It was the day of the wedding at last. It was also bloody hot. It was the sort of weather that would make you say ‘steady on girl’ if someone even suggested you wear more than just shorts. I was in heaven.
Here are the three things I didn’t want to be wearing that day.
1) A dinosaur costume
2) A rubber one-piece
3) A suit
Sadly my first two looks had been vetoed so I had to go with the last one. It was a wedding after all, although it turns out the first costume would have been weirdly appropriate. More on that later.
At about midday everyone got all spruced up. I got into my linen suit and The Theatre Producer put on her fancy dress.
It had flowers on it and was a faintly vintage number that made me suspicious that some WW2 fighter pilot would whisk her away at any moment. I resolved to spend the rest of the day standing near her and growling at any men that got too close.
We waltzed down to the lobby and found lots of other people were looking like they were on their way to a job interview/prom.
There was a little bit of ‘ooh you look nice’ and then we all piled into a coach and went on a drive. Passing Serbians would have been impressed by how formally dressed British people get before they go on a coach tour.
We passed the time talking about weddings while the coach driver stopped for directions. Literally stopped in the middle of the road and shouted at people in garages.
Someone on the coach had been to a Pagan wedding which involved people getting all nudie. This sounded well skills until I realised it would probably be just ancient Aunts and the creepy man you went to school with getting their danglies out. WELL RUBS.
Eventually we arrived at the venue. It was a lovely restaurant with an outside bit full of huge trees, gazebos and a sort of thing with pillars that could be used for getting married in. Or at night, with the right lighting, summoning the ancient gods of Olympus*.
Lots of people appeared and we stood around excitedly drinking water in the brilliant sunshine. The water was quickly swapped for boozes and the venue gained the appearance of a summer party in England, a very well dressed one.
Tiny lady hats
The groom was standing around nervously doing catalogue poses in his suit while we waited for the bride. She appeared in a long, very warm looking dress with a cool hat. Not that the hat would help keep her cool, it was one of those splendid tiny lady hats with mesh on it.
She appeared and got photographed a lot, then she walked up to see her massively grinning soon to be husband.
The service wasn’t that religious, it alternated between readings in Serbian and English. One of the English readings was about dinosaurs and romance. It was aces. It was the first time I’d ever been at a wedding where dinosaurs were mentioned.
After the couple said ‘yes’ at key points (huge cheers). After the service was over everyone cheered some more. Then the newly married pair walked over to a big wooden log thing and set it on fire. It fizzled for a bit and then went.
Yes, they had fired a cannon to mark their marriage. Everyone jumped.
It was amazing, the only thing that would have made it better would have been if they had fired it again, or constantly for the rest of the evening. Bangbangbangbang.
More booze was handed out including Jagermeister which apparently is a completely acceptable afternoon drink in Serbia rather than the ingredient for a cocktail designed to make you sick. We had some ‘sipping vodka’ accept no-one told us it was for sipping in time so we downed it.
Yes we are that classy.
We went inside it was much cooler, which was actually quiet pleasant. Not that I like being cold, I just felt less like I was going to burst into flames at any moment.
The table we had been assigned to was called ‘batwing’ and was the furthest away from the top table, but incidentally right by the bar. WIN.
I wasn’t sure what The Theatre Producer had done to get put on this table but I’m sure she is very sorry.
A band started playing. They were pretty good doing covers of wedding favourites, but they were SUPER LOUD. So loud I couldn’t really have a conversation with anyone.
Toast: Hello, how do you know the newly weds?
Guest: I can ask, but I’m not sure if this restaurant does have any beds.
Toast: The family are lovely, I wouldn’t go so far as to call them fat heads. Anyway would you like some wine?
Guest: Tuesday, we fly back on Tuesday.
Toast: This suit? Oh I bought it while mashed one time.
Guest: You’re going for a climb?
And so on. I gave up even nodding politely to things I couldn’t hear properly after I accidentally implied I was pro-bear baiting.
Let the meat begin!
Food started to arrive. The opened with the classic meat and cheese starter. It was a good one too and served with apparently unlimited bread. I ate my roll and it was immediately replaced with another loaf by a little man with silvery hair.
After the starter most people indicated they were full (through the medium of mime of course) but the meal had just begun.
We had a lovely meaty soup with more bread before the serious business of meat could begin. There wasn’t just one course of meat, or two. Three would have been an insult to the auspicious occasion and four some how lacking.
No this Serbian wedding feast was to feature five, yes five courses of meat as it’s main dish.
Each meat sub-course was big enough to be a main dish at any other event. It was jolly tasty but also physically and mentally exhausting.
Half way through there was a little break for speeches, and all the ladies were ordered up for a special ladies dance with the incredibly loud band playing Serbian music.
The ladies danced. The song ended, but before they could return the band started playing another song just for them. All of the men were stood around watching while increasingly ‘glowing’ ladies danced to accordion music.
The song went on.
It lasted at least two beers and a gin and tonic before The Theatre Producer and her fellow naughty table girls escaped and returned. Some less brave women were still dancing away though.
Before anyone could relax more meat was poured on our plates.
