I lost my virginity to a greasy hippie in an extra-long dorm room bed that uncomfortably sleeps one.

Regret isn’t strong enough of a word. An entire thesaurus entry for regret isn’t strong enough. Let’s just say it was an awful decision. I knew it at the time, but the v-card, as my friends referred to it, hung over me like a sad cloud of post-adolescent angst.

I feel like I got suckered into it. My self esteem issues and my bland, unfulfilled past had somehow conspired to get me in bed with Greg Laurence. It wasn’t the bed that made the experience so uncomfortable. He laid himself on top of me, and there was the stabbing realization that this was a stupid, idiotic mistake.

But I wasn’t stupid. I had left high school without the heavy acne and braces I had been cursed by going into it. I had kissed a few boys along the way, and let a few of them feel me up. I was laughably inexperienced. But I wasn’t stupid.

In high school, there had never been a serious boyfriend in the picture. I took a friend to the prom. I pined after Danny, the quiet guy who played guitar in the Symphonic Band. He was such a good musician that the guys from the community college hung out with him to jam. I played the flute. No one ever had a crush on any of the girls in the woodwinds. I kissed Kevin and later Graham. I kissed a handful of Steves in a handful of places. But I continued to nurse an unrequited crush on Danny, who was too busy with his music to pay attention to the pasty girl with the flute. None of the other boys were worth giving it up for. None of the Steves were good enough kissers.

I spent the summer after graduation drinking light beer and making out with my fellow camp counselors. I gained a reputation as a tease, which I shrugged off. I wasn’t going to give anything up on the floor of a moldy bunk house. I was classy. I would wait until I was shitfaced in a dorm room.

I arrived at college determined to find a boyfriend. I wanted romance more than I wanted sex, but I naively supposed one would follow the other.

My new friends were far more experienced than I. They hailed from Los Angeles, Chicago and Westchester, and were keenly aware of their own sexuality. Their clothes were stylish, their skin was clear and their hair was glossy. They made me feel childish and small. I bought a hair-straightening iron and an order of Proactiv Solution. I watched them effortlessly flirt with the upperclassmen; their laughter was easy and their movements graceful. I had a jarring giggle and the body language of a malnourished sea lion.

But Greg Laurence told me I was beautiful. I met him at freshman orientation, and he flirted with me just enough to pique my interest. He was a senior, double majoring in psychology and neuroscience, and he was the class advisor in my freshman writing course. He had what I considered brilliant taste in music, and invited me to a concert of the last two surviving members of the Who. An older guy—with a car—was paying attention to me!! I was thrilled.

My friends were unimpressed. They were hip, fashionable women and couldn’t understand why anyone would have a crush on a dirty Phish-head from New Jersey. They had all lost their v-cards in high school, and I imagined them swiping a subway card at a turnstile in their posh cafeterias. They said that he looked like a dirty snow pigeon; I blew off their comments with an insecure chuckle.

He wasn’t Danny, I admitted to myself, but he was cute in an easy, tie-dyed sort of way. He went to a lot of local concerts and lived in the best quad on campus, which was restricted to seniors. He drove a used Volvo and smoked good pot. When he asked if he could call me his girlfriend a month later, my knees buckled with happiness.

He was a nice boyfriend. He held my hair back, the very first time I threw up from drinking. He met my parents and spoke politely about classes and future plans. He drove me to the doctor once. He introduced me to his cool senior friends.

So when he asked me to skip class and smoke pot with him, I did. When he showed me how to give him a hand job, I smiled. When he asked if I would suck his dick, I acquiesced. I didn’t like the taste of his cock in my mouth, but I got drunk and smoked enough pot to say yes to just about anything. So I slept with him. I lost my virginity to a dirty Phish-head from New Jersey.

There were no feelings involved, except mild marijuana-induced anxiety. There was no panic, either. I had no hymen to break, and it wasn’t painful. It was anticlimactic, both emotionally and physically: I didn’t climax. I thought maybe I would. I thought maybe I would bleed. But nothing happened. My V was set free, and nothing changed. I still had mild acne and dull hair. I still had a bad sense of style and friends who were maybe a little too cool for me.

Greg dumped me a few weeks later. I never felt so stupid in my life.

I felt stupid for losing it to Greg Laurence mostly because I would have preferred to lose it to Danny. And I suppose that’s the real underlying cause of my regret. I should have acted sooner. Sex wasn’t a big deal, but Danny was. I should have put down my flute and marched over to the cute guitar player in the back of the Symphonic Band when I had the chance.

Instead, I lost my virginity to a dirty snow pigeon.