All the girls in my class got chastity belts for Christmas except me. Beautiful leather belts that curved up to hug their hips from the waistbands of their jeans. There were charms hooked onto the straps of their belts—little rhinestone hearts, tiny silver locks with even tinier keys, enamel-coated soccer ball and field hockey sticks—and they sparkled in their belt loops when they walked.
That year everyone’s favorite song was Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up.” Couples gave each other promise rings instead of hickies, and teachers never had to remind kids to “leave a space between your bathing suit place” during slow dances in the cafeteria.
That year girls bragged at the bathroom mirror about how many boys they hadn’t kissed. No one cared that I’d never kissed anyone—not even a girlfriend or a cousin for practice.
You don’t get it, Missy Christensen said, rolling her eyes at me in the reflection. It’s not the kissing that’s important. It’s the stopping.
Meghan Phillips is the fiction editor for Third Point Press and an associate editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. Most recently, she’s had stories at Barrelhouse online, PaperDarts, and Hobart.