For the week-end. ( A Willy Willy)

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The journey of acquiring my first car, the trip to learn in a rhythmic tempo of moving thighs, the Fox trot and the tempestuous Austrian Waltz aided by with Phyllis Bates dance lessons, would now surely also include a first date? It was on the cards long before any of that. Growing genes and rocking hormones does all that for us, irrespective of will and choice. The world is full of people now as sure proof of this.

The Vic’s cabaret at Strathfield was a large hall that had a raised podium on top of which to house a small orchestra. The ceiling was high and made of weatherboards painted a stark white as were the walls. There was seating on both sides with ample wooden benches. On the opposite side of the entrance the benches were occupied by the girls but on both sides of the entrance and opposite the dance floor all the boys. It provided a clear view of both sexes to study each other. The boys were much more blatant, the girls much more coy but also darting quick looks across assessing possible dancing partners.

In the middle of the ceiling was a large rotating ball which held little mirrors that threw fascinating effects around the walls and floor adding excitement and an atmosphere of expectation. I mean those flickering images and the music added to a letting go of inhibitions which of course is a requirement of daring to dance with another body, let alone another body of the opposite sex.

All boys and girls on entering were looked over and sniffed for any hint of alcohol. They were strict on that and that was good. All were stone sober so all initiatives to a dance were of free will and cold choice, no chemical help of any kind. My brylcreme with artificial little Kookie hair-wave and the Pelaco shirt was about the only external aid I could use. It must be remembered that at the late fifties and sixties Australia was swamped with young man and this created a shortage of women.

However, if a man had car it would give him a bit of ‘a leg-up.’   I had a car; what’s more a Ford V8 single spinner. But, I could hardly go up to a girl and say,” Hello, my name is Gerard and I have a big V8, would you like to dance?” With the abundance of men and shortage of girls on the dance floor, many a refusal had to be lived with. The “no thank you”, had to be overcome time and time again. It was also true that at that time the girls were more attracted to the true blue Aussie male. The foreigners had strange accents and eating habits, often far too polite and formal, shaking hands and all that stuff, taking the girls back to their seat after the dance.

However, there was one sure way of getting to dance. It was the ‘Pride of Erin’. This was a dance were a kind of circle or Conga line of boys and girls was formed in equal numbers. It took some time to organise but the excitement was at fever pitch. Everyone loved the Pride of Erin. Many a boy was straining at the leash. This was the time to strike out and get a date. The music started and I remember well the tune. It was ‘ What’s the matter with kids today?’ I soon got in my stride and swirled like the best of them. I tried an air of utter nonchalance and even practised the Australian ‘could not care less’ bravado. You only had seconds to strike out for a date but with the second round and same girl one could get a rapport going that hopefully would result in a date and exchange of addresses afterwards. (Of course texting was decades off let alone sexting or incriminating selfies. Now people have amazing sex through vibrating IPhones or Tweets.)

To cut the story short and after many a visit to Vic’s and endless Prides of Erin, I did manage a date. I took her to Woy Woy which the week before had been struck by a Willy Willy or tornado. It was the best I could come up with. I could have gone to the Blue Mountains but to stare at a mountain-view sitting inside a car might be fraught with some aspects of awkwardness. I felt touring around the devastation of roofs having been blown off and boats blown out of the water could offer a distraction and something to talk about. There was also a very famous artist living in the area and I thought it might be worthwhile to drive past his house and possibly have something to talk about.

The day wasn’t a great success. The talk wasn’t flowing. I tried history and Dresden with WW2, the state of neglect of our cemeteries, ( we drove past one)nothing worked and she kept saying ” oh, that is lovely, and oh, thank you’ over and over. It was difficult. We stopped on the way back when she finally said something; “I would like a malted milkshake”, she said. I think we stopped at Hornsby after the Ford V8 blew a lot of smoke going up a very steep hill when crossing the Hawkesbury river. We sat in the milk-bar and slurped the milkshake. She was really sweet and very shy. Perhaps it was her first date as well. I did not want to ask because it might indicate a kind of unpopularity with boys. It is such a delicate time. I drove her back to Coogee where she lived. The door was opened by her dad. He was a huge tree of a man, and looked me over. She fled inside after another ‘thank you’.

It was my first date.

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31 Responses to “For the week-end. ( A Willy Willy)”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    There is so much that can go wrong on the first date..: The cut, fit and style of your clothes, the hair that just won’t stay in place, the tongue that gets tied and the feet that get tangled…and then there those pimples!

