami’s How falling in love with a narcissist has changed me forever

The above quoted post applies in various ways to all my ex-relationships with probable narcs, both boyfriends and friends.

The same goes for friends. A Narc likes friends that are shiny and new. That are entertaining or amusing.

That are reliable, even though he won’t be reliable when they call for him, or if he is, it’s because he is trying to keep them staying loyal to him, not because he cares about them, but because of the benefits they bring to his life.

Also, the Narcissist will immediately size up his friends as either capable or incapable of dominating. The Narc is always aware of whether he is in the dominant or submissive role in his relationships and friendships.

This is instinct to the Narcissist, who understands only power, not love or empathy. –Comment in thread How are narcissists with their friends?


Yeah, don’t go around thinking everyone’s a Narcissist just because they’re putting their needs and wants above yours. So much of Narcissism occurs in the Narc’s own mind that it’s hard to pick them out.

Some clues: do they live a transient lifestyle, move from place to place, or from job to job? Do they dump friends a lot?

Do they think very highly of themselves without an objective reason to do so (i.e., do they think they’re smarter or more attractive than they are, or do they pride themselves in whatever ability they really do have to an unhealthy, egotistical extent)?

Do they have trouble getting close to people? Do they seem controlling or manipulative? Do they have trouble with boundaries being set between them and other people? Do they fear intimacy?

Do they start a new relationship by building the other person up and acting like they’re perfect, only to tear them down over time and then dump them? Do they get offended when you criticize them for even minor reasons? –Comment in thread How are narcissists with their friends?

Yep.  These last two quotes apply.


Why post abuse stories? (Was: Wondering if my blog stalkers will read about Phil now….)

The story of my abusive ex Phil is just about to begin in my College Memoir posts.  There is some more yet about Shawn, but the psychological abuse and sexual using by him has ended….

I knew Shawn had sorely used and abused me, but I had seen nothing yet.  Phil’s manipulations hit a whole new level with the lies he wove, even more lies than Peter told.

I know Peter lied about things like his opinions on smoking, making me believe we were meant for each other, saying he wanted to marry me, then later casting me aside and denying it, complaining to everyone about my “marriage talk.”

I can’t tell for sure if Peter really believed it when he told me he set up a mental link when he hypnotized me, and all the special psychic abilities his ninja training gave him.  He could have been fooling me, as Shawn thought, but he also could have believed it, being the sort of person who believes in such things.

But Phil deliberately fooled and manipulated me, taking advantage of my gullibility.  He took my interest in psychic and psychological subjects and–practically from the beginning–began elaborate ruses which climaxed in the summer of 1994, having made me believe that he acted out his dreams.

He told me we were married before God, kept reassuring me when I doubted, but when he lost interest and no longer needed my parents’ hospitality, he quickly discarded me and said we were never truly married.

I’m no psychologist, but he was probably a narcissist.  Phil is the reason I first got interested in researching abuse, in the 90s, because it took me many years to recover from all he had done.

The reason to post these stories: It’s a public service.  All these stories–of Peter, of Shawn, of Phil, of Richard and Tracy–are not just about expressing myself or venting, but about warning and validating others.

I’ve long since been freed of those abusive relationships, but others could still be going through one much like it.  Abuse victims need to know they’re not alone, and that this is not normal treatment, so they can escape it.

Abusers try to make you think the abuse is your fault.  Shawn would coerce and try to convince me to do what he wanted, tell me there was nothing wrong with it–then after I did it, blame me for giving in, make me feel dirty and cheap, talk like I was seducing him.

Phil kept blaming me for his abuse, telling me I had to have my own way, always had to be right–because I did not want him to sodomize me.

Tracy abused and bullied me and tried to make me believe it was all my fault, that she had every right to do it and I had no right to complain.  Richard went along with it.

Not only that, but he even called me “ridiculous” for being psychologically affected when a couple of his friends began sexually harassing me online.  The harassment triggered feelings I had long since forgotten, brought them back up, alive, so that a year later I was still being triggered.

I had been sexually harassed by guys in high school, and sexually abused by Phil–and now Richard was calling me ridiculous for equating those incidents with what his friends said and did to me, for remembering those incidents because of what his friends did, and begging him to stop mentioning those guys around me so it would stop triggering me!

Abuse victims need help to get out of the gaslighting fog.

Reading stories and articles like the ones I post, and discovering the names for what I went through–emotional abuse, abuse by proxy, engineering impossible situations, sexual abuse, and the like–helped me realize it wasn’t me.

