Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back to Skool

Some moons ago, I was involved in the sinister world of amateur dramatics and did a run of 'Mort' at the local theatre.
A few months after, I received a phonecall from a friend asking me if I'd like to help out with the performance he was sorting, and this time could I play the lead. Yay, I thought, and asked when and where. The when was soon, and the where was his school. A boy's school. In Harrow. He was 18 and this play was part of his finals, and being a boy's school, they needed girls to play some of the parts.
I was 30 at the time. My friend didn't know my age. I discovered later he thought I was about 20. Bless.
But, I loved the play, and the chance of doing the lead sounded great fun, so I agreed.
The first day of rehearsals found me nervously sitting in the main hall of the school, feeling very much as I had on my first day at my old school. I had no idea where anything was, only knew one person, was terrified I'd say the wrong thing and get detention, and also wanted to hide behind the gym and have a cigarette. I hadn't enjoyed my school days, and the smells of classrooms and cabbage where making me decidedly edgy.
At last my friend turned up and introduced me to the others in the cast. They seemed friendly enough, one boy in particular seemed rather too friendly, but I'll get to that in a while. Rehearsals began, and I found myself feeling more relaxed about the whole school thing, after all, this was just the fun side without any of the lessons and so.
One day, my friend and I were working out a sword fight routine on stage. As we'd both done fencing, we decided to have a bash at each other and were having fun until a teacher bellowed "You two! Stop that this instant! You idiots, those swords are not toys, and you'll have someone's eye out! Put them down and behave sensibly, understand?"
I found myself shuffling my feet and staring at the ground, mumbling "Sorry sir, won't do it again sir...sorry..."
The teacher was a year younger than me, for fu pity's sake, but for that instant the horror of feeling 13 kicked right back in.
One evening after rehearsals, my friend and I went to the nearby pub. As he was 18, I bought him a pint and got one for myself. We were nearly finished when in walked three of the teachers. Once again, I felt like I'd been caught doing wrong. Although my friend was 18 and not wearing the school tie and blazer, he still got a right telling off for being in a pub and drinking, and although I was not one of their pupils, I got plenty of disapproving glares.
At another rehearsal, I was going through my lines when one of the second year boys came up to me.
"Are you at college?" he asked.
"Erm, no" I replied.
"Oh, are you still in high school then?
"Erm, no" I again replied.
"Gosh. Are you a grown up then?" he asked with widening eyes.
"Errrr... s'pose" was my witty and erudite rejoinder.
Another day, another rehearsal, and this time the boy who was getting rather too friendly decided to try and chat me up. He was 15; biologically young enough to be my child, and even when I was 15, I had not been interested in 15 year old boys.
He did his very best to impress me; offered me a foot massage, told me he knew a pub we could go to where he could get served as his mate worked there, and said we could go to the pictures and get a burger after if I'd like, but it didn't sway me. It was when he grabbed my feet and refused to take no for an answer for that foot massage, that I thought it best to tell my friend what was going on.
I politely explained that if his friend ever so much as got to within a foot of me, I would have to break part of his anatomy and that would not be good for the play as there were no understudies, and would he mind having a talk with him to clarify the situation. He replied that quite a few of his friends had taken a liking to me, and one in particular was very interested, but he would tell the 15 year old to leave me alone. His friend that was very interested was 18 though. Would I consider going out with him?
It was then that I thought it best to tell him how old I was, and that I was not after a toy-boy.
His face was a picture. He stared at me, and for a while could only say "Thirty? Thirty? No!"
"Yes, thirty!" I said, "but don't tell anyone until the play's over, alright?"
He kept his promise, and also had a chat with my young admirer.
The night of the play finally arrived, and it was a roaring success. Afterwards, we headed off to the pub surrounded by parents of the boys, teachers, and my friends who had come to cheer me on.
At the bar, I spotted the teacher who had told me off for sword fighting. I couldn't resist having a little fun, so I went over and said hello.
We chatted for a while and he said thanks for helping out with the play etc, and asked what I usually did when not at school.
I replied that I was a qualified massage therapist, and if he ever fancied a massage to give me a shout, but not to worry, I wasn't into younger men.
And then walked off.
Trying not to laugh.
My friend waited until the next day to tell his friends how old I was. Their reactions were the same as his had been.
It was fun, but I never want to go back to school again, ever.