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Dear Dirty Di,
I met a gorgeous guy named Andrew at the arcade.  He was smiling at me.  I gave him my number, and he called me three times today.  He is fifteen, and he dresses preppy.  He has a deep voice, and I’m going out on a date with him tomorrow.  We are meeting at the mall.  When I see him, I’m going to give him a kiss.  I’m not going to be shy.  I’m going to put my arms around him.  I’m going to be very forward.  I’ll grab him by the collar and give him a kiss!  I can’t wait!  I’m so excited.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
P.S. We’re meeting at the mall at noon, and then we are going to the movies at 2:00 to see Sea of Love, which happens to be a movie with a lot of sex.  I better get a hickey!  He is soooo cute.
Andrew came over today, literally.  No one was home.  We were in my room, and he was kissing me really hard.  Then we got to second and sloppy second.  Then I went farther than I ever went before.  I gave him a handjob, and he gave me one, too.  What I mean is, he fingered me.  That’s not nearly the bad part!  Then he ate me out!  Then he wanted me to give him a blowjob.  I said no!  Then he tried to FUCK me!  I said, and I quote, "No fucking way."  Then while I was giving him a handjob, he came all over me!  My neck and my chest and my chin and my hair.  It was sooooo disgusting!!  It was getting flung across my body!  Ewww!  Anyway, then we went downstairs to the "new room."  We kissed some more.  I got a few more hickeys, and then I walked him to the bus!  When I got home, I was doing my homework, then the doorbell rang.  It was Andy.  Turns out the bus didn’t accept bills, so he called for a cab.  While we were waiting, he was kissing me.  Then he undid my pants, fingered me again, was about to eat me out, when the doorbell rang.  It was the cab driver.  We kissed long and hard, and he grabbed a tit.  He said he loved me, and then he left.  It was so vile.  I called him up later and told him I’d never done that before and thought we were going too fast.  He agreed and said that he wanted to see me on Friday night.  We are going to Laces Roller Rink.  I can’t wait!  I got Billy Joel tickets! 
Love always,
Stephanie (The Experienced)

–October 1989, Age 14

I’m writing my second book, MOOSE, which means I’ve been spending a lot of time digging through camp letters and diary entries.  It’s fun combing through it all, wondering what I’ll use, what this says about that time in my life.  People seem to be amazed that I’ve kept it all.  I only wish I still had all the letters I wrote and mailed to friends back then, from camp.  I only have their letters, written to me, in response to what I’d sent them.  It’s why people shouldn’t bother writing letters.  Someone else ends up with a record of your life.   

I realize the things I wanted then, at twelve years old (that’s when the entries start), aren’t that different from what I want now.  The basic needs are the same, wanting to be liked. 



  1. I loved that you signed your diary, "Love always, Stephanie (The Experienced)"…that was priceless. Strangely though, I felt like I was snooping through my older sisters diary, in the back of my mind I knew I shouldn't be reading it, but I couldn't help myself, I couldn't stop. And ps. I'm very much jealous you had Billy Joel tickets at 12, I'm 25 and still would kill to see Billy Joel.

  2. I loved this. After a weekend filled with my husband and mostly our friends of the male persuasion, it was refreshing to read something so girly. Exactly what I needed. I too love reading my old diaries…filled with hope, wonder and even my old insecurities. It's funny to remember old times that sometimes get buried far back in my mind. To remember experiencing the world through innocent eyes, seeing and doing things for the first time. And to see how far I've come yet how much that little girl still lives somewhere deep inside of me.

    Great post.

  3. I thought I was almost reading my own diary of a day back then. The same goofiness. Hey…for the person who said your writing was prententious, this oughtta change their mind!! Can't wait for Moose. I'm still enjoying reading Straight Up and Dirty. Can't imagine how you must see Austin vs the experiences you had in the Hamptons.

