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.