Interview with Eliza, British and Swiss, middle class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS18)
Anonymised transcript of an interview with Eliza, who is half-English and half-Swiss. She thinks there is a big difference in values between the two countries and that Swiss people do not recognise their privilege, especially compared to the disparities in wealth in different communities that Eliza sees in London. Eliza would like to go to university after her A-Levels, but plans on taking a gap year first. Her sex education in secondary school was fairly comprehensive and covered things like periods and buying sanitary towels, but she found it all quite embarrassing and technical. AIDS education was through the television, and her understanding of AIDS/HIV is quite limited - she has some partially-formed, contradictory ideas around contraception and safe sex. Eliza had a long-term relationship, but found her partner to be too possessive. He had attempted a sexual relationship with her, but she found the whole idea completely repulsive. Eliza would like children and marriage in the future, and doesn't see why she should have to choose between motherhood and a career.
Reanimating Data Project
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Q: I noticed on your form you said you were dual nationality.
Q: Is that - dual between what and what?
A: British and Swiss. My mum's Swiss and I lived there for about five years when I was
about six or seven.
Q: What was it like? Can you remember it?
A: Oh, yeah, I mean it was very important somehow. I've got very close attachments to
it 'cos - I mean deep down I still feel Swiss although I could never live in Switzerland
now because they're so kind of petty-minded, but still - "oh, yeah, terribly", it's - oh, it's
just like living in a big village I suppose, kind of attitude of kind of conservatism. But I
still miss it, I mean I still go and visit relatives a lot.
Q: I suppose you must see it like a sort of second home.
A: Oh, yeah, definitely, I mean I still call it home.
Q: Does your mum go back a lot, I mean do you go back together?
A: Yeah, quite a lot, I mean it's quite expensive to go back so we usually wait for people
to - I mean it's much cheaper going from Switzerland to England rather than from
England to Switzerland, so we wait for them to invite us over.
Q: Which I'm sure they do, don't they, if you've got family A: Oh yes, a lot.
Q: So what do you think the main difference is between here and there? - if you had to
sum it up A: Well, obviously I've only lived in London so it might just be big city life rather than,
you know... although it's not in the mountains or anything like that, it's quite kind of
small. I think the basic thing is that people in Switzerland just can't understand hardship
at all, I mean they're very very cosy and - I think that's basically it, I mean I can be
telling them about council houses and they say, "oh, yes, I mean when we moved like
we had to clean it, it was a terrible state", and they can't understand the concept at all
and - I mean, you know, even the most liberal people I talked to just can't understand
that at all; and it's that kind of cosiness that really annoys me and - after a while,
although I often go there to kind of escape.
Q: What, from here?
A: Yeah, 'cos I mean, you know, living in (?) TUFFNELL PARK, actually, you know,
privileged living on the nice side of the road...
Q: So has your mum lived here most of her life?
A: About twenty years now so, yeah, almost half.
Q: And you've got - yeah, you've got a brother.
A: I've got a brother, yeah.
Q: How old's he?
A: He's only six.
Q: So there's actually quite a big age difference between you and him. Do you feel like
the big sister?
A: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I was forced into it. Quite a shock. I mean I used to think that
we were two single children, but we're not actually. You know, yeah, I am definitely the
Q: What is it that you're doing at school?
A: I just had my last day.
Q: What was it? - Ah, yes, English and History and German.
Q: So is that the last day of - altogether; so that's the end of A-level?
A: I hope, except for retakes.
Q: Do you feel alright about them?
A: I don't know really. No, I'm panicking. I hope I'll get through.
Q: Have you applied to university?
A: Yeah. But I want to have a year off first, I've deferred entry, and I - you know, I got
four offers from Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and East Anglia. So... to get them
Q: What sort of things did they ask for?
A: Well, mostly they were BCC offers, except for Liverpool, which gave me a BBC. And
the B has to come from English unfortunately.
Q: Is it English you want to take?
A: Well, no, I want to do a combined honours degree. Basically I couldn't make up my
mind what I wanted to do so - I kind of wanted to do English but I didn't only want to do
English, so - except for East Anglia, the combined Literature course - I mean, not a
combined, comparative; which basically means you don't have to stick to British
literature but it's just literature in general.
Q: Could be quite interesting.
A: Oh, yeah, I think I'd prefer that basically.
Q: So - I hope you get it.
A: So do I.
Q: Do you have any idea what you'd like to do afterwards, or is that too far in the future?
A: Yeah. No idea. I mean I'm not quite sure what the course is I'll end up taking so, no, I
don't know what I'll do. I mean I know kind of some things I wouldn't like to do, that I
wouldn't want to get into, but I don't really have anything - my mind set on anything.
Q: Have you been in the school, like NAME OF SCHOOL, all through since - yeah. So
did like - the question we asked about sex education, did they - what sort of times did
they give you sex education classes?
A: I really - I can't remember, I think it was eleven, it must have been the first and
second year. And then we did again in the third year, and then I did biology in the fourth
and fifth year so we'd have that too. And it was pretty laughable really Q: Was it?
A: - oh, yeah, I mean it got a bit better in the - when we did the biology, I suppose, but
basically we had to watch videos about boys who said, you know, well my first shave, it
was really embarrassing buying the razor, and things like that; and girls would talk about
buying sanitary towels for the first time, but I can't - I mean - well, first it didn't mean
anything to me in the first year, I mean shaving and sanitary towels meant nothing to me
in the first year, and everyone was so terribly embarrassed but Q: Really? What, the class was embarrassed?
A: Oh, yeah, the teacher and everyone were terribly embarrassed.
Q: That can't help.
A: No. And in the third year again I mean, she kind of said, well, you can ask any
question you like, and of course no one asked any questions that actually meant
anything because - well, she - you were allowed to write them on a piece of paper so
that nobody would know who'd written which question, but then only a few people did so
you knew exactly who'd asked the question so Q: ... exactly anonymous.
A: No, so no one exactly felt they wanted to ask questions. But I mean it was - it was
Q: No, 'cos you said you didn't really learn anything.
A: No, I don't think so. I mean okay, we learnt the kind of differences between a woman
and a man but - kind of physically, but it doesn't mean anything much to me now either,
I mean it was very technical - the filling little diagrams, it was terribly embarrassing for
everyone, and I can't say I gained much through it.
Q: So did you know it from elsewhere already or A: Well, I... I talked to my mum about it, after doing the questionnaire because, you
know, I always thought I was brought up terribly liberally and everything, she said oh
yes, you always used to ask and it was terribly embarrassing for us, we used to have to
look at the wall and then answer. Kind of breathe deeply. And I never noticed anything, I
always thought they were very open about all those sorts of things. So I mean they told
me the basic facts of life before then but they certainly didn't tell me anything that might
have helped or been interesting or anything.
Q: And did they tell you more than the sort of basic facts of life, I mean things like
homosexuality A: No.
