You’re not getting anything, are you?’; ‘You haven’t even had a bit of tit, have you?’ Girls, meanwhile, had to be content with the Santa Hellraiser Merry Christmas Go Ahead Open Your Present Sweatshirt passive voice. Penny used the expression ‘broken into’: ‘I don’t want to be broken into yet,’ she would explain patiently and maybe a little sadly (she seemed to understand that one day — but not now — she would have to give in, and when it happened she wouldn’t like it) when she removed my hand from her chest for the one hundred thousandth time. Attack and defense, invasion and repulsion . . . it was as if breasts were little pieces of property that had been unlawfully annexed by the opposite sex — they were rightfully ours and we wanted them back. Luckily, however, there were traitors, fifth columnists, in the opposing camp.
Some boys knew of other boys whose girlfriends would ‘let’ them do anything; sometimes these girls were supposed to have actively assisted in their own molestation. Nobody had ever heard of a girl who had gone as far as undressing, or even removing or loosening undergarments, of course. That would have been taking collaboration too far. As I understood it, these girls had simply positioned themselves in a way that encouraged access. ‘She tucks her stomach in and everything,’ Clive Stevens remarked approvingly of his brother’s girlfriend; it took me nearly a year to work out the Santa Hellraiser Merry Christmas Go Ahead Open Your Present Sweatshirt import of this maneuver. No wonder I still remember the stomach-tucker’s first name (Judith); there’s a part of me that still wants to meet her.
Read any women’s magazine and you’ll see the same complaint over and over again: men — those little boys ten or twenty or thirty years on — are hopeless in bed. They are not interested in ‘foreplay’; they have no desire to stimulate the erogenous zones of the Santa Hellraiser Merry Christmas Go Ahead Open Your Present Sweatshirt opposite sex; they are selfish, greedy, clumsy, unsophisticated. These complaints, you can’t help feeling, are kind of ironic. Back then, all we wanted was foreplay, and girls weren’t interested. They didn’t want to be touched, caressed, stimulated, aroused; in fact, they used to thump us if we tried. It’s not really very surprising, then, that we’re not much good at all that. We spent two or three long and extremely formative years being told very forcibly not even to think about it.