An Italian boy in Camford Pt. 07
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Parts 1-6 of this story should be read first
Chapter Thirty-seven: Sandro begins his second year at Camford
I am not pleased with the author’s portrayal of me, Sandro, during my first year as a student at Saint Boniface’s College, Camford. He makes me seem a shy and naïve adolescent. So for the remainder of this story, the chapters about me will be written by me, and you will get an honest first-hand account of my life and activities, and an insight into my most intimate thoughts. The author will continue to write the rest of the story, if my uncles and brothers allow him.
I moved into my new college room early in October, two days before the beginning of term. The head porter had told me that my next-door neighbour would be a freshman. The next day I heard the new occupant of the room arrive. After allowing him time to unpack, I knocked on his door, hoping to sell my now redundant commoner’s gown. The door was opened by a tall, fair-haired man who looked considerably older than eighteen, but was obviously new. “Hi,” I said, “I’m your next-door neighbour. I wondered if you had already bought or been given a gown.”
“No,” replied the blond-headed man, “I’m looking for one. I’ll need it for the matriculation ceremony on Wednesday.”
“Scholar or Commoner? I asked. “Commoner,” was the reply.
“I’ve got just what you’re looking for!” I said. “I’ve just got a second-year scholarship, and I needed a scholar’s gown, which I’ve just bought. You can have my old gown for a fiver. It’s only been worn for exams and tutorials. No-one in Engineering wears them for lectures, and first year students don’t need them for dinner, so it’s in pretty good nick. It should fit OK, because we seem to be a similar width across the shoulders.”
“Done!” said the new student, and produced a fiver out of his wallet. I went and fetched the gown, the newcomer tried it on, and we shook hands over the deal. The handshake was firm, but lingered noticeably longer than I expected. I eyed the newcomer carefully. I liked what I saw. The man smiled. “Could we go into dinner together?” he asked. I grinned with pleasure. Formal Hall dinners did not begin until the next day, so we were able to go in together, but before dinner, I took the newcomer into the beer cellar for a preprandial drink. The newcomer met my approval by asking for cask beer, which I paid for. I had adapted so well to traditional English beer that I hated it when I had to drink Nastro Azzurro at home! We sat down and the freshman announced his name as Dominic Overton, “But you can call me Dom!” he said.
“My name’s Sandro, short for Alessandro Mascagnoli,” I replied, “I’m Italian, as you can probably guess from my accent. I’m just twenty, how old are you?”
“I’m twenty-two. I was interviewed and offered a place three years ago, but I didn’t feel ready for university, so I’ve been working as an IT developer for a small software company since then. I’m going to read computer science. My family felt that I should stand on my own feet and learn a bit about real life before coming up to Camford. How do you come to be here and not at an Italian university?”
“Family reasons. My mother is English, and my brother, who was adopted, was brought up in England and my uncle, his adoptive father, is a tutor in chemistry at this college. But my brother, who got his degree at Buckingham College, now lives in Italy! We are very much an Anglo-Italian family. It’s a real contrast when I go home in the vacs.”
“What are you reading?”
“Engineering. If you don’t know anyone in Camford, would you like me to show you things in the town and in the college? There’s a lot of things in Camford that are better discovered sooner rather than later.”
“Thank you. That’s a very kind offer, and I accept it,” replied Dom.
“Are you doing anything tonight after dinner? If not, we could explore a few pubs together. It will still be light enough to point out a few landmarks, not just churches and colleges, but pubs, restaurants, bookshops, cinemas, concert halls, bus stops, and safe places to leave bikes, if you’re a cyclist. There’s not much point in having a car in Camford.”
“No, I guessed that would be the case. I’ve brought my bike with me. My father brought my things in a van. I’ve only been here once before, at the age of nineteen when I came for an interview. As I already had my A level results, they offered me a place at once, but I deferred it until now. I feel like the guys back in the 1950s must have felt, coming to university after having done national service.”
