Why Internet Dating Is Brilliant

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A requisite of being with someone new is that everyone will ask how you met.  During a recent relationship I took no little pleasure in the look I got from most people when I told them I met my girlfriend through an internet dating site, called OkCupid.

“Oh wow,” they’d say, normally with an arch of the eyebrows that suggested I must be crackers to admit to such a social faux pas in the company of others, “how does that work then?”

I then got to tell the early stages story of me and K-, an anecdote that includes me turning up to our first date on a comedown, being sick and leaving after half an hour.  This got a few laughs (and the odd tut) before a brief lull and return to the matter at hand. “So, like, are you actually going to admit to everyone else how you met?”

This is the cue to go off on an impassioned defence of the online dating forum, an argument that begins with: “Why wouldn’t you use them?”

To many, using a dating site is an admission of non-virility, non-attractiveness, or non-ability to meet members of the opposite or same sex in a ‘normal’ social environment.  This is bullshit.  I’m 28.  I’m not awful-looking. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life in bars, on beaches and at festivals, meeting girls of all shapes and sizes.  It isn’t that hard; the people that like sex and getting drunk inevitably end up copping off with other people that like sex and are drunk.  This is a fact of life.  What I also know if that I’ve not been short of bed-friends over the last few years, yet rarely have these bar/club hook-ups turned into anything other than a slightly embarrassed morning bunk-up, maybe an exchange of numbers, at best a subsequent date or three before you realise that you neither of you can back up the half-truths you told each other back at the Bricklayers.

The thing with a dating site like OKCupid (and I swear I’m not on commission from them for this), is that it puts you in a place where you can meet and speak to people with vaguely the same interests who live in your area. It’s free, it’s essentially a Facebook for single people.  In light of these facts, I return to a previous point; if you have any aspiration to at some point be in a relationship, why wouldn’t you use them?  If you look at it from one (somewhat contrived but for the sake of this piece please bear with) perspective, pubs and clubs are just big singleton hotpots. We all jump in Thursday through Saturday and hope that somewhere in there will be something that results in the right mix. If it doesn’t you’ll climb back in the next week. Dating sites are no different, except you get to check your potential mate out without the hindrance of tequila goggles, and get a feel for the likelihood that they are someone you want to spend more than 10 hours (6 of which you’ll be unconscious for) hours in the company of.

You get a public profile on Cupid, and on that you answer a few fairly generic questions about yourself- favourite books/films/music, what people normally think about you when they first meet you, what you like doing on a Friday night, etc etc. A lot of people say that opposites attract and I know there is a market for that, but in reality if I see a girl that says her favourite band is One Direction and her favourite film is High School Musical, we’re probably not going to be mutually compatible. Similarly, if she says, without irony, that she only listens to classical music and that on a Friday she can normally be found kicking back with Kirkegaard, then she’s not going to like me very much and probably won’t find it funny and/or cute that I have a not-so-secret affection for awful power ballads.

The clever bit of it all though, is that you don’t need to spend hours wading through dross; thanks to some scarily good algorithm, the site suggests people you ‘might like’.  And you know what?  I did like them.   80% of the people it matched me with had similar interests to me and lived within 2 miles of my house.  Most of them were even fairly attractive, some very much so; certainly no worse than half of those I’ve woken up next to over the years.

The next question I normally got around this point is; “what if he/she turns out to be different from her profile, and you don’t like them?”  Who cares? You’ve given up an evening for that person, bought a few rounds of drinks.  If you don’t like them, then they probably aren’t all that fond of you either.  Forget about it, move on.   At worst you’ve lost a few hours that you would have spent tweeting about Dancing On Ice, and spent 30 quid.  At best….

As time is moving on, more and more of my friends are signing up to sites like OKCupid, or Match, or Guardian Soulmates; I guess it’s an age thing.  Although we all like a drink, a dance and a bedroom fumble, people are starting to think that- to quote a better man than I- maybe we ain’t that young anymore.  With the ghost of your mid-twenties trailing behind you, hangs the not-inconceivable spectre of being 35 and still turning up by yourself to your parent’s house at Christmas, staying in your old single bed whilst everyone sits downstairs speculating whether you are in fact gay. So with that in mind I ask you; is that more embarrassing than admitting you met your other half on the internet?

