The two great mysteries in life: are cars and women.

When we first kissed, I was glad I wasn’t standing because I couldn’t have stayed on my feet. Every part of me was involved in that kiss. Every fibre of me was devoted to that experience. Swooning had seemed like a ridiculous concept until that day.

This issue has me thinking of my first car, a metallic blue Toyota Corona,  Cara, the first girl I ever wooed successfully in that magic automobile, and why I bought fake fur seat covers. (They weren’t just for looks.)

Cara was my first girlfriend, but I bet she wouldn’t admit it if you asked her. My first real girlfriend was Jessie, but she didn’t enter the picture until a few years after Cara, and the Corona was long gone.

“Real girlfriend” means that both Jessie and I agreed that we were in a relationship; that part of that relationship included sex; that we didn’t have to be drunk or high to have the sex; and that the sex did mean that we were lezzies, or something like that.

On the other hand, Cara was the first of many supposedly straight girls who just happened to find me irresistible early on in my lesbian career. It is flattering to have a straight girl interested in you the first five times it happens.

Unless you are ridiculously lucky, your first lesbian experiences will likely be with women who do not classify themselves as homosexuals. Consider yourself fortunate if they admit to bisexuality, which at least is meeting you halfway.

Everybody is “bisexual” before they come out; it is a rite of homosexual passage—which is unfair to actual bisexuals because all of the gay-but-can’t-admit-it-yet fakers assume that since they are pretending, every other bisexual is as well. Unfortunately, some of us homos are as clueless as the straight world when it comes to seeing bisexuality as a destination rather than a rest stop.

How do I know? Because I was one of those little buttholes.

I suppose I was just mad at girls like Cara.

In any case, Cara made a lesbian out of me, not that she would want the credit for that. After I had been with her, men were erased from my menu, and thus ended my brief career as a bisexual. I think I had the exact opposite effect on her.

Cara and I met at work, at our after-school job in the mall. We were the stereotypical Breakfast Club-type couple.

She was a busty, giggly Catholic-school girl, and I was the sarcastic stoner product of a blue-collar, public-school education. She got good grades and did everything her parents wanted her to do, and I smoked cigarettes and drank sloe gin out of the bottle—classy, right? I was the bad influence, and I took my role to the point of caricature.

After closing time at the mall, we would sit in my car and smoke cigarettes (I was hoping that smoking wasn’t the only habit she would pick up from me), listen to the radio and talk about how stupid it was in suburbia and how we couldn’t wait to get away from this place. I had the feeling she liked me and definitely wanted her, but I wasn’t going to make the first move.

I didn’t know what the first move was, so I couldn’t very well make it. Consequently, we spent much time riding around in a car full of cigarette smoke and sexual tension that spring of our senior year.

It turned out that she had a better plan than I did for getting away from suburbia. She earned scholarships and applied to colleges. My big plan was to move to Los Angeles, attend a community college, get another crappy mall job, and drink blue alcoholic beverages. We both ended up achieving our goals.

News of her acceptance to a college half a state away gave our romance the boost it needed to get underway.

One May evening, after a late-night snack of Boone’s Farm and nachos consumed off my furry dashboard, she confessed that she was attracted to me. I pretended to be shocked and confused and mumbled some drivel about the importance of our friendship, just to make sure she wanted me.

But then I chickened out when I realized I might talk her out of the moment I had been living for all those months. I quickly leaned across the car so we could finally kiss.

Like I said before, it was the moment that all other moments would follow.

I wanted to do it again and again. And so we did. I wanted a lot more, but it was late, and she was straight!

Which is why we were never allowed to talk about what we were doing. When I attempted to discuss “us” she became silent or angry.

We were not gay, she told me. She liked boys, she kept reminding me. We were just close friends. Everybody had bisexual tendencies. Our philosophies differed, but I kept my mouth shut and kept getting my fix of her. I knew I would win her over in time.

By the Fourth of July, we had passed the third base, sliding into home fairly regularly in Coronaville. I had mastered where to park and what not to say, and all was rosy and slick. I knew she was leaving in September, but we had two months. I was in love, and we had plenty of time to figure things out.

By August, however, our friends and her family started asking questions about our relationship. Her dad had already told her he thought I was one of those “lessbeens.”

Cara was getting scared, and her fear ran right through me. She thought we should hang out with others and be seen more in public. What could I do? We had so little time left, but she was terrified.

So we went to boring-ass beach parties and keggers—even on a double date with two guys. (That went well.) We still had our moments, parked in some remote corner of the county, but they were shorter and sweeter.

By the end of summer, everybody was convinced that she and I had a perfectly normal friendship. I think she even convinced herself.

As Labor Day loomed, I freaked out. I wanted to go with her to college. I wouldn’t make it in suburbia without her. Couldn’t she postpone school for a year until we could go somewhere together? I pleaded. I begged. I pouted.

She said she couldn’t bear to be without me but also had to go. She promised she would write often. Most women would have taken the hint, but not me. I was in love and desperate to keep that romance alive.

I became sullen and angry when it was evident that my moping would not convince her to stay with me.

It’s hard to imagine how a woman could resist a lover who alternated between depression and rage, but Cara managed.

I wish I could tell you that she went off to school, and I just got over it, though those two things eventually happened. After she left, I didn’t hear from her for a couple of weeks, which felt like 50 years.

She sent me a stupid postcard with a picture of her college mascot on the front of it and a couple of lines about how hard school was and how busy she had been. She signed it not with “love”—but with “hugs.”

At least it was something, I thought. I convinced myself that an unannounced visit to her school would be the perfect thing to make her realize that she was miserable without me. We would be reunited, and it would feel so good.

I drove for hours and stood in front of her dorm. In the dark. For another hour. Waiting for her.

When she and her new friends finally showed up, she gave me a less-than-warm welcome. She excused herself from the group and asked me where I had parked. I pointed in the direction of my car. She began walking me briskly toward it, chastising me for embarrassing her and imploring me to get over our “friendship” to move on with my life without her.

I threw my seat covers in a trash can at the first gas stop.

Bisexuality and automobiles. Come to think of it, and I don’t know anything about either one.