I was looking down into the bucket of suds. I had just finished cleaning the car, again, and my mind was still reliving my first date. I was coming off the highs, and felt the exhaustion after the effort. Would every date require such planning? Would I be still cleaning the car after every date when I was 25? How would my delicate finances survive? Would she order wine with every meal? But the thought of another delicious kiss sent all my reservations tumbling from my mind. All I could think about was what lay underneath that beautiful blouse.
We saw each other again on the Monday after our date at uni. Things had changed.
She sat next to me and I remember catching her looking at me and there were plenty of opportunities for coffee and a chat. I decided to invite her to my house on Thursday and she met my family which proved to be far less stressful than my first meeting with her parents. We lived in a two storey house at the time and we went downstairs to the den. Within a matter of minutes, we were “pashing”. My head was exploding, “what do I do next?” Should I try and undo a few buttons? What if my parents came downstairs? All of this became totally academic as she confidently took the initiative and slid her hand inside my jeans. The regiment was standing to attention awaiting inspection! I was completely dumbstruck. All that reading and watching of movies had come to nil, I didn’t know what to do or what to say, suffice to say, things began to get hot and sticky in the den that night.
I was appalled at my ignorance and I am sure that she detected my total inexperience in matters of the flesh. We continued with a number of inept ‘making out’ sessions which led to a provocative and rather robust discussion.
She asked “have you gone all the way?”
I looked down with huge embarrassment and nodding, I said, “no”. “Oh she said, don’t worry, I will help you.” I could not help feeling that there was an element of charity in her demeanor. It was obvious that we could not “go all the way” at our own homes and I had not even contemplated the use of a hotel. In my mind, the car was out of the question. I had cleaned it so many times it had become a holy relic.
It was around this time that a family friend came over to dinner to catch up with my father. To me he was uncle Jim. He had never married and served with my father on a number of medical boards. He had always taken an interest in my development and asked me candidly alone whether I had a girlfriend. I don’t know what led me to suddenly download my predicament but he was the first person I felt I could talk to about such things. He said not to worry and offered to cut a key to his place and said I could use it. I was overwhelmed not just by his generosity but by his sense of joy in helping me stage manage this “great event”. So the scene was set. We would go to uncle Jim’s after our economic history tutorial on Wednesday. Miss P, nonchalantly directed me to bring ‘protection’ and I had to buy condoms for the first time in my life. I was appalled at the prospect of having to decide if I was “small, medium or large” and I was completely confused by the concept of “self lubrication”. What sort of oil did they use? Castrol? “Oils 'ain't oils”. Surrendering to my ego, I bought 4 packets of “large” and somehow survived the laser stare of the cash register attendant.
I must have looked the very antithesis of romantic love, standing at the curb holding a brown paper bag as she pulled up to pick me up.
I was trying to make small talk in the car but my mind was fixated on the prospect of undertaking the sexual act for the first time with another human being. As Woody Allan once said, “I am a great lover, I have practised by myself for many years.” Would I be able to perform? How long would I last? Would she enjoy it? Would I enjoy it?
Every time I had seen her since our first date I had burned with desire and my groin ached to be with her.
Finally we reached uncle Jim’s apartment and the key worked. We closed the door and hugged for minutes. We walked through the apartment, it was the first time I had been there. We found the bedroom. There was a wardrobe and dresser in the room and I opened it out of a sense of curiosity. The dresser revealed an extraordinary hidden treasure of glossy magazines. I flicked one open and literally reeled back in shock. The magazine was gay porn and underneath the magazines were 4 jars of vaseline petroleum jelly. I was suddenly getting an extensive insight into uncle Jim. I turned to show Miss P the magazine and she had already taken off her clothes and was slipping into bed. I wanted to go home and watch TV. She started laughing at me because I was still standing there fully clothed holding my brown paper bag.
I had never taken off my clothes before in this context and I remember how liberating it felt. It was completely different to the accepted experience of trying to rip items of clothing during our many pash sessions that had preceded this fateful day.
Finally the moment of truth. Finally an answer to every question that had tortured my adolescent brain for years. Finally the moment that I had dreamed about forever.
She was able to assist with the necessary preparations, I had never experienced the sensation of “the love glove” and after some kissing and thrashing around I had “lift off” and in the best traditions of NASA, I cleared the tower. “What next?” raged through my brain!!!”... I awkwardly moved and she responded guiding me and reassuring me. Just as I had begun to relax and possibly even enjoy the moment, I was overwhelmed by the uncontrollable urge to climax… and there it was, all over. All done. How embarrassing… and my beautiful lover was completely underwhelmed. I rolled off and lay there staring at the ceiling. I couldn’t believe the sense of disappointment. After years of anticipation and dreaming of an academy award winning performance, I hadn’t even been nominated.
Her attempt to mollify my crushed ego didn’t help, she said “don’t worry my first time was really ordinary too.” I looked at her with such pain after she said that. There was a second attempt to orbit that afternoon, slightly better but still disappointing. I discovered the relationship between sex and Chinese food… you could stuff yourself with all that you could eat but then amazingly could still feel hungry again after 20 minutes.
For the next few days all I could think about was my little rendezvous at uncle Jim’s. Could people tell? Did I look different?
The whole experience was one of the great (no pun intended) anticlimaxes of my life.
They say that youth is wasted on the young and in my case this was certainly no exception. My thoughts were dominated by the prospect of sexual gratification and I have to admit that I was not the ideal boyfriend to my darling Susan.
We continued to ‘date’ for another couple of months. My idea of a relationship was certainly different to hers. We were light years apart in life experience and it took its toll. I could not compete with her expectations. I was only pleased when we were in bed.
The end was bitter and swift. I picked her up from home to drive her to Uni on Fridays. It was our usual thing. We could fool around at her place because her parents were at work and she locked up. That morning she was distant and I sensed something was wrong.
She was not interested in any physical activity and was not very talkative. In the car she said that her ex had called her and she realised that she still missed him.
My heart sank, I pulled up and parked.
We started walking, my head was swimming. She said that she felt that I was not quite ready for a real relationship and that she wanted a “break”. On saying that word I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach. I physically buckled behind her and felt that I was going to be physically sick. She took my arm and said that everything would be fine and that we could stay great friends. I couldn't talk. I said that I needed some fresh air and sat out the tutorial alone.
I will never forget how lonely I felt. My heart ached, and it took months for the pain to go away. Susan dropped out at the end of first year and I continued to mourn her loss for years. It seems ridiculous now to think back and see myself languishing in self pity, broken and truly damaged. It was my right of passage. My first tentative step towards adulthood but more importantly manhood.
To learn that the beauty of a partner lies not with pure sexual gratification but with the glorious exploration of a fellow traveller, a soul mate was my lesson. I missed her simple wisdom and extraordinary maturity. I will never forget our first date, and the first time I held a real woman and made love.
My journey had begun; and my learning in life and its ways will never end...
Never give up on love... JD x