This is published over on Sabotage Times

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Shauna, or The Worst Shag I Ever Had

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I was camping in Wales with a few mates, on a shocking excuse for a holiday.  We went out in Tenby, and got back in the threes.  I hadn’t got laid in three months.

Across the other side of the unlit campsite I heard muffled voices, one shrilling well above the rest; if I hadn’t been on the hunt I would have shouted at her to pipe down.

Rolling up to where voices were coming from, me and my friend found not the bevy of drunk impressionable Welsh playboy bunnies I was hoping for, but instead a single round silhouette wobbling in front of the light of a lantern, unsteadily dancing and doing the windmill whilst singing; “listen to the sound of the underground, the beat of the drum goes round and r-ah-round.”

“Fuck this,” said my mate, “you’re on your own.”

I went over and introduced myself.   She was called Shauna and was pleased for the company.  I asked her if she wanted a Strongbow, she thanked me with her lips and asked me what I did, so I told her some half-truths.  She was there with her friends, who were camped in a semi-circle, and wasted little time in laying into them all. I felt a bit awkward. She wasn’t being very quiet, as proved by one of her mates shouting: ”Shauna, will you shut the fuck up?  I don’t like you much either.”

I suggested we went to her tent, she said her friend was in there with a guy and mine had my tent-mate Mark sleeping in it.  I figured we’d sit in the porch of mine and cross the sex bridge when we came to it.  As it transpired, we came to it pretty quick but I was very aware Mark was not even a metre away, pretending to sleep under a damp sleeping bag, separated from us by a flimsy piece of canvas.

“We can’t do this here,” I said.
“Well what about behind that?”

She pointed his parked car, two metres away.

“If we do it there we will wake up tomorrow with pictures of us on the internet.”

We went to the field next door and I exposed my averagely sized soldier to the chilly Welsh wind. She did the honours with her bra and as I was pawing at her skirt I heard a gurgle coming from her chest, like water trying to escape from a hairy bathplug.

“Sorry about that, just ignore it.  I always get it when I drink.”

We moved through the bases. ‘Hmmm,” she moaned, licking her lips whilst I entered her, willing myself on to the moment of climax so I could go back to my tent and suffocate myself in my sleeping bag.

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle

“Seriously,” I spat, briefly pulling out of her, “what the fuck is that?”
“It’s something-something-itis.  It’s not a problem at all. It’s caused by a build of gas in my chest when I’ve been drinking. It’s fine the doctor says it’s nothing to worry about. Stick it back in.”

I did as I was told, pummelled away as fast as possible before she put her hand on my chest.  “Sorry, hold on a sec.” She turned her head to the side, covered her mouth and let out a round, rich powitzer of a belch that reverberated round the field and the nether regions of my soul. The only person I was more horrified by than her was myself.  It was a builder’s burp, an after dinner excavation.  She took a big swig of Strongbow, wiped her mouth and kissed me deeply.  It tasted like chips.

“I’ve got an idea,” she whispered.

I somehow stayed vaguely hard and I started to feel her hands going down my back, tickling the spine.  It felt like bugs were crawling over me. Gradually they found their way to my arse cheeks, and she started rooting around in the fetid hedgehog that is my arsehole.  I carried on, hoping she wasn’t going  to do what I was pretty sure she was going to do.   I gave her the don’t-do-that wiggle but she carried on probing, prodding me like a calculator.  Soon enough she’d slipped a digit inside me, and was wiggling it around with an absence of anything approaching rhythm. It was as this point that I had a moment of clarity, realised I was being messily fingered in a field in Wales by a girl who disgusted me, and let out a snigger.

“You like that, don’t you? Dirty tiger.”

Laughter nearly turned to tears as she gnawed on my ear and I hammered away as if the fate of the planet depended on me reaching a quick climax and, mercifully, I did so a minute or two later.  I rolled off and immediately started dressing.

