So, you’re 18 and it’s your first holiday away from your folks. No more boring treks around museums and old ruins, no more tedious family meals, followed by board games. You want to go clubbing, drink cocktails and get your end away.
I hear you and I understand that now you have reached that age you want/deserve some freedom. But seriously, is there not a better way to find yourself, that doesn’t end with you waking up with vomit in your hair, at an A&E where they don’t speak your language or your only souvenir being the nasty STI you picked up somewhere along the way?
My advice as a non-professional expert is don’t do it! If you are dead set on having a casual shag after 20 Jager Bombs (or that vile-looking concoction in a fish bowl I’ve seen people imbibe on TV documentaries like ‘Magaluf exposed’ or ‘My parents don’t know I fucked 30 girls on my hols’), do it at home, or a weekend away at your nearest big city or seaside town. Where healthcare is in English.
On holiday everyone goes wild, loses any sense of danger and generally turns into a crazy, stupid version of themselves.
I know – I’ve come close to it – see ‘The naked barman’. And I am grateful to fate/the gods that I managed to escape unscathed. Just think – I could have ended up coming home with a bag of coke up my butt.
For the more idealistic of you, I would also say don’t bother with holiday romances either – they rarely work. When you’re fuzzy round the edges under hazy sunshine or starry skies, overlooking a glistening sea or lake, everything seems perfect, but in the cold reality of normal life, the magic will fade. If you meet someone in normal circumstances and can tolerate one another over wet afternoons, in chain pubs with plastic microwave meals, then you know it’s real.
My first ‘holiday romance’ was on a family holiday in a caravan in northern France. I hated the caravan. My dad loved it. All I can remember is being cramped, hearing everyone snoring, the rain hammering the roof above my top bunk and the four of us bickering as my parents’ double bed had to be folded away for breakfast.
A similar family with an equally deluded dad had pitched nearby. The boy was my age so we were making puppy dog eyes at each other – probably because I was the only English girl his age and he was the only English boy my age. And we were presumably both bored rigid. He was a bit on the plump side but not totally hideous, so I didn’t discourage him. We started by getting permission to go for walks around the site.
Within a day or two we were full-on snogging, as soon as we were out of sight of our respective family tin boxes on wheels. I recall it wasn’t exactly romantic – he drooled all over me and tried to teach me to ‘French kiss’ (ironic when we were in its supposed country of origin). I found the whole thing vile at the age of 15 and tried to resist.
Dave (I can’t even remember his real name) had epilepsy and the whole time I was scared he was going to have a seizure and might die. Obviously now I know more about the condition and would probably know how to deal with it, but at 15 I just knew bits from TV programmes which filled me with fear. To cut a long story short, aside from my dad paying for us to go for a steak dinner at the camp site café, the whole thing was rather dull, my younger brother teased me the whole time and I would have been better off staying in playing Monopoly and reading my book.
Dave and I never stayed in touch. I think he wrote me a letter but I ignored it and only had the photos to remind me it happened at all. Thankfully.
A couple of years later we went to Sorrento in Italy. It was significant, as it was our last holiday together as a family, before I decided I was too old to tag along.
It was also significant as I met ‘James’. I’m sure it was desperation again which threw us together. He was tall, good looking and blonde while I was a grumpy teen, scowling in every photo my dad took and bursting out of my dresses and bikinis – my boobs must have been having a growth spurt at the time.
We got chatting to him and his brother one night and went off to another girl’s room to play cards. Luckily for me the girl wasn’t interested in James, so I stayed behind when she left and we ended up snogging. It went pretty well, so every night after that (over about four days) we would have a kiss and cuddle. The thing that sticks in my mind now was his last day. His family, from the opposite end of the country to me, were due to leave a week before us.
So, James and I snatched a precious last hour together in an empty hotel room. We kissed and cuddled for probably 80 per cent of that hour, then he rolled on top of me and something odd happened. His hips and pelvis began thrusting into me. I now realise this was my first ‘dry hump’. No clothes were removed and nothing further occurred but I could feel everything against my shorts, through his jeans. It was my first proper arousal. And it was from a posh public school boy from Reading.
After he left for the airport, I couldn’t get him out of my head and as soon as I got home, a week later, I wrote a really long letter. Thinking back, it may have been a little over-keen and scary for him. I also inserted one too many fart jokes… So, he never responded. He lived in Reading, for God’s sake!
So in short, holiday romances tend to be one-sided and often involve people you would never normally want to be with or who would never normally want to be with you. What you have in common, is that you are both there and wanting to enhance your trip/get some action. I know there are exceptions now and then, but 90 per cent of the time you’re better off reading a good book or sightseeing.
I’m about to go away for a week, with a 72-year-old woman and two children and I won’t be looking for someone to dry hump on a hotel bed, not that I would nowadays be a target for such frivolities…