Rum diary

It occurs to me, suddenly, in the middle of Month Four of 2012, that I might drink too much.

I don’t mean that I’m in that Leaving Las Vegas, pints-of-rum-with-my-cereal league, not yet anyway; most of the veins in my face are still, as of now, not visible. I just mean, well, let’s just say that in London there are two pubs whose bartenders know me by name, three by face and one or two others by reputation.

I don’t drink in the mornings, and unless it’s Friday or Saturday (or Monday… or Tuesday…) I don’t drink in the afternoons either. But it’s amazing, in this city, how much one’s social life revolves around alcohol.

After work, I’ll meet a friend or colleague for drinks, or I’ll grab drinks after a movie, or I’ll stop by a party with an open bar, or I’ll stop by for drinks to make notes for blogging about stopping by for drinks.

I don’t think too much of this typically, considering it’s all second nature. The major appeal for me of going to a pub is the social aspect. Except for when the appeal is solitude, which, I realise while writing this, means the reasons I like going to pubs are to be with people and to be alone, which I guess just about covers everything.

Shit, that doesn’t sound good… Tell you what, just forget that last sentence, I’m screwing up my own point, let’s start over…

It’s just that I don’t really think I drink that often, and I never figured those close to me thought I did either. True, when old friends visit me, they often mention that they don’t remember the last time they were this drunk, and then they remember it was the last time they were with me.

I think that’s because their lives are relatively boring, what with their celebrity-handling jobs and random sexual encounters and all.

Anyway, it’s not like I was ever thought of as the class drunk, the guy who has sudden attacks of rage when he has a few too many rum and Cokes. In fact, there was a long period of several years when I didn’t drink at all.

I always considered myself the drinking buddy, the person who was always willing to throw back a few with friends, always happy to lend an open ear to a mate in need of counsel or just someone to talk to. And usually they opened up more after a few beers, or a few shots, or maybe just some ether.

Nevertheless, I have a feeling people are starting to talk. More and more, I’m receiving ominous comments from all corners.

I always remember that when I changed jobs a few years back, my friend Clare complained that she was worried about me leaving because “who will stay out all night drinking with me now?” Now, in my current workplace, I had a new member of staff come to my department asking for me by name. “Talk to David,” he’d been told, regarding a staff social evening at a nearby pub. “He’s hardcore.” Mr New Guy was pleased to meet me because he fancied himself a bit of a boozer and figured he could drink anyone under the table.

So it seems that people have been classifying me as a “heavy” drinker, though, I must say, I greatly prefer the term “accomplished” drinker.

I hit the nadir last week. I met up with the suspiciously seldom-mentioned Kate, and we were out, of all things, drinking, when she, with a straight and really not all that concerned face — well, I think she might have been drunk — asked me, “You’re not an alcoholic, are you?”

When someone who you sometimes think of as a somewhat of an occasional admirer, for whatever sick, sadistic reasons says this to you, you tend to stand up, pay attention and look deep inside yourself.

Or at least you order another drink and laugh off the comment with a pithy, wiseacre comment about the shakes being gone and that’s great, not worried anymore, ha ha, then change the subject to how lovely she looks, yes, yes, quite lovely, and then try not to think about it until it unexpectedly and entirely inappropriately shows up in your next blog, oh my, hehehe.

All this said, I don’t think I have the intestinal fortitude to become a bona fide we’re-all-worried-about-David alcoholic. I think I started too late. I didn’t drink until my 20s — my fellow nerd friends and I always felt that we didn’t “need” alcohol to have a good time. God, how silly and naïve we were.

The first time I ever had a sip was at a party at journalism school at which I literally had rum forcibly poured down my throat while I was already taking medication for a head cold. At the end of the night, if I may blatantly steal a Woody Allen line, I tried to take my pants off over my head. Even then, though, I never really got on the booze bandwagon, and even though I was drinking a bit by the end of it… well, jeez, it was uni, so give a brother a break.