  4. OMG!! I went to Laces every Friday night when I was in high school. It was first an ice skating rink, then Laces, and now it's an ice skating rink again. Thanks for bringing back some great memories! :o)

  5. I never kept diaries. Not pre-college. I tried once. And it wasn't pretty. I'd never say this on my own blog…because too many family members read it and I'm not ready to go there yet. But my father (not Pa) was the male version of the mother from Virgin Suicides…only he was only half-religious. And I wasn't allowed to keep a diary unless I let him read it. Because diaries were secrets and only whores kept secrets (His words. Not mine.) Wasn't allowed to have a phone (he couldnt hear the entire conversation)or read books about teenage girls and their guys, or visit friends or family or attend any social events AT ALL for this very reason. I kept it all hid from everyone except one close friend and used the 'i have to study' line to get around just about everything. I did what I could at school (talk, read, kiss) and pretended I had 'a test' to get out of doing anything outside those hours. So people wouldn't know. And I never kept a diary. Because I didn't feel like sitting down every evening to let the old man go through it.

    I have my own memoir. When I'm brave enough. I may write it. Right now I'm not. Right now I'm just waiting on yours. Go Moose.

  6. People always seem surprised that I have all the journals and letters to and from friends that I have kept since I was 12. I guess it's just not something that very many people do! Good luck writing your new book. I wish I had the staying power to write anything longer than a blog entry!

  7. Be thankful you have those diaries/journals! The entire first 14 years of my life was stolen when my family moved from Colorado to another state. I put everything important to me in one box — my journals, friends' letters, yearbooks, oh and stupidly my nanny's beautiful heirloom ruby ring. Gone forever. Just a comment on the fingering — I remember being fingered at the same age and thinking it was awful and not the least bit pleasurable.

  8. I just threw away all of my old middle-school journals a few months ago. Everything I wrote embarassed ME and made me cringe, so I had a moment of let's-start-fresh. Reading this makes me wish I kept them. :)

  9. Katie, that's funny. That's the exact reason I've never been able to keep a diary. I always thought diaries were such a neat idea, always wanted to be the type of girl who wrote in one every night…and then, after a few entries, I'd go back and read what I'd written. And be so embarrased that I'd rip the pages out and throw them away.

  10. I never kept a diary. High school was a nightmare for me. To this day if I think about it I still get angry. I hated every minute of it. Private school, uniforms, and the rich popular kids. I hated them. Now I wonder if their lives are as good as mine. I doubt it. Shallow bastards. I worried myself sick over my daughter when she was in high school. Fortunately she made great friends and they still keep in touch. Can't wait for MOOSE. Keep writin'

  11. For Stephanie and anybody else who loves to relive the hilarious and often embarrassing diaries of our youth, I highly recommend attending a show of Get Mortified. It runs in California and New York — maybe other places. It consists of actual people standing up on a stage reading from their real diaries. For the hour and a half I was there, I was crying with hysterical laughter and empathy. Google it and see where they are playing. Who knows…maybe Stephanie or her readers would make a great addition to the show (they have auditions).

  12. Hi Stephanie-
    I picked up "Straight Up and Dirty" on a complete whim a few weeks ago, and I loved every line of it. I took it to Chicago with me while I was visiting my boyfriend, and read to him while he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth and several other times. I couldn't put it down; I had to know what happened to you and what you thought! I finally came to your site and was giddy that I could actually post something to you and read more. Your book helped me realize there are people out there like me, going through different ordeals, and learning to like life and themselves. It actually made me feel something. Anyway, I'm a huge fan now and anticipate your next book.

  13. I can emphathise with you at that age. I was the tallest girl in the school, freckled, wasn't allowed to shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows and had braces on my teeth (long long before they become trendy!) I had one friend and spent my school breaks in the library. What I did do tho was always be the funny one, always the witty one and always the one with answers to everyone else's problems. Make everyone else feel better. At 14 I was called Aunty Carol. I'm so much older now and have grown into myself. i still care about what people think, but mostly I hope its good, what they think!

  14. Ok a) i kept diaries as well from when I was 12 years old discussing my elementary school crush as well as delving into my first freshman year dance at Chaminade (boys school in long isle).
    b) i almost threw up my breakfast at how pornographic this was- at 14? My friends and I were just learning about boys and who-likes-who, and kissy-kissy and perhaps- 'awww the penis, yeah that's what this did…' Gosh I was still playing with barbies at this age I think! I mean, to go to fat camp as an innocent young'un and then have this stuff going on at home- whoa…
    Gross Stephanie!

