dimanche 31 mai 2009

Living in a bloggers paradise

So, DAY and me had a great week - with me working (and trying to shift this bronchitis) and him sightseeing.  Meeting after work to go in search of evening entertainment.

One of my promises to DAY was that I'd take him to the Depôt - the infamous Paris gay sex club / nightclub.  You can imagine that it's not somewhere I go to very often (yeah, right).

Anyway, Friday was the night that we'd planned our Depôt excursion.  And we had a lovely evening - we started at the usual bar, where we met up with friends (the Fierce People) and had a few drinks.  We then headed off for dinner at Paris' cheapest Chinese restaurant.  Midnight found us dancing to trashy disco at a Bear's bar in the Marais.

By one thirty, we were about ready to head to the Depôt.  And it was about the right time too - any earlier and the place would have been empty, it being a 'late night venue' and all that.

As we paid our money and headed downstairs to the lower bar (and the labyrinth...) I turned to DAY.  It seems he'd seen the same thing as I had - and neither of us really knew what to say.

On the dance floor was a wiry, thin guy dancing away to some euro pop.  He was wearing a bright white baseball cap and the brightest, whitest sneakers.  That was all that he was wearing.  Apart from the white at either end he was naked.  Dancing away and wobbling his tackle in time to the music.

"That boy looks just like a Q-tip" said DAY.  I told you he was funny.

Anyway, after a couple of drinks, we split up for us to each take a bit of a tour of the establishment.  This turned out to be less than satisfactory for both of us - the boys touting their erections in the doorways of the cubicles didn't really do it for me, nor for DAY it seems.  A bit of a moment with a Mexican later, we met up again and decided to hit the road.

We got home at four and fell into bed and into a coma.

The next day, we walked our hungover asses to Père Lachaise cemetery, where we admired Chopin, Wilde, Piaf and Morrison.  The sunshine and fresh air did us good.  It was only when we took the métro for the schlep across town to Etoile that it went wrong.  

Halfway through the thirty-minute journey I looked at DAY.  He'd turned green and there was sweat dripping down his face.

"You ok?" I asked, worried that he'd throw up over the train.

"Mmm hmm" he said.  From his mumbled answer I could tell that he didn't need to be talking.  That all he needed was to concentrate on not sharing his breakfast with the other passengers.

The nausea seemed to come and go (for both of us) during the day, but luckily it passed in time for us to head out for DAY's last night in Paris.

As we sat eating dinner at the Palais de Tokyo - on the terrace, looking out at the Eiffel Tower, glittering away - I realised that this boy was a keeper, a friend for ever.  It's been a short visit, but one that has been so full of fun, laughter, ridiculousness and hilarity.  

I wish he lived nearer.  As I waved him off at the airport I felt so pleased to have this new friend in my life, but equally I wished that I had a friend like him who lived in Paris.  Someone who 'got' me.  Someone to share ridiculous moments with.  Someone who makes me laugh and who puts up with my idiot-ness.

I've said this before, I know.  That despite all the other great things this blog thing has brought me, it's the friends I've made through it that surpass anything else blogging has to offer.

And for that, I praise blogger every day.

mercredi 27 mai 2009

Chocolate, chips and pierced pudenda

Yesterday I was in Brussels with my lovely visitor, the DumbAss Yank. Please don't think this name as derogatory - it has been mutually agreed upon and is a term of affection. Honest. And he's a bit of a dumbass yank too. If I'm honest...he he.

Anyway, yesterday DAY and me went to Brussels on the Thalys for a day of sightseeing, beer and chips with mayo. And lovely it was too. DAY is a classy dude with a great sense of humour - as those of you who read his blog will know. I've been laughing pretty much non-stop since he arrived.

Arriving, as the trains from Paris do, at the poorly located Gare du Midi, we started to walk into town. Brussels was grey and wet - a real change from the hot and sunny Paris of the previous day. We'd adopted (or been adopted by?) a young American guy, who was also in Brussels for the day, but who seemed unsure as to why he was going there or what he was going to do when he arrived.

The three of us, on our hike into town, happened upon the Taschen store. Now, I'm guessing that most of you - being the classy folk that you are - know of Taschen. they're a high-end publisher of art/architecture/design/filth books. Their store in Brussels is new and very fancy. We went in to have a look.

