Friday, 26 June 2009

Half your age... plus seven

How young is too young? Or, more specifically, what qualifies as too much toy and too much boy?

As a result of a tryst with a floppy-haired Frenchie last Friday night, it’s a question I’ve been mulling over considerably this past week. Actually, as I met him at a bus stop at 5am I think technically the tryst took place on Saturday morning. I’m aware of how this sounds but in all fairness at the time my friend Mindy and I had been seeking protection from a toothless tramp, one that had pulled down his pants and tugged at his penis in a most unsavoury manner before following us down the street.

On hearing of our trouble, the bus stop boy and his friend agreed to act as our chaperones. Alas, the toothless one was persistent and, failing to lose him, we decided to hide in the boy’s nearby apartment until the stalker got bored and went away. Of course, once ensconced in the cosy living room Mindy and I were more than happy to share a bottle of Merlot and a game of cards; just because we had to be here, for our safety, there was no reason why we couldn’t enjoy ourselves as well. The friend was a croupier and he wowed us with his nimble fingers and magic tricks. In return we taught them how to play Shit Head. By the time I’d noticed the sunlight streaming through the window, I was curled up on the sofa with bus stop boy, his silky locks against my cheek. When Mindy hinted that we should go, I simply shrugged and told her to watch out for the sex pest on her way home.

Arriving back at mine around lunchtime, Mindy raised her eyebrows, ‘Have fun?’ I rubbed my temples. ‘Where’s the boy?’ Mindy continued, ignoring my scowl, ‘Back with mummy? Or is he doing his homework?’ ‘He wasn’t that young,’ I mumbled, barely mustering the strength to form a defence, ‘he’s doing his finals.’ ‘Yeah, his baccalauréat maybe,’ Mindy scoffed. ‘Did you not see the timetable on his desk? If he’s at university why is he studying Maths, Art, Geography and English?’ I shrugged, ‘Obviously the French education system is a bit different. Come on Mind, he’s so not a schoolboy.’ ‘He’s just passed his driving test!’ Okay, this was true. In fact, he had received the letter only that morning and was as excited as a baby lab. I’d found it endearing at the time. I gasped. Dear God, he was still a teenager. ‘Serves you right for letting your friend walk through the streets of Nice in a black body-con mini dress at 7am,’ Mindy folded her arms and nodded at me sharply. ‘And to think, people were assuming I was a prostitute when you…’

Later that day, at Kitty’s pool party, Mindy kindly spread the news that I had a new amour. ‘So hang on a second,’ JC looked up from his plate and held his BBQ chicken in midair, ‘you met two men at a bus stop at 5am and then went back to their apartment? That’s sensible is it girls? And then you…’ JC shook his head at me, ‘and with a child too.’ ‘He was twenty-one,’ I screwed up my eyes and aimed a balled up paper napkin at his forehead, ‘he drank bloody Merlot for Christ sake.’ ‘We’re in France,’ he threw the napkin back, ‘that’s what the kids drink here.’ I sighed, unable to see what the fuss was about; I’ve always liked younger men. In fact, at university I had such a thing for preppy boys in their school uniforms that I had to rule out being a teacher on the basis that an affair with one of my students would be inevitable.

Now that there is a full decade standing in the way of me and a sixth former, the schoolboy thing doesn’t really hold the same allure as it used to but surely any guy over the age of twenty is fair game. As Aaliyah sagely pointed out, age ain’t nothing but a number and this whole bus stop boy incident was making me wonder if it wasn’t time to accept that I was destined to end up with a toy boy. ‘So,’ I enquired ‘how young is too young?’ Snoozie, so called because of her narcoleptic tendencies, had a definitive answer, ‘Half your age plus seven. Any figure below, kiddie fiddling.’ I worked on the maths. ‘Twenty-one is totally fine,’ I said eventually, feeling vindicated. ‘Oh yes, fine. Don’t worry, my boyfriend is younger than me too.’ ‘He’s two years younger Snooz,’ Mindy interrupted, ‘it’s hardly the same as deflowering an adolescent.’ ‘I did no such thing,’ I wailed but I could see arguing was futile; by the end of the party I would be known only as the girl who “deflowers” teenage boys.

‘You know,’ I said, brightening up, ‘if he’s on his school holidays he’ll have a lot of time free over the summer.’ ‘Yep, you can hang out together at the arcade,’ JC winked at me, ‘or loiter in the shopping centre. You can watch him do tricks on his skateboard in the park, treat him to an ice cream.’ ‘Now hang on JC,’ I rolled my eyes at him, ‘your letting your imagination run away with you now. I’m no sugar mummy.’ Realistically, with his pocket money alone, bus stop boy probably had a better income than I did. The ice creams would definitely be on him.

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