dimanche 30 août 2009

Tomorrow, tomorrow.....

The sun'll come out, tomorrow, apparently.

Whether it does or not, it kind of doesn't matter.  A little bit of Florida sunshine is currently winging it's way to Atlanta to connect with his plane to Paris and then straight to yours truly....yes folks, Florida Boy will be here in the morning.  





Fucking hell.

Everybody shout panic!

jeudi 27 août 2009

Why I don't *heart* falling in love

You know the feeling.

You meet someone that you really like, you swap numbers and you wait for them to call.

You get excited when the phone rings - ecstatic when it's them, woeful when it's not.

Your life becomes a rollercoaster as you swing from date to date, wondering where this is going, whether this is the one.

I hate that shit.

All of it.

I hate the lack of control, the inability to judge where I stand, the feeling of vulnerability.

I hate the other person for having such an effect on my emotions.

I resent how the whole process takes me - completely involuntarily - out of my comfort zone.

My body betrays me, my mind drives me to distraction and I am no longer myself.

The guy sends me flowers and I turn into a giggling wench.

He doesn't return my call and I'm Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.

He returns it too soon and I turn into the queen of keeping-my-distance.

My life turns upside down at the drop of a hat and I detest it.

I hate how being in love makes me feel, but most of all I hate it for being missing from my life.

Florida Boy arrives in four days time.

Can you tell?

mardi 25 août 2009

Do you take this man....?

The thing with weddings is that everyone is looking pretty good and, usually, any singletons in the camp are looking for a bit of a wedding hook-up. Well, this is how I see it, anyway.

Alas, for the gayers amongst us, there's often very little chance of such wedding night bliss, unless you're willing to go for one of the cater-waiters or the guy who delivered the flowers. Occasionally there'll be another random 'mo in the room, but he's never what you'd hoped for.

And this wedding was no exception. Zero potential action for yours truly.

Well, that's a lie. There was a long lost cousin who had 'never had a girlfriend' but was yet to confirm which bus he was on. Having met him, I think he didn't need to confirm anything - he just needed his family to open their eyes a little. But hey, as gay as he was, he was no looker - not someone to make one's heart flutter. Not even a little.

There was also a very nice man in charge of the waiting staff - earlier in the day he said he'd 'show me his catering equipment' if I stuck around late enough (no lie, those were his words). Alas, I didn't see him at the end of the night - maybe he'd already left with Cousin It.

But just as I thought that all was without hope, lady luck shone her torch brightly in my face and woke me up again.

You see, one of the other guests was a guy that has always made me laugh. We've gotten on well the few times that we've seen each other - and although he's never said anything about being gay, I've definitely never seen him with a girl.

During the day, as the photo's and garden chitchat went on, he came to find me to gossip. I thought he was just bored, being on his own and without plus-one, just like me. When we sat together for dinner, he spent the meal giving me his full attention and even laughed at my crappy jokes.

When we went on the mini-train tour of the wedding venue (yes, it was big) he made sure that he sat next to me.

We drank buckets of champagne together during the evening, avoiding the dancefloor as much as possible. And then, as the night drew to an end, he came over to chat to me. He put his hand on my shoulder and leaned in.

"Great day eh?" he said.

"Yeah, really good" said I.

"I've really enjoyed myself, " he said and winked at me.

"Me too," I said. "It's been fun."

Then he grabbed my ass, kissed my cheek.

"I'll be coming to see you in Paris soon..." He said - and then he skipped off to get on the bus back to his hotel.

I know, it's not a lot to get excited about.

But hey, it made my day.

lundi 24 août 2009

The most dangerous wedding guest ever?

Saturday saw the wedding of the year - with me as 'Best Man'. Can you imagine anyone less well equipped for the role? Me either.

Anyway, it all went pretty smoothly - despite the major panic that seemed to set in for the bridegroom as the event approached.

At the dinner table I was seated next to the groom's father - a lovely old Ulsterman with a questionable past. He was explaining to me - at length - about how he had been a 'bad lad' when he was growing up.

"You know I had to leave Belfast when I was 14?" he told me. "I'd held up a local factory with a shotgun and stolen their wagepackets, so it was time to leave."

"Gosh," said I. "That's, erm, great"

He then alluded to having something to do with the Birmingham pub bombings - which I presume was a drunken 'boast' - but by this point the musical 'entertainer' had arrived. As the music guy got into his set the Groom's father turned to me again...

"This guy is terrible" he said.

I agreed.

"Someone needs to shoot him" he continued, in his thick Ulster brogue.

I've never felt so sorry for a wedding singer.