As we perused their artistic volumes, steering clear of the deluxe 'Tom of Finland' so as to not scare the young American hanger-onner, we were approached by the shop assistant.

He asked if he could show us one of their books. It was a weighty tome, with its own pedestal and fancy presentation box.

The book was "The Book of Olga" - a curious collection of photo's of a Russian Oligarch's wife, taken by the marvellous Bettina Rheims.

The sales assistant started to leaf through the book, whilst the three of us looked at the photo's. As he told us the story of how the book came about, we marvelled at the images contained within.

Olga was largely naked. Largely having a great old time, being tied up, tied down, and getting funky with various 'models' (both real and plastic).

As he opened the pages to reveal a double page 'spread' (quite literally) featuring Olga's pierced pudenda in all its meaty glory, I had to stop myself shaking.

I had started to giggle on the inside and knew that I couldn't look at DAY, for fear that one little smirk from him would send me running into the street.

As we declined to buy a copy of the book - a snip at 600 euros - and left the shop, I realised that this was as European an experience that these two Americans would be likely to get.

I mean, it's not like you'd walk into a bookshop in Tulsa and be presented with a fey young man extolling the virtues of a pornographic book, telling you why the photograph with the legs akimbo was artisticallly relevant and saying how the picture of Olga with her legs in the air and her tits somewhere around her ears was 'a celebration of a man's love for his wife'.

I mean really.

Only in Europe.

jeudi 21 mai 2009

Left to my own devices, I probably would

So, Debbie has left me.  

She's gone off on her holidays to some far flung island with her fancy foreign lover - who, worryingly, also works for me, but not in Paris.

Of course, the fact that they work together and don't want to encourage gossip means that it's all top secret.  Cloak and dagger.  Ridiculous.  Trouble is, they're not fooling anyone.  Pretty much everyone in the company knows of their 'affair'.  It's the most exciting thing to happen since the factory employees stood round in a circle one lunchtime to watch one of the boys off the line get blown by his girlfriend.  Truly, this happened.

Anyway, I'm not getting drawn into it.  Anyone asks me where she's gone, I don't know.  They ask me who with, I don't know.  I may be keeping schtum on the outside, but inside I'm dying.  Pretty much like Chandler when he's not allowed to make jokes.  I so want to gossip about this, but it's just not fair.

I guess I'm lucky that I'm the only gay in the village at work.  There's no chance of me ending up in some career-defying clinch with a colleague, unless of course, there's an 'adventurous' 'married' man amongst their ranks (trust me, there usually is). 

The old adage of 'don't get your honey where you get your money' still applies, I suppose.  Even in these enlightened times, it's hard to date / sleep with / get caught doing something inappropriate with a colleague and not have it affect your reputation.  I guess it could also enhance your reputation.  Depends.

That said, I've had my moments.  There was once a Scottish guy who worked with me a long time ago - in the UK, at a different company.  He was cute, horny, a rocket in the sack.  Turns out he was sleeping with both me and my (female, married) secretary.  Eee-uw.  That was embarrassing.    

And then the Scandinavian customer who threatened to take his business elsewhere.  But let's not go there.

Debbie is doing herself a mix of good and bad with this whole thing.  The management of the company are pleased that the pair of them are refusing to comment - seeing this as a professional act on their behalf, keeping work and private lives separate.  However, in terms of who the company is gossiping about - well it's Debbie.  Poor girl.

I'm doing as much damage control as I can, but I know that she'll sort them out when she gets back.

When I said to her that people will talk about the situation, she replied,

"In France it is fine to have many lovers before you marry.  I am young.  I like sex.  If this offends people, then it is their problem."

I fear it may be her problem too.  But hey, I'm not one to judge.

After all, it's not like Sweden has remained a secret.

mercredi 20 mai 2009

La France laïque

When Chirac welcomed Pope John Paul II to France all those years ago (1996?97?  I know, I should google this, right?) he bade him welcome to "secular France - la France laïque".

Things haven't changed since then, if anything the division between state and church is more reinforced than ever, with schoolgirls being sent home for wearing headscarves and all religious paraphernalia banned in the workplace.

In a modern society, this secularity is a good thing, it seems.  Religion is religion and the rest of the day-to-day is well, not religion.  Let's keep it that way.  Religion plays no part in affairs of state here in France.  Unlike in the UK, where the Queen is both Head of State and Defender of the Faith.

