My first proper boyfriend was a Satanist. Apparently. I use this term loosely and with a large pinch of salt. He wore long black trench coats over largely black clothes, liked to cut the fingers off his gloves and played a lot of heavy metal and D&D. In the very late 80s, in our fair land, along with owing a My Little Pony or reading ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’, that made you a Satanist.
Of course, this very fact was part of his indelible charm. Another point in his favour was that he did not impress my mother. At all. Especially since at the time, she was going out with a defrocked priest. Yes, I can see you raise your eyebrow. But I swear, it’s true. Mummy was hanging out with one of Jesus’ spin doctors and I was cozying up to one of Satan’s lesser wannabe minions. Lovely.
Mum, being Mum, started off the thrust and parry by taking one look at the cut off gloves and christening Satan boy ‘Mittens’. Which went down like a cup of cold sick. Mittens didn’t like being called Mittens. It messed with his street cred. It clashed with his inner war-lord. It negated all that, like, deep negative, meaningful, like, heavy energy, man. Mittens promptly took to writing me very salacious, if very bad poetry, and leaving it lying around the house. And hissing at the DFP.
Mum, and the DFP tried to be calm and grown-up but eventually retaliated by calling in the exorcists. I kid you not! Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up. But Mittens refused to play ball and remote exorcism proved to be tricky. And even a vast amount of communal prayer wasn’t going to make me give up my lovely dodgy boyfriend. I just kept giggling, wondering what the hell all these perfectly normal people were doing holding candlelit vigils.
But it did get a little out of hand. All of a sudden I couldn’t wear a sniff of slimming black without the trompoppies gasping and backing away, clutching their crucifixes. Even the school CU members got wind of my perilous spiritual predicament and were approaching me during lunch breaks to invite me to prayer meetings and evangelical baptisms.
I politely declined, engaging in some lite debate which caused one or two of the less brainwashed ones to lose their rock solid faith. Which I still feel faintly guilty about. Faith, if you can get it, is rather nice to have.
Anyway, in the midst of all this drama, Mittens himself was getting very, very boring. All that angst. All that anger. All that ‘I’m so deep and meaningful, please take your bra off’. So when Mum finally forbade me to see him, I spent an obligatory month or two sneaking around behind her back before I inevitably said ‘thanks, but bugger off.’
Of course, now, thinking about Mittens brings one part cringe with one part ‘ah, bless’. I admit, I still think of him when I listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or when I see someone in winklepickers. Every now and again, I hear of him through the grapevine. I hear he’s still using his deep and meaningful lines on unsuspecting teenagers. I hear he’s still trying to convince them to take their bras off. I suspect he’s still living at home. And I still stifle a giggle when I see anyone wearing cut off gloves.
But mostly I’m just glad I can wear black again without being doused with holy water. And that Enid Blyton is back on the reading lists.
Mum, on the other hand, found out the priest was still married. Ouch.