This week I met a very young man indeed.
I was on holiday with a big group of people – some I knew, some I didn’t.
We were in the french Alps. There were 12 of us and the purpose of the holiday was mountain-biking, although I didn’t touch a bike for the whole trip. It seemed a bit dangerous.
I was there with my old school friend, Faith. There were various people from Faith’s family, and their friends. Her older brother arranged the trip, with his mountain-biking friends.
There were three middle-aged men there, with their teenage sons, a couple with a baby, and Faith’s husband and toddler (two separate people).
Even though I didn’t know most of them before the trip, we had a great time and all got on really well. The middle-aged Dads were all really nice.
Of the three teenagers, there was Faith’s nephew, who was 16. I’d met him a few times before, including at Faith’s wedding, where I was maid of honour and he was an usher. He was sweet and pleasant.
There was one who was 17, who was impossibly handsome but seemed a bit surly. Faith agreed and we nicknamed him ‘the fit one’ when we were on our own.
Then the third teenager was ‘the injured one’.
I arrived a day later than everyone else, and two people in the group had already got mountain-bike injuries on day one.
The injured teenager had fallen off his bike, and broken his hand. The poor lad had to spend the next whole day in a French hospital, waiting to be operated on. (One of the Dads also fell off and hurt his shoulder, but he seemed OK within a couple of days.)
I wasn’t sure how old ‘the Injured One’ was, but I assumed he was a teenager too, partly because he was there with his Dad and partly because he wore a baseball cap on backwards most of the time.
He was very sweet. He seemed quite shy, but occasionally would contribute to the big group conversation by stating the obvious in a really cute way.
On the holiday, of course I talked to Faith about the Whippersnapper Chronicles and how I was feeling. After dating a 25-year-old who turned out to be 22, and that being an unmitigated disaster, I have decided to focus on people who are roughly my age.
However, part of me finds it a little bit cool that a 22-year-old wanted to sleep with me enough to lie about his age (although it was probably more about his issues than me being irresistible).
Part of me is a little bit curious how young a youngster I can ensnare (as long as they’re over the age of consent of course. That’s important).
“The Fit One is too young, right?” I said to Faith.
“YES.” She replied, even though she also thought he was fit.
“Or, I mean…. 17 is over the age of consent…”
I knew she was right.
Besides, the Fit One and I barely spoke to each other throughout the holiday. When he wasn’t mountain biking, he spent a lot of time asleep. He was polite but definitely seemed like a teenager.
However, the Injured One was a bit chattier. He seemed very manful about breaking his hand on day one and not being able to do any more mountain-biking.
I once broke my hand during an accident punching a sofa (long story) so we compared notes on broken hands. His injury also meant he spent more time with the non-mountain-bikers – Faith and her little boy, and the couple with the baby, and me. We did things like walking in the mountains.
On the last night, we all decided to go out for a few drinks. As the big group walked into town, I ended up walking with the Injured One. We were talking about the nightclubs in our home town. I asked how old he was, as I wasn’t sure if he was old enough to get into a club.
“I’m twenty.” He replied.
“Oh!” I replied. Suddenly my top seemed to get a few inches lower.
I had kind of assumed he was at school or college, but it turned out he was at University studying chemistry.
We had some banter about the periodic table. We talked about science and university.
When we got to the pub, I bought drinks for me, Faith and Faith’s husband. There wasn’t a big enough table for all of us, so everyone ended up splitting into two groups – the middle-aged Dads and the kids.
As I came back from the bar, I dithered over who to sit with. As I dithered, some drunk Belgian-seeming men started chatting me up. They were playing darts and got me to take some of their shots.
After this, I managed to subtly wheedle Faith into sitting with me at the kids’ table.
I tried not to be too obvious and made an effort to talk to all the kids equally, but my Mum-ish “so do you lads think you’ll go to Uni?” chat fell on stony ground with the actual teenagers.
It turned out that the Injured One was at the same university that Faith went to, where I went to visit her several times, so the three of us talked about that, for a bit. I told him that when Faith and I were at uni, we used to write each other letters, by hand, on actual physical paper. His eyes were like saucers.
Although we tried to include other people, the Injured One and I just kept ending up in our own little conversation.
We got onto music and it turned out we liked the same things. We chatted about Glass Animals and Frank Ocean very animatedly.
It did seem like he was quite keen as well – he was asking me lots of questions and might have been a bit flirty.
After a while, we realised Faith and the actual teenagers had sloped off to join the middle-aged Dads, and left us to on our own.
I went into the toilets with Faith. “Has anyone noticed me and the Injured One chatting?”
“YES. Everyone!” Faith replied.
“Oh no! Even his Dad?”
The Injured One’s Dad was really nice and seemed pretty laid back, but I’m not sure he was thrilled about this development – a femme fatale in her 30s trying to deflower his son.
Faith said the group had mainly just joked about it and the Dad had said “I’m not worried, I know where he’s sleeping tonight,” as the Injured One and his Dad were sharing a room.
I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s holiday by being too much of a sexual predator, so we went and sat in the big group with everyone else. We all had quite a nice chat, with me and the Injured One sitting on opposite sides, and studiously ignoring each other.
At about 1am we all left the bar.
When we got home, I was making cups of tea for everyone in the kitchen, while everyone else was in the living-room. The Injured One came in to help me, and we had quite an in-depth conversation about tea.
We went into the living-room and all chatted as a big group. There was only about 5 of us left now.
At about 2am, the two remaining Dads went to bed. I had kind of assumed when everyone drifted off, me and the Injured One would subtly stay downstairs having another cup of tea or something (and preferably quietly shag the shit out of each other).
But then the Injured One got up as well!
I sat sadly, clutching my empty mug, as he disappeared up the stairs.
Faith said she thought he came to ‘help me’ make the tea so we could be on our own in the kitchen, but I didn’t seize the opportunity because I assumed we’d hang back when everyone else went to bed.
I guess, realistically, he was sharing a room with his Dad, so it was unlikely anything could happen. I had my own room, but his absence in his own bed would’ve been noticed.
I think at first, I was just chatting up a youngster to make some kind of point, although I’m not sure who to, or what the point was. It was some kind of reaction to the Whipperspawn nonsense.
But actually, I really liked the Injured One by the end. He was handsome and cute. He was very sweet, friendly and intelligent, in what my mum would call an ‘unassuming’ way.
I’m glad nothing happened because I don’t want to piss anyone off or make anything awkward. Maybe he was a bit young and I wasn’t interested for the right reasons.
Also, I didn’t have any contraception and he didn’t have a functioning right hand, so it would’ve been a challenge (which I certainly would have risen to).
It’s just been a nice, ego-boosting flirtation that has given me some lovely new images to think about.
The next morning, when we were having breakfast, I kept feeling a pair of eyes on me across the room. I think that seeing me get chatted up by the drunk Belgian dart-players, and then seeing me chat up his friend, made the Fit One suddenly notice I was functioning female woman with breasts. I’m pretty sure I saw him staring at me in my peripheral vision a few times.
Now I’ve knelt at the Fountain of Youth for a few moments, I’m happily off on my way.