An excellent article by Jack Cullen (who is far too talented and good looking) called Masturbating about bullies brought back some school memories, so in the spirit of opening up and sharing, here is my story:
Unlike Jack, I went to a very 'normal' school in Kent. When I arrived at this Secondary school aged 11, I was short and tanned, two things bullies could highlight and pick on straight away. At that age, I seemed to pick up a tan when turning on the bathroom light and so I was sometimes mistaken for being foreign and therefore received some nice racist xenophobic taunts. A couple of older bullies picked on me a little, but nothing too serious and they soon got bored. I soon met Stephen who was also aged 11, a very fit footballer and boxer who hated me from the start it seemed.
During the first few weeks of school, I was in a class with his girlfriend (no-one I knew had a girlfriend at 11 apart from him) and, along with a few others in the group, we got on pretty well. I never did find out what happened, but he got the impression that I had come on to his girl, which definitely did not happen, but he wanted revenge. Stephen didn't really bully me, though he hit me once - the rest of the time he just scowled, looked down on me and said about 5 words to me in total (one of which was 'off'). Despite being the same height, he was far stronger than me which made me wary. He made sure that I avoided eye contact with him for the next 5 years.
The problem for me however, was that I fancied him like mad. Even at age 11, I knew that my fascination for him and a couple of others wasn't what my friends were feeling. When the hormones kicked in properly, he and another tough guy called Mark became my nighttime fantasies. Although I moved on to other crushes, I can still recall the mixed emotions at hating this guy and also wanting to get to 'know him', much like Jack did. I'm sure that we all had crushes at school and managed to survive! I wonder what he would think if he read this?
School for me was a real mixed bag. I had good friends and then made friends who treated me like crap for a year before I decided I had had enough (perhaps another blog entry about that one day). Leaving and going to college was a great relief and despite having had a couple of gay experiences, it still took me a few more years to figure myself out - more on this in the letter to my 16 year old self entry.