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Pimples were the least of my problems, Jo.
      It was the refusal for my hair to keep a bit of a wave. A wave at the front was essential. I used Brylcreme copiously. My mother complained about the pillow covers smelling of sheep. Later on I was told 90% of Brylcreme is sheep’s lard.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. GP Cox Says:

    It wouldn’t be a ‘first date’ if things didn’t go wrong!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was awkward and a difficult day. A bit like joining similar polarities. She did not care to see the roofless houses in Woy Woy. It was a very small town then. Now Woy Woy is huge with massive supermarkets and parking stations.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres Says:

    I’m trying to remember my ‘first date’ and I can’t. I wonder what that means? Apparently, it wasn’t a horrible experience, or it surely would have stayed in mind! I do remember my first ‘boyfriend,’ though. We were in fourth grade, I believe, and he brought me a pink, heart-shaped box of chocolates. It had a bow, and I’ve never forgotten it. Unfortunately, Tim drowned in a lake the next summer. He was a sweet boy, but we never got to dance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That is a sad memory of a first boyfriend, Linda. You would have treasured the box of chocolates ever since. Tim was very nice, I am sure. My first love was when I was 14 and living in Holland. She was forthright and initiated the first kiss. Still remember it well.

      Like

  4. Robert Parker Says:

    Not too bad, really, for a first date! Maybe a bit surprised about choosing “the state of neglect of our cemeteries” as a date night topic! 🙂 My date ditched me, to huddle with her girl friends and talk all night, and so I gave it ten seconds’ thought, and decided to have a good time anyway, and danced with others all night

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, girls often like the company of other girls when out dating. There is safety in numbers, especially of the same sex. I was always surprised how men and women are so keen on segregation at social events.
      Of course, ‘continental’ men like women. In the fifties girls were warned to be aware of continentals.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. auntyuta Says:

    “sex through vibrating IPhones or Tweets” ? What next!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Many a girl and boy regret their sexual texting and photos shown during the heights of love (infatuation.)
      It is not the real thing though. Is it?

      Like

      • freefall852 Says:

        Waddaya mean..: “is it?” !!??

        Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        Real thing? No way!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Is it? indeed, Joseph.

        Perhaps cultural differences have a lot to answer for. In those very early years when garlic, coffee and rosemary had as yet to be introduced into Australia, the relationship between real Aussies and Continentals were still somewhat restrained.

        Italians and Greeks were known as dagoes, wogs and rumoured to have strange sexual habits. ‘Going French with using a ‘Frenchy” would be whispered about behind churches and railway stations.
        The Dutch were somewhat apart, although ‘going Dutch’ was supposed to infer they were tight-fisted. The generic name for all European migrants was ‘reffo’.

        To get a date many of the continentals would try as quickly as possible to lose any foreign accent. A refence to country of origin was the death-knell for a date. Europe was seen as a coffee stain on the map. It was a race to become as much Aussie as possible. Jars of vegemite would be prominently displaced on window sills. Petunias would be planted, worn car- tyres around azaleas painted white. Privacy-till-the-grave practiced behind acres of venetians, backed up by dark curtains.

        Some of us ex-continentals would carry this even further and comment whenever thought to be advantageous, in a derogatory manner, about the evils of foreigners taking over Australia and its values of Queen, cricket and endless sandy shores.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. freefall852 Says:

    Yes..growing up and facing the unknowns of the mysteries of the opposite sex…of course, there was also the hidden pits of the older men “giving advice” to the more fumbling and shy younger males..:
    That song by Blondie : “In The Flesh” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmONePejIIA)
    …threw me back many years…way before that song was written..back to my apprenticeship years as a young blade on the building site. In the smoko room of a multi-story building site…

    Back in those days..mid-sixties or so, we had a loquat tree in our yard at home and this year it was most proficient with fruit, so I used to take a small bag of them with me to work to eat at smoko and lunch…but in those days, I, and anyone I knew , used to not peel the fruit, but just eat them skin and all..till one day on the site, at smoko..this Slavic chap at the table watched me eat the whole fruit and then addressed me so;
    (I won’t try to do his accent)

    “Why, my young friend, do you eat the loquat, skin and all?”

    “I don’t know”..I shrugged” I just do..how else would you eat it?”…He put his apple down into his lunch-box and said..

    “Here..give me one..I see you have many..that big fat one there..they are the best to show you…” I gave it to him “ Yes,,very juicy”..

    He wiped the surface with his rough hand and then held it up in front of us both as in display.