Q: - and sexually transmitted diseases A: Oh, I think they mentioned that, they said, "don't sleep around, it's not trendy", you
know, and that was it. "'Cos you can get diseases" - I think, yeah, I mean, they told us
that in the first year and that was it, when I, you know, wouldn't have thought of it,
sleeping around at all, it hadn't occurred to me anyway. It hadn't occurred to some of
them but Q: So when was the last time that they ever gave you anything?
A: I think it was in the fifth year, the fourth or fifth year. You know, they passed round a
shoebox with the disgusting plastic things that were very very old but that was about the
last time we ever had Q: This is the range of things A: Yeah.
Q: And did they talk about AIDS or anything?
A: No, I don't think so. I mean I don't think it was really talked about - well, I suppose it
was in the fifth year. No, we didn't talk about it.
Q: And what about sort of gay relationships A: Oh Q: ... too risqué?
A: No, we didn't - we didn't talk about relationships at all Q: Really?
A: - I mean it had nothing to do with kind of human feelings, it was just all very technical
and that was about it.
Q: Would you have liked it to be more like that or would that have been embarrassing
A: Well, not in the first year, in the first year I didn't quite see - I mean no, maybe that's
unfair, I mean maybe it meant more to other people. I know, I mean, they used to go
and stand by the... and look at the boys, which used to absolutely bore me, so I
suppose for girls like that it was helpful, but I mean it meant nothing to me. But I think
yeah, later, maybe now, I don't know, but yeah, I mean I didn't want to know the kind of
technical side of it, I didn't find that particularly interesting. Well, it was just the way they
did it kind of thing. Calculating and kind of - I mean it just didn't sound like anything
anyone would want to do and, you know Q: So they didn't make it sound like anything you might get pleasure out of?
A: Oh, no. Most definitely not, it was just... Yeah, I think I would have preferred it if
they'd actually talked about what it involved a bit more.
Q: And they - obviously after the fifth year they think that everyone knows everything.
A: Well the thing is, if it is just about the facts of life, if that's all they're going to do, I
mean there isn't really much point, when you're in the first year you can go through it
and anyone who doesn't know it - I mean I would expect all twelve-year-olds to know
the facts of life, and maybe they should have a big quick check, but if that's all that
they're actually going to talk about, then I don't think there's any point having it in the
Q: Yeah, that's true.
A: I suppose it is hard for teachers to go into anything more if they are confronted with a
Q: Yes, no, I think you're right. Is there anything you think that would have made it
better as well?
A: Yeah, I mean I definitely think they could have... maybe they could have got
someone outside who didn't have to teach us for the rest of the year to do it; for a start
they could be a bit more open and free with us if they did feel embarrassed about it. And
I think, yeah, I mean there's so much they didn't tell us. I mean I definitely think they
should have just told us more about how it applies to the actual individual, kind of
maturing and the growing up and it's very difficult, but they never taught us about why it
was difficult and how and - no, I mean it was all pretty useless really, I think they could
have had it more - what it actually means.
Q: 'Cos - are you going steady now?
A: Well, no, not anymore but...
Q: What happened?
A: Well, I don't know where to start, I mean I suppose we just had enough of each other
after a while, he was terribly possessive Q: Was that recently?
A: Yeah, well, a few months ago now, but it seems like quite recently, and, you know, I
mean he drove me crazy by being...
Q: How long had you been going steady?
A: Eight months.... (?)three years, why, you know, I mean... last that long at all.
A: Yeah, I suppose he wanted something else out of it, I mean it was kind of like when I
said well, why don't you do something, like go to a museum, and Q: Why not?
A: - he had other ideas; I don't know, I mean he was the kind who wanted to get straight
down to things where I didn't, I was kind of - I don't know, I don't know what happened. I
suppose we both had our different ... faults, and - and I thought he was kind of
somebody, he turned out not to be like that at all, and... clichés and... somebody I
wasn't and - he insisted that I behave the way he thought I was and Q: So did he want to get straight into a sort of sexual relationship or anything like that?
A: Oh yeah, definitely, I think so. I mean he always seemed to be so kind of gentle and
nice when I first met him and then he wasn't like that at all. I mean it was also pretty
difficult 'cos my friends - I kind of had two very close girlfriends, who then got terribly
insulted by the idea of... boyfriend, too much for them to take for some reason, so - I
mean, since then they've got a lot closer and I'm not part of that any more somehow.
And so whenever we went to school we had to pretend there was nothing going on kind
of, and it was really difficult, and then after school he'd kind of say, "okay, we're free",
you know, "we can get down to it now"; and I didn't - I mean like I was constantly playing
games with (name), it seemed like, you know, playing my part or whatever, rather than
just Q: Being "me"?
A: Yeah. It sounds like such a cliché.
Q: No, that must have got really frustrating.
A: Oh, it was terrible. And then he also had a very close friend, male friend, who was
also a very close friend of mine, which also caused all sorts of problems. He was terribly
jealous and no one quite knew where they stood for a long time.
Q: What, he thought the other friend was sort of going to - too friendly with you or
A: Well, I think the other friend - I mean it was all so kind of - it was always a kind of
battle between the two, who would get me first kind of, which I didn't know was going on
at all, it just kind of happened, and Q: So it was some kind of pride or something A: Well I think it was all - it was always expected that one of - I mean the one who didn't
in the end, everyone thought he would eventually go out with me. I mean people said it,
which really annoyed me because I thought we were just good friends and then it finally
happened that the other one dared asked me out, and he did, and I - it wasn't very
pleasant; they're now not talking to each other at all.
Q: Who isn't talking to each other?
A: Well the two friends.
Q: They weren't?
A: Yeah, they're now not talking to each other at all. I mean, every kind of now and then.
It's terribly embarrassing for me.
Q: So in a way a lot of people sort of came out not talking as much to each other as
they used to.
A: Oh, yeah, I mean - except for me and this other one, who I ended up not going out
with, we're now really good friends, but I mean just - you know, nothing more Q: Yes. Friends.
A: Yeah. But I find I can talk with him the best I can talk to anyone and - much better
than the other friends I've ever had, I think, so...
Q: More than your girlfriends?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. I can't talk to them at all.
Q: Why do you think that is?
A: I've no idea. No, I mean, one of them especially, she doesn't - she never talks about
herself at all, I mean everything's always very superficial, so we're supposed to be
incredibly good friends and yet we can never actually say anything to each other; and
she's the kind of person who pretends to have no problems - problems, I mean she
actually once told us - we once got her to tell us, and then she said that she doesn't
dare kind of think about herself anymore because it's been such a long time, she
doesn't know what she'll discover if she starts. It's really sad. But she's one of these
people - one of these people who works terribly hard and gets kind of four A’s in her Alevels, and wants to go to Oxford, and has a very nice family background, no one ever
argues. But I know that she has - I mean she has admitted to us that she's not perfect
and she does have problems, but she doesn't dare consult people. So I mean you can't
really have a - if nothing ever comes from her, it's difficult to give anything.
