When I was a kid I went to an all-girls school, which made it pretty difficult to meet boys.
And GOD did I want to meet boys. Every year I’d get a diary for Christmas and, before I inevitably gave up by January 10th, I would write my New Years resolutions in it – which were pretty much all, “spend time with more boys – and not the ones in drama class who keep complimenting you on your pedal pushers”.
In my final year of primary school my ‘salvation’ from the grasp of ‘pre-teen spinsterhood’ that haunted my every waking minute came in the form of a joint girls and boys school ‘adventure weekend’ trip to the Lake District…
‘Excited’ didn’t cover the atmosphere that flooded the classroom when we got that news. We picked our ‘buddies’ for the weekend, begged our parents to buy us new ‘adventure tracksuits’ especially for the occasion and the popular girls started sending notes to the boys we were going to see.
On the day we left I put on my brand new Le Coq Sportif tracksuit and tied my hair in two plaits – I basically looked like something out of Enid Blyton’s ‘Mallory Towers’… if, of course, the Mallory Towers girls modeled their fashion choices on the chavs that hung around the off license every Friday night. But I thought I looked gorgeous.
Despite the main excitement of the trip being the long-awaited integration with opposite sex, when I got there I didn’t speak to a single boy. Instead, me and my ‘buddy’, Louise, sat on the sidelines, passing notes about who we fancied whilst the ‘popular girls’ – the ones without their hair in two plaits – flirted with the boys.
Louise and I practically had a nervous breakdown when we found out that our group for the weekend included the pair of lads we both fancied; James and Jon.
James was a blonde chubby boy; his dad was rich and, even at 11 years old, he knew it – and made sure everyone else did too. I thought he was the most amazing boy that had ever graced our planet so, naturally, I ignored him – even when he laughed at every single activity I attempted to do and constantly pushed me into the water.
Jon was a tall, dark haired lad – which is about all I remember about him, besides thinking he was ‘a top laugh’ and listening to Louise telling me she would marry him one day.
The weekend itself was hideous. I wasn’t the sportiest kid in our class – I was never picked for teams in PE and once my Mum actually ran onto the track during a 200 metre race, (that I’d stupidly volunteered for on Sports Day) because she thought I was going to pass out – and here I was, at a weekend of unadulterated physically activity.
The stand-out hell was ‘ghyll scrambling’ which, if you’re not already familiar with the practice, basically involves PE teachers, with absolutely no training, throwing 11 year old’s into dangerous rock infested waterfalls.
But despite spending the weekend thinking I was going to die, nearly fifteen years later I still look back at that trip fondly.
Me and Louise went to high school together but, as with most 11 year old BFF’s, we grew apart. To this day we’re still friends on Facebook and it looks like she’s enjoying life – if you take “enjoying life” to mean getting drunk at drag bars every Friday and Saturday night – which, incidentally, I do.
James is still that blonde, chubby boy. He joined his dad’s company when he turned 21 and I’m pretty sure he’s recently got engaged to his long term girlfriend.
Jon is still tall, still dark haired and I still think he’s ‘a top laugh’.
He’s also my boyfriend… of six and a half years.
So I guess this is a love story after all.