We were eight and taking a break from a vigorous game of conkers in the school playground. Freddie was one of my best buddies and, without warning, he came out with a startling revelation: “Y’know Johnny, babies come from a lady’s tummy when a man and a lady have a do” -- (Interesting that children will often pair the word ‘man’ with ‘lady’ rather than ‘woman’) -- I already knew where babies came from. My mother had helpfully left a small illustrated booklet on the subject in the sideboard in which, she knew, I was inclined to rummage from time to time. However my knowledge didn’t extend to the causal precursors to such an event. “What’s a do?”, I enquired of Freddie “Don’t ya even know that?”, said my companion with emphatic incredulity. “No”, I replied, with due humility. “It’s when the man puts his willy into the lady’s”, explained the fair-headed Freddie, his face turning crimson. “Oh”, I said. “Do ya have to wee into the lady?”, I enquired with real concern. “S’pose so”, said Freddie, with a shrug. “I’m not doin’ that!” I exploded.
I reflected on my conversation with Freddie as I sat on the lavatory later that day. My feelings about growing up and disgust at what I would be expected to do were joined by wonder as I inspected the flaccid piece of flesh dangling between my legs. How the bloody heck could that get into a lady? Thus it was that my sexual education, together with a degree of concomitant psychological angst, began. My awareness of sexual mechanics was to stay at this level for six more years.
The time for further enlightenment came. I was standing around with Ivor and
in the concourse area that lay between the council blocks our families had been sent to after WW2. This area served as a convenient playground for us cockney kids. Now, fifty-odd years later, it serves as a car-park, of course. My friends were both one year older than me. We had been playing cricket. “How many times did you do it last night, Ive?”, said Norman to Ivor, twiddling a cricket bail in his hand as he spoke. “ Dunno Norm, I f****n’ lost count”, said Ivor laughing. “Do what?” I asked. My friends convulsed in fits of laughter. “No”, I objected, “What are you on about?”. “Tossin’ off”, explained Norman Norman fighting to speak through loud bouts of shared laughter. “What’s tossin’ off?”, I asked, with mounting exasperation and embarrassment. My question caused even greater hilarity to be expressed. Eventually, taking pity on my state of confusion, eventually explained. “You get it in your hand like this”, he said, using the bail in his right hand to demonstrate. “Then you just do this”. He moved his hand back and forth over the bail using a motion that was to become more familiar to me in the years that followed. I realised what the bail represented but was bemused as to the possible purpose of such an action. “So, what good does that do?”, said I, rhetorically. This last question, and the manner in which it was said, set off an even louder explosion of amusement between Norm and Ive. I made a mental note to try the mysterious procedure later on, and opined aloud that we should continue our game of cricket. Norman
Time: later that same evening. Scene: the aforementioned privy. I sat on the very same lavatory-seat on which I had been perched six years earlier when I wondered about the ability of one very soft object to penetrate another. The only difference was the colour of the wooden seat. My mother had this strange habit of painting that object regularly every year. Of course, the frequency with which the seat was pressed, quite literally, into use, meant that it invariably got sat on while the paint was still wet. This resulted in tell-tale striped buttocks for all who sat thereupon and a shiny painted loo-seat that always sported a familiar chevron-like pattern at the front. So I sat and started to follow Norm’s instructions. This is pretty stupid, I thought; my so called friends were pulling my p****r. No, I was. I smiled to myself. But wait, something was happening. It was growing bigger and feeling a little firmer. It felt nice. It was all purely mechanical; sexual fantasizing was to come later. Now it was considerably bigger, harder and standing to attention. Suddenly, it happened; a strange pumping feeling below my scrotum and the experience of a wave of magical and intense pleasure. Bloody hell, I thought, what the hell was that! I know; I must ‘ave tossed off!!
I never did tell Ive and Norm about my success. I wanted to; but embarrassment trumped my desire to ‘join the club’.