Love & Sex
OPINION: Writer and broadcaster Caitlin Moran shares what she's learned about men.
My dad, John, was a bit of a rock pirate. When he was 15 he faked his passport so he could tour Germany with his rock band, the Ambassadors. They later got signed and were going to be produced by Tony Visconti [David Bowie's producer] but they had a massive argument and broke up.
While Dad was very working class, my mum's parents were teachers. When the '60s happened, Mum [Margaret] embraced it wholeheartedly. She grew her hair long, got into the Doors and thought that when you gave birth the baby was so clever it would naturally find its way out.
My parents were both on benefits, and we were bought up to believe that our smelly, cramped council house in Wolverhampton, UK, was only temporary, and that one day Dad would be invited back to the music industry to be a star; that we'd be whisked off by limousine to London, where we'd become best friends with Bob Geldof and his children and live in a mansion. It took me until 13 to realise that wasn't going to happen and that if I wanted to get out of Wolverhampton I'd have to do it myself.
My first crush was Buck Rogers, from the late '70s TV show, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He looked like Han Solo and was that all-American guy. When I told my sister Caz [the second oldest of her seven siblings] that I fancied him, she told my mum. I was teased about it for years, and the implication I took was that Buck Rogers was really handsome and wouldn't go out with me - which, at seven, was a bit harsh.
From that time on my taste in men changed. I decided I couldn't fancy really obvious men who were symmetrical and all-American, so I'd fancy really f...ed-up, bashed-faced men instead, which has informed my taste in men to this day. For instance, I find Serge Gainsbourg the most beautiful man that ever lived. Men like him and Steve Buscemi ... their faces are unique, like miracles of nature.
At 15 I became a feminist. I had become angry that my mum would split the chores down sex lines, which meant I had to cook, wash the floors and look after the children, while my brother just took out the rubbish. The notion that this was wrong was confirmed when I read The Female Eunuch. As soon as I heard the word "feminist" it was a massive stick with which I could beat my mother, and make my brother tidy the kitchen.
My first kiss happened at 17. It was New Year's Eve and I got really drunk at a nightclub and got off with this guy at the bar. It literally changed my life. I couldn't believe how amazing it was. The next day I woke up and felt like I was made of gold: I was glowing.
If ever I'd had depressive tendencies, they were burned out by the fact I'd finally managed to get someone to get off with me.
I met my husband Peter [Paphides] in 1992 when we worked for [defunct British weekly music paper] Melody Maker. We were both journalists, and used to interview the same bands. One night, before I was living in London, I missed my last train home and he asked me if I wanted to sleep at his house. He gave me his nightshirt and toothbrush and made me sleep on the bed while he slept on the floor. The next morning he had bought me a croissant and a little carton of fresh orange juice. I had never had orange juice not made from a concentrate, and he impressed me with his fancy bakery ware.
When Peter proposed he was against anything cheesy connected to romance - but in this case, he went slightly too far. We were at a beach in Wales and it was very rainy and windy. I needed a wee and as no one was around, I went up against the sea wall.
I just started to wee when Peter dropped in front of me on one knee and presented me with an engagement ring and asked me to marry him. It's not a story we tell often.
The strongest memory from my wedding day on December 27, 1999, was that I just wanted it to end. I had miscarried our baby two days before, and it had been too late to tell anyone or cancel the wedding. I was feeling ill and bleeding. When we got the wedding bit done, I just remember walking around, off my tits on codeine, going, "Well, I'm married now and I'd like to go to bed."
I have two daughters, Lizzie, 11, and Nancy, 9. I tell my girls to enjoy boys.
We should just enjoy the fact that they are different to us and are quite interesting.
I tell them that boys will be friends and that maybe one day they will kiss you and they will change your life, too.
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