Anyway, I’ve slowed down a bit, even if I have graduated from scraping pennies together for a pint. But, you know, it’s hard in London, hard not to drink. I don’t know how my old housemate Mark, who has never sipped alcohol, could possibly do it; the guy goes to a pub and orders a Coke every time, though, to the bartender’s credit, he always has to say it twice, as if that couldn’t possibly be what he actually said.

I mean, if I gave up drinking, I’d have to give up all the things that drinking allows me to do, like convince myself my conversation is actually interesting… or dance… or karaoke… or, for that matter, sex. I don’t know if I’m willing to make those kinds of sacrifices, even if my reputation is starting to become a bit more soiled than I’d like it to be. There are a million different pubs in this great city, each with their own stories, their own people and their own price for pitchers.

So bring it on, New Guy. I accept your challenge. Let’s just keep it between us, OK? People are already starting to talk…

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Kiss the girls and watch them fly!

As far as proper, meaningful ones go, I’ve kissed only 19 women in my life. Typically, my mates tell me that this number is somewhat low (you sluts!), but it doesn’t seem like it to me. Nineteen people who would share something as intensely personal and uniquely human as a kiss? Shit, I’d settle for that many people who will talk to me.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately — I’m trying to stop watching so much telly and wasting time on Facebook; what else am I supposed to do? — and I’ve decided that No. 20 is going to have to be special. I’ll be officially out of the teens, and I plan on celebrating the occasion more appropriately than I did No. 10. (I never told Sarah Whatshername she pushed me into double digits; I thought I was too mature for such a thing.)

Confession: You might find me to be a borderline psychopath for doing such a thing, but I do have a list in my head of every woman I’ve ever properly kissed, in chronological order. (By properly, I mean the kisses with real feeling — so the totally random hot Spanish girl in Camden a few weeks ago doesn’t count, though I wish we’d both been sober enough to exchange numbers.) I also have an alphabetical list, but I don’t bring that one out very often. I’ve always kept up these unofficial lists. But only recently have I etched it into stone. This list is very important to me, but maybe I’d have to talk to a psychologist before I try to determine any particular reason why.

Having such a list might seem trivial or even offensive to you but, I swear, this isn’t some kind of notches-on-the-bedpost exercise in self-congratulation; it’s sincere. I look at the names of these 19 women in wonder. Am I one of their more embarrassing partners? If asked if they had ever kissed me, would they admit it? Do they think of me fondly? Do they think of me at all? Considering that I’ve only spoken with two of the 19 in recent times — and I had the feeling one of them would rather be talking with anyone but me at the time — I guess I know the answers to those questions.

When I kissed the first girl, I should have had some kind of warning about the path my life would take. My first kiss was in primary school, behind the washrooms, during the school’s annual sports day events. Ah, school days!

Looking at such a list is a most disconcerting activity. It’s like reading the story of my life in outline form: Met this girl in the youth group, met this one at a friend’s party, met this one at work, met this one on the train, met this one in New York, met this one while recovering from the breakup of that relationship… The list exposes my flaws and excesses. The first time I kissed the first eight had nothing to do with alcohol; seven of the last 10 were during or after drinking.

It’s also fun to do statistical breakdowns of the list. Of the 19, six are now married, two are engaged, eight have children, 16 have graduate degrees, six have postgraduate degrees and one has now decided she’s a lesbian. Did I play a part in that last one? And does it say something that all six married ones got hitched to the guy they met right after me? Three were from my hometown, four from college or uni, 12 from the scary grown-up world. Weirdly, eight on the list are older than I am, including a shocking five in a row. I don’t know what that means, exactly; my only guess is that I reminded them of a little brother they picked on all the time, and they were trying to make amends.

The women also fall into different categories. Some were one-time aberrations, random occurrences that likely would be forgotten if it weren’t for this self-doubting guy with the laptop dredging them up from their rightful home in the subconscious (Stacy, Julianne, Sarah, Kate, Michelle and Sarita: 31 percent).

