So after being absent from this blog for many a long month – I came across this entry in my drafts pile that I somehow never got round to posting. I’m sure you’re all anxious to read this dimly tawdry account from my sexual past – so in the spirit of honesty (and if you read on you’ll see why honesty is something I’m trying to become more practised in) I thought i’d publish it now: enjoy!
So I’ve made the never had a boyfriend confession. Whoosh. Deep breath.
And you’re still here! You haven’t scrubbed me from your reading list or concluded I’m a hapless freak.
I thought, in the spirit of openness – another confession should follow – one that I’ve never told anyone in full detail – here we go:
The Great Tale of How Magdeline Adams Lost her Much Prized Virginity. (look it’s in bold and everything!)
It’s not pretty.
So having crawled through secondary school without so much of a sniff at a boyfriend, and without being sufficiently whorish back then to initiate my sexual career on the back of a one night stand – I arrived at university in one perfectly pristine, hymenically preserved package. I found this small – and in hindsight – perfectly respectable fact – totally shameful so I hurridly fabricated a fantasy sexual past that provided me with a passably ‘cool’ image that I very much doubt anyone bought for a minute.
My first year at university came and went and my virginity clung to me like the stench of smelly sneakers in a warm room. Don’t get me wrong there were snogs and drunken fumblings aplenty but I never found myself able to plunge on in there – as ’twere. I’m sure part of me still hung on to the ideal that my first time would be with someone I had real (and reciprocal) feelings for; but I had also so entangled myself in my own web of lies that I was terrified that anyone I did sleep with would tell my fragile and newly built social universe that I was a big fat virginal liar. I’d heard enough heinous boy banter about frigid virgins to willingly volunteer myself to their firing squad. Teenagers are fucking cruel.
Come Summer I took myself off to work in America for three months – offering the perfect anonymity to finally dispose of the cherry that was seemingly growing in weight and horror by the day. I worked on the phones for a moving company – which was stuffed to the rafters with muscly young college boys earning money during their summer break. Excellent. Perfect. My task was set. I wasn’t going to return to the UK without being thoroughly and irritrievably deflowered.
Of course the course of true lust never did run smooth and, instead of throwing my virginity at the first elligble match I met, I set my sights very firmly on a gorgeous boy who I’d fallen head over heels for. Needless to say (and if you’ve read this far in my blog you’ll notice a pattern here) he didn’t feel the same. Instead, after two months of gentle stalking by myself, he decided that he would much rather get down and dirty with my room mate. Which he did, and I spent many a scratchy night camped out on the sofa with my virginity snidely scoffing at me amidst the sounds of sexual pleasure emanating from the next room.
So I found myself with four days left before my return flight in a state of near desperation to get rid of the big V. My room mate had thankfully left (needless to say never to be heard of again) so I had the room, the bed, I just needed a man.
After my final day of work in the office I hot-footed it to the drinking hole that all the movers filled after their long sweaty days.
Oh Shit. All the young muscly clever summer break boys were noticeably absent (most of them had already quit their summer jobs). Leftover were a rather straggly crew of thirty and forty somethings that I barely knew and seemed unbearably ancient to my nineteen year old sensibilities. Nay matter. This was it I stoically reminded myself. I sturdied myself with a shot or three and made my way to a tanned, blonde haired bloke in his mid thirties that I vaguely remembered was a sometime musician and was called Paul. Or was is John…
A few hours and several thousand units of alcohol later we were back in my room awkwardly undressing each other. Despite the fact that I wasn’t particularly attracted to this man – my mind was racing with excitement – this was it – I was going to join that elite club of the sexually experienced. From this point on I would be able to join in that smug knowing chuckle when others shared their sexual experiences, I could sleep merrily with whoever I liked without some terribly shaming truth erupting, I wouldn’t be an over ripe never to be plucked outcast anymore.
‘You got a Jonny?’
Paul (or John) rudely butted into my sweet virginal elegiacal musings.
‘A jonny? You got one? I don’t got one.’
‘Oh. Oh no – I don’t sorry.’ (biting my tongue so as not to primly correct his grammar)
‘You alright to go withou…’
‘NO! No. really no – I don’t think that’s a good idea do you?’