    ‘This fruit is not just a lump of food..(pause)..this is a sensuous delight..not just to chomp down on like the glutton you are , my young friend!”..and he lay it clutched in one palm and proceeded to peel it with his other hand…a strip at a time ..all the while giving me..and those other bemused older men at the table, a running commentary…I have to admit I felt a tad blushing in those innocent days..

    His eyes concentrated and his voice softened..

    “This fruit is like a woman..you have to be very gentle..for she will bruise so if you handle her roughly..you like this fruit?..so..you must never be rough with that you love..you must gently peel away the outer layers of “garment” (he paused in his action to give me a querying stare) you understand?” (several other men stifled a guffaw) and when you have it down to the flesh…you gently , with both thumbs..so..spread the flesh wide so you can see the seeds..which you ease out with the index-finger..The hand..my young boy..is not only to be used for rough jobs..like I see you throw around those ‘Acrow props’…you must be more gentle in your work”..and he looked at me sternly.

    He performed the whole procedure with all the care and sensuality of a lover..”And there”..he displayed the bare fruit in his open hand..and after a suitable pause for me to absorb the result, he raised the dripping delight to his lips and voluptuously pressed them down on the flesh so the juice oozed over his lips, which he dabbled with his napkin…His eyes rolled back in his head….he then spoke in a almost voiceless whisper..

    “And then…my so young and innocent friend..when you bring your lips to touch on that forbidden flesh , you can feel both the fruit and your mouth yield to a higher pleasure than you will ever experience in your otherwise worthless existence …” There was a long pause while he held his pointed to the ceiling hand for a moment of appreciation..
    “Pitchken dim..” he sighed.

    There was a sudden outburst of laughter in the smoko room from the other men and I felt more than a little uncomfortable.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, those smoko lunches on building sites were part of my education as well. A high-rise building of flats in North Sydney used to feature a young man coming home from work being greeted by his wife. They must have been just married. The building site we all were on was directly opposite this couple’s block of flats.
    Each lunchtime the smoko room would be empty of workers. All were to be found on the fifth floor looking across to were this young women was waiting for the knock on the door. After his entering she greeted him with a kiss and fondling in a somewhat intimate matter her (presumed) husband. Within a few minutes they would disappear which we all presumed would be to the conjugal bed.
    All of us afterwards would slowly saunter downstairs in deep contemplation and finally eat our lunch.
    The same procedure each day till one day this woman opened the door and a black frocked man walked in. Nothing untoward happened. They just drank some beverage. He was a man of the cloth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • freefall852 Says:

      Ahh! a man of the cloth…well..that could have meaning back in “the old country”..I remember my sister who went to a village there in the Apennines telling me..
      “Back home we had a saying that there were no infertile men in the village…and certo..if a woman could bear children, then there were children…because after a certain time passed, the parish priest was called in to “do his duty to God’s handmaidens” and he would hang his walking cane over the entrance doorknob while he “administered the faith” to the lady of the house and if the husband came home and saw the cane there, he would keep walking up to the bar and play a hand or two of briscola, take a whisky or two, before making his way back home respectfully.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    First dates are often awkward. 🙂
    I think it is sweet that you have such vivid memories of your first date, Gerard. 🙂
    And when it comes to dating, sex, relationships…things certainly have changed. And in most ways not for the better.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Carolyn. A few days ago there was a serious debate on TV how robots might replace partners in relationships. Some are now so realistic, even to the point of reminding to put the lid back on the pickles or to put down the toilet seat.
      I would be loath to take a robot to the pictures or the local café. I am glad not to be around when robots replace real life people.

      Hugs; Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rangewriter Says:

    You capture the drama and tension of this period of time and of your life beautifully. Puts me right there in that room….on the side with the girls and their shy, coy, hopeful glances…

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The dance halls at that time had the sexes separated. Girls on one and the boys on the on the other. It was up to the boys to cross the floor and ask for a dance. Sometime two or more boys would cross the floor and ask the same girl. I had to harden myself accepting refusals; It would be a polite ‘no, thank you.’ The way to overcome that was to ask girls that were not the prettiest. An extra bonus was that they were likely to be more interesting and sexy.
      A really dismal evening would be when
      the ‘no, thank-you’ were all in the offering. I would drive the Ford V8 home somewhat deflated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rangewriter Says:

        When I was in junior high school, the school dances were similar, however the boy/girl lineup was voluntary. All the girls huddled on one side wishing while all the boys huddled on the other side, too fearful I suppose to make that frightening journey across the floor and to risk being rejected in plain sight of all their buddies. Often the girls would give up and either dance with each other or be so emboldened as to cross the floor and pick out one of those shy boys. I refused to submit to either desperate move, so I never danced. Pride.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        My worst evening was when I had parked the Ford V8 accidentally blocking a private house driveway near Vick’s cabaret dance venue.

