I have not been to a launderette for – what? – 30 years? Back then, fresh from home, travelling in a foreign country on my own, on the cheap, a visit to the launderette was a weekly ritual. I used to make my way on a Monday afternoon from my small bedsit, down the grubby street with the exhaust-belching cars queuing to go nowhere slowly, past the poky pub and dingy servo where I worked, carrying my large carry-all with week’s washing. Monday’s were good: few people chose to do their washing at the start of the week, and even fewer during working hours so I found I had the choice of washers and driers and could read my book while my smalls, skirts and shirts rumbled and tumbled their way through their cycles.
Those machines were so uncomplicated then and, today, sitting in a launderette because my bloody machine picked a fine time to die, it appears not a lot has changed. The settings are still: ‘Off’, Hot, Warm and Cold’ with a ‘Half Fill’ Option.
The driers are similar: Hot, Warm, Cold air, a few minutes per coin.
It really has not changed. In all that time. And here I am back in a launderette…
In with the washing, powder, and coins, hit the button and wait, the grumble and tumble, slow slosh and wet wheezes of the machine nearly as mesmeric as the rumbling rotation of my clothes.
And in my mind, I’m back in London… wet afternoon of cursory nods to the handful of regulars wandering in to add to the heat and steam of the sparse, humid room with its bare wooden benches, tatty signs, vandalised soap-vending machines mounted on yellow, tobacco- stained walls chipped and pocked by countless years of weary washers.
Occasionally I chatted with customers – mainly the young men, occasionally single girls, never the mums with their fidgeting kids. I had nothing to say to them nor they to me. Most of the girls looking at me, a stranger in their territory, were suspicious so conversation would be stilted, along the lines of:
“Where you from then?”
“Oh! It’s hot there innit? Do you have a pet kangaroo? Is it like Neighbours?”
My answers sated their curiosity and the questioning, together with what conversation there was, died.
The boys were different. I was shy, I suppose – well shyer than I am now, anyway, for this was long before I found the need for both the security of a partner as well as the excitement of a lover. Back then I had a boyfriend of sorts in Australia. I could conjure him up whenever I wanted security for myself, or to deter an advance, blame a failed date or opt out of a night’s clubbing. Anyway, these boys were occasionally over cocky and pleased with themselves, their chat, their appalling aftershaves and their spots or were, mostly, shy, too. Unable to generate any sort of talk on their own (and, I suspect, without the self-generating machismo of a gang of mates and a few pints) they had no clue how to address a girl. But through all the mumbled, shifty-eyed ‘Hellos’ and grunts there was one young man who was different, who came in on a steamy-windowed afternoon of murk and mindlessness.
I looked up from my book – probably The Thornbirds – when the door, forced open by a large red suitcase under a large black umbrella allowed the damp chill blast of the afternoon to buffet into the launderette. A head of black, tousled hair and a pair of laughing green eyes emerged from under the umbrella. A clatter and batter of folded, flapping umbrella and those amused eyes scanned the room for an empty machine. He saw me.
“Good weather for ducks!” He grinned
“And penguins…” I replied
A frown at my accent. “Where you from?”
“The wild Western third, eh? A sandgroper…”
There was something so refreshing about meeting someone who knew a bit about my home.
“Yeah – A lot of sand and sharks and I’m not even talking about the oceans!”
He was the only one I went out with on a date in England. We laughed our way through my wash and then his, he chuckling at my Australian sayings – and, yes, I did bung it on a bit to keep his interest, as I suspect he hammed up his delightful, English self-deprecation to keep mine. So we ended up at a pub, all brass and pewter, dominoes and darts, a day or so later and I hadn’t mentioned my sort of boyfriend nor he a girlfriend and we both knew what was going on when he asked to see me home.
“No.” I said. “You can’t come to my place. It’s too small and… just no.”
“Will you see me home, then?” He asked. “It’s an iffy neighbourhood and I could do with an Australian to fend off the baddies…”
“Mmm. Come to Australia,” I quoted from God knows where. “Where men are men and so are the women, eh?”
