This story is based on a real experience.
To this day I've never understood feminine logic. Perhaps it was unique to those times, the late 70s, before feminism had taken hold, but after the late sixties sexual revolution.
I had graduated and started my first job as a trainee accountant for a large organisation in the Midlands. The male office culture was overtly sexist: blue collar office walls would sport nude or nearly nude calendars, whilst white collar workers would discuss women like sex objects rather than as people. I had been brought up to show respect for women so I found this culture disturbing.
My first year was miserable. I was an outsider to the prevailing culture. Sure, I went to the pubs with the 'lads', but I was always on the periphery of the conversation. In the office I could not drum up any enthusiasm for participating in office banter -- often about, and in the full hearing of female colleagues. It didn't however stop me noticing these women who were the object of this gossip and repartee. How could I not, they were after all sexy and gorgeous?
There were two ladies in their twenties who were close friends and inseparable at work: Theresa and Sandy. They were often seen together, a sight which attracted its own special ridicule and speculation. They were totally unalike.
Theresa was large -- big boned rather than obese; a tractor girl with chunky, firm thighs. She was not averse to wearing mini skirts and dresses, so that a flash of thigh was guaranteed from time to time, particularly when seated at her desk or in the canteen, or going upstairs. She could be the centre of attention in the pub after work when she had had a little too much to drink, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.
Sandy rarely went to the pub, and when she did she usually had her boyfriend, Jeff, in tow. She was an altogether different proposition from Theresa. She remained aloof from male banter. She could afford to, she was absolutely gorgeous. She was an out-and-out sweater girl, with a chest which stood out from any crowd. Not particularly top heavy; maybe a 34C, but a magnet for any rutting male's glance as she passed by. As if that wasn't enough, she wore very short skirts, with slightly flared hems so that they didn't ride up to reveal all like Theresa's tight hemlines. They promised divine hips and a small waist. There was just enough sway in her hems to prevent them riding up when she sat down, nor to show too much when she climbed stairs. It was as if she had planned her wardrobe with precision: enough leg to excite without embarrassment.
Every hot blooded male lusted after Sandy, including me. A room would fall quiet when she entered. Heads would follow her every move in the street. She had a round face, natural blonde hair, and a pert, round bottom, which was enhanced by the swaying hem of her short skirt as she passed by. In that first year whenever we passed each other in the corridor, I never made more than the briefest of eye contact. I was too shy and embarrassed - a particular problem I had with beautiful and sexy women.
I came into contact with Theresa regularly in the course of my work, and got to know her quite well. We might go the pub for a lunchtime drink and chat about the world in general. I had grown up and been bossed about by two older sisters, so knew something of the female psyche. Coupled with my sensitive nature, I found I could empathise with women and chat with them more easily than many of my male colleagues. Thus Theresa and I got on well.
That first office Christmas Party was an eye opener for me. The middle of the floor of the largest office in the department was cleared of furniture to the side walls, apparently on the benign indulgence of senior management. An audio system and subdued lighting was installed and alcohol flowed freely as workers danced to the latest pop classics and enduring favourites. Men freely chatted up women in the gloomier shadows, where some impromptu smooching also took place.
People started to drift away as dusk fell, and Theresa, who had hovered around me for much of the afternoon, said there would be a better party going on upstairs. Eager for a change of scene, I followed her up the grand staircase, mesmerised as her tight purple dress rode up her thighs and exposed shiny purple satin panties. As someone who thought of sex every twelve minutes of every day, any unexpected flash of panties was likely to stimulate my interest.
She thrust me through the door of what transpired to be a photocopier room. The Yale lock of the door pronounced a definite and assertive click behind her. Confused in my inebriated state I looked at my surroundings to make sense of what I saw. Then I turned to seek an explanation, to find Theresa completing the removal of her dress to leave her with just a matching set of purple satin bra and briefs. Her body was big but firm and not an unpleasant sight. She followed up with a twang of her bra clasp and her large and hitherto tightly confined breasts burst out to hang and revel in their freedom. I remember thinking that her nipples were huge and taut.