        At the end of the evening while walking back to my car, the owner of the house came bolting outside. ‘Put them up’, he said. He had taken on the stance of Cassius Clay and wanted to pummel me into the grass lawn.

        I instantly took to my best and most apologetic demeaner which averted a violent confrontation.
        I do remember some girls dancing with each other which I thought was very nice. You would not see men dancing with each other which is proof we had a long way to grow up. Even today I would not dance with a bloke. Mind you I can’t dance for peanuts despite all those dancing lessons with Phyllis bates.

        Like

  10. freefall852 Says:

    There is something so much different with this current generation of marriageable age people of both genders not seeming to want to take on the responsibility of a relationship…Where I can remember myself and my friends and the “set” we belonged to going out of our ways to seek friendship / relationship..and feeling inadequate if we could not!..these times see the young of parenting age not seeming to want to commit to personal, long-term relationships as much as committing to long-term loans for material possessions..
    I built our first, second and third(second marriage) family homes from the ground up…yet theses days we see so many McMansions with three bathrooms, three garages, four bedrooms and only one child or no children inhabitants…It’s a tragedy..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Big M Says:

      Not only that, but many young people put off having children until they have the perfect house, best landscaping, latest phone, best car etc. They neglect the fact that our best childbearing years are around 18 to 25. They let these years slip by then spend good money on fertility treatments, then expect the perfect pregnancy, the perfect labour and delivery, then the perfect baby. It goes perfectly for a precious few.

      Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Too true, Big M. You are a wise man.
        I had a reverse fertility treatment done with a very nice vasectomy performed by the very apt named Doctor, Barbara Simcock. What she doesn’t know about testes after having done thousands of them?
        The science is telling us that fertility will decrease very rapidly over the next few generations. It would be an answer to over population, I suppose.

        Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it has me beat too, that the smaller the family the more bathrooms. Do they suffer more nowadays from irritable bowels, Jo?
      And no sooner did we get the multiple bathrooms when offices and ‘entertainment centres’ were added. Houses are being advertised with ‘home theatres’, with front and back stalls, balconies, Hammond organs etc.
      However, a bit of a downturn and we might well see more modest homes being build. The mini-home has had some publicity. They look cosy.
      The expectations of happiness have reached alarming heights, Joseph. The bookshops are full of advice for the unhappy. It is a billion dollar industry.
      I just had breakfast with Helvi. We shared toast with cheese (Swiss) and sliced Polish Gherkins. Now there is happiness for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Gerard..I couldn’t agree more…it is the same in this household….no..this home..where Irene and myself enjoy both each others company (if not always opinions!) over a good meal and coffee!
        I am about to post a new article called : “The Hungry Womb”…on both my site and ..if wanted…The AIMN…it will be intersting to see how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Gee what a good memory you have. You had a Ford V8 to drive and that vehicle must have made you a proud young man, even if your hair refused to wave. Funny how young people want to have the latest fashion even if it meant piling on the sheep lard. I had no idea that is what Brylcreme was made of. I don’t remember my first date at all. It must have been unimpressive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I was so happy with the Ford V8. It was huge and had ashtrays and ciggie lighter, leather seats but… a badly worn-out engine. Uphill it used to smoke. I bought it on ‘easy terms’.. No sooner I made the last monthly payment when I wrote it off. The brake pedal had to be pumped because the brake seals were leaking. There was an emergency and the pumping action to brake failed and I crashed into another car.
      I remember laying awake worrying about the unfairness of it all. But, life taught me that not all is always fair.

      Liked by 2 people

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Oh my goodness That was a lemon for sure. You could have been killed in that car.

        Like

      • freefall852 Says:

        Oh Gerard!…oh oh..I just gotta tell that old joke about the Aussie in Texas and the car here…I just gotta..

        “There’s this Aussie country knockabout at this big party in Texas where a wealthy Texas rancher is bragging about how big his “spread” is..:
        ‘ I can git in my jeep, drive awwwlll dhay and still only git to the gate at the bottom of the home paddock!’…
        There’s a low mumble of wide-eyed respect at this description until this Aussie knockabout scratches the back of his neck in wincing discomfort and drawls out..
        ‘ yairs…yairs….y’know…..I..I had a car just like that once….’ “

        Like

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