Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Andrea VII – It’s so very different for girls

‘It doesn’t sound like you had much of a love life’ she observes.
‘That’s putting it mildly’ I say.
‘What was the most exciting thing you ever did? – best sexual experience of your life.’
I think about it but I can’t think of anything much. Then I wonder why she’s suddenly so interested in my sex life.
‘I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours’ she says, mock flirtatiously. I wish she wouldn’t mess with me. She must have twigged what effect it has by now, surely.
‘I honestly don’t know’ I say wearily. I want to make something up but she’s right about the lying. I can’t seem to formulate a fabrication. I decide to go for comedy.
‘There was this time in the sauna at a festival.’
‘Really?’ she says. ‘They never seemed very sexual to me. Too hot for one thing.’
‘True, but on this occasion there was a woman in there I really fancied – amazing looking woman – amazon-like and we’re all in there, chatting as usual and it’s dark and there’s the burner in the middle and candles and the herbs and the steam – you know. And this woman asks me if I would like a massage.’
Andrea grins broadly at me. ‘What did you say?’
‘Well I said “Yes” of course, and I turn around and she’s kneading my back very expertly and making comments about how tense I seem and I’m like “You don’t know the half of it lady”, and I don’t know what to think.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Well you’ve been there. There’s an etiquette, isn’t there. The festival sauna is not about sex. It’s about relaxation and fellowship with nature or something. I mean sure – we all check out each other’s bods don’t we.’
‘But it would be bad form to do anything about it actually in the sauna. Am I right?’
I look at her doubtfully. ‘Broadly’ she says. There was so much I didn’t understand in life.
‘Anyway, so I have to assume she’s just being a hippy. Nakedness – it’s no big deal and she just wanted to help me relax. That’s what I told myself.’
‘Did you think her behaviour was unusual?’ she asks.
‘No. Not really. I told myself she was just being friendly.’
‘She probably was.’
‘Very probably, but anyhow, I don’t feel friendly. That’s the problem. I feel horny, and if there’s one total no-no in festie sauna etiquette it’s getting a hard-on.’
‘What did you do?’ she grins, waiting for the punch line.
‘Well I passed out in the shower, didn’t I.’
She falls about, clapping her hands and rolling back in her seat.
‘Really. I think all my blood had rushed to my – I don’t know where. It wasn’t in my penis and it clearly wasn’t in my brain.’
‘So what happened then?’
‘Nothing. I think she really was just being friendly. Maybe a bit flirtatious, but I don’t think she was really interested in me.’
She’s unconvinced I can tell.
‘I’m not entirely sure either, but I tried to talk to her afterwards and nothing happened.’
‘Do you want to hear mine?’ she asks gleefully. I don’t really but I shouldn’t be rude.
‘Does it involve public nudity?’
‘Yes, and cunnilingus. Me and a mate on the top of a late bus in Aberystwyth.’
I shake my head. ‘I can’t take this any more’ I say jokingly, but I’m not really joking. Why had everyone been having so much more fun than me?
‘What’s wrong?’ she says finally realising I am not laughing.
‘It’s not funny’ I say. ‘Really it’s not. I don’t want to sound like some pathetic whinger but it’s not funny when everybody else is doing it and...’ and I shake my head. ‘Actually it wasn’t just me. I knew a few other lads like me – nice ordinary lads, not weirdos, not unsanitary – went years without once getting any. Can you imagine what that’s like?’
‘Not really.’
I look into her eyes. She really doesn't. She doesn't get it at all.
‘Well’ I shrug, ‘It’s different for girls, as the man said.’
It seemed to me at the time that any of the girls I knew, with a few rather gross exceptions, could have had it any time they liked with no more subterfuge than a smile. We on the other hand were just gagging for it. Maybe the girls didn’t really want it, maybe they did, but, short of rape, it was their choice. We, on the other hand, because we were not rapists, were forced to wait.