"Now we're alone," she announced and stood waiting for me to pull her into a clinch, her back firmly planted against the locked door. Her prey was not to be afforded any opportunity to escape.
I would like to say that I gallantly extricated myself from a potentially embarrassing situation in style. In truth, I mumbled, suckled half-heartedly on a proffered nipple, then apologised profusely for being too drunk to do any more. The moments passed like eternity as she sullenly re-dressed herself and left the room without a further word.
Although we continued to be friends, we avoided any mention of that incident , and she never attempted a pass at me again. Then, in the summer at a leaving do, again in a pub, she had once again drunk too much and become maudlin. Colleagues left us together and drifted off.
"What is it about me?" she wailed, "I don't seem to have any luck with men. You can tell me, what's wrong with me?"
Of course, I couldn't, and skirted my way artfully around the topic with platitudes like 'You just haven't met the right man yet' and 'they just don't appreciate you.'
"Of course, it's her", she sulked, referring obliquely to Sandy.
"Everyone adores Sandy." The emphasis on the verb was heavy with sarcasm. "If only they knew what she was really like. You too, you're just the same. I've seen your eyes following her around."
Of course, Theresa would have been jealously ever watchful of her male colleagues' reactions to Sandy.
"Well, she does dress provocatively," I admitted, "but I have no particular interest in Sandy. She seems to want to attract the lustful gaze of every full-blooded male."
"if only they knew," was the morose and cryptic response from Theresa.
I was informed by my training manager that I would be rotated in September to the Costing Team. In those days, pre desktop PCs and calculators, manual costing of services was an industry in its own right. Theresa worked there, but I had not otherwise come into contact with that team before. She seemed amused by my posting. I presumed it must be a dead end function.
Costing Team proved to be a highly volatile mix of five ageing likely lads and three women, one of whom was PA to the Team Leader, a particularly sadistic and sexist bastard. The other two sat at a block of three desks with me, the accounting trainee. I was ushered to my desk which was at right angles to that of Theresa, and across from me an unoccupied desk. Theresa spent the day taking me through the requirements of the work. Her role seemed to be as a non-qualified administrative officer. It was our first conversation since her last outburst in the pub, and she kept it entirely work-focused.
I knew the men by reputation and observation of their inebriated exploits in the pub. The atmosphere in the office was subdued all day.
Day two, Tuesday, the last to arrive was the occupant of the empty desk opposite me. It was Sandy.
"Hi, we haven't met," said a soft breezy voice. She had arrived silently and was now standing at my side, offering me her hand in greeting. "I'm Sandy."
I stood up, a little flustered. We had not spoken before. We shook hands and she said matter-of-factly, "We will be working together. Theresa, you already know." That last was an indication that she knew of our casual friendship. I had imagined that her voice would belie her visual beauty -- perhaps be squeaky, or a thick regional accent. The voice I heard purred with a gentle sensuality that made my stomach churn with erotic pleasure. This young woman was damn near perfect.
Sandy, like Theresa, was also non-qualified, but tasked with the leading role in showing me the ropes. I was now to spend the next twelve months facing this vision of overt sexual beauty across a desk, only wood separating us. She took over my instruction from Theresa, and I sat and endeavoured not to let my eyes drop to her firm, pouting breasts, resting on her desk, and seeming to have a life of their own as she leaned forward to explain the work programme to me. Theresa interjected from time to time, mostly out of my direct line of sight; but I suspect that she was studying me intently for any signs of the usual lustful intent towards Sandy. I think I acquitted myself well; the only benefit I had gained from many ill-spent hours playing poker.
I noted as the day progressed that the other men had perked up, and a lot of risqué banter flew around the room. I was also aware that Theresa and Sandy were watching me to see whether I would join in.
I did not.
In fact I was sickened by the atmosphere in that room, and wondered how the ladies coped with it.
Over the coming months Nick, the Team Leader, gave me a hard time because I declined to be one of the boys. Our loathing was mutual.
Theresa, Sandy and I began to spend lunchtimes together. I made it my business to devote equal chat time to each of them to avoid any hint of bias towards Sandy. You may by now be thinking I am making myself out to be a hero. Far from it, I wanted my work experience to proceed as smoothly as possible. I had clearly lost the respect of my male colleagues. I wanted at least to have harmonious working conditions with the females. I found the office atmosphere toxic and depressing.
