There’s a story I remember being told as a teenager that has recently come back to me. It was a story I heard second hand, but told with gusto and as if true. I think it was true. I believed it at the time, certainly. I still like to think it’s true. It is true.
The story was about a friend of a friend – it was someone with a name, a name I knew, but (alas) a name I’ve forgotten – and how her long term relationship had started. Which was in an unorthodox way.
The girl in this relationship had, so the story went, been loudly masturbating in a room when a male friend of hers – a close male friend, may have even been a best friend – heard the ruckus, went to investigate, saw what was going on, smiled, she smiled back, he closed the door, went over and they made beautiful sweet love and stayed together always.
Fair enough. Standard bawdy teenage backofthebikeshed kind of anecdote. Right?
Because it was presented, even then, as a thing in the past. It was a hilarious opening to a (by that point, and in teenage terms) long term thang. Which is fine.
But if that relationship is still going on now, or if it continues for another ten, twenty, thirty years (if it was even real in the first place…), will the jocular anecdote about the beginning of their romance – that of interrupted masturbation – continue to be rolled out, or will it switch to a more candid, “Oh, we were at school together, friends for a while, yadda yadda etc”?
I don’t think it will change. I think that as the generation of people comfortable with sharing and discussing masturbation ages, the idea of it as a non-discussable taboo will disappear. People don’t “mature” into reticence, into conversational repression, into discretion. People mature into being able to discuss quotidian events – particularly the ones that collide with life-changing, important ones* – with a comfortable, relaxed lilt.
As people age and experience more, their ability to express themselves (and what has happened to them) improves. So maybe when that anecdote is told now it isn’t a rushed “Oooh, a girl masturbating in the West Midlands in 2005″, it is instead a glorious, extended, When Harry Met Sally cut away sofa scene where technique, aids, positioning and all manner of other “unnecessary” details are thrown on the pile.
I hope so. I like to think so. No one ever tells me bawdy anecdotes any more…
*Here I’m implying masturbation is quotidian, falling in love is life-changing. Not an idea I agree with. At all. They’re closer to the other way round, right guys???