  15. I think that's so cool that you have saved your childhood diaries. It must bring back so many memories to look at them…

    I can't wait for your next book- when do you anticipate it coming out?

  16. Hey, at 14 right before hitting the americana or playing teacher, my friends and i would jokingly play barbies, and I knew plenty of other women I've met now at this older age who used to play with them at that age.
    I prefer my daughter doing that rather than have a guy experimenting on her sexually before lacing up his roller skates to skate for the next long island hussie.
    I'm not a prude I'm just saying, for 14, that was quite racy– I agree with t.

  17. This is pretty much what me and all my friends were up to at 14 as well.
    Different strokes for different folks people (s'cuse the pun). Some people mature faster than others. Aren't y'all just being a little judgemental?
    Who the hell cares whether Stephanie was playing with Barbies or penises at 14 – she wasn't hurting anyone, let it be.

  18. When I was 15, I lost my cherry.
    I didnt have sex again until I was 17 and had a serious bf.

    I told my mom the day after I lost my cherry that it was gone, baby!

    Maybe some girls were still playing Barbies at 14, but I know all I had on my mind at that age was boys, boys, boys.

  19. fine Stephanie wasn't hurting anyone but it was kind of weird for me to read that she was doing all this stuff at 14. I understand that yes, girls think of only boys and lord knows it's vice versa too– at that age. But it was still weird to read.
    I thought of boys, boys, boys, but I also loved my girlfriends and playing cash register/ store with them, listening to Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, and all that crap.

  20. Stephanie-first of all-did it feel weird for it to be 75 degrees on thanksgiving? Just curious. Secondly, I can't believe you could be so descriptive at 14-sure, I also was "experienced" at 14, not to your level, but enough to get the boys I wanted. I could never put into words the experiences like you did, too shy,even for a diary. I was the "good girl" to those who didn't know any better. Thanks for making me think of that first real kiss.

  21. Debs, Who's to say that Stephanie wasn't listening to Tiffany sing "I think we're alone now, there doesn't seem to be anyone a-rou-ound" while she was fooling around with Andy? :)

    I really think it's where we grew up – in 9th grade I remember a discussion in my Earth Science class about who was no longer a virgin in our grade. In 10th grade, it was no big deal.

    But in 10th grade, everyone DID know the one and only girl who still wore velcro sneakers, still wore an undershirt with a little lace and a bow instead of a bra, still liked playing with dolls, and still didn't want to sit next to boys. She was abnormally immature for the Long Island girls around her.

    Isn't it a little silly to be judging someone for something they did 15+ years ago, anyway? It's not like she can …. stop? She did what she wanted, she stopped when she wanted to, she was in total control of her sexuality. Isn't that the definition of feminism?

  22. O.k., I'm going to chime in too. What's right or what's wrong with each person's right to develop emotionally or sexually is one thing. I was NO angel at 14 by far, but I shudder to think of my own children giving or receiving hand-jobs or getting "ate out" at that age.

    Good lord Steph, what did your parents do to make you think that was an acceptable way of getting someone to like you or gain approval at that age?

    My mother always told me, "Be nice to the nerdy kids because they are going to be your boss one day." And it's true, all the nerdy kids I went to high school with, no matter how teased they were, are FAR more successful and happier than what happened to the popular kids. Go to a 20 year high school reunion, it'll open your eyes for sure.

  23. Green –
    Your comment about Stephanie's sexual experimentation as a 14 y.o. being "the definition of feminism" made me choke and reminded me of a wonderful piece in The Onion a few years ago entitled, "Women Now Empowered By Everything a Woman Does."

    Stephanie herself doesn't describe her early sexual experiences as the embodiment of feminism. Indeed, she describes it as an attempt to get validation from boys: "It was all about how I looked, and who was a better judge of that than boys? If boys wanted me, it was the ultimate validation." To me, that sounds like a young girl with self-esteem issues struggling to find acceptance.

