I’ve never had a one night stand because I am convinced, with every fiber of my being, that had I done so, my choice of coup d’un soir would, undoubtedly, have been a serial killer at the peak of his career. I shall explain, dear reader, that my consuming fear stems from a non-Catholic yet equally guilt bearing upbringing. What I’m saying is, I blame my mother. Naturally.

“We should talk about the birds and the bees”, my mother shyly muttered to me one day as I watched Tom chase Jerry, his head bouncing violently off a sallow colored wall in his blind pursuit. I was eleven years old and had already developed an insatiable appetite for self pleasure. There wasn’t a couch cushion or a teddy bear safe from my lecherous advances. Having no idea what she meant, I nodded, noncommittally, my eyes still glued to the television. “Sex”, she began, not knowing where to lead, “should only be done between two people who are in love…and married”, she added the last bit with a flurry of concern. She waited to see if her speech had made an impression on me. I, being of sound mind, refused to make eye contact with her, lest she see my crimson colored cheeks. I merely nodded again. Unfortunately, this was not the last cringe worthy encounter I were to have with her.

My mother, apparently raised by monks, had developed a diehard belief that sex, pre-marriage, was the cause of all things dire in the world. She would point to her friends unable to find husbands and mumble, nonsensically, about “giving the milk away for free”. She was the type of hovering mother, who would eavesdrop on conversations, read diaries and exclaim tirades of disapproval whenever teenagers kissed in public. I was expected to cover my eyes, mid-movie, if the actors engaged in anything more salacious than hand-holding. Needless to say, my developing mind was saturated with ill-founded notions of sexual paranoia. High school health class further agitated this paranoid state by showing us high resolution photographs of genitalia dripping with chlamydia and pockmarked with ghonorreah. I swore my right hand would remain my only lover for as long as I lived.

Society has comfortably labeled teenage boys as ‘sex crazed’, but fails to include the lascivious predilections of teenage girls, addled by their surge of new found hormones. Remaining chaste throughout high school and college is a feat deserving banners, parades and medals. I would’ve received none of the aforementioned. However, my foray into sexuality was quite virginal compared to my friends and peers. Not that my mind wasn’t exploding with curiosity or that my hormones didn’t demand that I sully practically everyone I met. I refrained. I was cautious. Mostly because I knew, down to the molecular structure of my cells, that I would, assuredly, go home with a serial killer the ONE time I decided to throw caution to the wind.

Here, dear reader, is how I’m convinced the fateful night would unfold. I, of the age where youth and belief in immortality combine, dressed in something that would make my mother slap me, would go out on the town with a gaggle of girls. Among them there would surely be a girl or two who can only be described as sexually liberated from the mores of a patriarchal society. We would find a hotspot, drink, dance and carouse. At some point in the evening, around the time my nagging need for Sex And The City reruns takes hold, I would lock eyes with a gorgeous stranger at the end of the bar. Left to my own devices, I would stare slack-jawed for an uncomfortable amount of time then immediately hop in a cab for fear of said stranger trying to “pick me up”. But on this particularly ominous night, my emancipated friends would implore me to speak to him. After some time of negotiating and enough shots to dull my senses, I would wholeheartedly agree with them.

The handsome serial killer, keenly aware of the lone gazelle, would set his target. It would begin innocently enough. A few glances, some smiles and some mouthing of silent words across a raucous bar. Eventually, the killer would motion me over. I would saunter over in my best Marilyn Monroe shuffle, lots of hip swings, tiny steps. The butcher would use his sociopathic charm to make me believe that I’ve been swept off my feet. I would respond to said charm with lots of giggling and swooning. Eventually, he’d ask me back to his place. Silencing all of my internal alarm bells, by excusing them as indigestion, I’d grab my purse and follow him to his car. My friends, would wink and high five audibly, as they watched me walk to my doom. One, probably the one I liked the least, would mutter something like, “finally, she’ll get that prude stick out of her ass”. None of them would realize, well until they were questioned by police in the following week, that that would be the last time they’d see me alive.

Back to the car ride to Hell. As soon as the seat belts were clicked, my amour de soir, let’s call him Teddy, would turn silent. No longer the jovial charmer. I, in my drunken haze, would chock it up to boyish shyness and find it absolutely irresistible. The drive would continue for what seemed like an eternity, punctuated occasionally by my inane remarks about certain buildings or freeways, all in a feeble attempt to continue the flirtatious banter so easily had back at the bar. I would be met with glares and jaw tightness. At this juncture, my recovering gut feeling would begin to scream at me to jump out of the moving car. I would hush her gently by explaining social norms of appropriate behavior in moving vehicles. She would persist. I would ignore. This would become more difficult to avoid the moment Teddy turns down a dark, heavily wooded, road.

It’s amazing how quickly one sobers up when faced with unrelenting fear. The hairs on the back of neck would stand up and the adrenaline coursing through my veins would make my body vibrate violently. My fight or flight response would take over my every thought. Scanning, searching, bracing for anything that can help me out of this cataclysmic situation. The attempt to throw myself out of the moving vehicle, into the comfort of the dark woods, would be thwarted by the reliable and trusty seat belt that would yank me back into the passenger seat. Now the cat-and-mouse chase would begin; my assailant, now fully aware of my desire to escape, and I finally aware of my assailant’s intentions.

I’ll skip the gory details, dear reader, but let me make clear that Teddy, our handsome one night stand, succeeded in murdering me dead. The only thing I do remember before my tracheae was collapsed through sheer force, was the image of my mother’s disappointed look. The “I told you so” face she’d present whenever she was proven right and I was wrong. As the last of my life force slipped away in the grip of this sexy beast, I thought of toast. Thick slabs of sourdough buttered to perfection and slathered with strawberry jam. Then I’d die. That’s how it would happen. Mark my words.

Someday when I have kids, I plan to scar them with the same guilt that undoubtedly saved me from a dirt ditch burial. I shall show them 3-D photos and images of every venereal disease I can find. I shall convince them that sex with strangers causes blindness and facial ticks. I shall teach them the intricacies of my “told you so” look through sheer unadulterated repetition. When in doubt, I’ll have their grandma spend the weekend with them and mutter incoherently about free milk. Hopefully, it’ll save them from a murdering psychopath. But if they do get murdered, at least I can rest assured knowing I tried. Plus I’ll blame my mother. It’s always her fault.