He was just a year-older than me but in my six grade at primary school in the leafy, middle class environs of East Kew, a boy with an impish smile, a short crew cut and wicked blue eyes espied me in class. Of course, I smiled engagingly back at him as much as I knew how at just 10 years of age. As I was an excellent student with academic acumen, he was quite the opposite; oft labelled in the too hard basket warranting the strap of the then corporal punishment meted out to mischievous young boys. By contrast, I was a well-behaved and dutiful little girl who got top marks for most subjects while he trailed behind on our report cards. Suffice to say his scholastic achievements interested me nought, more switched on by his appeal as a young boy I fancied. He was a friend of my next door neighbour who was also in the grade and as the year progressed, all we ever did was occasionally exchange cheeky banter about our beloved football teams as he supported the team I loved to hate. The next year, however, took a surprising turn when my neighbour had a party on a Saturday night after the football season was over.
I do not recall what I wore or how I did my hair or whether I even donned my glasses as I was so short-sighted, but none of that still lives in my psyche. What I do remember is that my father had told me I had to be home no later than 11 pm. It was a boys and girls affair; a neshev in Hebrew parlance; a party get together to celebrate what? I have no memory of that either, except that we all attended the same Jewish youth club Habonim, a Zionist group held at the local synagogue where we participated in Hebrew dancing, kicked a football around and listened to some history about the Jewish people. It was always fun and I always enjoyed it and this party was just another occasion to dance to the beat of Elvis and Bill Hayley as it was 1961 and the Beatles were still waiting to beat their drums. The music was playing with Elvis singing “I can’t help falling in love with you” from the movie Blue Hawaii and my young boy and I were locked in a slow, seductive sexy dance when he leaned across my body and kissed me on the lips. I wasn’t expecting that to say the least, and I didn’t really open my mouth, but I could feel his lips press tightly on mine and it all felt so good. Abruptly, one of the other young boys suggested we play kissing games such as Spin the Bottle and we all stopped dancing, retrieved a small coke bottle from the kitchen (the party was strictly alcohol free) and sat around on the floor with the bottle spinning between us. Not everyone wanted to play; there were about 20 of us at the party and only a handful participated in the game. My young boy spun the bottle with it spinning towards me and he leaned across again and planted his lips on mine. The next thing I recall is that he got up, took my hand and urging me to get up and follow him towards a quiet corner of the sitting room, suggested I nestle down on the floor as he lay next to me. He then gently and ever so softly started to kiss me again, with my mouth opening as he opened his mouth and out tongues twisting in a passionate embrace. I didn’t want it to stop, revelling in how beautiful it felt and wanting it to go on forever. At the same time, he placed his hand between my thighs (I was wearing jeans I recall), and just slowly rubbed me as I felt tingling sensations ripple through my whole body.