The final course was meatballs which most people couldn’t face. That is their loss because it was the best and I felt a sense of achievement that only mountain climbers will understand when I finished the final bit of meat.
We drank a lot of booze. There was a bit of dancing but the dance floor didn’t fill until the band took a break and someone put on their iPhone. You’ve not seen joy until you’ve seen a whole family mime jazz flute to Paul Simon.
The loud Serbian band seemed a little bit miffed by that.
Slice of cake anyone?
Some cakes appeared, the wedding cake was wheeled into porn-style disco music. One of the other cakes was made out of pancakes and had a top like a Crème brûlée.
It was amazing. I could have eaten that all day but annoyingly I had been eating vast amounts of meat for most of the afternoon. Fool.
There was more dancing. Then out of no-where a brass band appeared and started stomping around and playing honking tunes while everyone shouted at each other about ‘IT’S A BRASS BAND’ and ‘WHY WERE THEY HIDING IN THE KITCHEN FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT?’
And at about midnight we piled back into the coach (looking slightly more crumpled than before) and went back to the hotel.
*This might have happened later, but I was terribly drunk so I missed it.
Hello all, this is Marty McFly, from the distant past! Well, ok, it’s Biscuit but it does feel like I’m from the distant past. It’s not that I don’t love you any more (promise) I’ve just either had NO time to write or Jen has been here, making it a bit difficult to do!
I have a few important accounts to write up, then there’s gonna be something of a montage post to bring us up to date. Here’s the first (from about 2 months ago it seems):
My favourite night out involves a lot of vodka Red Bull, several hours of rock music and dance moves to make your dad cringe with embarrassment. I had been promising to take Jen there for ages and eventually (sometime around late May) I made good on that promise.
She rocked up from work in a black leather jacket, tight jeans, and a figure hugging black vest top. First stop was the warm up pub wherewe were due to meet a friend of Jen’s who was due to join us.
They say “first impressions last”. The friend’s first impression of me was when I leant over his shoulder at the bar, whilst Jen was still looking for him. He heard a tall man order “4 double vodkas, straight, over ice” then follow with “Oh, I’ve left my money in the cash machine, I’ll be right back” and thought “glad I’m not out with him”.
But, lucky boy, he was out with me!
Once we’d all become acquainted we drunk a lot of vodka mixed with contraband Red Bull smuggled into the pub down my pants and made balloon models for strangers. After the customary spazzing around we hit the club.
I’m the kind of person who gets all fretful about plans until I’m settled in wherever I’m supposed to be. Because of this we were in the club before most other people had got there. The friend was wondering what sort of barren warehouse party I’d brought him to.
The magic of the place is that you don’t really notice it filling up or time passing until you look round and realise it’s rammed with long haired occupants dressed in black and throwing their best air guitar.
Jen was totally at home and did me proud.
We all got drunk. Very drunk!
At one point a boy sidled up to Jen when I was away at the bar and tried some terrible cheesy line on her. He was still there when I got back, which I found quite amusing, but my masculine imposing figure must have scared him off.
That, or the fact that I was wearing colours and he shuns the gaiety as a vampire would garlic.
Eventually, it was time to pack the air guitar away and join the nocturnal zombies on the streets in search of a ride home.
We said goodbye to the chum (we were now best buddies, the vodka incident just fuelled my mythos in the end) and made our way home for a lot of painkillers and very little sleep.
Marriage Percentage: 68% - Being able to rock out with your metaphorical cock out is an absolute MUST and Jen can flash her imaginary penis with the best of them!
This is something of a ‘highlight reel’ to bring you up to date with the present situation. It’s been tricky to find time to post during may as I have had a lot of work stuff on (over weekends too) and have mostly been either knackered or seeing Jen. Since it’s probably a bad idea to write up posts whilst she’s visiting I’ve slipped rather far behind.
The first time I saw Jen as boyfriend and girlfriend I looked like I was covered in serious sex scratches. No, this wasn’t a repeat of my ill-fated date with Indy. I had been to a very moshy ragga-metal gig the night before.
She is an excellent ’concerned girlfriend’, wincing over my wounds which meant I could nonchalantly parade my war scars and feel extra manly as she hung at my arm like a medieval maiden (minus the pointy hat, those things are dangerous with the height difference between us; she could have my eye out).
We got to spend most of the day lounging around in bed with absolutely nothing to do, it was amazing. It has struck me since that that’s the first time we’ve really had the time to do it because we’re usually bolting from one place to another.
The following Friday Toast and I were busy at the Dominatrix’s birthday. Jen wasn’t actually coming but there was a telling incident involving strangers’ boobs.
Somehow the conversation got round to fake boobs and out of the table of four of us, I was the only one who had never felt fake ones. The friendy dominatrix (is that an oxymoron?) at the table decided that it would be her mission to rectify this for me as there were plenty in attendance at the party.
Now, I did think about this as it’s the sort of thing that tends not to go down well with girlfriends. I reasoned I could easily do it and just never mention it but that 2 things stopped me:
1) I don’t want to start down that road of little deceits.
2) If there were any good stories then I wanted to share them with Jen so we could giggle together.
