jeudi 30 juillet 2009

The roaring forties

I'm in mourning.  Although not dead yet, a good friend of mine is at death's door.  Not long left at all.  Hours, in fact.

Who is this friend?  It's my youth.  My younger years.  My pre-middle-age.

That's right folks, I turn forty tomorrow and I'm pretty sad to be leaving my thirties behind.  But hey, time waits for no man, right?  I guess I'm lucky to still have these rugged good looks.

With it being my fortieth and all, I thought I'd give you a list.  We bloggers love these lists, right?  The big question is what kind of list to give you.

I've been thinking about it these last few days, and in the end I decided that it would be a happy list.  A really happy list.  A list of the things that make me smile, things that I love, things that bring me joy.

Here goes.

1. Waking up in Paris, never gets old.
2. American Boy, the song, not the Floridian.
3. But while I'm at it, Florida Boy also makes the list
4. My 5 year old niece and her curiously well formed opinions
5. My 7 year old nephew and his big heart
6. Dancing to seventies disco classics
7. French toast, with maple syrup
8. A hairy chest on a handsome man
9. A cold beer with a view of the sunset
10. Trainers/sneakers - all of them
11. The Air France Lounge at Roissy 2E
12. Thorntons Continental
13. Overnight train journeys
14. Massaman curry at the Thai Rainbow
15. My Mom and all of her little foibles and idiosyncracies
16. Yes sir, I can boogie
17. Gin and Tonic, with a squeeze of lemon
18. Big C and nights out being stupid
19. New glasses, choosing them, buying them, wearing them
20. Late night taxi rides in foreign cities
21. Holding hands with someone I love
22. The DumbAss Yank and his ropey Aussie accent
23. Tokyo
24. Falling in love with a book
25. Sudoku
26. McVities Digestives
27. Friends meeting me at the airport
28. Free upgrades.  Anytime, anywhere
29. Hawaii
30. The Fierce People and their Paris madness
31. Arguing about what rocks with my Lovely Dutch/Welsh friend
32. Café Crème, rue de Birague
33. Trocadéro at sunrise
34. The first view of the sea
35. Sex, of course
36. Weekends in foreign cities on my own
37. Blogging
38. My Friends
39. My Family 
40. My Life

How's that?

I realise I'm lucky.  I realise that I have everything I could wish for.  

So many things on my list are just luxuries that make life great, but you know what?  

You could take them all away and leave me just my friends.  

I'd still be the luckiest guy on earth.  

My life is good and complete because of my friends.  

Without them, it'd be an empty shell, an idea of a life, a life unlived.

I know that the good times are officially here.  Instead of hoping for better things round the corner, I'm just going to ask that things stay as good as they are at the moment.  

Whilst I mourn the passing of my thirties, I step into my forties as a happy, lucky, smiling man.  

Really.  How great is that?

mardi 28 juillet 2009

The whole nine yards

So, I'm sat in the bar having a drink with the Fierce People and a couple of other friends.

This guy comes over, clearly drunk.  He turns to my Newly Forty Friend and says...

"You're sexy, man"

"Thanks"  says NFF, and carries on talking to us.

"I'm good at eating ass" says the drunk guy.  I apologise  for the potty talk, but that's what he said, in French.

"Whatever" says NFF.

"Well, how about this?"  says the guy.  "It's 23cms you know..."

And with that, he flops out one of the largest penises I have ever seen.  In the middle of the bar.  Opens the trousers and flops it out.  Just like that.

Well, it was impressive enough in terms of both length and girth, but that wasn't what will stick in my memory.

The penis, it seems, came with its own individual perfume.  A scent so strong and malodourous that I could smell it from where I was sat - at least ten feet away.  It smelt like a slice of gorgonzola that had been stuffed inside an old man's sock and left out in the sun for a day or two.

As eyes started to water and people started to dry retch, the NFF turned to the drunk guy.

"Think about washing it ever?" he said.

