Tennent Creek Sweet Sixteen.

I know how I feel about the violence and destruction but I’ve not quite worked out how I feel about individuals involved in the rioting in London. People whose bodies have grown before their minds can catch up.


It’s a silly word. It gives legitimacy to action when maybe actually they’re still children. Looking back, I think I was a child until I was about 22. Adults regularly described me as mature for my age but I was only really playing at being a grown up.

It’s a weak link but I thought I’d write about one of those hideous, pivotal moments from my own teen years, a perfect example of terrible decision making.

*Wayne’s World alternate ending sequence*

I moved around a lot when I was a teenager, went through a plethora of different phases and struggled being the fat girl in all of them. I’d had a hard time with boys until I was about 15 and then moved to Sydney where I took the opportunity to recreate myself as popular. The first stage of the plan was simply to lie about my sexual experience or lack of it. I spent the best part of two years lying about having lost my virginity. I was never questioned and it entirely improved my status. There was no second stage of the plan.

The problem was that lying never sat very comfortably with me, so I set about attempting to rid myself of this great boulder of virginity and guilt as swiftly as possible. It’s not an appealing image really, obese 16 year old girl with badly drawn on eyebrows trying to give it away, under significant influence of Jack Daniels and weed.

I went to stay with my friend Kate for the school holidays in Tennent Creek, NT. It’s a very small town, mid way between Alice Springs and Darwin in Australia. A highway cuts it down the middle.

I remember doing bongs for breakfast with Kate and her mother.

Kate’s 16th birthday party began and as usual I had made myself overtly clear about being interested in a boy who was definitely not interested in me. Cue horrifying embarrassment and shame followed by all the booze I could legitimately get my hands on whilst holding a bong. I vomited everywhere which I’m sure you can imagine only improved matters and then passed out on a sofa.

I woke up at 2am to find Tim sitting next to me stroking my leg. Tim was a local boy, a friend of the boy I’d made a pass at and probably in his 20’s. We talked for a while and he convinced me to come to his house and watch films. As an aside, Tim had rats tail style haircut. The horror.

We went to his house. The floor was covered in cat litter. I cannot remember how many cats his mother had. The house smelled. I gagged a bit when I used the bathroom.

We watched both Eddie Murphy stand up videos on VHS. I am that old. I remember them in great detail as I stared intently at the screen. I didn’t really want to have sex with Tim but understood that as he had driven me to his house that it was now a forgone conclusion to my stellar evening in Tennent Creek.

Then, something cold touched my foot. I thought it was one of the cats so I brushed it away. The something cold returned and I looked down to discover that it was Tim’s foot. Cue further discreet gagging.

We went to his room at which point he put on Stephen King’s Tommy Knockers as a backdrop to our love making. Just made myself gag now. Then, when we were halfway through the uncomfortable, embarrassing and let’s face it gag worthy act he rolled me over so he could watch the film and do me simultaneously.

I should have gone on lying about being a virgin until I was 25. I know that now.

In the harsh light of day Tim told my friend Kate that I’d been a virgin and she didn’t speak to me for quite some time as she’d felt betrayed by my lying.

I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that I was 16, had had a fairly privileged upbringing and a good education and these are the choices I made. They seemed the only choices.

I wonder about the children in court. I wonder if they think they have choices. I already said it was a weak link.

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