So with all of this "we are not a religious state" attitude, you'll be surprised to note that tomorrow is a national holiday.  Why?  It's Ascension of course.  The country will come to a standstill for the day in order to celebrate Jesus ascending to Heaven (that is what ascension is, right?).  

Government will not be sitting, civil servants will not be working.  For what is undoubtedly a religious holiday.  In a secular society.

You can do the maths yourself, I'm sure, but this doesn't add up to anything logical, does it?

Naturally, I felt the need to discuss this with Debbie today (I know how much you all love that girl.  I did this for you).  This is how the conversation went...

"So, celebrating Ascension in a secular country.  How does that work?"

"It is not a religious holiday.  It is part of our culture" she said, looking at me like I'm crazy to not understand.

"But it has to be a religious holiday.  It's celebrating Christ ascending to Heaven.  How is that not religious?"

"Because it is part of our culture.  We are a Catholic country, after all."

"Hmm.  Not really though.  You are a secular country, where the main religion is traditionally Catholic, but even so, only half of the nation claim to be Catholic" - I'd looked my facts up before starting the conversation - useful with Debbie. 

"Yes, and being secular is very important to the Republic.  It is a cornerstone of who we are"  she quite rightly replied, giving herself the benefit of being on both sides of the argument - therefore undeniably correct.

"I agree"  I said.  "The division between church and state is important here in France.  But I don't see why that doesn't extend to people getting days off to celebrate religious events."

And there's the crux of the argument for me - 'we'll be as secular as we like, until it affects our days off, then screw it'.

"You are just being difficult.  Why do you have to question everything?"  She seemed to be getting annoyed.  "Just accept things.  Enjoy the day off.  Maybe you should go to England and eat cucumber sandwiches."  

I wasn't sure where she got that one from, but as insults go, it didn't really work.

"Anyway, I don't care"  she said.  "I am not Catholic, but I will take as many of these Jesus days as they are willing to throw at us".

"Lucky that Pentecost is just around the corner then" I replied.

I ducked as the stapler went flying past my ear.

mardi 19 mai 2009

Moving on up

I'm trying to move offices at the moment. Running the gauntlet of the French real estate world (again).

How difficult would you think it is to find some decent offices with warehouse space attached?

Well, it's kind of impossible.

As Phil and Kirstie would say, most of these places require 'vision'. Vision that means looking past the dead pigeons on the floor (really), ignoring the fully operational toilet in the corner of the office (really), forgetting that the floor moves on the mezzanine level (boy did it).

The French realtors are a breed unto themselves. They are regularly 30 minutes late for appointments, have to be chased for any follow up and generally have little or no information. They certainly never have the answers to my questions.

On Friday last week we stood outside a building - in the rain - for thirty minutes before deciding to go home. I was furious.

Fifteen minutes later - 45 minutes after the time of the appointment - my mobile phone rang.

"Hello sir, I have arrived. Where are you?" It was the realtor.

"Oh, I gave up and left fifteen minutes ago" I replied.

"But I came all this way to meet you!" he said, indignant.

"Yes, and I was there on time. You weren't".

"Well, this is very bad. I will not work with you again. I am here now, but you have chosen to cancel the appointment at the last minute. We shall not do business together".

He got even more upset when it turned out that I wasn't in the slightest bit saddened by this news. I told him that I wasn't bothered. That if his idea of good service is leaving me outside in the rain for half an hour then he needs to think again. That he isn't the only realtor in Paris and I'd be very happy not to work with him again.

"Now, monsieur, let us not be hasty...." he said, trying to win back the situation.

I went back to the office and instructed another realtor.

Let's hope this one turns up on time.

Let's hope he finds me an office.

I mean really, how difficult can it be?

lundi 18 mai 2009

Sad songs

My cousin died at the weekend.  She's finally at peace, out of pain, missed sorely by her family.

Her little boy has decided that they now need to move house.  He's decided that now Mom's dead, the house will be haunted forever.  There's no telling him otherwise.

I'm sad that I won't be able to get over there for the funeral, but I guess that goes with living overseas, right?  Needless to say, my heart and thoughts will be with them all on that day.