I used to say Phil was “borderline abusive,” because I thought abuse was physical–though I did write in a letter to him that he abused his authority as a husband.

But reading in women’s magazines in the mid-90s about emotional and verbal abuse, is when I realized he truly was abusive.  I now understood why it spooked me one day in 1995 or 1996 to think I heard his voice at my workplace, even though he had never hit me.  (I believe I actually heard the boss’ son.)

My husband’s observations on Phil’s behavior, helped me see that no, it wasn’t just me, he truly had mistreated me.  My husband is the first one who told me that even though Phil did not hit or beat me, he did things that could qualify as physical or sexual abuse (forcing me into disgusting things I did not want to do).

When you think about it, I was “rescued” by Phil himself: He decided I was not submissive enough, that I was the problem, and left.  But for a long time, I felt that his leaving was the ultimate form of abuse.

Though my friends told me he was controlling and possessive, my eyes were not fully opened until after I stopped grieving the relationship, met my husband, and started doing research and writing about what happened.

In those days, the Internet existed but in a much smaller form, and we did not have computers capable of using it beyond e-mail.  I had access to the Net my senior year through my roommate Pearl’s computer and a modem, but it was limited to AOL.

That was 1994; I had no idea just what the Net was capable of.  The explosion of websites and blogs on abuse had not yet happened.  We didn’t have Google.  After leaving college, I did not have a computer capable of doing much on the Net.  All I had were occasional magazine articles to open my eyes.

But now, you can search the Web for information and stories about abuse.  You can immediately identify what you’re going through.  You can learn how to leave safely.  You don’t have to wait years until you happen upon an article, book or TV program defining what happened to you.

Shawn Breaks Our Friendship and Departs; The Pump Blows Up; Learning Spanish–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–May 1993

The Pump Blows Up 

My pump poem, “5/7/93,” in one of the last Poetry packets, was written about something that actually happened that morning on campus.  You can read the basic details in the poem:

The pump blew up
Oh, shoot
Water’s off
At 8 A.M. to boot

Whole campus is out
Till the afternoon, we’re told
We hate it when this happens
Water becomes gold

Hope you took your shower
Before it all went off
If not, no one’ll notice–
Their own hair’s bad enough

Fix our pump for us
And on the lake’s sand
We’ll bow down and worship you
And the magic wrench in your hand

No, I don’t remember the exact time the water came back on.  I had taken my shower the night before, so I had good hair that morning.  Clarissa still had her bottled water for handwashing and brushing teeth.

Shawn Breaks Our Friendship and Departs 

Probably some time in May, when we all watched TV together in Krueger lounge, a news brief came on about a drug bust in Kenosha.  Pearl laughed in chagrin.  Apparently Kenosha was such a quiet town that such things were unheard-of.

My diary entry for 5/10 at 2:01am: “Something I just read in May 8th’s devotional [My Utmost for His Highest] made me realize, I don’t have to worry that I won’t ‘find someone.’  I just need to be patient and remember that the unforeseen often happens.”  And I was right about that.

On May 13, a speaker for InterVarsity, Pastor Don, brought his two college-age sons, cute Matt and cuter Dan.  I helped Pearl entertain them–a pleasant task.  A group of us spent a fun evening in the Pub, with the guys playing pool.

Eventually, Rush Limbaugh came on the Pub TV.  We sat there ripping on him, and Muskie Pat, who was working behind the bar, said, “If he says anything about femi-nazis, I’m gonna throw something at the screen.”

One of Don’s sons said, “The scary thing is, when you really listen to him, Rush is right.”  That didn’t mean he liked Rush or the terms he had for groups or people or any of that.

(Muskie Pat is what we called a cool guy who had been at Roanoke for years getting several degrees, and who worked in the Muskie all the years I knew him.  He made awesome burgers with toasted buns.)

Pastor Don spoke on relationships.  This clip from a letter I wrote to Shawn gives a sample of what he said, and how it affected me:

Sure I’d had some serious thoughts in the past few weeks of just giving it all up [the friendship] because of all the trouble I had dealing with you and I didn’t know if the relationship was healthy for me.

But I’d decided I just couldn’t: we’d been through so much together, confided so many things in each other.

And then the Thursday before, when the speaker came up from Racine to speak at the Bible study, he talked about relationships of all kinds.