He laughed at that. “I just thought you’d carry a knife like Crocodile Dundee!” He looked me up and down, puzzled.
“What?” I asked.
“Where would you hide it?”
“Oh I don’t need a knife!” I chuckled, then quoted lyrics from an Australian song popular at the time: “I come from the land down under where women glow and men plunder!”
“Uh-oh! Had I better run, had I better take cover?”
“Am I making you nervous?”
“Are you going to take me in and give me breakfast?”
And I never did mention my sort of boyfriend, not as we hurried through the drizzle, not as we rode in the lift up and up to his small apartment high in a tower block in a neighbouring suburb, not as we looked out over the lights of London from the small balcony, chugging some warm English beer, watching Madonna on MTV, because MTV was so cool and new back then.
And I liked this fella. I liked his cheekiness, the way he didn’t take himself too seriously. He was upbeat, cheery, always seeing the positive, interested in me, in my home. And he didn’t mention Neighbours, kangaroos or sharks once. He did, however, mention the ‘F’ word
“Sorry about the beer. If I’d known you were coming back here I would have brought in Fosters.”
I never, ever see Fosters at home. No one drinks it. Ever.
“Ah. Fosters. Tastes like shit but the English drink it…” I quoted, sort of, from Crocodile Dundee. “Like this beer, really…”
I was only mildly adventurous back then – I am much more so these days, I suppose. Back then it was a big deal to step out of my comfort zone to try the unknown; these days I have more confidence in my self and my choices. When my current lover suggested tying me to the bed and applying various textures to my naked body to see if I could guess what he was caressing me with, I readily agreed, happy to try a new experience. Back then, if my sort of boyfriend had suggested anything like that I would have run a mile, thinking he was kinky and a pervert.
Up in that London apartment that night, though, I was feeling comfortable – not necessarily up for sex, but not ruling out some nookie, either – just interested to see where our ‘association’ would lead.
In his tiny kitchen was a washing machine.
“What’s this doing here?” I blurted out.
“Oh, it’s just been installed today.” He said. “The old one broke, that’s why I was at the launderette.”
He came up behind me, circled an arm around my waist. I found myself leaning back into him.
“And if I hadn’t been to the launderette…” a kiss on my neck. “…well, I wouldn’t have bumped into you…”
“I know – what a location, so romantic” I bunged on a sarcastic, bored voice, joking.
“O I don’t know – we’ve already seen each others smalls, so I guess we’ve shared one intimate experience…”
“…and now you’re suggesting we share another, are you?” I feigned a schoolmistress’s raised eyebrow: I wasn’t going to give in to him that easily. I think I wanted to see how far he would go, if I could outwit this quick wit, make him work hard for me. I don’t know. I guess I was just going with the flow…
“Not at all!” His face registered shock. His eyes twinkled cheekiness. “I was actually going to show you my lovely new machine and its settings…”
“Oh, really?” I laughed. “Well, I’d love to see your lovely, new machine – and its settings!”
“Well – as you see, it’s a front loader – so much easier than a top loader, don’t you think?” He played it beautifully: just enough melodrama so I knew not to take him seriously, just enough seriousness so as not to be a fool. He didn’t wait for an answer. His mouth approached my neck. I tilted my head to let him kiss the skin below my ear. “But just look at all these settings: Easy Care, Baby Care, Skin Care, Delicate, Quick 30, Intense 60, Rinse and Spin, Drip Dry….”
“Very nice!” I joined in the play acting. “What more could a man need? You truly have everything…”
“Shall we try it?”
“YOU can try it,” I laughed. “I’ll watch with interest..”
“Aw.. there’s no fun in that…” HIs hands caressed my waist and hips, his mouth grazed my neck, my jaw line, my cheek. A kiss on the corner of my mouth. “I thought we should try the Easy Care setting…” A kiss, light, on my lips. I felt mine part in response, felt a small shiver and twinge in my stomach. “Or the Delicate…”
The next kiss was firm on my lips, persuasive and soft, pressuring for a response which I readily gave, feeling my lips soften to his, parting at the first, slight hint of insistence from his tongue.