“Where are you going?”
“Back to my tent.”
“Why?”
“Because I want to.”
“Well can I come?”
“No.”

She was noticeably taken back by this so leaned forward, grabbed me by the neck and whispered in my ear: “I can make you cum again.”

The gurgle in her chest and pain in my mine told me I had to remove myself from this girl’s company as soon as possible.  I walked her back to hers, ignored her pleas for a shag in the showers and went back to mine.  As I clambered in Mark rolled over.

“Did you shag her?” He asked.
“No,” I lied, “she was on”

It was better than the truth.

This is published over on Sabotage Times

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My Favourite Drug Dealers

I like drug dealers.  I also like drugs; obviously there’s a link between the two. I realise they only want me for my money, but my experiences with them over the last 7 or 8 years have been (almost) unanimously positive.  That’s not to say I haven’t had scary experiences in Holloway flats with handsy gay dealers and their menstruating Alsatians, but guys I’ve used with any form of regularity I’ve found myself getting on with.  Sure they’d be out of there if I wasn’t stuffing tens and twenties in their hands every few weeks, but they always seem to be so nice.  Plus they have drugs. Here’s my favourite three.

Clarence

He calls me ‘Jamesy’ when I call him.  That’s an automatic winner- he’s got a salesman’s knack for making the slow-Joes feel special.  He sends generic texts at Christmas: “just wanted to say happy Xmas and wishing you proper amounts of happiness in the new year.  Look after yourself and be safe. 3 g’s for £140, until NYE.”   This is more than enough for me to think what a really nice man he actually is, but then he’ll follow it up with “I’ve got a special Xmas present for you Jamesy, next time you make an order.”  Obviously this gets me so flushed with excitement and pride in being a chosen one that I’ll call him the next available weekend evening, stamping my feet and tweaking my nipples at the prospect at my special gift, which invariably turns out to be 0.2 of the coke he’s had under his bed for 3 years in a tin marked ‘THIS IS EASY’.

That’s not to say I haven’t had scary experiences in Holloway flats with handsy gay dealers and their menstruating Alsatians…

Of course, the strength of the Clarence myth is based largely around the fact that you hardly ever see him.  You call Clarence- who I imagine to be sitting on a leather swivel chair in front of a projector screen showing the new series of Dallas, wearing a crown at a jaunty angle with I’M THE DADDY embossed in it in imitation sapphires- and he has a minion (a cousin who I am never sure is an actual cousin and am too afraid to ask), drop off the gear to wherever you are.  Every now and again, when the call comes to say he’s outside he’ll drop the bomb: “I’ve got a bit of a treat for you Jamesy. I’m doing the drops tonight.”  Cue whoops and huzzahs from yours truly as I skip out to his car.

“Jamesy” He shouts as I get in, holding out a big bear hand. He looks a bit like Cee-Lo Green. “It’s been too long man. I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too Clarence, you’re looking good. ”

And so it goes.  We pay each other compliments, he invariably asks where I’m going that night and makes some terminally unfulfilled promises about coming to meet me later.  We both pretend to try and blur over the actual transaction; as money and drugs change owners we chit-chat about mutual friends or favourite films. After all, we’re here sitting in this car-park at two in the morning because we’re proper pals, not because I’m buying ropey coke off him, right?

Carlos

Carlos is the softest-spoken man I’ve ever met, and my default fallback dealer.  If no-one else is holding, or it’s 10 in the morning and people are talking about second or third winds, Carlos is your man.  His drugs are atrocious. They’re so bad, you invariably think twice about calling him.  I often don’t.  The only saving grace is the low quality of his product is mirrored by the low prices.

He’s also a lovely man, and will talk to you no matter what the occasion- last time I rang him was his nephew’s birthday and he was only too happy to step outside and take the time to explain why he couldn’t come for a few hours. The last time I met him, he brought his missus along- it turned out they had just had a kid.  Along with the wrap of MD, he also passed me his phone with a picture of his newborn on. It was pretty cute.  He then took a picture of me (I was in a Halloween outfit), said it was his favourite thing in the world and told me he’d send it to me. He didn’t but who wouldn’t be charmed by such niceties?