Friends stay there for friends, he said, even when being around them is currently making you feel bad.

Whether the person’s depressed or depressing or just in a bad mood, a friend doesn’t go away, a friend stays right there with them.

I took that as an answer from God to my prayers for help in deciding.

Shawn came back maybe a week before the end of the semester, and said we could talk in a little while.  I expected a phone call at any time, and looked forward to it because, as a good friend, I was concerned about him and his brother.

I’d missed him; I wanted to spend time with him before he left, because I probably never would again, and I never liked saying good-bye to my best and closest friends.

But on Tuesday the 18th, Clarissa told me he didn’t want to associate with me.  That angered me, but I tried to keep it under control until I found out if it was all a misunderstanding on her part.

He came over once for a back massage (really? weren’t we giving that all up? we knew where they always led), but I just wasn’t up to it, because I had to find out why he was avoiding me when we were about to part company for good.  We sat at the picnic table beside the lake.

He told me that what Clarissa said was correct.  I felt sick at heart and totally puzzled.  He said we’d be going our separate ways, because of all the sexually intimate knowledge he now had of me.

So, after he had pushed so hard to get this knowledge, now I was to be punished because he had it?

He said he didn’t want me to think I had a boyfriend out there, and that he probably wouldn’t write back because of this, though I could write him.

My mind filled with all the things I could say, all at once, but the closest I could get to summing it all up was, “You can’t just let it go.”

I didn’t want to lose him as a friend, though I had accepted the loss of him as a lover.  So he said he would write back, but ultimately, he didn’t.

We talked about a lot of things that day, including the memories we now had of each other.  We walked around, sat in the cold and some rain, sat in the suite laundry room, went through the parking lot….

Our last conversation was much like our first on one of those first days of freshman orientation, when we also wandered from one place to another–like bookends of our relationship.

He said, “Let’s just put all that [physical stuff] behind us.  Do you regret what we did?”

I said yes, for most of it, though some I just didn’t regret.  But he seemed relieved.  I still had feelings for him, but I told him I just wanted friendship now, so we weren’t at odds over that.

On the 20th, Just before we all left for home for the summer, I called him, to say good-bye.

I asked why he felt it would be awkward to just stop over for a minute and say the one, last good-bye that meant so much to me, but he told me I shouldn’t be curious about it, that it’s his life.

I felt like, ask an innocent question and get accused of prying!  Didn’t I deserve some kind of explanation?

I didn’t know whether or not it had to do with me; I just wanted to say good-bye before he left Roanoke for good.  I was upset and bewildered.

I was about to say I didn’t want to say good-bye on a bad note, when I heard a click.  Clarissa was there as I hung up, I told her what was said, and sobbed my eyes out.

I had no idea that his brother had just died, because he didn’t tell me.  I would have understood.

In fact, I didn’t find out until Julie told me in a letter that I got close to July; they were both staying on campus.  Even then, I did not know when it happened.

I didn’t know he got the news right before I called, until December.  I never expected to see him again, since he was only at Roanoke for two years to take general studies courses before going to UW-Madison for engineering.  This was hardly the good-bye I had expected.

If only I had known, I would have understood.  Why didn’t he tell me?  Why would it take him 7 months to tell me?

I could have been there for him, given him a shoulder to cry on, been so good to him, comforted him.  I still loved him and would have wanted to be there through his suffering.

But he never gave me the chance.  Though I was told he seemed to be pushing everyone away.

Some things become clear after reviewing all the things that happened between Shawn and me:

He treated me like a prude for not wanting to watch sexy movies (which got my mind going on things I wasn’t supposed to do yet) or do the things he wanted to do. 

Then when, over time, I gave in and did the things he wanted, I turned into a “slut.”  Because I was now a “slut,” I was not worth even his friendship, because I put a wedge between him and God.

I was not supposed to have desires at all.  I was supposed to deflect his every move, be stronger than he was.  It was my fault.  I was shamed for having my own desires after all.

No wonder I was so frickin’ screwed up by the end of sophomore year.  I understand why people have trouble with Purity Culture.

I don’t think it’s the desire to save oneself for marriage that bothers critics.  I think it’s the shame we girls end up with, the feeling of being “ruined” if you “slip up,” the expectation that only sluts would want sex, that bothers critics.

Now, of course, it goes both ways.  If you are properly taught that purity applies to boys and not just girls, no double standard, then discovering your future husband is not a virgin, can be devastating.  We can forgive someone after they repent for stealing, but even if they look on past sexual experiences with the proper remorse and disgust, they’re still “sullied.”

