There is an October chill in the air and most people on this Sunday morning will be tucked up under warm duvets, but not me. I am shivering, tired and light-headed sitting on the cold tiled floor of my parents’ porch. The skin-tight black jeans and leather jacket are not keeping the cold out.
Why am I sitting here and not in bed? My parents weren’t expecting me home. I had been to a friend’s party, stayed over, but left at 8am while everyone else was still asleep. Or rather, stomped off in a sulk, because I had failed to land the boy I fancied. My parents are at church and the key has not been left under the flower pot. So here I am, stuck, trying to avoid being seen by the neighbours.
This kind of ridiculous scenario only plays out when one is a teenager. Who else would be sitting out in the cold, locked out of their own house, because mum and dad don’t trust them to have a key, without losing it? My parents had sussed out my fecklessness a long time ago.
But my teenage stupidity stretched far beyond this. I was incredibly naïve and gullible from puberty until about 20, particularly with boys and sex.
My first boyfriend, who was 18 when I was 15, barely spoke to me. He just wanted to stick his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants. But that’s as far as it got. When he stopped ringing me, I couldn’t work out why, when clearly he got bored of me not ‘putting out’.
Then I seemed to find myself in numerous ‘blowie’ situations – usually beginning with drinking copious amounts of cider in a particular night club, snogging someone who I thought wanted to be my boyfriend, being led outside and having my head pushed down on a throbbing, sweaty member. I just assumed this was normal and complying would make him love me, even if it (at that time) never culminated in penetrative sex. It was also very rare in these episodes that the youth of the moment would even attempt to pleasure me.
I was then surprised when none of them ever phoned me, asked me out on a date or wanted to see me again. I would sit in my bedroom staring at my posters, feeling very alone, only revealing my true thoughts to my diary.
Then when I did have a boyfriend, with whom none of the above happened, I put myself in a very odd position one night.
There were no proms when I was a teen, but there were ‘balls’ – an excuse to get dressed up and quaff alcohol in a posh venue. So my boyfriend, H and I had arranged to go to one of these shindigs with a few friends. One of H’s friends was T, who always had a glint in his eye for me. He was going out with a posh girl, called something like ‘Saffy’.
H and I had a few drinks and dances, then went over to T and ‘Saffy’. We were all tipsy at this point, but T seemed particularly squiffy and had ‘Saffy’ perched on his lap as he leaned back in his chair. H chatted to him while I stood patiently. But then I felt something going up my dress. I was wearing a cocktail-type number, with a plain black bodice and a full net skirt, with layer of black and white net flowers on it, so access up there was rather easy.
I shuddered a little, then realised it was T’s hand which was travelling further and further towards my pants. So, I was standing next to my boyfriend who had his arm around me, while T sat with his girlfriend on his knee, shoving his index finger into my cunt. I was drunk and confused, but strangely aroused – H had never attempted this territory, let alone stuck his finger in.
Because we were all stood quite close together and my dress was a mass of black and white meringue net, no one noticed. T realised this and was smiling smugly, lecherously, while I was too shocked, bewildered and trembling with excitement to move or slap his hand away. It was in fact the first time anyone had stuck their finger (or anything else for that matter) inside me. But it did cast a black cloud over the rest of the night and my relationship with H eventually fizzled out, my virginity still intact. I sometimes wonder why I didn’t just give T a kick in the shins and expose him as a fingery cheat.
Then, less excitingly were the two or three boys I fancied like mad – the kind of teenage infatuations that leave you crying into your pillow, asking “why oh why doesn’t he like me?” Each one of them would happily snog me in the aforementioned nightclub, maybe even grope a boob and I would get to smell their cheap aftershave and the slightly more seductive leather of their jackets. And each one on different occasions said they were happy to “go with” me (which, where I come from in the late 80s/early 90s meant make out with), but couldn’t possibly go out with me. The usual reason was that they were in love with someone else (and I was just someone to practice on). In reality they were probably just terrified of the desperate or grateful look in my eyes.
So my teenage years were largely spent being ridiculous. Even down to the clothes I wore – a friend finds great amusement in reminding me of the time I showed up in a tutu skirt and baseball boots. I would also spend a good deal of time copying song lyrics from Cure albumns on to large sheets of paper, and smoking out of my bedroom window, thinking my parents wouldn’t notice, even when the wind was blowing against me.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have had an absolute whale of a time, keeping those boys dangling, kicking T in the shins and enjoying being young and looking ten times better than I do now. Youth is truly wasted on the young.