If he can’t come he might get his mate Ryan to.  Like most of them, Ryan is very nice generally, but Ryan also has tattoos of tears and guns on his face, and apparently got out of prison a couple of years ago (I don’t want to know what for). I once met Ryan at 11am on New Year’s Day in the middle of an estate in Bethnal Green.  He met me, said “Jimi, your nose is pissing blood” and handed me three grams of Charlie.

Ash

I don’t smoke weed anymore, but when I did Ash was my go-to guy for three years.  A tiny little Indian chap from Croydon with expensive taste in alloy wheels, he was as reliable as a bank-robbers bank balance.

When we met up we’d have the same inane chit-chat, where had we been that day and that shit.  Ash normally said he had been in the ‘studio’ but never really expanded.  He was always listening to some awful drum n’ bass when I got in so I always just assumed he was doing something along those lines.

One time he turned up, and after he’d chucked me the baggy and dropped the studio line I asked him what he was doing all that time.  He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked at his reflection in the rear-view mirror. “I, er, I don’t really like to talk about it,” he said and started tapping on his steering wheel.

Ash normally said he had been in the ‘studio’ but never really expanded.  He was always listening to some awful drum n’ bass

“Why?” I asked.
“It’s, erm, I dunno” he looked across at me, “it’s just not what most people I know are into.”

My mind flashed up an image of Ash hanging upside down from a chip-up bar, blowing bubbles and wearing a nappy.

“You know,” he looked across at me sheepishly, “I don’t really talk about it that much Jimi.”
“Go on, what is it? I assumed you were just making stuff like you play in the car.”
“Erm, well, it’s just. Okay.” He turned the drum n’ bass off, and turned round square at me. “I’m going to be honest with you Jimi.  I don’t mind drum n’ bass, but my heart lies with jazz.”

It turns out Ash is a jazz trumpet-player, and his hero is Chet Baker.  He has a little band that he makes secret jazz records in his own studio at home, but he is too embarrassed and shy to tell most people about it.  The drum n’bass he plays is, he says, a “cover,” because he doesn’t want his customers thinking he’s soft.  I tell him I don’t believe him and he opens up his glovebox to show me a compartment of Pacific Jazz CDs.

“You’ll keep this to yourself, yeah?”  He asks, nervously.

I lie and say I will, but from then on our in-car conversation took on an entirely different context and he’d babble on unashamedly about the tune he’d been playing that night, or play me some new free-jazz ramble he’d ripped from the darkest corners of the web.  I’m glad I won his trust (largely because he started giving me bigger cuts), and I was vaguely interested, but I actually regretted it after a while, such was the lengths of time I had to sit in his little Mazda.  He never once asked me what I thought, which was probably a good thing: I fucking hate jazz.

This piece is published over on Sabotage Times

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The Dolphin: East London’s Best-Loved Cattlemarket

For anyone that’s spent a portion of their life in East London, the Dolphin is an institution that at some point you’ve fallen through the door of.

Before you move to E2 or E8 it’s a hallowed sort-of-place, spoken about in surreptitious whispers with a reputation that goes well before it: “Open until 5,” says one. “Nah, 6,” another.  Some liar says they stay open until the last person stops leaves.

When you are live here you basically realise that on Friday and Saturday it’s open very late, is cheaper than a club, and that for the last however many years has been servicing the sexual needs of anyone that lives within a 5 mile radius of Broadway Market.

It’s clientele between those sacred weekend hours of 1-5 is broadly made up of three groups; pissed up semi-hipsters trying to get laid, most of them trying to snuffle gear without getting caught; coked up locals trying to get laid and sell more of their chemical wares to the semi-hipsters; and scarily sober Eastern European types, who hang about at the corner of the dancefloor, looking like they’d sell their mum for a go on the girl in the Boy London cap.    The split of this is roughly 70%/20%/10% and everyone gets on well most of the time, though tempers can fray in the preposterous queue for the one male cubicle.