"Sometimes I wash him" said the drunk guy.  "But he doesn't like the water so much".

And with that, I picked up my drink and went in search of alternative entertainment.

France may be famous for cheese but, trust me, this was a fromage too far.

lundi 27 juillet 2009

Move along, there's nothing to see here....

Yep, that's the reputation that Ankara has got - not much to do, not much to see.

I know one person who has been there before - my Lovely Flying Friend - and when I told him that I was going to Turkey's capital his response was 'to the point'.

"What do you want to go there for?"  he said.

"Because I've never been there" I answered.  Although, to be perfectly honest, this wasn't the total truth.  

You see, in the world of TBNIL there's a list of historical figures that I would, well, you know....that I would.  And although not on top, pretty high up the list is one Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of modern Turkey.

Atatürk took an islamic, tribal, disjointed and old-fashioned country and transformed it - in less than one generation - into a modern, secular, westward-looking society.  He gave women rights, re-established Turkish history and language, separated the state from the religious leaders and brought about the kind of change that Obama can only dream about.  

On top of all this, he was a handsome man with a twinkle in his eye.  And he looked very fine in a dinner suit...

So, it was largely a historical fuck-fantasy that had me flying high above the Anatolian plain to the joy that is modern day Ankara.  Heading to the centre of the nation to see the mausoleum, museum and, indeed, the legacy of the great man.

What I found wasn't a sleepy backwater.  Nor was it a Stepford-ish modern capital that so often exists when government and business are in different towns.  As brash, loud and obnoxious as Istanbul is, I was expecting Ankara to be provincial, dowdy, boring.

I was wrong.

The city was buzzy, lively, young and trendy.  Especially so in the areas of Kizilay and Cavaklidere, which both had great café cultures and plenty of terraces from which to watch the young and beautiful parade themselves.  The not so young and the not so beautiful were there too, so I didn't feel left out.

True, there's not much to see and not much to do.  But if you're happy with a museum, a mausoleum and a toot round the shops, then it's a great spot.

I was sad to leave, but happy to be getting back to normalcy and to not worrying about how much the calls are costing to and from Florida.

Oh yeah, me and Florida are getting on fine.  I figured the trip to Turkey would give us a bit of a break from each other - time to think about what on earth is going on.  I was wrong.  

We spoke twice a day, every day and never did we struggle for things to say.  I'm not sure how that happened.  I'm not sure when this became a twice-a-day thing.  I'm not sure, I'm not sure, I'm not sure.

We have a day and a night in London when he comes over at the end of next month.  We're going to see a show that he's desperate to get to.

"You know when we're in London in September?" he said to me last week.  I said that I did.  "Well, am I going to meet your Mom?"

"Do you want to meet her?" I asked, a little taken aback.  I took a swift gulp of my gin and tonic.  "Really?"

"Well, I'm going to have to meet her one day, so why not?"  he said.  "After all, I bet she's dying to meet me..."

At the end of the call, I poured myself another drink and went for a big lie down.  

Be careful what you wish for, young Florida Boy, you might just get it.....

dimanche 26 juillet 2009

Frights, heights and Turkish delights....


Here I am ın Ankara, Turkey at the end of an almost-three-week trip. It's hot and sunny and smells of sweat, but hey, I'm sure that I probably do too, such ıs the heat - today ıs a cool day and ıt's 41 degrees ın the shade....

Anyway, it's been a holıday of extreme lazıng, loafıng and layıng about. Really, I don't thınk I've been thıs lazy ın, well, ın ever really. Totally lazy. Totally relaxed. Beautıful.

Being this lazy ısn't conducıve to tales and to blogging, let me tell you. With my loyal readershıp ın mınd, I dıd try and have a couple of adventures, but they maınly ended ın me sıttıng ın the shade, readıng a book. Yes folks, we're a long way from Paris!

