Fear not, the legendary Melford Virginity remains intacta! Long may it do so.
I am still inviolate, and remain absolutely pure in deed, even if not always in thought. I am reminded at this point (funny how these things pop into your mind as the fingers dance on the keyboard) of that 1974 Christmas song put out by The Goodies, namely Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me, which you can hear on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3AphnJLbE. Mind you, having played it now, I realise that for donkeys' years my memory has been at fault. I thought the refrain was:
As she lay between the lily-white sheets with NOTHING on
But in fact it's:
As she stood beneath the mistletoe
Still, I reckon that my erroneous folk memory of the exact words is in fact uncannily close to the ancient original lyrics. I'm thinking this must actually be a traditional soldiers' song from World War I. You can imagine a very naughty version of it involving Lord Kitchener in undress being sung by raucous British Tommies in the trenches of the First World War, while their officers smile at their unquenchable spirit, fill their pipes, and write home to their sweethearts. And no doubt there would be an equally naughty version celebrating the Kaiser in undress, sung by raucous German soldaten in their trenches, while their officers smile at their unquenchable spirit, fill their pipes, and write home to their sweethearts.
Father Christmas, do not touch me!
Which then becomes, in the next verse:
Father Christmas, do not touch!
Father Christmas, do not!
Father Christmas, do!
Note how The Goodies make that a DOOOO... And so on until the words run out, all the time with a suggestive rollicking beat going on in the background. Ah, they don't put out Christmas numbers like that any more!
All this waffle about snow-white virginity and snow-white 1970s-style rollicking is but an intro to my main theme, concerning the modern expectation that any meetup with one's boyfriend (or girlfriend) is predictably and inevitably going to end in sex. What set this train of thought off? It was a remark overheard by chance last night in a pub. A young natal girl was complaining that, whenever she met up with her boyfriend, he expected penetrative sex before she went home. Every time, no matter what the mood. There was never any exception. And yet sometimes all she really wanted was a long, close, warm, heartfelt cuddle. In fact, given a choice between willy and a warm cuddle, she'd go for the cuddle nearly every time. I didn't hear the rest.
Well, this all sounded true enough. Once a new relationship has passed the initial polite and caring stage - very quickly, in the case of the average scruffy charmless unshaven young man so prevalent nowadays - consent to crude groping and perfunctory quickies seems to be taken for granted - male gratification being the most important thing in the relationship. You give, I take - like it or not - or I verbally abuse you and go. Or worse. A completely unrewarding state of affairs for the girl. Do I hear a chorus of 'No modern girl ever puts up with that!' But modern girls do, for reasons unfathomable to me - so far. I say 'so far' because I've got a feeling that 2015 will see me facing situations where a demand for sex, crudely expressed or not, will be made with persistence. And then it may be my turn to experience some of that abuse when I say no.
Why am I so sure? Am I not a sixty-two year old hag?
Ah, evidently not in the eyes of some men. The sort who know (and it must be true) that if you close your eyes and concentrate, all fannies feel the same. (That's the British vagina that I'm talking about. Not the Stateside fanny) Especially if you're a man who is not very particular, who regards every possible type of woman as a potential source of satisfaction, and who is already mellowed by a few drinks. It can't be a coincidence that most of the men whose attention I caught in 2014 were either the drinking kind, or were encountered in a pub.
Believe me, I have no illusions. I'm invisible to young men, which is best for both of us, but I think I must look rather tasty to any man over fifty-five. An attractive combination of fat, fun and fantasy - and apparently unattached and available to boot. Never mind my true nature, nor my own wishes.
Let's suppose then, that I'm on holiday - alone of course - and despite keeping to 'safe' territory when out and about, and despite being at all times demure, I still fall prey to a man bent on knowing me. What then?
Well, I'll have to endure a process of unwanted negotiation. At first I will give him several good and ample reasons why he should simply push off. He may brush this aside, of course, as men do, on the supposition that the woman does not recognise what's good for her, and that he needs to spell out some obvious inducements. These could involve a drink, a meal, great conversation, a good laugh, and some soft music. He may even perceive that I like books and cameras and art. If he does, he will shape his approach accordingly. He will be charming. He won't take no for an answer. And I won't have avoided admitting that a meal shared is a meal doubly enjoyed.
Still, I want on principle to choose my company, and not be chosen, and I am hopeful that I will still parry all his blandishments with ease. But I'm a novice at this game.
Let's suppose that I do unwisely commit myself to that drink - and then to the meal. Let's also suppose that he guesses (rightly) that only a really good meal will impress; and that I definitely won't go further with him unless it's so expensive that it places me under a moral obligation. I'd be mad to let that happen, but the technique has trapped sane women everywhere, in every epoch, and I don't see why I should manage the situation any better than they were able to. Let's further suppose that this skilful manipulator really does buy me a meal to die for, and is an absolutely charming host in every way.
Now the sting. Will I have the blunt determination to get out of it even now? Or will I tamely acquiesce to the velvet trap springing shut? I'd like to think that I can still escape. After all it's no crime to share a meal, let the man pay, and then say goodnight. Some might say I'd have short-changed him, but surely a graceful thank-you, said sincerely and with a smile, is enough for any gentleman? Besides, I refuse to observe any social rules that clearly operate against my best interests.
But can a beginner prevail?
Who knows what the answer to that would be in a real-life situation. What I do think, however, is that once he'd got me back to his place, as he would if he were skilful in the polite and persuasive arts, I would be at a disadvantage and should expect resolute attempts at intimacy. And a man rebuffed is a man humiliated. The temptation would be to avoid recriminations by being compliant. Can a sixty-two year old woman be less compliant than a twenty-two year old woman? That's something I do not know. My best guess is that she can play an older woman's game of dignity and resistance for a while; but the end will be the same. So unless that's how I want it to go, I must nip the initial approach in the bud.
On my own, I'm sure I can. But in company, now? Suppose it's a mixed foursome out for the evening. I'm thinking of North Devon, one of my local female friends with her local man - and I'm the blind date for his amorous local best friend. All with late night coffee to offer. Hmm.
No, it wouldn't be wise at all. But knowing me, I just might think 'nothing dared, nothing learned'.