They don’t muck about with the admissions policy, unless ‘cram the superfluous fuckwits in’ is a valid policy these days.  It gets very busy- the dancefloor is a throbbing clusterfuck of boobs and beards; I find the only way to dance in there is to bounce gently from foot to foot, hunching my shoulders and fists whilst pumping my forearms like the guy out of the 0891 50 50 50 adverts.  Fortunately this is how I dance most of the time, but for others it can be a bone of contention.

It gets very busy- the dancefloor is a throbbing clusterfuck of boobs and beards

The music changes from night to night, but is determinedly aimed at pleasing the masses.  Spend more than 2 hours in there and you are destined to hear at least one song by Fleetwood Mac and 3 by Rihanna.  Spend half a night in their without hearing something by the Barbadian Super Sexpot (trademark: Gordon Smart), and you can truly consider yourself the special child your mum would still say you were, assuming  she doesn’t see your behaviour in the establishment that is the basis of this article.  Things can sometimes descend into sleazy r n’b in which case, unless it’s one of R Kelly’s two really good songs, you’ll see your esteemed writer make his way to the terrace.

The terrace is where the Dolphin comes into its own.  It’s a bit more acceptable.  To be honest, inside can all be a bit much.  It’s so busy, everyone is relentlessly pissed; there’s Jagerbomb competitions, lunging competitions, and who’s-got-the-coolest-blog competitions going on all over the shop.  If you are going to take part in one of these contests, you might as well at least do so with a cigarette in your hand.

Promotional literature for the Dolphin surely doesn’t exist, but if it did it would probably say: “Owner Of The World’s Biggest Terrace.”  If they knew would they were doing they’d follow that up with “And The Easiest Place To Meet And Shag Drunk People From Roughly The Same Arts And Humanities-Educated Background.”

The terrace is huge.  Seats and tables bank round the sides, whilst in the middle are barrels and more tables.  Everyone squeezes up next to each other and bums lighters, fags and eye-lash flutters.  It can take half an hour to get from one side to the other, especially as everyone in their seems determined to talk to as many members of the opposite sex as possible.  The word cattlemarket was invented for The Dolphin; single friends despise it, crowing whenever anyone mentions going here.  I hated it when I had a missus; the closest I have ever got to an actual adult fight (pushing a bloke over a table) was when we there together and he wouldn’t stop trying his luck with her.

The Dolphin is for red-eyed hunting types who haven’t planned the whole of the night and who aren’t sure whether Dalston is really their bag.  It’s the place where the lonely, the horny and the high can come together and drink something strong before falling on each other’s genitals.  It should not be visited often.  3 times a year is more than enough because in the real actual sense it’s a bit of a shithole, but the East London nightscape would be a sadder place for its absence.

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Caroline #2

I was going to Green Man festival on the Friday.  The day before, me and the girl I thought I was going to marry broke up.  I had the bit between my teeth.

Me and Caroline met in the crowd to some band; I told her a few half-truths, we had a dance and I said lets go back to mine where with satisfying haste we were causing a ruckus in my tent.  10 minutes later I heard my mates coming back and when they noticed the kerfuffle going on in chez-Jimi, one of them, Sean- who probably knew the ins and outs of the inglorious mindfuck that was my recently deceased relationship better than anyone- let out a bellow of “yes Jimi!” He then proceeded to sing the duh-duh-duh-duh-duh bit out of ‘Kids’ again and again.  I asked if she felt awkward, she said not really which was fine by me.

We went back out to rejoin the party, before alighting back at hers for another shag and a pass-out.  In the morning I met her friends who were all equally as nice as her.  I gave her my number and scuttled off, smug as a bag of carrots and not really expecting to see her again.

