David Worboys: Facts of life

David Worboys: Facts of life


I learned the facts of life at the age of nine or ten but the world has moved on since the late forties. Nowadays little boys are raping girls by the age of ten and murdering them by the time they are twelve. Not all of them, but in growing numbers. Guns and knives are preferred nowadays to pea-shooters and catapults, while playground scuffles have given way to shootings or stabbings as a means of settling scores.

When I was five, I was attracted to girls in general (and Rosalind in particular) and enjoyed sitting next to them. I realised they were different from boys, who were perhaps more fun, but I had no idea about sexual communion nor how I arrived on planet Earth. It was a schoolfriend who eventually told me but he omitted to explain that the act normally took place in a horizontal position in a bed and normally between a man and his wife. Hmmm. I had visions of perpendicular liaisons between a mother and a father, while (more or less) fully dressed and anywhere out of view. Perhaps behind the potting shed or in the garage.

It was also a fact of life that, at the age of nine, I had been taught to raise my school cap on meeting a woman, and at eleven I would offer my seat on a bus to any woman or elderly man. The following members of society had to be treated with special respect: teachers, policemen, vicars, friends of my father and fathers of my friends – normally addressed as “sir”.

We had fights at school but had to rely on our hands and, in extreme cases, our fists – but not our feet, let alone weapons. Things began to change in the sixties. Skinheads and bovver boots, followed by punk “music” signalled the emergence of a less gentle society. The facts of life were clarified for the wider public when the Rolling Stones released “Let’s spend the night together”. The culture of free love was born.

In the fifties many working people felt uncomfortable in banks and restaurants, much the preserve of the more affluent or more educated. Men and teenage boys wore jackets and tie in restaurants, in many of which the menus were presented only in French. This meant that nine out of ten customers hadn´t a clue what they were ordering. The other ten per cent were probably eating out fairly regularly – not just on birthdays. Some men even put on a jacket and tie especially to go into a bank.

A friend pointed out to me that Paradise was being a twenties-year-old heterosexual male in swinging London in the sixties when there was an inexhaustible presence of slender, elegant women of all nationalities. There was no political correctness but, by today´s standards, it was a harmless, if not innocent, world.

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.