29 January 2007

The drugs don’t work

It is a truth universally acknowledged that man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind. For that reason, one does not want a gentle reader to feel in any way smug about what you are going to read: one certainly does not want to receive a calling card with the words ‘one brought it all upon oneself’, because one is perfectly aware of that fact... and no gentle reader will receive a word of gracious thanks for pointing out whatever is obvious.

Another soiree with J and Z was my own proposal, and it was my own deranged notion to return to the same venue with the same people for the second Friday night running. Memories of an excessively entertaining night, with excessively danceable music by the –alas!- stand-in DJ, not to mention a plethora of excessively handsome gay gentlemen to whom one has not yet given pleasure, distracted one from the fact that any attempt to recapture a past pleasure is inevitably doomed to failure.

One ought to have realised something unusual was going on when J arrived at our rendezvous in Le Duplex only five minutes late. He signalled his intention to purchase alcohol before joining me upon the balcony, looking down at the masses sweltering in the badly-lit and overly-crowded bar (with distain and disapproval, as usual)

First words from his mouth:

“Here, listen to this song, it’s a cover version of something, and you’re sure to know… it’s fabulous… oh, and I’d better tell you-” (before he plugs iPod into my ears) “-I’ve invited a guy along to join us; he seems fine, although I’ve never met him, it’s just that we were chatting earlier this evening on the internet and when I mentioned that I couldn’t meet for a hook-up because I was meeting friends for a drink, I don’t know why but I also typed the words ‘come and join us’ and he said that he would: I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, because I never thought he’d say yes, but he’s here… yes, look, there he is just now; he’s English.”

To which, somewhat aghast, I replied by enquiring what his name was.

“I can’t remember.”

At that point, to hold a scolding tongue, one plugged oneself into an iPod… emerging when the gay gentleman in question had joined our not-yet-a-full group.

Allowing J a moment to present himself in the flesh, I disconnected in order to introduce myself to stranger… who had a name, of course. Oddly enough, it didn’t sound at all English; that was because he was, in fact, a Frenchman.

Well, gentle reader, imagine the situation if you will. Le Gentleman had come to a rendezvous after having spoken with J for approximately thirty minutes in a crowded internet chat room, with an agenda of his own that did not include socialising with fabulously interesting people that he had no prospect of shagging senseless, while J struggled to remember what little he knew about Le Gentleman, quite forgetting what half-truths he has told... In those circumstances, it was hardly surprising conversation did not flow naturally: it was halted, awkward and embarrassing to all concerned. Struggling to control raised eyebrows at what both parties had to say in front of me, and in the knowledge Le Gentleman was hoping one was going to topple over the balcony later, one kept at a distance from the unfortunate situation, remaining uncharacteristically silent. Upon the arrival of Z, one expected things to improve slightly, even though a certain amount of gloating was to be expected; I hadn’t spoken with Z since his date with my Best One Night Stand of 2006.

“Excuse me, there’s a strange message on my mobile; I’ll need to listen several times,” said J, a faint attempt at manners addressed to Le Frenchman… who was left with no alternative but to converse, begrudgingly, with moi.

Gentle reader, suffice to say that some individuals do not know the basic rules of conversation. They do not appreciate it is an exchange: nor do they appreciate that while a gossip talks about others and a good conversationalist talks about you, a bore talks about himself. Unhappily, I was dealing with someone in the latter category: even without listening attentively to a word he was saying, I knew enough about him to move on. More unhappily, despite the noisy crowd, the loud music, and the alcohol consumed, I found that I was not only hearing, but actually listening it seemed I couldn’t help myself.

Do not be unduly concerned, for I will not repeat verbatim his non-engaging discourse on the long, hard hours that he works at a big, important desk in a great, big, important room in a large, big, important office in a big, massive, high, enormous building dealing with matters of such huge, big, sizeably-large, verging-upon-international importance that his association surely must prove he must therefore be huge, big, long, hard, important and interesting. One decided against informing him what one does for a living when I am in gainful employment, because it pained me that Le Frenchman might consider we had something in common, and in any event, there was never an opportunity to interrupt.

With J still engaged in pressing buttons on his hand-held device (one suspects that he was not only retrieving a message, but also cancelling another ‘hook-up’ or three) Le Frenchman went on to mention that when he wasn’t at the office, he did lots of interesting things; for example, he went to the gym a lot (something of which one was already aware) and he also claimed to have travelled extensively. Gentle reader, I am not making this up- he actually uttered these words:

‘Last year, I went to Australia for three weeks, just to get away from it all… and there were a lot of hot guys… but I decided not to have sex, because I needed a complete break from it all… so, as I was saying, I didn’t have sex, for three weeks… (later, perhaps because I hadn't evidenced a reaction?) like, no sex whatsoever, for three whole weeks…’

Yes, three times is quite enough to repeat, gracious thanks. Perhaps if I were not so bored, I wouldn’t have been counting, but I am… let us talk about something else, please.

