Who Was That Guy When I Look Back?
I know that you guys out there are more than capable to look after yourselves and it should maybe you writing this not me. Although as I always say to girls that remark on what insight I sometimes appear to have when it comes to understanding (a bit) about them when they ask my opinion is that I have spent a huge amount of time studying (staking I think is the more modern terminology) women. I would pour over my mum's "Womans Own" magazine when I had the chance and read the articles with great interest. It was a whole new world.
All through high school I would find myself hanging out with mostly girls and just not really say much at all. Just ear-wigging their conversations and the interplay amongst themselves. Even before then at Upper School I would befriend girls then, usually older than myself but I felt safe and unthreatened and in a good social environment. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't bullied or soft at school. I was county champion in athletics and played in the Middle School Rugby team, was known for not having lost any playground brawls either, but that meant I had a degree of air supremacy. I felt no peer pressure to be anyone I wasn't and I was comfortable with girls just a tad more than lads.
This hasn't changed in my later life and had got me into very hot water in the past too. Not the case now though. At a recent weekend seminar a couple of months ago in fact I found myself the sole dude amongst a trio of wonderfully, open and free-spirit thinking girls. We ended up in there hotel room talking to early hours talking about life the universe and everything before I had decided to (tried to in the high altitude) jog back to my own hotel on the other side of Denver.
I guess in a way I'm feel myself a quite protector and odd breed of friend. A kind of hours of a different colour kind of thing. I guess not really feeling fully integrated in the world around me has made me appreciate people a lot. The case that my parent are Jamaican but one is light skinned the other black skinned, I was born in London but grew up in a white countryside area and although me and my brother were well liked I don't think we totally felt we were the same as other children. Not a huge problem to us exactly but I think it was for the girls in the school and I have had occasion where I knew a girl liked me but wasn't really that bold enough to be seen to be the only girl in the school to have a black boyfriend!
What you've never had you've never missed, I guess. What came out of that? Well a few days after leaving school I found myself back in London. Croydon to be more exact. This was a real challenge. Now I was a black kid who had no idea. I never grew up there so didn't know the culture, or anybody at all. I really didn't know the running. I had a funny country bumpkin accent that must have seemed so weird the BMY (Black Man's Youth) language of those early years of the 80's and beyond. BMY language was as far as I could see a mix of Jamaican patwa and the young London speak. I understood it as my parents and family friends when they got together it was like they'd just stepped off the boat, as they say. It was pure old time Jamaican, especially my mother. But anyway I out of respect of myself stuck to my guns (as I had done all through school) and only tried to be me and not didn't see the point of being a really second rate someone else.
That didn't make me friends in a hurry but through various odd jobs found some interesting acquaintances. One being the TV chat show host Matthew Wright of "The Wright Stuff", who worked at the local kids toy factory with me as a temp. We hit it off and I he attempted to draw me out of my supposed shell. Eventually he was to move out of town and I recall a farewell hangout at his friends house the day before he left.
From there I had quite an independent existence and mainly as I was free to roam on my motorcycle and living with my brother, who was also single, free to go and come as I pleased. On occasions he'd be working construction away from home, which meant that I would have the run of the house to myself. I recall often picking something interesting to go see in the Time Out magazine and either getting down to London from Croydon to it or simply jumping on the bike. I'd see bands and or movies. Sometimes I'd just wander around the west end listening to my Sony Walkman. I'd even go to nightclubs too. The thought of having someone to go with seemed very alien. The beauty being that I'd alway get myself home somehow. There were night buses and trains almost throughout the night.
All through this time in mid to late 80's I was partnerless. I did of course think about girls. What guy wouldn't but it was just out there, like is there anything interesting on the TV? Who knows, I don't know how to turn the thing on. Which was as it was for me and girls. This I think must have caused mass frustrations for the girls where I'd worked as I would flirt with the girls that were off the market and ignore the supposed "come-on" signals from the others. Colleagues would nudge me and say "well?" and I'd say "well what?" I had no clue. I guess I was virginal and had no clue. I still don't.
It's funny to look back on those days. If I'd in fact connected with those doe's my life would very likely have been very, very different to what it is now. Different though, not better, not worse. Just different. I have no regrets. I guess we can all see our lives as being in chapters. What delineates these chapters could be the place or job you were working at, the house or place you were living in, the fashion of the time, the birth of or the death of a particular person in you life, even the music you were listening too. In the end I did grow up through a couple of encounters with women. I don't know what the norm is for a guy but that chapter made me appear of a significant change or rewiring that I was fearful of within me. Like I would never be the same again. Like being exposed to nuclear dust cloud. If I'd have stayed indoors I could have stayed the same and not be changed by it invisibly forever. Too late though, nothing I could do something was now different. Like updating your software with a hot-fix that you aren't sure did any real good or was totally necessary.
I was hoping I wasn't suddenly going to become a sex-fiend and scour London like Jack the Ripper baying for female blood and panty. Chance would be a fine thing. I still have no clue.