Then you have the false alarms, the ones I thought were a big deal at the time, but turned out to be, in retrospect, fond footnotes in the sand (Siân, Alison, Ruth and Terri: 21 percent). Like any human, I’ve had my share of the people who would have every right to hate me. (Well, I was probably a bit of an arsehole to them, and they probably do). I either stopped calling them, or didn’t say a proper goodbye, or things simply didn’t work out. Before you lash out at me, dear reader, make your own list, and see how many of these there are on yours (Amanda, Rachel, Nicole, Amy, Donna: an alarming 26 percent). Strangely, I’ve only really had one relationship that started with no expectations, ended with no expectations and had nothing particularly crazy happen in between. Kind of a perpetual dating holding-pattern (sorry, Jo, wherever you are: 5 percent).

Then there are the ones who stick in your head, the ones you never quite get over, the ones who pop up in your dreams every once in a while just to haunt you. They’re the ones most likely to spur one to write a blog to try to come to mental terms with the 19 women one has kissed. These may or may not have ended badly, but what’s most important is that they ended, and a part of me never quite came to terms with it. These women are the ones that if I ran into one of them on the street, I’d probably go and hide under a table, whimpering. They were too beautiful, too smart, too cool, too beloved by all to be wasting their time with me and it was of course inevitable they would eventually move on to bigger, better and less neurotic things (Nadia, Samantha and Laura: 15 percent).

I’ve always thought it might be cool to track down all 19 and find out what they’re up to, try to find some common theme among all of them to help me understand why I do some of the things I do, why I’ve turned out the way I have. After researching all their lives, I’d probably have enough material for a book, though I’m sure it would never work. Seems like such a project would be destined to be titled 19 Restraining Orders.

Which leads us to today. Now, understand, I’m hardly actively searching for No. 20. Good thing: Anyone reading this blog has probably already eagerly dismissed themselves from competition, if they hadn’t done so long before — and I’m in no hurry. In fact, 19 sounds like a good number to end on. It’s about in tune with what I’m used to; right on the precipice of a milestone, a new horizon, but stopping agonisingly short.

Nineteen is probably too many anyway. I have a good friend who has only ever kissed one person, his wife. They have a beautiful child, a happy home and matching retirement plans. They even have one of those cute wall hangings on their wall that says, “God Bless this Mess.” I used to have posters of Woody Allen movies about longing, loss and the absence of God on my wall. I’m sure my friend isn’t haunted by old girlfriends in his dreams. I’m sure he doesn’t have various women across the world who, if they think of him at all, do so with a little giggle or a snort. I think I like his life a little more; less complicated.

But one thing is certain. If there is a No. 20, I’ll have to tell her. Though I have a feeling if I do tell No. 20, I could be on the search for No. 21 pretty soon thereafter. Wish me luck!

The looking glass

Look at yourself right now. Seriously, drop what you’re doing, take off your headphones, get off the computer and walk to a mirror. It won’t take too long. Take a good look. Do you like what you see?

Sure, you’ve got stuff you don’t like about yourself. You weren’t as nice to that one person as you should have been, it didn’t end well, you could have been more honest or upfront or whatever you weren’t doing. You don’t call your family enough. Sometimes, rather than give your best effort at work, you just kind of zone out and hope that nobody notices you’re not working today, at all. You’re grumpy in the mornings. We all have those things. We all have our flaws.

But you think you mean well, don’t you? I mean, you don’t look in the mirror and hate everything you see in those eyes, do you? You have moments of kindness, you have a good heart, you’re just trying to get along and go along. Somebody out there loves you, right? Somebody is rooting for you. Somebody sees the goodness, the generosity, the compassion. Somebody is on your side.

How does it feel when you look into that mirror? Do you have to look away? How long can you keep the gaze?