We fell in with the group camping next to us, and were having a lovely day so I avoided her texts.  Night-time marched and my friend had bought some pills off some sorry-looking girl who looked like she’d been awake since Britpop. We went and sat by the bonfire, but an hour later the Es seemed to be duds and, cross with myself and our dead-eyed vendor, I texted Caroline.

my friend had bought some pills off some sorry-looking girl who looked like she’d been awake since Britpop

Not long later it turned out the dud pills weren’t dud at all, and I cheered and whooped as some fucking cob dressed as the Pied Piper danced across the fire. I found myself talking the arse off a lady who looked a bit like Patti Smith and wrote books on the occult. I told her I had written a book, based largely about me; she patted me on the head and said “of course you have, dear.”   I started regretting texting Caroline.

I was sitting on my knees with my back to the fire and carried on chatting to Patti who was dreadfully nice, taking pity on my increasingly sideward state and rolled me cigarettes.  My phone went again and it was Caroline saying she was here.  I looked at it, put it back in my pocket and went back to hear something about banishings.  3 minutes later I got another text, from Sean, saying ‘Jim, look behind you.’  I turned round and it was Caroline, hovering over my shoulder, bouncing slightly from foot to foot and smiling nervously.  I said hello over-excitedly, sat her down, introduced her to Patti and went to speak to Sean who was a few hay bales along and laughing.

“What’s so funny?”
“Do you know how long she was standing there?” Sean asked.
“No.”
“She sent that text while she was standing behind you.”
“Oh. Why?”
“She said hello to us, then said you looked so involved in your conversation she didn’t want to just barge in and interrupt. She saw you read it and put it back in her pocket.  She looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders- afterwards she just stood there until I text you.”

I looked over at Caroline who was looking over me, wide-eyed and terrified as Patti leant over towards the fire, spitting ash, brimstone and Satan-knows-what into the fire, and wildly punching her palm with her fist.  I did a “shall we go?” So we went, with Sean in tow, and proceeded to wander the festival site, me and Sean talking mainly in code that she did her best to understand.

Patti leant over towards the fire, spitting fire, brimstone and Satan-knows-what into the fire

Eventually we got back to ours and our neighbours gave us a bag of ketamine which they weren’t going to finish, and we laid out some lines that you could have done chin-ups on.  Caroline assured us that she had done it before, and happily gobbled up the chunkiest line.  We were in Sean’s tent, and 15 minutes later she passed out face down on Sean’s mud-strewn wellies. He said he wanted to go to sleep, but I couldn’t wake her up so I had to drag her out unconscious by her hands, and lug her onto my blow-up. Obviously I didn’t try anything then.  I’ve got my limits, honest guv.

In the morning, she asked me why she had mud smeared across her top and trousers; she was mortified when I told her (I figured I’d let her discover about the state of her face later).  I thought it was funny then, and quite endearing in its own way.  She hung about for a bit too long and eventually I told her we were going to pack up now, and asked her if her friends might not be worrying her.  She got the hint and I waved her off with a cheery toodle-do, and told her she had my number if she wanted to give me a bell in London.  In retrospect it would have been more of a declaration of honest intent if I’d asked for hers as well. 2 minutes after she went Sean popped his head out and said: “You cold, callous bastard.”

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Caroline

Last night I went out with Caroline. We’ve been casually dating, on-and-off since the summer. I think she would probably like the relationship to develop further, though I’m being very non-committal and she hasn’t mentioned anything so I’m happily splashing about in the pool of ignorance. She’s ridiculously sweet, too sweet for me and too sweet to me: Cambridge grad, 22 years old, new-ish to the big city (bright lights, etc), fantastic in the sack.

Last night we went to a magazine’s Halloween party, which was full of inanimate fashion wankers. I hovered up the free absinth, tried not to look openly at the swathes of models hanging around uninterested in me and lost my denim jacket, which had all my money (not much), bank cards (singular) and Oyster (topped up to £1.45). She had got us the invites to the party and started apologising to me for me losing my jacket, which was totally ridiculous and indicative of just what a nice person she is.

Me having not a single penny on my person, when it came to leave she had to pay for my bus back to hers; she poo-poo’d my suggestion that she get a cab (a justifiable option I thought, it was pissing down).

