I was attracted to a girl in my class when I was about 14. When my friends found out, they kept pushing me to ask her out.
I was finally convinced and walked up to her, but when I stood in front of her, my wits deserted me. I was a very short kid, and she towered over me. A complete lack of knowledge of what to do next left me tongue-tied.
So I did the only thing I knew – I blurted out, ‘Will you go out with me?’
And she laughed. Whatever little courage I had deserted me, and I literally ran away.
That little episode kept me awake for the next few months, I was so embarrassed!
Simon, 30, advertising
I come from a fairly conservative family, and no one had really had ‘the talk’ with me. So, the first time I had my period, I was really scared.
I couldn’t understand why I was bleeding. I had picked up the term ‘internal bleeding’ from somewhere and was convinced that I was about to die. I was so terrified that I didn’t even leave my bed.
Fortunately, at that moment, my elder sister walked in, asked me what was wrong. She then explained what menstruation was. I don’t know who had the talk with her, but my mother never did. The only thing she did was to start buying pads for me from the next month.
Kate, 35, banker
What I remember best is the crush I had on this girl in my neighbourhood. In an attempt to attract her towards me, I started listening to the same music, started wearing the male version of whatever she would wear (like a polka dotted shirt if she wore a polka dotted dress). I even started reading the same books, and I am not at all a reader. I never succeeded in getting her to even notice me, but I remember that phase lasted a while. I also remember getting teased mercilessly by my elder sister — she knew exactly why I was doing what I was doing.
Luke, 28, software engineer
I studied in a boarding school so we didn’t get any sex education until we were about 14 years old. I’ll never forget that class.
The nun who taught us science refused to take the lesson and so, another teacher was forced to do so. Before she started the class, she told us we couldn’t laugh, we couldn’t ask questions and we couldn’t mention the word sex!
All she told us was about reproductive organs and their uses. It was so boring! There was no mention of menstruation, birth control, menopause, pregnancy, miscarriages, or anything that would actually affect us girls. It didn’t help that most of us came from really conservative families that counted upon the school teaching us these things so they didn’t have to. There was no mention of sex in our biology exam either. I think they hoped we had forgotten about it.
Mary, 31, entrepreneur
I was a chubby teen and was painfully aware of that fact. I wasn’t too good at sports, I wasn’t too good at studies, and I wasn’t ‘cool’. Now when I look back, I know none of it matters, but as a teen, I would curse the fact that I was overweight. I didn’t have many friends, I wasn’t ‘in’ with the popular crowd at school and pretty girls wouldn’t talk to me. It wasn’t until I got into college that I developed a sense of self-confidence.
Susan, 29, engineer
There was a shop near my house that used to keep magazines like Maxim and Playboy. One day, I gathered up courage and went in to buy one. When the shopkeeper started asking questions, I said they were for my father. When I got back home and opened them, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I soon started using up all my pocket money in buying these magazines — the magazines were easy to stow away under my bed. Well, one day, my dad happened to pass by the shop, and the shopkeeper hailed him and said the latest magazine had just come in. And that is how my entire neighbourhood found out that I was masturbating.
Rohan, 30, photographer
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