I politely thanked the dom but said it would be bad form as I had a girlfriend. Then I text Jen to tell the amusing tale of enhanced norks offerings. The reply I got from her says a lot about why she is an awesome girlfriend:
“I say go for it, for science. But you are not allowed to do sexy feeling, more perfunctory”
Sadly I didn’t get to follow through with the offer but it’s reassuring to know that, in an emergency, I would be able to grasp firmly onto pumped ladybumps. Maybe for floatation.
The following night I had made plans to join Jen in town with her friends on the Saturday. Although she’s hung around with my chums a few times this was the first big friend test for me. Although I’d already spent the night drinking with her chums in the town where she lives, it turns out most of them were only casual acquaintences. Tonight it was the real friends.
No pressure then.
I’m usually fine so I pretty much just had avoid developing sudden explosive tourettes or backing myself into a conversational cul-de-sac about the Hitler Youth. By the time I arrived in the first pub all the friends were assembled and clearly curious to see who it was that had snared their diminutive friend.
Everyone was very friendly and played the ‘new boy’ game with me for a bit of pretending that different people were in couples, which was made all the more confusing as there was one gay couple there too. In all there were 6 friends there so I refused to let anyone move seats until I had all the names down.
The chums then took it in turns to quiz me about various tidbits of information that they know, much to Jen’s cringing. It turned out that her most recent ex was universally disliked amongst her friends for being a cock.
So far so good!
The main event of the evening was Eurovision so we all grabbed a cab to another bar which had a whole floor dedicated to the fiesta of trash pop. As I wasn’t bothered about standing shoulder to shoulder craning at screens of bad music performances I chatted to the few of Jen’s friends who remained when the others ran upstairs to see how our entry was performing against the competitors.
Towards the end of the evening as everyone was leaving, one of the chums leant over, slightly drunkenly, and whispered in my ear “well done, you’ve passed stage 1″, then gave me a knowing wink.
Very early on we had been on a date to see a filthy electro rock band. This establised the very important precedent that Jen is an excellent gig partner. Immediately after this we booked tickets to see the king of gangsta rap: Snoop Dogg.
We arrived at the venue much later than intended as Jen had a journey worthy of Ulysses on our much delayed public transport network so I was expecting to walk straight in and have to weave through the crowd to a good spot. Instead, we were faced with a queue that ran the entire length of the building, around the corner and the same length AGAIN.
When faced with so much time to kill there is only one reasonable course of action. Jen volunteered herself to run to the shop to grab some beers. THAT is the mark of an awesome girlfriend!
The gig itself was great and once again confirmed what a compatible gig partner she is. Music is a really important part of my life and being able to share that with someone who might be a potential wife is really important.
The following Sunday we had one more gig planned. Toast was supposed to come too but couldn’t.In stark contrast to Snoop Dogg, This was a Balkan Brass Battle. We were late getting there (again) so necked a couple of drinks from the off licence on the way there. The bands were amazing (I thoroughly advise you to check out both of them) and we danced our way through most of the 2 hours.
The more we drank the more I was convinced I had authentic gypsy dancing down to a tee… in retrospect I probably just looked like a spaz waving his arms around and gyrating badly but we both had a euphoric time!
Towards the end Jen needed to pop upstairs the terrace for a quick fag so I joined her for a rest from the dancing. The next bit is, sadly, a little bit of a blur but it unfolded something along these lines.
We were sat roof lined by flower filled planters and I was just filled with the joy of being out with someone who has proven to be consistently awesome, funny, tolerant, exuberant and an absolute delight to spend time with. Because I’ve rushed into things in the past I’ve been trying really hard to be measured and slow about this but that evening I felt like a freshly shaken bottle of pop and was having to try hard to contain myself.
It’s strange opening up to someone again after being burned so badly by Cupcake but I really feel like I can trust Jen. I would lend her my lightsabers and everything.
I gave her a massive hug and, with a big grin on my face, I looked into her eyes and said “I do love you!”. She hugged me back and said, with palpable relief, “Oh I love you too. I’ve loved you for weeks.” I’ve even talked told my mum!”.
I told here that I knew (about how she felt, not about her mum… her mum asked her what was wrong with me since I hadn’t been married or had any kids by the age of 3… but she is from the north), I could tell and tell that she was holding it in. I said that I didn’t want to say anything when I had been drinking as I didn’t want her to think that it was just because of the booze.
We made our way back downstairs for the last of the band and eventually left the venue hand in hand, buoyed along by amorous bliss and alcoholic exuberance.
The following morning we both had the day off work to lounge around, have sexy times and generally be work-shy hedonists.
What actually happened is I was ill. Very ill. There were lots of visits to the toilet as my body punished me, somewhat unreasonably, for the relatively meagre amount of booze I had drunk.
Jen was just really concerned and kept asking if there was anything she could do to help. Grimly I professed that there was nothing she could do until I weathered the storm unless she wanted to sit and stroke my feet for hours as that’s the only thing that seems to ease the pain.
