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Published on February 10th, 2012 | by Culch.ie


Culch Valentine’s: How I learned to stop worrying and love the occasional bang

Hi there gorgeous,

So, Valentine’s Day. Starry-eyed loser, star-crossed lover or cross-eyed malcontent, you’re bound to have an opinion on it, yes? Be it a memory, a barely-concealed urge to vomit, a poem for your other half that makes the rest of us vomit, a scribbled note on what a perfect valentine’s would be for you, a history lesson on the relics of St Valentine, an angry swipe at Hallmark, a cry for help because you don’t know your partner much better than you know your postman and you’re deathly scared of trying to shop for them or anything in between, we share those feelings and each day in the run up to the 14th one of Culch’s writers will bring you their own personal Valentine’s thoughts.

With love and last-minute garage chocolates,


I used to be very righteous about sex. (More a locked knickers type than surfer-esque ‘totally righteous, dude!’) But luckily for me, it was going to be perfect. I had read up, you see. My mother believed in Ladybird books. I had once checked out Jilly Cooper’s Polo from the library believing it to be a heady tale of equestrianism rather than a heady tale of head. I knew the whole A-Z of safety and sexy from spermicides to frilly undercrackers. And I had somehow inveigled a young man into my clutches who must have been charmed by my two-tone hair and solid, well-reared views on being deflowered and was willing to go along with any over-nuanced plan I concocted.

He was, to my teenage eye, some sort of God. Tall, dark, and with a personal ability to always smell like he’d just got out of a honey-scented shower, he was the envy of all my friends and I often displayed him like a pony – “Look at his teeth!” “No, I wouldn’t really use the whip on him…”

Artist's impression of my first boyfriend

As first boyfriends tend to be he was older, experienced and unsuitable. My Mother called him ‘that boy’ and my father warning him frequently about daring to go past third gear when I was in the car. Remarkably, he endured all of this, presumably buoyed on by my considerable affections, and we maintained a schedule of fervoured handholding from one early August all the way through to the following February.

However, our teenage romance was not without its trials…

While I languished undiscovered in a town so bereft of life that it didn’t even have the requisite one horse, forging notes from my mother about why I couldn’t do PE and navigating 5th year with a disinterest a Central Bank Emo would’ve been proud of, he had moved away for college and returned at weekends with tales of parties, house-share politics and spending much of his time on Student Centre sofas delicately balancing coffee and the day’s paper. Weekends became a three-day bender of face sucking, awkward handsiness and determined partial outdoor nudity in the face of ever-decreasing autumn temperatures.

But ultimately I was sure I would lose him to some big city hussy who distributed her flower with such abandon that locals would call her The Florist and became determined that I would create a passionate tryst so perfect that when e’er he tried to charm another his penis would simply refuse to engage – turned on only by my voice like one of those fancy cars that don’t take a key.

I had no real fear of sex nor issues about swinging my leg over anyone without being betrothed to them, but as it was a first I did want it to be memorable. And as that boy had done a considerable amount of swinging his leg before he ever met me, I wanted to be good.

I planned for weeks, embroiled in the murky world of hold-ups and idly wondering if I was a screamer. Lies were constructed with regard to why I might possibly need to spend the night away from home on February 14th. Lies were abandoned as being too piss-poor to get past my mother’s radar. Of course there wasn’t a special Valentine’s regional meeting of the badminton club. Eventually, that boy’s freeloving mother called my mother and lied on my behalf using words like ‘supervised’ and ‘responsible’. We were away.

I discussed it incessantly like I was signing over my soul to him and because you indulge people you want to get the ride from, and probably because my self-important hold on my knickers must have been endearing, he duly listened to hours of navel gazing and at no point said that no sex could warrant that much preamble.

More hyped than a Lana Del Rey album, the day eventually dawned and I packed like I was going away for a month. Undoubtedly my high maintenance teenage brain probably reasoned that my virgininty was going away FOREVER and if that didn’t warrant four pairs of shoes, nothing ever would.

In the end, it was seamless and romantic. Car waiting when I got off the train, a nice dinner, miraculously compliant hold-ups, and then down to brass tacks. I can remember the sheer giddiness of the hours beforehand. Everything from getting petrol to thanking the taxi driver had an unspoken bit at the end of every sentence uttered: “thanks… and I’m off to have a big pile of sex now” and the excited quiet looks across the tops of menus and shop shelving.

I can remember that boy winding my hair around his finger and trying to psyche me out like we were opposing teams in a football match. “Hope you brought your game face, that girl.” And then an hour flew by. Now only existing as an overplayed montage somewhere behind my eyes when I’m trapped in the company of a particularly boring person, it would neither do it justice nor be decent to repeat.

I know I talked too much. (“shhhh!”) and giggled more than was appropriate.

And then just as soon as it was brilliant, it was terrifying.

Oh my gentle Jesus, stop.

For five or six thrusts it was gamely passed off as it’s supposed to be painful and then no, nobody ever said anything about burning.

Oh, fuck.


I didn’t think…


In all my fucking planning…

What’s wrong with you?!

I’m allergic to latex…




And the rest of Valentine’s Day was spent as the Little Spoon, alternating between growls of injustice and whimpers of discomfort.

Weeks later I would discover that I was a screamer, and that best laid plans won’t get you laid.

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