At hers she jumped in the shower to warm up, and when she came back to her room she was just in a Hard Rock t-shirt, which came off quicksmart. She tossed me off and I spuffed a veritable Frankenstorm of jizz, all over her and her sheets. We moved to the other end of the bed.

After a suitable period of respite and self-evaluation, we moved through the bases again and I was all jacked up and ready to go. She got up to find a condom in her wardrobe.

She tossed me off and I spuffed a veritable Frankenstorm of jizz, all over her and her sheets

It’s at this point that I should probably mention that the last time I saw her, I lost my hard-on when we were fucking. We’d always had really good sex until that point- it was possibly the biggest tick in her box- and everything that time was going fantastically, then I started to feel myself edging closer to zero hour. I suggested we stop for a bit and do some other stuff (sexy stuff, not candlestick-making), which we did. However, when I tried to get myself back onside as it were, it just wouldn’t happen. I don’t know why. To be fair, that night I had polished off a couple of bottles of wine and a five course meal, but such a emasculating moment was then a (relatively) unknown quantity, outside of an incident in the wake of a 18 hour binge a couple years back. Fortunately, Caroline had been fine about it, and I found it funnier than I should have.

So she was faffing looking for the sodding johnny, rifling through shoeboxes and shit. I could feel myself getting a little flaccid. Normally this isn’t an issue, but because of what went before I started to panic, to (perish the thought) think. I gave the fella a conciliatory stroke, a flick, some more of stroke, then slapped the gutless fucker right round the chops. No matter, I could feel myself going determinedly down-mast.

She jumped up like a cheerleader, shouting “found it!” She galloped over to the bed, only to be puzzled by the new developments; what had once been a General was now the Private’s wankrag.

Between us we did all we could to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, after a fair bit of huffing and puffing (from both sides) it became clear that this gun wasn’t for reloading tonight. I looked at her dumbly, embarrassed but nearly as embarrassed as I would if it had been someone I really liked.

what had once been a General was now the Private’s wankrag.

Caroline, God bless her, looked at me and said it was fine. We then laid down and she did all the nice kissy and strokey things on my arms, neck and chest that people do to another person when they like them. I love all that shit and in reality it’s what this whole shagging around business is working towards, but only when it’s with someone I feel the same about. In this case it was just fucking annoying and stopping me from going to sleep.

Thank God, Allah and the Dalai himself, come the morning I rose to the occasion. I would describe my shift as fair-to-middling and as I bolted my load there was a tangible gasp from both us, glad that we’d cleared up the issue, as it were, and that it wasn’t going to become a thing.

10 minutes later I made up a meeting I had somewhere. She gave me 10 pounds pocket money for the tube, and a big kiss. I left a happier, richer and dryer man than when I arrived.

This article first appeared on Sabotage Times, which you can find here

 

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Zara


I was at Camp Bestival with my brother and his two sons. We’d had a brilliant first day, pleasantly unsullied by booze.  My youngest nephew started the tantrums about 9pm, so we took them back to the tent, and after listening to them sweetly sing themselves to sleep I decided I ought to balance out the familial fuzziness with a tup around the festival arena.

After a couple of hours spent with some 16 year olds who tolerated my presence because of my ability to get served drinks, I found myself on a bed outside a bar talking to a pretty girl that had been told to sit down by a chick in a wedding dress that was feeding me rum.  Apparently we were ‘well-matched’ attractiveness-wise. Me and the pretty girl got on and ended up spending the next hour or so together.  Her friend turned up, which pissed me off as I was getting vibes that I was pretty sure weren’t just in my head.

We were moving into the twos and the time was coming to lay some cards.  I waited for her friend to go to the toilet and enquired as to where she planned to be and who she intended to be there with in roughly 40 minutes time.  She said she was going back to hers.

“With me?” I asked, anticipating the arrival of a positive response.
“Errr, no.”