“Camford students actually are fairly mature for their age,” I told him. “They are all academic geniuses, and some are very conceited about it. I feel independent of that, having experienced a totally different educational system. But Camford is a wonderful place. It is a bit like Venice, not just in the network of waterways, but because it has a unique beauty and fascination not to be found anywhere else. It is uniquely English, and I love it. Of course I do have an English bartın escort mother, and it’s nice to have a family home here for the vacations, where I can stay when we are all thrown out of college for the conference trade. If you don’t want to take your bike home at Christmas, I have access to a safe place at my uncle’s where you could leave it. It would probably be OK left in college, but it would not be protected from bad weather. So are you on for a walk round and a drink after dinner?”
“Yes. It will be very useful. Thank you.” As we moved into the hall to eat, we had to line up to collect our food. (Informal Hall dining was self-service). I thought about my new acquaintance and looked at him carefully. He was slightly taller than I was, and had long since lost the gangling skinniness of the under-twenties, so was fit and reasonably well built, not fat or excessively muscular, clean-shaven with hair slightly longer than usual, though not as long as my own. I guessed that he must weigh at least ten kilos more than I did. He wore loose-fitting trousers, so I could not even guess at what he had to offer below the belt. His blond hair was very attractive, and made me feel quite lustful. I still had a weakness for attractive blond men, even after my disastrous relationship with that shit Jack Meredith. I decided that I wanted to make friends with Dom, but without any intention of falling in love with him. Once bitten, twice shy. Besides, he probably wasn’t gay.
When we sat down, I asked if Dom was sporty. “Not really. I’ve been a geek for three years, but I do swim regularly, walk and cycle a lot, but I’m not into competitive sport,” he replied.
“You should join the Camford Men’s Fitness Centre,” I said. “I can get you in if you can afford the subs. I go there twice a week to swim. It’s less crowded than the Camford Olympic Pool, and easier to get to. There are two pools, a weights room, a squash court, a general fitness room and a bar. I sometimes go there to play squash, although the college has a squash court of its own.” I had taken up squash in my first year (something that the author did not tell you), and I hoped that I might persuade Dom to try it.
“Actually, I played squash when I was at school and used to enjoy it. It would be good to take it up again, especially if the college facilities are free.”
“Yes, they are,” I told him, “and there are shower facilities available. Nothing makes you sweat like a vigorous game of squash.” That was the down-to-earth, rather crude Sandro speaking, a trait I share with my brother Luca. You notice it in my speech. In contrast to the author, whose uses biomedical words like anus and euphemisms like man-juice, I say fucking, not lovemaking; shitting, not going to the toilet; arsehole, not anus; cock, not penis; and ball-bag, not scrotum. Whereas it took my brother a long time to learn those words in Italian, the widespread availability of porn in English meant that I knew all the dirty words before I was an Italian teenager of fifteen!
“I’ll get myself a racket next week and we’ll have few games together,” he said. “It will be nice to have a playing partner.”
Chapter Thirty-eight: Dominic settles in at Boni’s
Dominic Overton was starting to enjoy Camford. He settled quickly into his routine of lectures and tutorials, and in particular, he liked the friendliness of the guy next door. It was clear from what had so far passed between them, that this lad, though he was two years younger than Dom, had actually seen more of the world. When Dominic had told his parents that he wanted to work for three years as a software developer before going up to Camford, they encouraged him, because they thought that he might learn a bit about the real world before spending three or more years in an ivory tower. But in fact, his three years as a geek had had just the opposite effect. He had had very little social life, and the lack of contact with human beings had made him shy of the real world.
The liveliness of the boy next door had made Dom realize what he was missing. He hoped desperately that the other freshmen in his year did not turn out to be geeks. He found that in fact about 50% of the Computer Studies first year were geekish, while the rest seemed normal extrovert people. Interestingly, the geeks were almost all male. The few female CS students, about 15% of the year, were all normal people, though not especially attractive sexually, which he found somewhat disappointing. Of the other computer studies freshmen in Boni’s, of which there were four, two had geekish tendencies and two seemed more extrovert. There were no women among them. They all, geeks and extroverts, used to sit together for dinner in hall, but he missed the company of Sandro during dinner. As they both had 9 am lectures most days however, they did usually have breakfast together in hall, and began to do things together in the evenings.