The twinge in my stomach spread as I turned to him to bring his mouth to mine. I felt a small rash of prickly skin diffuse from hip to waist to the side of my chest under the touch of his hands, my nipples hardening in anticipation.
My hands glided over his chest, unpicked his shirt, found his skin, the taut texture of youth and masculinity, the sinew and muscle. HIs hands paused at the base of my breasts, thumbs poised to skim over my bra.
“Bugger Delicate!” he muttered, his lips millimetres from mine. “Let’s try Intensive 60…”
“Sounds like the perfect setting.” I whispered back.
I thought we would move to his bedroom at that point, but he resumed kissing me, hands, freeing my bra, returning to my breasts to cup them, to comfort my nipples under his thumbs and then to raise my T-shirt over my head. I plucked at his shirt buttons, his waist band, wormed a hand in to feel his weight, the sturdiness burgeoning in the cotton. It was all a bit crazy, really. As happens when you get over excited, when passions and arousal take over and inhibitions are chucked away with the clothing. Our kisses grew fiercer, our caresses firmer. His mouth found my breasts, his tongue wrapped around my nipples and fingers loosened and lowered my skirt before sliding under the elastic and exploring the skin of my buttocks and hips. Mine worked his jeans down, stretched the elastic of his pants – a pair of tight whities, as it happens – over the straining tumescence of his erection and cupped his sack, delighting in the rapid wrinkle and shrink as the pair of weighty balls were hauled up into firing position.
There was the inevitable fidget and fumble as he drew my panties down for me to remove and then we were crushed together again, his length hot against my stomach, his chest pumping against my nipples. His lips tugged at the skin of my neck, on my ear, at my throat, before returning as if for nourishment to my mouth. A hand slid down my stomach, shuddering me as it crested my mound, his fingers brushing my lips. I felt my stance shift to let his hand in to ease an ache which had pooled deliciously between my thighs. I sighed and shivered as he ran a finger firmly, gently to split my softness and trail through to the heat and slick waiting for him.
I pulled his face to me, thrust my hips to him, hauled him to me with one hand at the small of his back, raised myself on my toes in an attempt to take him in. But he had other ideas, effortlessly hoisted me onto the washing machine, positioned himself between my legs and eased in.
I love the smooth drive of first entry. When the sheer, blunt inflexibility of engorged veins and muscle peel me apart, relentless in the inexorable slide to fill me like a hand in a glove, but smoother, simpler, more satisfying. I fell against him, my legs around his waist, crossed at his back, pulling him into me, pushing my clit against him when he was at his deepest, gyrating a slow grind. A stabbing thrill convulsed through me. He pulled my head back by my hair, bent to kiss me, my throat, my breast, my nipples as he started a long, deep roll of his hips and buttocks.
I had never been taken like that before. My sort of boyfriend and I had fumbled and explored on beds but had allowed ourselves to be influenced by the inhibitions of inexperience, doing what we knew was ok, was safe, agreeable. This time, though, the sheer lustful determination of my lover to conjoin with me, to fill me was an arousal in itself. To feel the raw, instinctual buck and thrust of his body flexing, powerful, as he drove into me, withdrew and drove in deeper was heady, invigorating and electrifying. I do not recall any subtlety of sensation, just the whole, the whole carnal, lascivious animal nature of our lovemaking. That’s what made me come. That’s what made him come as I clung to him, trembling and quaking, fulfilled by the bulk of him as he thrust and jerked in my arms, exquisite pulses quenching me deep inside.
“That was more like a Quick 30 !” I whispered.
“You haven’t factored in the Rinse and Spin….come on!”
In the shower he washed me. Delicious silky strokes of warm, soapy water guided over my breasts and hips, between my legs. I, too washed him, loving the anticipation building as I soaped his chest and stomach, slowly easing down to the root of his pendulous cock and sagging balls. I washed off the slick of our combined essences until I felt him stir and stiffen in my hand. I indulged myself in charming the slow lengthening with light strokes of my hand which I curled around his length, a thumb occasionally, thoughtfully, glancing his twitching head as I marvelled at the swell and saturation which stretched his skin tight and smooth.