The songs they've chosen for the funeral are some of the songs that my Mom used to listen to a lot around the time of my Dad's death, so I can only imagine how it's going to be for her.  My brother will be there to hold her hand, but I personally feel pretty helpless, pretty useless.

Anyway, I'm sad but not depressed.  Angry but not ranting.  

I'm questioning how my Aunt keeps her faith.  She's a devout Christian.  I asked her whether her faith was a comfort, whether she found the answers when she prayed.  She told me that she's certain that there's a reason for my Cousin being taken so young, but that God has yet to tell her what the reason is.  

She countered this by saying "and he'd better bloody well hurry up and tell me the reason or I'm going over to the Muslims".  

Laughter kind of seems inappropriate, but as she laughed at her own joke, she seemed to ease up.  

She smiled, sighed, and said "she was a lovely girl you know.  To see her suffer like that isn't right.  Suffering like that for so long.  She'd have been better off dropping down dead in the supermarket."

"Just like my Dad did," I reminded her.

"Oh yes," she said.  "Now that was a ridiculous way to go, wasn't it?"

I had to agree.  Attention seeking to the very end.  

It must run in the family.

dimanche 17 mai 2009

I'm in love (with a fairytale)

Eurovision weekend.  The weekend of glitter, sequins, sparkle and camp.

Ah yes, this year was no exception.  All the freaks were there.

From the big old Greek poofter dancing on top of a big hair straightener (it would take a lot to straighten this boy out, trust me) to the strangely asexual German 'heartthrob' bumping and grinding with Dita von Teese.  From the big Maltese girl belting her heart out, to the English girl getting a violin bow in the eye (really, she did).

We had the elegant superstar Patricia Kaas crooning for France being beaten by the ridiculous Azerbaijanis who seemed to have forgotten that the 80's are over.  But maybe they're not over yet in Baku?  Azerbaijan is the 'land of fire' as their points person told us at least fifteen times during her ten-second slot.

As a side issue, I did once know of a girl from Baku with a ten-second slot, but this one was slightly different.

The Russians put on a fabulous show, and everyone seemed to be having a lovely time.  Alas, if only the Swedish girl had hit those notes (any of them).  If only the Turks had been able to sing as well as dance.  If only Britain hadn't put Andrew Lloyd Webber on the stage.

But, for once, partisan voting seemed to be a thing of the past.  Sure, Croatia gave top marks to Bosnia and Greece got douze points from Cyprus, but this year it seemed musical talent won the day.

Very early on it was obvious that Norway were going to win.  

The little boy singing did indeed look like a hobbit.  But that's not such a bad thing.  He had a great song, and some very good dancers to giddy things up a bit.  He was bound to win.

And win he did - with a huge majority.

It all put me in mind of the year that Abba won with Waterloo.  

As the French commentators said yesterday evening - "Abba were lucky that year - France had pulled out due to national mourning and so the Swedes had an easy ride to the winning spot".

God bless the French.  With Patricia Kaas ending up way down the table there'll be a lot of ooh-la-la-ing to look forward to over the next few days.

No doubt they'll come up with a good excuse.  

National pride does have to be protected at all costs, after all...

vendredi 15 mai 2009

Tell it like it is

As I mentioned in the last post, I wore a suit to work a couple of days ago.

Such is the rarity of the event that I had a bit of a panic when I got the suit out of the wardrobe. The thing is, I have a few suits, but they are mostly at my Mother's house (because I never wear them). So, I only actually have the one here in paris - the one that I bought for my cousin's wedding last September.

Unfortunately - well actually I think it's fortunately - I have lost a fair bit of weight since the wedding. This means that the suit wasn't exactly a snug fit. Keeping my trousers up was a major issue (keep the jokes to yourself). Not classy.

Anyway, I arrived in the office and Debbie, from her coign of vantage behind her desk, surveyed the chic-ness that was my elegant get-up.

Now, despite the fact the suit was a little large, I still think I looked very chic. Dark blue suit, lovely shirt (white, with fine pin stripes in brown and electric blue) good shoes (Kenneth Cole, thank you) all topped off with my usual elegant demeanour and winning smile.

"Is your suit navy blue?" said Debbie.

"Yes, it is," said I. Navy blue has always been my favourite colour for suits.

"It would be better in black".