Much of the first year course was mathematics, with some physics. Unlike Sandro, Dom did not spend bartın escort bayan much time in the lab. The two boys played squash together once a week. Sandro arranged for Dom to get membership of the Camford Men’s Fitness Centre, a men’s exercise club founded (and to a big extent funded) by Sandro’s Uncle Jon about twenty years before, and they went swimming there together every Saturday afternoon, and would usually eat together in a pub or restaurant afterwards, having signed out of the cold Saturday dinner in hall.
Sandro also introduced Dom to Italian cinema. They paid regular weekly visits to the Rialto, Camford’s art-house cinema, which still maintained a precarious existence in spite of the multiplex dominance. Not all the films were Italian of course, but French and Italian films predominated. Dom fortunately did not share the British resistance to subtitled films.
Chapter Thirty-nine: Sandro tells Dom that he is gay
The changing facilities at the Fitness Centre pool gave me the opportunity to see Dom with no clothes on. I was thus able to see and secretly admire Dom’s male equipment, and I liked what I saw. Dom had a very long cock hanging in front of a compact pair of balls in a tight hairy scrotum. His pubic hair was fair like the rest of his body hair. Of course I could not stare at Dom’s genitals for any length of time, as the partial erection that I got would have become much more obvious and betray my homosexuality. Fortunately, Dom was usually too involved in conversation to notice my embarrassing state, which I rapidly covered up with my swimming trunks, and if he did notice anything, he never commented, and anything he saw did not put him off swimming with me. This was just as well, as when I was in bed, I spent a lot of time thinking about Dom’s cock and wanking myself off to the thought of how nice it would be to have it in my mouth.
We played squash regularly. I was more agile than Dom, but he could hit the ball harder. After thirty or forty minutes of quite violent exercise, we would retire, dripping with sweat, to the showers, where again I had the opportunity to glance sideways at Dom’s delicious-looking manhood. After showering, I would apply Storing pour homme to my crotch and armpits. Dom never commented on the fragrance, which suggested that he did not know its significance.
It became apparent to me after a week or two that Dom did not seem to have any female visitors, and only occasionally did I meet him on the staircase with one of his computer studies colleagues. One Saturday morning, when we only had one lecture each and the weather was fine, I suggested to Dom at breakfast that we went on a walk in the hills surrounding the city. The previous summer, Uncle Jon and I had found a beautiful little pub on the top of a hill, which did food, but did not get much passing trade because it was difficult to get to by car. Dom agreed with alacrity and we set off about 11 am and at 12-30 reached the Adelaide Inn, named in honour of William IV’s unfortunate queen. They had three excellent draught beers and an inviting menu. Over the meal, I said to him,”Have you met any nice girls in Camford?”
“No,” he replied, “I haven’t. How about you?”
“No,” I said, “but I did have a boyfriend last term, whom I was very much in love with, but he dumped me right after my summer exams.”
Surprise registered on Dom’s face “So you’re gay then?”
“Yes,” I said, “but I’ve learnt my lesson. I won’t make a pass at you, so please don’t stop being friends with me!”
“Of course not, I like you too much to dump you. As a matter of fact, I’m a bit doubtful about my own sexuality. I’ve never been keen on girls, and had no teenage romances.”
“Well, if at any time you want to see what it’s like to make love to man, you can have a go at kissing me!”
“OK,” he replied, to my total amazement. I had expected an indignant refusal. It seemed as if Dom really was uncertain of which way to swing. But this was a decision that he needed to make for himself, and would take time. I did not want to push him into a sexual relationship about which he was undecided. Besides, if we took things slowly, it would give us time to get to know one another better. A slow-developing love is often more enduring than a love-at-first-sight scenario. My vegetable love should grow, vaster than empires and more slow wrote Marvell, and even within the constraints of Camford’s short terms, there was no great hurry. I had learnt from my short and bitter experience with Jack Meredith that however much you want instant sex, frequent love sessions are no guarantee of a long-term relationship, and after my mother’s experience with Mario Contadino, who had twice seduced her and abandoned her, I knew that what I wanted was something that would last for a long time. Even so, I longed to confide in someone, and in spite of his kindness and wisdom, I did not want to talk to Jon about Dom. He was too close to the scene. So I E-mailed Tom again, the quiet and helpful escort bartın man-lover, who had been so useful in helping me decide my sexual identity.
