Boomer girls

There was a man I knew throughout most of the eighties. We drank a lot of ale together and smoked a lot of hashish. One day he told me why he didn’t like opera.

“None of the characters ever shows a level of intelligence any higher than that of the average bedbug!” he told me, with characteristic vehemence.

Casanova was intelligent, Don Juan not. One thinks of Don Juan as different from Casanova, but actually they were the same. Don Juan was an operatic Casanova, the great Venetian was consulted by Mozart when composing his masterwork.

With changing times sex became more generally available. There was however some loss of power.

Life in the time of my youth was experimental. The rules had gone and had to be reinvented. There were some constants though. If you understand what those were you will be able to write the history.

Nothing was as we were told, yet still they tried to tell us.

I was conscious of hostility that was general throughout society. Some people were not aware of it. This type which was not me, had, so it seemed, a different way of being in the world. How many of my friends were Don Juans? How much feeling was suppressed for the sake of sex emotional satisfaction, reduction to a level of equality?

Back in those days the sense of entitlement was a working class thing. It was a diluted form of what conquering armies feel. One didn't want northern upstarts getting their paws all over one's women, whatever they felt about it.

I knew what I wanted, or rather I thought I did, something most men want.

There are a number of stereotypes one forms that are not oneself. One conceives of an ease one does not oneself know. There is something one does not really want to be, something that even annoys because it is not oneself. It is imagined as something in a way desired but in another way not, dismissed as shallow.

One had images of the promiscuous man, the promiscuous woman (excluding her), the successful young man… Some these were slightly older than oneself, people with money. They formed distasteful archetypes that contaminated the imagination.

I shall name two of them. There was Edward, and there was Richard. These were two people who had fucked my women. What can I say about them? Both were richer than me, and stupider. I was always polite to them, if inwardly I felt unease and a degree of contempt. That they were slightly older is significant. I have a worm’s eye view of them. It was a real one, though, I think. I wasn’t seeing anything that wasn’t there.

Women were very fond of Richard, he seemed to inspire affection. He was a trendy, rich, but amiable and weak. She was fond of him almost like she was of me. When he died young of a brain tumour I was happy, even though Edward was still alive.

Psychoanalysts used to psychoanalyse the type of the Don Juan.

The tyrant wants to know everything. Yet there is a huge territory where his intuition fails. Here there is something of most intimate concern, all to do with rudeness. His little sister knows and he doesn’t. With his ignorance goes rage.

Walter thought that women are the same everywhere. That is a principle on which the young may now work.

Haroun el Rashid lost his Hearts Desire.

Of the females I came across many were left-wingers, socialists, liberationists of one kind or another, all thinking they had the future sewn up. Women invited into the ordinary; what they promised came at that price.

You begin in childhood with taught boundaries. Adopting these, you want to assert them on your own. You are in your own family with its standards, defensive against the world outside. Growing up is an assault, partly by and partly on others. Most of what you learnt has to be smashed down. The rude is something you come to desire more than anything else.

I wonder about past generations, about everything that was unspoken, and the triggers of desire. The sexual practices of one’s grandparents are a mystery; still more those of one’s great grandparents. How precisely did they feel about arses or wanking? It is not altogether pleasant to think about. And what did they know about it? They hadn’t read the books that we did. When I lived with them I am sure they were not having sex.

Your own practices are yet your own connection with the rest of society. Hypocrisy is ubiquitous. Everyone is lying. Then there is all the shame, so much of it. They know more about you than they are likely to let on. Do they talk about it among themselves?

Back in those days Lord Longford assumed that everyone must be against filth, or at least that is what he said. How can I relate to filth?

Women and girls have a wisdom that men lack. They have a biological understanding that is nothing to do with any freely chosen beliefs. It is also something threatening and infuriating. Prostitutes had wisdom. Once our protestant society was far more fragmented than it is today, criss-crossed with hypocrisy.

Not to know everything is humiliating.

What people do with their sex organs is like what they do when they shit. It is like going to the toilet to excrete, a private matter. That thought brings consolation. The alternative would be too bad to contemplate. There are urges. They need to be satisfied. All that we understand and forgive.

There was something that had to be overcome, a dissatisfaction that went with a kind of radical envy. Nothing was right, including when the barriers broke down. Everything was wrong with women and society. Take Shelley’s doctrine of free love. We try it, find it doesn’t work and something else takes its place, something more radically selfish.

It took me long to get over all that. When it came to looking for a mistress in later life I was doubtful it could it be done. All my attempts had been failures. I had the wrong idea. Nothing would work as an effort of my own will. Whenever I got women they had always come to me on their own initiative. As it turned out that’s the way it still was. Claire introduced herself to me. She liked something I had written and wanted to meet.

Casanova was with two ladies in Paris at the time of the execution of Damiens, who was as you recall that failed assassin of Louis XV. They expressed a desire to watch, so he told them he had access to a window. He hadn’t at that point, but he went off and rented one for a high sum. At his invitation they joined him for the spectacle of this unfortunate man being exquisitely tortured to death, and were very excited sexually. Plus ça change. The modern woman watches the execution of Bigley and Saddam Hussein on her computer screen. At least this one did.