I hope he made it home without being jumped by men in balaclavas.....

vendredi 21 août 2009

Miss Snippy

I've been in the Uk for two days now and yet again I find myself being 'told off' by my boss.

Thing is, she's been reading some management twaddle about effective communication and, it seems, I'm not up to scratch.

Apparently, I am:

- snippy
- sarcastic
- insensitive

and I make people feel uncomfortable with my over-use of innuendo.

Well, to be honest, she does have a point. I can't argue with much of that.

Apparently, instead of the above, I'm supposed to be:

- collaborative
- supportive
- empathic

Equally, I think she does have a point - all of these are good things to be. As we discussed this, I pulled out a few examples of her behaviour to illustrate her points.

Example 1

The time she said "Well, I wouldn't want him to think you're a queer" when explaining why she'd told a customer that I still hadn't found the right girl.

Example 2

The time she left an advert for diet pills on my desk with a note saying "saw this and thought of you".

Example 3

How she'd said to me, this very morning, that my fitness regime seemed to have been overtaken by an "eating regime".

Example 4

The occasion where she'd seen fit to remark on how I looked young, but how "it's so diffcult to tell how old a fat person is, their skin is pulled so tightly".

You can imagine, that after we'd had our 'chat' she was looking desperately for an olive branch and regretting having started the whole conversation in the first place.

I know I'm not an ideal employee. I'm rude, obnoxious and sarcastic. I'm garish, loud and I talk dirty. But equally, I'm thoughtful, friendly and welcoming - and I'll go out of my way to include people and make them feel at home.

Now, I don't want to get all religious on her ass, but hey, sometimes the good book speaks sense...

"Yo Hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye..."

I added the 'yo' myself to make it a bit more ghetto.

You get my point.

jeudi 20 août 2009

Yes, I'm the best man for the job

Thursday, and the nerves have started to kick in. Well, not the nerves so much as the despair. And the anger. And the pissy-ness. And the general feeling of 'why me?'.

I'm the best man at a friend's wedding on Saturday and I'd be underselling the situation if I said I was not happy.

Firstly, I'm not sure how I got the gig in the first place - this is a friend that I see once a year (if I really work hard to coordinate our diaries), that I didn't speak to for ten years (a falling out that involved broken noses, smashed teeth and a bottle or three), and who has an ex-wife and two fairly old kids that I have never met.

Secondly, the cost of the whole thing is now starting to annoy me. Here goes:

€500 - travel to Amsterdam, accommodation and spends for Stag Weekend
€400 - new suit for wedding
€250 - accommodation for the night of the wedding, renting a car to get to wedding, etc
€180 - shirt and shoes for wedding
€150 - wedding gift

So, it's cost me well over €1,000 euros to go to this wedding and be the Best Man. In what world is that right?

And to make matters worse, they had the cheek to say "don't buy us a wedding gift, we're asking people to make a cash donation to the honeymoon". If you can't afford your honeymoon, sweetheart, don't go on one....or so I'd suggest.

The final nail in the coffin happened yesterday evening.

My Crackberry pinged to tell me an email had arrived...

"Hi everyone, the friday night pre-wedding dinner has been booked and we're really looking forward to seeing you all there" it said.

"The restaurant is lovely, the food isgreat and I'm sure we'll all have a great time - see the menu attached".

I clicked on the link.

Starters - £18 to £24
Main courses - £30 to £40
Desserts - £15 to £20

I closed the link and sat there stunned. On top of everything else, I have to spend a hundred quid on dinner the night before the wedding?

How do I get out of this one?


I guess I should have said no when I had a chance, right?

lundi 17 août 2009

Les liaisons dangereuses

Last week, I was in the bar with the Fierce People having a lovely beer or three.  The aircon was cranked up, as was the music (Vanessa Paradis, if you will) and the French half of the Fierce People was off to the toilet.

"Hey, I have something to tell you," whispered the American half of the FP combo, conspiratorially.

"Do tell..." said I, intrigued.

"Well, you know how we had our German friend staying over the weekend?" he said.  "Well, while the husband was out at work on Monday, I had a little indiscretion".  

He smiled at me with a very large twinkle in his eye.

"You mean that you and Herman the German did the dirty?" I asked.

He nodded, winked and smiled.  

"I take it husband doesn't know about this?"

He nodded again.  I gave him a good old gay high five and we giggled like schoolgirls.  Husband soon joined us, fresh from the bathroom and we dropped that subject and started to chat about other things that have been happening in our uneventful and quiet lives.

