TEENAGE FLIRTING–TRIPOLI STYLE

An all British effort cartoon by British Servicemen

When my family lived in Tripoli, Libya, in the 1950s, I was barely a teenager and in those long ago days, many of us had little inkling of sex or sexual practices. Movies we saw were innocent and only hinted at sex: a kiss, a little groping, a closed bedroom door. Television in the mid ’50s wasn’t even a consideration—my family hadn’t brought a TV set over with us and we didn’t miss it. Listening to Armed Forces Network radio at night was entertainment enough. A good actor could read a powerful tale and your mind supplied the details. I still remember the haunting story of an 18th century sailor who jumped ship and ended up swimming out to sea instead of toward land.

There was a popular music show on Saturday morning radio that accepted requests, in case you wanted to dedicate a song to a potential crush in high school. I remember requesting, “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation,” or maybe it was “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” if memory serves. I don’t recall to whom the song was dedicated.

Wheelus High School, on the Air Force base, sponsored dances and there was a teenage club where a talented student, Jon Jorgensen, led a band called Stardust, which made that song my favorite ever since. Close slow dancing provided its own stimulation.

In the city of Tripoli, American teenage girls were advised not to wear jeans because Libyan women were dressed in barracans (a idea similar to burkas except one eye only could be shown. See painting in my first Tripoli story). I don’t remember that we were told why specifically, but I found out.

Libyan men, as the majority of men throughout the world, were interested in females and especially the female body. Females that weren’t completely hidden from view were especially intriguing, and jeans are form-fitting attire.

The Egyptian Ambassador lived across the street from me, and he was served by a few Libyan policemen who patrolled the walled perimeter of his compound. If my girlfriends and I walked the unpaved path outside the compound for some reason, and if a policeman were nearby, he’d try to walk beside us and brush against us with his body. We learned to avoid them.

One day, a girlfriend and I had an unpleasant encounter while walking to her house, a few blocks away from mine. We were in jeans, of course, and sauntering along in the middle of the street since there was very little traffic. We weren’t paying attention to a young male bicyclist trailing us. Most male Libyans had bicycles; they were relatively cheap and reliable. We were prime bait and he saw his opportunity as he swooped in front of us and made a grab for my crotch. He succeeded and then rode on a little ways. I started to tell my friend when he came back and managed to do the same to her. He was quite the adept cyclist but we were incensed. He rode on as if nothing had happened and we followed him, thinking we’d get revenge by attacking him. We couldn’t catch him and had to swallow our anger. Being street-smart from then on, we learned to be more aware.

My neighbor and good friend Gail, who lived around the corner, and I loved to play tennis on her street, which was seldom used by cars. We weren’t very skilled at the game and the ball often landed in the walled compound on one side of the street that was said to belong to a former Queen of Libya. The Queen’s lush gardens swallowed our balls. Sometimes our ball went into the smaller gated compound next door to me, which belonged to a British general. He had a few cute British enlisted men on duty. They didn’t seem to have much to do and always enjoyed watching our athletic efforts.

They kept one of the tennis balls and the next time we played, they tossed it over the fencing to us. They’d slit it and spent some time making an artistic rendering of us on a small piece of lined paper to insert into the slit. Gail was supposed to be Gail Storm, who had a TV show and I was supposed to be Marilyn Monroe. Between us was a “hound dog” named Elvis! We were flattered since both actresses were good looking in person. I saved the little cartoon, never knowing I would eventually put it on a blog! There was always a wall or fencing between us but it was fun to flirt and we did it when they were around. Probably a good reason to play tennis in the street!

A crude little poem, misspellings and all, was printed on the back of the cartoon to impress us:

Hi! Jirks

You squeeke and groan

And make queer noises

But o’er yon wall

We know ‘tis you

So if this ball you do trow back

Don’t be shy, come round the back

And have a chat.

E.P.

One day, in a break from our game, we were flirting with these congenial attractive servicemen, as usual. We were standing on the sidewalk and they were behind a gate whose bars were far apart. Suddenly, I noticed a Libyan man in paint-splattered overalls sitting on a bike nearby, leering at us.  Then I noticed another detail. He had removed his penis from his pants and was waving it at us enthusiastically. To me at that time, no expert on penis size or shape, I thought his penis was menacingly huge and seemed to be dotted with paint. Or was that my vivid imagination?

Disgusted and a little frightened, I tapped Gail’s shoulder gently to get her attention. She looked around without being obvious and saw him right away. We both struggled to maintain composure as we stepped closer to the gate and hung on. We didn’t know what to say to the young British soldiers, who probably couldn’t see the pervert, so we said nothing and hoped the crazed cyclist would eventually pedal away, which he did.

We felt confident that we had kept our cool! Weren’t we the savvy ones! Sex can be exciting and disgusting at the same time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button Youtube button