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I didn’t go to a lot of slumber parties as a kid. I spent the night with cousins a few times, but they were family, and usually my aunt & uncle were doing a favor for my parents by keeping me and my siblings.

The first slumber party I can remember going to was in the sixth grade? Seventh? I would have been 11 or 12. My friend Jennifer was hosting at her house, and I rode the bus home with her. We played around on her computer (a new and novel thing to me), and we went…into a chat room. A chat room! Nothing weird or out of bounds, but I remember typing to the person on the other end, and I told them my name, and they asked my friend’s name. Which she said she wasn’t allowed to tell. So I didn’t. All in all, it was a pretty boring experience. We played Myst — another new thing for me, one that set off my love of the series for forever.

Her cousin Misty came over that night too, and we did the girly things like staying up late. I’m not sure what we actually did all night, or what we talked about…until we started talking about bodies and how ours were changing. We got on the topic of pubic hair, and we all admitted that we’d started growing some. Then, Misty stood up and pulled down the front of her pajamas, saying, “Look how much I have!”

It was a weird moment for me.

I’d never seen another woman (girl) naked before. This was before locker rooms, and even in the locker rooms later, no one got naked and certainly no one purposely showed off their pubic hair.

And, I remember thinking, “I have more than that.” Misty was so proud of her hair, and what it meant (I guess), and yet, I had more.

The next morning we had French toast for breakfast, and I was introduced to the brilliant idea of peanut butter on French toast — which is how I ate it every time after that.