Some friends and I used go to a Youth Club every Thursday night. There were three boys there; Tom, Tom and John, who we were all in various stages of having crushes on. We were twelve years old and it was all very exciting.
Then some new boys came to Youth Club, Michael and Oliver. I liked Michael and my friend liked Oliver. Something happened one week when he was coming to Youth Club, he got into a fight or someone beat him up or something. He was an easy target as he was really very short. So he wasn’t at Youth Club that week. I missed him and got all Jane Eyre about it and realised I really really liked him.
There was one major problem though. He was in the year below. O. My. Goodness. Liking a year seven boy when you’re a year eight girl is sooooo not the done thing. The girls in school said I’d get called a Cradle Snatcher. I got even more Jane Eyre about it and promised myself this wouldn’t keep us apart! (Yes, we were 11 and 12 years old… What of it?)
There was lots of chatting and what I perceived at the time to be ‘flirting’ but nothing much else. I mean, past that, what is it ever at age 12?
Until there was a school disco. As I went to a girls’ school, the discos would be together with one of the boys’ schools. It just so happened that Michael went to the boys’ school that we were having the disco with that time.
My friend, the one who liked Michael’s friend, and I were walking to class that day, excited for the disco, declaring loudly about how ‘I never thought I’d like a year seven boy,’ and realised all the classes had already started and were sitting in silence and a lot of them had their doors open into the corridor. God knows what they must have thought of our inane chat about year seven boys, like we were such grown ups and year sevens are really little.
Anyway, the night of the disco and there we were, Michael and I, holding plastic bottles of Panda Pops in illunimous colours, bobbing about unrhymically a little bit near each other. At one stage, we took it further by putting our fingertips gingerly on each others’ shoulders and stepping from side to side in time.
And therein lay the problem. I was taller than him to start with and I had put high heels on for the evening. They weren’t mega high but enough to make a difference.
A bit later we were standing separately, each with our gang of friends and there was a flurry of messengers back and forth. This was how things worked at discos.
You saw a boy you liked the look of. You asked your friend to ask him if he wanted to dance. There was some running back and forth until it was eventually decided. You’d linger around until a new song started or until he’d finished his dance with another girl and then you’d walk over, each raise your hands, the girl tended to put her hands on his shoulders and he would put his hands on her waist, all done from afar, mind you. And you would step or sway from side to side for a few minutes then separate and scurry back to your friends. It was the height of excitement for a twelve year old.
If you had decided you wanted to kiss a boy, the same system of messengers ran back and forth to establish a yes or a no and then you approached each other, awkwardly snogged a bit while everyone gawped, then maybe had a little hugging dance afterward, then parted and ran off to tell your friends about it.
Michael and I had decided it was time for the next stage. His friend approached me and asked if I wanted to kiss Michael. I, the classy girl that I am, said alright, but as the height difference would make it awkward, I had spotted some chairs by the wall so we’d have to perch there to even out the height difference. And so we did. We perched, guffawing a little and waiting for the other to start the process. We then kissed a little bit, parted, smiled, unsure of what to say and then stood and each walked off to our friends.
And that was it really. The romance ended pretty shortly after that. I think I’d decided a relationship that consisted of sitting down kissing was a bit too high maintenance for me. I was off to find a boy I could kiss while standing up!