I was shown, too early, the sexual urges and desires of the opposite sex. Yet, I remained ignorant despite the interferences that I’d endured as a child. I cried each time a boy came close, at the thought of ‘sex’.
My first ‘steady’ boyfriend was an All-Australian boy. Tall, blond and good looking in a young Bruce Springsteen sort of way, he towered over me at six foot one and a half inches in his bare feet. A sports jock with a soft centre, C treated me like a delicate flower. I loved him for it but the memory of my father’s fury at my brother’s choice of an Australian wife haunted me and I decided to let him go. As gently as I did, he cried. I will never forget what he said to me before he walked away: it’s usually us who discriminate you!
F was someone I thought my father would accept. He was from Hong Kong where I was born and six years my senior. He had completed his studies and was going home to begin his career. He loved me and wanted to marry me. I loved him but didn’t want to marry yet: I was only eighteen when we met.
At eighteen, I felt I was too old for school so I’d enrolled into a preparation course for university entrance, cramming two years of school syllabus into one. At college I found a tenant to share house and through her, I met F. F was the opposite of C. He was small and lean and his own inexperience with the opposite sex made him less threatening.
We discovered the pleasures of love making together – from a book. I remember laughing a lot and was amazed by all the possibilities. If he was inexpert I was dumb and earned his nickname for me: Stupid Girl. Our conversation went: (me) no, that’s impossible and (him) no, that’s not what they mean.
When I returned to Hong Kong for my sister’s wedding, F was already working there and wanted us to marry. I stalled but he gave me an ultimatum: one more year. He had a mother to please. I was not desperate for a mother-in-law and we would have had to live with her. F’s father had a family elsewhere and she was alone.
Having F waiting in Hong Kong I was able to concentrate on my studies once I was back in Sydney. I took a radical ‘Advanced Secretarial Course’ : a one year, 40 hours a week (9 to 5) course that taught shorthand and typing but we also read English, Business Law and Psychology. Only 20% of students, and that included me, graduated.
I returned to Hong Kong at the end of 1972 with the prospect of marriage looming, but it was not to be. By the time I migrated back to Sydney two years later, I was battered and bruised.