Monday, May 25, 2015
It’ll be fine, I tell myself. Nothing ‘weird’ is going to happen.
Not having left my house in several days I’m rattled by the prospect of a ‘big night out’ but feel I’m coping. Admittedly the fact that the restaurant we begin the evening in is a converted nineteenth-century railway carriage is a bit odd.
This is not helped by the fact that the carriage rests adjacent to one of the city’s metro lines and whenever I go outside to smoke a cigarette and hear a metro train pass-by I briefly panic, thinking the completely-stationary restaurant is leaving town without me.
Smiley Lady: Hi, can you help me and my friends settle an argument?
We’ve retired to the outside drinking area of a nearby bar. My half-dozen all-male companions are at one side, a similar-sized group of women at the other, one of whom detaches herself to address us – choosing me as our spokesperson. She’s wearing a nice dress and a friendly smile.
Me: Yeah, of course.
Smiley Lady: Well, we were wondering – by the way actually, are you single?
Me: Well actually yes I am.
SL: Yeah we thought so. So anyway –
Me: Wait, what?
SL: We were wondering, when you’re with a woman – you know, like 'that' – do you all prefer anal or just the usual way?
Time stands still for a while. The traffic noise stops, the band inside falls silent.
Me: Erm. What? I mean…what?
SL: You know. Up the bum or in the fanny?
Me: Right. Yes. Ok. That’s what I thought you meant.
I look at my companions for support, all of whom have developed an intense interest in their shoes, watches and/or mobile phones. This one’s up to me. It’s a relief to be honest – most of them are close family and I don’t really want the feedback on this subject.
Me: Well, I, er, I’d have to say I was a vagina man.
There are general sounds of agreement.
SL: [smiling triumphantly] I KNEW it!
She goes back to her friends. There is much vigorous nodding of heads.
The conversation has not really gone as I had first imagined. I glance at my companions whilst rubbing the back of my head. Silence reigns.
Me: Well. Ok. Right. So. Whose round is it?
I briefly consider making a joke about a new superhero named Vagina Man but decide against it.
Some time passes. As one we have decided to move from beer to spirits. No reason.
Smiley Lady approaches once again.
Smiley Lady: I just wanted you all to know we were just having a conversation about how, if we had to re-populate the species, which one of you we would choose…
There is a murmuring of sudden interest.
SL: Oh but I’m not going to tell you!
She turns to leave, not before looking me in the eye, placing a conciliatory hand on my shoulder, almost-imperceptibly shaking her head and smiling sympathetically.
She and her friends leave.
My Brother: Fancy another drink, mate?
Me: Go on then.