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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on March 21, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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Why should I feel bad about something I ain’t ‘ad
such stupidness is mad cos nothing underfoot
comes to nothing less to add to a load of old toot
and I ain’t half not half glad coz there’s nowhere to put it
even if I ‘ad i’m a bit of a Jack the Lad

from Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Clever Trevor

I was 16 forever.

I chiefly recall my permanent erection, which had arisen at age 13 and remained hard ever since. I longed and lusted and ached for sex, which called me like Alaska called Jack London. It wanted my satisfaction more than life itself. It was my hourly imperative. It was completely useless, I wasn’t getting any.

I did a few sensible things, like buying Levi 501s, like cutting my straggling hippy hair, a legacy from my older rock-beer-and-football loving brothers and a lenient mother. I walked into school late the Monday after Russ’s sister chopped the lank locks, needing to avoid the inevitable pre-school playground taunting that would certainly accompany my image change. My English teacher Mr Reed caught me loitering in the corridor, unwilling to enter an assembly late and incur the attention of the entire year. He winked and sidled up to me, and gave a low whistle. I tried not to smile. “Get in there!” he commanded, pointing to the rows of boys black-uniformed backs and bony arses parked on the wooden hall floor. Looking suddenly hip I felt acutely self-conscious, and tried to avoid eye contact with everyone, as I silently slipped into place.

16 meant taking GCE “O” levels (General Certificates of Education, Ordinary Level) after 4 years of curriculum study. It meant deciding whether to stay on at school for “A” levels, which in turn meant College. During the long hot Saturdays of 1977 and 1978 I sacrificed hours of park football, bicycling, drinking beer, and hanging around Croydon Youth Theatre, where there were girls, so that I could cram for my Mathematics “O”, needed if I wanted a hope of attending a University, or one of the urban Polytechnics, which in those pre-reformation/educational upgrade days often produced better courses than the underfunded old Unis. My “O” levels were duly passed, the Maths a barely-scraped “C”, but enough to justify my advancing to 6th form.

The delight of the 6th form was the shared block with the girls school next door. This was a place of great hormonal activity. We were allowed to wear coloured shirts in place of the grey or white. Although lessons were still separate, we shared a well-stocked library and a common room with the girls. I joined the library as a librarian, as it offered the librarian’s room, tea-making facilities and closer, more intimate proximity to girls than the common room afforded. It worked, and soon I embarked on my first real love affair, with Jane.

Jane was a Scorpio, 3 months older than I, and as we grew close, she confessed that she was no longer a virgin. But I was, embarrassingly so, months after the legal age of consent (16) had been passed. I thought Jane’s previous experience was good, as it meant that more than likely, I would get to fuck at last. Yes, I loved her. Yes, I was also that carnal. I just really wanted to fuck, it’s a young male thing. I would have fucked all day, every day. In my head I kept a list of women I intended to fuck. I sat on the bus back from school, looking out of the window, mentally adding to my list… yes… yes… no… yes… YES… maybe…

Jane made all of that redundant.

I just wanted her. All of my straining, unrequited sexuality wanted her. All of my emotionally locked up and controlling nature. Her. She didn’t know what she was initiating when she jumped off the heater one lunchtime and told me with a shy smile that she thought she loved me.

I read somewhere that when you fall in love, the size of the fall depends on the level of loneliness you previously experienced. After 11 years of emotional isolation and family misfitting, with my precocious academic and artistic abilities occasionally lifting me briefly into the spotlight, I needed a decade of hugs. All I could think about was sex, after years of building it up to be the answer to all ills and discomfort, I went to a foaming fantasy heaven filled with an endless variety of sexual positions and total physical pleasure.

Jane I will forever thank for one reason, which is her contribution to my musical development. She bought me “New Boots and Panties” by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, for my 17th birthday, and 7 days later on a Saturday night, armed with condoms bought from the machine in the Blue Anchor, left alone for the purposes of petting, we went for it in my parents front room. The entire family was present in the house elsewhere, kept only in place by the TV, but somehow, we had ceased to care whether or not we were interrupted. Passion and persuasion overwhelmed inhibition, the condom went on, and my past life as a virgin began.

On the turntable, on repeat, was Ian Dury, and just as we got down to the sticky business of insertion, one song was chiming out, drowning our muffled sighs and moans and slurps and elbow bangs. It was a fabulous irony – here I was in the arms of my very first lover, listening to one of the most bitter and twisted songs ever written about male-female relations.

