16 December 2006

One night stand?

Another night in Le Duplex, with ugly photographs hanging off the bare walls and drop-dead gorgeous men who will be unable to keep their hands off each other by the end of the night, since we’re all crowded together in the smallest imaginable space. With J already at the bar, that means I must be late- really late- so I hurry over… eager to be introduced to the attractive couple he’s with, and then re-introduced to Z, who remembers me from our night of drunken debauchery, of course.

Taking off my coat and struggling in the direction of the cutest barman, I realise that everyone around me dresses black or grey: either the gay league issued an Edict without telling me or the city is mourning. Has Madonna been in a fatal accident, chasing paparazzi on her motorcycle through an underpass at high speed? Too much to hope for, I tell myself, pushing to the bar, conscious that my bright shirt makes it seem that a spotlight beams down on me, causing heads to turn in my direction… quick mental note to always wear white in a badly-lit bar.

Upon my return to the coven, the attractive couple departs- a little too hastily for my liking- although on balance this proves to be a favourable development, enabling J to quickly summarise what he has doing for the last several weeks. Suffice to say that there is little J hasn’t been doing, demonstrating to all of Paris how to put the ‘tramp’ back into ‘human trampoline.’

Our evening takes an unexpected turn when J reveals how, inundated with offers of casual sex on the internet and unable to supply demand, he has kindly directed a few of his gentlemen callers in the direction of Z. Now, what I had not yet fully appreciated was that Z, despite knowing the words to more musical numbers than I can name and despite his little-too-tight top with tightly-worked-up muscles underneath (in other words, Z looking and acting every bit the part of a seasoned gay gentleman) has in fact only just burst out of the closet… kicking a hole in the door, one imagines.

To an astonished audience, Z proceeded to share details of a busy week. Despite lack of experience, he performs admirably for a novice, juggling with the affections of no less than three gay gentlemen; one of whom might be referred to as a fuck buddy, one of whom-on his rowing team- might be referred to as great fuck potential, and one of whom might be referred to as… a big mistake.

For it seems Z-having chatted for an inconsiderable length of time on the internet, inevitably giving rise to unreasonable expectations on both sides- was invited to ‘hook up’ with a man who appeared to be a gentleman. Suffice to say that on arrival at the so-called-gentleman’s apartment, and discovering that he was older, fatter and uglier than he had admitted, having used a profile photograph that was not his own, Z still felt obliged to accept a little of his… ‘hospitality’. By all accounts, it was a fabulous apartment with an excellent selection of white wines and a dinner on offer, which might have tempted more than one unscrupulous caller inside... but Z is not that type, let me assure you.

Truth be told, one struggles to recall what gay society must be like for a novice- it must have been daunting for me at once… but I can hardly remember.

In any event, it seemed Z had not been provided with that handy little handbook that is given to all gay gentlemen upon coming out of the closet- you know, the one explaining where to draw the line. In short, he found himself naked in bed with a man who was not a gentleman, a man that he found unattractive…

At that stage J and myself had heard quite enough, thank you very much. We needed no details of how this heavily bearded man engaged in vigorous rimming, before opening and spilling poppers on a rather delicate appendage, which left this man howling in pain… but no details were spared, let me assure you. Honestly, all I wanted to know- apart from how long all of this took and what it finally took to make Z leave- was what in hell’s name possessed him?

From this topic- undoubtedly the low watermark of our conversation- we moved to the cheerier subject of J’s recent sex life, before stepping on to a little society gossip, discussing all that hadn’t been happening to commemorate World AIDS Day and other such affairs. One couldn’t help but notice that such animated conversation drew unwanted but welcome attention from many of those gathered around us; perhaps this was not surprising, since several of the other gay gentlemen seemed to have so little of interest to say that they spent a great deal of time checking their mobiles for messages. How dreary that must be, compared to a lively exchange of ideas with like-minded individuals, for indeed there was a great deal of genuine and light-hearted ribbing in our corner, pleasing to ourselves and exciting the admiration of all those around, proving that the gentle art of conversation is its own reward.

Later in the evening, we moved on to C.U.D. where our wit, sparkle and charm attracted no inconsiderable attention in the cloakroom queue. A gentleman introduced himself, and later in the evening he abandoned his own hand-held device and friends to spend a little time in our own lavish company, which is hardly remarkable because we seemed to be the only people in the bar who were not engaged in a non-monosyllabic conversation, daring to cast a little laughter out into the shadowy darkness.