She was just really happy to be ably to do anything to help so sat at the far end of the sofa stroking the soles of my feet as I suffered behind a pair of sunglasses, occasionally softly weeping to myself that I didn’t want to be ill any more.
I love booze, but occasionally we fall out and I always come off worse.
Eventually I stopped planning my will and improved. Jen was amazing all day and still loved me when I looked like I was suffering with cholera. This is one of the many reasons why she is awesome and why I am keeping her.
Marriage percentage: 65%. She has no problem with me feeling boobs for science, grabs beers in an emergency and will play Florence Nigtingale if I’m ill. What more could I want?
I had a date on Saturday to meet a girl for coffee. We met on The Strand. She was short and curvy, with long dark hair and very good eye-liner.
She was wearing a black dress with a black cardigan over the top.
We said our hellos and then strolled over to a nice coffee shop I know nearby. The conversation was easy and by the time our ridiculous cakes arrived we were giggling away about brass rubbings and plays.
She works in the theatre and so we were talking about things to do with that as well as the usual family/growing-up/plans for the future stuff.
There was a lot of laughing and the conversation flowed easily, I was having a lovely time.
I had to go home to do some work stuff so we parted ways with plans to meet up again in the week, possibly to see a show.
Normally I’d put a marriage percentage in here and it would have been reasonably high but I’d not accounted for the magic of Eurovision.
Later on that evening
I was doing my work stuff while she was at a Eurovision party with some gay friends. I had received a few text messages from her about the acts on Eurovision and had been replying when I could.
She invited me to join her and her chums at a super gay club after I’d finished working. I was pretty tired but we had got on before so perhaps it would be fun. Also, this blog makes you say yes to things.
At about 11:30 I had finally finished working so I changed into a better shirt and caught the tube over to the club.
While I was underground she had called a few times and sent some text messages. She was clearly mashed.
I turned up and she introduced me to her gay chums, one of whom looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t work out why.
We went inside and got some drinks. She kept pushing up against me. Not a subtle brush or a ‘whoops I didn’t mean to do that’ no this was just shy of a martial arts manoeuvre. I would back away to give her room and she would move closer.
I bought a round of drinks and chatted to her friends. That was when I recognised the faintly familiar one. He is in a band, quite a well known band (They’ve sold a million records), who I’ve seen perform earlier in the week. It really is a tiny world sometimes.
There was more chat, and she was drunkenly pressing up against me some more. The club was loud so I was talking into her ear, she kept trying to kiss me. Then she just asked if she could kiss me. I said okay. So we kissed.
She was really very kissy. Now I’m fine with public displays of affection but this was getting a bit out of control.
She was snogging my face off and trying to undress me. She managed to unbutton most of my shirt before I caught her. I felt sorry for the poor gays in the club, they didn’t want to see this.
She also kept saying how much she liked me. I think she said it about a dozen times, actually probably more than that.
We tried to do a bit of dancing but she was so interested in rubbing up against me that if I lifted one of my feet off the floor I was in danger of falling over. So when she suggested we leave I said okay.
We caught a cab back to her place. It was only a short journey but in that time she revealed her some-what disastrous dating history and how she’d manage to destroy a previous relationship by being to aggressively needy. Even in my slightly drunk state I realised that was a bit of a warning sign.
I toyed with the idea of asking the cab man to just take me home but I didn’t want to seem rude.
Back at the house
Back at her place she made me a lovely glass of water and told me she really liked me some more. As I’m sure you can guess things got a bit naked at this point.
The most alarming point of it all was when she tried to remove the condom because she wanted me to, well she wanted the thing that the condom stops to happen. I told her no, because that causes babies, she was noticeably put out by this.
Some time later we both fell asleep. My dreams all involved running away, from a fire, a flood and even spiders. This may have been my subconscious trying to tell me something.
The next morning I waited until about 9am and made my excuses and left.
Marriage percentage: 5% - If we’d just had the first date it would have been high but she was a so full on and the stuff with the condom was well, a bit scary.
If anyone needs me for the rest of the day I’ll be in the shower with all my clothes on rocking myself.
The first half of this post is going to sound a bit stalker-ish but hold on it’s worth it.
Ages ago I got into an American TV show. So on Twitter I followed the writers and a few members of the cast including an extremely pretty woman.
She posted very amusing tweets, let’s call her Olivia because that’s not her name. Fairly normal so far.
Well over a year later I had a meeting with someone to discuss some business stuff. Nothing came of it but we got on and followed each other on Twitter. How modern.
Last week Olivia tweeted at the person I had a meeting about how she was coming to London and they should go out.
I saw this and thought ‘This blog has caused some amazing adventures, and the main lesson from it is just go for stuff, take a chance’.
Okay, I didn’t think exactly that I thought ‘OMG SHE IS COMING TO LONDON AND HE KNOWS HER I WONDER IF I CAN MEET HER’
So I emailed the guy and said this
Hi Mr Man,
I hope you are well.
I saw on Twitter that Olivia is going to visit your club on Thursday. I was wondering if it might be okay to pop in to say hello?
I’ve got such a crush on her, and it was a shame I missed her last time she was causing mayhem in London.
