Internets! Help me out. I’ve sold another essay (yay) to some very nice folks and, in the editing process, a question was raised:
To what does “second base” refer?
In my essay, I reflect on an encounter in summer camp where my boyfriend continually tried and failed to get me excited about him. I should never have dated him; I wasn’t attracted to him, and I couldn’t make myself pretend. This meant our relationship had an antebellum quality: we held hands, we took walks, he kissed me and I allowed it. It was all very proper and chaste.
Sure, we were 13. But this was a guy whose exploits with his previous girlfriend were legendary. In fact, I think he rather fancied himself a Barney (in the “How I Met Your Mother” sense, not the “Flintstones” sense).
On the last day of camp, he made a desperate move. While his mother waited outside in the minivan, he brought me back into his empty bunk, looked into my eyes, and told me that he loved me.
I knew what he meant. I was a pretty savvy — and somewhat cynical — middle-schooler. His “I love you” was a grand gesture, one that was meant to sweep me off my feet and, most importantly, out of my shirt.
Thinking fast, I ran through my options. (What would Scarlet O’Hara do?) I couldn’t lie and say I loved him too. All the same, I couldn’t be honest and confess I didn’t love him, that I didn’t even like him. Not on the last day of camp!
His was, indeed, a very clever gambit. As I saw it, I had one course of action, and I followed it: I cried. Thus I was spared from having to give any answer and from having to engage in any hanky-panky.
Ah, the love lives of teenagers. Very well. In the essay, I refer to boob-related hanky-panky as “second base.” My editor flagged that. Her husband, she said, recalled a different definition of the term. This stupid t-shirt seems to agree with me. Wikipedia has opinions, of course, but my editor specifically asked me to survey my friends, who are more reliable.
Friends, what say you? 2nd base = boobs? Or something else altogether?