It has been suggested that not too far beneath this blog rages an undercurrent of self-pity. Boo-hoo, poor me, I’m such a nice guy, and look how unlucky/misled/badly treated I’ve been.
Well, yes, there may be an element of that. But I hope I have made it clear that I am aware now, if I wasn’t at the time, that I have often contributed to my own downfall. My naivety and my insistence on pursuing people I had no business pursuing are at least as much at fault as the other uninterested parties.
I’m also conscious that some may find my version of events unbalanced. Surely it wasn’t all one-way traffic? Surely you did some bad things too?
Well, I’ve never cheated. I’ve never hit, bullied, stolen from, or otherwise deliberately done anything hurtful to a woman. But my behaviour has not always been impeccable.
I was a groper at school. They weren’t full-on squeezes, or even pinches – more forlorn, curious brushes when a girl I fancied happened to pass in front of me in the crush for the doorway – but they were still sexual assaults. The fact that no one had ever told me it was wrong, that lots of other people did it, and that none of the girls ever noticed (or at least complained) is no defence, because it felt wrong, and by my 15th birthday, I had mended my ways.
In my late teens and early 20s, on three or four occasions, I met women who I liked, who liked me, we slept together (only after the third date, of course), and then I realised I wasn’t that into them and never called them again. Not an offence punishable by death or anything, but pretty low behaviour, and I still feel rotten about it.
But the single incident I’m most ashamed of – the episode which, if I believed in any sort of vengeful deity, would have me waking in a cold sweat every night – is this one.
Since my break-up with Nina was fairly amicable, we stayed in touch. She came to cheer me on at a couple of stand-up gigs, and we went to the cinema together a few times. And after one film, she said: “I fancy a long weekend in Amsterdam. Wanna come?”
As luck would have it, Guy was working in the City of Vice for a year, and was happy to give us some floor space. So two weeks later, we touched down at Schiphol airport for three days of culture, history and sedate cruises along the Herengracht. Or so I thought.
We’d barely dumped our bags at Guy’s flat when Nina dragged me out to a bar off the Rembrandtplein. It was a laid-back, stylish joint with chrome pillars, glass tables, moody lighting and a hip young clientele. It was also a lesbian bar.
By the time I returned with our drinks, Nina had selected a target: a slim, elegant girl in her mid-20s with wavy golden hair down to her waist, surrounded by five equally beautiful friends. An elbow skewered my ribs. “Go and talk to her for me.”
The idea of pulling for my ex-girlfriend didn’t exactly fill me with joy, but her doe eyes didn’t leave me any choice.
Thankfully, Marijke spoke excellent English. She was 24, local, and she liked the look of Nina, so she and her five friends came over. They hit it off immediately.
When the barmaid called last orders, it was clear that Nina and her new friend didn’t want the evening to end, so I made a suggestion. Guy was away for the night; why didn’t Marijke and her friends come back for a few drinks? (I figured Guy wouldn’t object to me inviting six gorgeous Dutch lesbian angels aged 18-25 back to his flat, and as it turned out, I was right; he would just much rather have been there at the time.)
Once inside, we cracked open some beers, and then one of the girls produced some cannabis.
Now, I’ve never been particularly partial to the wacky baccy, mainly because I have no tolerance for it whatsoever. Four or five tokes and I’m incapable of motion, speech or thought. So what on earth possessed me to accept the offer of an entire joint to myself I still, to this day, have no clue.
As a result, within about 10 minutes, six gorgeous Dutch lesbian angels aged 18-25 were draped over various items of furniture making out with one another, and I was making gurgling noises on the sofa. My ultimate fantasy was playing itself out before my very eyes, and I couldn’t even keep them open.
I awoke with a thundering headache and a staggering erection about three hours later to find the living room empty apart from discarded beer cans and an overflowing ashtray. On the way to the toilet, I passed Guy’s bedroom, and heard giggles from within. One of the voices was Nina’s. I smiled, did my business and returned to the sofa.