If it’s a off-the-radar visit for party times, so a bit of a no-no then I completely understand.
All the best,
He replied, and the key bit was
She is indeed fabulous – v good friend. Would be happy to introduce you. This thurs!
Bring a crew and I’ll sort you out a table if you like. On us. Then it’s not so obvious!
So he was going to introduce us. Huzzah! What a star!
The worst night ever
The plan was to meet at the club at 11. I had thing to do so I met up with my chums in a bar for a quick drink before going to the club. Biscuit was waiting outside with Jen.
We got into the VIP queue bit. The man in front of us got denied entry because he hadn’t booked. I told the door lady who I was and how I should be on a list somewhere.
She went away. For ages. And ages.
I got to stand around awkwardly while Biscuit, Jen and my chums looked me and said things ‘look it’s okay if we can’t get in we can find another club’.
They were only half joking.
The lady appeared and ushered us in. I had been told we’d have a table but there was no record of this. The man hadn’t turned up yet either.
We stood around and then bought some very, very expensive cocktails.
We drank them and the man still hadn’t turned up with Olivia. So we bought some more expensive cocktails.
The evening was starting to get very expensive. The club was rammed too, so people get bumping into us it, well it wasn’t that good an evening.
I apologised to everyone, I’d dragged them out to a busy club to spend a fortune on booze.
Then one of my chums suggested we get a huge cocktail to share. So we did. It involved a fireball. It was amazing. The fireball must have scared some people off because we suddenly had a table and a stupid drink.
The man tweeted me to say he was in the club with Olivia.
The best night ever
I tried to spot the man but I couldn’t see him so I circled the club a few times. No joy at all. Then, the sea of trustifarians parted and I saw him and I saw her.
She was much taller than I expected, and my word she was pretty. She was wearing black Basque-like top with a pink ruffled skirt, black tights and giant black heels. They were some serious shoes.
I said hello to the chap and he made the introductions. Olivia was extremely friendly. She complimented my trousers and asked to try a bit of my drink. She was quite tactile, but in a nice way.
A huge treasure chest of booze turned up with fireworks. We started drinking it and talking about how I knew the man and what she was doing here. You know little stuff.
Some more booze turned up on my chums table so went over and joined in the fun there. I was trying to play it cool of course.
Then I got Biscuit to make Olivia a balloon dog. It would be an understatement to say this was a big hit. She adored it and took loads of photos of us with the dog. Biscuit was then forced to make more and more balloon things including his infamous rude hat.
They went down brilliantly, more pictures were taken.
Olivia and I chatted some more, this time about you know, longer term plans and stuff. I said there would be dance off later, and while we might be friendly here there were no friends on the dance floor. She laughed.
Introduced her to my chums and she was perfectly charming. Jen said she thought Olivia was in to me. I tried not to get too excited.
I bounced between the two tables trying not to linger around her too often but really enjoying talking to Olivia about all sorts of stuff.
Play it cool Toast. Play it cool.
Rescuing a lady
Out of the blue another of the man’s friends grabbed me, a pretty red head with an extremely expensive haircut. She was with a chap who was being a bit forward and said she needed me to rescue her from him.
She asked me to save her so I did and we got chatting.
She had a boyfriend but was with another man who was being a bit weird. I said she could hide with us if she wanted so she joined our table. Introduced her to everyone and we got chatting.
She said I was cute. I said thank you. Then she said I smelled amazing. I said thank you again.
For a moment it looked like she was about to kiss me and then she pulled away and danced off into the club. I didn’t see her again but she had made a point of memorising my name from my business card.
After a few more drinks with my chums I returned to chatting to Olivia in a corner of the nightclub. We had really in-depth chat. She has a boyfriend, but he is new and she said she wasn’t so sure about him. We talked about boxing (she does it too) and a load of other things.
Proper things that you talk to people you properly know, not strange men in nightclubs who happen to have nice trousers.
Teaching an iPhone to pretend to be a Blackberry
She made me install an app on my phone so we could chat like people do with Blackberries, and entered her phone number into my phone. She also made me tweet a special keyword at her so she could follow me back.
We went out for a cigarette, she smoked I was just company, and talked some more about things, about London and hidden things and relationships.
I have to admit my memory is a bit hazy but at the time (I was utterly mashed by this point) I remember thinking it was nice and that she was really interesting. Really, really clever. Clever is good.
There was more drinking and more dancing, possibly a bit of a dance off. More photos were taken of us together, on her phone. There were a lot of photos that night.
It was 3am and the club was closing.
We said goodbyes, with great sadness. She said that she was working all day but that we should try to go out again before she leaves.
Biscuit, Jen and I got into a cab and went home. I had three hours of sleep and then had to go to work still drunk. It was totally worth it.
I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again. Of course I’d love to, but even if I don’t I think that’s fine too, in it’s own way. We had one perfect magical London evening and sometimes that’s enough.
- Forcing Biscuit to make things out of balloons to impress girls always works.
- Asking random people to do you a big favour also works.
- It’s possible to sort of go on a date with almost anyone if you set your mind to it.
- London is amazing. Just Amazing.
- Everyone loves a dance-off.