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I hate fighting with people. I mean, it’s unavoidable sometimes and you just have to, but I can’t stand it. In the movies and on television, when people argue, they speak with one mind, the mind of whoever wrote the words in their mouths, and their arguments are opposite sides of the same coin. They are arguing to come to a common understanding. I believe this. Yes, but I believe this. I support my viewpoint with this piece of anecdotal evidence. I contrast that with this piece. Perhaps you are right. But perhaps I am right. I see your side, and I appreciate that you see mine. I am glad this discourse has occurred. I agree. Let us hug!

Real-life fights are nothing like this. They are messy, chaotic, confused and senseless. They are a tennis match with no lines, boundaries or net. They follow no logic or storyline. They simply involve two people attempting to refute the last statement their opponent made. Punch, counterpunch, punch, with no hope for a knockout. There is no absolution, or mutual understanding. In real life, people are not characters invented by a writer who wants them each to be happy. In real life, each person has their own agenda, created by their own background, values and prejudices. One arguer cannot see another arguer’s position because they are not that person; it’s a game of frustration and one-upmanship. Not only can one person not understand what the other person is thinking, they also can’t understand why they don’t see the situation exactly the way they do. What’s wrong with them?!

They get nasty, and they careen off-track repeatedly, to the point that, by the end, no one remembers what the argument was about in the first place. Not that it matters. In the end, the journey itself has become the battle. In the heat of argumental warfare, most of the damage is done during the argument, not before. Nothing is settled; everything just gets worse. Fighting always bring out the worst in us. And for what? For nothing.

I don’t like myself when I’m arguing either. My voice becomes higher-pitched, like a broadcaster announcing a goal that cost his team the game. I wear my exasperation on my sleeve; the more I talk, the less I want to. I become whiny and petulant. I can’t help it. I hate fights. Most people, when they’re arguing, are attempting to get the other person to understand why they are right and the other person is wrong. I may start off that way too but, in the end, I am just attempting to end the fight as quickly as possible, with minimal bloodletting. These two techniques do not mesh well. I either come across as the spineless half who just lets himself be walked over for the sake of brevity or “peace”, or I just walk away, angry and exasperated, which only makes things worse.

And there is no referee. Imagine a football match with no scoreboard, no overriding authority and no rules: That’s what arguments are like. The only people who can bring about an end to the battle are the participants, which is a recipe for trouble, every time. By the end of the game, half the players are paralysed, the score is still nil-nil and not a second has gone off the clock.

In Annie Hall’s best moment, Woody Allen, after watching a guy behind him in a cinema queue prattle on to his companion about the merits of social commentator Marshall McLuhan, brings out Marshall McLuhan himself to set the record straight. After he does, Woody looks at the camera. “If only life were like this.” Exactly.

But it isn’t. And the battles will always go on.

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Look back at that mirror. At some point in your life, someone has hated that face. Someone has seen in it everything they find wrong with the world. They can’t get inside your head, they can’t see that you mean WELL! That you want everything to be OK!

And you can’t get inside theirs. You can’t understand why they hate that face. You can’t understand why, sometimes, they can’t understand that they’re the one who is wrong.

Every time you take a look, that face appears older. This is how that happens.

And yet, and yet… you probably can’t see how that face can be loved, either. You are too close to it. But that’s the other side, isn’t it? Just like only you can understand how you are feeling, what you’re trying to get across, who you’re trying to be… aren’t you the only one who can never understand what it means to love that face too? Isn’t that worth being hated sometimes? Don’t they go together? Isn’t it better than the face inspiring nothing but antipathy?

Of course it is. So look closer. Take a good look. Now smile. Good. It’ll be all right. It has to be…

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Sooner or later everything turns to shit

Earlier today, I got a phone call from my friend Nicola. Now here’s the thing about Nicola: There are times when it appears she is the most intelligent woman on the planet. At other times, she seems like some kind of alien, or saint, or mutant. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that she is all of these things.