Q: Mm, that's true.
A: And - other friend - well the thing is she's got such terrible kind of family problems
herself so you don't dare - I mean talk about it, I mean she lives with her grandmother
and her mother, who got divorced a long, long time ago, and is very young, she's about
thirty, and she's just got married to another... who happens to have the same name as
the one that I was going out with, and she... I didn't dare say a word to her anymore, so
Q: So that hasn't helped.
A: No, she... quite bad. No, she's got - she's got a very over-protective grandmother
because she got married and had children and got divorced, or her husband left her,
and then her daughter did the same thing. So now she's absolutely terrified that her
granddaughter... so she kind of says, "what do you think of boys?"... I mean, yeah, so
this girl now doesn't dare - I mean, she thinks if you look at a boy then Q: - something terrible will happen.
Q: So neither of your kind of best girlfriends have got boyfriends.
A: I have another friend too who's - who's quite close too. I mean, I would say she's my
closest friend in a way, but then you can't talk about anything else with her except a boy
A: And she also doesn't like - I mean she lets me have my five minutes to talk and then
it's got to be all about herself. And she's totally crazy - I mean in my view she's totally
crazy when it comes to boys too because, although she's had loads of boyfriends for
about two weeks, she kind of thinks that boys look at her when - and have some ulterior
motive when they don't, they're just - I mean half the time they're not even looking at her
and she kind of has this... wild fantasies and - she's like a fourteen-year-old really, or a
twelve-year-old, it's quite embarrassing.
Q: Why do her relationships only last a couple of weeks? Is that to do with her or not?
A: Oh, because I mean, she expects that you can kind of have a serious relationship
after going to a party with someone or - and it just - or I mean she met someone in (?)
Hamlyns or something who was two years younger than her, and ended up being a
totally horrible person who'd phone up and say, "Got any other girlfriends... party..." So
in the end I mean that passed obviously, and I mean she's just so terribly desperate, I
mean I think she's the sort of person who thinks if she's not married by eighteen or
twenty or something, she'll be a spinster for the rest of her life or something.
Q: Well, that does sound a bit - desperate way to go about A: Oh, yeah, I think she is very.
Q: Does she have sexual relationships with any of them?
A: No, I think it could... I mean it got a lot closer than I thought it ever had, it's a lot more
serious but it didn't. It didn't go that far, as far as I know. No, I don't think it did.
Q: She'd probably have told you A: Yeah, she Q: - if she talks about it easily.
A: Yeah. No, I mean I think she's very desperate to, but she had one boyfriend who was
in... well, anyway he was terribly, terribly religious. I don't know why she went for him of
all people if she's so desperate to have Q: ... the last one...
A: Well anyway, yeah, exactly - he had real problems too, because his mother doesn't
- ... I think he had a (?) Beatles... that had pictures of naked women, so she went and his mother went and put sticky tape over them so you couldn't see them and - she's
terribly puritanical, I mean, okay they might not be the nicest things particularly to have
on your piano book, but I think in another way it's all a bit over the top to be so
puritanical. And apparently his brother kept walking into the bedroom when they were
alone together and never left them alone for more than ten minutes and she couldn't
stand that at all Q: I'm not surprised.
A: Wanted him to get straight down to it and no messing around, straight to bed. But he
couldn't at all, I mean I must say I have a lot of sympathy for some people who, you
know Q: So did it ever get near that for you or A: Mm, but then again... I mean to start with I was quite happy and I... I mean he was so
desperate in a way, I mean I never realised he was but he must have been, and he just
- I think when he got into a (?) physical state he didn't, he couldn't possibly consider my
feelings any more. Which - I mean I always thought he was such a kind of - I mean he
is, he's a terribly nice person, I mean I don't know - I always thought he was always kind
of considering other people's opinion, but I mean when it got down to it he didn't, he just
terrified me when he kind of lunged at me, and by the end of it I mean that was the last
thing, I just didn't want to have anything to do with him.
Q: But was that his approach just, or - to lunge at you rather than sort of seduce you in
A: I - yeah, I mean - I mean, I - I told him, you know, it got quite frank by the end
because - he always had to see a problem in everything, I mean I didn't see why we had
to get that close to there... plenty of time but he didn't see - I mean, no, he always
seemed to be thinking he did but he didn't. And he always had to see a problem in
absolutely everything, "this can't be normal", instead of just letting things happen,
which... And then he started thinking - oh, I mean, every day, "well, do you really love
me?" and I didn't have a chance to really work out if I - I mean I always felt as if I was
lying when I said so because he didn't give me a chance to find out if I did or didn't. I
mean - yeah.
Q: Did he say he loved you?
A: Every now and then, yeah. Oh yeah, I mean, definitely more than I did - I mean I
worked - he sent me about thirty, yeah, about thirty-six - yeah, about a letter a week I
worked out or something, which is - I mean really terrible, by the end of it I could have
sighed every time I saw another letter, and... what do you do with this?
Q: What, was that proclaiming his love or –
A: Well I mean that would have been - that would have been quite nice in a way, but it
was kind of more than that, it was kind of, oh what terrible problems we have, and
couldn't we - if I just - if only I would sort myself out and Q: You would sort yourself out?
A: Yeah, I mean in the end it got all my fault. He actually got me thinking by the end of it
that there was something wrong with me and...
Q: What, simply because you didn't want to? Or was A: Well, 'cos I couldn't; I mean by the end of it he got me in such a kind of state that I
couldn't show any affection at all any more and... cold person...
A: Well, you know, by the end of it I got to start believing it, and he did actually insult me
very much one evening after that.
Q: What did he do?
A: Well, he's - I mean he's got a [THERAPEUTIC ROLE], his father is a
[THERAPEUTIC ROLE], so he started trying to say that maybe I should seek help seek help or something and - I mean he actually insulted me so much that by the end of
it I was crying, and he wouldn't let me, and he was saying, you know, please just stop it,
just stop it, and - it was so rude after getting me to cry and then he had to - he wouldn't
let me. Crazy. It was hell.
Q: Had he had other girlfriends?
A: Well, he always told me he hadn't, but then he seemed to - I mean I don't suppose he
had any serious ones... much. No, I don't think he did, but maybe he just had some... to
take to parties with him or something, and then kind of disappeared halfway through the
evening, 'cos I suppose they didn't mean anything.
Q: Did you actually get into heavy petting, that sort of - if that's the right phrase A: Yeah, I suppose, yeah, a few times, but by the end of it - I mean I'd kind of
desperately try, it was terrible, and I just couldn't because in the end I just hated him
whenever it happened so Q: Was that 'cos you - of what he was doing, or you hated the actual act of whatever
you were doing? I mean, was it him or it? Was it what you were doing that you didn't like
or was it because he alienated you so much?