‘Yeah – probably not hang on’
And with that he bounded off – stark bollack naked – towards my door.
‘What? Wait? Where you going?’
‘To find one.’
I sank back into bed a little stunned by the swift turn of events , any residual trace of desire quickly distilling into mortified terror as to what this naked stranger was about about to do. To my horror I heard him bound up the staircase to the house’s top storey that was occupied by my landlords – a very tight lipped, very Irish, very catholic couple (who just so happened to know my father quite well). I heard a rather terse albeit muffled conversation through the floorboards before hearing the heavy slip slap of returning naked feet on the stairs.
‘The O’Connors don’t have any – gonna have to go to the gas station’
Frozen with mortification I watched John/Paul throw his clothes on before dashing out of the door.
Not quite sure what to do, I gathered the bed sheets around me and waited. And waited. And waited.
The strangulated Americanised throw of my name woke me up with a start. Quite how I’d managed to fall asleep I’m not sure – but somehow I had and now a drunk man who I didn’t really fancy and who was a good 16 years my senior was stood in my landlords prize begonias shouting out my name in New England suburbia at 3am whilst victoriously waving a packet of trojan extended pleasure.
In my sheer fucking haste to get to the front door to get him to shut the fuck up, I fell over the sheet that had become intimately entwined with my feet crashing to the floor with a thump ensuring (if they weren’t already) that the whole house was awake to acknowledge the wonderfully catastrophic Adams fall from grace.
Somehow I smuggled him back into the room and there dutifully – and with barely a shred of passion – we shagged.
It was underwhelming. To say the least.
And it really bloody hurt.
The next morning I pretended to be half asleep whilst he fumbled his goodbyes. He was nearly out of the door, before changing his mind and coming and sitting back on the bed next to me.
‘Hey – you did some bleeding. That wasn’t your first time was it?’
Bless him, the Peter/John creature for showing an ounce of compassion in the one night stand that marked my loss of virginity, but as far as I was concerned it was the singular point where I didn’t want him to show any rumblings of tact.
‘Fuck no. Of course not’ I said – feigning a sleep raddled voice of artful casualness, ‘sorry – i must be coming on early’
‘Oh. right. Well. Thanks. it was. Great. You know.’
‘Well have a good journey back to Ireland’
‘Fuck, Are you? Well have a good one’
And he was gone.
I hid out in my room until I was sure everyone had vacated the premises and led an admirably stealth existence over the next few days in order to avoid explaining the whole debacle to any of my fellow housemates (let alone the holy landlords on high).
But I’d done it. I was a virgin no more. The conflict of emotions that that singular small fact conjured up in me was entirely unexpected. I imagined that i’d just feel relief, I was rid of the dirty secret that had haunted the idea of me that I wanted others to think was real. I didn’t expect the sadness; the lonliness as I sat in the launderette waiting for the detergent to wash away the evidence from my borrowed bedsheets; the shame that I’d lied to Peter/John – shame at myself for not being honest enough with myself to tell him the truth. I mean why the hell not?
But I also felt a certain kind of dull joy as I walked through the Boston streets on those last few solitary days of my 19 year old summer. The sensation of being that intimate with another human being was magnetic; there was a delicious secrecy and complicitness that took place that made me smile when I re-remembered (editing out the moments of messy mortification) – however tawdry it might seem through another lens. I felt grown up, and in some small way, I felt seen.
Do I wish that my first experience had been different – of course I bloody do – but it was what it was – and it served.
It’s interesting though – writing this – realising how much the idea of who I want to be gets in the way of me being who I am. For as long as I can remember it hasn’t been good enough to be me; I’ve hidden behind half truths and dishonesties. Why the hell did I lie about my virginity at 18/19 – the boys that would have taunted me for my prudishness wouldn’t be worth knowing let alone shagging and, lets face it, had probably gained most of their sexual experience with a cramping right hand and a box of tissues. Why is what and who I am not good enough for me to shout about and be proud of?
Maybe that’s what I’m learning about here. A bit.
Over and out.