“Well… looks like the Rinse cycle is complete, now for the Spin.”
He turned me to the glass shower door, pulled my buttocks toward him. I felt the easy fit of my buttocks to his thighs, my lips full and quivering at the probe of his hardness, the nudge and thrust as he found me and pressed in. One hand clasped a breast, thumb and forefinger rolling a nipple hard between them, the other at my neck, held me to the glass. I shuffled backwards to allow him in deeper, bending as his forcefulness guided my head lower, even as my hands braced myself against the glass.
He took longer to come this time. He thrust hard and fast in me, our skins slapping together as he plunged in, his grip almost painful on my neck. For me, it was not sensual. It was almost brutal although strangely pleasurable being able to push back against his thrusts, to feel his frenzy mounting as I writhed and wriggled my ass to his thrusts. He slapped my buttock. Hard. And again. Both. I cried out at the pain as much as from the indignity but found the heavenly spread and diffusion of the sharp, tangy sting soon mellow into an intense warmth which enthralled me, captivating me in a bizarre contrast of sensations: the brutal and mellow, the hard and soft and – yes, the pain and the pleasure. So when he unceremoniously grabbed both my breasts, pulled me hard against his furious ramming, bent over my back and yelled as he came, it was actually exquisite, magnificent even.
Later, naked in bed, I snuggled against him. I reached for him, idly playing with his petulant length, dragging a finger deep between his legs, tracing the dividing line over the loose sag of his balls.
“What?” I asked.
“Skin Care. That’s the next setting…”
What followed was one of the most sensual of all my experiences. He gently rolled me on to my front, picked his way from my neck to my buttocks. Every. Square. Millimetre. He grasped vertebrae hard between his lips, tugging and twisting the skin. Each one. A nip on my buttocks intensified the glow blossoming across my body. Down the back of my legs – a giggle as he found that spot behind my knee – and a stream of succulence over my calves, heels and ankles. He turned my foot to take each toe in this mouth, his tongue enclosing each as if sampling a delicacy. All the time his hands had smoothed and caressed my skin close to his mouth, thumbs sometimes digging in firmly around joints or into muscles. Now he pulled each toe lightly as if extending each joint to the point of separation.
“Roll over.” he commanded softly.
I suppose I expected him to work up my legs to my pussy. It was, in fact, exhilarating that he did not. I knew he would get there in the end but in the meantime the anticipation lingered in me, mingling and percolating through me with the blush and flush of his attentions.
He came up to me, kissed my forehead, my nose, lips, chin; small pecks which lightly pulled at my skin leaving small glowing spots wherever he went. He pulled my arms, kissing shoulder, elbow, wrist, taking fingers into his mouth to suck them hard, pulling, as he had done with my toes. The result was my arms feeling light, as if they flowed rather than moved. My fingers felt dexterous and agile, yet languid. It was a beautiful sensation. His hands continued to stretch my arms, wrist and fingers long after his mouth had left for my breasts and nipples, only leaving their perfected work once he reached my hips and waist.
I felt his breath, his cheek brush my pussy. I felt a delicate kiss on the lips I had exposed so gleefully with a shift of my thighs. I felt his hands slide under my buttocks to raise me to him, but his kisses moved on, plucking at the skin on my thighs at the very edge of my eager lips. Hands glossed over my thighs, calves and ankles, his mouth not far behind. By now my whole body was radiant, glimmering, I was sure, from the invigorating kisses on my skin.
I felt him move, a smooth adjustment as he began his work up my other leg, raising it to elicit a shivering sigh from me as he kissed behind my knee. This time, as he plucked his way up my thigh, I felt a change in his progress. Whereas his kisses and nibbles had been indolent before, now they were purposeful, firm, deliberate. His mouth advanced up my thigh, his hands pushing my knees apart as he demanded more of my skin. When he could go no further he paused, hovering over my pussy, his mouth grazing the light down hair I kept trim there. He breathed a velvet, feathery waft of hot air on my lips. I felt my breath catch – a thrill of anticipation – and then the most delicate touch of his tongue tip, the lightest, almost imperceptible inquiry on my pussy lips divide. I sobbed. Seriously! It wasn’t a groan or moan. It was something more anguished, sharper, pleading.