Nicola, who lives in Brighton, does not date. She does not have one-night stands, meaningful fortnights or month-long affairs. It is not that she does not like men; it is not that she’s a lesbian, and it is not that she can’t find anyone. She simply chooses not to. She has weighed all the dating options, lifted them one way and the other, tested their density, volume and surface area, put on gloves and checked them for lice, asked them to cough. And she’s just decided that this dating world is not something she wants to be a part of, thank you very much, next caller.

Nicola has been through the wars. She’s been through all the blood and piss and shit and mud and pus and grime too many times, and enough is enough. She’s retired.

“But Nicola,” I ask her, “don’t you ever get lonely? Don’t you miss having someone who will listen to you talk about your day? Don’t you miss that close contact? Don’t you ever just want to throw somebody down and rip his clothes off?” (This last question was not a come-on, I swear.)

She manages a smirk. “Listen… I have my own life to live. It’s just too much trouble… and it usually ends up badly, anyway.”

The difference between Nicola and me is that she is honest, and she is smart.

Nicola sees what happens when you give yourself up, when someone gives himself or herself up for you, when the balance is tipped one way, when it’s tipped the other. You end up hurt, or you end up hurting someone else. Someone ends up sad, or bitter, or just changed. She’s been there before.

Alas, I agree with Nicola, but selfishly, foolishly, I choose the other path. I simply opt to ignore the logic and try anyway. I know it’s stupid, and I know I’m a danger to others and myself (and them to me)… and nevertheless I just keep forging blindly forward, like a Godzilla-sized baby, waddling around aimlessly, causing destruction.

My old friend Karen, whom I haven’t spoken to in about a year, once explained to me what she called the “cool quotient” of dating. According to Karen, no matter the relationship, no matter how healthy or happy it seems, each partner deep down knows the inherent inequality. One person is always “cooler” than the other — that is to say, one person always considers the other somehow in a different league, Premiership compared to Championship — in some social way. It doesn’t mean that they can’t get along or that such things are even all that important. Just that they’re there.

Karen always used this analogy to describe my relationship with ex-girlfriend Laura, who she felt was above me on this unscientific scale and therefore was destined to leave me (Karen never pulls her punches). Therefore, it was counterproductive to be involved in any relationship whatsoever because, regardless of the circumstances, one partner was either going to feel woefully inferior to the other or think that they were slumming. Hence everything was doomed. I believe Woody Allen’s line was, “It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Sooner or later everything turns to shit.”

You waltz into these relationships, and everything seems happy and fresh and new and clean. You’re flattered someone you admire will even talk to you, that they don’t dismiss you out of hand. You see problems, but you’re convinced this time such little things won’t matter. It’ll all be good this time, promise; the fact that you don’t really like pop music and she doesn’t get Woody Allen, that she’s too young or too old, that you don’t like her cat, that she’s your cousin, none of it will make a difference. Why should such silly matters get in the way of us?

Then you find yourself worrying. You find yourself thinking that she is right, and that you are wrong, and that you are stupid for not being more like her. A little pop music never hurt anybody. You think that she should be with someone better, someone not so cynical, and this thought invades you, and you sabotage everything, and you drive her away. Because she is better. They are all better. And she is sad… yet you’re convinced she’s better off without you. Thing is, you’re right.

And yet, and yet, and yet, we keep trying. It should go without saying that my friend Karen, inventor of this injurious theory, is now in a serious, allegedly happy relationship. And off we go.

I think about how my parents did this, how my grandparents did this, how their generations pulled it off. Was it that much simpler? You just got married, you started a family, and if you had problems, you just dealt with them. Stop your bloody whingeing. No self-loathing, no twisted sabotaging of your own happiness. You paid bills. You went to the store and got milk. You attended parent-teacher conferences and grounded the boys for getting into fights after school.

I think of the line from Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, in which an elder man tells his young wife, “The difference between our generations is that we got married young to prove we were adults, and you do the exact opposite for the very same reason.” I think the older guys might have had the right idea, though.