But Le Gentleman had not yet exhausted his favourite subject... himself. He reflected upon the gay ghetto in which he lives, mentioning of course that he somehow never goes to any of the gay places within it because he doesn’t like the gay scene, although he does appear to have visited this particular venue before… didn’t he just comment on how it was decorated seven years ago? Oh, one can’t be bothered pointing out contradictions, even if one could get a word in: besides, there is no reason to inflict this kind of mundane detail upon you, gentle reader.

It is sufficient you know that when I encouraged him to discuss the upcoming Presidential elections, Le Frenchman expressed his opinion that France needed a great politician like Margaret Thatcher… therefore, he was voting for this man, Sarkosy.

On the point of throwing myself off the balcony- perhaps that had been his intention? – J spoke at last.

“It was a message from Z: he seems to be in the middle of a great big melodrama that he’s going to bring to the bar and re-enact in a loud voice for the benefit of everyone standing around… oh, there he is!”

Alas, it was true… the best I can say is that at least Z bought us all a stiff drink. One felt a little sympathy for J, having to re-live the embarrassment of re-introducing Le Frenchman that he barely knew, but by now must surely have realised was an insuffrable bore… except he didn’t seem to be embarrassed. Luckily, Z was too eager to talk about himself to be interested in details of how the parties assembled barely knew one another.


  • on Sunday, Z had a date with BONSY2006 and they had enjoyable sex (explicit details not forthcoming, for once- one suspects because Z fears comparison, contradiction or cackling laughter)

  • on Monday night, Z still hadn’t received a sms declaration of commitment, so he decided to look around in the gay ghetto for someone else, who we shall call Disposable; he has more sex, in fact it is fabulous sex, even more pleasurable than the enjoyable sex he’s just had with BONSY2006

  • on Tuesday, Z and Disposable lie to their respective employers, feigning illness to continue having fabulous sex all day

  • on Wednesday, BONSY2006 makes contact, inviting Z to join him for dinner on the following evening, by which time Z knows Disposable well enough to appreciate that they are incompatible in a non-sexual context, and because he always considered BONSY2006 might like to have a serious relationship with him, agrees to meet

  • on Thursday, Z meets BONSY2006 for a romantic meal in the gay ghetto, after which both have a drink in a gay bar and meet with… oh yes, you’ve guessed it- Disposable! BONSY2006 is a little perturbed by Disposable’s familiar and tactile behaviour with the man he believes himself to be dating, while Disposable wants to know who BONSY2006 is… forcing Z to explain himself… to the person he is on a date with, obviously. After a lengthy discussion, Z and BONSY2006 declare a mutual interest in getting to know each other better, agreeing that all sexual activity will be performed exclusively in one another’s company for a trial period only. With negotiations concluded, both return to BONSY2006's apartment to have more (merely) enjoyable sex

  • On Friday, Z meets Disposable for a drink, to explain the unfortunate situation… and they agree to have fabulous sex for the last time on the following afternoon... without BONSY2006's knowledge, of course. In the meantime, we are soon to have the pleasure of the company of BONSY2006… and are not to breathe a word of this.

I hope you didn’t find all of that too difficult to follow, gentle reader? For those of you who are not members of the gay league, it is of paramount importance that you appreciate fabulous sex is a greater and more worthwhile activity than enjoyable sex… and, of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged that one’s first sexual exchange is indicative of how all things sexual will shape up.

Gentle reader, whatever notions (misguided) you have about my character (or lack thereof) let me be clear on this point: one genuinely disapproved… of everything that was going on. While it is true that one employs a mode of speech of which the meaning is contrary to the words, irony is not dishonesty; those who are dishonest rank alongside hypocrites and Christians. Even if BONSY2006 had not been known to me- and to the best of my knowledge, he is a decent, likeable and honest gay gentleman- no one deserved to be messed around, therefore one would have expressed disapproval about Z’s tawdry behaviour in any event. Certainly, Z had anticipated a reaction from his audience, but not this reaction. He listened to what I had to say, before remarking he was doing exactly the same thing his mentor J did (causing raised eyebrows from Le Gentleman and a vigorous denial from J) In fairness, while the behaviours are identical, there is a significant difference in that J makes it absolutely clear to all concerned parties that he is faithful to nobody, that exclusivity and commitment do not interest… and in this regard his actions speak even louder than words.

