Posted by: donaldgallinger | May 27, 2008

She Sharpened a Pencil; I Hit Puberty

Do you remember the first time you noticed a member of the opposite sex being a member of the opposite sex?

I was about twelve or thirteen. A girl I had known for years walked across the room to sharpen her pencil. I watched her hand as it moved on the sharpener; her body made a slight curtsey, a cute little dip in the waist each time her hand came up, and then down. While I watched her, I noticed, for the first time, the shape of her behind–it was so different now. Her behind seemed to have sprung from a new and glamorous organism. It had a jazzy personality, a strange and alluring mystery about it. Her chest, too, now belonged to another human being. It pressed itself against the fabric of her sweater. The fabric curved, breathed, gently sighed.

I never saw that girl in the same way ever again. Then again, I never saw myself in the same way either.

Donald Gallinger is author of the novel The Master Planets.



  1. When I was in seventh grade, I was an altar boy, and one week, a friend and I were assigned to serve at morning Mass at Ravenhill, a nearby girls’ boarding school. This was in the days when girls could not serve at the altar. The first morning we were serving, as we brought the wine and water to the altar during the offertory, we were facing toward a doorway. A girl walked past the doorway, and my friend Bob and I both tracked her movement in unison with our heads. For years afterward, we would refer to “the Ravenhill moment.” I think this was our simultaneous awakening.

  2. Interesting blog post.

    I can’t say as I remember noticing a member of the opposite sex in that way, though I do vividly remember the first time I noticed a male in that way…

    It was in the Spring of my fifth grade year of primary school. He and I were in the same class and often walked home together from school. Sometimes we would go to his house, other times we’d go to my house. We’d help eachother with homework, ride our bicycles, or play whiffle ball with other friends.

    This particular day we went to my house, then went up to my room so I could get changed. He asked if he could borrow a t-shirt to change into, then immediately took off his shirt in anticipation of a “yes,” “sure,” or “ok” answer from me. I said, “sure”. Though before the word “sure” came out of my mouth was when it happened. He reached hand-over-hand, crossing his arms as he grabbed the bottom of his shirt. It seemed like minutes went by as he lifted the shirt to reveal his abs tightened into a six-pack, then twisting his body and leaning forward to pull the shirt over his head. His pecs, curving so gracefully around his nipples. His shoulders, rounded and cut–he seemed so strong to me. I noticed every curve of his body, the texture of his skin, and the immense beauty there within. The shirt cleared his head and his hair bounced back down onto his head as he turned to look at me. As his eyes met mine, I became instantly erect.

    It was the first time I had “that” feeling, though I didn’t know what it meant until much later.

  3. Man, puberty is very different for girls. Well, it was for me, anyway….

  4. Well, for me it was slow-dancing with my friend Michael, age 13, first school dance. “Oh my,” I thought…”this is a very very good thing.”

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