mardi 30 juin 2009

What Facebook taught me

Facebook has been a revelation to me. Some of you may have worked this out already, but I'm kind of a fan. It's yet another way for me to share the ridiculousness of life with an eager and willing bunch of fans, sorry, friends.

But it is more than that.

Facebook has taught me valuable life lessons. Things that I never knew about myself.

In the days BF (Before Facebook), I never knew that my Korean name was Jung-so Hong. I never knew that if I was an airline, I'd be Pan Am. That if I was a stripper, I'd be known as Lovely Swingfest.

Facebook put my mind at rest when it told me that - in no uncertain terms - I would survive the swine flu epidemic. It wasn't wrong.

Sometimes it disappoints - as a West Wing character, FB is convinced that I'd be Toby Ziegler, when we all know that I'm CJ Cregg.

Sometimes it confirms what we have all suspected for a long time - as a Golden Girl, I'd be Blanche. As a Sex and the City girl, I'd be Samantha.

A while ago, I decided to rediscover my spiritual side. I asked Facebook to tell me more. I was a little worried by the truth that it revealed to me.

It seems that I'm a closet Mormon, a troubled Catholic and my Jewishness is around the 10% mark (thanks to a little nip and tuck I received as a baby).

As a Muslim, it tells me that I have a way to go before my Haj pilgrimage. As a Buddhist, I need to chant some more, spin some more prayer wheels. Clutching at straws I asked whether or not I'd be a good Seventh Day Adventist. It seems that Ellen White would 'roll over in her grave' at my lifestyle.

Damn you, evil Facebook, for denying me the pleasure, brotherhood and permission to judge others that only organised religion can bring.

But I guess the most revealing thing that my New Best Friend tells me about myself is that I'm 95% fabulous and that I act like a 12 year-old.

An over-sexed and especially slutty 12 year-old, that is.

lundi 29 juin 2009

Paris Pride 2

After a big night out on Friday - working our way slowly down the list of bars, ending up in the dodgiest of them all - we woke up on Saturday unsure of how proud we actually felt of ourselves.

Alas, we had to rally and get some energy from somewhere because Saturday was Gay Pride, Paris style. And before the parade there was shopping to be done!

So, we headed off to the Marais via my local shops on Fbg St Antoine, accumulating bags as we went. In fact, the shopping trip was nowhere near as damaging as the previous day's visit to the Blvd Haussmann sales had been. Although, amongst the crowds and the heat I did manage to pick up the most beautiful pair of silver All Stars with 40% off. Too lovely, I'm sure you'll agree.

Anyway, shoes aside, we tootled round the Marais then headed over to join the parade at the pont de Sully, so that we could walk with the floats on the final leg up blvd Henri IV to the place de la Bastille.

Trust me when I say it was hot. Trust me when I say it was crazy.

Despite the huge crowd and the blazing sun, we managed to dance our way up to Bastille. Our fellow marchers were friendly happy and generally all out to have a great time. The streets were lined with spectators and it seemed that truly all walks of life were there - from straight families with kids to gay couples and big groups of friends, and not forgetting the occasional Parisienne grandmother, looking on in bemused, elegant amazement.

Hot, sweaty and desperate for a cold drink and a sit-down, we arrived at the square and decided that we should head back to my apartment - in theory a five minute walk from the end of the parade. I say in theory because, in their infinite wisdom, the police had cordonned off my street - no doubt in an attempt to stop the fabulous gayness from spreading.

The nice police lady who was refusing me entry into my street did say she'd let us past if I could prove my address to her.

I handed her my rainblow flag to hold and started to root through the TBNIL manbag.

It was only when I looked up at the policewoman to explain that no, there was no ID in my bag did I realise how fantastic this picture was.

She was there, in full riot gear and with a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle, holding my rainbow flag. She didn't seem to be happy about it. It seemed to amuse her colleagues though.

I guess it was no way to impress her, and so we had to find a different way home. Instead of the five minutes it should have taken, it ended up being a 20-minute schlep round the back streets. But hey, a bottle of champagne, a cold shower and a comfortable sofa was waiting when we finally got there.

Suffice to say, it didn't take long before we were refuelled, recharged and ready to party....

dimanche 28 juin 2009

Paris Pride 1

So, it's been Pride weekend here in Paris.  And what a weekend it has been.

It all started on Thursday with the (somewhat tardy) arrival of my lovely Irish Dutch Friend.  We headed out for dinner with friends and ended up at a bar until the wee hours.  This didn't help me get up and go to work on Friday, but hey - Friday is my half day, so it didn't hurt for too long.