My next-door neighbour in college has become my friend, and I have told him that I’m gay. To my surprise, he seems to accept the fact and told me that he still wants to be friends. I’m not in love with him like I was with that arsehole Jack, but it would be very easy to fall in love, we get on well together and he’s quite attractive. He’s even admitted that he is uncertain of his sexual orientation. I think I want a relationship with him. I’ve already told him that he can kiss me or hold hands at any time that he wants, to see what it’s like to kiss a man. To my surprise, he did not recoil from the idea. What should I do?
Your loving brother-in-law,
Tom replied as follows:
Don’t do anything! Just spend as much time as you can in his company and wait. It may take months, but if he’s really gay, he will eventually recognize the fact. But you mustn’t rush him. You must give him time to realize that he’s gay. Don’t ever give him an indication that you are falling in love with him, even if you are. That could still spoil your friendship, but be as nice to him non-sexually as you can. In that way you build up trust, and trust can lead to love. You may be in for a long wait. See what he’s like after the Christmas vac, and whether he has missed you. If you get lots of E-mails over Christmas but no phone calls, that would be an indication that he’s getting attracted to you, but is still not ready for something closer. A bad sign would be if he starts dating a girl. That is your biggest threat. Best of luck this time! I can thoroughly recommend man-man love, so I hope for your sake and his that the two of you can get together. But DO NOT rush things. Wait until he makes the first move. (I think that’s what Victorian mothers used to tell their daughters!) Just enjoy his company. Your brother sends his love, as of course do I.
Chapter Forty: Student life in Camford
Mostly I sat with my engineering friends for dinner in Hall, and went out drinking with them on Friday nights. Eventually, though, I found that their conversation about football and women was getting boring, so I asked if I could bring Dom along to the pub. This was a bit risky, as my friends might draw the obvious but wrong conclusion that we were an item. However, engineers are not deeply interested in human relationships, and nothing was said. To them the major characteristics of manliness are a liking for beer and a capacity to hold one’s liquor. Dom scored top marks in both these categories. He could drink me under the table. For that reason, most of the group preferred pubs to nightclubs. Dom’s and my lack of interest in football, or indeed sport of any kind except squash and swimming, was forgiven. I, as the one with greater experience of the city, usually chose the pubs we went to and I was careful to avoid ones that were known to cater for gays. That might seem paradoxical, but I wanted to show Dom that gays were normal people, and gay pubs attract a lot of weirdos. Of course, there were a lot of gays at the Fitness Centre, but that is merely because gay men are often more health- and fitness-conscious than straight men. There’s nothing less attractive than a man with a pot-belly!
Dom had weekly one-to-one tutorials with his tutor. This was exceptional among computer studies students, because tutors liked to have group tutorials to foster the students’ spirit of competitiveness, and to develop their often weak interpersonal skills, but because he was older and with work experience, Dom was treated separately. We engineers also got one-to-one college tuition in our second year. This gave our tutors the opportunity to gauge our individual strengths and weaknesses, which is the secret of the success of the Camford dual teaching system. In this way, very bright teenagers were turned into even more competent specialists in their chosen field of study. To be honest, Uncle Jon told me that the Camford system would work even more successfully with less competent students, but, paradoxically, the pressure to get into the two most elite English universities effectively prevented those who would benefit most from one-to-one teaching from getting in. However, the system certainly fostered academic competitiveness, and produced spectacular results. I counted myself very lucky to be able to enjoy such an education, which was producing an all-round human being as well as an engineer out of me. I had a lot more lab and field work in my second year and a weekly load of eight lectures, so apart from the occasional lunch in the beer cellar, I spent next to no time in college between 9 am and 6 pm. Even on Saturdays, we had usually one or two lectures in the morning.
I also used to go to concerts, both orchestral and chamber, if I had the time, in addition to time spent with Dom in the pub/beer cellar, at the Fitness Centre, on the squash court and at the Rialto. I learned rapidly how to get by on seven hours sleep a night during term time! I also learned the skill of time management, without which academic success in Camford is impossible. I still missed the regular sex that had been so good for me in the previous term, however.
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