"You look like my Grandfather. Blue is for old people. You should have bought a black suit."

Jesus, sweetheart, tell it like it is. Hold no punches. Don't spare my feelings.

Today I'm sat here in jeans, trainers and a black Nike track jacket, looking casually stylish, stylishly casual. It's Friday, after all.

"I suppose that today you think you are 20 years old," said Debbie as she entered the office.

I declined to comment.

mercredi 13 mai 2009

Do you need me to spell that? G. A. Y.

My boss is due to arrive at lunchtime. We have a meeting with our French accountants in their swish offices at the back of the Champs Elysées - I've even put on a suit for the occasion (navy blue, for those of you interested, Calvin Klein shirt, no tie).

Anyway, me and my boss go back years. She's been my boss for, like, ever and we know each other very well. We've travelled all over together and seen each other at our respective bests and worsts.

Goodness only knows, then, why she still insists on telling me how pretty/intelligent/charming the latest female addition to the staff is. She's desperate for me to get married, despite the obvious barrier.

One of my earliest memories of Boss Lady sees us at the Dorchester in London, chatting to Sir Bernard Ingham - former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, who now fills his time with after dinner speaking, spouting views on immigrants and 'the poor' and generally making a nuisance of himself.

"Hello Sir Bernard", said BL, swooning. "I'm from Yorkshire too, you know!"

"Hello dear, lovely to meet a Yorkshire lass". Both Sir Bernard and BL have accents that could cut glass, such is their poshness. Both are typical conservative, boarding school, old money sorts. Neither has been to Yorkshire for decades, yet to hear them talk it was like they were regulars on the set of Emmerdale.

"This is TBNIL," said BL, introducing me. "We're lucky to have him with us today - he's usually jetting off somewhere, flying the company flag overseas".

"Oh really," said Sir Bernard. "And how does the missus feel about this?"

I tried to answer but BL got in there first.

"Oh he's not married you know - girl in every port this one, ha ha"

"Yeah," said I. "Something like that".

So the function continued and I find myself alone with BL. I ask her why she said that I have a "girl in every port".

"Well, you know dear - I don't want him to think that you're a queer!" she said.

"But I am," said I. "I am a queer. I'm a homo, a fag, a gay, a big old pufftah - as well you know!".

"Now really," she said. "There's no need to be coarse".

And that was the end of that conversation. Ever since, she keeps telling me about the new girls in the office, inviting me to dinner with her and a single friend, asking me if I've found a nice French girl yet. Every time she gets the same answer.

"I'm gay. You know I'm gay. Stop doing this."

I think she just does it to wind me up now. Surely no-one can be that stupid?

Anyway, I'm taking her to dinner in Paris tonight and my Lovely Paris Friend (now living in the South) is coming along. After a couple of hours with both of us, she'll soon realise that I dance at the other end of the ballroom.

Well, let's hope, anyway. I'm kind of bored of being an elgibile bachelor.

mardi 12 mai 2009


It's not often I approach the 'new post' field without a story to tell you. With nothing more than what's going on in my head, in my little world. But here goes. General musings, virtual ramblings, rubbish by any other name.

Firstly, I've been thinking about Thora Hird a lot these last few days. How she reminded me of my Grandmother. I'm thinking of her because tonight I'm going to the theatre to see Talking Heads by Alan Bennett - and her 'A cream cracker under the settee' is, for me, the best of all the Talking Heads series. It always has me weeping uncontrollably though, so I'm hoping it's not on the bill tonight. I'm taking tissues just in case.

I've also been thinking a lot about Florida and how I might ever manage a transatlantic relationship. The American Boy and me have been talking daily since he went back. I enjoy talking to him and he makes me laugh lots. But really, where is this going? He's back at the back end of the summer, so let's see. Never say never, but equally, let's not make life hard for ourselves.

My other big topic is how my life seems to be drifting a little bit out of control. I'm getting way behind on the day to day stuff. I have a ridiculous social life, and never really manage to find time to do the laundry, to clean the house, to go supermarket shopping. I need to sort this out. I need to get back in control of it all. But it's all kind of dreary, no? How to rediscover a love of housework? If anyone's got any ideas, they'd be more than welcome.

I also need to find more time to work my blogroll. If you haven't seen me at your's for a while, I apologise. I'm trying desperately to keep up.

