First Love, by Graham Ellington
I was fourteen when I felt a pair of breasts for the first time. My brother Russell had just been clinically diagnosed with obesity. His were softer and had more hair around the nipples than Verity’s, the girl I lost my virginity to three years later. We (Verity, not Russell) met at a local Roller Disco. She had recently sprayed pink hair dye into her blonde hair and was wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. It wasn’t clear who spotted who first, but we had both attended alone and seemed to acknowledge that fact with one another in silence. I pirouetted past her a couple of times, two years of solid roller blading was really paying off or so I thought. Finally, I decided to stop prancing around and slid over.
‘Listen,’ she said with a thick lisp, ‘before you hit me with a corny line or any of that shit, just answer me this – are we going to fuck? Cos if not, I’m not that interested in watching you make a cock of yourself on those.’ I was simultaneously speechless, insulted and aroused. ‘There’s a condom machine in the men’s toilet. Shall we go?’ She sounded like she had done this before, a lot.
‘Are you a prostitute?’ I asked, rashly. It was the only conclusion I could come to, given my extensive history of failure with members of the opposite sex up to this point.
‘Nope,’ Verity replied unflustered. Now, without getting into the details of what happened next, we did what I had been playing out in my head a million times up until that point. Only it was more awkward and fumbly and there was less music and I was less sure of what I should be doing and she almost definitely did not climax because it was over in seconds. I was barely able to slip on the condom without worrying about triggering a pathetic premature explosion.
Verity became my first girlfriend. It finished just under a month later because she wanted to give girls a try and she didn’t like my haircut. I took the announcement hard. A week afterwards I walked in on her giving Colin Jacobs a blowjob at my cousin Fran’s house party, so I think she had solved whatever issues she had with her sexuality by that point. Or maybe she just wanted to give Colin Jacobs a blowjob. Man I hated Colin Jacobs, even before that.
Verity had all the qualities I looked for in a woman and still do. She was strong and direct and funny and sexual and clever and honest. She refused to be pigeon-holed, refused to hide her intentions and mask her desires in the way we are all taught to do. As a man, I spend so much time second-guessing and worrying that at every step of every relationship I’ve had since, there’s a mine I’m about to step on. I’m sure this feeling isn’t unique to men, but sometimes I just want to meet a Verity who will cut through all the bullshit and tell me what’s what, even if it is that my haircut is rubbish.
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