April 18, 2011

Ms. Edna's sacred and profane ‘whatever’.

I can never resist a gauntlet, well, not when it's thrown down by a dear friend. So, when the illustrious Charles put out the challenge to write about first ‘whatevers’ in all their glorious detail, I seized the chance to tell the story.

To find the tale's beginning, we must return to the time of boarding school. Nerd Boy as we shall call him – naturally I have changed the name to protect the guilty - was my first foray into the nerd boy type, though he was much more rebellious and less geeky than later examples. He had the requisite disheveled look, nice manners and the wherewithal to buy a Cooke, but with added Bad Boy qualities - a shocking reputation for breaking hearts and being unrepentantly late with his schoolwork. Usually, nerd boys were shy boys, given to slipping science test answers into my pocket, but with his brooding way of turning up the collar against the rain, and of curling a sneering lip around a Lucky Strike, Nerd Boy had swallowed the anti-hero manual. His name was doodled on every exercise book. Truly, he was the Byron of Leysin.

As chance would have it, we ended up on the same dance floor gyrating to the Twist, this prevented close physical contact, and as the tension between us built, around the six- minute mark, we lurched into a fierce, compulsive embrace, my hair catching painfully on the parallel rows of buttons on his shirt. By the time Peppermint Twist had given way to Moon River, we were off the dance floor and smooching for Switzerland.

Reader, I'm sorry to disappoint, but this great Casanova’s kisses were torture. Did I let this put me off? I did not. I was filled with all the exultant triumph of a 100 to 1 racehorse romping home against all expectations in the Grand National. The prize longed for by the entire school was mine. ‘Whatever’ might be a drug, but victory is more potent and addictive.

I'm afraid Nerd Boy was a better trophy than he was a boyfriend, so quite how he was so prefixed with mystique, I have no idea. His dating m.o. mostly involved coming round on the pretext of helping me with my math prep but I never saw him get a book out of his satchel before he pounced. I can't say that I was immune to pouncing, being young and extremely curious, but his brand of pouncing was horribly inept, featuring more tortured kissing, vigorous rummaging, and orangutan arms. Within days, he was making so many irrepressible assaults on my virtue I knew exactly how Clarissa felt fending off Lovelace. Actually, scratch that -there is no literary analogy worthy of his persistence.

I felt like a leg to which an amorous dog had become attached: he was unshakable. Had the technique been more honed, and the execution more adroit and less enthusiastic, perhaps I would have succumbed, but at last, bored by my rebuffs, he decided enough was enough.

The Conversation took place on a train to Geneva. He'd been silent for the whole journey, and hadn't launched himself at me once, which was welcome, if unusual.

'We need to talk' he said, in that fabulously original way such conversations always start.

'Hmm' I replied, refusing to be drawn and having read enough to know what to expect from such an opener.

'I don't think we should see each other anymore. You see, I've got my exams coming up and I really need to get some work done. Oh, and I'm entering a seminary in September: I'm going to train as a priest.'

I was slow on the uptake. ‘A REAL PRIEST (is there any other kind)?’

'Um, yes. I've been called.'

I regained my composure as best I could and left him on the platform.

Really! I was taken aback. What was one to make of it? That I was so fabulous that only God would do next? That my failure to acquiesce to his base desires confirmed his vocation. Nerd Boy didn't become a priest, he became a monk, tending apple orchards.

Oh dear, oh dear, he may have developed a fast, extremely accurate electronic slide rule, the micro-processor, a Ms. Edna that would run on a Motorola 68000 microprocessor !

First ‘whatevers’? Overrated! Romeo and Juliet is just a story, and I think there was a dodgy monk in that too.



Karen (SAG) said...

Oh what a tragedy. Are you sure this priesthood lark wasn't just something he'd read? A great story, loved it.

Anonymous said...

a priest??? i think the purity and depth of his love for you sparked a higher calling, actually. you were a catalyst. pity he ended up an apple farmer tho, and not Bill Gates.

Mona said...

Fantastic story - having a first love who became a monk is much more romantic than one who became a hedge fund manager (yes, I looked him up on the internet).
And so evocative of those teenage 60s.

Charles said...

Irresistible! All the way up to its pious conclusion. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh....the love’s of youth. Some women have said that they have dated men who have become gay. Some men have dated women who have become lesbians. But you are the first woman I have ever heard of who dated a man who "had the calling." I could see everything so visually. You on the dance floor finally getting your prize. I wonder if that lovely monk still thinks of you and then has to self-flagellate afterwards. Ahhhhh the punishments of love. Excellent piece. xoxoxo

frenchtoast said...

YOU have a lot to answer for. I could have had a Ms Edna computer! Repent!

Ms. Edna (squared) said...

Mea culpa.

Chicken shit said...

Lord, I knew you frighten horses. But men too? That explains a lot, a whole lot.

'little bro' :-)xoxo

Pussy said...

God Only Knows...

a whatever in los angeles said...

Have I stumbled on Mr. & Mrs. Smith's blog?

Enjoyed the post, and the blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.