My Newly Gay Friend has invited myself and Uncannily Similar out for a drink.
This is in itself not a problem. But Newly Gay is bringing his new boyfriend for us to meet. In a bar two hundreds yards away from our place of employ, where Newly Gay’s wife works. With us. And it’s a bar she often frequents.
This too is not a great problem – she’s aware of the potential awkwardness so is staying away that night. Which was awkward in itself. But. It’s just that the whole thing is odd.
If he’d got a new girlfriend it would be just as strange – who parades their new partner in front of their mates for God’s sake?
The whole thing’s just a bit weird and I accidentally get a bit drunk.
After several hours of teeth-grinding and plastered-on smiles I am outside having a cigarette with Newly Gay.
NGF: So. What do you think of him then?
Me: Oh I don’t know, I can never really tell with people. [An outright lie by the way] I didn’t know he was in the Forces. He must get some grief.
NGF: Oh God no. It’s fucking rife with it. Can you imagine a gay man NOT wanting to be a soldier? It’s fucking ideal. I’m amazed there are any straight guys there. It’s a bit of a refuge for closet cases to be honest.
I’ve no idea how Newly Gay has amassed such encyclopedic knowledge of ‘gayness’ or whatever after only a few months of signing-up to it but I suppose he is a quick learner.
Me: Right then. Is he back in the country long?
NGF: [Joking. I assume] No thank God! I can’t wait until he fucks off back to Afghanistan so I can get up to my ears in cock again!
I laugh at this and we both return inside.
Gay Boyfriend is gazing at us with curiosity as we sit back down.
GB: Sooo, what were you two boys talking about out there then?
Me: Nothing really. Just catching up.
GB: Come on. You can do better than that.
Me: Really. Just having a chat.
I’m getting a bit irked at this point.
GB: Can’t you share it? A little secret is it?
I don’t really know why he’s annoying me. He’s over-familiar, doesn’t know me but is talking to me as though he does and has a slight arrogance that is actually uncommon to those serving in the Armed Forces. And I’m a bit drunk. I decide to diffuse the situation in a light-hearted way.
What I’ll do, I think to myself, is tell him exactly what Newly Gay just said and it'll be considered so outrageous that everyone will laugh and it’ll really break the ice. I’m a genius at this stuff. This is going to be hilarious. I'm a funny fucker, me.
Me: Actually he was saying he can’t wait until you FUCK OFF back to Afghanistan so he can get UP TO HIS EARS IN COCK AGAIN!
As in bad sitcoms the sound-system of the bar becomes silent a split-second before I say these words. Instead of the expected chorus of laughter, flies stop in mid-air. Everyone starts fiddling with their mobile phones and no-one looks anyone in the eye, although I can feel those of Newly-Gay burning into the side of my face.
I may have misjudged this, I think to myself.
Never mind. I’ll soon sort this out. I can turn this around.
Me: Anyway. Do you know you look exactly like Andy Bell out of Erasure?
A tumbleweed blows by.
The following Monday morning.
Blonde Colleague: So? How’d the ‘double date’ go?
Me: Could have been better.