Then, it all stopped. My father had walked into the sitting room and in his booming, loud voice declared that it was late and why wasn’t I home? I didn’t say anything, sitting bolt upright and muttering almost incoherently, that I’d be home in a few minutes. He departed the scene, having I realised, caught me lying on the floor kissing my young boy. I had a watch my grandfather had bought for my ninth birthday and looking at the time, it was 11.15pm. I stood up, said my goodbyes and reluctantly, slunked off next door to my abode. I was not sure what to expect, except nothing whatsoever was said to me except that I hadn’t been home when my father had told me to. I just brushed my teeth, undressed and went to bed, my young boy’s kiss still lingering on my lips and I was still feeling excited across my body. I fell asleep just feeling it all over and over again, without really understanding at all what I was really feeling except that I wanted more of it all. I even put my hand between my legs too, though didn’t go underneath my pjama pants. At school on the Monday, my young boy and I were in different classes by then; I had just started high school in Year 7 and I didn’t see him for a few weeks. Then, he rang me one night to ask me to the pictures with my next door neighbour and his then girl-friend, too. We went to see Ben Hur and my young boy and I held hands and he kissed me a couple of times again. It was truly amazing for me physically even though I wasn’t at all sure or clear about my sexuality as a growing young girl. This was 1961, sex was a taboo subject and I hadn’t even have a period. I felt and was abysmally ignorant; and there was no one to discuss it with, my mother being the last person I’d share that with. I did wonder whether my father had told her how he had espied me lying on the floor kissing my boy but if he did, no one said anything to me about it. To my mother, I was just a bright, young girl who was good at school who she made clothes for and passed on books to read from her shelves. Occasionally, we discussed the football as that year I embarked on my football passion which still exists within me. I was attending weekly games with my father, my cousin and his two young sons et al. The “affair” with my young boy continued off and on for the next two years, occasionally seeing him at the local swimming pool I ventured to on the weekends on long, hot summer days. We hardly exchanged a word. I would just lie on my beach towel and watch him sporting a deep brown suntan while I was a blotchy pale pink. I certainly didn’t have an inkling about lust, love or anything akin to that; but in my book reading I would often want him to just kiss me again, over and over. I do remember going to a party he attended when I was 13 and he had a big argument with another girl there and he stormed out. She then warned me about him; he’ll knock you down she told me. I wrote this in my diary without having any insight whatsoever into what she was really talking about. We had been dancing together at the party, he had kissed me again and I was by then, a little older and wiser and tuned into the reality of sex. But it was of course, still a socially and culturally inappropriate behaviour for young girls. Indeed, I later wrote that this young boy was “too filthy minded” in my diary and cringe at my puritanical repression that our social milieu then imposed on teenage girls. I still thought about him at night in my bedroom privacy, didn’t see him much and he never rang to ask me out again. I saw him at another party the next year and he exclaimed “Who IS that?” as I walked into the room. (I’ve written about his in a previous blog). That is the last time I remember seeing him at social gatherings of the young Jewish community I was then part of. He just got lost, somewhere.
Some twenty years later however, I was at a meeting of some feminist females and couldn’t believe that a woman I met at this meeting had actually been the recent girl-friend of this same young boy who was my first love. The story she recounted to me about him was stunning; he was violent, often hitting her, abusing her physically, emotionally and verbally. After my own experience with a violent boyfriend some 12 years earlier, I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear of her own experience with yet another violent young man; it was just so alarming that what the girl at the party when I was 13 told me about him that he would knock me down- had come true for another young woman. It also made me reflect on who I’d been attracted to as a young girl, though of course, he was never violent to me then, just too sexually interested in a manner I couldn’t deal with at that time of repressed social mores for teenage girls in the 60s. I wanted to ask this young woman about his sexuality, but I didn’t; I just went home too alarmed about it all; even more about myself, wondering too about the connection between sex and violence in young men. I tried again to make contact with this guy for a primary school reunion some eight years later, only to be told he was living in Cairns in Queensland and I couldn’t get his telephone number. I’ve still never seen him since 1964.
To say I am indeed still curious about him is true; is it that so many young boys who are sexually active and good at it, too, are somehow locked into a violent culture as well? There are so many issues about it all that bedevil me still as my violent ex-boyfriend was sexually active too from age 12 and also very good at sex, with me at least. Furthermore, many men I enjoyed good sex with as I was older also had hit women. To say I was frightened about this is an understatement and only this year fell for another man, albeit 15 years my junior, who while he told me he had never hit a woman, he had felt like it “lots of times”, adding on another occasion, that his current girl friend wouldn’t leave him alone as he’d asked, and he pushed her, with her falling onto the floor. I never had sex with his man and just couldn’t believe he had violent inclinations too; even behaviour as he told me he had thrown his mobile phone against the wall, smashing it in frustration as his ex-wife was trying to stop his access to his three children. What can I even believe about these men? Our society? There’s nothing else I can say except I’m really glad I am on my own and will stay on my own until, if I ever do, meet a man who what? Isn’t like any other I’ve ever fancied?