Ex-public school pupil reveals steamy affair with Spanish teacher

In an astonishing book, this ex-public school pupil reveals the steamy affair he had with his 30-something Spanish teacher when he was just 17 – but was this every schoolboy’s fantasy or a disturbing abuse of power?

On the last day of a trip to Spain with my A-level Spanish teacher, Miss P, we go to lunch with friends of hers at their converted olive mill, where the vineyards stretch into the distance.

They give us a wonderful meal, a feast of gazpacho, paella and tortilla, jamon and manchego, washed down with Priorat wine.

Our host Pablo tells jokes, speed-talking with no punctuation, and Miss P throws back her head in delight as she laughs. She looks tanned and gorgeous.

Pablo’s wife Sofia seems less pleased. A robust woman with strong bones and long black hair, she is wincing behind her massive sunglasses at every burst of laughter. As we prepare to leave, Sofia pulls me into a long hug and hisses: ‘Eres demasiado joven.’

I’m not certain what that means. Miss P knows something was said. ‘It looked like she was chewing your ear,’ she laughs as we walk back to the car.

‘To be honest, it didn’t sound that friendly,’ I admit, and repeat the phrase.

‘The spiky cow,’ my teacher spits, kicks the gravel and stares back at the house, hands on her hips, eyes narrow, chin jutting forward. ‘Eres demasiado joven means, ‘You’re too . . . young’.’

It’s the year’s most startling book – an ex-public school pupil’s confession of how he had an affair with his beautiful 30-something Spanish teacher when he was just 17 (file image)

Too young. I’m 17 and Miss P is more than twice my age. Yes, I’m too young, so young that I don’t fully understand how wrong this is. ‘Hey, come on, let’s not spoil our last day,’ I say.

‘Greasy fat bitch. She’s jealous of me, always has been.’

I take her hand, walk her away from the house and garden and, for a moment, we just stand there, bare arms touching.

I feel the tension ease, and Miss P takes my other hand, places them both on her waist, then reaches her arms around my neck, and tiptoes to kiss me full on the mouth, her lips parting, tongue finding mine.

‘Thank you for a lovely holiday,’ she whispers, her heels returning to earth. ‘Beautiful boy.’

‘Not too young?’ I ask, pulling her closer.

She gasps, looks down. ‘Mmm, definitely not,’ she murmurs, feeling the hard pulse in my shorts. She presses against me, rubs up and down. ‘Wish I could do something about that.’

Sofia might have guessed, but back home in England, at the exclusive private school where I am a sixth-form pupil and Miss P is on the staff, no one has any idea about us.

Neither have my parents — they think this is a study trip, helping me to get back on track with my application to Oxford University after the emotional turmoil of their divorce.

But the reality is we have been locked in a secret affair for five months, since March 1992.

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I’m a recent pupil at the sixth form of what my mother insists on calling a ‘top public school’. I’m lodging with pals of my parents who live near the school, but I’m still 150 miles from my home and all my old friends. When I first arrive, I concentrate on trying to fit in, hanging out with a boy called Nick and his mates. Nick’s parents live nearby and have an ‘open-house’ policy.

Nick’s brother Jules is in the year above — he is, by common consent, the best-looking guy in the school, and the girls he brings back are breath-sappingly gorgeous.

When Jules ushers the girls off to his room, the rest of us go up to the roof. We can see the sports pitches from here; striped tops and pink legs running around with balls and sticks. With our backs against the chimney stacks we laugh and smoke pot in our uniforms.

We talk about which of the sixth-form girls we’d like to get off with. Nick throws another name into the mix: Miss P.

There are gasps: ‘How old do you reckon she is, 35?’ But after a minute’s stoned contemplation, there is agreement: ‘Miss P’s well fit. I’d do her. I mean, you just would, wouldn’t you?’

I start signing up for extra study sessions with Miss P. She’s the best teacher by miles and doesn’t talk down to you, just always really friendly.

One soggy Tuesday in November, I get caught in the rain and have to run the long way around the chapel, avoiding the muddy pitches. I’m soaked when I bundle through the classroom door. The room seems empty but then I hear a voice.

Miss P is on all fours behind her desk. ‘Don’t laugh,’ she says, pulling at the tangled strands of her copper-coloured hair which are caught in a handle. I crouch down to help her and I’m immediately aware of my proximity to her body.

As she frees herself, we stand up. Her grey woollen dress hugs her slim body. She’s a few inches shorter than me and beautiful, like a woman from a perfume advert, with deep green eyes and the sort of face men cup and tilt upwards to kiss.

‘Miss, can I give you. . .?’ My hands are trembling.

‘Yes? What?’

Am I imagining it or are her lips parting?

‘Can I give you. . . a Jelly Bean?’

I bottle it.

A couple of months later, I sign up for a revue. The opening number is a dance to La Bamba, choreographed by Miss P.

I’m the last to turn up to the first rehearsal. Everyone else has already paired off into dancing couples. ‘I can’t do this on my own,’ Miss P announces, and skips over to me with her hands outstretched. ‘I need a partner.’

I try to be cool, but I can’t stop grinning. Most of the boys are looking at me. ‘Loser!’ someone coughs.

I get to dance with the only fully grown woman in the room, and the most beautiful, and I’m a loser?

I throw them a shrug, as my dance partner takes my hands and places them on her hips.

Seventeen: A Coming Of Age Story by Joe Gibson is published on Thursday (file image)

Over the next few weeks, I savour every dance. Every time I touch her waist, every time she touches mine. And outside lessons, sometimes in a nearby bar where I drink lemonade because I’m only 17, she gets to hear all my heartaches.

My girlfriend back home has dumped me. My mum has had cancer, though she’s recovering now. Dad has walked out. Christmas was dire.

Miss P listens, and squeezes my hand. She tells me to call her Ali.

After the final performance of the revue, before the end of the spring term, I help her clear up and take the boxes of costumes back to her apartment. She pours two glasses of wine and comes close to hand me one. I love that I’m taller by a head. It makes me feel manly.

She wags a finger at me. ‘I know what rumours can do in a school,’ she says. ‘Everything I say now will be distorted and reported back to your friends. What might seem like harmless fun to you will backfire and make my life a misery.’

‘Miss, I’m not like that,’ I promise. ‘I wouldn’t say anything.’

She must believe me, because when she drops me back at the house where I’m living with family friends, she kisses me goodnight.

After the last Spanish lesson before the Easter holidays, I have to talk to her. She’s barely looked at me for days. I go back into the classroom, angry with myself for being 17 instead of 35 like Miss P and angry with myself for not having the guts to tell her how I think I really feel.

‘Miss, I need to talk to you. I’m confused.’

She opens her mouth but says nothing and doesn’t move. I’ve never felt so awkward. ‘I’m confused, too,’ she breathes at last.

We stare at each other even harder. Somewhere inside my head, there’s a rush of air, noise, like an orchestra tuning up.

‘We can’t talk here,’ she whispers. ‘It’s too dangerous, with everyone around. Come to my flat, Thursday at 1pm. Don’t be late. I’ll leave the door on the latch. Just come in.’

I don’t think I can turn up empty-handed, so on Thursday I bring a bag of Mini Eggs and a bunch of daffodils. The door to her apartment clicks open and I’m inside. On the stereo, Ella Fitzgerald is playing. Miss P is in the kitchen, in a dress that is see‑through against the light.

She pours me a glass of wine and I take two long swallows, like it’s beer. ‘Have a strawberry,’ she says and, taking one from a bowl, places it slowly against my lips so that I have to open and bite. She takes one herself and, as she slips it into her mouth, puts her hand behind my head, stroking my neck, bringing our heads closer.

Too late to stop myself, I lunge in for a kiss. She stifles a cry and I pull back, panicking, waiting to be slapped.

‘You could have let me finish eating,’ she says. We slide on to the sofa and kissing becomes much more . . . but not full sex. Not quite.

I don’t see her again until the summer term but, within hours, on my first night back at my lodgings, the phone rings. It’s her voice: ‘Can you come over? How long will you be?’

I dash upstairs and wash. The couple who own the house are Ned and Celia, friends of my parents. I call out the first lie I can think of: ‘Just going out to see Nick, friend from school, might stay over, bye!’

Fifteen minutes later, sweating and breathless from running, I’m at her door. She grabs my hand and pulls me in, kicking the door shut behind me, and, before I can say a word or take off my jacket, she’s kissing me.

We stand in the hallway for ages, just snogging. Once or twice she holds my head and looks at me intently, then kisses me again. She takes me to her bedroom and undresses me. I undress her. And there we are, naked.

I take her hand, walk her away from the house and garden and, for a moment, we just stand there, bare arms touching (stock picture)

I’m probably salivating like a cartoon dog, but I can’t believe she’s in front of me. I say the first thing that comes into my head: ‘You’re completely naked and your skin’s all olivey and milky.’

She pulls us towards the bed, throws aside the duvet and we slide in. And we stay there until long after the sun comes up.

When at last we venture out of the bedroom, it’s already after midday.

We fix up a strange feast and transfer the duvet to the sofa. We don’t bother dressing. Miss P doesn’t open the big shutters, which I find exciting, like we’re fugitives.

We listen to music, talk about books, eat and drink and have sex. Then, as the sky darkens, we return to the bedroom. We do exactly the same all weekend, and I’m in heaven.

By the third morning, I know all about her family; where she went to school and what she did at university; that she had a serious, long-term relationship when she was in her 20s, but it ended badly; how she fell in love with Spain.

I tell her mainly about my dreams and ambitions to be a singer or an actor, and that I want to go sailing when I’ve finished school, perhaps even across the Atlantic.

When I finally leave, we hold each other by the front door. Everything has changed again, but it feels good. ‘See you at school,’ I grin.

Though I don’t have any lessons with her for the first three days, it’s exciting, watching her stand in the lunch queue, seeing what clothes she’s wearing each day and fantasising about what’s underneath.

I’m careful not to get too close or do anything to raise anyone’s suspicions. She’s good at it too, almost too good, because it feels like she’s hardly aware of me. But then she flashes a quick smile as we pass in a corridor, and I’m jelly again.

On Thursday, it’s double Spanish and, at the end of the lesson, she invites anyone who is feeling creative to sign up for her sketching classes. As I add my name to the list on her desk, she holds up a sheaf of paper to her face and whispers: ‘Come tonight.’

At first, in bed kissing and stroking her breasts, it’s like the last time. I use a condom — I’ve bought a bumper pack of 40. But as we snuggle on the sofa afterwards, she warns that I can’t stay the night: ‘We can’t risk you being seen in the morning. Some of the teachers use this road as a cut-through. You could easily be spotted.’

Too young. I’m 17 and Miss P is more than twice my age. Yes, I’m too young, so young that I don’t fully understand how wrong this is (file image)

I don’t know what else I was expecting, but I’m hurt and dejected. I grab my clothes, dress in the bathroom and leave.

The last lesson of the week is Spanish. Miss P is wearing her expressionless statue face. I know I was childish to strop out, but I’d waited for days to be with her.

She goes around the class, handing out our homework books, and though her body is turned away from me she taps mine twice with a finger as she places it down.

Something tells me not to open it until I am alone. Inside, I find a quarter-size envelope with my initial, a single J, on the front. Inside, a little card: ‘Sorry. Come back tonight, for a proper night. XX’

Next morning, I’m first up. Unsure how to behave, I try to act like the romantic lead in a movie and bring her coffee in bed. She shakes her head. ‘I’m more of a tea girl in the morning,’ she says, and slides naked out of bed.

She slips her arms into a thin dressing gown but doesn’t tie it, letting it fall open. Then she drops to her knees in front of me. I’m still holding the tray. Later, she smiles and says: ‘You owe me one.’

But she spends the morning marking homework at the table, while I sit on the floor and check out her record collection. Crosby, Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell — I don’t know who most of these people are.

Bored, I wander over to the window. ‘Joe! Get back from the window. I can’t afford for you to be seen. How many times?’

READ MORE: Married school head, 40, who stripped off for ‘four hours’ of sexual activities with teacher colleague in his office escapes being struck off – because he works with challenging pupils 

Clearly, I’m in the way here. But tomorrow is a Bank Holiday and we make plans to meet at the railway station car park for a drive in the country, like real grown‑ups — somewhere no one will know us.

Next morning, though, I’m a wreck. Somehow I bumped into a bunch of schoolmates, heading for a Sunday pub when they should be revising for mock exams, and I joined them for a couple of illicit pints. After that . . . well, I stumbled back to my lodgings at 2am.

In the car park, Miss P is not happy. ‘What in God’s name happened to you? You reek of alcohol and cigarettes. Who were you with?’

My head thumping, I name a few mates, but she isn’t satisfied. ‘It wasn’t just boys, was it? Had fun did you? Lots of fun with Lottie and Lara and Katie and Becky and a few others?’ She hammers her fists on the steering wheel.

‘It was just a group of us, Miss,’ I plead.

‘Don’t. Call. Me. Miss.’ she snarls through gritted teeth. ‘Sorry, I’m sorry,’ I plead, knowing how pathetic I sound. ‘I didn’t do anything.’

‘Promise me you won’t do that again,’ she insists, and I nod solemnly, though I’m not sure what it is I am promising — anything, just to calm her down.

Her mood softens on the drive, to a village pub. ‘God, I haven’t been here for years,’ she says, and I wonder who brought her last time.

After sausage, chips and Pimm’s, she says she’s got somewhere else to show me, and leads me over a stile and across a meadow. She’s wearing one of her long skirts and a frilly, off-the-shoulder shirt.

On the far side of the grass, there’s a bank beside a stream. Thin, overhanging branches brush the ground surrounding our hiding place, camouflaging our kissing.

Still, we can’t help peering through the cascading fronds every time a twig snaps or a dog barks upstream.

I bet our lovemaking looks natural, sensual and professional, in slow motion. In reality, it’s a rushed, self-conscious, grass-stained grope. But who cares — I just had outdoor sex with Miss P while my mates are where? At home with their families, watching TV, not having sex with their teachers. Losers.

Joe Gibson is a pseudonym. Adapted from Seventeen: A Coming Of Age Story, by Joe Gibson, to be published by Gallery Books on Thursday at £16.99. © 2023 Joe Gibson. To order a copy for £15.29 go to mailshop.co.uk/books, or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £25. Promotional price valid until July 30, 2023.

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