A: Oh, I think it was because it was him, no, I mean I enjoyed it to start with, it was only
by the end of it that I couldn't bear it. Yeah, I mean I found him actually quite repulsive
by the end of it, which was...
Q: ... didn't stand much of a chance.
A: No, I suppose not, now I come to think of it. No, I mean, right, I mean I - no - I think
yeah, it was just that he - I don't really know why - I mean I do, it was just he spread it
on so thick when I didn't - I mean it kind of was a vicious circle because the more he
wanted it, the less I did, and the less I did the more he did, I mean Q: How did he try and persuade you, then? Did he have certain sorts of argument?
A: Well, it was just the expected thing, you know, before you go you've just got to. "I
haven't seen you for so long, for such a long time", and, you know, it was really odd like
at school, and - I mean the thing was, he had - he's really into music so he goes to
music sessions the whole time, he goes to the Olympia music centre at the weekend,
he's constantly doing something, so he has his kind of own group of friends outside of
school that he could meet, while I had - I mean the only other friends I had were at
school, so when I was at school I wanted to be with them, talk to them, and I think that
was the main problem, that he - that he wanted me to just constantly think about him
and be with him and he didn't like me talking to other people. And I don't think he quite
realised that - and he didn't actually get on with my group of friends... in the end. And I I just don't think that he realised that he could always get away with his own friends
while I had friends at school; and it didn't actually occur to me at the time either that was
the problem. And I mean he'd sit and sulk because I'd borrowed money off someone
else and not him and things like that, so - which was so awful by the end of it that I just
didn't know what to do any more.
Q: Well he obviously wanted you to be totally sort of dependent on him.
A: Yeah, I suppose so... which I just still find so amazing because - because he always
seemed so kind of just the last person you'd expect anything like - I mean he'd have
these little tantrums and - I just can't get over it, I mean he had absolutely no - I mean I
always thought - when I first met him I thought - he was terribly quiet, and I thought
that's 'cos obviously he's got his own thing going with his music, and he doesn't - he's
quiet because he's got inner strength and he doesn't need anyone else much. And I
found out it was the total opposite, he had - he was totally weak, which was why he
didn't say anything, because he had absolutely no self-esteem at all, and - people would
say, well, what do you want to do when you grow up? And he'd say, well, I mean, if it's
really possible, I mean if I'm clever enough, I mean I'd like to become a composer; and
he's won, kind of you know I mean he's won loads of prizes, and he's - his pieces are
being played in Moscow and things, I mean it's incredible, and he keeps winning prizes,
he can't help it, you know, he keeps saying, well I'm not very good really... So I mean,
it's just incredible.
Q: So he's very talented for someone with no self-esteem.
A: Oh, yeah, I mean, I think he is - he must have some, there must be some incredible
ambition somewhere. He's also a pacifist or something yet he can behave like it Q: ... quite aggressive?
A: Yeah, I mean I just couldn't get over it because he was kind of - yeah, and also he
has this way of worshipping people, kind of like - well he had this friend who he's now
not talking to, and me... and he kind of just absolutely worships kind of - over the top in
a way. I mean, like, I definitely think he worshipped me over the top. And - I've forgotten
what I was saying now, where I was trying to get to. Oh, yeah, but I mean he was
actually very aggressive, even though he did have this - I mean, apparently he used to
have terrible arguments at home every now and then, and, you know, there'd be no
glasses left and things like that, which is incredible... meek and nice.
Q: He didn't ever hit you?
A: Oh no, nothing like that, no, never aggressive.
Q: But did you ever feel that he could have forced you to do anything if he'd really
A: I suppose he could have, but I don't think he would have. No, I mean I - I wouldn't
have - for a start, I wouldn't have stood for that at all, I mean I would have walked out
and never looked at him - but I don't think - I don't think that was ever going through his
mind. No, it was nothing like that.
Q: And did you ever actually discuss kind of sexual intercourse sort of thing, or was it
just something that was in with A: Oh, no, we did, I mean by the end we had to discuss absolutely everything so - and
also his mother kind of - I mean his parents were awful, I mean they never really - I
mean I had to come for supper every now and then, which was just dreadful for me
because his parents just never talked to me basically. They'd sit for the whole evening
and try not to talk to me... wait to start eating ‘til everyone had sat down, they'd say
you're allowed to start eating now, and then they'd kind of say, "did you come by...?"
and I'd say yes, and that would be it for the evening. And it was just absolutely awful,
going to his parents, I mean in the end it turned out that his mother thought that he was
gonna make me pregnant or something, which was - so after that I didn't... I just refused
to go so he got terribly insulted, and made me go, so I did once or twice, but I couldn't
look her in the eye anymore. So he had to kind of say, well if we ever did... obviously
we... use a contraceptive. But I mean...
Q: What, before you had sexual intercourse?
A: Yeah,... take that long. But I mean it's ridiculous talking about it...
Q: So what was it that he wanted to do with you that put you off him before, if it wasn't
actually to have intercourse?
A: Well the thing is I - that was always on his mind obviously, and - I mean in principle I
wouldn't have minded, it was just somehow - and also he didn't kind of seem like he
didn't actually have any respect for me by the end of it, because he had this fixed image
of me, and I wasn't that image, and he wouldn't accept the fact that I wasn't that person.
And also, I mean, by the end of it it was just, sort of, I was a couple Q: With him.
A: Yeah, I mean I wasn't me anymore, I wasn't - I mean I kept coming out with all these
clichés of like, you know... I just want to be me, but I really felt really claustrophobic kind
of with him, I mean Q: Was there any sort of negotiation between you and him, sort of reach a compromise
or anything, or was it sort of just him pressurising you?
A: I think it was basically, as I say. I mean, I just thought I had to in a way because, I
mean, I actually started off wanting to, but I didn't - definitely didn't by the end of it. I
mean, it wasn't something consciously that I said, right, I've got a boyfriend, but I
actually genuinely did want to, felt like it; but then after that, I mean I find it quite
horrible to think about now because I just can't stand the thought of him anymore. I
mean... kind of when we decided to end... be good friends, and now we don't talk to
each other anymore because I just can't. He gives me these looks as if to say, well, I
feel suicidal and I hope you do. And it's horrible, and I don't dare look at him anymore;
and every now and then he kind of - he has lunch with us or something, it's terribly
embarrassing, he leaves as soon as he can and it's really horrible.
Q: Yes, it makes you feel really awkward.
A: Oh, yeah, incredibly, especially with my friends being so fussy about the whole thing.
I mean when I have to tell them it's terrible... One of my friends, who just never says
anything about herself at all, and she said, oh (?) ELIZA, that's lovely, and, oh, how
nice! And then apparently after that she cried.
Q: What, when you...?
A: Yeah, I mean I told her over the phone, it was terrible, I mean I wish I - well... told her
before, but - and she told the other male friend I have who called me straight away.