20 minutes later we were to part ways, though we did swap numbers and actually met up in London.  I took her on a date to watch Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Olympics, but got the time of our session wrong, and no matter how much I huffed, puffed, begged and offered to pay for professional sympathy at the box office they wouldn’t give me replacement tickets. So we went to Pizza Express instead.  It was our only date.

I took her on a date to watch Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Olympics, but got the time of our session wrong

Back at the festival, it was getting on and my window was slowly shutting.  I wandered up to one of the main marquees and challenged a hot blonde to a thumb war, which she won.  Undeterred I challenged her to a repeat- she won again, easier this time and was clapped by the circle of people that were watching.  She was great, loud and Essex-y accent which always appeals to the Kent in me. We were talking/shouting at each other, and I got the vibes again. I’m good at getting vibes.

Her friend turned up, who was generally less attractive and certainly not as welcome.  She introduced herself as Zara. It turned out Zara and the Hot Blonde worked in the chip-van and lived near each other.

“Look,” Zara said, pointing at a chip-van and talking in a voice more Ford plant than Faces, “we work in that chip-van.”

I believed her.  When I turned back round Hot Blonde had been pulled away by someone seemingly funnier than me, and I dragged Zara to a tent with a silent disco.  By this point I thought I was flying; the DJ dropped Dancing On My Own, which I most certainly was not as I twirled and twisted her into every person within a 10 metre radius.

Towards the end of the (brilliant) Robyn tune she pulled one of her earphones off and gestured to me to do the same.  I obliged and leaned in- there may have not been amplified music playing, but the air was heavy with pissed-up Dads failing to harmonise with the Swedish sex-elf.

“You’re gay, right?”
“Erm,” this was a little bit out of the blue but not totally unprecedented (I do look a bit gay) , so not an undue concern, “no. Why do you say that?”
“Well, you look it a bit, and definitely act it.  I mean, look at your dancing. It’s well gay.”
“Well I’m not,” I imagine I tensed my shoulders here, “I’ll fuck you right there on that floor.”
“I don’t think you will,” she said.

10 minutes later we were outside and I was leading her up to my tent.  She stopped.

“I ain’t sure about this.”
“Why not?”
“I dunno.”
“Oh come on, we both know it’s going to happen.”
“Hmm,” she looked at me accusingly then gave a resigned nod, “yeah, fair enough. But can’t we go to mine?  I can’t turn up there in the morning, my boss camps next to me and will know I’ve been out fuckin’.”
“Where is your tent?”
“The other side of the festival.”
“I’ll take you back after.”

We got back to my tent and I crawled around trying to find my torch, which I needed to find my condoms.  When I told her this she castigated me for wanting to use said protection and suggested we shouldn’t bother, which only hardened (pun stumbled upon) my resolve to make sure we utilised them.

she castigated me for wanting to use said protection and suggested we shouldn’t bother

We had pretty good sex, I put in a decent shift.  Her obsession with the condom I had pretty much tied to my pubes continued. She was merrily bouncing away on top when she pulled off me and went straight for my cock.  At first I was pleased then realised she was clawing at the johnny.

“What are you doing?”
“I hate them, they don’t feel nice. ”
“Well we’re fucking keeping it on.”
“Nah, please Jimi.  They’re awful, so uncomfortable; it’s like havin’ a Tesco bag up me snatch.”
“Right,” I said, fighting the urge not to weep at that last revelation, “do you not normally use condoms with guys them?”
“I try not to.”
“Well then we’re definitely leaving it on.”

Sex in a tent is impossible to keep quiet with all the rustling of canvas. It being so late I didn’t think the noise level was much of a big deal, until I heard my brother get out of the tent he was sharing with the kids.  I would find out the next day that he’d been awake when we got back and suffered through the whole thing with his sleeping bag dragged over his head.  To this day, at least once every few months he we will re-tell the part of the pre-coital chat where Zara claimed that I wouldn’t remember her name the next day. Apparently I replied: “How could I forget your name, it is etched on my soul.”

Safe to say, Zara is a pseudonym.  At least I think it is.

This article originally appeared on Sabotage Times, which you can find here

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