The rights of passage from a child into a testosterone-driven teenager varies from society to society and tribe to tribe throughout the world. While there is a specific route taken towards manhood by some African societies that all young men follow, in the western hemisphere, young boys graduate to young men, who in turn mature into full-grown manhood by a variety of ad hoc learning means. The youth of western society essentially negotiate their sexual graduation of life with no formal ritual of maturation, and for most, they take their learning where they can.
It often begins alone in one’s bed when a new, strange and exciting feeling announces its presence beneath the sheets of shame and is next followed in acts of sexual exploration behind the bicycle sheds around the age of puberty. Next, one’s knowledge is extended through the teenage games that girls and boys engage in on an evening when school is done. This is where the first test of real character operates; a test that is grossly unfair on the female sex. It is a stage of life when male reputations are enhanced by being ‘bigged-up’ the more often they can persuade the girls to say ‘yes’, while the reputation of girls who say both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ often finishing up in the gutter of school gossip, ragged and ruined for either engaging in similar sexual behaviour to the boys or for not doing what many of the other girls have already done with the boys. Whatever the girls do or don’t do, they are either called and perceived as slags or sheltered nuns!
In modern-day Britain today, as well as across the globe, the visual turn-on that young lads used to get from leering at ‘Men’s Magazines’ off the top shelf of the newsagents or even secretly glancing through the pages of the John Lewis section that increased their sales by advertising women’s loungery and frilly underwear on beautiful and scantily clad women. Today, however, the imagination of young lads has become obsolete with the introduction of the internet, where the most graphic and intimate of sexual acts between any combination of women and men ‘at it’ can be downloaded in seconds by any young lad with a laptop or a smartphone.
Between the ages of 18 and 21 years, whether one goes straight into work or attends university, the prospect of finding a male or female virgin after the age of twenty-one arrives is less likely than Anna Soubry backing Boris Johnson for Prime Minister, and then accepting the cabinet position as Brexit Minister determined on pursuing a ‘No Deal’ as Boris drives her back home in his car following a boozy night out together on the town!
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was always a ‘ladies’ man’. I’d have to be honest and say that while I never did the dirty on any young woman, or for that matter older woman, I never left any consenting female in the slightest of doubt beforehand that it was sexual contact I wanted from our ‘brief relationship’ and not love or emotional commitment. I was a romantic young man of reasonably good looks and oozing buckets of confidence, and by the time I went to Canada in late 1963 at the age of twenty-one, I was up for anything that fitted into my confirmed bachelor lifestyle.
I’ll never forget the time that I started to enjoy and get more pleasure of going out on a date or meeting some more mature woman, older than myself, than drinking with the boys. While I do not intend to do a Tracy Emin by erecting a confessional tent that has the names of every female I have ever slept with embroidered on its inner canvas for the world to see, I am prepared to disclose two sexual relationships I once had, and which today’s song reminds me of.
The two women with whom I had a brief relationship that this song reminds me of were both older than me. There was the infant schoolteacher, Ann, from West Yorkshire and the haberdashery store manager, Annabelle Claudette, from Kentucky. The first woman was thirty-year-old divorcee, Ann who I met at a social gathering, and with whom I had a four-month liaison before I emigrated to Canada. Ann was unable to have children, a circumstance that at the time made our liaison more appealing.
My arrangement with Ann was perfect for each of us. Both of us required total discretion and neither wanted any emotional attachment to spoil any ongoing contact or interfere with our life plans. Ann’s boredom combined with my willing divergence into experiencing a sexual relationship with a more mature woman couldn’t have come together at a more opportune moment in each of our lives.
Whereas the divorcee, Ann, was the one who knew the ropes, I was still packing my ‘L’ plates in my old school satchel. With regards to showing me how much ‘I didn’t know’ about lovemaking, Ann was like the perfect ‘Mrs Robinson’ (Ann Bancroft in the film ‘The Graduate’) to the 21-year-old graduate, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film). Please note that my liaison with my Ann took place four years before the film ‘The Graduate’ came out on public release. In fact, I could so easily have written the film script, having already acted out a major part of it before emigrating to Canada. Come to think of it, for all I know, Ann (who did dabble at writing poems and short stories) probably did! Ann essentially required the loving of a young man to keep her ‘feeling young’, while I was happy to let her take the lead and learn whatever lessons she had to teach me in the bedroom.
The next woman who had a significant impact on me in the love-making department was in some ways, a natural progression from Ann to Annabelle. Annabelle Claudette was a woman in her mid-twenties who owned and managed a clothing and haberdashery store in Kentucky. We each knew (as one does) after five minutes of first meeting and exchanging those glances that require no explanation to understand their intent, that we were meant to meet, make love and move on with our lives, and that the time and place was here and now. It was as though Destiny had interrupted his day to introduce two compatible lovers to each other. Annabelle Claudette was a fetching woman who was somewhat bored with her routine life and wanted to spice it up. Never having learned how to refuse the advances of an attractive woman, I was more than happy to abandon my initial destination and reschedule the rest of that week in order to spend three nights and days in the company of the beautiful Annabelle Claudette.
‘Teach Me Tonight’ will be indelibly linked to these two unforgettable people and experiences in my life.
Love and peace Bill xxx