Havıng sat ın the shade and read a book at the beach heaven that ıs Olü Denız (also home to the tourıst hell that ıs Olü Denız) me and the Lovely Dutch Gırl, wıfe of Welsh Dutch Frıend who was sat at the pool ıgnorıng our need for adventure, decıded we'd drıve down the coast to Kalkan for dınner.

I'd looked at the map and spotted a coast road that looked a lot shorter than the hıghway - and a lot prettıer too, one would ımagıne.

Havıng drıven the fırst sıx swıtchbacks up the mountaın, my braveness dıssappeared. On the verge of tears and two tıcks away from a nervous breakdown, I stopped the car and jumped out.

"You have to drıve now" I saıd to LDG.

"But I've never drıven the car before" she saıd.

As I started to shake, she took the keys and took the wheel.

We headed up and up, clıngıng to the sıde of the mountaın, on a road that was wıde enough for one and a half cars - wıth no barrıer or anythıng at all to stop us goıng over the edge.

"Thıs ıs where I dıe" thought I. "Here, today, on thıs road, I dıe" - I've always been a bıt dramatıc.

As we get further along the road - ıt's been swıtchback turns, awful hılls and steep descents for thırty mınutes now - the tarmac ends.

And then, as suddenly as the tarmac ended, so the gravel path that the road had turned ınto became completely, absolutely, wıthout-a-shadow-of-a-doubt undrıveable.

LDG stopped the car.

"We have to turn around" she saıd, matter-of-factly.

"But we're on a narrow ledge. We'll dıe" saıd I.

I got out of the car and trıed to compose myself. I closed my eyes. I dıd breathıng exercıses. I managed not to cry. There really was no alternatıve. Short of clımbıng the 200 metres down the clıff face and attractıng the attentıon of a passıng boat, there was no alternatıve.

We had to retrace our steps. Take the same road back agaın.

I got ın the car and sat there, tense, dyıng, shıt-scared.

I've never been so scared ın all my lıfe.

We made ıt down the mountaın, by whıch poınt I truly dıdn't care that the town of Olü Denız ıs the most hateful, chavvy, vıle, tourısty, nasty mıstreatment of one of the most beautıful spots ın the eastern med - I needed a drınk and I needed ıt badly.

I guess the fırst moral of the story for me ıs to take tıme to read maps. Apparently a green lıne means 'unmade track'. If only I'd bothered to check that before settıng out...

The other moral of the story for me ıs much sımpler, and faırly easy to ımplement.

Never, ever, ever, leave home wıthout a spare paır of clean underpants.

There's a paır ın my bag today. And all I have planned ıs a lıttle lıght shoppıng.

vendredi 10 juillet 2009

Turkey with all the trimmings

So the trip to Istanbul is just a couple of days of down time - time alone to chill, relax, wind down before I fly to the south of Turkey to meet my friends for the holiday proper.

The last time I was in Istanbul it was new year's eve four years ago, and it was cold. Grey, wet and cold.

This time the weather couldn't be more different if it tried. It's hot, sunny and dry. It's blue skies and not a cloud in sight. It's better this way.

The last time I was here I had a sticky moment with a belly-dancing lovely.

You see, me and my Best Girl Friend had come to Istanbul to escape the christmas overkill.

We'd been successfully avoiding the worst of the holidays for a couple of years by travelling to countries where christmas isn't the done thing. Morocco had been great for us, twice. Egypt had been excellent. Both had given us cold days, but blue skies.

While Istanbul didn't deliver on the weather, we fell in love with the place for many other reasons, including the friendliness of the locals.

Having visited a particular restaurant twice already (it was handy for late night food near the hotel) BGF and I ended up being invited to see in the new year there too - the owner told us it would be a special evening with good food and entertainment.

He didn't lie. The food was excellent, and there was entertainment in the form of local musicians and dancers. Alas, because of how my seat was positioned, I couldn't see much of the entertainment without pulling a muscle in my neck.

Thus, I was more than a little surprised when BGF whispered "She's coming for you, watch out".