Suffice to say that Z did not take what I had to say to heart: my lecturing was misinterpreted, with an uncalled-for remark to suggest it had all been prompted by a jealousy of some sort. Distinctly ruffled, one determined to say no more on the subject.

While all of this is happening, matters become even more complicated... quite out of hand, one might say. Allow me to explain.

In passing, one has mentioned that Z is a handsome gay gentleman; he has also a fine physique. In his spare time, he bodybuilds (is that a verb?) while training as a rower. Truth be told, if Z had looked quite so beefy on the night of our little encounter, nothing would have happened between us: it is not a ‘look’ that appeals to me, and it is not a ‘feel’ that appeals either. (Before you die, do try persuading someone with an interest in body-building that they are not enhancing their physical desirability for every red-blooded gay gentlemen… expect lots of bewildered grunting and blinking… but I digress!)

Can you guess what happened next, gentle reader? Let me spell it out for you. Z had been talking incessantly about himself, Z goes to the gym a lot… Le Gentleman had been talking incessantly about himself, Le Gentleman goes to the gym a lot… et voila!

“So, what do you do, Z?” Le Gentleman enquired.

In fairness, Z responded without guile.

“Oh, I work at a big, important desk in a great, big, important room in a large, big, important office in a big, massive, high…”

Just as well this wasn't intentional, since J looked daggers in his direction anyway. He was... I am on the verge of typing the word ‘understandably annoyed’, but perhaps it is more appropriate to write ‘annoyed.’ For at this point in proceedings, what was understandable? After all, what social etiquette was there to be breached?

At the outset of the evening, friendship and comradeship were discarded in favour of a potential exchange of bodily fluids with a complete stranger, whose superficial interest in all of those assembled was apparent. Whatever his other faults, one certainly cannot accuse Le Gentleman of duplicity: his readiness to attend our soiree indicated that he was not adverse to the company of strangers on a whim; his approach to conversation throughout the evening made it clear that he has no concern for the interests of others: if a strong gust of wind had caused a shift in his mood before arrival, or if, upon arrival, he had not considered J a potential ‘hook up’, he wouldn’t have been in our company. In short, he was perfectly transparent; and it just so happened something better had blown his way… or so he thought.

“Let’s go to Le Tango!” said J through gritted teeth.

Ah, yes… obviously Le Tango would resolve all of the evening’s problems. For when Le Gentleman met all of the parties concerned, it would become impossible to shut his eyes to the deep and committed nature of the relationship BONSY2006 shared with Z, with the inevitable consequence that his undivided attention will return to a worthier object…

Throughout the evening, at an alarming rate one had been knocking back a copious amount of alcohol… not because one had scruples about bare-faced lying to BONSY2006 if any polite enquires were made about Z’s integrity; not because one knew what to expect at Le Tango, where BONSY2006 and Z would engage in a ridiculous demonstration of public affection; not only because one was bored out of one's mind…Gentle reader, one was drinking in a desperate effort to silence that insistent voice inside my head that kept asking what the hell I was doing with my life; a little voice that still refuses to shut up, a week later.

Sadly, on the night in question, alcohol made no impact whatsoever upon my sensibility, which can only be attributed to stress and a strong coffee consumed before arriving in the bar. I had been to see le cirque tsigane, little anticipating that a more disappointingly surreal entertainment awaited... and so I watched the performers performing... but what a display!

Ought one spare you a blow-by-blow account of how that evening ended?

Have you suffered enough, gentle reader?

Perhaps not.

It was busy at the nightclub: unhappily, excessively attractive men did not make up a large proportion of those assembled. As anticipated, we joined a group of BONSY2006’s friends, who were warm, welcoming, but not particularly interesting.

Z and BONSY2006 behaved in a predictable fashion: while one appreciated that in the early stages of infatuation there is a tendency to ignore all other people in the company to perform a strange mating ritual, groping flamboyantly in the manner of two heterosexual adolescents at their first school disco, sincerity of at least one party must be questioned in this instance… hardly infatuated, there was a feeling that Z was simply delivering all that was expected before the gathering audience... and rubbing my nose in it.