Baby boomers are said to be those born between 1945 and 1965, so this one I met after all that time was still one of them. But she was not like the others I remembered. She was refreshing, later born, differently experienced.

Yet when we were screwing sometimes things she said disturbed me. “The Devil our Master” she said, including me, as if we had signed some diabolic pact. That was something I didn’t want to do. I would be the Devil, or the equal of the Devil, but not admit him as my master. That was a female role.

Yet whatever the nervous unease I was to feel at her tastes at least I had found one.

One sunny day she took me to the botanic garden, “the only one in Europe which satisfies us” according to her. There was a long queue at the entrance, and it was expensive to get in. I had memories of what it used to cost, 1p, and before decimalisation three old pennies. There is a little girl with her grandmother in the queue. Claire talks to her. I have thoughts of little girls growing up into women, which is to say your enemies until you catch them.

It was the second of May. We sat down and drank cider outside the pavilion. Then we made our way towards the bluebells and the wild garlic. Those flowers brought thoughts of Winston and Julia in Orwell’s 1984. It was among the bluebells that he possessed her.

We came across a couple of bowers, where seclusion may be found. We sat on a bench and after we’d shared a joint I asked if I could lay my head in her lap to sleep. “Something to do first”, she said. She got up an knelt beside me, unbuttoned my trousers, put her mouth to my member and sucked me off, swallowing as she always did. After that I put my head in her lap and slept for a few minutes. When I woke she talked of one she knew who used to come here, a man who was mentally ill. I was the same. I used to come here a lot too.

Here is a very old chestnut tree. I have thoughts of goddesses and then of women as termagants, devils, harpies, gorgons. There are some women whose place in our society is to be hated.

As we meandered among the trees Claire talked with an enthusiasm that rose to a mystical excitement. I was struck by the originality her take on nature, a nature mysticism which seemed to revel in all the cruelty of it.

We stopped to look at the notices on the trees. One of them explained coppicing. She seemed to delight in that, in the cutting down of the tree. Here was a giant lily that flowers every seven years, flowering now. We read about the holm oak, known in Latin as quercus Ilex. Beneath the cedars, trees that have always attracted me, we crunched the fir cones underfoot. She told me how she once come here high on LSD. I said that would hardly be necessary. We found some stinging nettles. I picked one, and got her to pull down her trousers and knickers so I could stroke it across her bare arse.

After our visit to the gardens next I had to take her to the opera. I was willing to learn, happy to overcome my prejudice against it, which I had told her about. This was a new art form for me.

It was all about dark plots of revenge and passion. As we left the theatre she was obviously moved, as excited by them as she had been by the flowers, the trees and the nettle. I let fall some casual remark about the plot that she picked up on. Later that evening she said I had just revealed some anger in me, feelings of vengeful hate that had not been purged, and she encouraged it, telling me I must not repress them. There must be someone I would have liked to have killed. Could I recover some jealousy from the past, or even hatred for a public figure, a policeman who offended me?

Those words of mine had meant nothing. At least that’s what I told myself at the time, but maybe she was right. In response to her probing I told her how years ago I used to soothe myself to sleep with fantasies of revenge. I would think about shooting my enemy, how I would get hold of a gun how I would get away with it. How real had murder plots ever been in my mind? They no longer troubled me now I had her. She wanted to hear abut them so I told her.

She tells me I need to explore my emotions more. I am repressed, she says. I should not be so afraid. Centuries ago people were more expressive and that was healthier. Duelling was good, she said, but she personally was more attracted to secret murder.

Edward, I discovered, was still alive.

For her it was not enough just to dream. We discussed how these thoughts might be put into effect.

And gradually I came to think of new ways of looking at my ancient sources of consolation. Steadily she led me on, not too fast at first, but it got baser, even less noble, more savage. Memories were dragged up of how I used to feel in some of the worst years of my youth, when I had it in me to become a serial killer. Aren’t most young men like that?

Alternatively, I told her, I could kill a random woman, no matter whom, so long as she was attractive. I could re-evoke the sort of feeling I had my frustrated youth. Claire encouraged these memories too.

I told her of how I used to feel when I was even younger. How I would fantasise about murdering a woman, a stranger, stabbing her savagely in the genitals and ripping her apart. The relief promised was not so much sexual as emotional. The thought did not give me an erection, just help me to sleep at night. Claire did not see it like that, to her it was my kink, and very arousing. She tried to turn it into plans

Was she crazy? Was I?

More and more I felt pulled into her games, tempted. It seemed to me I was on the verge of doing something terrible, though I hadn’t yet chosen what. Lord Longford would have understood me but he was dead by then, so he couldn’t visit me in prison. It was to be an act, a drama like a crime of passion, but much more than that, something meaningful like a work of art, like grand opera. It would have been as much for Claire as for myself.

I was moving towards an operatic denouement. Looking back now I see I was losing my reason. She took me up to the edge of the ultimate horror from which one day I woke up and fled, like Goldilocks…

But I lie. That wasn’t really why it finished. That was only because my wife found out about her. After that happened I never saw Claire again.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License