But whinge, whinge, whinge, bitch, bitch, bitch. Enough!

So I look at Nicola, and I see that she’s right, and I look at Karen, and I think she’s right, too. Yet I continue to search, sleepwalking into a mess, hoping the ground doesn’t turn to shit beneath my feet.

Oh, I almost forgot, I started this piece with that phone call from Nicola earlier today: “I just met this really cool guy,” she started excitedly.  And off we go. Sigh.

Soooo… let’s talk about SEX!

I write about all sorts of things, but I’ve found one aspect of the human condition near impossible for me to write about: sex. I just can’t write a sentence about it without cracking a lame, backpedalling joke or hitting delete immediately before anyone has a chance to make fun of me.

I’m not sure why that is. I enjoy sex. Quite a bit, actually. I might even say, if I dare, that sex was something of a driving force behind some of my decisions in life.

I don’t consider myself a prude, far from it. It’s just… well… a bit hard writing about sex. What seems majestic and earth-shaking at the time comes across ridiculous in print. I can’t fathom how people write those Mills-and-Boon-type novels with a shirtless Fabio on the cover, with titles like Desire in the Desert. I mean, how could you type, “His brawny, sweating chest glistened as he ripped off her blouse and caressed her supple, ripe breasts. She found herself flush with desire,” with a straight face? I certainly can’t.

About eight months ago, as a practice session intended to help correct this writing deficiency, (and to ensure that, if I ever succeed as an author, I would never win the Bad Sex In Fiction Award) I sat down to write a 2,000-word piece about my most recent intense, powerful sexual experience. To make sure I got in the groove, I drank about a quart of Jack Daniels, shut off all the lights and cranked up Motley Crue’s Red White & Crue album (when writing about love, try Miles Davis; when tackling sex, it has to be the Crue). Adequately drunk, I dove in and hammered away for about three hours straight, pausing only for some sausages and to restart the iPod playlist. I didn’t read what I wrote until I woke up the next morning. It could not have been more embarrassing if it had been written by one of my exes with an axe to grind. In fact, it read like Alex Reid being anally raped by Katie Price. Here’s a tip: When trying to write sexy, avoid the words labyrinthine, perpendicular, snorkel and “mayonnaiseish”. I beg you to trust me on this one.

A market has sprung in recent years for sex columnists. People love reading sex columns, but I’m not sure I ever believe them. It’s one thing to be frank and matter-of-fact about sex; it’s another entirely to confess the weird shit you do in print, with your name attached. If most of these women (and, of course, they’re always women; a guy’s columns about sex would always have the same predictable, abrupt end, and they’d all run about 150 words) had sex as often as they claimed, I don’t know how they’d even have time to write their columns. And how real can it be when everyone you’re having sex with knows you’re a sex columnist? I would suspect, knowing most guys, that this would be more of a detriment to finding willing subjects than a benefit. (And, come to think of it, if you’re a sex columnist, is it OK to miss deadline because you’re having sex? Is it considered research? What kind of stuff can you get tax credits for? Do you ever have normal work hours?)

Sex is such a mystery it’s a wonder anyone even knows how to do it. You never know who will be into what. Who would have guessed that Max Moseley fancied a bit of spanking? I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, when Diane Keaton’s character tells Woody about her last lover, a ferocious hellion in bed who sent her to heights she’d never imagined. When we meet him, he’s played by Wallace Shawn, the short “inconceivable” bald guy from The Princess Bride. I suspect that’s always the way it works. The hottest girl is often the coldest fish, and the guy who boasts about sex all the time can’t get it up.

