Sometimes when I see teenage girls or even pre-teen girls, I just want to go over to them and guide them somehow. I want to warn them about things – I want to tell them about my experience with teenage love.
I think about what I was doing between ages of 15, to well, 20 or so, and I wish I had had someone to talk frankly with about love and sex during those years.
One story I would want to tell is this:
When I was 16 I gave the boy I was seeing an ultimatum – I told him to either make me his girlfriend officially or we were done. I did this very publicly (at school) and cried a lot. I’d fantasised about him falling for me for years, since my first kiss with him at age 13. He never did, and you can bet that making him become my boyfriend (he only agreed so that he could keep having regular sex with me), didn’t make how he treated me improve, and he certainly didn’t fall for me.
At the time I was working at a local restaurant which was pretending to be posher than it was. I happily worked there as the food-runner, mostly hanging out with the chefs in the kitchen when I wasn’t taking plates to the diners. I skived off when I wanted to be with my boyfriend instead.
I really liked hanging out with the chefs. I had a crush on one previously (he was 19, had a terribly pimped out BMW, but had kind eyes and cute dark, curly hair), but I felt like I was kinda friends with all of them. They made work fun.
One of them started giving me more attention, firstly by giving me a really brilliant secret Santa present (art supplies), but also giving me paintings he had done himself (we had bonded over talking about art). He was 36 years old(?).
Another one, the 24 year old chef, also started giving me more attention by adding me on Facebook. Soon after my 17th birthday, he told me he fancied me (not sure why being 17 rather than 16 meant it was okay for a 24 year old to start flirting, but hey). We flirted lots and I soon dumped my boyfriend for the chef guy.
I mean, that “boyfriend” had been a shit boyfriend, treating me no better and basically just using me for sex. Somehow, all our mutual friends decided I was the villain in this situation, and I got a bit of hate for a little while. But that’s not the point of this story.
The first date
We arranged a date, but it had to be cancelled because of a very scary hospital visit (which you can read about here). He thought I was lying about having to go to hospital(!) which I now see as a red flag. Anyway.
Our first date was planned as a meal out at a restaurant and a hotel room. Yup. Hotel room. Writing that makes me cringe – what 24 year old books a hotel room for a first date with a 17 year old? Of course I was going to go along with it – 17 year olds want to be sexual, they want to be wanted and desired, they want to be grown-up. Or at least, that’s what I wanted.
He suggested we went straight to the hotel room, skipping the restaurant because of some bullshit reason. I was eager to do whatever. I was nervous as fuck.
red flags, red flags everywhere
We got to the room and he had to go back to his car to get something (can’t remember what). My 17 year old seductress mind decided that this was the opportunity to get sexy, so I undressed, put the hotel-provided dressing gown on my naked body, and sat at the edge of the bed waiting for his return.
Chef came back to the room and yeah, we had sex. Lots. He got lots of orgasms and all I got was a poxy sandwich off the hotel room service menu and a sore vagina.
Our relationship was mostly sex. He began to pick me up from my house after his shift at the restaurant finished, around 11pm, and I snuck out of my house to meet him (which I found very exciting!). We would find a place to park on a country road, have sex, then drive to the 24-hour McDonalds. I would get home at around 2 or 3 in the morning, and set off for school the next day at 7am, sleep-deprived but chuffed at how “cool” I felt.
At work, BMW-owner Chef casually asked me if I wanted to do something with him outside of work. I said yes because I thought he was asking in a friend-kind-of-way. But then I cancelled on him to hang out with boyfriend Chef, And then boyfriend Chef told me that BMW-owner had in fact asked me out, on a date, and well, I was secretly happy and sad that 1) BMW-owner Chef finally fancied me, and 2) I couldn’t go on a date with him, as I had made my bed with boyfriend Chef.
Our colleagues soon found out about our relationship, and Art Chef got very angry about it. He called Chef boyfriend a rat and a weasel. They had a proper shouting match in the car-park. Art Chef, Chef boyfriend and I all left the restaurant shortly after that.
I thought the world of my boyfriend, as all 17 year olds do, and after just a few months he began to try and persuade me to drop out of school, to be done with my A Levels and to move in with him. I was into the idea – I was fucking up at school anyway, my grades were nothing like my GCSE’s, and I had no plans to go to university.
introducing him to my parents
I got him to come to my family’s house to have dinner. Well, to make dinner. I thought being a chef, he could impress my parents by making them dinner. He did, though it was a bit stressful, as my mum was pestering me asking when the meal was going to be ready. Afterwards, like teenagers do (not 24 year olds!) we went up to my room.
We had sex. Then, as he was about to leave, I begged him not to, persuading him to stay to have sex with me again. Half way through, my mum walked into my room.
My mum and I had a very brief conversation about it, I barely remember it (maybe that’s a blessing).
A few months later, my family and extended family were planning a trip to France. I managed to persuade my mum to let Chef boyfriend come too. It was going to be our first holiday together, my first holiday with a boyfriend. Very grown-up.
Coming to an end
It was a fucking disaster. My parents didn’t allow us to stay in the same bed, and well, without sex, we just argued. A solid week of arguing around my family. At one point we were stuck in a canoe together – my family having a ridiculous time, (that is regularly reminisced about to this day), whilst I was crying at the front of our two-person canoe. Chef boyfriend even threw a chess board on the floor once, because he was a sore loser.
After the disaster holiday, all we did was text and phone each other, arguing. We broke up. It was messy.
My exams for the first year of my A Levels were coming up, and needless to say, I fucked them up. I completely flunked History – during the exams, I wrote whatever came to mind in the answer boxes as well as drew cartoons of an ‘inappropriate’ nature (one of them was smoking a blunt, not the worst drawing I could have done let’s be honest).
My grades were terrible, I scraped into the second year of my A-levels, just. I put in more effort that next year, though my life was yet again taken over by a new boyfriend… I didn’t learn. Maybe I still haven’t learnt?
If I were to tell this story to a teenager, I guess I would hope that they would know that a 24 year old and 17 year old shouldn’t be together in the first place. I hope they would also know that sex doesn’t equal a relationship, nor is it equal to being an adult, or being loved. I would hope that they know education is more important than teenage relationships, that hotel rooms are not a first date.
I look back at this and think, ew. I also think about my complete lack of self-esteem, my mental illnesses that were simmering on the surface.
I had some great times with Chef boyfriend, but oh man, do I wish I had waited for BMW-owner instead. And you know, actually given a shit about myself and my studies.
Sex is an emotion in motion
– Mae West
For February I have decided to do LOVE AND SEX themed blog posts. Check out the tag to see more of this month’s theme!