His tongue, pliable in its probing, touched me again, moving thinly between my lips, pressuring here, sliding there as if looking for a weakness in my defences. I felt myself peel open, my lips puffing and swelling to welcome him in to explore me, greeting the chill of his fleshy tip as it flicked up toward my clit. He circled it, withdrew and recommenced his long succulent quest again, from the lowest point, lips tugging at mine, at the smooth slick folds, luxuriating, as was I, in what he found. I felt the long deep probe into me, the circling motion as he savoured me. I felt his lips expand to cover me, to seal in the hot breath he exhaled. I felt the drag of his tongue tip as he relished the short, luscious journey back to my clit, circling it, flicking it and, finally, seizing it between his lips and tugging it tenderly away before releasing it.
I was writhing gently to his touch by now. My hips rose and fell on the bed in time to his movements. My hands, still light as gossamer after his massage, rippled down to his head to hold him there.
“Don’t stop!” I murmured. “Don’t stop…”
It was delectable. The rasp and jab, the tickle and flicker, the long, slow sweeps and deep, delving dives, the roll and fold of his tongue. There was no hurry; just a complete absorption, an adoration and desire by him to please me, to pleasure me to the exclusion of all else. He felt me shake and tremble, slowed down his movements, making them more sensual, less sexual and so, although delaying my orgasm, he intensified it when it did come. And he engineered that, too: responding to intensity in my movements, he intensified his by tugging more passionately on my clit, stroking more sultry. His tongue worked its wanton ways, sealed in by his mouth enveloping my mons. And he held me there as he felt my build-up, my crescendo and crash, refusing to break the seal, to cease his tongue’s efforts as I thrashed and bucked below him.
“Drip Dry. It’s time for Drip Dry” I wish I had thought of saying it then!
I awoke first. A dull dawn glowered through the curtains. He was asleep, but I never sleep well in a strange bed. There were times when I would have left after a one night stand. You know: we had fun, we fucked. Goodbye.
I thought about it that morning, too. And I don’t know why I didn’t get up and go. I was tired in a satisfied, fulfilled way, but to have left would have been, I don’t know…incomplete. Part of me thought about my sort of boyfriend but, strangely, I did not feel guilty. The opposite, in fact. I felt invigorated in my self justification: it was fun, it felt right and I did not regret it.
One. Little. Bit.
And if I left, I thought, this silly English boy might think I did regret it, that I didn’t care.
He stirred, rolled onto his back. I slid a hand under the covers, over his thigh and found him, flaccid and useless in my hands. I wriggled under the covers myself brought my mouth to him, subsumed him, sucked gently, conflating my cheeks to feel his length in my mouth. I cupped his balls, massaging them gently in my hand as I slid my lips up and down his length.
A spark. A twitch. A groan. The first signs of awakening, the kindling. A hand resting on my head, stroking. I felt again the swollen fattening and expansion, the steady elevation from repose to intensity, the appearance of the veins running in gleaming glory up to the soft-hard purpling head.
“Morning!” I purred – well, I like to think I did! “I don’t know what setting this is, but I think you should try a top loader…”
And I moved over him, sat astride him and took him into me once more, moving my clit against his pubic bone as I relished his filling me again.
“Top loaders have a central shaft which rotates …” I twisted on him from side to side “…make a lot of noise with all the sloshing…” I slid up and down him, clenched him, heard another moan … “see what I mean about the noise? But I like the results: I always feel top loading does a better job.”
I could feel him start to buck underneath me so clenched him in time to his thrusts.
“There are not so many fancy settings…” I gasped “…only full load and half load…” I was rocking on him now, forward and back, forward and back “…and an Off button; I don’t think we’ll use that, will we?” He shook his head, let out a strangled wail.
“…and it makes a terrible racket when emptying…”