Finally, I keep thinking of my cousin. She's still with us, still soldiering on. Every time my Mother calls I expect that it's going to be that call.

So with all this in mind I'm making some 'mid-term' resolutions.

These are they:

1. Find time for housework. Recognise that having to rush around every time someone visits is no fun. Keep on top of it and it takes less time.
2. Enjoy calm, quiet moments. Leave at least one weekend in four empty, without plans for visiting or for visitors.
3. Try to socialise only on weekends, and one schoolnight per week.
4. Get back to the gym. Summer is coming and this goose is getting fat. Not a great combination.
5. Blogroll. Work it. Visit blogs I love and find new ones too. Make time to do this regularly.
6. Get good sleep and make sure there's always breakfast in the house for the next morning. No more breakfast on the run.
7. Speak to my family more often, keep up with friends. This is harder than you'd imagine.

So these are my seven new rules. Things that I need to get sorted.

Oh, and I still need to find me a husband. And preferably one who lives on this side of the ocean.

Wish me luck, dearest Reader, I think I may need it.

lundi 11 mai 2009

Elephants feet and Japanese heart surgeons

The weekend started strangely. No sooner had me and Lovely Paris Friend (Now Living in the South) touched Dutch soil, than we were whisked away to a party being held in LPF's honour.

The party was at the house of an old friend of LPF. A house that my Lovely Irish-Dutch Friend had told me was 'a little bizarre'. He wasn't wrong.

If the strange collections of the house's owner weren't odd enough - he had collections of elephants feet, horses teeth, chinese wedding outifts, stuffed crocodiles, roman oil lamps, sword fish swords, ottoman slippers, and so on, and so on - then the way that everything was displayed most certainly was. You see, this guy has a thing for symmetry.

Everything is displayed in pairs and every table had a mirror image facing it. Not just the same things on the same tables, but literally mirror images. Craziness.

And as six-thirty rolled around, and we were on our third glasses of wine, me and Lovely Irish Dutch Friend started to get a bit panicky. The room was filling with the strangest collection of men - all men, all gay, all of a certain age. We started to feel like we were the virgins being offered to the room in a Dutch version of 'Eyes Wide Shut'.

Truly, if the host had appeared in a black cloak and goat skull, I wouldn't have surprised.

Seeing our chance, we slipped out and headed into town for some more 'normal' entertainment. We tried not to skid on the zebra skin or trip over the stuffed turtle as we ran, giggling, out of the front door.

Having eating fabulous Thai food, we met up again with LPF and a couple of others and headed to one of the Hague's finest homo establishments for a couple of beers.

Now, dearest reader, you know how hard I am trying to be a good boy. To go on a system slut-down (TM). To be less, erm, easy. Well, it seems that I'm failing.

I appreciate that this next part may seem like it is coming straight from the realms of fiction, but really, it is true. Thing is, I started to chat to a lovely guy and it turns out he's from Tokyo, that he's a heart surgeon and that he's in the Hague on an internship. Yes, dear Reader, I did indeed end up in Holland with a gay, Japanese cardiologist.

He left fairly early - he had surgery the next day, I kid ye not - and I was left with Lovely Irish-Dutch Friend who told me how LPF had been found in the alley behind the bar, fast asleep. I didn't like to tell him that I'd already seen him there when I had slipped out with the surgeon for a bit of a 'ruck and maul' al fresco.

As LIDF and me headed to our favourite Den Haag bar, at three a.m., I reflected on how funny my life really is. Funny and marvelous at the same time.

The friends that I spent this weekend with are friends that I have met through this blog. Without this blog, this weekend would never have happened for me.

Blogging brings many things to many people. To some people blogging is an escape, a way to share their experiences, a window into another world. For others, it is therapy, giving them the opportunity to vent frustrations and / or anger with the world around them.

To me, blogging has brought lovely friends, Japanese heart surgeons and stuffed turtles.

There aren't many that can say that, I'm sure.

jeudi 7 mai 2009

I'm trying really really hard

So, you know from my last post that I've decided to go for a slut-down (tm).

Well, I'm trying really hard, but it's not working.

I wrote the post yesterday.

Then I went out last night to meet some friends for a drink or three.

I ended up going back to Jersey's hotel with him - and with a phone number from a (very cute) French guy in my pocket.