Q: Could you ever talk to her about it or is it something A: Oh, no. I mean never told her that it had ended. She just had to work it out for
herself. I mean I didn't want to, she... by the end of it, that she couldn't... absolutely
puritanical about the whole thing. But I think she realised.
Q: So was he the first boyfriend you'd had A: Yes.
Q: - or had there been more?
A: No. Not really.
Q: I mean, is there anyone else on the horizon that you might have your eye on?
A: No, I mean, not really.
Q: Do you think you'd go about it differently if like someone popped up and asked you
A: Well I'd certainly make my own position a lot clearer. I don't think I'd be quite so - and
also I'd try to be - I mean - I mean it's quite easy to say but I'm sure it's a lot harder to
do, but I'd try to be a bit more aware of the situation in sort of summing up people. I
mean I thought I knew him, but he just behaved totally differently than I thought he
would. So - I'm - no, I mean I'd end it a lot sooner now if I felt I was being pushed in that
sort of situation again, and I think I'd have to make it perfectly clear that I wouldn't want
to be kind of dominated quite as much as I was in the end. And I mean it happened
without me even noticing.
Q: Yes, it can be quite sort of imperceptible. 'Cos when you say, you know, you'd make
your position clear, what do you think is your position now?
A: Well I'd tell them that by absolutely no means would they be allowed to stop me from
seeing my own friends because - I mean, he seemed to think somehow that I should
value my friendship with him a lot higher than I value other friendships, which I always
thought - I mean I don't know if that was a weakness of our relation - I mean, I don't
think so - I mean it was a different relationship, but - I mean ours was obviously a lot
more intimate, but I mean I still - I wouldn't have valued it above my other friendships,
even if I... than I did my other friends. But - so I mean, I'd have to make that clear, that
no way would they be able to - and also just the kind of, let me be me. I suppose that
Q: So when you went into that sort of relationship, would you be looking for a sexual
relationship as well?
A: I'd let it happen, I mean, if it did. I mean I thought that was the big problem about him,
the way everything had to be so kind of calculated, you either had to - kind of, you
know, should it happen, or how, and I just wanted it, you know, when I felt like yes, and
Q: But - although that sort of spontaneity's good, would you still think about things like
kind of contraception A: Oh, yeah, I mean obviously I wouldn't just go ahead and do it straight away, but I
mean the thing is, with him it was so incredibly planned kind of, I think that's probably
what scared me off, it was very kind of - it was so calculating, it was terrible, we must
have talked about it the whole time.
Q: Did he carry a condom on him?
A: Oh, no.
Q: No? He's not that planned then, is he?
A: Well, no, he never thought it would go quite that far and if it did, then we'd have to
obviously but Q: Nip out and buy one.
A: Yeah, exactly. Well, no, "next week, I'm free for an hour on Monday".
Q: And do you feel conscious of things like AIDS as well, or is that like a bit distant?
A: It is distant. I mean, well firstly I mean the sort of people I mix with at the moment
don't have any sexual relationship anyway so nobody could have AIDS, and I don't...
the parents somehow transmitted it, so - I mean, I think if it was kind of, I found myself
in bed in a party or something I might say, well, you know, have you got a - no, I mean, I
don't - it doesn't - I can't actually say it affects me much. I mean I know there's kind of
mass hysteria... can't go to pubs anymore,... I just sort of laughed at that, so I suppose
maybe I slightly under- - I mean maybe it's more of a risk than I tend to think it is but Q: 'Cos how much do you actually know about the AIDS kind of virus and the disease
A: Oh, not much, I mean I just know what they tell you on these television programmes
every now and then, and - and actually in our German lesson we had to read an
enormous article about it, it was really horrible, we were coming out feeling ill, but Q: What, in German?
A: Yeah. 'Cos we had to write about these things in German, you see, we don't have to
know them for anything else but we have... trendy essay topics but Q: So do you know the way it's transmitted and stuff like that?
A: Oh, no, not really.
Q: I mean like getting it through blood and A: Oh, yeah, I mean I know you can get it Q: - semen and A: Yeah, yeah, I know about that.
Q: And then, you know, what it does and how it affects you.
A: Yeah, I mean it - your immune system, it affects that and so basically... I mean
Q: And do you know what people - when people say things like "safe sex", do you know
what that means?
A: Hold on. That's - what I think about Q: I mean they don't actually, for instance, in sex education classes, go further in terms
of safe sex and sort of in terms of non-penetrating sex?
A: No, they don't really. Nothing like that. I mean, we really weren't told anything, it was
Q: And do you think that sort of thing should be taught? I mean is that the sort of A: Well, yeah, I mean otherwise there's no point teaching it at all. I mean basically - the
thing is also I mean like... the people I... for instance... nothing else but sex basically... I
mean I never knew what they were talking about 'cos they had such obscure names for
it, with different - oh, I mean, oh it was - it was quite horrible really when I come to think
of it now, but... listening to lots of crude things but I never quite knew what they meant,
but I just had to pick up over the two years so - but I mean I certainly may be afraid,
having actually talked about it a bit more and - I mean at least then it might have kind of
got people to know what they were talking about before the boys started shouting their
mouths off about it in maths lessons.
Q: ... Who do you feel is most at risk?
A: Well I suppose people in their twenties and thirties who still have kind of lots of
sexual - I mean haven't necessarily got a stable relationship yet, who... from partner to
partner and - I mean I don't think people my age are that much at risk... I don't know, but
my group of friends anyway, I mean I don't think any of us have had a sexual
relationship yet, so I can't quite see how, unless we get it - pass it down from our
parents or something, that there can be any risk. So I think it can only start once you
kind of have several relationships. And then, yeah, I suppose... age group and you are
changing partners quite a lot, so I would say, yeah, twenties, early thirties.
Q: Do you actually perceive that as something that will happen to you?
A: Having AIDS?
Q: No. Well, actually having different partners and therefore moving into being a person
who A: - I don't really Q: ... all you have to do is go out with somebody who's had lots of partners.
A: Oh, yeah, I mean I can see it happening. I mean I - I'm not, at the moment... I mean I
would want to, before getting into a sort of sexual relationship, I would want to know a
person a lot better and feel kind of secure with them, but I mean I can well imagine it
happening in a few years, that I'd have a sexual relationship with someone who'd
possibly had quite a few more. Yes, I'd see that as quite conceivable.
Q: But do you think then your attitude would be - or what do you think your attitude
A: I don't - I think it would change drastically, I mean I obviously wouldn't kind of just
want to get, you know, someone for one night and have a sexual relationship and then
drop it or whatever, so I'd want to know a bit more than that, I mean - I suppose if there
was any - I mean, for a start, I would be quite willing to ask them to use a condom or
whatever, I mean I wouldn't necessarily see why it should be my responsibility,
especially if there is an AIDS scare or whatever, then I'd let them take it, be their
responsibility. Yeah, I think I'd do that anyway because I don't particularly want to be
pregnant and Q: Which seems the most kind of important, like almost (?) closest, to protect yourself
against pregnancy or AIDS?