‘Do you know how sexualised your average adolescent boy’s life is?’ I say.
‘How d’you mean?’
‘Porn, fantasising, looking at girls, wanking, permanent hard-on, all day, every day, nights too. Not getting to sleep before three in the morning some nights because you can’t stop thinking about it. And you look around at the girls in the class and that little group of ‘cool’ lads and you hate them and want to be them at the same time. And that’s it – just girls looking at you like you’re something someone’s walked in off the road. So much power...’ I take a moment to think about that, how utterly derisible it made me feel. ‘And it goes on forever, years.’
I can see she still doesn’t get it.
‘Some days’ I say, ‘I’d be out walking in the countryside and I’d come across some fragments from a porno mag all tatty and stuck together in a hedge and it would be like treasure trove.’ I sit and shake my head slowly. ‘You want to know my best sex story? Well that’s it pretty much.’ I know I’m being melodramatic but I can’t help it. ‘The pressure is awesome – I mean that literally, in every possible sense. You can’t imagine.’
‘But you did lose your virginity eventually?’
‘Yes I did.’
‘It was alright.’
She looks quite shocked. ‘Just alright?’ she says.
‘It wasn’t great. They were just drunken one-night-stands. I barely remember the first one.’
‘Did you not fancy any of them?’
‘Some. A bit.’
She looks disappointed by that. She’s not the only one.
‘But before that, weren’t there parties and so on, when you were younger? You know, teenage girls and boys out to have a good time? Clubs? Gangs?’
‘I was a bit of a loner to be honest. We’ve talked about this. I couldn’t do the flirting and the showing off and the chatting up thing.’
‘Maybe you didn’t really want it badly enough?’
I look coldly at her. I hate that phrase. I think of all the people I’ve known who weren’t really bothered but got it handed to them on a fucking plate. A fucking plate. That’s exactly what it would have been served on – like one of those stainless steel platters with spikes for carving the joint on. I can see it now.
‘Maybe I wanted it too much’ I say. ‘I know I looked kind of desperate sometimes. It’s not attractive.’ She nods. ‘It makes you rather humourless and intense – not much of a laugh.’
‘Yes’ she says at last. ‘I get that.’
I've got an example for her.
‘There was one party I went to – this would have been after everybody else had gone off to uni and I was left working in a DIY shop. There was a girl – Gill her name was – one of those rare and magnificent Bardot types. Fabulous woman. Way out of my league, although she was always pleasant to me.’
I can still picture her...
‘Anyway, the party was ok. I was feeling a bit out of place, as usual. I didn’t really know anyone and it was getting really late and I was just about to go for a walk, clear my head... Anyway, something stopped me... I don’t know what... I just had a bad feeling about it. So anyway I headed out the front instead and there she was, Gill, and she was with this guy Dave, who was bit of a jack-the-lad and he came and grabbed me and put his arm around my shoulders and dragged me up the steps onto the pavement and he said “Gill quite fancies you. Do you know that? She says she thinks you’re quite ‘dishy’” and she looks absolutely mortified and I don’t know where to look and he says “Ok, lets have it out” and everyone’s laughing – all the lads from the shop and some others and we’re out in the street and it’s a rainy night and he’s being really loud and he goes to undo his flies, in the middle of the road and he gets it out right there and then and says “Let’s see yours then” or something like that. “Lets see who’s the best man.” That’s it. And I look at it, and he’s got his hard-on alright but it’s not actually very impressive – sort of thin and pointy - a bit like a dog’s, and I’m not bragging but I knew mine would have been a lot more impressive than that thing.’
Andrea’s grinning at me, clearly enjoying herself.
‘But here’s the thing – I’m not going to get my cock out in the street am I? And even if I did it’d probably shrink up to the size of a walnut. So I just stood there, like a lemon. And I couldn’t do anything, and he flips this... thing back in his trousers like he’s a rock star or something and strides off down the street, a girl under each arm, one of them Gill, and I remember thinking ‘This is it. This is what it’s going to be like. You don’t have to be better. You just have to act like you are.’
‘You poor bugger’ she says without humour. ‘And that’s when you stopped trying?’
‘No, of course not. Well, not just that. It didn’t help. It encapsulates the situation nicely though, don’t you think?’
‘Did you see Gill again?’
‘I left that job soon after. Couldn’t face them. Worked for an accountant for a bit – can you imagine?’
‘Down hill from there?’
‘More or less.’
‘Do you think having a girlfriend would have helped?’
‘Who knows? It would have depended what she was like. She’d have had to have been quite tolerant.’
‘Well the girlfriends of young men usually have to be very tolerant in my experience.’
I laugh a little. It’s quite true. I hadn’t thought of it like that.
‘Maybe next time’ I say.
‘Maybe’ she says and we end the session there.

A few sessions later she says ‘Actually you can’t have been that desperate.’
I say ‘Why do you say that?’
She says ‘Well it’s not like nobody wanted you.’
I run through, in my mind, the images of the one or two women I knew had wanted me – sad, neurotic, lonely women.
‘So you could have had someone, if you’d wanted to.’
‘Well yes...’
‘What were they? Really disgusting old sluts or something?’
‘No. Absolutely not. I just didn’t...’
‘Fancy them? Did anybody else fancy them?’
‘I don’t know. They weren’t hideous or anything. A bit needy perhaps...’
She looks at me like I’ve just said something very funny.
‘They just weren’t quite what you were after’ she says.
I shrug. I suppose not. ‘But why should I? Why should I settle for something...’
‘No reason. You shouldn’t. But you’d be surprised how many do just settle for someone, because they can’t bear the thought of being alone or not having children. How many of the people you knew were in relationships that were even remotely enviable? Seriously. Think about it.’
‘You didn’t settle. You held out. You didn’t give up. You thought you deserved better. I actually find that quite laudable. Good for you Gabriel.’
‘Thank you’ I say, not quite sure how to take that.

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A life backwards

It's in the nature of blogs of course that you come across the latest postings first (or you find yourself in the middle.) Normally it doesn't matter but if you want to read my novel in order, the first installment is as you'd expect, the oldest posting.
Thanks for your patience.