And that's when I found a belly-dancer gyrating next to me.

As she wiggled her charms, the restaurant started to clap along to the music. I wasn't sure what to do next.

Should I stand and dance with her? Should I too clap along? Should I smile and hope it all stops soon?

I didn't do any of these things.

You see, she had on a sturdy-looking brassiere type device that had got notes tucked into it - obviously where she keeps her tips from the other customers that she had danced for. So being a brave man, and wanting to do what I presumed everyone else had done, I reached into my pocket and got out a 10 lira note.

I stood up in front of everyone, folded the note and tucked it inside the lady's brassiere.

Everyone stopped clapping.

She looked at me stunned, turned and ran off.

"What did I do?" I said to BGF.

"Everyone else just handed her the money...." she said.

Seems that I had just treated a lovely Muslim lady like a common or garden hooker, in front of the whole restaurant.

She didn't reappear. The rest of the restaurant soon got back to chatting and clapping to the musicians, but for me and BGF the mood was lost. The service from the waiters deteriorated immediately. When the time came to pay the manager, the money was received with a grunt rather than the usual friendly request to come back soon.

I walked past that restaurant this afternoon.

Well, that's a lie.

I saw the restaurant, I crossed over the road and I walked faster until it was behind me.

I'll be seeking out new eateries on this trip. Let's hope I can stay out of trouble.

jeudi 9 juillet 2009

The lady and the tramp

So, here’s a cautionary tale if ever there was one. It's a story that I’ve been building up to sharing with you, such is my shame.

Now, you know that if it’s something that I’m embarrassed by then it must be pretty awful, right? Well, it is. Awful and embarrassing and nasty and just plain awful.

I cringe every time I think about it.

I have only ever told one person about it, and he claimed to be very supportive. I guess he was, if you count ‘rolling on the floor laughing, clutching his sides in hysteria’ being supportive. I actually don’t.

So, it all takes place a while back. Long enough ago for me to have gotten over it, recent enough for me to still be dying a little every time I think about it.

I’d been in one of my usual haunts in Paris and had had a couple of beers.

This handsome guy came up to talk to me. He was fortyish, greying, handsome. He had a great smile and a compact yet sturdy body. "Be still my beating heart", thought I.

Turns out that he’s Italian, speaks basic French and tells me that he’s on a training course in Paris. He’s a dental technician – makes false teeth – and he’s training in a lab in the 16th. He tells me that he’s living in a shared house in the 'burbs.

So we chat – as best we can with the language barrier – and we dance and we have a good fun evening. As it gets later, we do the usual….we kiss, we have a bit of a pash and we decide that we need to take this elsewhere.

With him living out in the suburbs, I take him back to mine. We walk home from the bar, stopping occasionally to top up the passion levels. This guy is hot. He’s wearing a leather jacket, black shirt, dark jeans and loafers. He was carrying a laptop bag. Classy enough for me.

We get to mine and before we head to the bedroom he asks if he can shower.

While he’s in the shower, I have to get something from the bathroom and notice that the water is filthy. I don’t really think too much of it – those Paris streets are dirty and loafers with no socks can leave your feet dirty, right?

I also note that he is washing his underpants and socks in the shower. I don’t think this is odd, curiously enough.

So, eventually we make it to the bedroom. It’s already early in the morning and we spend the next few hours doing what you’d expect. It was dirty (in a good way), hot and passionate. I still rate this amongst the best sex that I’ve ever had.

The sex is over and it’s time for him to leave.

"Can I stay for a bit longer?" he said.

"Well, not really," say I. "It’s already 6am and I have to get some sleep and meet friends at 9.00"

"Well, maybe I can sleep here while you meet your friends?"

"That’s not really going to happen is it? I don’t know you, so why would I leave you in the house on your own?"

"OK" he said, and he went to the bathroom to collect his still-wet laundry.

"Maybe you could give me some money?" he said, as he got dressed.