  24. I kept notes (Notes! Notes that had been stuffed in my locker slats!) and letters (From friends, from college boyfriends–eek) for years, but then stupidly got rid of them a few years ago. Now I wish I hadn't. I think the funniest thing in going back over all that stuff is when I've talked to the friends about them and how we can't remember what the hell we were talking about/who we were upset about a decade later. Ah, time.

  25. No judgement, really. It just caught me off-guard. I love Stephanie's stories!

    Hey I didn't have to take Earth Science- my school was like anti-it. Bio in Freshman/ Chem in Soph/ Physics in Junior- with Regents for all. Senior yr you didn't have to take science.
    Rock on Tiffany!

  26. I got rid of all of my early journals. I kind of wish I hadn't because I am often surprised by my writing and thought process even as an 18 year old, or a 21 year old.

    I know when I was in junior high I always thought girls who had 'boyfriends' were ridiculous. They would 'go out' at school, but never see each other any where else. I found their attempts at maturity were, ultimately, immature.

    I knew at a very young age everything there was to know about sex thanks to my sister, who is ironically named Di. She told me that she lost her virginity at 15, and because of that, and every story she told me, I was really in no hurry. Everyone around me wanted to grow up so fast. I just wanted to take my time.

  27. You call your diary "Dirty Di". Is this because you had a regular diary and then another diary strictly about your sexcapades?

  28. i find it a little sad how some are calling sexual experimentation at this young age "maturing early" while i would argue it's usually the immature girls trying to fit in with what they think is cool or to gain approval from a boy. "independence was never the focus"

  29. Hey there. wonderful blog. I never kept diaries then. I dont really keep religiously dated ones now, I write when I can. I have got the habit of writing at least once a week, though it can be more or less. However, the last How I still sometimes feel, like I have it all wrong, but I am still single anyway. I am comfortable with myself, I have faith in myself, I look after myself, and yet, I still end up making the same mistakes and yet thinking somehow they are different. I dont know. I tell myself not to analyse too much, not to hope too much too quick, never works….

  30. I had cutesy locking diaries until I was 14. I then purchased a "Nothing Book" — the first ever blank journal sold in bookstores (yeah, I took the 3:45 dinosaur downtown to buy it). From age 14 until my early twenties, I wrote a minimum of once a week, usually more.

    I'm almost 45 and I still have those 3 volumes. I've come close to burning them more than once, but I never have. I've hidden them from my parents, my first husband and now my teenage daughter. The current and final husband knows they exist but would never consider looking for them. I'm glad they're still there, and I've considered mining them for material many times, but I can't do it yet. Maybe when the kid's out of the house. . .

    I concur with those who've said SK was not choosing to explore sex on her terms but that she was using sex for validation. If an anatomically correct Ken doll existed, perhaps Barbie could have been her proxy. (Is Ken still a eunuch?)

  31. I highly doubt Stephanie posted this in order to be an advocate for sexual experimentation at a young age. Someone earlier said that people experience things at different ages and this is the truth. Some kids lose their virginity at 14 because they think they are ready while others wait until college or beyond. Whose to say what's the right age to start experimenting; it's a personal choice. You don't have to agree with it happening younger and younger, but it's what's happening out there.

    Why judge so harshly because Stephanie chose to express herself in this way at 14? What can she do about it now? Apologize for it? Why should she? She openly explains in previous posts and even this one that she was immature and insecure during her teenage years, never really knowing where she fit in. Maybe she went about it the wrong way in some people's minds, but isn't that what growing up is all about? Making mistakes, trying new things, learning what's right and wrong by our own means. We took what our parents taught us and then made our own decisions based on what we could handle. Some decisions were good, others were poor. But we learned, we grew a little, and we moved on.

    Maybe what Stephanie did doesn't define maturity, but who at 14 really does fit that mold?

    Goodness people, learn to relax a little and take it for what it's worth. If Stephanie was still giving hand jobs in return for acceptance then I would be worried….

