Thursday, 4 September 2008

Friday 05/09/08

On Thursday lunchtime I go over to Borders to read the NME for free and while I'm there, I notice that the new issue of Attitude is out.  So I pick that up and turn over to the letters page to see if anyone wrote anything about my article last month, and today fate has decided not to spit in my face once again, because somebody has written in, and they're being very nice.

So thanks ___, from Cardiff.

(And no, I didn't write and send the letter myself)

OK and here's the thing.  A few weeks ago I said that I'd publish the article on here, when the next issue of the magazine was out, because I didn't think it was fair to do so whilst the magazine was still in the shops.  So I'll put it up now.

By the way, if anyone from Attitude is reading this and you don't think I should have the article on here even now, please let me know and I'll take it down.  I just know that some readers outside the UK don't have access to the magazine and would like to see it.

Right, for the article I had to write my experience of how available casual sex is to gay people.  Not many possible answers there really, but I tried to make it a bit interesting / quite funny / very London Preppy.  Oh and I had to go to a bar and test this out.  Another writer wrote about online "dating" and another one about saunas.

The way I wrote my piece is that somehow the final sentence came to me first, and when it did I knew I wanted to ended the article that way, so I worked my way back.  Also I managed to reference a lyric from The Smiths in there, which I'm quite pleased with.  In my dissertation for my second degree a few years ago, I sneaked in a lyric from Suede.  I like doing things like that.
The events in the article are as true as the stories on this blog are.  I.e. You can make up your own mind.

Here's the article:

It’s Friday evening and I’ve finished the gym and that’s when I find myself in Soho, where I’m told there are bars in which you can go and meet somebody who really loves you – for tonight anyway.  I meet up with a friend, because I can’t, I won’t do this on my own and the evening begins. 

2005: We enter the first bar.

2006: It becomes painfully clear that what I’m wearing is inappropriate for the purposes of meeting strangers in a bar, strangers that you are hoping will fall in lust and take you home.  In my work outfit (tucked in long-sleeved shirt, shapeless jeans and brown deck shoes) I’m dressed like everyone’s Dad. 

2010: I forget about my clothes and decide to rely on my amazing personality to attract potential suitors.

2018: Having remembered what my personality’s like, I’m now back from the toilet where I changed into the vest I had in my gym bag.  I’m not invisible anymore.

2100: I have now been in this bar for an hour, I have sat there trying to look available, nobody has come over to talk to me.  I am certainly not going to go up to anyone and make the first move: I haven’t drunk alcohol for six years and conversely to the state of my liver, my social skills have been seriously impaired: I can just about mumble responses when somebody is chatting to me, but I could never initiate conversation.  

2110: I decide that the lack of interest is all my friend’s fault – people must think that we are together and they hesitate to come up and talk.  He is dragging me down and he has to be left behind for this to get anywhere.

I also blame the bar, because it doesn’t seem cruisy enough.  I walk to Covent Garden on my own and my next choice is the only bar in London that’s exclusively frequented by gym-obsessed gays who usually go clubbing. It’s very, very small so to get an accurate idea, imagine 300 muscle Marys trapped in a Rubik’s cube.

2155: After half an hour of standing there looking at my feet (it helps that everyone is always taller than me and eye contact is easily avoided because I’m on a different level – literally), I remember that I’m out to meet people, so I move to the toilets, outside where 87% of the punters appear to be spending their evening.

2216: After queuing for a while my turn for a cubicle comes, and as I’m walking in, this guy who I sort of know asks me if he can come in with me.  I like to think of myself as an accommodating person, so I say yes. 

I don’t know what he’s been drinking, but within two minutes we find ourselves in the charming predicament of him having dropped his trousers, fumbling with his flaccid member and repeatedly slurring the words: get it out, come on, get it out, to me.

I fail to get it out, I find the whole thing amusing, I exit the cubicle.

2225: Back upstairs, I’m pretty much done and considering going home.  Glancing around the room to see what I’m going to miss, I spot this guy leaning against the wall smiling at me.  I look away and then back just to make sure, and this time he’s raising both his eyebrows in a suggestive way.  He seriously is.

Until now I thought that raising both eyebrows to flirt with somebody was confined to the cartoon world, so anyone who uses this in real life deserves my full attention.  I smile back.

When the guy comes over a conversation that’s repeated itself hundreds of times before and will repeat itself many more takes place: this is my name / yes I have an accent / that’s what I do / etc.

I mention that I’m just about to go home, the guy asks me where I live and it turns out that we live near each other.  In the interest of my research and cost savings, I ask if he’s also leaving and whether he wants to share a taxi since we’re going the same way.  Which he does, and we do.

2320: In the taxi on the way home, maybe we chat and maybe we don’t – I can’t remember anymore, I just want to get home by this point – he puts his hand on my thigh, I don’t shift. 

We get to West London, we both get out and when he asks me if I want to go over to his, I say thanks, but I’m tired and I’d rather go home.  I don’t think he’s that disappointed.  We walk away from each other with a vague promise to catch up soon.

So it’s nothing new really – going out to a bar and making yourself semi-available means that you can meet somebody to spend your night with.  But because finding casual sex in a gay bar is easy, it doesn’t mean that I have to be too.

So there you have it.  And I'm available for any other articles, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, anything really.