"Why would I do that?" I answered, somewhat stunned.

"Because I have no money, I need to eat".


"I have nowhere to live, I am on the streets, give me some money!" and at this point the penny dropped.

I’d been fucking a tramp.

The dirty feet, the washing of the underpants, the laptop bag filled with junk.

He was tanned because he lived on the streets. His whole story had been a lie.

Thank goodness that I only ever have safe sex.

I started to look around and make sure that nothing had been taken. I’d had some english money on the sideboard and noticed that it was gone. It was only a tenner, but still.

He caught my eye as I twigged that the cash was missing. He looked sheepish and handed me the note.

"I only wanted it to buy something to eat" he said.

And that’s when I grabbed his sorry ass and dragged it out of my apartment, furious.

In the hallway, I emptied his bag to make sure that nothing else was in there. I pulled out his pockets and checked that he had stolen nothing else.

Then I got him out of the building.

Holding him by the neck against the wall of my building, I did my best ‘macho gay’ thing. It was more Vin Diesel than Bruce Willis, but I'll live with that.

"If you are not gone from here in ten seconds I will call the police. I will kick your thieving ass and I will then call the police. If I see you anywhere near this building ever again I will kick your ass and then I will call the police".

I let him go and he dropped to the floor.

He picked himself and ran off. Really, he ran away.

I went back to the apartment and took the longest shower of my life.

In some ways this is a funny story – I mean, fucking a homeless guy is kind of hilarious, in a life-out-of-control kind of way. But it is more sad than funny. More scary than hilarious.

I told you it was a life lesson, and boy did I learn something that night.

I learnt that drink isn’t always my best friend, but equally I’m not sure I wouldn’t do the same again, given the evening that we had spent together.

I also learnt that if someone has filthy feet it’s possibly because they sleep on the streets.

Equally I learnt that I’m not a pushover. That I can handle situations. That I can be strong of body as well as of spirit when needs be.

But I also learnt that I need to calm down. To sleep around less and to focus on finding l’homme de ma vie.

A couple of weeks later I met Florida Boy. And the tramp faded into the past.

mercredi 8 juillet 2009

Getting preposterous on the Bosphorus*

Holidayeee! Celebraaaate!

Oh yeah, it's that time of year. Every so often I get the opening bars from the Madonna classic in my head and I know that summer vacation is here.

Such joy.

No work for three weeks.

Tonight I'm taking a flight to Istanbul and I'll be getting all preposterous by the Bosphorus for the next few days before heading to a fabulous villa on the Turquoise Riviera for a couple of weeks.

I'm guessing Istanbul will involve a whole raft of ridiculousness - a little hammam therapy, a little mosque visiting, a little bit of Topkapi palace harem envy and a spot of nocturnal Turkish bear-chasing.

No doubt there'll be a kebab and a cocktail in there somewhere too.

So, while you are all slaving away at your day jobs, think of me, cruising past the Golden Horn, enjoying the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and the view of Turkish sailors in their cute little uniforms.

Before I go, I'm going to leave you with one more post. As tales go, it's comedy, tragedy and a life-lesson all rolled into one.

It'll be with you soon.

Meanwhile, take care of yourselves in my absence. I'll try and post from the coast, but I'm not making any promises. If all else fails, I'll see you at the end of the month!

Miss me loads!


* credit CB / Bette Midler

mardi 7 juillet 2009

My mom and the BBC (that's Big Black Cock, between you and me)

Now, you may think that this post title is just there to get me loads of extra hits.  Trust me it's not, but I've no doubt it'll up the numbers somewhat.  

I don't know about my fellow bloggers, but I use Google Analytics to keep track of readership stats, etc.  I know, it's a bit OCD of me, but I like to know how many people love me.  A usual month these days sees around 2500 visits - I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but it's a treat for my poor undernourished ego.  

Anyway, that's not what this is about.

