Sunday, May 21, 2006

Don't give away the goods too soon, is what she might have told me

So. It was the 21st of May 1986.

It was school sports day. I was in the Lower Sixth, and yet again I had managed not to be selected to represent anyone at anything. I did this seven years in a row, and I think I probably deserved a medal just for that, because it wasn't easy.

In my younger years I had to do humiliating things like hold the finishing tape, or help the games teachers measure out the distances between the hurdles. In the Lower Sixth, though, all that was required of me was to turn up and cheer on my house. We had to sign in at 2 when it started, and then sign in again at 4, presumably to prove that we hadn't bunked off.

Two hours was more than I needed. I signed in, stood visibly on the sidelines for a couple of races, then slipped off down the road to E's house. He was in the Upper Sixth and about to do his A-levels. If you were in the Upper Sixth and you weren't running, jumping or throwing something, you didn't even have to show.

He let me in. We had a cup of coffee, and I had a cigarette. Shall we do it then? I said. All right, he said. We went upstairs to his bedroom. It was sunny outside, but his curtains were always closed. For about a year I thought his bedroom was at the back of the house when in fact it was at the front.

We got undressed. We'd done this part before, so there were no huge revelations. I spent a long time fiddling with something called C-Film -- a sticky contraceptive film that I had found in Boots but which came with minimal instructions, and then we both spent a long time fiddling with a condom. Finally, we were ready.

On the plus side, it didn't hurt, there wasn't any blood (why, I don't know), and I was on top. This was far more a self-conscious decision not to be a virgin anymore than a great passionate moment, and this was the position I had decided it should happen in. I didn't have a clue what to do, but I was pleased to have ticked that box.

On the minus side, I didn't really feel anything at all. I did not pass through the doors of perception, the world did not change. The only words spoken were his: about 30 seconds in (of a total of about 45) he said 'god, it's hot in here. You could fry an egg on the end of my knob'.

This was probably because I am in fact allergic to spermicide. I didn't know this at the time, of course, but a double dose of the stuff didn't do me any good. If memory serves, we then did it again, another 45 seconds but the other way up.

And then he leapt off me and straight into the shower, as if the whole experience called for immediate vigorous scrubbing and anointing with Kouros. I lay there by myself and had my first experience of post-coital existential loneliness.

It was disproportionately powerful, and in fact the first real thing I had felt all afternoon. I put my pants back on, smoked a Silk Cut and listened to Marlene on the Wall, already on the turntable as if just waiting for me.

He walked me back to school, but as soon as we got there he hared off to let his friends know they could no longer refer to him as the Virgin Wimp. I went to find schoolmate S (who later became housemate S), who was long jumping or 200 metering or something, and told her of my new status.

We were hungry, so we went to find sandwiches in the pavilion. In there was Mr W, one of our geography teachers. There was a book poking out of his anorak pocket, and we could see the words 'The Joy Of'. Sir, sir, what's your book, we giggled at him.

He lifted it out. It was 'The Joy of Stamps'.

I signed in at four o'clock and got the bus home.


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Blogger Ben said...

I found school sports days unbearable but this method of passing the time never occurred to me. Mind you, single sex school - it would have required some adjustments I wasn't prepared to make even if it got me out of the 50m hurdles.

11:30 am  
Blogger Jo said...

I'd have considered pretty much anything. I managed to avoid netball for five whole years -- it got easier after the first couple, as the teacher simply didn't know who I was. I just used to... disappear. Later on we were given the option of 'social service' instead of games, so I found myself playing bingo in old people's homes and supervising playgroups. Even clearing up the poo of small children was preferable to being lapped in the 800 metres.

2:07 pm  
Blogger Monkey Mosaic said...

Hayfever. Got me out of every school sports day in high school... and I liked athletics!

1:02 am  

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