PUNK: Lonesome American Memoirs

4: Punk Girls

It was the middle of the night, Gene Obscene had some blow, and I had a few rigs. We’d been up for a few days, but Diana’s parents were out of town, and everyone was up for it. We piled into a few cars and drove up into the Berkeley hills to what looked like a very nice house.

At first we sprawled around on the living room floor and listened to Siouxsie and the Banshees new album ‘Kaleidoscope’ over and over on the stereo. It was a totally different sound. We were into it.

Then Gene broke out the powder, someone had some MDA, so we mixed some of it, and shot it. It was lovely. Me and six punk girls, high on MDA and cocaine in a very nice house.

Trouble is, no one wanted anything to do with me. Fact is, the only people there I hadn’t slept with already were Gene (who I assumed was gay) and Diana, our host. So I pouted in the corner and listened to Siouxsie sing about Christine. I hadn’t known anyone called Christine, but it sounded romantic, hollow, and painful.

After the drugs wore off, people just kinda passed out where they were. Gene in the armchair, Maude and her best friend on the couch, Carol and Stacy on the floor. Diana was still floating around the house somewhere, so I got up and decided to look for her. I was getting sick of the record playing over and over, and the warm, safe feeling I’d had all night was starting to fade.

I looked in the huge kitchen, and out the french doors into the darkness of the backyard. I don’t know why, but there was no urge to smash anything, or even to mock this place. That was totally my style, to poke fun at (or try to humiliate) anyone who seemed to have it pretty good. Nice things got smashed, stolen or alienated. But we all liked Diana, and we all loved her house.

I walked up the stairs and looked around. I went into the bedrooms, and checked out the bathroom cabinets. Finally I walked into the study. It was dark apart from some unseen outside light source, and I found Diana’s silhouette stretched across the window. I could see her outline through the long t-shirt she was wearing. I’d never thought of her like that before… but I was now.

I walked into the room, and Diana laughed a little, and said hello. I didn’t say anything. I just reached out and grabbed her. We made out for a long time. And she pushed me back onto the couch and pulled my jeans down, climbed on top of me and slipped me inside of her.

Much as I’d like to go on, I didn’t. I just kind of blew it. If took her a little while to figure it out, but once she did, she got up, and kissed me on the cheek, saying only “Baby one of us just isn’t hopping.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant. I was only fourteen, and hadn’t had too much experience. I really preferred kissing and touching. I liked to be touched and held more than anything else. Outside of speed-induced erections, I’d never really mounted anyone and pounded the shit out of them. It just wasn’t my style. So when approached directly, I responded directly. But there was supposed to be more. Some kind of intimacy. Wasn’t there?

Of course I didn’t say any of that. I just lay there looking at Diana as she pulled up her pants and said “It’s probably me.”

That’s not a great example of my lovemaking experiences, but it is a very good example of punk rock love, and punk rock self esteem. There is a reason why a young person rejects the world. Love is for dumb-asses. Sex is for faggots and ass-holes. Just like Rock music was for pot-headed morons, and perverted little long hairs. If you wanted to see my dick, I would just pull it out and show you. You could buy me, bribe me, tease me, taunt me, and you could even tell everyone about it. You could fall in love with me, follow me around for weeks on end, take me back to your house to live with your parents, but I couldn’t love you.

I lost my virginity to Gidget Destroyer in nineteen seventy-eight. I was a little kid, and she was really nice to me. She fed me and let me take a shower at her apartment. We slept in her bed and I just rubbed her. She was wearing this kinda trendy olive green jumpsuit, and I unzipped it and explored her. She let me. We didn’t talk about it. The next day she was gone when I woke up, so I just left and never saw her again.

Two nights later I met a girl names Penny, she threw up on me and said, “don’t hold back” about three seconds after I was inside of her. I had no idea what she meant, and it ruined me sexually for years. I followed Tamyara around for about three weeks until she finally took me to a public hot tub place where we made it. I liked doing it in a hot tub; I seemed to have more control. And it was light, so I could see her naked. She was very sweet. I followed her around for another week or so when she finally said, “Look, just fuck off ok?” so I did. I was crazy in love with Cheryl. I followed her and her boyfriend Frankie around wherever they went. I couldn’t talk when she was near me. I just kinda stood there listening to my heart beating.

I was on the roof of KPFA during an early broadcast of Maximum Rock’n’Roll and this blonde haired punk goddess form Auburn just threw me down on the roof and pulled my pants off.