A couple of friends came and joined us, told us about how their cocktail party had been curtailed by one of the female guests dropping her cumbersome breasts into a bowl of crème anglaise that was destined for the mille feuilles.

They left and were replaced by a lovely boy with whom I had a thing a while ago.  He pushes the snack trolley on the TGV to Marseille and so was, naturally, never real boyfriend material.

When he left us, so the American half of the FP headed off for a cigarette on the bar terrace.

"I have something to tell you," said the French boy.  "But you must promise to keep it as our secret..."

"Okaaaaay....."  I said.

"Well, while my Hubbie was out walking the dog on Sunday, I let our German friend do terrible things to me."  He said this with one eyebrow raised and a very large smirk.

"Wow" said I.  "You are a disgrace"

And, with that, we too high-fived and giggled like schoolgirls.

"What's to laugh about?" said the American returning from his cigarette.

"Oh, nothing really" said I.  "I'm just so glad I met you two.  You make me feel so less cheap than I normally would."

They exchanged confused glances and I headed off to buy drinks.

See.  It's not just me.

Everybody's doing it.

Must be the summer.

dimanche 16 août 2009

Sticky fingers

I'm stood in the Marais.  I have a beer waiting for me at a table, but it's getting warm while I speak on the phone to Florida Boy.  God bless him, he's trying to pretend that our conversation last week never happened.  Full marks for effort.

As I stand there next to the café, a woman and her daughter approach me.

The mother is around 70 years of age, a big lady but well dressed.  The daughter - around 35 years old.  She's wearing a lovely white dress with a purple floral print.  She has a purple short cardigan and the most amazing lilac silk platform pumps on her feet.

The pair of them are accompanied by a standard poodle.  White/blonde, the poodle is an elegant dog.  Not clipped or trimmed, but au naturel.  Nonetheless very elegant.

As they get close to me, the dog drops to its haunches and takes a dump.

I appreciate that this has to happen so, in itself, the act of the dog shitting doesn't really offend me.

However what happened after DID offend me.

The daughter bent down and picked up the dog shit.  She picked up all four/five pieces and took them over to, and dropped them into the nearest bin.

She did this totally bare-handed.  I mean really.  No glove, no bag, no nothing.

She then took out of her pocket a tissue.  She wiped the shit off her fingers onto the tissue and returned it to her pocket.

The mother turned to her.  She was clearly as amazed by this behaviour as the rest of the people in the street.

"You may have had a good education," she said in French to her daughter, " but you are a fucking idiot".

And with that, the daughter slapped her (with her shitty fingers) and walked off.

The dog, torn between the two of them, didn't know which way to go.

As the mother stood there crying, I ended my phone call and returned to my beer.

Really, some things you just couldn't make up.  

Nasty, nasty, nasty.

jeudi 13 août 2009

If I knew where I stood, I'd be standing there

So, Wednesday.

It was never going to be a good day.  I had to travel to and from UK head office in the same day, in order to be back here for a meeting the next day.  Before I went to bed on Tuesday night I knew that Wednesday would start early and finish late.

Unfortunately, it started late as I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock one too many times and fell asleep.  Running through the shower and jumping into clothes, I heard the crackberry ping - an email.  But I truly didn't have time to look at it.  

I got my shit together and walked - very quickly - to the Gare de Lyon to get the train out to the airport.  It's now 6.00 am.  

Halfway to the station, I remembered the email. 

It was from Florida Boy and innocently entitled 'Hey there!'

So I open it and start to read.

It wasn't the romantic start to my day that I usually get from him.

"I love you lots....how is this ever going to work?....is it possible to make something from what we have....I don't know how we can ever make this work long distance....I wish you lived closer...." and so on.  

You get the drift.  

It's true, the distance is a huge deal.  I'm not sure how we ever would make it work.  But maybe some things are worth struggling for.  Maybe this is one of those things.

But then I read on.

"I don't expect you to be a saint while I'm not in Paris....I'm sure you've been seeing other people...."

Well, you all know that I've not been a saint.  But we'd discussed our attitude to sex vs love many times and neither of us were under any illusions.  

"Thing is, I've been seeing someone too....I don't know where it's heading....but I really like him....I think it might be something good".  

Well, that was kind of like getting shot.

And, no word of a lie, as I read this line, the telephone rang and it was him.

"I didn't mean to send it, don't read it" he sounded panicked.

"I read it" I said.  "What does it mean?"

"It means nothing, really, nothing"


"Well, I still really want to see if we can make something together, but I just wanted to be honest with you" he said.