  32. Ok, I'm about to admit something that I've never told any of my friends. Here goes. I lost my virginity when I was 14. I had a boyfriend for 2 yrs. He was my first love. We waited until we were ready. We weren't just experimenting. We weren't immature. We didn't do it to prove anything to anyone b/c no one knew. I wasn't a slut, and it wasn't an attempt to validate my self esteem. We did it b/c we really loved each other. Yes, at 14, we really did. But, I knew back then that none of my 14 yr old friends would understand, so I never told them. Thankfully, that old boyfriend remains one of my closest friends today, 38 yrs later, so we sometimes joke about how "advanced" we were, and no one even had a clue. Yes, we were young, but we were in love, and we did what we were both ready to do. No regrets; only great memories.

  33. I lost my virginity at 14 and I didn't even know! I had two beers and I thought it was his finger (ha ha, and he was about 20 years old, the (little) jerk). Till he told my best friend — it was highly, highly traumatic. Had to wait two weeks to see if I'd got pregnant. My poor dad cried.

  34. Carol, I had to comment on what you wrote. It reminded me of a story one of my good friends loves to tell.
    She was with a guy in college and hey were going at it. She stopped midway to say she didn't want to "do it." Then he said, "Isn't it a little late for that?" I told her not to count him on her list. I can't even write about this without laughing.
    Talk about not being well endowed!

  35. This post, along with the depression-themed posts from many months ago explain why you have so many issues. See a therapist or get on some meds, for Pete's sake !!! I'm done reading this so-called-blog. …Moving on…

  36. I have adolescent letters from friends. But you couldn't pay me a million dollars to relive (or rewrite) my adolescence. Blech!

  37. I love your honesty. How you show it all. We all had thoughts like that when we were young and immature. Thank you for showing your growth. It is a building block. Where else can we find an example of what really goes on in the head of a 14 year old then when we're lucky enough to be exposed to her diary?

  38. Oops, major typo. I was so "uptight" about finally sharing my big secret, that I said it was 38 yrs ago when it was really 28 yrs ago. Nice to age myself by 10 yrs. The age of 14 seems so long ago as it is. I didn't have to add 10 yrs to that! Maybe I wasn't ready to share after all. Oh well. Live and learn…

  39. I lived on another continent (Africa) when I was 14. There was a small community of Americans. If any girl even got to as much as "second base," with anyone, the world would know about it. Actually, the only guys trying anything with these 13 & 14 year old girls were, unbelievably, two teachers! They both got caught and sent home. But when I got back to the 'States myself, I went to a large high school and it was widely known that almost all the single science teachers (in their early '20s) dated students. In those days, everyone knew and no one cared… my how times have changed! (Aside. Recently I read that one of those same teachers was still at it 20 some years later and got busted this time and sent to prison, wow.)

    However, reading that Stephanie gave handjobs and was about to receive oral sex at such a young age is somewhat disturbing. I agree with some of the posters above…it seems far too young.

    I kept religious diaries too from age 8-24 but I can't imagine publishing them! (Well, maybe I would if the price were right..;) )

  40. I didn't even have my first french kiss until I was 14. I'm not sure I knew what a hand job was at that age…and I'm thankful for that as an adult. This stuff scares the shit out of me when I think about having kids.

  41. Good old times … I had my first serious boyfriend – my first love – when I was fifteen. We took a lot of time for all these experiences we`ve made. I remember holding hands, kisses, huckeys and all those things that people do when they are in love. We`ve been together for three years and it was a wonderful time. I kept all his postcards and letters and whenever I remember the time that we had it brings a smile to my face. And now, 18 years later and both married, we are still in contact. And there will always be a place in my heart for these memories.

  42. After reading some of the previous comments, I feel inclined to preface my own: Stephanie, this is in no way a judgment on you or your experiences. That said, I really hope that if I have a daughter someday, she's able to move a little slower. (I am, however, glad you felt able to say no to the blowjob, as I know that 14 is a tricky age self-esteem-wise and "No" isn't always an easy word.) I'm only 24 and I'm already horrified by stories about twelve-year-olds giving head and having sex. It makes me terrified to have children of my own.

  43. Okay, people, not to be the grammar police or anything, but I highly doubt any of you kept "religious diaries." That is, unless you were writing about Jesus or Mohammed or whomever along with your teenage sexcapades! (Somehow, I doubt it.) What you all mean is that you kept diaries religiously. Note the adverb. I enjoyed the irony, though.

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