A: Well, I don't know, I suppose I - I personally would - I mean if I was to use a
contraceptive I'd use the pill, I wouldn't want to use anything else because I don't like
the idea of it. Our shoebox has put me off for life!
A: But - but I suppose if it's against AIDS, then a condom. But I mean I - I'd have to - I
mean before I started going with... I'd want to - I mean I don't see... get a lot more
involved with someone in general.
Q: Do you think there's a kind of - what's the point of a relationship, do you think, when
you do contemplate having sexual A: Partly it depends on the relationship, I just don't think you can plan these things at all.
I mean I - I don't know... have it once,... relationship once, but - I mean it became quite
clear with us when we started thinking about it which was... I - I think in any relationship,
if - if there is any basis for the relationship it must become obvious when you start
getting close and want that sort of - want to have sex, so - I mean I - for a start I
wouldn't want to get involved against my will or anything, so once I was ready and we
were both ready, that's when we'd start contemplating. I don't know, I mean, I don't think
you can kind of pin a thing on it saying after two weeks or after a month or Q: No. Part of the reason I asked is that some of the times I've had the impression from
talking to some people that there's a point at which, although they may not necessarily
particularly want to have sex, there's a point where it seems as though that's the next
thing to do.
A: Oh, I see.
Q: See what I mean? - so it's one thing to say, yeah, you know, I really feel that I want it
because I want it, and there's also to feel, well, I can't say no any longer with him going
on for three months and the next... in the relationship. We've got as far as we can go
without having sex. So A: I don't know, I mean for a start (tape change)... maybe some relationships are... but I
just wouldn't... intercourse unless... I felt ready. And if... couldn't accept that... then
obviously...he'd just have to wait a bit longer. But I think the whole point - I mean if you if that is the case that you actually don't want to and he makes you feel it has to to
continue, I mean that's basically what happened with us, I suppose, then it's just
horrible. And - I mean that's basically what put me off, him wanting to, getting so kind of
nervous feeling... I have to, that I couldn't possibly get any pleasure out of it. So I
Q: And do you - what do you actually expect from sex? I know you haven't had any yet,
but do you have certain expectations of what it - it would be like?
A: No, not really, I mean - I think that's quite difficult, I don't quite Q: I suppose I'm thinking in terms of whether, you know, you would expect it to give you
sort of pleasure or pain or A: Yeah, well I suppose I always have this horrid idea in the back of my mind that it
would be painful, but I think - I mean I'm sure that I wouldn't do it ‘til I was in the right
mood for a start, and then I would probably... yeah, I mean, I - I would only do it if I
wanted to, ... get pleasure out of it so - but I don't know. I don't know.
Q: Do you think you're the sort of person who takes risks at all?
A: What sort of risks?
Q: Risks with pregnancy?
A: Oh, no, I - I wouldn't take any risks with pregnancy. I mean in a lot of ways I find
people terribly kind of - I mean I don't like it when people... totally - what's the word unspontaneous, I mean I don't like - I mean I think I'm quite a spontaneous person. I'm I'm not sure if I am, but the people I mix with at the moment are just the exact opposite
and that does actually annoy me, people come up and say... do something, but I think
when it comes to things like the risk of being pregnant I wouldn't do that, I wouldn't take
Q: What about things like smoking and drinking and drugs?
A: Well, I wouldn't smoke, I just don't like it basically; and drinking, well, the thing is I
mean I get drunk terribly quickly, so I don't actually like it that much but then again, that
is something I would - just - the experience, I would try it. And also moving in a certain
company I suppose, yeah, I can see myself - although I wouldn't - I mean it's not - I
mean I know there's some people kind of feel they have to get drunk to prove
their ...ness or something, and I think they're... I mean I just don't see - I mean like
today, being the last day at school, there was one girl ended up sitting on the toilet for
three hours because she'd got herself drunk.
Q: What, to celebrate?
A: Yeah, exactly and, I mean, that was really sad. So I mean I don't actually - and drugs,
well, I mean that's something that kind of with all the kind of - so much weight is put on it
that I am actually quite curious about it, but I would never want to try anything that could
be a bit... 'cos I wouldn't want to - I mean I actually don't like losing control, or not being
in control of my actions, and I don't - which I why I don't like getting drunk, ‘specially
when I get to the stage where I'm still aware of myself but I know I might do something I
might regret, so I always... edge, and I don't actually like that. I suppose once you get
beyond that stage it doesn't matter anymore, but I don't often do. But I mean the drugs
again, I wouldn't want to actually end up dependent on something because I just don't
like the idea of that. But I think -if I was in the right circumstance, I mean if it was kind
of... if I was... that did that and it was someone who assured me, no, no, you won't get
addicted, I might be tempted to try.
Q: Yeah, somebody that was just fairly pleasant without...
A: Yeah, just...
Q: And have you ever sort of risked anything with school, skipping lessons or A: Oh, yeah, I mean - no, not that much, but, yeah, I mean I've bunked off lessons
Q: But not - but not so that it affected your work?
A: Oh, no, I mean just the odd lesson I just couldn't face going. No, I mean there was no
reason to, I mean I'm dreading the idea of having to retake and do another year, so for
that reason obviously I wouldn't want to actually miss too much school. But I miss the
Q: When - I mean, do you know people, like your friends at all, who you think do take a
lot of risks with what they do?
A: Well, the actual friends I mix with now, nothing at all, I mean, absolutely no risks. And
that actually does annoy me a bit,... but I mean I do... I mean I was actually quite
shocked when I first got to the sixth form that I mean people were actually - do have
Q: What, in school?
A: Yeah. I mean I've never actually - I don't think I've ever seen anybody like with drugs
but - oh, I have actually, at a party - yeah, at several parties I've seen people smoking
funny things and behaving terribly strange. But that's - oh, that's actually with one...
quite a few years older,... he lived in Germany... problem... he kind of - I mean some
people, friends went (?)interrailing and he said, well, you've got to stop off here because
you can get cheap cannabis here and things like that, and he was totally - he was kind
of - when there was a party there was kind of a little group round him Q: Smoking his joint.
Q: Oh, he...
A: Oh, yeah, he was incredible, he was really weird, but - so I mean that actually quite
shocked me, that that was going on... but I've never been in a situation where I've felt
you have to or anything like that, I mean I've never experienced the kind of things... peer
group pressure and all that, I mean I've never had anything like that. Even if it came to
it, it would be quite easy for me to say no, I mean, you know, no difficulty at all. And
also, I mean people get terribly... at parties.