What hope is there? Huh?

mercredi 6 mai 2009

Temporary slut down

So, I made a decision back at Easter that I'd slut it up a little bit.

My love life wasn't exactly boring, nor was it pedestrian, but it was getting a bit samey. The same faces, the same things. You know? A boy needs a bit of variety, non?

So I started out to get me some more action. Some Heinz 57 varieties kind of action. Boy oh boy, did I succeed.

You've seen some of the results (yes, it's true - I don't share everything with you....). It's kind of got out of control.

I could tell you the tally, but I won't. I could tell you the nationalities, but equally, I don't want to shock you. Suffice to say that it's been like the United Nations meets Fleet Week.

The month has passed in a blur of bodies and beer and I've struggled to keep up with my daily day-to-day-nesses. It's been, quite frankly, exhausting. So I'm formally announcing a month of system slut-down*. I'm going to be good for the next month.

I'm not saying that I won't be bad. But I'm going to be better. Maybe not put it about so much. You know, even the good stuff can get diluted if too thinly spread. And this is good stuff, trust me, ha ha.

So this next month is going to be about losing a bit more weight, running more, having less sex, eating healthier, paying my bills on time, taking out the recycling and generally getting my house in order.

I'm going to eat at home at least four times a week. I'm going to wake up in my own bed every morning (I never said alone, and I never said that it wouldn't be after a walk of shame). I'm going to be a good boy. Make my Mother proud.

Do you think I can do it?

I think I can. I'm motivated, focussed and determined.

That said, I have a friend visiting from the US in two weeks time. He's looking for a week of Parisien fun and (I'm guessing) a little debauchery and I feel like it'd be wrong not to oblige (boy do I, it's going to be fantastic...he he).

I may just have to alter my slut-down* plans.

So how about this? I'll be good for two weeks, but then expect the floodgates to re-open.

Watch out Paris. Take your holiday while you can.

You've been warned.

*registered trademark

lundi 4 mai 2009


So, I was chatting with Jersey last night and we decided it's all about the teeth.

We were stood at the bar enjoying a beer and watching the dancefloor. The bar in which we were drinking is famous for its Sunday 'middle eastern' evening - which basically means hot lebanese guys dancing to fabulous middle eastern disco music. The dancing is spectacular, as you'd imagine.

Anyway, in this hotbed of machismo and testosterone, it was obvious that the conversation would turn to which guys around us 'floated our boats' so to speak. We chatted to guys as they came and went from ordering drinks at the bar and we were frequently disappointed, nay horrified, by the surprises behind the smiles.

Often one of us would catch the eye of a handsome man, only for him to smile back at us with a mouthful of, well, disaster.

Bad teeth. Everywhere we turned were bad teeth.

Now, I'm English so I'm clearly not one to talk about the state of anyone's teeth, but as the evening drew on, we decided that teeth were actually a key deciding factor.

If a guy has bad hair, well it's kind of forgivable. Bad shoes - yeah, they can be changed. A hairy back? I quite like that. A bit of extra weight, no problem. But bad teeth? Eek!

We agreed that no matter how much he made us laugh, no matter how sexy he was or what he appeared to be, erm, packing, if he had bad teeth it would be a no. Sorry. Not tonight.

As we finished our drinks, we said goodbye to the bartender (good teeth, great arms) and headed off to the other bar. To the rendezvous point for the couple from the other night. We were being brave. We were feeling a little crazy too, but I think we were largely just egging each other on enough to go through with it. We waited for them to arrive.

We ordered a beer. And another. They didn't show.

We gave them until 11h30 and decided to go home. I guess they weren't feeling as brave as us. Nor as reckless, clearly.

Oh well.

It's been a long time since I was stood up.

I guess there's a lesson in there somewhere.

dimanche 3 mai 2009


What kind of a day is this?

I'm trying to sound positive, but I'm actually pretty down at heart.

My cousin's doctors have told her husband that she'll pass in the next couple of days.  She's a beautiful girl, suffering from awful cancer.  Her two boys - aged 9 and 11 - have been spending as much time as they can with their Mom, but she's tired.

