C was fabulous and unhappy, a combination that thrilled me at 18. She probably just wanted sex – and was banjaxed to discover a virginal 18-year-old who ‘just wanted to sleep with her’, so terrified was I of the whole subject… She was 1.5 years older than me, and it might as well have been 10. She was 20 and had been ‘doing sex’ for 4 years, since 16 (at least. This was nothing on her elder brother who had lost his virginity at…).
When her ex-boyfriend Steve Connor (now dead) visited, I would dutifully leave her upstairs bedroom and go downstairs to my single bed (she – naturally – had a double). I had an unfortunate ‘little me’ side to my personality, which – while it was genuine (I really did want to thank them for letting me…) – wasn’t designed to appeal to horny 20-year-olds…
Eventually, somewhere towards the end of the winter term (or whatever ‘Oxfordians’ call it… Michaelmas?), I ‘got the hang’ and soon, with the help of 12” singles (notably the works of Imagination), ‘learned the ropes’.
Channel 4 started that winter and I have happy memories of watching every one of their weekend film noir season, which was especially good since our TV was black and white. A lowlight was watching Margaret Thatcher’s 2nd election victory in 1983.
She was, however, STILL unhappy – and, unlike me, had another offer: to go to the Royal Academy. Which she did at the end of the 2nd year. And that was it for me too…
Ironically, I only tried ‘going on dates’ with her later that autumn, 1983 – by which time it was much too late. And you can’t really call it ‘going on a date’ if your ex-girlfriend just feels sorry for you, after you’ve split up…
Me in front of my portrait, by C.
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