Q: Are there a lot of parties, like people at school A: Well, not really, I mean there's the odd school party where everyone goes - there are
about four of those every year, and then - I mean there are quite - actual parties, there
aren't that many. There were more, but... not that many because of the exams and
things. But we used to kind of get together in groups of about six or eight quite a lot,
every week at one stage, so that was - it wasn't a party but - and sometimes there'd be
alcohol but usually... But I think - I mean normally when people do get terribly drunk it's
just seen as kind of pathetic rather than anything anyone tries to copy, I mean Q: And is it mainly cannabis they smoke... hard...?
A: I don't know, I've no idea what it is.
Q: But people aren't - are people injecting?
A: Oh, no, no, no, nothing like that, no.
Q: I mean it's nothing...
A: ... I mean I don't know, it might be going on for all I know so - but I mean none of the
people I know socially, and if they do they don't do it kind of in public at school parties. I
don't know, I don't think so.
Q: Are your parents religious?
Q: Are you?
Q: So how do you feel about sort of future marriage...?
A: I'd actually quite like to have children but I wouldn't like to - I mean I'd also like to
have a career, it's that kind of thing. But I - I don't see why I shouldn't have both, and
also, I think - I do actually think if I had a husband then it would be his responsibility just
as much as mine. But I mean, I know lots of people say, oh, children, I could never have
children, but I actually would like to have children, I think. But I also don't see why I
should necessarily get married to have them either, I mean I don't see that that has to - I
mean I just know so many people who have got married and regret it, so I would never
Q: Would you live with somebody instead of marrying them?
A: Oh, yeah, certainly. Well, I mean I think if I had a good relationship with someone
there'd be no reason why not to marry them. And I'd actually - I'd actually want to.
Q: And what do you spend most of your time at - doing? I mean I know you've been
doing A-levels at the moment, but sort of when you're not in school, what do you enjoy what do you spend most of your time socially doing?
A: Friends - I mean nothing specific... someone's house or whatever.
Q: So it's like more sort of private things, rather than going to pubs or A: Yeah, I think so, yeah.
Q: - sort of disco-type places A: Oh, no, yeah, I -... yeah, I mean we have a group of friends, there are about four of
us... who were very kind of quite close (?) by the end of it, but then - I mean it was
funny, 'cos there were two girls and the two boys I've talked about before quite a lot Q: Yes, yes.
A: - and I mean there was a time when it kind of got so intense and it got so close that it
was in a way... just had to go that step further, and no one wanted to do it 'cos everyone
knew it would break up our friendship, and no one quite knew where they stood... who
would be with who or anything. I mean that kind of fell apart and that was the end of it.
But I mean sometimes... bigger groups... quite close.
Q: So your friendship network with them was quite important A: Oh, yeah, very important. I mean, that's why I also don't want to kind of... my
friendships... going out with one of them, 'cos they obviously didn't know what...
Q: Yes, 'cos actually going out with a boy can make a lot of difference A: - yeah, I mean Q: - to your time, to your priorities, to everything.
A: Yeah, I was quite - I mean, I didn't want it to change anything much, and I was quite
surprised when it did. You know, they're all reasonable people, so why should it make
any difference? And everyone got jealous.
Q: What, despite your efforts?
A: Yeah, I mean I was there kind of trying to, you know - juggling at all these friends
trying to keep it going, and it wasn't.
Q: And it's a shame really that now it's stopped, that things don't go back to normal. I
suppose it's an irretrievable change.
A: Yeah. I mean we're all going interrailing this summer, well except for this - the one I
was going out with,... but Q: So where are you going?
A: Oh, just Europe in general, we haven't got too many set plans.
A: Yeah, really nice. But I don't know if we'll be able to stand each other's company, it's
gonna be quite interesting.
Q: So out of all the relationships you have, which obviously... family, friends,
boyfriend..., which do you feel is or has been most important to you?
A: ... my relationship with my parents because - it just has to be. But I'd say this one
friend I've got now, he's - I mean I think my friendship with him is very important
because - I mean it's beginning to be almost more important than my parents, I think,
because we don't get on too wonderfully the whole time either, so, yeah, I'd probably
say my relationship with him. I don't know...
Q: And do you see that ever developing into something else, or - or as being sort of...
A: I think I'd probably rather it didn't, because I'm sure - I mean it kind of almost did, and
I just couldn't stand him again, the same thing Q: Really?
A: - 'cos we were on holiday, and he was intended to... visit with us and stay with one of
his friends... stayed and stayed and stayed, in this tiny little holiday flat, where there was
no - I mean no chance of any privacy, twenty-four hours a day, by the end of it I was just
saying, oh, he won't even let me go to the toilet on my own, and he just wouldn't go; and
when he finally went, I was so relieved. And so, I don't think I would want it - I mean I
kind of felt as if it was developing into something more. I mean it's quite strange,
because, like, he had loads of girlfriends, although he - except for one other one he
doesn't actually seem able to talk to them particularly well, he... easier to talk to me...
but I mean I got terribly jealous once when he was - I could never - he's got this other
girl who doesn't go to school, and I just can't work out their relationship because she
seems to have loads of boyfriends and things and he seems to be kind of just kind of
another one of her many friends, and I just can't - I mean I'm desperate to find out what
this relationship Q: What exactly A: Yeah, I mean, I just haven't quite dared come up with it and ask, but my ambition to but I mean I got terribly jealous at one stage, I thought that she was - although I didn't
actually want to go out with him, I didn't want anyone else to go out with him either,
which was really mean. And so, I'm not sure, I mean, I think I would be quite jealous if
he did start going out with someone, and at the same time I wouldn't want to go out with
him either. So I mean Q: It's a bit like a dog in a manger, sort of thing, you want it, but you don't want it.
A: Yeah, I don't know, I mean I suppose I could imagine it developing into more but at
the same time I don't know. I mean there's also this other - this friend who's really
desperate, she flirts with absolutely anyone, and I got terribly, terribly upset when she
started - I mean this was before the summer holidays when we met, but I mean she
spread it on really thick. And I was supposed to be going to a party, and I was so kind of
upset at the idea - really, I couldn't - I didn't talk to her for a few weeks 'cos I just
couldn't bear the - I mean she always... whenever I talk to boys, she stood in front of me
and that's the end of my chances with them.
Q: Oh, dear.
A: Except that nothing ever comes of her friendships anyway because she's so, kind of,
shallow. I mean Q: What, so they drop her?
A: Yeah, I mean it's just impossible I suppose, after a while.
Q: Yes, it's quite hard sort of negotiating...
A: I mean it's just crazy what goes on, I mean - the things people get up to, and half the
time I'm just not even aware of it, and of course I... part of it myself, and get terribly
insulted without realising, I mean without quite knowing why, you know.
Q: And are the boys all at school?
Q: So none of them have left school?
A: No. Yeah, I mean basically all my friendships are through school, I don't really have I don't really have any friendships outside school...
Q: So you don't go to any sort of other clubs outside or A: No, not really.
Q: Are you going to have a year off?
A: Yeah, yeah.
Q: What to do?