The following morning, Nina and Marijke revealed that they had their own plans for the day. So I wandered round the Van Gogh Museum on my own, went for a canalboat ride on my own, and cried in the Anne Frank House on my own.
We met up in the evening, but it was only about 15 minutes before I felt as though I was intruding again. Because that was when Nina said, “You’re intruding,” gave me a handful of guilders, and told me to go and buy myself a blowjob.
Despite my lengthy dry spells, I had never, at this stage, paid for sex, or had any real desire to. I could have just taken the money, gone to a bar, and tried to meet someone the conventional way. But Nina had basically just implied that I could only get sex if I paid for it, and in my confused, horny state, I believed her.
So I set off down the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, and looked for the window with the least jaded pair of eyes behind it.
All I remember about the girl was that she had dark hair, was about my age, and came from somewhere in Germany. Far more memorable was the smell; a nauseating mix of sanitisation and whatever it was that was supposed to have been sanitised. When she started preparing herself in the most mechanical and unenthusiastic manner possible, my courage (and my sausage) deserted me and I talked to her for five minutes instead.
That night, Guy was back in the flat, and for whatever reason Marijke couldn’t take Nina back to her place, so the three of us spread out across his living-room floor.
And five minutes after the last mumbled “Goodnight”, they started. Six inches away from my face, they started writhing and slurping and groaning, and they didn’t stop all night.
I’d had a total of about 30 minutes’ sleep when Guy slipped out of the door to go to work. As there was a temporary lull in proceedings, I tiptoed past Nina and Marijke to Guy’s bedroom, and gratefully crashed out.
I woke about four hours later. I figured they must be done by now; it was nearly noon on the last day of our holiday, and we had arranged to see and do lots of things.
But when I poked my head round the corner of the living room, the lovers were at it again. (I noted at this point that Nina had never demonstrated anything like this sort of stamina with me.)
They were between me and the front door, so I couldn’t just leave. The way I saw it, three options were available to me:
1) Cough loudly, give them a few minutes to tidy themselves up, then walk out and embark on what was left of my holiday.
2) Go back to Guy’s room, try to find a book of his that wasn’t by Dean Koontz, and wait it out.
Unfortunately, I went for option 3).
My reasoning, if I can call it that, was as follows. I’d seen one of them naked dozens of times; the other one I’d been imagining naked for about two days. If it wasn’t for me, they’d never have met. Nina had repeatedly promised me a once-in-a-lifetime, fantasy trip to Lesbos, and the only time the possibility had materialised, she’d snatched it away at the last minute. Most of all, I’d been listening to them making love – and smelling them making love – for eight hours straight. Surely they couldn’t possibly mind if I took a tiny peek at them making love as well? Nina and I got separate ferries home.
♥ It is a curious fact that female sexuality is much more likely to be fluid (ie bisexual), while male sexuality is more likely to be rigid and dichotomous (ie either gay or straight).
Heterosexual women hooked up to a plethysmograph – an instrument that measures physiological arousal – showed symptoms of arousal in response to lesbian erotica (this was true even of the women who denied having any interest in other women). Heterosexual men, on the other hand, were much less likely to experience physiological arousal while watching male homosexual acts. Women, then, appear to be more likely to be bi-curious.
Every sex survey ever conducted shows a far higher percentage of men (up to 90%) admitting to fantasies about lesbians than women (as low as 10%) fantasising about gay men.
Why should this be so, from an evolutionary perspective? Some have argued that in prehistoric times, the dominant male had sexual access to most females, and so competitive fights would have been regular. However, once the male had secured his position, he would have been able to service each female only intermittently. Since other males might not dare to approach, when the females entered their fertile, “horny” period, they might have had no one to relieve their sexual desires with but each other.
Remember, humans are one of the few species on the planet where oestrus is not advertised; there are no telltale signs when a woman is ovulating. Lesbian sex, then, in the early human era, might have been a signal to the man that the women were entering their most fertile phase, and this might have triggered his arousal. Which might (I stress “might”!) explain why so many men – and women – get turned on by lesbian sex.