Somewhere along the way on Thursday evening, we got to talking about sex, as is to be expected really - especially when it's all boys together.  One of my friends - one half of the Fierce People - got really excited when someone mentioned having sex in a bathroom.

"Nothing could stop me from having sex in  a bathroom", he said, somewhat over-excitedly.  "Nothing at all.  Except maybe if there was shit on the floor."

Whilst I applauded his cleanliness and generally healthy attitude to human waste in a sexual situation, I felt that there was a bigger question that needed to be asked.

"What kind of fucked up bathrooms do you go to where there is shit on the floor?"

There was no answer forthcoming, so we ordered another drink.

When the time came for me to take a leak, you can be assured that I trod very carefully indeed.

jeudi 25 juin 2009

Not feeling myself. Not feeling anyone else either.

If I’m going to tell you about what happened ‘out of hours’ on the stag weekend, I need to tell you more about Florida Boy.

You see - and you know me well enough to realise that this isn’t something I say lightly – I’m kind of off casual sex at the moment. I know, it’s stunning right?

See, the thing is this – I really like Florida Boy. Really like him. And I think it’s changing my perspective a bit. It’s definitely making me think about what I’m doing going on endless dates.

Me and FB talk every day online and then again every evening by telephone. In fact he just called as I'm typing this. He makes me laugh, he’s funny, handsome and dirty.

So it’s kind of weird, because he’s so far away, but I know that deep down I don’t want to get involved with anyone until after I’ve seen him in August - and until I’ve decided whether he’s what I think he is or not.

Then, you’ll understand that it was pure curiosity that led me to leave the stag party behind at 2am and head to the Cockring, the infamous Amsterdam gay club.

"Where are you off to?" said the groom.

"I’m kind of straight-barred out," I said. "I’m going to find something else. You’ll be ok without me, right?"

The groom was, at this stage, barely able to speak and propped up against the bar in an awful Irish pub just of Dam Square. We’d been there for what seemed like hours and hours. Football was being repeated on the big screen. It was so not my scene.

"You off then, mate?" this was the Lost Phone Boy, less drunk than the night before, but equally obnoxious.

"Yeah, thought I’d go find somewhere a bit livelier".

"I’ll come with you – where are you going?"

"The Cockring"

"I’ll maybe just stay here a bit longer." And with that he skulked back over to the bar.

So I got to the Cockring and it was crowded. And it was small. And hot. And smelly. The place was full of good-looking guys though, so that helped my mood. I did a bit of a tour and ended up standing with my beer at the edge of the dancefloor, admiring the moves of a rather bear-ish Dutchman.

The dancefloor in the Cockring isn’t large, and there was a tiny stage at one side. As I wondered what on earth it could be used for, my question was answered in the shape of two handsome young men. One was blond, short and hairy, and was wearing a leather kilt. The other tall, dark and muscled and wearing a pair of, well, a pair of see-through underpants.

It doesn’t really matter what they were wearing though, as both were naked within minutes and brandishing their ‘weapons’ at the crowded dancefloor. They waved their bits at the crowd and then at each other. Then they started to wave each other's bits at the crowd....

What was the most stunning thing about this, however, wasn’t the show itself – let’s face it, we’ve all seen men with erections dancing naked on tables, right – but more the fact that nobody was watching.

Everyone was dancing and dancing hard to some Katy Perry remix. She’s hot and she’s cold, apparently.

And then I saw why everyone was dancing. There was a guy dealing. No, wait, there were lots of guys dealing. Seems ecstasy was going round the room faster than a dose of herpes. No wonder the boys just wanted to dance.

Well, I know you’d be disappointed to hear that I stood back and watched. That I didn’t participate fully. So with the spirit of my youth pushing me forward, I scored, I swallowed and I danced.

So let's get this clear. I was feeling great, in a happy, lovely, dancing, fabulous mood, as were the rest of the boys in the room. The bar was full of handsome, friendly guys who were out for a good time. I even chatted to a guy or two, and got bought a drink by a handsome Mexican.

So despite all of this, nothing happened.


No kissing, no snogging, no heavy petting. No 'come back to mine', no 'let's go to the darkroom', no 'there's a sauna round the corner you know...'. Nothing.

All of the above could easily have happened, but it didn't. I didn't want it to happen. I shied away. I just wanted to dance, smile and generally have fun.

I'm a bit worried, to be honest.

Do you think that maybe there is something wrong with me?

Please don't tell me it's love, because, quite frankly, that's ridiculous.

mercredi 24 juin 2009

This is how we roll, apparently

Can you imagine anyone less likely to be heading to Amsterdam on a stag weekend?