A: Well I want to go and make my fortune in Switzerland first because it pays, I mean,
ridiculously high wages for people who haven't even gone to university, just, you know,
for a few months, and - 'cos I can speak English, that's a real - obviously, that's a real
bonus in Switzerland, and I want to do that for between four and six months and then to
travel with my... I don't dare think about my year off properly because I'm too terrified I'll
fail, so Q: So it's nice to have somewhere - I mean, let's look on the bright side - that you do
get, you know, exams alright, and you can just go off to somewhere like Switzerland
and do something A: Oh, brilliant, yeah, can't wait.
Q: Do you think being - having a sort of Swiss connection affects you at all in any other
way, sort of attitudes to anything or A: Oh, definitely, yeah, I mean - I don't know, but I'm sure I'd be different.
Q: But you can't think of any particular way?
A: Well, the thing is most people just can't understand that I have this terrible emotional
kind of attachment to Switzerland, some people just can't understand, so I suppose I am
a lot kind of harsher, I think... I don't have that kind of emotional bond to England
somehow, so I kind of... harsh I think, and I think that really does make quite a big
difference. I mean I kind of talked to a friend and said, you know, well, "But why do you
feel emotionally attached to Switzerland? I mean I don't - I've lived in England all my life
and I feel absolutely nothing for England. I don't feel particularly sentimental about
England"; but I'm sure he must deep down, you know. Somehow there must be
something there, I think, which I don't have. I don't know. And I mean I - it's just so
different, I think, having - being able to speak another language fluently and Q: So you're bilingual?
Q: That's - yeah. So - did your parents make sure - did your mother make sure of that,
or was that - 'cos sometimes when you leave a country when you're six, like, it's quite
easy to forget everything you know.
A: Yeah, I mean I still, kind of I forget words the whole time, so then... same in English,
you know, I mean I don't actually speak Swiss in England at all much, but someone
says... words... in English so - but I mean, I kind of left there with the vocabulary of a six
year old and that really annoys me, because I haven't got much further than that. But yeah, saying - forgetting what track I'm on, it's terrible - ... It's terrible, I'm sorry.
Q: It's alright.
A: No, I mean, I... I mean I - oh, that's right, why I remembered it, I think, what I way
saying. Yeah, I mean I went to school, I went to kindergarten there so - and also I mean,
I - I've got cousins who I'm very close with in Switzerland who've now moved to
EUROPEAN COUNTRY, 'cos they can't stand Switzerland either, but I mean I visit
them, or I used to anyway, visit them a lot. Because when we were in Switzerland my
mum - I mean, first of all she worked, as well as my dad, so often I went to visit my
cousins and things. So like I mean she was a EDUCATIONAL ROLE, ...so I've actually
been in school all my life 'cos I used to go with her, but Q: Yeah. What did she do there?
A: Well, she - she's a EDUCATIONAL ROLE and she's a HORTICULTURAL ROLE, so
she kind of - she was a EDUCATIONAL ROLE for a bit and she was a
HORTICULTURAL ROLE for a bit, and now she just does a bit of HORTICULTURE
every now and then but she doesn't really have anything full time.
Q: Mm. And what does your dad do?
A: Well he was just a - a musician. [redacted].
Q: And that brings enough money in?
A: No, not really. I mean, no.
Q: So you're quite a musical family.
A: Yeah, I suppose so.
Q: Do you play?
A: Yeah, the violin. Yeah,... musical, I like playing the violin, but it's not something I want
to do professionally. I mean I think I might have done, but he's put me off it totally, and
anyway I never practice, so Q: Mm. What music does he play?
Q: And do you know what sort of hopes they've got for you?
A: Oh, I always ask them, I think it's quite fun, kind of what -say, "what do you want me
to be?"... my dad... said, well, you know, I wouldn't mind ...as long as you're happy and
you could become a barmaid as long as people didn't realise you were just a barmaid
but you were you too, sort of thing. But I mean they all - my mum's quite... want to do
good, but I think she would have liked me to do sciences and I didn't, and yeah, I think
that she thinks that's quite a pity that I didn't do sciences and - and then, you know, I got
them... funny. She wanted me to kind of help the economic - turn into economics and
help in Third World countries and things and - oh, they both want me to become an
author, I quite like the idea of that but it's a bit over the top, I mean I don't know maybe, who knows?
Q: You never know.
A: I haven't heard anything too specific.
Q: What did they think of your boyfriend? Did they like him?
A: Oh, yeah, my mum always feels sorry for them. I... no, I mean I think they both like
them, both liked him, I mean I think they basically always like my friends so Q: 'Cos he was quite musical, your boyfriend.
A: Yeah. No, I mean... quite nice and, yeah, they said they liked him, and my mum said
she felt sorry for him but then - she said... sorry for; but like, yeah, she'd feel sorry for
practically anyone who walked through the door, I don't know why. I suppose they all
look a bit underfed so she kind of Q: Feeds them up.
A: Would like to.
Q: Can you think of anything else that would - sort of in terms of your experiences of
kind of negotiating relationships, that it would be useful to say?
A: No, I mean, all this happened somehow, but I just would be a lot more aware in
future of kind of what was happening, and not let it happen.
Q: And be more in control?
A: Oh, definitely, yes. But I mean I constantly said... losing control, and it all sounded
stupid, and, I don't know, I lost hope. I just hope it'll go better next time.
End of interview.
Interviewed at Dalmeny Road
She had failed to turn up at the house for our first arranged interview, so I thought she was
not coming again when she was about ten minutes late. However, she was fine about it this
time. Quite a tall, well-built girl with brown hair to just below her ears. Had a slightly
'oldfashioned' look about her appearance, hairstyle etc. She was rather nervous, speaking in
quite a clipped and rather upper-class voice with well-rounded syllables. Wearing jeans and
She has a younger brother of six years old. Has only had one relationship with a boyfriend
which lasted for three months. She referred to it as 'going steady'. He had become too
possessive and domineering and she felt she couldn't be herself. She felt she couldn't stand
him by the time they finished. She had refused to have a sexual relationship with him
although it sounded at one point in the interview as though he wasn't really expecting to
have one for some time. It was sometimes hard to understand exactly what she was saying
that he was pressurising her about. It appeared to be sex at first, but she would skate round
the issue by using more abstracted language, and then I began to come to the conclusion
that what she was more concerned with was that her boyfriend didn't allow her time for her
own friends and she felt oppressed by this.
Her parents sound very middle class, mother is Swiss, and she herself was brought up in
Switzerland until she was six and she goes back quite often. She's bilingual. Would not like
to live in Switzerland although she is going there for a while after she finishes her A-levels.
Her mother has done [EDUCATIONAL ROLE] and also does [HORTICULTURAL ROLE].
Father [MUSICAL ROLE].
She is willing to do a follow-up interview, but I didn't ask her about the diary because she is
going to be abroad for the next few months or more.