(Age: 16 years.)
What do you do a lot?
I’m very occupied with myself, developing myself and so on. Right now I’m busy at school, studying to be a waiter. That’s what I want to be. I also make sketches, about repression and that sort of thing; I spend a lot of time on that, too.
You said first that you were occupied with yourself, developing yourself. Can you say more about that?
Well, getting along in my society in my own way, thus not just as everyone else does it but in my own way. I’m still trying to do that. For example, my parents think very differently than I do, and I try to free myself of their thinking and build up my own thoughts. So, not just accept what people say but develop myself.
Why do you want to do that?
Because I just don’t agree with my parents now, the things they say. And often not with most other people, either. So I want to develop my own thoughts – I think that’s important for me. At home I often have completely different ideas from my parents. If they say I should try going with a girl once in a while I tell them I just don’t want to, because I would tie that girl into my life and I would no longer be free.Theywould like that, but not me. So I just have to go my own way.
The second thing you were occupied with was school?
Yes. I’m in the Horeca division. It’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed going to school. in MAVO I was held back twice, and twice in the LTS, too. [In the Netherlands, schooling is stratified according to ability and educational objectives: adolescents going on to university attend ‘gymnasium’ or ‘HAVO’; ‘MAVO’ provides general non-university-preparation and ‘LTS’ gives practical education in mechanics, welding, etc. – a ‘trade-school’ education in effect. Ed.]
Did you choose that school yourself?
Yes, I did. I always wanted to be a waiter; I’ve always thought that was a good job. Contact with people, yes, I think it’s nice to be a waiter. My parents first made me go to MAVO, and I was two years in the first form; then I wen to LTS, and I was two years in second form, and finally I went to this school, which suits me fine.
Have you already been able to work as a waiter?
No. They have tried to find work for me – now and then I must have a period of probation.
Those are the two most important preoccupations of yours?
Yes they are. And I’m occupied with painting and sketching, and trying to sort out my own thoughts.
What do you enjoy a lot?
Just put down living my own life. I can’t do that at home, but a Barend’s I really can, I get a chance to develop my own thoughts. Also sketching; I get a lot of enjoyment out of that; it’s lots of fun to do. And I’m learning a lot about it. Barend often helps me; if I’ve just made a sketch he’ll tell me what isn’t good. Because Barend can also sketch well. And then you improve it. And, yes, in my spare time I sometimes go out in the country, to enjoy nature. I often do that all alone. I planned to buy a camera and take nature photos and try to develop them myself. I’m taking lessons at school in darkroom technique. I live in the city, houses all around you, so recently I’ve been going a lot into the out-of-doors, because I think it’s very lovely there. Someday I hope to have a little house in the country. Yes, try to live completely free from this society.
What do you mean by free?
Well, you can never really be free from society, because you still have to work in order to stay alive. But I mean you don’t just have to let society blow you this way and that; you can express your own feelings and not do like everybody else, buy a lot of stuff. You can live simply. Yes, a waiter, that’s also living simply, it’s not as if you can buy everything you see.
What do you really dislike?
Over-made-up girls that are always on the street; for me that’s nothing, I find it unsympathetic. I dislike it. At the restaurant school there are thirteen girls and two boys in my class – they are absolutely awful to look at – thick make-up, which isn’t necessary. And they’re so serious in class, and if you say anything about it they always have a come-back: they always know better.
Are there other things you really dislike?
When grown-ups talk with each other and I don’t agree with them. I have to keep quiet, because I’m not like adults, I’m young. That really gets to me, that I can’t say what I think. Those grownups are always right. I must be able to say what I think. I don’t care that I can’t talk with grown-ups, but if they’re going to say that boys have got to get married later and go to work so they can take care of their families, then I say, ‘Well, that’s not necessary at all, because who says we’re going to get married?’ But I have to keep quiet, because they know better. You’ve got to get married later, otherwise you’re not healthy, they say. Well, I don’t like that. You can almost never say what you think. Grown-ups go to the polls, to vote in the government elections, butwecan’t do that; we have to wait until we’re eighteen; then they think we’re adult enough to vote. All right, youcansay what you think – if it’s something they’d agree with!
What do you think a lot about?
Well, that’s difficult. I think a lot about what’s going to happen, the future.
Do you worry about that, or not?
Worry, no, but I think a lot about what it’s going to be like later, how I’ll be living.
Who do you get along well with?
That’s an easy question. With Barend. And with almost nobody else. I don’t get along so well with my parents, because they’re always right. I think it’s just wonderful that I can visit Barend, and so we get on just fine. Because he thinks somewhat along the same lines I do. If I’d never met Barend my whole life would have been different: I’d probably be working in a factory or something. I’ve learned so much from Barend, but never by ‘you must accept this from me’ – he’s never done that. Hehastold me what society thinks about things, and if I don’t agree then I can always say so. But most of the things he says I agree with. He has not influenced me, but he has helped me to think. You can’t develop your own thoughts as a child if your parents say, ‘This is good and that is good, so just accept it’. If you hear both sides then you can decide which side is the right one. You discover for yourself what’s right and what’s wrong.