At one point, J & Z reminisced about their last visit to this dubious gay venue- in the company of some visiting Americans, apparently, which led to the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol and a little topless dancing.

Let me assure you, gentle reader, that I most certainly do not approve of this behaviour, or engage in it myself, and yet I was a little bit worse for wear at this juncture, and I couldn’t help making a little mental note that Z was… ahem, quite well put-together.

With the gentleman from the queue openly flirting, I realised that- for this inevitably happens in gay society- my own general desirability to everyone around would increase tenfold, and so, with beer-goggles not yet firmly in place, my eyes started to explore the bar.

Even when no more than a night of light entertainment is required, one has a natural preference for something interesting, and prefers to set standards high as possible before lowering them. Certainly there was a great deal of choice on offer, considering that the bar's name means 'half-chewed', and yet it was all so predictably gay... with no bad dancing in sight.

It came to my attention that J & Z discussed the very topic of who was most desirable in the bar, with Z looking over to enquire- pointedly -what I was ‘out for’ that evening.

Well, I thought to myself, you little minx! Knowing full well that we share the same intimate social circle, where we are inevitably going to see one another on a regular basis, there he was clearly suggesting something… prepared to introduce awkwardness, embarrassment and avoidance to our mutual relations, all for the sake of a little casual sex.

What can I say, gentle reader: those who flirt with complications are almost as interesting as those who play dangerous games. Needless to say, I left Z guessing what my own intentions were, and continued to flirt nonchalantly with gentleman from the queue, knocking back alcohol at an alarming rate.

So it was that when Z made his next move- remarking that since we didn’t know each other intimately, he had no idea what my ‘type’ was- I was taken aback. It was a remark so blatantly and obviously a chat-up that I almost responded to it by blurting out the truth.

From experience, I find it best not to confess my predilection for short, stocky, hairy gay gentlemen (or as my friends refer to them, the hobbit variety) because for some reason those who are vertically challenged are never quite content with this state of affairs, failing to appreciate that their (lack of) stature is attractive to others.

Therefore I shrugged in response to Z, instead of pointing out that he ticked all of the relevant criteria. Not only was he perfectly formed for a homosexual hobbit, his confession in Le Duplex had demonstrated other favouring characteristics: no sense of shame, a willingness to embarrass himself in public, and –importantly- a willing readiness to surrender himself completely and unquestioningly to the pleasure of another. There was yet another factor to influence my preference, gentle reader: let’s face it, compared with a bearded rimming, whatever I did to Z was not going to be a disappointment. After one night in his company, regardless of how I performed, I might smugly expect exaggerated rumours to spread around Paris like wildfire about how utterly fabulous I am in bed.

Still they served alcohol in the bar, so we lingered a little longer still… until at last Z spoke the words that all gay gentlemen utter at one time or another: that he was going to scour the bar until he found someone desperate as him. J quickly announced that it was time to leave, which I seconded, bidding adieu to our useful friend from the cloakroom queue, and bundling Z upstairs and out into a sobering cold dawn.

Was anyone surprised to hear Z declare that my humble garret in the 5eme arrondissement was ‘on his way home’?

I admit that as we walked down through the deserted streets of the Marais, crossing the Seine- not hand-in-hand; we still hadn’t even touched- before passing under the dusty shadows of Notre Dame and heading in the general direction of the Pantheon, it struck me that our little encounter, in such a setting as this, had all of the necessary ingredients to be romantic… except for the romance, of course.

On the way to my place, Z laughed heartily at my jokes and delighted in the pleasure of my company - as well he might- and we even indulged in a little playful banter about chat-up lines that we would have used if angling for a one night stand. I informed him that when in the mood, I delivered lines that no gentleman was capable of resisting, and I am almost ashamed to say that he leapt at my bait, declaring himself equal to any challenge.

Gentle reader, I might have stooped to a quick trick like that in my youth, but it was far too obvious a ploy; why, clearly all I had to say was ‘come back to my place for a little beardless rimming’ and he was mine for the taking.

So I teased him, providing him with a little philosophy about chat-up lines, explaining how the best ones are situational which meant that unfortunately they might never be used again. When asked for an example - a little too eagerly, I thought- it seemed appropriate to tell him about how, in my first job after college, I ended up getting my line manager into bed… which resulted in a two year relationship that would have ended better after that first night… but that’s another story.

Need I tell you, gentle reader, that upon listening to all of this, Z confessed that if ever in a similar situation- namely, hearing that same line coming from my own sweet lips- that he would have succumbed to the same charms as my first boyfriend?

You know need me to tell you what happened next, do you?

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