Me either.

With images of strippers, tanked up lads and lost afternoons in coffeeshops filling my head, I boarded the Thalys with a trolley bag full of dread. Really, this wasn’t the weekend I would have chosen.

The problem is, though, that as best man I had absolutely no way of getting out of the stag weekend, nor did I have any chance of fading into the background and slipping quietly away. What I needed to do was embrace it. Start to look forward to it. Find a way to enjoy – more than enjoy, to love - this weekend.

If you look at it positively, then there are many things to look forward to. Spending the weekend with ‘the boys’, drinking the days away, the occasional joint, dancing late into the morning to crap music with a group of sweaty guys. Sounds just like any other weekend when I put it like that.

Well, it turns out that this isn’t what happened.

From a group of 9, only five turned up – including me and the groom. And the other three were fairly nerdy, pretty geeky and mostly looking forward to watching the Grand Prix on the TV on Sunday afternoon. Jesus wept.

So, it's Friday night and we're planning to go out on the town, but the groom has been smoking dope all afternoon and he’s in no state to go anywhere. I told you it was a classy weekend, right? In the end, I take the other three to meet up with my Amsterdam friend (thank the Lord for friends in ‘high’ places) who is playing in a band that night.

We have a pretty good night, except that at one stage, one of the geeks loses his phone.

"My phone has been stolen from my pocket" he said to me. "I need you to find it for me."

"Erm, that’s not going to happen. Are you sure it’s been stolen?"

"Yes, I am. And you’re in charge so you need to find it"

You can imagine how well this has conversation is going down with me. But it turns out that there’s a reason for his panic. It seems he works for a government ministry and there is sensitive data contained within the depths of his Crackberry. The data must have been pretty sensitive because the boy is practically crying.

Despite it being a lost cause, I enrol the help of my Amsterdam friend, and he heads off to ask around and see if anyone has handed it in. Like that ever happens.

Amsterdam friend came back ten minutes later.

"I’ve asked at the bar," he said, talking to the Lost Phone Boy, "and the barmaid said you’re a wanker".

"Wha….?" Said LPB.

"I also asked at the cloakroom, and she said you’re a wanker too."


"And then I asked the bouncer, but he just said that you’re a wanker."

And that was pretty much the exact moment that the little, weedy, geeky Lost Phone Boy punched my tall, solid, rock-god, Amsterdam friend. Right on the nose.

It was also the exact moment that I left the bar.

I figured that there was more fun to be found elsewhere.

It turned out that I was right…..

(oh, and the LPB had left his phone in his bedroom, so it had never been stolen. This didn't stop him getting a huge bollocking from his employers though....he he)

lundi 22 juin 2009

Stand up for Australia

So, I'm just back from the stag weekend in Amsterdam, of which there will be more postings, don't worry.

Meanwhile, however, I wanted to tell you about my trip home this evening.

On the way back from Amsterdam I stopped over in Antwerp to catch up with a colleague and to go see some customers that I hadn't seen in a while.

So this evening, when I boarded the train back from Antwerp to Paris, the train was already pretty crowded, what with it starting, as it does, in Amsterdam.  

The Thalys has allocated seats and, lo and behold, my seat was already taken by someone who wanted to sit next to their girlfriend and who 'thought I wouldn't mind swapping'.  Well, I'd have preferred to be asked, but hey, I wasn't going to be churlish about it.

So this is how I found myself taking the fourth seat with three Australians....three drunk Australians.  Mother, Daughter and Mother's husband.  Mother and hubbie were about 55 years old; daughter 30-35.

So, daughter heads off to the train bar to buy a (third) bottle of rosé, and mother shuffles down in her seat.

From my seat next to hubbie, I'm in the prime location to see mother's foot pop up from under the table and into his lap.

And with her shoeless foot, she starts to massage his penis through his trousers.


In a true-blue Aussie male way, he reaches for the box of chips and says to her "want a Pringle love?"

"If I wanted one, I'd just take one" she said, flirtatiously.  Scarily flirtatious.

"You always take everything you want," he said.

"Well," said she, coquettishly, and still rubbing his dick with her foot, "well, I want you to give me something tonight at the hotel".

I mean really, there's only so much a boy can take.  

I'd have moved seats had the train not been quite so full.

And if the husband hadn't actually been quite a hottie, in an older mannish kind of way.  

And if his erection hadn't been quite so alarmingly, well, erm, impressive....

vendredi 19 juin 2009

Culture club

The summer approaches and as the evenings stay lighter for longer, so the theatres, operas and concert venues go dark.