And finally, I have now put the last London Preppy book on ebay.  You can find it here:

Last London Preppy Book

Details of the book here and as I said this includes an added story that I wrote especially for this and will never publish on here.  Oh and if the winner wants and is an animal lover, I can throw in a print out of some lion story...

And finally finally, "seahorse" please email me.  Thanks


Maluminas said...

Really nice article. Très LP. A bit frightening and exciting at the same time. I've never been to a bar, let alone a gay one... It's good to know i can find easy fun if i ever get comfortable with myself, yet its sounds wrong that it should be so easy and anonymous...

AlwaysReadySF said...

Thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed it.

My favorite line: "Until now I thought that raising both eyebrows to flirt with somebody was confined to the cartoon world, so anyone who uses this in real life deserves my full attention".

Very good.

d said...

i first started reading the times (2005, 2006, etc) as years and i thought you were commenting on the wasted years of the gay man at bars, then got it that it was just army time... hehe

i like it

michael01 said...

Brilliant little piece. I'm glad you stuck with your first-person blog format and persona. The part in the loo with Mr."Get-it-out" is quite hilarious. Just one thing: you always refer to yourself as if you were some kind of dwarf. I am the same hight you are (5'8")and I've never felt challenged in the field of verticality. I simply think of myself as average--for the year 1946. (Resisted impulse to use a "!" because I know you hate them. I wonder if I use them because they're so emphatically... vertical? Maybe I DO over-compensate.)

London Preppy said...

maluminas: It's very easy indeed. Good luck

always: I did remember you wanted to see it. So there you go

d: It's always army times. ALWAYS

michael: I hadn't thought of the 1946 idea. I'll use that from now on. Justi magine, 300 years ago we'd have been giants

AlwaysReadySF said...

That was very thoughtful of you. If I didn't know it would be beneath you, I would almost be tempted to think you are showing human emotions.

Funny...I initially had the same thoughts about the times as d had...I guess we all agree what a waste of time gay bars very often end up being.

Oldyeller said...

Thanks, I enjoyed it too, especially the excellent last line. As for the truthfulness of the story, knowing you as I certainly do not, I kinda doubt that you (LP or non-LP) would venture to the 2nd bar on your own, even for the purpose of writing this article.
The word "punters" is new to me-had to look it up-great word.

London Preppy said...

oldy: Yeah, you might have got that assumption right...

DL said...

I really enjoyed it. It was a great blend of humor and life experience. A little eye opener for me since I've never been to gay bars/clubs. So now I know what to expect. ;)

Loved the part about the guy in the bathroom cubicle. And you had a great ending as well. Very nice LP!

London Preppy said...

dl: Thanks buddy

Phoenix said...

You definitely have a talent for writing about the absurdities of life, and it sounds like gay life is more absurd than others! Do you write articles often?

London Preppy said...

phoenix: Thank you. And no, not really. When I'm asked. Which is rarely

Red Exile / Красная Ссылка said...

Oldyeller's comment, about the word 'punter', reminded me how surprised I was when you - for whom English-English was a second language - you twice used the word 'bleeding' as an expletive (as in 'bleeding stupid man' or whatever)...

I stress English-English only because if Greek TV in the 80s and 90s was like the TV in the countries I lived in, even the VOST programs (Voix Origineaux Sous Titre) were US TV dramas, not UK - so hearing English-English, as opposed to US-English was jolly rare indeed...

Your English idioms are quite distinctive, and yet slightly quaint. Very particular. And actually quite Sussex or Norfolk - says the technically-Brit who's lived more years out of the UK than in - or even old fashioned. And not especially, I think, from Manchester (where you did your 2nd degree, no?)?

Idioms are interesting because they are *very* hard to learn and use properly.

So, may we ask, how did you pick up your English idioms? Which are almost 'too good; too authentic'...

London Preppy said...

red: I like this comment / question a lot.

It's true that when you grow up in Greece (maybe other European countries too - that's the only one I can comment on obviously), the influences you get whilst learning English are all American. So, for example, an 11-year-old who half knows English and wants to use a swear word is a lot more likely to say "motherfucker" than bloody this or bloody that.

Myself, as a pure Anglophile and having found groups of other pure Anglophiles in my late teens to hang out with, I was more likely to seek out repeats of Fawlty Towers on some obscure, unwatched satellite channel, and watch that to draw my cultural influences from.

So my group of friends would be aware of English-English idioms, but then of course we wouldn't use them because if you did that it would be a sign that you're trying too hard to be English and that's not cool either (we're getting into very obscure fields of teenage psychology here).

ANYWAY, where I'm going this is:

- My linguistic influences have been English-English for years, even before I came here

- Since I moved here I pick and mix idioms, slang and phrases form whatever region, just depending on what I like

- The same goes for the way I pronounce words. For example, I like pronouncing certain words with a more Northern undertone (e.g. "fuck" is more satisfactory as "fook") and others more Southern (e.g. "dance" is more satisfactory as "darnce"). Of course it all sounds Greek in the end.

So there, I wrote a whole post. Soz

dickophile said...

i loved the article. and the last sentence was definitely good. i still think you should write a book. a real one.

Robbie said...

Great article and liked the last line! Allways the dilemma you might want company but a drunk in a pub is never that appealing unless you're also a drunk in a pub.
All the best and keep up the good work.