‘Assorted’ Pictures Today…
“I Will if You Will…” How often have you heard kids say that to one another? I overheard Chris talking to Leo last night… it was quite innocuous, as they were talking about spending money on a particular brand of tight-fitting “muscle” top they’ve taken a liking to, to show off their developing bodies in High School classes I guess (they have no uniforms here, unlike many schools back home in UK).
It made me smile – how many times, when young, did I say that, or have it said to me? I remember one time, aged about 9, in the bedroom of my best friend Colin (the one whose son Ollie now features here regularly). We were rolling about on the floor, play-fighting as young boys do, and I had hold of what was obviously a new shirt. He panicked, thinking it would get ripped and that he would get told off. ‘Why don’t you just take it off?’ I asked innocently (yes, really!). After all, I’d seen his chest before in the changing room at school for swimming, and he’d seen mine.
‘I will if you will,’ was the answer, and our shirt-free co-existence began with that amazing feeling of skin on skin as we wrestled… Nothing remotely ‘sexual’ involved – just boosting each other’s confidence to do something perhaps not quite ‘ordinary’ – and boosting our joint egos in the process. The same thing had already happened with bare feet, as I recall: certainly I was barefoot in his room at the time, and so was he.
Back in those heady days, we were still allowed a long leash to go out and about on our own, especially on long cycle rides in the long summer school vacation (see very early posts in this blog!!) We would ride northwards out of the city on relatively uncrowded roads on our bicycles before taking first to the canal towpath and then to the bank of the River Cherwell, a favourite place to chill in the sun and to swim – we were both very keen on swimming and yet to learn that we would become even more keen on gymnastics (but that’s another story).
Shirtless being now the norm between us, it promised to be such a hot day that we didn’t even take a shirt with us. When Colin unrolled his towel, though – disaster. No swimming trunks! ‘Keep your shorts on, then,’ I suggested. But he didn’t want to do that – they too were new and he wasn’t sure what would happen if they got wet – shrink maybe or something, I don’t remember. ‘Then why not just do without your trunks?’ I suggested. ‘No-one’s going to see you except me, and I don’t care!’
A long pause. ‘OK – I will if you will…’
Which has led, of course, and after a number of years, to a home situation in which we can train naked and be carefree about it alongside our family and friends, and to a private gym where such behaviour is not only tolerated but encouraged…
Only once were Colin and I discovered in our lair – a couple of summers later when we were awaiting entry to the secondary school and making the most of our last summer break as ‘juniors’ dozing in the sun in our little glade, a gang of older louts came along, making a lot of noise. We lay low, hoping not to be noticed, but they saw us and starting playing pissing ‘games’ in which we came off the worst, forcing us back into the welcoming river to clean ourselves off. Longer term, alongside my gay partner Dave and at the suggestion of two mates from said private gym, we agreed to further inundations in the name of entertainment (ahem) but also in the knowledge that urea is (genuinely) very good for the skin to prevent ageing: on that occasion it was Dave who very reluctantly said ‘I Will if You Will…’
Since recalling all of this I’ve wondered what else my son Leo and his friends might have been contemplating and resolved the question with ‘I Will if You Will…’ Better not to enquire, I suppose.
Our dodgy exploits are distributed through these books, which otherwise contain a lot of tender gay discovery, acrobatic training, circus tours and other adventures:
‘Like father, but NOT like son…’ – neither Leo nor his best friend are gay, so their misadventures are going to be different from mine. One of their best-friend contemporaries is gay, though – Jude – but, thanks to Leo (and Jaymee’s) upbringing in an otherwise gay household, there is total tolerance, which is more than be said for much of the local population here in Tennessee.
Let’s have some more pictures then:
Finally, as this is (allegedly) a gay blog, let me finish with an ‘I Will if You Will’ picture! Sleep tight…