So, as the Paris 'season' draws to a close, I thought I'd give you some of my highlights and lowlights of the year....

Highlights would have to include the excellent production of Talking Heads by Alan Bennett at the Theatre du Rond Point des Champs Elysées. Great writing, well translated and then perfectly staged and acted. Shame that the subtle Englishness of some of the comedy was lost on the French audience - how many French people really picked up on the fact that a woman moving from Roundhay to Harrogate really does have 'ideas above her station'....?

Equally great, but surprisingly so was the Tings Tings at the Bataclan. A small venue and a group with an equally small repertoire. I was expecting a car crash and I got 45 minutes of pure pop excellence - highly charged performance that energised the audience and got everyone dancing (which doesn't happen all that often at French gigs).

The other expected car crash that turned out to be brilliant was this week's concert by Marianne Faithfull. She hasn't got the best voice in the world, was singing off sheets (such is her lack of memory) and she seemed a bit drunk, but boy did she rock. Amazing performance. I cried during the Ballad of Lucy Jordan. An experience I'll remember for a long long time.

Amongst the other female performers who rocked my scene this year have been the fantastic Aimee Mann (sublime) and the newcomer Little Boots - a good set and a great performer.

The modern dance evening at the Palais Garnier was also sublime, with an incredibly disturbing final piece that the French found funny.

Disappointment has come in the shape of performers and performances that should have been brilliant.

Rufus Wainwright - my future husband - really didn't cut it earlier this week at the Cité de la Musique. He was alone with his piano and chose a maudling selection of songs, occasionally brightened up by a couple of his oldest numbers. He seemed unprepared and the setlist seemed like it had been thrown together at the last minute. For a big Rufus fan like myself it was really sad.

Equally sad was Morissey deciding to cancel his Paris gig. He's threatening a return in November though, so we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.

And finally, Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands ballet at the Theatre du Chatelêt should have been excellent. I saw the original staging at Sadlers Wells and it was fabulous in a weird, dark, fantastic kind of way. The Paris show was just not right. Something about it was lacking. It just didn't do it for me.

Other concerts included Fleet Foxes, who would have been great if they'd only sung one or two songs, the Killers who absolutely blew me away, and a great presentation by Semyon Bychkow of Rchard Strauss and Shostakovich at the Opera Bastille. The Shostakovich - symphony 7, 'Leningrad' - was truly spectacular.

Chosing the event of the year would be difficult. I really would struggle to pick one from all of them, so here's the top three:

- Aimee Mann
- Killers
- Marianne Faithfull

....hmm, I want to add Tings Tings to the top three as well.

All rocked. All were amazing, and I left all four of these concerts feeling buoyed, moved and ready to take on the world.

Surely that's what music is all about?

mercredi 17 juin 2009

Nobody forced you

Flying back into Charles de Gaulle airport from the UK, and the pilot makes an announcement.

"We'll be landing in fifteen minutes, but unfortunately they're making us land on the remotest runway. So, after landing, we'll have a twenty minute taxi to the gate. However, we'll be at the gate five minutes ahead of schedule."

So, it was clear right? Land early, drive a bit then get to the stand on time. No reason to complain. Or so I thought.

Five minutes into the 'taxi', the guy across the aisle from me starts to tut. He's fidgeting in his seat and he's a-huffing and a-puffing.

"This is beyond a joke." He said, to no-one in particular.

I look across at him - schoolboy error - and that's it. He's locked onto me and he's starting to talk.

"You here for a holiday then?" he said, condescendingly.

"No, I"m heading home", I told him. "I live in Paris".

"Oh, I live in Paris too" he said. "Hate the place. Hate it. I go back to the UK every weekend".

"That's a shame. Paris a great place to live."

"What's so great about it?" he said, throwing down the gauntlet.

I was about to tell him why I like my adopted home, but I changed my mind.

"Where do you go back to every weekend?" I asked him. "Where in the UK?"

"Northampton" he said, surprisingly unashamedly.

"Hmm. Northampton," said I. "It has a lovely shoe museum, I hear."

He looked at me as if I had just flicked shit on his tie. That was the end of that conversation.

As we were disembarking, he was ahead of me in the queue. He turned to speak to the (lovely, friendly, handsome, French) steward.

"This is the worst airport in the worst city in the world!" he exclaimed, loudly.

"Really sir?" said the stew, with a disarming smile. "I didn't see anyone force you onto the plane. Maybe it's just you? Have a pleasant evening!"

Air France 1 : Miserable git 0

I like Paris. And I really like that steward.

mardi 16 juin 2009

Burn, baby, burn

Whilst in the UK, I met up with the Girls From Work for dinner and drinks - these are the girls that I worked with 20 years ago at the travel agency.