You may remember my experience with the DumbAss Yank in Brussels at the Taschen store?  Well, stupidly (or brilliantly perhaps?) I ended up in the Paris branch of Taschen with my Mom last weekend.

I was hoping that she might spot something to buy me for my birthday in there.  She didn't.

Anyway, I had my head in a lovely book of Eero Saarinen architecture when I realised that I'd lost her.  She'd left the pretty architecture and fancy hotel section of the shop and was nowhere to be seen.

And then I found her.

In the 'adult' section.

Now, not only was she in the 'adult' section, but she'd found herself a lovely copy of the 'Big Penis Book' to leaf through.

When I caught up with her, she was flush of face and not a little giggly.

"What would you do with this, bab?" she asked, opening the book to reveal a photo of a black chap with a penis that could only be described as, erm, long, thin and scary.  Really, it was hanging to the middle of his shin.

"I guess you'd wear it as a scarf" I said, trying to sound comfortable with the conversation.

"Well, I think it's awful" she said.  "But this one...." and she turned to the page that her other finger had been marking.

This second page contained yet another 'gentleman of colour' and his member.  But this time the penis was meatier.  It was less long, but what it lacked in length - and it lacked nothing in length really, but was just not as much of a record breaker as the previous offering - anyway, what it lacked in length, it certainly made up for in girth.

"I like this one" she said.  

"Right" said I, now visibly squirming.  "Let's go".

I took her for ice cream at the gelateria next door in an attempt to take her mind of the book.

As she tucked into her ice cream - she chose 'dark chocolate and cream', no lie - she turned to me with a pensive, serious look on her face.

"It's a wonder that you and your brother aren't coffee-coloured boys" she said.

I spluttered my Dulce de Leche over the shopping bags.

Sometimes I wish we could just bond over shoes.

lundi 6 juillet 2009

Don't go chasin' waterfalls

While I’d been throwing some laundry in the machine, tidying the bathroom, making a drink and arranging some fancy snacks on plates, my Mother had been sitting watching the TV.

I'm not telling you this for sympathy. I'm not complaining, nor trying to make myself seem like Cinderella here. I just wanted to set the scene a little.

See, my Mom likes a bit of French TV, even though she doesn’t understand it.

She likes to watch the crappy gameshows and try to guess what the objective is. She also loves – as do I – the French version of Wheel of Fortune. Alas, she rarely gets any of the words, but enjoys shouting at the screen nonetheless.

Nonetheless, when I walked back into the living room with snacks and drinks, I was a little surprised by the scene that greeted me.

My mother was sat watching the French ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’.

Since getting back from a day pounding the hot streets of Paris, she’d taken the time to change out of her 'street clothes' and into her pyjamas. She'd folded away her clothes, taken her shoes and changed them for slippers. Alas, she hadn’t thought about changing her glasses.

So she was there, on the sofa, in pink pyjamas and oversized Dior sunglasses.

It was like a scene from Katie and Peter. Actually, she reminded me more of Ozzy Osbourne.

"Who are you trying to be?" I asked her. "The prince of darkness?"

"What do you mean?" she said, looking surprised.

"The glasses, Mom. The glasses".

At which point she realised that she’d been watching TV with her sunglasses on for the last hour.

Now, I’m a giggler and this is a trait that I get from my Mother. However, since my Mom reached a certain age, there’s always been a cautious side to her laughter. Laugh too much and she, erm, well, she 'loses control'.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Tickled by how ridiculous she looked, my Mom started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

She laughed to the point where she was crying, where she was gasping for breath.

To the point where she wet herself.

Yep, she pissed her pants, on my sofa.

And that’s when I started laughing too.

What other choice did I have?

vendredi 3 juillet 2009

What time is it? Mother time...

Yesterday was hot. I’m not complaining – Lord knows we don’t get enough warm days around here – but it was hot. Sweat-trickling-down-my-ass-crack hot. I know, you didn’t need to be told that, right?

