I was really looking forward to this one.
I eventually left my flat after a cheery Saturday evening spent watching Hitler's Holocaust. (This was the last episode in the series, entitled 'Liberation'. I had assumed it may be life-affirming and full of hope. It wasn't.)
I got to the tube station and waited an age for my train. A small clump of Australian girls (Collective noun, a Shelia?) were stood nearby being boistrous. This cheered me tremendously. I remembered that Gay Paul's standard issue Australian flatmate™ (The one I'd apparently once asked for a shag) would know other Australians, probably female, and more than likely heavy drinkers willing and eager to sleep with people.
Plus there was the other consideration:
Flame = Moth.
Honey = Bears.
Gay Men = Hoardes of doe-eyed and potentially quite attractive gagging Fag Hags.
Sooooo looking forward to this houseparty.
I had to change tubes at Earls Court. I'm looking good. Slightly too casual (How do you spell the one-syllable version of that?), but feeling pretty damn fine nonetheless. Plus I noticed the Sheila of Girls had gathered nearby. Could they be going to the same houseparty, perchance?
(I'll nip this in the bud now: No. They all got off at Fulham.)
I took the next tube all the way to Wimbledon. Two stunning Spanish women had been sitting opposite me where they spent the whole time refusing to make eye contact, and giggling conspiratorially throughout. Things were going downhill. And Wimbledon didn't help. It is a godforsaken HOLE. Menace filled the air like a stormcloud, as random impenetrable football chants were screamed from drunk retards with no necks. I had a 20 minute wait for the train to drag me phenomenally slowly to the sprawling crack-den that is Streatham.
I was now getting text messages along the lines of 'Where are you?' and 'Fuckwit'. (Apparently there is an easier route that avoids the hell of Wimbledon.)
When I did get there, the party was in full swing. Technically, I had to leave almost immediately if I wanted to get home before the trains stopped, so I resigned myself to fate and proceeded to drink copious amounts of vodka. The majority of people there were couples, and the one single female was already being pulled by my friend Russell. (He doesn't do conversations, just a series of one-liners and risqué gags, and it always seems to work.) Gay Paul was considerably off his tits, as was his boyfriend Michael who is convinced - wishful thinking on his part, I believe - that I am but a few Bacardi Breezers from exploding kicking and screaming (showtunes) from The Closet. He tried to facilitate this by dancing behind me in a routine probably illegal in most non-Western countries.
I was befriended by a hideously drunk Irishman called Barry, who seemed keen to shake my hand for hours a la Mr Shake Hands Man from the Bansai television programme until I told him that I knew what he was doing, and he ideally needed a) a timer, b) a film crew and c) someone famous.
So he said 'Feck' and walked off.
My lovely Muslim lady friend, her friend Helen and I did have a discussion about my poor beard (and this is a beard in the facial sense, and not in the Woman Dating A Gay Man To Disguise His Sexuality sense).
My beard was in my opinion only slightly longer than stubble anyway. I'd just got lazy and left it. Russell added that it was more 'Carpet' now. The general consensus was that women hate beards on men. Exceptions were extremly rich, famous and good looking men, and older women may have a different take on it, but in the main, they were an abhorrence and a crime against mankind.
This was particularly annoying as I have a considerable babyface once I've shaved, plus my boyhood heroes (Indiana Jones and my Dad, oddly enough) have tended to have facial growth and I guess I want to emulate that.
Gay Paul's opinion was that he liked it a lot, and said I should keep it. I cheered loudly and yelled 'In Your Face!' to the girls, until they pointed out quite sensibly that if I wanted to pull gay men, then I should probably keep the beard. If I was after women, I should shave.
Time was lost. A lot of spirits were drunk. I refused to dance to Abba, and was called 'Straight' for wearing a white t-shirt under my green t-shirt. (Ironic, as straight men have always called me gay for wearing tight white tops.)
After a fashion, Gay Paul found things rather too much to bear and had to hide in an upstairs room to have a little cry. Apparently, some clumsy oaf had managed to pour a brand new bottle of Coke all over the tablecloth with the nibbles on.
(I'm afraid this may have been me.)
He reached breaking point when he had to throw out a now violently drunk Irishman, then went to the bathroom to find one of the guests using his razor to have an impromptu shave.
No-one can remember how late we stayed. Luke, my Muslim ladyfriend's boyfriend and my ex-housemate, had achieved drunk nirvana and was doing what he normally does when he's had too much booze, and that's go around picking people up. Someone hit him. I had given up trying to pull as there wasn't anyone, plus I was now nursing a particularly vicious razor cut on my chin and looked like the Elephant Man.
We got a taxi home and I woke up on a sofa in Carshalton.
We phoned Paul to generically say sorry, so it must have been a good party if you have to call up the next day to apologise. We watched X-Factor, a truly awful talent show I'm proud never to have seen before, and saw the McDonald brothers, the musical equivalent of a nice cup of tea, gurn for the cameras and the old women in the audience. I got the train home. The Circle and District line had collapsed in on itself so I had to improvise a journey back to West London with my chin buried in my scarf lest The Scratch Be Seen.
Then back to mine for Doritos and Hummous.