Both GFW1 and GFW2 are lovely. Both have families now and are working moms, but both manage to be very cool, very stylish and hilariously funny. We always have a great evening out, despite the fact that I generally lean back and listen as they talk at each other.

So, we went to a great place in Kenilworth for dinner. Kenilworth is a pretty little town in Warwickshire - complete with tumbly down castle. It is also home to GFW2's MacMansion. Truly, this house is e-nor-mous. But then, GFW2 has always been able to sniff out the money, ha ha.

Anyway, we're sat at dinner in this fancy restaurant and we're remembering the last time that we ate there as a threesome....

We arrived for dinner at the usual time. GFW1 had driven me - unusually, as I'm normally the driver - and she'd driven us in her fairly old 'mom-mobile', a Renault Mégane Scenic.

GFW2 arrived and we ordered and started to work our way through the fabulous food.

Sometime shortly after the starter plates had been cleared, the Maitre d' cleared his throat and asked, loudly, if anyone was driving a Renault Scenic. He had an edge of panic to his voice.

GFW1 put her hand in the air - yes, just like being at school - and said that it was her car.

"You may wish to follow me Madame", he said. "It seems that there is a problem with your car".

I went with GFW1, out to the car park at the back of the restaurant. We arrived just in time to see her car burst into flames. Literally. Bang. Flames. Lots of them.

Apparently, one of the kitchen staff had seen smoke coming from the engine and had alerted the Maitre d'. Alas, it was too late by the time we got out there.

Not only was the car on fire, but it was not doing the cars on either side of it any good. Alas, the flames were such that it was impossible to move those cars and all the other drivers could do was sit and watch as their cars went up in flames too. Oh, and they called their insurers.

The fire brigade took an age to arrive - as in many small towns in the UK, the brigade is a voluntary one and you need to wait for the firemen to finish their dinners, get out of the bath or get off the golf course before they tackle the blaze. In the meantime, the kitchen staff had tackled the blaze as best they could with the kitchen extinguishers.

As we sat back down for dinner, once the blaze had died down, GFW1 turned to me.

"Well, at least I'm no longer the designated driver" she said. And she promptly ordered a double gin and tonic.

I think she needed it. She definitely deserved it.

lundi 15 juin 2009

Like a penis, only smaller

The trips home are turning into a predictable routine.

Every time I go home, I do the same things, with the same people. Dinner with the Girls From Work (the chickies I worked with 20 years ago...), drinks with Lovely colleagues, a day with the Nephew and Niece, Mother ever-present and hovering in the background.

So this time I decided to spice it up a bit.

There's a guy who I met a while ago in Brum, in a club, and we've kept in touch ever since - albeit in a very loose, surface, vague interest kind of way. He had recently asked if I wanted to do something when I was next over, so I said sure, why not.

As he launched into his third beer and his fifteenth non-anecdote I realised that this was a mistake. He was possibly the dullest person I'd met in a long time. And he should have been so interesting. On paper he's a really fascinating person - he's lived in Tokyo, in Cairo and in Tel Aviv and has spent much of his adult life travelling.

Alas, the paper was more interesting than the flesh and blood. It was dullsville. Truly dull.

Anyone who has spent any time with me will know that I have an anecdote for all occasions. A tale for every situation. I appreciate that this can be a bit much. But this guy - the stories were neither funny, nor interesting.

So, we drank a few beers and then he asked me if I wanted to 'do something'. Now, dearest reader, the guy is boring, but he is hot. Physically, he ticks every box, and then some that I never thought needed ticking.

He is tall, strong, muscled. He has a hairy chest, a short beard and a twinkle in his eye.

How could I say no. We skipped off back to his place in a fancy city-centre loft.

However - and this is where I need to issue a 'too much information' alert - it turns out that he wasn't as well proportioned as I'd hoped.

There were two things wrong.

Firstly, he had the smallest tackle I've ever seen. I mean, this was small. It was like a teeny tiny acorn sat in a birds nest of pubic hair.

He was neither a shower nor a grower. He was underdeveloped.

It's not like I'm a big size queen, but I knew as the shorts were dropped that this wouldn't end well.

And as awful as this was (truly, at one point he was walking towards me naked and I thought he'd tucked it between his legs) it was nothing compared to the other physical disaster.

"What could be worse than a non-dick?" I hear you ask.

Well, the thing is, he had unfeasibly long legs. I mean long. He was probably six foot four, and most of that was leg.

This, combined with a refusal to just lie on his back (I told you this was too much information, sorry) made for, erm, 'difficult' lovemaking.