Jen, Toast and I had gone to the mash-up night on the Friday of the first of the two long weekends we’ve just had. On the Saturday Evening she text me to invite me to visit her (she lives outside the M25 remember) and get pizzled with her friends on the Sunday
Although I was initially a little reluctant, it sounded like fun and I did enjoy spending time with her so agreed to come and play.
After she met me at the station we sauntered down to the riverside bar where they were all drinking. There then followed one of those memory games where you have to memorise a collection of items before they’re covered back up, some removed and then you have to remember what was missing. Only I played this game with about 12 people.
Her friends were great value entertainment and I seemed to strike up a slightly jokey/antagonisic relationship with one of the girls fairly quickly. To be honest I thought I might have totally misjudged the situation and actually wound her up.
After a flurry of cocktails, we headed back to hers for grub before going back to town to a pub and then a divey, dark indie club. Here I met many more people, at this point I was struggling to remember most of them but just thrust my hand out and started talking to anyone who appeared to be part of the group.
The place was BOILING so I joined Jen outside to keep her company whilst she had a fag.
We’ve not actually talked much about either of our past relationships. I still feel sufficiently bitter about Cupcake that I don’t really want to bring any of it up. However we started to chat about some of our recent history whilst stood in the dark alley that was the smoker’s area.
I mentioned that she had said to me that she had blown out three other men who she’d been on dates with once we had a couple of dates. Well it turned out that one of the men I had been talking to was one of them.
This is the problem with small towns and why London is so great.
This was faintly amusing so, in the spirit of honesty, I said that she had been sat at a table in the comedy club with a couple of other people I ‘d done naughty things with. It was a relief to start to open up about things and we covered a little ground about significant relationships too. After some amorous kissing brought on by the party atmosphere and excitement of new levels of intimacy, we headed back inside.
Eventually it was time to leave. Jen’s feisty friend who had been particularly fighty earlier was full of hugs for me and effused to Jen, out of my earshot, about how lovely I was. Seemingly I had judged her just right after all, which I was reaslly pleased about as I didn’t want to come over as a dick to her friends.
The fun fair
After a VERY long snoozy lie in we took advantage of the amazing weather and walked to a local park that was hosting a travelling fun fair. You know the type; where wondering if the contraption will fall apart mid ride sending you hurtling to your death is all part of the fun.
We ate ice creams and too many donuts then went on the most vomit inducing ride we could find, which I somehow managed to make even more sickly by timing our momentum to keep us spinning at such a speed that the centrifugal force felt like it would break our neck.
Aren’t I just the best date EVER.
After a bit of a lie down on the grass to recover, we bid the fair farewell and she dropped me back at the station for my journey home.
Marriage percentage: 61% - I think this is really going somewhere. This is the first time in a couple of years that I’ve felt this comfortable with a girl I have amorous interests in. Of course… it’s not long until the May 5th deadline so I had better make my mind up soon.
Following the success of the boxing, I had my next date arranged with Jen a week after. We were planning to go dancing at a night of mash-up DJs. On the face of it this is a good plan, although it does involve quite a considerable cumulative period of cocking your head to one side like a confused dog whilst you look at your friends pulling “what are these songs???” faces.
Toast’s plans had fallen through and I wanted to invite him along too, but didn’t want Jen to feel I had brought an unwelcome interloper. However, being a lady of good heart she basically insisted that he come out with us once she heard that he would have no one but the Xbox for company for the evening.
So that the Xbox did not feel left out either, we fired it up and set about some dancing competitions whilst we shovelled gin into our faces. This experience presented an interesting revelation. Whilst we had got the hang of generally spazzing around in front of the TV and just about managing to pull together the semblance of a routine (with the exception of the time Toast actively tried to throw his games but kept getting scores Jonh Travolta would have been proud of), Jen somehow managed to make the whole thing look like an actual real dance. One you would do in public and everything.
The venue itself was spread over 2 floors: one like a trendy bar and the basement as the dance-floor. Whilst the basement apparently had all the necessary equipment for air conditioning, only one of the many vents in the basement was actually working. This meant that after only a few minutes of dancing you became drenched in your own sweat, and probably some of other people’s too. This meant we kept having to escape upstairs to breathe and dry off. Toast said it’s the most unbelievably hot nightclub he’s ever been in, and he’s been drinking in Texas.
Upstairs we started busting out the Kinekt dance off moves in full unfettered glory. I would have thought this would be enough to put any women off but apparently there was a girl who had been eyeing me up all night. I only knew this because Jen told me about it. Apparently she had appeared near us downstairs, and then up again. She had even made eye contact with Jen searching for approval!
Obviously I was totally oblivious to this, even after it had been pointed out. That should tell you most of what you need to know about how adept I am with ladies.
Towards the end of the evening Toast was flagging because he was the only one who had not had caffeine and Jen was dancing with a giant inflatable pirate. This seemed to be the natural point to go home.
The ride home
Ordinarily that might be the end of the evening’s tales, however we then had a positively bizarre taxi ride. After negotiating with a random ‘cabbie’ we jumped in the car with Jen in the front. There was the usual banter, then the driver started telling us about all the women he had on the go and how he’d already had two that evening already. This was in addition to his wife and three kids (by different mothers).