So after a day of sweating in an office with windows that can’t be opened (because of the construction site next door), I ran home to change into shorts and a t-shirt. I had to be at the airport to collect my Mother, and if I was going to brave the RER B, it certainly wouldn’t be in my work clothes.

The RER B was as bad I had thought it would be, so, even though the quick change was a nuisance, it turned out to be a great idea. Arriving at the airport, I was happy to step out of the sticky train and into the airconditioned loveliness of Charles de Gaulle.

I say loveliness, but as anyone who has been there knows, CDG is not lovely. It is impressive and utilitarian, but not lovely.

I got to the arrivals just as my Mom’s flight was declared to have ‘landed’. ‘Posé – 19.40’, said the screen.

And then the status of the flight didn’t change.

I waited, and I waited. The Air France desk knew nothing.

An hour after the flight landed, my mobile rang.

"It’s me" said my Mother. "I’m still on the plane"

Whilst I’d been stuck in the bowels of terminal 2, I hadn’t noticed the weather outside. It had changed from hot and sunny to hot and stormy. With thunder, lightening and torrential rain. And therein lay the problem.

The aircraft was at a remote stand, and they couldn’t get the passengers off the plane and onto a bus until the risk of a lightening strike had passed.

An hour later, she called me again.

"I’m still on the plane, but it’s all ok" she said. "I have a ham sandwich, an orange juice and I can use the toilet whenever I like". Whoever said she was difficult to please?

Two hours later, almost three hours after the plane had landed, my Mother emerged from the French customs area.

I gave her a hug and the usual "welcome to Paris" and then realised that something was a bit odd. Her outfit was fine, her hair was its usual self, but the accessories….what was going on?

"Are you wearing three watches?" I said, looking incredulously at my mother’s wrists.

"Oh, erm, I suppose I am, yes" she said. "I couldn’t decide which one looked best."

"So you decided to wear all three?"

"Well, to be honest, I put all three on to see which one looked best and then forgot to choose". She said, sheepishly. "To be honest, I hadn’t really noticed it until you said".

And there we go. She’s here for the weekend.

Let the games begin.

mercredi 1 juillet 2009

First I was afraid, I was petrified

Last night I went for dinner with Skaterboy and a couple of his friends. The invitation seemed innocent enough, but as the evening progressed I got the feeling that I was there to get the approval (or not) of his friends. It was a bit, erm, unusual.

As we walked back to mine, I decided to ask him.

"Was I being assessed back there? Being judged?"

"What do you mean?" said Skaterboy.

"Well, I felt like Fantasia Burrito waiting for Randy Jackson to tell her that she's 'da bomb', you know?"

He laughed, as he does when he has no idea of what I'm talking about. I guess translating 'da bomb' into French didn't help.

"Well, if this is going somewhere" he said, "it's important that you get along with my friends..."

And that's when I slammed on the mental brakes. I screeched to a halt.

"If this is going somewhere?" I said.

"Well, you know, I like my boyfriends to get along with my friends."

While the idea of boyfriends seemed quite nice as we were walking home, hand in hand, through a balmy Paris evening, the reality hit once we got back to my place.

As we were getting down to business, I couldn't stop thinking about the Florida Boy. I'd missed his call while I was at dinner with Skaterboy. Given a choice between being where I was - in bed, banging the brains out of the hot frenchman - or returning FB's call, I knew that I wanted to be on the phone.

So, as I headed off to work this morning, leaving Skaterboy dozing in my bed, I realised that I had to sort this out. I had to stop this guy from thinking we were anything more than friends that fuck.

But, to be honest, I'm not even sure about the friends that fuck thing anymore. If I'm thinking of FB while I'm in bed with someone else, if I'm wishing it was him, if it's his face that I want to be seeing next to me, then surely this is telling me something.

As my DumbAss Yank friend would say, I'm a smitten kitten.

Oh boy. This should be a great moment.

So why do I feel scared?