If I Was With A Woman

If I was with a woman she’d wonder what was happening
Little things would slowly go askew
If I was with a woman I’d make her quite unhappy
‘Specially when she did not want me to

If I was with a woman I’d make believe I loved her
When all the time I would not like her much
If I was with a woman she’d soon become unsettled
I’d show her but I would not let her touch

Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Laughing, laughing

If I was with a woman I’d never ask her questions
But if she did not want me to I would
If I was with a woman I’d offer my indifference
And make quite sure she never understood

If I was with a woman I’d threaten to unload her
Every time she asked me to explain
If I was with a woman she’d have to learn to cherish
The purity and depth of my disdain

Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Laughing, laughing

I’ve been with a woman, she took away my spirit
No woman’s coming close to me again
I’ve been with a woman, she took away my spirit
No woman’s coming close to me again

Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Look at them laughing
Laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing
Laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing…

Lyrics: Ian Dury, Music: Chaz Jankel, The Blockheads

In the following months I tried hard to make up for my years of isolation and lust by having constant sex. Since we couldn’t spend the night together owing to her mother’s paranoia, we had sex wherever we could, at any time. Pre-lesson sex in the reference section surrounded by the Oxford English Dictionary, post-lesson sex in a park. Stumbling home from the pub on rum and black in an alley sex. Sex sex sex sex sex, sex until I couldn’t do it any more, and then more as soon as I could. The quality/quantity equation had not yet entered my mind.

It all ended in tears, of course, as teen affairs frequently do. Jane was in a pretty depressed situation, from a traumatised, broken family, damn poor, frequently miserable, uncertain about hygene, and not too academic. I was an escape. The love and affection I felt was hard for me to express, and even though my romantic inclinations even extended to a one-kneed proposal of marriage, my charms eventually paled, and Jane, forever trapped, looked elsewhere and found God, the Head Librarian.

Even though it was always going to happen, I was gutted like a kipper. The night I lost her, I wept the tears I had not since the death of my Grandmother 7 years previously. Yet one song brought us briefly back together – we went to see the film Quadrophenia. Watching the film in the Odeon, Purley, Jane experienced a moment of indentification with the then-supersexy Leslie Ash, and feeling disloyal turned back to me in remorse. But our love was shattered, not to be remade, and though this restored some pride, I knew I was done here, too hurt to trust her further.

Love, Reign O’er Me

Only love
Can make it rain
The way the beach is kissed by the sea
Only love
Can make it rain
Like the sweat of lovers
Laying in the fields

Love, Reign o’er me
Love, Reign o’er me, rain on me

Only love
Can bring the rain
That makes you yearn to the sky
Only love
Can bring the rain
That falls like tears from on high

Love Reign O’er Me

On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home to cool cool rain
The nights are hot and black as ink
I can’t sleep and I lay and I think
Oh God, I need a drink of cool cool rain

Pete Townsend, from Quadrophenia by The Who

Wearing my expensively acquired cynicism like a new fashion item, I stuck around long enough to pick up my Christmas present, a silver chain, and then I simply ceased to care about Jane, erased her like the callous youth I was, and looked elsewhere for love which to my great surprise, I promptly found at the checkouts in Texas Homecare.

I saw Jane recently in Govinda’s north of Soho Square. She looked pretty good for 40+, nice skin and short hair, sorting something out with a man, probably her lover. Still miserable. I thought about saying something but it seemed wrong, so with typical English manners, I made sure I didn’t intrude, but caught her eye as I left and smiled. She looked shocked as she realised who I was. Same old same old.

Knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor.

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This thing has 5 Comments

  1. karma
    Posted 21 March, 2005 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Ah, to be 16 again ;))

  2. Blog ho
    Posted 21 March, 2005 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m still willing to fuck every day…all day. well written, as usual.

  3. Miss Wired
    Posted 22 March, 2005 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    I find running into old friends (etc) a terrifying moment and, at the same time, a moment that marks the amount of personal development I have acheived since the last time we met; whether I can let things drop or not is my test.

  4. transience
    Posted 22 March, 2005 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    so that was what i didn’t do at 16. damnit.

  5. finnegan
    Posted 24 March, 2005 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Got a boner over at my blog—not as big a boner as this one here, but a boner nonetheless.

    I enjoyed this—came over from transience.

    By the way, where has her comments ‘pedal up’ gone?

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