Being in the spare room often gives me cause to reflect on manly stirrings. The wife has extreme menopause of a kind that leaves me feeling like Lawrence of Arabia in the impassable Nefud Desert. Sand, sand and more damned sand. Not a drop of water in sight.
Last night I explored the baser part of my fishbowl right back to the beginning and my first crush – Jenny “The Spunk” (Jenny pronounced with an ‘ee’ and not an ‘ay’ – that’s Forrest Gump’s Jenny, not my Jenny.)
My Jenny was quintessentially English with thick hand knitted jumpers, cascading curls and she was smart. My only criticism if I had one, was that she wore thick knee-high embroidered patterned white socks. Good quality ones from England. Whereas the more skin I could see of Jenny the better.
She was my “Spunk” or “Honey” as both boys and girls (“Sheilas” and “Fellas”) called each other they fancied back then. Sad thing is she just didn’t know it or the steaming pile of goodness she was missing out on.
But how does a 10 year old impress this 1970s Aphrodite or even get her to notice him ?
In my mind I saw myself as a young Harry Hamlin (Perseus) and her my scantily clad classical beauty Judi Bowker (Princess Andromeda) from the Clash of the Titans movie. Barring the bucked teeth and bowl haircut my mum gave me, though.
Judi was an on-screen crush of mine and a “Hottie” by the way.
Yes, I know that movie was from the 80s and the crush was in the 70s, but time blurs you know and the feelings were the same. Unfortunately though our encounters were like stop-motion Ray Harryhausen cinematography from the movie. Stilted and stumbling.
This was my dilemma.
Lurching back to the 70s, I’d been watching CHiPs on TV with Jon and Ponch and noticed the way the bikes were veritable chick magnets. No sooner had they stopped their motorcycles than women from everywhere emerged from the fake undergrowth sets. Flashing smiles and other bits, they were all over them like a swarm of “Honey” bees if you like.
So that’s what I needed to do of course. It made total sense. Stake out Jenny’s house (or “joint” to use the 70s TV lingo the baddies on CHiPs used) on my bike.
Okay, it was no CHiPs Kawasaki, but as a pushbike it did have a fake gear stick and brakes on the handlebars. The bike would do the trick.
Besides I didn’t need as many women as Jon and Ponch. Just my darling Jenny…
So every day after school and on weekends, I’d ride over to the asphalt service lane opposite Jenny’s (she lived opposite on the other side of the road) and ‘Park Up’ longingly looking towards her house and trying to look as sophisticated as I could with my bowl haircut blowing in the wind (courtesy of my mum) and my gear stick in neutral. All the time, hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse of my beloved. The idea was she’d notice the bike and this would set an unstoppable chain of events in motion. It being written in the stars and in the Pantheon of the Gods that the two of us would be together. What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
I was there for hours.
I thought about a lot of things squirming from side-to-side on the banana seat of the bike.
I remember thinking that Jenny and I having children was probably a bit far down the track. There was no point getting ahead of myself. But then again the idea wasn’t inconceivable, I mused to myself.
Kids were inconceivable though, at our age come to think of it now !
I sat astride my ride, my chopper bike behind a low slung heavy chain that was weighed down in the middle by a heavy lock that almost kissed the asphalt driveway. It was there to stop cars after hours getting up the service lane. To block things off.
Well that chain came to symbolise the chastity belt that I’d never break through because Jenny unfortunately never appeared. Despite me, my bike, and every heavenly emotion and willpower I could muster – the closest I came to catching a glimpse of her was her bloody brother Geoffrey mowing the lawns.
Yes I was pretty heavy-hearted. But I wasn’t done yet. Where Jon and Ponch had failed me, divine providence would prevail. One last dying gasp, one last throw of the die.The course of love never did run smooth.
Jenny used to go to Church and Mum had been on at my brothers’ and I to give Church a chance. So I did. Once.
But what I found in Church shocked me to my 10 year old core and in the end tore my love completely asunder.
The sight of Jenny singing about her undying and obedient love for God (along with other people I recognised repeating the words of prayers over and over) scared me.
My free-thinking Jenny was somehow possessed by this thing called religion. There was no way she would notice me on my Chopper bike when I had to compete with God and Jesus. I was no angel. I rode a bike for God’s sake ! and I saw myself as a bit of an outlaw. I’d leave skid marks from the bike on my driveway from braking too hard and all that kind of rough stuff. Although you’re right, Perseus (Clash of the Titans), was technically a hero not an outlaw.
There could be no future, no kids. I’d never see her without knee-high socks !
Distressed and leaden with shock, I did manage to position myself next to an open window in the old Gothic Church where the service was being held and at an opportune break in the prayers, fell gently backwards out of it onto the grass and ran home as fast as I could.
Sadly, that was the end of Jenny and me.
She’ll never know how lucky she was….