My second office Christmas party; Sandy again absented herself and Theresa kept her distance from me. At one point I found myself pinned up against a side table by a more than half-drunk Nick, who prodded me painfully in the chest and slurred, "So have you got inside her knickers yet?"
He was my boss so I had to keep my wits about me. I had heard their bragging of feats of bravado with Sandy who, by all their male accounts, was the office bicycle and a nymphomaniac, to boot. I had seen nothing of that side of her. I wondered whether she was merely discreet with the men to whom she was disposed to offer her favours.
"No, I've not even flirted with her."
"You fucking Nancy boy," he spat and staggered away with a parting look of disgust. I could not rise to his bait so I simply left with a heavy heart.
"I'm getting married," Sandy announced out of the blue. I exchanged glances with Theresa and realised that she of course already knew. I knew Sandy's boyfriend from fleeting conversations at the pub when Sandy had persuaded him to accompany her, I suspect, as her protector. He was six foot, lean and athletic, and damnably handsome. Of course, Sandy would attract the crème de la crème of men.
We were in the office and Sandy had been overheard. She had chosen to tell me in public in order to be overheard. I heard a grunted "best of luck to him; second hand goods!" Sandy's expression showed that she had heard the insult, as was no doubt was intended.
"Congratulations, let's go to the pub to celebrate," I suggested.
"Sorry, I can't," said Theresa, "dental appointment."
So, for the first time, Sandy and I were alone. I took her to an upmarket bar on the far side of the city centre. I knew she didn't want a large group around her, especially not comprising of other men from the office.
Sandy downed two dry white wines in quick successions and began to open up as the alcohol began to take effect. Our conversation flowed. I no longer saw her as an unattainable, unreachable beauty as I once did. Now she was simply a friend. She saw that, and responded by treating me as one. As she began to unload some of her anger at the treatment meted out to her from the office wags, she clasped my hand and looked deep into my eyes as if searching for some inner empathy. We were sitting side by side. She swivelled to face me. Her posture was relaxing and I began to see more clearly the hidden side of Sandy: defenceless, helpless and seemingly very much alone.
As she talked about her uneasy friendship with Theresa, apparently involving a fair measure of jealousy and resentment on Theresa's part, I guessed at her mixed emotions.
"Why do you dress so provocatively then?" I asked. "Theresa can't enjoy it very much."
"I like to be admired. I'm pleased with my looks. I just don't want men to be lecherous."
Her philosophy confused me. Was she a prick teaser?
"What about you and women?" She was fishing.
I told her about my upbringing. It seemed trite as I spoke but I was determined to as honest as I could.
"And what do you feel about me?"
The very direct question hit me like a punch in the stomach. Of course, I adored her and lusted after her in equal measure. I never thought to have the opportunity to express myself to her honestly. I wasn't about to start now, but the question provoked all kinds of different feelings and sensations. I realised I was in love with Sandy, a sense reinforced by the realisation that her sexuality was far more complex than I had been led to believe by my colleagues. Beneath the teasing, flirtatious but remote exterior was a shy and awkward young woman who could not come to terms with her internal conflicts between her desire to be attractive and her revulsion of laddish behaviour.
I dropped my eyes as my feelings intensified and found myself looking at her parted thighs and exposed panties. She was relaxed and seemed oblivious to her display. I looked up guiltily, and realised that must regard me as the brotherly figure she didn't have; someone she could confide in as a trusted friend.
Over the coming weeks we three discussed Sandy's wedding preparations in casual conversation. Theresa was invited. I was not, nor did I expect to have been considered for the guest list.
It was June, and Sandy's wedding drew near. I had my own preoccupations with my looming second year accountancy exams. The office atmosphere had lightened as if male colleagues were now accepting the inevitable loss of their potential prey. Once respectably married, Sandy could no longer be the object of their loutish sport.
Sandy took leave a week before the wedding, to 'prepare' as she put it. Why did it take a week to get ready?