Meanwhile, Le Gentleman and J scanned the assembled crowd (out of the corner of their respective eyes… a semblance of decency!) alarmed at the limited range of available alternatives for an evening of light sexual entertainment. Between them, matters had ground to a halt: no longer inclined toward active flirtation with Le Gentleman, J nevertheless continued to engage in passive flirtation (you kow what I mean: insincere attention to uninteresting conversation, a little accidental touching, reciprocating attentions in a blasé fashion, etc.) while not-so-secretly attracting attention from as many other quarters as possible. Given J's physical attractiveness, this was done quickly and easily… while of course Le Gentleman was not to be outdone. One developed a crick in one’s neck watching their performance: one’s head was spinning, without the other pleasing sensations associated with the consumption of alcohol, and yet- whether because of their continually roving eyes or their own lingering flirtation- neither J nor Le Gentleman seemed capable of holding attention from any other quarter for longer than five minutes, to their mutual annoyance.

BONSY2006 departed alone, because he had to work on Saturday, at which point Z returned to join our merry group, remarking that he had hardly spoken with his good friends all evening… which was true. Unhappily, instead of speaking to his good friends, or wondering why his good friends were a little frosty, he proceeded to have a conversation with Le Gentleman about what exercises are best for the oblique muscles (we were on the dance floor at the time, and yes, they did both lift their respective tops and touch/compare… mortifying, gentle reader!)

One scarpered back to the bar alone: although it didn’t seem to make any difference how much alcohol one consumed, one was determined to continue trying to relieve (not re-live) the pain. In retrospect, the drugs must have done something… otherwise, why didn’t I simply leave?

Gentle reader, please appreciate that one was genuinely distressed at how the evening plummeted to depths hitherto unexplored in said company. Granted, my reasons for socialising on the gay scene remain superficial- to have fun, and occasionally amuse oneself, with those of one’s own kind - but this was not remotely fun and this was not remotely amusing. For having made a conscious effort to avoid society that has not entered a third decade, one happily believed oneself to be in a group that had moved on from gay-adolescent nonsense in all of its varied forms: even in wildest fantasies of how truth might be exaggerated upon one's bloguette, one never expected to witness such excruciatingly ridiculous behaviour at close quarters. My original intention had been to caricature those within my circle of non-intimate acquaintance, creating a two-dimensional account of their little-known characters, a caricature so far removed from reality as to leave truth unscathed… but how was one to caricature this? Why, all of the art was being taken out of my hands!

Even more concerning, how did this spectacle reflect upon oneself? For who had organised this soiree? If one proposed spending recreational time in this fashion, what did it suggest about the depth of one’s own character? Had one really nothing better to do?

One has asked all of these questions before, gentle reader… and believed in one’s own evolution… that was even more worrying.

In due course, when Z came to ask why I don’t feel like dancing, dancing, in all honesty I revealed that I was not having a pleasant evening, because I found behaviour of the present company unbearable… a remark he mistook for my characteristic irony, returning to dance on a podium whereupon Le Gentleman turned his back upon J and began to dance with… oh dear!

“He doesn’t realise, does he?” blurted J upon arrival at the bar. “Aren’t you going to tell him?”

One spluttered alcohol across the room… hardly a waste, since it hadn’t been helping to alleviate.

“Me? Me? You heard his reaction to my advice earlier this evening. Besides, I met Z once, had sex with him twice, and have since been in his company three times since then; hardly an intimate acquaintance. You've known for six months and go out drinking with him every other night! Perhaps you ought to say something yourself? In any event, Z isn’t the only problem I have witnessed in the bar tonight: have you given any thought to-”

“Yes, I know there’s a problem, Cuentin, but I don't know what to do. What to do? But I’m just not sure if I find Le Gentleman so attractive anymore... although he does have a great body, doesn't he?”

There was nothing more to be said.

Less than an hour later, J and Le Gentleman exchanged their first bodily fluids… it was a moment, gentle reader: some watching might have considered it a beautiful moment, but it was not beautiful to anyone who, incapable of getting drunk, had suffered their company all evening. After their hasty departure, one waited for them to disappear down the nearest dark alleyway before leaving Le Tango. Before I had reached the cloakroom attendant, Z left his podium to propose walking home with me.

I politely declined: upon reflection, one needed to remain in a smoke-filled bar listening to loud bad music for just a little while longer… to be absolutely sure of remembering the evening’s ordeal, lessening the chances of making that same sequence of mistakes.

History repeating, gentle reader? One is tempted to say never again… although having looked in the mirror long and hard- for one is a gay gentleman of deep reflection- one recognises that when a gay gentlemen says ‘never’, he means until the next time: after all, ‘forever’ means until it all comes to a horrible end… probably.


AndyT13 said...

Just found you by way of your comment at Lee's "Glitter For Brains". Thanks for the tip on a beautiful revolution. Good show!
-A NY Yank

Ms C Qrisp said...

Gracious thanks for visiting my humble bloguette! Good show, yourself!