It is the reason why I was so psychologically affected by things I did in college, why it was so hard to forgive myself, why I looked on past deeds with Shawn and Phil with horror for so long, why certain first names from my future husband’s past made me recoil for years just seeing them printed on a page.

I felt guilty just remembering these deeds with pleasure years later.  I felt guilty, like I was lying to myself, for deciding one day that what I did with Shawn, wasn’t so bad.  I was warned that past sexual experiences would haunt me when I married, but the memories weren’t so horrible after all.

…Back to 1993.  We went home on the 21st.

Learning Spanish 

My home church now had early morning services at 8:00 as well as the regular, 10:45 service.  My parents wanted to go to the early service, so I had to, as well.  After all, I didn’t have a car.

They thought these would be the most popular services, but they weren’t, and soon were dropped.  However, for the summer I had to endure them.

They were too early, and had too much singing.  It was weird to sing lyrics projected on a wall; I preferred to read them from a hymnbook.

Just before the end of the school year, the Campus Shop had sold used textbooks which were no longer going to be used for classes.  I took this opportunity to buy a Spanish textbook.  Now, I used the Spanish textbook to teach myself Spanish.

I used index cards and a pencil to make flash cards for the vocabulary words, and I think I would erase them and write new words on them.

I also used a slate and slate pencil which I had gotten at a South Bend museum when I was a child.  Just like the first ones I had bought, these were now broken.

When I got this slate, I also got another one, but it was now lost, so out of three slates and more than one slate pencil, I only had one of each left.

But they were useful for writing out the book’s exercises without using up a lot of paper.  We also had a computer disc with a Spanish drill program on it, and I used it sometimes.

The problem, however, was that I had no one to tell me how to pronounce the words properly, and had nothing but the textbook to guide me.

I don’t think the book even mentioned that the X was pronounced differently than in English, though I already knew Mexico was pronounced “MEH-ee-koh” (or a reasonable equivalent).

In general, I enjoyed my summer and its pleasant routines.  But every morning, at least after June, I agonized until the mail came.

I kept expecting a letter from Shawn: angry, apologetic, whatever, but something.  A letter never came, which made me even more upset.

In June I’d sent him a letter to try to resolve the issue of our last conversation and the lack of a proper good-bye, but nothing had happened to move it along.  I wanted closure, not this torture of waiting.

I wrote two letters to Shawn that summer.  I let each of them sit, waiting until I was sure it was the right thing to do and rightly worded.  The first one sat for a month before I mailed it in late June.  It said I was fighting for his friendship.  About the last one, sent on August 23, I wrote,

I wrote it late in the week, and for the next few days I kept hearing and reading things that said, Hurry, do it, send it, write it, do it now!

So I decided I’d send it by Monday, or else God might really be unhappy with me.

The messages were in songs, in my devotions [one devotional in My Utmost for His Highest even talked about sending that letter you want to send right away], and maybe other places.

So I thought, This can’t just be coincidence; this has got to be God talking to me!  I almost felt like my excuses for waiting were just excuses.

I wrote things like, “Please, I miss you.”  But I got no answer, and then Pearl told me (late in August) not to expect one because Shawn was just going to let things go.

I began to think about James again.  I wondered if I would go out with him junior year.  Getting back together with Peter was too uncertain to count on, and Shawn had now left RC as he had planned, so this was my one hope to find love again.  So I thought at the time.

I would listen to the downstairs stereo while washing dishes each afternoon.  I’d recently discovered Q101, a new alternative station from Chicago, and when the TV antenna was positioned just right, I could get it in quite well.

We had a powerful antenna with controls, to make up for losing cable, and it could be linked to the radio as well.

My mom now had an old trunk.  It had been passed down from mother to daughter for several generations, and now that Grandma C– had died, it had been passed to Mom.

It was full of mementos, pictures, trinkets, and tools from the past generations, including hat pins, straight razors, newspaper clippings, and a stereoscope with pictures.

I didn’t understand how to use the stereoscope, that you’re supposed to adjust it to get a three-dimensional image, but I did love slipping in and looking at the 1870s pictures of a relationship from courtship to marriage.

(I looked through this same trunk with Pearl and Sharon on the night before my wedding, finding amusing newspaper clippings, and my future husband, Cugan, would one day show me how to use the stereoscope.)

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: