David Robbins: The adventures of a pipe-smoking, girl-shy teenager
It is clear to me now, at a distance of some 30 years, that I hadn't much going for me as a teenager. I was large and unprepossessing. I smoked a pipe, of all things. About the only place I fitted in was the front row of a rugby scrum. (I forewent the pipe during matches.)
Girls lived on a separate planet, as far as I could see; I was far too shy to attempt a landing, or even a tentative orbit.
So I did the only thing I could: I pretended not to care. I hid behind humour. I affected a preference for the life of the mind. Who needed girls, when you had books?