Turns out, he had sex with this guy - which doesn't at all bother me - but then the sex dates turned into proper 'date' dates - which we said we wouldn't do to each other - and he's 'not sure' how he feels about him.  But he's desperate to see me and see how that works out.

The more he talks, the more he tells me that this guy isn't anything important.  Nobody special.

But you know what?  He has three weeks before he comes to see me, the other guy is local and I may as well be a million miles away.  If this guy likes FB, he's going to be going all out to get him before he comes this way.  

I really hate this kind of situation.  Being put in competition with someone else.  Having to prove you're the best man for the job.  My natural instinct is to walk away.  Close the door.  Save my heart.  But this time I think I should persevere.

So I talk awhile, but ultimately have to leave the conversation with him.  I have to go to the airport and get to the UK.

In the UK, I lurch from dreadful meeting to dreadful meeting.  My final meeting of the day ends with my boss asking me to stay behind to speak to her - and she then cusses me out (impressively so, I'd say) for being 'snippy' with her on the phone the previous day.  I give as good as I get, but still, it's hard.

I leave the office in the UK, and head to the airport.

I get on the plane and fly to Paris.

I get back to my house at 11,30pm.

At this point, I'm knackered.  Emotionally drained.  Exhausted.

Florida boy calls.

It's all I can do to answer the phone.  It's as much as I can do talk to him.

I tell him that we'll talk again tomorrow.

I go to bed wishing that my life never sees another day like this one.

So now it's Thursday and I spoke to him again today.  I felt like I was just going through the motions.

How easily we are let down. 

I honestly, truly do not have a clue.  I don't what to think.  I don't know what to feel.  

I don't feel let down, much, but more that we agreed on a policy of 'no dates other than sex' and he reneged on the deal.  

But the thing is, long-distance will always be like this.  There'll always be a chance that one of us will have his head turned by someone local and the other will get his heart broken.  Is that anyway for either of us to live?  Under constant threat of being replaced?

Really?  I just want to walk away.  But I don't think I can.

mercredi 12 août 2009

lundi 10 août 2009

Nanterre Préfecture > Gare de Lyon

On the RER A, heading home.  As everyone in cars takes advantage of the empty August roads and gets home early, for those of us who travel underground it's the opposite.  August means less trains, less frequencies.  August means getting home later than usual.

The woman sat opposite me has an amazing wig on.  She's quite beautiful, but I wonder if she hasn't picked up on the fact that the wig looks like it's made from black bin bags, so shiny and plastic-looking it is.

The man next to me has beautiful forearms and chronic body odour.  Those arms are like a slice of heaven reaching out from the hell of his mansmell.

Across the aisle there is a middle aged woman, sat on a carrier bag - obviously the seats on public transport are too dirty for her.  She's not so germ-averse though.  She's been biting the skin on the knuckle of her thumb for the past ten minutes.  What's she so nervous about?  The germs?

I'm listening to Little boots on the iPod.  Stuck on repeat.

I turn her off and reach for my book.  The Secret Scripture.  Beautiful.  I hold my bag on my knee and turn the pages.  

The stinking guy next to me gets off at Etoile.  

He is replaced by a North African guy.  Short, stocky, filling his jeans in a good way.  He's with someone - friend?  colleague? - and they sit next to me and opposite me, respectively.  The black woman with the wig shifts uncomfortably and grips her bag.

The guy next to me smells totally different to the previous occupier of the seat.  The smell is pure 1980's.  Kouros?  Paco Rabanne?  Aramis?  It's pure 80's and hot to the point of distraction.  I fold the page corner and put the book in the bag.  I close my eyes and enjoy the trip back in time.

He gets off at Auber and is replaced by a shopgirl.  She's about fifty, wearing the trademark black and red of Lafayette.  I wonder which department she calls home.  Mens socks?  Ladies evening wear?  Small electrical?

I think about what's lying ahead this week.  Drinks with friends.  Dinner with others.  More friends arriving at the end of the week to spend the weekend together.  I have housework to do first.  I need to do some grocery shopping.  Remember to buy champagne.

The shop worker starts sending text messages, giggling to herself as she does.  It makes me think of the messages I got today when I announced online that my day wasn't going so great.  I have some calls to make tonight.  Friends.  

Smiling to myself, I get out my book and open it again where I left off, unfolding the corner as I go.  

I read the next line.

"It is always worth itemising happiness, there is so much of the other thing in a life, you had better put down the markers for happiness while you can."

My markers are here.  Right here.  Right now.  I don't mean the train.  I don't necessarily mean Paris.  I mean in my heart.  In my head.  

