Today’s song takes me all the way back to the start of the 1960s and my years as a wild and rebellious teenager who thought he was God’s gift to women. I was always a good-enough looking young man, and what I lacked in the facial beauty stakes, I more than made up with my popularity and abundance of confidence. While there were a couple of young men in our going-out group of friends who were certainly more gorgeous-looking than me, I can definitely say I was the best singer and dancer among the lot of them. The single and most important weapon I had in my personality file, however, was that dynamic cocktail blend of ‘good boy/bad boy’ image; that part-combination of a young man that all females secretly desire but few are brave enough to publicly acknowledge.
I was certainly conscious of my ‘pulling power’ with the ladies, and while I need to suppress every last ounce of modesty I possess today to inform you of this fact, no part of me was ever suppressed during my teenage years before my twenties. When I dolled up to go out for a night on the town, I never dressed to kill; merely impress enough to get me two successive dances with the chosen girl on the floor. Once the young woman had accepted a second and successive dance invitation from me, she was mine for the rest of the night, if I didn’t get bored with her company.
Now, I know that all you women reading this will be thinking, ‘What an arrogant, vain sod Bill is!’, and if you are, I willingly confess to once being so before my early twenties. However, don’t forget this ‘bad boy’ side of me (my vanity) was blended with another vital aspect of my personality; the ‘good boy’ side of me’. This 'good boy' side made me the kind of boy that the parents of any girlfriend I ever dated would be happy to welcome into their home for Sunday afternoon tea. I was always suspicious of such parental invitations. Whenever I received such an invitation, I would invariably take fright and run a mile. I’d politely decline with some excuse that still allowed them to hold a favourable impression of me. To tell the truth, I used to believe that the parents were simply wanting to get their eligible daughters married off to the first decent chap that showed his face over the Sunday afternoon dining table in their best room.
Then, every Saturday night when I went out dancing at the Town Hall, I would suppress my mother’s constant advice to find myself a nice girl and settle down into married life, and instead, bring to the fore of my mind the advice my father proffered as I combed my hair in the mirror for the final time before going out the door. Dad would simply say,” There’s no hurry to wed, Billy. Have your fun while you can, lad!” This advice merely supported my earlier suspicions that their oldest child of seven (myself) had been a consequence of my parent's unbridled feelings towards each other one moonlit night as they walked back home, instead of me having been a planned pregnancy within their marriage!
Back to the Saturday night dance and all the masculine machinations that used to govern a young man’s chain of thought from the start of the night to when he linked up with his lady friend at its end. When the dance was over, I would walk home the young woman whom I’d enjoyed the last dance with, holding her hand all the way in hopeful expectation of some tangible reward at the journey’s end. But during our journey, my ‘good boy’ feelings would find themselves being slowly smothered, and eventually suppressed by my ‘bad boy’ thoughts that now assumed supremacy and mental control.
I didn’t want the prospect of ending my night with a whimper instead of a big bang. As we walked holding hands tenderly, I would invariably start to have those old feelings all over again; you know the type of feelings I mean: the stirrings of the loins that seem to make all moons shine brighter: married life in the near future appear rosier: and even a couple of snotty-nosed children running around you, yelling ‘Daddy-Daddy-daddy!’ for your first five years of married life seem to make the sheer sexual excitement and satisfaction of the next few minutes’ worth it!
That would be when the ‘good boy’ part of my personality would wake up and come back into the equation to do battle with the ‘bad boy’ side of my personality. Would I finish the night off as either ‘romantic’ or ‘rogue’ of the month? All this mental conflict would do battle inside me as the power of the ‘Holy Catholic Church’ entered deadly combat with all downstairs thoughts of the Devil in me. Whichever side of my personality won through always walked a moral tightrope. The young woman would either be seductively won over or I would revert to the ‘good boy’ side of my personality and find myself ‘falling in love’ all over again for the third time that month.
Such situations, alas, only produced three outcomes of a night out for a young man on the pull. It could fizzle out like a damp squib by the end of the walk home with your lady friend as she gave you one safe kiss that was too short in duration to even require you taking the chewing gum out of your mouth, before going through her front door saying ‘Goodnight, Billy. See you around’. Or half-way through a passionate end-of-night kiss, either one or both parties might exclaim breathlessly, “Here comes that feeling… again…and again”, leading to an inevitable shot-gun wedding four months later. Very rarely would true romance be found in one’s midnight fumble inside the cookie jar?
For those romantics who found a perfect partner, the subsequent commitment to the one you love would require the greatest of manly discipline and human sacrifices imaginable to the mind of a twenty-year-old male. The discovery of one’s perfect mate would lead to a five-year engagement period, in which no lower groping could be contemplated or would be tolerated before the marriage bands had been read out in the parish church. In addition, compulsory Sunday afternoon visits and tea in the best room with one’s prospective in-laws would instantly commence and be expected to last until the day of the couple’s marriage.
After the marriage of the young couple, the tables would be turned; and instead, it would be your in-laws who would do the Sunday visiting, for which no formal invitation was ever required.
I must admit when I think back on these days, the advice of both mum and dad held their own merit in some regards, but whatever their advice was, it all came back to that awareness following the Saturday night dance, when on walking your girl back home you felt a strange stirring inside of you and thought to yourself, “Here comes that feeling” again…and…again.and…again!
Love and peace. Bill xxx