My first time: an apology

Yet despite these preparations. Despite my dreams. I was violated in an exhibition centre by four Geordies old enough to be my father. It wasn’t special or intimate, and certainly wasn’t how I’d imagined it.

Unlike your keys, temper or mind, you only lose your virginity once. That’s why it is so important to ensure that you remain chaste until the time is right. Who wants to waste something so precious on someone you no longer care about? The first is unique. Special. The one you remember. Mainly because, notwithstanding its obviously personal nature, you’ll be amazed how often people enquire about it, and bitter personal experience has taught me that you’ll want to be proud of your answer.

I fretted endlessly over who would be the lucky recipient of my adoration. The majority of my acquaintances, however, didn’t share my concerns. It was something to get over with as quickly as possible, and exasperatingly had far superior experiences. The sort of thing you could brag about to an impressed audience for years to come.

The Chinaman lost his aged sixteen with a school friend he never talked to again. An anonymous associate, overcome with emotion, ended up ripping a girl’s bra off in all the confusion when he was only twelve. (Unsurprisingly Crimewatch dedicated an entire episode to him recently, but don’t get any ideas I’ve already claimed the reward.) Martin Lower Your Pants and Prepare for Boarding risked his life dallying with supposed murderers, while Paul and Tippy lost theirs together after a chance encounter in a Liverpool Hotel. I could go on but if I start crying I’ll never stop.

Like Ahab trussed to Moby Dick, I refused to weaken. With hardened resolve I clung onto my ideals. Reputation is crucial. Strip a man of his possessions and it is all a man has. And yet it can be so easily undermined. A simple mistake made when you were young, impressionable and eager to please can hang over you for the rest of your life. Undermining everything you do.

Concerned about the repercussions I took precautions. I sought individuals with a similar outlook. Unfortunately I found them. A good crowd. A bland crowd. The sort of people your mother likes and who fantasise about detached houses with gates and long drives, driving Jaguars and being lawyers. Young men who dye their hair grey and feign male pattern baldness because it makes them look distinguished. Boys more interested in their father’s stock portfolio than his pornography.

Thanks to these embryonic middle managers I endured a middle-aged adolescence. But like me they were keeping themselves pure. Saving themselves for someone worthwhile. Someone unforgettable. A memory you would cherish. Contrary to how we acted we were young, time was on our side and there was no need to rush. We could wait.

Yet despite these preparations. Despite my dreams. I was violated in an exhibition centre by four Geordies old enough to be my father. It wasn’t special or intimate, and certainly wasn’t how I’d imagined it.

The Byrds might not have been but I was born to follow. If only I’d known our esteemed editor Richard then. He would have dragged me along to Echo and the Bunnymen. (I would -ed) Even left to my own devices it could have been a thoroughly respectable Ska bad or even Soft Cell, but no I followed my chino-clad peers to watch Dire Straits at the NEC desperately hoping that Sting would turn up to sing at the beginning of Money for Nothing. Pathetic and deluded. And we thought we had better taste than our contemporaries. Even Adrian Mole look-a-like Aiden ‘Windy’ Trimble was listening to the Smiths!

The only way it could have been worse was if my parents had been more persistent when suggesting they accompanied me. Actually that’s not entirely true. My first music-related memory is being cajoled aged five into admitting that I wanted to be in Gary Glitters gang. Thankfully for me I didn’t manage to catch him in concert till 1986 by which time, according to a bouncer, I was ten-years too old to be a groupie even though I was wearing the school uniform I’d sported in the Frankie Goes to Hollywood video for Relax.

It’s not that I have anything against Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler is an exceptional guitarist. The songs well constructed. They’re just a bit too Dead and Kim. Teenagers shouldn’t listen to anything their mum sings along to when she’s ironing.

Ironically I lost my actual virginity during a spontaneous, tawdry one-night stand and I’m as proud of it today as I was on the 23rd of December 1983. A gentleman would never reveal any specifics, but I will point out that a snow covered park bench in the bleak mid-winter is not the best place to become a man. Explaining frost bite in that extremity is not something I wish to endure ever again, especially not in front of thirty medical students.

The only regret I have is that it inspired me to spend my entire inheritance developing a range of fleece-lined condoms for those sub-zero trysts. It was an unmitigated disaster.

I may be ashamed of my first concert but I can take solace in the fact that my taste in friends and music has certainly improved, and that there is always someone worse off than you. After an evening of sober headbanging in Chelmsford to Saxon my Finnish friend Jan left the venue with a crippling migraine and his friend Andy in tears because his programme had been stolen. Rock and roll!!!

For the record, my friends’ gigs were respectively: Simple Minds, Glasgow SECC, 1986; the Boomtown Rats, Middlesbrough Town Hall, 1980; The Stranglers Leas Cliffe Hall, Folkestone, 1989, and Spear of Destiny, Liverpool 1985.


Next month: The JLS Conundrum

Was losing your cherry something you’d rather forget, or involve a frost-fretted bench, please contact our help desk at All queries will not be treated in a professional and confidential manner and will feature in future columns.

With thanks to Andy the Chinaman Ross, Dangerous Dave Nicholson, Dom Salmon, Gerald Jazzman Short, Jan Glover, Justin Time for Sex Phillipson, Martin Lower, Matt Button, Paul Morris.