Are there other people you can get along well with?
Yes, a friend of Barend whom I see here now and then – I can get along good with him. And neighborhood friends I go around with sometimes.
Who do you not like to be with?
There are lots. My parents, teachers at school – they always know better. But at this new school it’s completely different: they treat you as though you were an independent person. So I can decide for myself at school; for example if I’m sick I don’t have to bring a letter from my parents. I think that’s fine, because if you want to play hookey for a day you write your own letter, but it’ll catch up with you, like at exam times. Yes, and with my parents I don’t get along so good, but sometimes I do. They have completely different ideas from me. But I’m not home much during the week. I get on okay with my little brother, but not with my older brother. He always gets his own way and he always knows everything better than you, an unsympathetic person. If he has to take charge at home because my parents have gone out, then he says to my little brothers, ‘Bring me a beer from the shed, roll me a cigarette, pick up my shoes,’ that sort of thing. He also had an affair with Barend, and that was lousy. And whenever he brings a friend home, or his girl, I get a lot of lip out of him; he struts about in the room thinking ‘I’m the biggest man in the house’. He does that a lot, but I don’t take much notice. But one time I got so mad I got in a fight with him – I didn’t know what I was doing. Then he had a bloody nose and a tooth through his lip – and that really shocked me.
Are there still things of importance which I have forgotten to ask which should be written down?
Yes, there should be lawsforchildren, that change everything, so children will be able to say what they think about society. To me that’sveryimportant. That children don’t just have to do things for other people: do the shopping, do the dishes, and if you’re not so good in school then you get punished, and if you don’t do this and don’t to that, then you’re in trouble, too. All of this has got to be stopped. Laws have to be passed so children themselves can decide about themselves.
You also make love with Barend?
Some people call that sex, or sexual contact. What do you call it?
Well, chiefly ‘sex’. But it’s showing your feelings, that you really like him, and it doesn’t have to be just sex.
What do you think are the nice sides of sex with Barend, which you wouldn’t want to do without?
I think it’s great doing these things with Barend, because I’m very fond of him, and, for me, it feels so nice, too. There just aren’t any bad sides. I think it’s just wonderful to do.
You say there aren’t any unpleasant sides to it?
No. But my parents are always pestering me with, ‘What are you alwaysdoingwith Barend?’ That’s annoying. And back when I was in LTS some boys saw me with Barend and shouted, ‘Look, two homos!’ That was really annoying, but in the long run I had no more trouble.
And your father and mother trouble you about it?
Yes, they’ve often pestered me with, ‘What are you up to with Barend? Is it really responsible?’ Usually I just say a few words, like I enjoy going there. When I come home in the evening it is always, ‘What did you do today with Barend?’ So I say I have sketched. That is the unpleasant side of my relationship with Barend, that all these people pester you, but the sex is not unpleasant, just the trouble people make, at school, aunts, uncles – ‘What is that boy doing over there?’ – that sort of thing goes all through the family. I couldn’t care less. It used to annoy me, but now I don’t let it. I used to worry about it a lot, and one evening I even thought, ‘I’m going to break off my friendship with Barend’, but I finally chose for Barend.
Do you sometimes have sex with other people, other boys, girls, or grown-ups?
How long have you known Barend?
Four years from last summer?
Do you remember how you met him?
My little brother and I had gone swimming in the pond. He was nine then, and he already smoked, and so did I. Then Barend came riding by in a Duck (Dutch nick-name for the low-price Citroen 2-CV motor car. Ed.) and stopped in the parking lot. I told my brother, ‘Ask that man for a cigarette – he smokes.’ So my brother went up to him and said, ‘Do you have the time, Mister?’ ‘Five-thirty.’ ‘And would you maybe give me a cigarette?’ Barend said, ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m fourteen,’ said my little brother. Well, after a lot of talk my brother got a cigarette, and me, too, and then we wen walking with him. No, my brotherdidn’tget a cigarette but I did, because I was older. So we walked with him, and then we sat with him beside the water and talked. He said he had a boat and we asked him if sometimes we could go on little trips with him. So then we did go with him, with my parents, too. My father thought Barend was real nice, quite the gentleman and so on. And after that I didn’t see Barend for a half year.
How did you happen to see him again, after a half-year?
Well, it was a vacation and I had nothing to do, and one day I said to my friend, ‘Hey, let’s go somewhere on our bikes – I know about this boat and we can make a little trip.’ So we got there but Barend wasn’t around. His boat was, though. Then I asked the bartender in the cafe if he knew his address. He didn’t nor did he know his telephone number. So we looked in the telephone book but in the end we had to give it up. A few days later I bicycled there again, with another friend, and this time I met Barend. He was cleaning up his boat, and we helped him, but my friend hat to go home, to eat, but his bike tire had gone flat on the way, so Barend put the bike in his car and we drove to his home. After that I came more and more often to the boat, and after I’d done that a few times Barend started coming by my home to pick me up. After that he dropped in quite often, sometimes even ate with us. So I have been with him from then on.