He kept asking us is Jen belonged to one of us and if she was either of our girlfriend. Since she neither belonged to me or was my girlfriend I couldn’t say either was true. It was all getting uncomfortable and borderline rapey when he pulled up and announced we were home. Only we weren’t. We were no where near home! Whatever postcode he had put in to his sat nav it was not ours, not even close.
This meant another 20 minutes whilst he drove us to our real home. He didn’t serem to be remotely annoyed as he was ‘subtley’ trying to get Jen to give him a handjob in the front of the car!!!
Ordinarily I would have stopped things long before that but since Jen was bantering with him and winding him up she seemed entirely comfortable, even I was ready to thrust my hand into his face and shout “NO” three times clearly before pepper spraying him.
Using my best spy training I got him to drop us off away from our house. We DID get a riverside drive of the Thames for free I suppose, even though we should not have been anywhere near the Thames at any point. I’m not sure it was worth a handjob though.
Marriage percentage: 61% - Finding giant inflatable pirates whilst drunk is definitely a valuable life skill. Not giving strangers handjobs for a ride is a bit of a bonus too.
I have lots of female friends. I’m not showing off or anything, I’m just stating it as a fact.
They are great because you can ask them why a girl you are dating did something weird, they are often more willing to go clothes shopping and they are generally more up for a dance off.
Also you can provide them useful things in return, insight into the male mind, fixing things and help lifting heavy objects.
I love my female chums, no that’s not quite right, I treasure them.
I think any chap who thinks guys can’t be friends with girls (or the other way around) is a fool and they are closing themselves off to a whole world of fun.
Yes there is occasionally the little sparkle of something else there when you hang around with them but that just adds a bit of extra fizz to the friendship, like the bubbles on top of a glass of champagne.
This post isn’t a party political broadcast though. It’s a record of what happened last night.
How I learned to jive badly
I’ve made some new chums in the past few weeks, it’s one of the best things about London. You never know who you’re going to bump into or which chance encounter is going to turn into a friendship.
There is an actress. She is a friend of a friend, or she was. Biscuit and I went and saw her in a play. She was terribly good and we had a brief slightly awkward chat afterwards before we went off to another bash. She is a small brunette with massive, expressive eyes and an excellent fringe.
A few days later I was at an event and she appeared. Loads of other people were there but we spent most of the night talking nonsense, got incredibly drunk and had a great time. When the party ended we (a group of us) went to a restaurant. There may have been some dancing. It was one of those perfect Soho moments.
She has a boyfriend who she lives with so it’s not line any sort of nonsense was planned, and there were other people there so it was just a jolly lovely time.
We went out again on Friday. She had been drinking all day with a chum. I rocked up after work and joined in the drinking. Everyone was pleasantly mashed. Some of the chums left because they were ruined and we ambled on to a restaurant. There wasn’t any dancing, it was quite a sensible meal really.
The point where the levels of fizz become dangerous
After the excellent food the rest of the people left.
She called her boyfriend to ask, on a scale of 1 to 10 how much trouble would she be in if she stayed out for a few more drinks. He said 1 and so we ended up in a club.
I ordered some drinks. The man messed up our order and so we got a double round. Then the dancing began. She pranced onto the dance floor and did some moves, after the song finished she got a standing ovation from the entire club.
I was taught how to jive, I picked it up reasonably fast and soon I was flinging her around the dance floor. I only fell over twice and I didn’t smash any glasses which is a personal best for me.
Every time a rubbish song would come on we’d stop, sip cocktails and down pints of water and ice. The club was really warm, really really warm. Her hair got a bit messed up and I took my jacket off (I was wearing a suit).
At one point she started up a limbo and we got complete strangers to join in.
There was a lot of dancing, and a bit of drinking but mostly dancing. We made a pact that if she becomes a mega celebrity I have to become a professional dancer so we can win Strictly Come Dancing together. I think, provided I can get enough practice in we would do okay.
Some time, much later we stumbled onto the last tube home, sweaty but laughing like morons.
I parted ways with rushed hug as I changed tube lines. There wasn’t a hint of any sort of nonsense, but after conferring with Biscuit he said I had to write about it because while it wasn’t a date date it had some of the same properties of a nice date.
Something could be about to begin, or not. It’s complicated, but in a nice way. Just like the best friendships between men and women.
One of the things that enjoyed most about living with Dragonforce was going to gigs and festivals and being able to get drunk, bounce around being punched by sweaty strangers and have an awesome time without the need to babysit anyone or feel bad for having fun. I’ve been to gigs with girlfriends before and it’s sapped my enjoyment if I can’t be where I want to be or feel guilty for being where I want to be and having to keep running back to check they’re ok.
When I last saw Jen we spent a lot of time swapping music recommendations and I invited her to join me at a filthy electro rock gig I had the following week. This was real make or break stuff. Seriously, had potential to be a bit moshy so it really could have been ‘break’!