It was like a shetland pony trying to shag a clydesdale.

It was almost physically impossible. Note that I say almost.

As I tried my hardest to make the most of a bad situation, as my dignity ebbed slowly away and as my desire for the evening to reach a happy ending slipped out of view over the horizon, who do you think was forefront in my mind?

Yes, dear reader, it was you.

And there's the moral of the story. No matter how undignified, boring, awkward or nasty a situation is, it is ALWAYS good for the blog.

My discomfort is your pleasure. My pain, your gain.

His small penis, your big laugh.

At least, I hope you are laughing....

samedi 13 juin 2009

Jockstraps, junk and jam

"Uncle, Uncle!" screamed my niece - four years old - as she opened the door to me on Wednesday evening. She was extremely pleased to see me - I'd like her to be in charge of my welcoming comittee wherever I go.

Anyway, she was thrilled to see me, and had something she wanted me to see>

"Uncle, come and look at my brother's willy - it's really hard..."

At this point, I started to wonder what kind of freaks make up my family. Luckily my brother stepped in with an explanation.

"He's been to Tae Kwon Do," he said, "and he's still wearing his protective underpants".

And so he was. Alas, that was all he was wearing.

I accepted the offer of a cup of tea, put my cases down and sank into the sofa.

My niece was dressed as a mermaid, my nephew naked but for backless underwear. My brother was picking at his feet and my sister-in-law was busy with a cookery experiment involving packet mash and tinned beef.

The room was full to the brim of rubbish, crap, junk. A full cast of High School Musical dolls. A Deathstar and TIE fighter. Two televisions. Three two-foot piles of magazines and at least five different Dora the Explorer dolls, in various guises. On top of this was yesterday's dinner plates and last night's pyjamas. And two half full bottles of Pepsi Max.

As I sat there in the surrealist of surroundings and chatted with my six-year-old, jockstrap wearing nephew about his day at school, I truly wondered what was going to lie ahead over the days to come. What freakishness would my friends and family deliver over the next 72 hours?

I hate to give you a cliffhanger, but suffice to say that I haven't been dissappointed. There's more to follow.

Meanwhile, however, I must get back to my Mother - she's just produced some 'Weight Watchers' toast dripping with butter and jam for a suppertime snack.

Oh yes folks, this truly is la vida loca....

mardi 9 juin 2009

You've got a home here

Yep, I'm going to Birmingham tomorrow.  Land of my fathers.  Bosom of my family.  The green, green grass of home and all that.

I feel a little bit sick.

Things I'm looking forward to:

- seeing my nephew and niece again
- full English breakfast (just the once, I promise)
- gossiping with the girls
- curry, naan bread, onion bhajis

Things I'm really not looking forward to at all:

- mithering relatives
- lists of chores waiting for me on my Mom's kitchen table
- my Brother's 'advice' sessions
- head office

I'm only going to be there until Sunday, but I'm already thinking I might change my ticket and come home sooner.

I know I'll have a good time really.  I know it'll be ridiculous and funny and that I'll come back armed with tales for you all.  I know that the thought is worse than the deed.

So why am I putting off ironing?

Why am I avoiding packing?

How come I feel sick?

I wonder if I've finally found my home....and I'm just reluctant to leave it?

dimanche 7 juin 2009

New Jersey's finest

So,  I went to the local bar with The Fierce People tonight, for a couple of drinks and a bit of friendly banter.

I knew it would be a strange evening when, walking into the toilets for a pre-beer wee, I came across a guy washing his dick in the sink.  Yep, it was flopped into the handbasin and he was giving it a good old once over with soap and hot water.  Lord.

Anyway, as the bar filled up, we could hear the dulcet tones of a pair of Americans above everything else in the room.  The half of The Fierce People that is American, drawn as he is to his fellow countrymen, felt that he had to investigate.

I'm so glad that I left him to it.  From a good distance of at least 3 metres/ten feet, I could hear the American tourist sprouting his opinions...

Turns out he is a gay policeman from New Jersey and is in Paris on holiday with his boyfriend - also a NJ policeman.  

I tried to ignore what he was saying, but it became increasingly difficult, mainly because of the rubbish he was talking.  Here are some examples of things I overheard...

"George W Bush is the best modern-day American President.  That's a fact"

"People in the United States hate Barack Obama and are embarrassed by him"

"Obama is a one-term president.  Palin will be the next president and she'll do a great job"

"The worst thing the republicans did was have Palin as the VP candidate.  If she'd been the presidential nominee we'd have a republican president now"

You can imagine that I really didn't want to talk to this guy.  You can imagine that our political opinions are poles apart.  Mainly because I don't understand why a gay american would vote for the GOP, the party that hates him.  But hey, each to his own.

