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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

M wasn't James Bond's M

My first date seemed inconclusive but any faults lay entirely with me.

I was 19 which by 2012 standards made me middle-aged. Certainly M might have expected more social grace given my advanced age. She got none. I talked desperately, terrified of silence. M must have realised early on I had not come alone. My adolescence was more tangible than I was and was only discarded in my late twenties.

I indicated my new motorbike. She said “Hmm.” showing greater critical awareness than me since it was a lousy bike. We took the bus for a movie, Carrington VC (David Niven, Margaret Leighton), a legal drama. M watched uncomplainingly. Prevailing rules allowed me to put my arm along the back of her seat and she didn’t complain about that either.

 I walked her home. Within a hundred yards of her front door she allowed me to kiss her several times. I’m amazed I took this as my due. A couple of hours later it seemed remarkable. I’d been a wholehearted bore and didn’t deserve this concession. Two more dates followed, we parted amicably and I left for RAF national service.

Three years later I saw her distantly, in charge of a pram and talking to other women presumably about the pram’s contents. Many years later, without his realising it, I found myself talking to her husband. I didn’t let on, not that there was much to confess.

Until now, I’ve never given M her due. The first date barrier for young males gets exponentially higher each year after age 11. M was a pretty young woman, more composed than me, and she helped me over the barrier calmly. She never hinted she was bored or disappointed, never exacerbated my feverish adolescence. I wish her a tranquil old age.  

7 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

A revealing story that I was not aware of. It seems such confidences are often not exchanged between brothers until later age. I presume that this recollection is squirmy* for you.

I will call mine J. We cinemaed once, but that sufficed for me to fantasize for some time that she was then my girlfriend, during which period, one evening, I gave her sister a lift home from the jazz club (purely altruistic). By that time I knew that J was dating a guy G who had already made a name for himself as an actor appearing in a current television drama series, and whose name would even now be familiar to many.

On the way home I saw a guy standing at the bus stop, and knowing the last bus had gone I offered him a lift. In conversation I said, boastfully, I had been taking my girlfriend’s sister home.

Later conversation with a friend revealed that it was G I had given a lift to without recognising him, and it was now obvious that he had just come from taking J home, and circumstantially I had no doubt he knew who I was.

That was more than than fifty years ago, but I still rate this as one of my squirmiest moments.
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*squirmy - a word befriended by our family for use in describing these kind of events.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: This wasn't a squirmy reminiscence. Chez RR squirmy has two meanings:

(1) An event that cannot be recalled without acute embarrassment. Had it been so I wouldn't be posting about it. The point I'm making is that although I was inadequate socially (perhaps sexually in the widest and thinnest meaning of the word) I wasn't made aware of this by M.

(2) Entering an environment which is embarrassing by its very nature (for example, a shop which is clearly failing, where its owner recognises it's failing and where he recognises that you're aware of this state of affairs). The immediate impulse is to get away from this environemnt and once this is achieved the squirminess disappears.

Meaning 2 could be said to be in the present tense and is curable. Meaning 1 is in the past and the effect can last for decades.

Avus said...

These "first loves" stamp themselves on the adolescent mind. I remember, age 11, lying atop of a haystack with the farmer's daughter of similar age whilst she stroked my hair. Life had never been better at that moment.

Joe Hyam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hyam said...

Why did pretty young women seem so self-possessed in those days? With hindsight it may well be that they were as unsure of themselves as we were. Though doubtless their priorities were less imperative.

Roderick Robinson said...

Joe: I'd forgotten self-posessed, certainly the antonym of my state of mind in those days. Can you think of any more gruesome exgperience than being transported back in time to one's adolescence. Apart from anything else, mine lasted so long.

Joe Hyam said...

I wish I had got over mine. I even think of my children as grown-ups.