First love

I was 16 and the only boyfriend I had dated was the heir to a jam (read jelly) empire who kissed like a pug. All I remember was saliva. Attending a Catholic girl’s school, not having brothers, and living 20 miles from my friends due to my parents’ divorce were impediments to dating, and I could only hope a new boyfriend would miraculously appear. Then I met Tim.

My best friend had decided to finish high school away from the convent in a thrilling co-ed environment. So when she invited a group of friends over one Friday night … there were boys. She had been badmouthing Tim ahead of time, so as he started chatting with me I held back for a while, conscious that I was consorting with that week’s enemy. (I was to learn her bitterness stemmed from his decision not to date her…) Later that evening, the group was hanging out in the kitchen when Tim took my hands, pulled me from my seat on the countertop, and started dancing with me. The room emptied and he kissed me. Miracles do happen.

A week later on our first date we wandered down a dark path to a moonlit bridge and kissed again. There began the joy of first love: that unrestrained, complete abandonment that is experienced once in a lifetime. I spent two years with my heart bursting as we swapped Herman Hesse, read The Prophet aloud, delighted in Impressionism, and shared This Mortal Coil, The The, The Cocteau Twins, Prefab Sprout, and more. We were the romantic couple that made everyone nauseous. His best friend regularly urged Tim to dump me because the relationship was interfering with his band’s practice (hail the XXth Legion) and beer drinking. But I liked his bass playing, learned to drink beer, and had so much more to offer than Mike. We were entwined, physically and emotionally, in what could only be the world’s greatest love story ever.

In June 1986, after two years and four months, we ended the relationship. What had seemed unthinkable became inevitable after a year of attending different colleges and just growing up. No, we wouldn’t marry and have kids and that hip wedding with vegetarian Indian food. Instead, I’d adjust to this horrible sense of loss, have a series of largely unsatisfying one-night stands, and eventually come out. But as I fell in love again and again, I realized that Tim had taken my virginity in more ways than one. Falling in love would never be like the first time. It would come with ever-increasing baggage and the chilling knowledge that nothing lasts forever.

That is, until now. The impossible has happened. Another miracle has occurred. Life has given me a second chance—I have fallen in love with my iPod. And it’s just like the first time, only better.

It was love at first sight as I gently unpacked and caressed its silken surface. I’m a little shy and inexperienced with the controls, but My-Pod is forgiving and responsive. Our musical taste is strangely aligned, and My-Pod helps me hear old favorites in ways I’ve never heard them before. A chill runs down my spine as my head fills with Portishead’s Half Day Closing … I hear nuances previously unnoticed, the closing vibration licks my right ear, I momentarily lose control. I’ve never experienced anything like this and I can’t get enough.

The seduction happens everywhere—on the metro, in the street, at the store. John Lee Hooker keeps trying to get me in the mood, boom boom boom, he’s gonna shoot me down. I try to stay focused. In the elevator, I’m singing with Jack White and Loretta Lynn about Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz. And then I’m waiting for my girlfriend to pick me up and The Go! Team is playing and I’m surreptitiously dancing in the parking lot. I live in a bubble of rapture that has calmed my Type A personality – who cares if the metro is late when I’m with My-Pod?

I know we’re early in our relationship and there’s so much ahead … what accessories to buy, which headphones, and some serious issues: file sharing yes or no? My-Pod is open to experimentation, but I’m a little risk averse. (Not least because my friend who works for the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section is in the “no” camp.)

There’s also the question of my girlfriend. She’s jealous of the attention I’m lavishing on My-Pod, the time we spend together, how I seem to be distracted and living in another world. She will soon learn there’s only one solution—she needs to iPod date too.

I find myself wondering if Tim has an iPod and if it reminds him of me. And I realize the beauty of this new relationship will never be surpassed. My world has been turned up side down. I’m head over heels in love. And this time, it really is forever.

6 responses to “First love”

  1. stella — i had been pondering writing about Ishmael, my little iPod of 2+ years, for Monday. Sadly, our love affair is waning. He’s just about used up, all 40 gigs of him, and unless I take him to get a back-alley battery replacement I don’t think he’s capable of holding my attention much longer. He can’t go running with me anymore. The younger slimmer models (like your whats-her-name) are looking pretty sexy. Enjoy the honeymoon. b

    ps Someday I imagine I’ll have a whole drawer full of used-up iPods and I’ll pull them out and plug them in for old times’ sake when I’m in the mood for, say, a 2004-05 shuffle.

  2. Missy says:

    I hear you, Stella. I currently have five different sorts of ipods floating around my house, with promises to send older models off to nieces and nephews and other relatives who won’t mind the frothy, valium aesthetic of my old pods, filled with Dusty Springfield, Charlie Rich, and the soundtrack to Love Story. But this Christmas I crossed over into the even more dangerous land of the video ipod and now I can’t stop watching the first two seasons of the new and improved (read hot action babes with bulging muscles in clinging tantops) Battlestar Gallactica. God help me if I ever do figure out how to run the software I just bought, allowing me to transfer anything I own on dvd onto the pod, because I WOULD watch The Waltons at the gym if I could, if no reasonable intervention kept me from crossing over into that even darker world of 70s froth. And now I hear that an even better video ipod, with a bigger, touch screen interface is coming out this June, making my new love obsolete, not even six months after her arrival.

  3. trixie says:

    i loved your post. keep ’em coming.

  4. Robyn says:

    [Takes out iPod. Blankly stares at it.]

    I think my iPod must be defective. It’s been working alright for the past three years…given me lots of good times. But I definitely don’t love mine as much as you love yours. :( Maybe it’s because I jammed a damaged headphone plug into the jack and injured the poor thing…

  5. ep says:

    A real pod committment means a subscription to Sorry for the commercial but Audible took my pod relationship to whole new level. I get the quivers thinking about it.

  6. Ruby says:


    I am Petra, very interesting article that contained the information I was searching for in Google, thanks….