The gay policeman walked past me on the way to the bar.  

"Hey there.  I guess you don't like what I've been saying" he said, having obviously cottoned on to the faces I was pulling as he spoke.

"It's a free country", said I.  "You can say what you like".

"But you don't agree" he said, looking for conflict.

"Of course I don't."  I said.  "But that's not the problem.  The problem is that you have a volume control issue.  You seem to think that everyone is interested in what you have to say.  You think you need to talk at such a volume that everyone can hear.  I don't care about your politics.  But I don't want to hear about it from the other side of the room".

And with that, he apologised.  He told me how he had trouble controlling his volume and that his superiors in "the force" had spoken to him about it on many occasions.

I asked him how he reconciled being gay with being a Republican.

He said simply that he never wanted to get married, never wanted to adopt, so GOP policy never bothered him.

I asked him why he supported people who clearly hated him.  He had no answer.  

"My family has always been Republican" was the best he could give me.

And with that, I decided it was time to leave.

God bless America....

vendredi 5 juin 2009

Shake it out

Yesterday, I had to go to Avignon. I didn't need much time there - basically I had to get there chat a little, sign a contract and leave.

I booked TGV tickets for me and Debbie and off we skipped. We had two hours in Avignon - plenty of time for what we needed to achieve. Well, it would have been, had we not missed our train.

We missed our train and so our leisurely two hour meeting became, by the time we arrived inthe south, a rushed twenty minute affair. Craziness. Instead of signing the contract with our new customer in a hotel meeting room, we did it sat on the steps outside the Avignon TGV station. Funny, but not my most professional of moments.

Anyway, the train home, we find ourselves in what appears to be the military carriage.

Me, Debbie, the strange woman opposite with lots of bags - and fifty soldiers. All in uniform. All with guns.

It was kind of unnerving (and not a little exciting - they seem to issue pants that are one size too small in the French army, thus ensuring tightness across the thighs and bottom *swoon*), but everyone soon settled down and me and Debbie fell asleep.

I woke up to see that the woman opposite was clutching a large bag on her lap. She'd been sat in the same position when I nodded off except that now she seemed to be holding on to it like it was the crown jewels.

As we approached Paris and the Gare de Lyon, she unzipped the bag. Debbie shot me a look as if to say 'what on earth?'.

The woman put her head next to the open bag and started talking baby-talk into the bag. Real goo-goo-ga-ga stuff.

And then, in one smooth manouevre, she pulled out of the bag the biggest, fattest, ugliest cat I've ever seen in my life. This cat was fugly. And enormous.

The cat, god bless it, was either asleep, dead, drugged or just lazy. The woman, however, was having none of this lethargy and started to shake the cat.

She shook it like Louise Woodward would shake a toddler, but got absolutely no reaction from the cat.

She caught me and Debbie looking at her.

"He has been on his holidays in the countryside. He is worn out." She said.

"Maybe he just needs to sleep", said I, the non-cat-expert.

"I think you'll find that I know what's best for him!" said the clearly crazy cat lady. She slammed him down on the table between our seats.

The cat woke up, screaming.

"See?" she said. "He just needs to see that he's back in Paris. He's really missed the city."

"Haven't we all?" said I, my eyes wandering to the to the tight-trousered Army boys, all busy manhandling their luggage off the train.

"Haven't we all...."

jeudi 4 juin 2009

Confusion reigns

I know, I have a complicated lovelife and an even more complicated social life. Or is that vice versa? Anyway, I get lots of people tell me that they struggle to keep up with all the names that come and go on the blog.

With this (and your sanity) in mind, I thought I'd give you a bit of a character list - much like the kind of thing you find at the beginning of really complex novels. You know the ones - the kind where thirty pages in you go "Who on earth is Captain Hanshaw?"

So here goes. I hope it helps. Lord knows, it might help me...

le Parisien
This is the boy that I like a lot. He's the one in Paris who makes my heart beat faster. He's handsome and sexy and funny and *swoon* be still my beating heart. He's also the one least likely to commit, the most difficult to pin down to a next date and incredibly focussed on passing his exams.

Skater Boy
Now, imagine a thirty-year-old guy who rides a skate board, dresses like he's from Linkin Park, has piercings (various) and a silly sense of humour. That's skater boy. He's also very cute, a bit of a geek and into role-playing card games (no, I don't know what that means either). He's good in the sack, hot as a hot thing and always a pleasure to have visit....but he's not boyfriend material.

il Postino
A handsome, forty-something postman of Italian origins. He's in great shape and is frequently happy to buy me a beer before we throw each other around the bedroom. I can't ever really see anything going on beyond the beer and bedroom thing, but hey - he's fun. Oh, and he in-line skates....