Friday came and at lunchtime my phone rang. It was Sandy, with tremulous voice. I looked around for Theresa, then remembered that she too was absent, for other reasons.
"I'm scared, can you come round?"
"What is it?"
"I can't speak on the phone but I need to talk to you. Please come."
I excused myself on grounds of study leave and left. I had never been to Sandy's parents' house before. Her mother had just left to get her hair done, Sandy had informed me, and would be gone all afternoon.
She opened the door in a long towelling dressing gown, but she had obviously washed her hair, which was wispy and flyaway in the gentle breeze through the open front door.
"I needed to talk to you. I'm scared about tomorrow."
"Why me, why not Theresa?"
"She isn't around today, and anyway, I need to talk to a man. To you."
She led me to the sofa in the living room and motioned me to sit next to her. As she spoke she sat with legs curled up under her against the far arm of the sofa. She was simultaneously putting as much physical distance between us, as removing any obstacles to an intimate discussion. She was visibly shaking.
"Do you want a drink? Do you have any in the house?"
She pointed me at a drinks cabinet against the wall behind the sofa. "A large gin and tonic. There's ice in the kitchen"
I decided to join her in a drink. She drank hers very quickly. "Another!"
We hadn't spoken a word whilst I waited on her. Now, with the second, half-drunk G&T in hand, she began. "What do you think of me?"
Immediately, she had put me on the spot. She needed an answer, but I wasn't sure what she wanted to hear. I checked my watch covertly as if rubbing my hands together whilst I thought over her question. One: fifteen, so I had time to pace this conversation. "I think you are a very beautiful and sexy woman. Why, what has Theresa told you?"
The return question had obviously hit home.
"You never seem to notice me. Theresa told me you rejected her advances at Christmas, because you obviously fancy me. But I haven't seen any sign of attraction."
"Why is it so important to you to know how I feel? You are marrying Jeff tomorrow."
"Jeff is a pig. He has been fucking other women, the bastard. I let him date me because other women find him attractive. "
"Is that important to you?"
"I wanted a boyfriend, but didn't find anyone I really liked. We just sort of got used to each other.
I sometimes think all men are pigs. But you're different. How can I know what normal men think when I work with a bunch of sexist, misogynist pigs. I want to know what a normal man thinks."
"I think you are very attractive, but vulnerable at the same time. You seem to want men to admire you, but you can't cope with their loutish behaviour. I thought you were aloof at first, until I got to know you. Now I think you can't handle the reactions you deliberately provoke in men. Sandy, you are isolating yourself."
She seemed to have shrunk deeper into the corner of the sofa. I had been too frank with her. I shuffled up closer and clasped her hands as she had done mine in the pub, and looked her in the eyes. "Sandy, you are a gorgeous woman but you provoke men in the worst possible way. You bring out their basest instincts. I know you dislike their behaviour, but you want to seek their admiration all the time. You are your own worst enemy."
I expected her to cry but she withdrew her hands and straightened up, changing the subject. "I love Jeff but I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of being the first."
I must have betrayed my utter astonishment at that revelation. Was she still a virgin? I rewound in moments in my mind all the third party comments which had led me to conclude that she must be the best lay in the business. Had everything other men talked about or implied been lies?
"That's why I need to know what you think of me. Am I truly attractive? Am I desirable? Or do I just look like a slut? Tell me the truth!"
That last demand was delivered with the heavy emphasis of an urgent demand for information. She rolled off the sofa onto her knees facing me. She pushed my knees apart and leaned in close to look deeply into my eyes.
"Do you fancy me? Do you get a hard-on when you see me or think of me? Do I excite you?"
My senses were reeling in utter confusion. I had come to comfort her, for her to confide in me, or get whatever succour she could from me. But not to seduce her. Yet as I gazed back into her hazel eyes, felt her hands on my knees, and smelt her soft perfume, my erection began to build. I wanted Sandy more than anything else at that moment. I felt my body tense and my heart pumping.
"But what about Jeff?" I asked lamely.
"Jeff isn't half the man you are. Oh, I'll marry him. But I want my fling before I surrender to him. I want you." Her mood seemed to have changed.