Can you remember when you first had sex with Barend?
Yes, the very first time I wasn’t alone. I think my brother was along.
Your younger brother?
No, my older brother; I don’t let my younger brother come with me. Well, the three of us were lying here on the bed, and Barend had a sex book on the table. Well, my brother and I started to read from it, and I started to play with myself a little, that sort of thing. From then on we had sex with each other.
How long had you known each other then?
A month or two, or three – after I met him again after that half-year.
You say you and your brother were reading a sex book, and then?
Well, I think Barend began to jerk off a little, and then my brother, too.
Barend to himself?
At first I didn’t dare, but later on it just happened, and from then on we do it to each other. That first time Barend did do it do my brother but not to me. Because I was a little embarrassed, but my brother wasn’t. For two years he had sex with Barend, too.
When you have sex together now, who begins it?
Well, usually I come by in the evening and then we come here and lie down on the bed, make love a little, and it just happens. Who starts it? Both of us a little, I suppose.
When you compare that first time with now, is there a difference?
Yes, a huge difference. It goes so much easier now, and it feels so much more wonderful than at first. Because then you just didn’t dare, you felt so embarrassed, your parents had always told me how terrible it was and so on. So I really thought, ‘Oh, what would my parents say about this?’ Now that just doesn’t happen. Even if my parentsdidknow, that wouldn’t happen.
It’s also nicer now than before?
Yes, much nicer, because before I did it in a lot of tension, not able to let it flow from out of myself, so I was always tense about what they would say at home.
How did that tension go away?
Over a period of time. Barend came home with me quite a bit. He cares a lot about me, and so it just slowly disappeared. A year or so ago I still had it sometimes, but now never. I don’t care if my father and mother know about it.
They don’t know about it, right?
They don’t know about it but they suspect it. My mother talks about it frequently and I just say, ‘I care a lot about Barend and Barend cares a lot about me,’ and then she doesn’t go into it any farther.
What do you think your father and mother would think if they knew you had sex with Barend?
Well, my father and mother think it’s fine that I have a home at Barend’s and go there a lot. They think that’s fine. So I think that if they got to know about it they wouldn’t think it was so terrible. Yes, because they think it’s wonderful that I have a relationship with Barend.
But you have no need to tell them about it?
No, that would just make for more tension in the house. If I told them they would go to Barend.
So they might think it wasn’t good?
There would be tension again in the house: ‘You must think about the future, marry, have children.*That’s the way my parents think – real old-fashioned. Because I have no need to get married; I’m not going to work my whole life for children. Because later I just want to live free, by myself.
Do some people know you have sex with Barend?
Yes, many, all the friends of Barend and the people he knows at work, they all know.
And friends of your own age, they know about it?
No, except those that come here sometimes.
What do you think your friends who don’t know would say if they learned you had sex with Barend?
Oh, they’d call you a homo or something. But I don’t care, because I know they do it too, with others. I’d just let them gossip. If I’m lying on the naturist beach and those friends came along and saw me, that would circulate through the whole neighborhood. But fortunately my father is also a supporter of naturist beaches and such. My mother doesn’t want to, but otherwise my father would go there, too. So if I go sit on a naturist beach my father would think it’s fine.
Have you sometimes been called a homo because you associate with Barend?
Yes, in the neighborhood, especially in the beginning: if you go with a homo that makes you a homo. After a while that got sort of annoying: ‘Homo, homo, homo, homo.’ Well, one by one I got those boys aside and told them, ‘Now you just try it once,’ because they were mostly little boys of ten or so – I’m pretty much the oldest, except for the real big ones, 21 or so and not yet married, they come into the neighborhood once in a while. But, well, they kept on doing it, and then I gave them a real dressing down and from then on they’ve stopped.
It’s a good thing the older boys didn’t make trouble for you.
There’s a gang, about twenty of them, that park their motor-cycles by us in the little square. I don’t have anything to do with those people, but they don’t give me any trouble, either. But if I got into a fight in the neighborhood I’d just have to call on them and I’d get help. I don’t belong with those people, not at all. I don’t concern myself with them. I give them a light when they want, walk past them, don’t talk with them. I think they are terrible people, skin-heads, tearing around all the roads. That’s absolutely nothing for me.
What do you yourself think about your having sex with Barend?
Yeah, I find it just very nice to have it with Barend. Oh, sure, before I started doing it with Barend I always thought it would be dirty – that’s what my parents always said – you were unhealthy, you were sick, you had to look out for such people. Well, all those things are untrue, aren’t they? No, I think it’s just plain wonderful to do these things with Barend. That’s what I think.