"This is the book of life I should have read before leaving university in London.
It's got it all.
Sex, sex tourism, drugs, alcohol, alcoholism, prostitution & suicide.
In my search for sex and sobriety I travel from London to Amsterdam; to San Francisco, California; to Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand and to Manila, Angeles City & Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Don't end up a loser like me.
Read this book."
- Paul Pisces
Chapter 3: The Once Over
During the holidays I spend a lot of time with my old mate from school, Glen. It was Glen who got me to join the youth club and it was Glen who showed me the ropes. He is a guy with a heart of gold and I promise that I have forgiven him for shooting at me with that air pistol.
By this time the fact that he shot at me with an air pistol is ancient history. I have virtually forgotten about it. And I have definitely forgiven him. Honest. Glad we could clear that up. I met Glen when we were 15 and it wasnít until we were 16 that he shot at me with an air pistol. I wonít mention it again.
But now we are both 19 and it's the holidays. Yippee! Glen has a girlfriend (Elaine - now his wife) but that doesn't stop us racing round town and whooping it up at either the nightclub in Eld Lane (The Affair - alas no more) or the club behind the Siege House pub (L'Aristos). Sometimes, just for a change, we go to Essex University on the edge of Colchester if there is a good band playing.
It is at a gig at Essex University that I meet Louisa. Glen and I are standing on the fringe of the dancing melee, beer in hand, eyeing the talent when suddenly Glen exclaims "Come on. There's a girl I know over there. It's Louisa. I'll introduce you". Glen leads me towards the far wall where an astonishingly pretty girl stands alone. She has long, fine, naturally blonde hair parted in the middle, full lips with bright red lipstick and innocent but friendly blue eyes. I am captivated. Glen makes chit-chat as I stare hypnotised by this girlís beauty.
"This is Paul," announces Glen and he elbows me to get my attention. I do my best to make conversation while Glen goes to get us all another drink. I ask her how she knows Glen - she used to live in the same street. What does she do? Sheís going to go to teacher training college in Chichester on the south coast after the holidays. I am just babbling. Anything to stay in the presence of this goddess.
Glen returns with the drinks. More chit-chat. Glen is good at chit-chat. Heís a natural. Open, friendly, warm. A good guy. One of the best. Louisa says she's got to go as her lift is due to arrive. "Can I ring you?" I mumble. Did I really say it or did I imagine it? She opens her handbag, pulls out an eyeliner, writes her number down on a scrap of paper and hands it to me. I did say it! I did say it! Yes, yes, yes. Iíve got her fucking number. There is a God! Holy fuck! There is a God!
After a few stiff drinks to calm the nerves, I ring Louisa the next evening and manage to arrange a date for the following night. I tell her that I have heard there's another gig at Essex University so that's where we decide to go.
I pick her up and am given the once over by her mum. I think I pass. Louisa looks fantastic and I get a hard-on but fortunately this fact is not registered by her mum. If I were to be hyper critical, Louisa has smallish breasts (which in fact I like) and a slightly big arse but in the tight black cords sheís wearing, I wouldnít change a thing. We make small-talk about school, college, her brother, my brothers. Itís all going well until we arrive at Essex University. The bands play down in the basement and as we go down the stairs it is all quiet and very obvious that there is no gig. Louisa looks nervous.
"Its OK." I say "We must have got the wrong night. Let's go to the uni bar."
She looks relieved and smiles.
In the bar we drink and chat. Her parents divorced several years ago and her mum has a steady boyfriend who's a good guy by all accounts. The Sex Pistols blare out of the juke box. She tells me that she is 18.
"What star-sign are you?" I ask (well you have to donít you?).
"Pisces," she smiles. (God, she looks sexy when she smiles).
"Thatís a coincidence. Iím a Piscean too. When is your birthday?"
"March 18th," she says.
My mouth drops open.
"That's my birthday!" I shout.
What a coincidence. This is fate. We both realise it. The ice is broken. We laugh and hug. A drunk student comes over to our table and slurs that it's nice to see two people in love. Too many sad people in the world he continues. (I always attract odd people. Drunks, loonies, losers, they all want to talk to me. Worrying isn't it?) Louisa is relaxed and happy and the drunk leaves us winking and smiling.
"You know I was really worried earlier," she confides.
"When?" I ask, happy because she now wants to confide in me. We are practically an item.
"In the basement. I thought you might be a rapist."
We both laugh. The ice is completely melted. I'm not a rapist. It's official. All barriers are down. I think we are an item.
I drop her off at home where we kiss and fondle. We are, after all, an item. I drive away happier than I can ever remember.
Yes, yes, yes. I have a girlfriend. There is a God. There must be.
Later in the holidays I am invited to a party by our rich neighbour's daughter. I had recently met up with Sarah in London, before I met Louisa, and I had a bit of a crush on her. It was unrequited love.
The party is quite a lavish affair and the champagne is flowing freely. I am able to take Louisa and she is suitably impressed. My parents are away on holiday and my mind is working overtime.
Midnight arrives and the party is beginning to wind down. Louisa (Lou) and I make our excuses and I quietly suggest to her that she might like to stay the night with me. Rather unexpectedly she agrees but says she'll have to ring her mum. She can ring the bloody Archbishop of Canterbury for all I care.
Yes, yes, yes!
We walk to my parents' house hand in hand. It is a beautiful night. The stars are out. Surely a fuck isn't out of the question. Inside Lou rings her mum but sheís on the phone a long time and I begin to sweat. Fifteen minutes later all appears to be resolved. Parental approval or at least acceptance has been obtained. But for what?
We go upstairs to my parents room and undress. Lou tells me she's a virgin. I had guessed this. What she hasn't guessed is that I'm a virgin too. It's the blind leading the blind. God help us. Fortunately I've read and reread 'The Joy of Sex' and 'More Joy of Sex' so I'm hopeful that my foreplay is up to the job. Plus I know where her cunt is because Mark told me. Itís underneath.
God, a virgin fucking a virgin is hard work but eventually we get it in. It is actually quite good fun and I think we are both very relieved not to be virgins anymore. We cuddle and kiss and sleep.
In the morning, nursing our hangovers, we wash the bedsheets. Blood everywhere. That's virgins for you. I take her home. We are in love, you cynics. It's official.
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