Having spent the week with an ambivalent mix of excitement and trepidation she arrived at mine looking suitably attired for a gig: leather jacket, flats and some rather slinky jeans. Also her accidental Princess Diana haircut had now grown out to a fiery, slightly shaggy, rock chick cut. I was so proud that I wanted to take a photo to start an instructional “Dummies Guide to Gig Going” manual.
Because I had insisted on buying the tickets, she insisted on buying the booze. After the support band we settled into a comfortable spot in the crowd (after I’d finished mincing around, fretting that we’d not get where I wanted to).
When going to gigs with Dragonforce we used to use fluro wristbads to find eachother in a crowd. Her being about 5′ 10″ helped too. Despite being at a tiny venue with Jen, there was a not unreasonable chance of losing her as she is 5′ 3″.
As it turned out, she was brilliant. After the initial surge when the crowd sorted itself into ‘dancy’ and ‘non-dancy’ people, I slotted her into a space in front of me where she had a good view. We bounced around threw embarrassing spazzy shapes with abandon. She was gleefully absorbed in dancing whilst I would bound off for the odd song for tussle , then come back dripping with sweat to see her grinning at me. or whilst I fought off the bodies that would ricochet too near to us and I was worried about her getting hurt (I needn’t have been, she can look after herself)
She was even highly amused when, after kissing me, I unconsciously wiped my hand across my mouth because of sticky lipstick (hers, not mine… Wow, I’m really building myself up as a hot date)
I don’t think the night could have gone better. The more I date her, the more I feel like I’ve discovered a partner in crime. This is five dates now. FIVE! Look at me being a grown up and taking it slowly!
Marriage percentage: 57%
I would ordinarily add WAY more for that kind of excellent gig performance but she is already very high as it is. Is that a fair approach? If I had put on the 15% (at LEAST) that would otherwise be worth then we’ll be almost over the 70% and that leaves little headroom before we hit 100% and I have to propose.
I at least need to ask her more about her cat first.
Having seen Jen and had a lovely time with the dinosaurs, I still had a date arranged with the Irish Girl (who I will call Shannon). Technically this was a first date as the first time had been a chance meeting that turned into her deciding that I was her responsibility. It was a smooth move.
She had suggested an event that was part art installation, part performance, part interactive experience and all booze.
We were numbered and given fake money on entry. Apparently there was a ‘bingo wedding’ later. There was some obscure underlying game going on that we couldn’t figure out but soon discovered that we could illicitly collect more cash by sweet talking the ‘ruling elite’. Soon we were deeply embroiled in the game… or rather I was deeply embroiled. I’ve been known to be a little competitive at times. Hell, I think that’s a fair description of anyone who has a wager over who will get married first.
The second ‘Queen’ that we spoke to had a game of truth or dare going on. We didn’t dare refuse as we had no idea what sanctions might be employed. I had already seen her confiscate someone’s flag of nationality. I took a dare, which she was surprised at but there were too many awkward questions she could have asked. I was dared to sidle up to an unsuspecting woman and softly sing the first line of Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ into her ear… which I dutifully did.
Shannon was then dared to perform Irish dancing in front of a couple sat at the bar… however she copped out by explaining at length before not really doing any dancing. During this time I was schmoozing with the Queen for extra cash. Actually she was flirting back and was incredibly cute in her cape and faux military hat.
I then dared her to do her best dancing in the middle of the warehouse space, which she performed with flamboyance and abandon. I was impressed… and rather fancied her.
Before long I soon had more money than anyone else could possibly have had, 5 different coloured flags and a cardboard and balloon construction that was drawing envious glances and attempted thievery. I had also drunk a lot of cider. During some of this time Shannon had been happily chatting to a couple of SCUBA instructors about doing her PADI. I did hunter gather drinks too but at times she was content to let me run round on missions, slightly bemused by my behaviour.
I also found myself using any excuse to go and talk to the Queen. She knew we were on a date but was undoubtedly flirting with me as we kept having those lingering eye contact moments long after we should have been looking elsewher.
This is where I crossed a line in my mind. Between the cider, the party atmosphere, her cheeky but authoritative persona and my apparent total disregard for any good form at all, I started to try and work out how I could get her number WHILST ON A DATE WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
I’m not proud of this at all and I make no excuses. The truth of it is that the only reason I didn’t overtly try was because I wasn’t sure I could get away with it.
The stupid thing is that I actually had a great date with Shannon. She stole a royal standard and happily tolerated my exuberant excesses. She also clearly spotted that there was something going on as she put herself between me and the Queen on the dancefloor later.
To make my behaviour worse, Shannon then came and stayed at mine and there were hijinks. I walked her to the station in the morning and promised to sort out the next date, but in my heart I knew she deserved better than that kind of treatment. If I was hitting on someone else on a date with her it clearly means that:
- I need to SERIOUSLY re-evaluate my priorities.
- I’m clearly not that into her.
- I should save her from any of this behaviour.
I’m not quite sure how I got to this state. This is less ‘with great power comes great responsibility‘ and more ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
Marriage percentage: 5%. This is entirely my fault and not hers. I had a long chat with myself after all this… but that’s another post in itself.