This is the time I will look back on as the time I was happy.

I'm throwing down my markers.

dimanche 9 août 2009

Burning up for your love

In my last post I told you how I'd planned a big weekend - to get back my mojo, to re-discover my missing muse, to find my groove again.

Well, no sooner had I posted, than I started to feel a little bit hot.  A bit sticky.  Hot behind the eyes, achey of limb.  And that's how I ended up spending the last 36 hours in bed.  


I even had to cancel a date that I had organised for yesterday evening.  And trust me, this isn't a guy I'd be cancelling unless I really had to.

So, do you think it's a higher power reining me in?  I've asked myself this question over the last couple of days.

There are two weekends now before Florida Boy arrives - the first one I have friends visiting me, the second I'm in the UK at a wedding, so there's no chance between now and his arrival of me behaving badly.  This was the only weekend where such a thing would have been possible.

This was the weekend that I was planning to be a bad boy.  Planning to get me some loving that I wouldn't be telling Florida Boy about.

And that's why I question whether someone 'up there' struck me down on purpose.  Gave me a bug that lasted from friday afternoon until sunday morning to keep me out of the cheating zone. 

I wonder.

Fate?  Anyone?

vendredi 7 août 2009

Absent muse

I'm back from holidays, back from birthday weekend and back in the office again.

Somewhere along the way I lost the muse. A temporary blip, I'm sure.

In fact, so concerned am I that I've organised a weekend of TBNIL style fun....hopefully it'll be enough to help me get my groove back (the writing groove, that is) and may even provide me with a couple of tales for y'all....

And with the weekend I have in mind, if there aren't at least two posts from it then I'll be disappointed.

Wish me luck.

jeudi 6 août 2009

And the French for "excuse me" is...?

Well, apparently there is no French word for excuse me.  It's 'stand and point'.  Or just 'stand'.

I appreciate that this is the second post of my forties and it's a rant.   Yes that scares me too.

I promise you that I'm not yet the grumpy old man that I am destined to become. But the thing is, I'm just back from the cinema, and you know what drives me crazy?  People who can't say "excuse me".

You see, I like to sit on the aisle - more leg room, more elbow space, etc.  But this does mean that people need to get past me.  Here's a typical scenario:

Boy to girl - "Let's sit there", gesturing at seats in my row.

Girl to boy - "Yes, that seems like a good spot", again, gesturing to the seats beyond mine.

Boy to girl - "So, shall we sit there then?"

Girl to boy - "Yes, let's do it"

And then they stand there.  They hover in the aisle next to where I'm sat.

Me to girl and boy - "Are you OK there?"

Boy to me - "Yes fine thanks", gesturing towards seats next to me.

Me to boy - "Did you want to get past me?"

Boy to me - "Yes, we want to sit there" points at said seats.

Me to boy - "The accepted protocol in these situations is that you say 'excuse me, may we come past you please' and I say 'of course you may' and then I stand up and let you past".  Well I don't say all of this, but I allude to it with a tut and an eyeroll.

This happens a lot.  

At the cinema, on aeroplanes, on trains.  What happened to a simple "excuse me"?

I'm a nice guy.  I don't look all that intimidating.  I don't touch (too many) people inappropriately as they pass.

I just like a bit of courtesy.

Too much to ask?

(note to self : do NOT let this become a habit.  An occasional rant is fine, but people don't want to hear your moaning self complaining all the time.  Stop it now or people will start calling you O.L.D.)

lundi 3 août 2009

Missing a bit

In the photo I received by email this morning, it's Saturday morning, 3am and I'm dancing in Birmingham's oldest, biggest and gayest gay club.

Dancing with a whole load of friends, plus my boss and two other members of the board of directors where I work.

Yes, it seems that I invited them. Don't ask me why. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

In fact, the birthday party went really well - it was a good mix of 40 friends, family and a select few colleagues who have become friends over the years.

I'm not sure that my boss expected to ever see me stood in front of a room of drunkards, wearing a pair of bunny ears, demonstrating a pair of furry handcuffs and drinking champagne from the bottle through a straw shaped like a penis, but hey - she needs to love me or leave me, right?

Now, I'm sure exciting/crazy/worrying things happened and that hilariousness did indeed ensue, but I was just a little too, erm, drunk to remember. I'd love to be recounting tales of crazy mothers and idiot friends, but I truly don't remember.

See, the thing is, I remember telling people at the restaurant that we were off to the nightclub, and then I remember waking up at my Mom's house.

The whole period between those two events is lost forever.

At least I hope it is.

Please don't tell me what I did. I don't want to know....