Her Father - he's my Uncle, but my Aunt isn't her mother, if that makes sense - I know really well.  He's a 70 year old man with a quiet dignity, a great sense of humour and a love for life.  As a kid, I remember him as the uncle who'd tickle you into submission, the one who'd have a bad joke that he was desperate to tell you, the one who plays with my brother's kids the same as he used to play with us.  I spoke to him this morning and he's broken.

To have this guy cry down the phone to me is just awful.  Awful.  I can feel my heart breaking for him, even as I type this.  

I know that he'd swap places with his daughter in a blink.  I know that he'd do anything to stop this.  I know that he has no idea what to do anymore.

To me the worst part of this whole situation is seeing/hearing my Uncle and knowing the pain that he carries in his every waking minute.  Not that he sleeps anymore.  He is simply beside himself with grief.  He's lost.  His reality has shifted and I'm not sure it will ever shift back for him.

My Aunt told me two weeks ago that my cousin had been out shopping, buying gifts for her sons' 18th and 21st birthdays.  As she told me this, we both had to take a minute.  Neither of us was able to speak through the tears.  How did that girl find the courage to stand in a store and make those decisions?  Make those purchases that will be so very important to her boys?

Life is hard sometimes.  Life is horrible sometimes.

Enjoy your life.  Live it to the full.  Love your friends and family.  Find someone to love you back.

These are the words of my cousin.  

These are her wishes for her sons.

samedi 2 mai 2009

Awesome foursome(s)

A tub of Crisco, a mexican wrestling mask and a ball-gag.

These were the items proudly on display in the bedroom of the Fierce People, my lovely Franco-American friends.  I was passing through the bedroom on my way to use the toilet, before you get any ideas.

Anyway, I was invited for dinner, along with the crying American - henceforth known as Jersey, due to his Garden State origins.  Now, Jersey has gone up in my estimations over the last week, changing from a homesick, lost and sorry individual to a handsome young man who just so happens to be a rocket in the sack.  Jeepers.  I wasn't expecting that.

We'd been invited for 'dinner and a card game' which sounded lovely, and which was, indeed lovely, if a little, erm, unconventional.  The dinner was amazing, as ever.  The card game was a surprise.  

Instead of a couple of rounds of 'laissez-passer' or 'cherchez la femme' we sat around playing a vintage (1970's?) Mork and Mindy card game that had us all reaching to grab polystyrene eggs and shouting 'nanoo-nanoo' and 'shazbat' at each other.  Largely hilarious.  Especially when mixed with gin.

As the evening drew to a close around 3am, one of the hosts turned to me and said "why don't you both stay here tonight?"

"What do you mean?" said I, suddenly worried.

"We could do a little ménage à quatre...." he suggested, with his husband looking on eagerly from behind a glass of gin.

As you can imagine, me and Jersey laughed this off as the joke that it wasn't and kissed the hosts, thanked them for their marvelous hospitality and quickly left.  We hit the street and started to run.  Run and laugh.  Hysterically.

So, having turned down the offer of a foursome, we head home and to bed.

The following evening - yesterday, in fact - we were out on the town, the four of us drinking, dancing and being generally giddy.

"You see him?" said Jersey to me, pointing at a very handsome, hairy-beary kind of guy.

"He's nice," I replied.  "We should take him home".  

This was a joke.  A silliness.  A throwaway quip.

"Dare you" said Jersey, obviously knowing that those were the wrong words to say to me.

"OK" said I, rising to the challenge.

We walked over to talk to him.  He was very friendly, French and thrilled by the exotic anglo-american pair that had decided to talk to him.

Jersey nudged me.  "Go on then", he said.

"We were just on our way home, and we thought that maybe you'd like to join us", I said, thinking that even for me this was an outrageous thing to do.

"Sure", he said.  "I'd like that, but my husband is here tonight"

And with that, he introduced us to his husband.  A two-metre, handsome, gentle giant of a guy, with a football shirt on (bad) that was balanced by a very cute smile (good).

"These guys want to take me home with them" said the hairy-beary French guy.

"Oh, not this evening Chéri," said husband.  "I'm too tired.  Let's do it Sunday instead?"

Both Jersey and myself looked at each other like dumbstruck fools, muttered something along the lines of "you bet your sweet ass that we'll be there" and left the French pair to head off home.

So it seems I have plans for tomorrow evening.  Very curious plans.

I know, I brought it upon myself, but I do wish that I had someone else to blame.