Jersey came to Paris this spring for a couple of weeks with his job. He's the boy who cried in the Dépot, who cried in the street and who cried in both of our beds. He also cried when I waved him off to the airport, so that won him points. He's now back in Jersey with his dog and says he doesn't miss Paris, but that he does miss me. Go figure that this is going nowhere.

the Fierce People
These are my lovely friends - the American trust-funder and his hard working French boyfriend - who I go drinking with, share laughs galore with and who cook me fabulous food served on the best china. Alas, the proposition of a foursome with Jersey was a low point in our friendship. We laugh about it now. Kind of.

Lovely Paris Friend (now living in the south)
This is my beautifully handsome, charming, funny and overly truthful friend who I miss dearly. After being my big Paris buddy, he moved to the south, where he lives in self-imposed exile, in the sunshine, but out of the limelight - I know which he prefers, and it isn't the sunshine, honey.

Dumb Ass Yank
A recent visitor to these shores, but a long-time visitor to these pages. This is the guy who came to Paris and made me realise how much I miss having a really great friend who lives locally. He's fun, funny and saying goodbye to him was hard. He also has the whitest, glow-in-the-dark-est teeth I've ever seen. And can quote scenes from any film you'd ever care to mention. He also has a great blog. Go visit, you'll be impressed.

Irish Dutch Friend
One of the best gifts these pages have ever given me. Someone that I know I'll still be hanging out with, acting like an idiot and drinking myself silly with in fifty year's time - if either of us make it. If you haven't read his pages, then why not? Start now.

American Boy
Oh my. What to do/say/think about this one? Well, he's lovely. He's fabulous. He lives in Florida. If he lived in Europe I'm sure we'd be married with a dog, a doublewide and a 4x4 by now. Alas, he's in Florida. We speak every day. He sends me gifts. He makes me feel giddy. Did I mention that he's in Florida?

Then on top of this lot there are various family, friends, bloggers and boyz who have cameo roles. Walk on parts. Extras, if you like. My crazy Mother, for example. Or the American guy who brought his husband round for a threesome. Or my lovely boss.

And of course there's Debbie.

Lovely, crazy, forthright, slutty, beautiful, mad, psychopathic, schizophrenic Debbie.

We all love Debbie.

Well. Ish.

mardi 2 juin 2009

DAY, dates and daft old ladies

So, the departure of DAY left a big hole, which I decided to fill in the way I know best - dating!

I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know that Skater Boy made an appearance last night - we went for lovely lebanese food, a couple of cocktails then came back here and banged each others brains out.  He he.  I exaggerate of course - the lebanese food wasn't that great.

Leaving him in bed this morning, I skipped off to work and ploughed my way through a whole backlog of things that I've been putting off, avoiding and generally not doing.

2pm found me strolling down a very sunny Champs Elysées, giddily heading towards the lawyers office for a short meeting.  4pm found me strolling back up the Champs Elysées, where not even the sun nor the giddiness of the locale could lift the black cloud caused by two hours with nuisance lawyers.  And it seemed like the only advice I got was to spend more money with them.  Hateful profession.

Anyway, as quick as my black cloud descended, it lifted.  My téléphone portable rang.  It was le Parisien.  Long time, no hear, I know.  But he's had exams and we decided to cool it while he was studying.

"You want to meet for a drink?  I have two hours before class".  

Now, I hate being anyone's 'beck and call' girl, but hey - for le Parisien, I'm pretty much happy to drop everything and go running.

We sat on a shady terrasse near Art et Métiers and downed a couple of pre-school drinks.  He held my hand and we caught up.  

I walked him the 50 yards to his school gates and we kissed goodbye.  Be still my beating heart - the one who is the least available is the one who really makes me turn to jelly.  Typical, eh?

Anyway, walking home I rang my mother to get news from the other side of the channel.

It seems my Aunt, in a moment of curious-ness, decided she'd like to see what being blind would be like.  So she closed her eyes and headed to her bedroom.

As she woke up at the bottom of her stairs with a broken wrist, she decided that it wasn't much fun.  Apparently she'd thought - eyes closed - that she was stepping into her bedroom when in fact she was stepping on to the staircase.

Let this be a lesson to us all.  Taking risks with your eyes closed can lead to nasty accidents.  

I mean really - a broken wrist!  That'd be the end of a lesser person's sex life...