But I was. I was. I suppose I was a bit of a nerd, a geek, a hyper-intelligent, ultra-sensitive soul: shy, retiring, perceptive, one who sat on the periphery, observing, dwelt among old manuscripts in dusty organ-lofts, spent hours contemplating the glories of the mitochondrion or the mysteries of tensor calculus. In short, a nebbish. While others were indulging in pre- emptive fumbles behind the Ruddington Methodist Chapel, or getting themselves a slab of reluctant tongue in the Arboretum on warm summer evenings, I was inhabiting a sensual desert, refreshed only by the occasional trip up Mickleborough Hill where, beneath the roots of a tabescent sycamore tree, I had buried (in a plastic wrapper, against creepy-crawlies) a copy of Parade magazine with an interesting artistic feature on Cyd Charisse's legs.
Occasionally, however, Alistair Fraser would come round to play. He was a nice enough chap, Fraser, and I was glad enough of his company, but frankly, and without offence, I could take him or leave him. But the quid pro quo of entertaining Fraser at my house was that I would then get invited to his house, in which, not surprisingly, there was also to be found his mother. To Alistair, his mother was no more than the woman who fed him, clothed him, and intermittently gave him hell. But to me, his mother was possessed of erotic power beyond all imagining. Pip Fraser is dead now, cruelly and before her time; God, if there is one, rest her soul, if we have them; and if there is, and we do, she no doubt knows now just how many years she starred in my nightly dramas of passion, intrigue, and dark secret joy.
She was a tiny woman, five foot damn-all, with a fine high colour and dark hair and a quality which if you called it "elfin" I would have to hit you, hard, though I'm damned if I can think of another word for it. "Elfin" suggests a fey otherworldliness but Pip Fraser had an aura about her - either her own or put there by my feverish imagination - of ardent carnal enthusiasm, even though I didn't know what that amounted to in real life. I suppose she'd have been in her late thirties, and I wish I'd at least had the balls to tell her that, as a 14-year-old adolescent, blundering on the edges of manhood, she was absolutely the sexiest thing I'd ever seen or imagined.
No. Nuts. What I really wish is that I'd taken her to bed, despite my being a nebbish and her lack of judgement in having a huge manly affable husband whom she clearly adored. But I didn't.
I didn't take anyone to bed, not for ages, not until I was at university ... and even then I was (as I thought) out of the swim, everyone else at it like knives and me poodling about, absolutely convinced nobody could ever, ever fancy me and I was wasting my time thinking about it and even, at one stage, pretending to be a poove on the grounds that chaps were less choosy; at least, they were if I was anything to go by, since by the end of my first year I would have happily forged an inviolable bond with a knot-hole in a picket fence, if only I had found one.
And then my luck changed. For the worse, of course; for the utter worse. I was abused. Abused. I was wooed and seduced and taken to bed and repeatedly - repeatedly - molested by a senior member of the academic staff, a woman placed in loco parentis over me. She wouldn't leave me alone. Every time I went round there with a bottle of Bulgarian Plovdiv, she would cook me dinner and light candles and we would talk about Webster or Schubert or Joe Needham's monumental history of Chinese science, and then when I tried to kiss her she would let me and when I tried to take her to bed she would let me and when I wanted to make love for a third or fourth time that night, or sleepily and luxuriously towards dawn, she would let me do that, too, and what's more appeared to enjoy it. I mean, hell or what? I want counselling. I want damages.
It ruined my youth. Instead of hasty bunk-ups with girls my own age in scratchy fields or with one ear cocked for an approaching college porter, there I was in her big bed, under her feather duvet in her warm house. Instead of empirical fumblings and squeaks of dismay, I was subjected to the traumatic indignity of an older woman, experienced and passionate, who over the course of a year taught me bedroom manners and how to give pleasure.
We lag behind, in this country. She escaped the penalties of the law, escaped censure, escaped ever having to face the terrible consequences of the persistent severe abuse she visited upon me. But there are signs that things are changing, in America at least. America may be corrupt, drug-ridden, sentimental, gullible, insular, governed by swine and morons, lowering its underclass into inextricable despair, uncomprehending, warmongering, whoremongering, buggardly and xenophobic, but show it a youth - a Nottinghamshire boy, like me - receiving a fine sentimental education between the thighs of an older woman and it by God knows what to do. Maybe it's not too late. Maybe I could still sue. !Reuse content