I stared at girls. I was haunted by them. The ones that took me could have me. But the ones I really liked never even said hello. I would make friends with girls. But then we would always have sex, and then stop talking to each other. Then they would be angry with me. It was as if there was something I should have known, but didn’t.

I never asked for people’s phone numbers. They would start talking to me at the bar, or on the street, and somehow I would end up going home with them, living there for a night, a week, sometimes a month. Eventually a parent, or a roommate would ask me to leave, and so I would leave.

I used to take a monthly bath at the UC Berkeley dorm where Alissa W. lived. She and her roommate Maggie liked me, and let me come up there and shower, wash my clothes, and sleep for a day or two. One night Alissa put on Joy Division’s new album ‘Closer’ and we listened to side one over and over while we twilighted. It was the most wonderful music I’d ever heard. The next morning I woke up before they did, and sat up. The tape had stopped, and sunlight streamed in across the room. Maggie, definitely not a punk rocker, was laying there arms akimbo, her breasts in the open air. I just sat there for a long time and watched her breathe. She was beautiful. I’d never seen breasts in daylight before.

I rarely had sex with the same person twice. Often I would meet girls from places like Santa Cruz, San Diego, Seattle, New York, Minnesota, wherever… They would come to Berkeley to check it out and find me, the only Punk in town, standing on the street corner waiting for them.

The question I never asked, or ever actually thought to ask was directly related to the m?ɬ�tier of punk itself. I loved giving the finger to people who were still talking about the nineteen sixties, I looked up to nihilists, drug addicts and politicos, but the one thing I had in common with the pant-suit wearing, Yes digging mainstream was the idea that sex was a vehicle of commerce and communication. I never asked anyone about their sex life. I never questioned my own. Somehow sex was absolved of all critique, unless you got caught sleeping with a straight person, or even worse, a trendie.

Still, while everyone I knew stood up against the police, capitalism, hippies, love boat, feathered hair, and all things mainstream American, the only radical or protest oriented action our punk rock sex lives took on was fulfilling the Marxist concepts of indecency, debauchery, and “sin” being a device which would hasten the fall of capitalism. And Marx himself admitted that probably wasn’t true.

I spent the entire night kissing a woman from Oakland in the Sproul Plaza. When we started kissing, eyes closed, it was dark. When we opened our eyes the sun had come up. I reached into her leather pants and discovered she wasn’t wearing any underwear. That gave me the creeps. I didn’t live anywhere, and I was wearing underwear. I thought everyone wore underwear. I made fun of her, and she left.

I slept with my friends mothers and sisters, occasionally fathers and brothers too, I sold myself for money, and eventually drugs, but I longed for girls that wore plaid skirts with knee high sock, tennis outfits, pretty hair and clean clothes. I loved girls my own age that didn’t like me. Girls who wouldn’t even look at me.

I didn’t have girlfriends. I just fell in with people, and split when it got weird. I didn’t have any language at all to explain myself. But neither did they, so there didn’t ever seem to be anything to say really.

I spent hours making myself as unappealing to the average person as possible. And yet, it seemed that what I really wanted was for someone to give a shit enough to reach through that exterior and grab my heart. Like the way I used drugs, I was expecting something completely external, something I openly criticized and mocked, to repair me somehow. To do what every after school special watching, Wheaties eating, athletic teenager in America was hoping would happen. Safety pins and all.

Finally I met Kris. We hung out. We took Valium, drank codeine, whiskey, and slept in the same bed. We didn’t talk much, or really do much. We just got loaded and walked around. And after a while we’d go back to her house and sleep it off. One night on a bottle of her father’s whiskey we got way too drunk. I woke up dry and miserable in the middle of the night. I looked around the room and just sat there for a while. Kris was asleep next to me. I just started to rub her softly. Soon I took both of our clothes off, and she seemed to wake up. I caressed her for hours, and kissed her from head to toe. I made love to her. I was in love with her. It was fantastic.

In the morning we took some pills, ate some toast and sat there for a while looking at each other.

“What?” she kept saying.

“Nothing.” I kept saying.

I followed her around for a day or two until I finally just came out and said it.

“Look, I love you. I wanna be with you. Ok?”

She didn’t say anything. She ditched me. She just got up, said she was going to the bathroom, and never came back.

I ran into her a couple days later, and stuck it to her.

“You really hurt me.” I said.

“I did?” She said.


“Well, I just didn’t want to be your girlfriend.”

“You could’ve fuckin’ said so.”

“I just did.”

Siouxsie and the Banshees ‘Christine’


Table of contents
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24
Musicology, Errata