But two play this game, and it’s strange sometimes how two people simply cannot click. I’ve been with people in the past who have surely considered themselves skilful at intercourse, and they appear to know all the right moves. But for whatever reason, we were never quite on the same page. It wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t mine. (No! It wasn’t! Couldn’t be!) That thing just wasn’t there. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, no matter how perfectly matched people seem to be. And, as we all know, when the physical attraction goes, it’s all over. We can fake smiles at cocktail parties, but we can’t fake that (though we can’t help ourselves from trying). On the flipside, we’ve all had that person that we have crazy chemistry with even though they drive us nuts. Sex has a tendency to goad us into abandoning all reason and self-preservation. It’s either a not-that-funny joke played by the universe or God punishing us for having sex before marriage!

You know, it really is a bit nerve-wracking writing this! It makes me uncomfortable just putting it into words. But, driving on… Once, I had a brief fling with an associate of a few close friends of mine. The Monday after we went out, my friends cornered me and demanded some locker-room talk. I couldn’t do it. They peppered me with questions, digging for details, intricacies — they were just friends of hers, but she was pretty, and they had to have wondered — and I gave them nothing. Just stammered, babbled, and changed the subject. “Um, guys, did you see Rooney’s hattrick yesterday? Uh… did you read about those thieving MPs? Man, the weather… what is it with this weather?”

It didn’t feel right, reporting back details. It never does. People look at the sex other people have far more dispassionately than they do their own. Personally, we have this notion that sex is supposed to be this sacred, two-become-one experience that is deeply profound, and we hold out for that ideal, but when we imagine others having sex, it’s either repulsive or just a manipulation of genitals. And both views are right, of course. We never truly and irrationally surrender ourselves to sex — I hereby submit the condom as Exhibit A — but it’s supremely important to us nevertheless. Sex does change everything; it’s just that none of us are sure why.

After all, it’s only natural, right? The birds and the bees do it. (I’m thinking of the way the parents of a friend of mine explained sex to him: “It’s like a hug, only it takes longer and you’re tired afterwards.” Ladies, you have to agree: sometimes, that sums it up entirely!) That sex affects us the way it does is a uniquely human thought process, and sometimes I wonder if the rest of the animal kingdom has it right. I witnessed two flies having sex the other day. It went on for about five minutes, which in a fly’s lifespan is about four years. I doubt the male fly was bragging to his larvae friends the next day, and I seriously doubt the female fly was upset the male fly didn’t call her. (I, naturally, swatted them both. Why should they get to get some?)

Think of it this way: If you and your current mate had never had sex, had never even considered it, how would your relationship be? Is what you learn about your mate during sex worth knowing? I’ve tried to foster an image as a cultured and witty person, but I’m a sweaty, hulking mess when I have sex. It is us at our most open and unguarded, completely bare for another person — a whole, entirely different person! — to witness and comprehend. There is nowhere to hide. That we continue to have sex is a triumph of nature, not our brains. It is safer not to be close. It’s more comfortable keeping it inside.

But look at me. I’m saying too much. I knew this would happen. I’m giving away my secrets… The “sexiest” thing I’ve done? Let me think… Hmmm… Well, there was… Shit, David, you can’t write that! No, seriously, don’t… What if your parents read this? Your readers will lose all respect for you and people will mock you forever… OK, fine, fuck it: a girl and I once filmed ourselves. We were both drunk, there was a camcorder in the room, and we figured: What the hell; we’re young, footloose, fancy-free, and all that. It was a sexy, dangerous thing to do at the time, and whenever we talked about it afterwards — only with each other, of course — it never failed to titillate us both. It was exciting and reckless, and certainly worth the trouble. Or so we thought.

We eventually broke up, obviously, but the tape remained in my possession. Choose to believe me or don’t, I don’t care, but I swear, I never thought about watching it again. OK, that’s not quite true; I did once… but I had no choice.

Two mates on a tour of Europe came to visit me in London one summer. They stayed a day later than I thought they would, so on the last day of their sojourn, I had to work. They grabbed some drinks and hung out at my place while I was gone. I thought nothing of it. They returned about three months later, and the three of us sat around reminiscing and getting drunk. We were giggling through the alcoholic mist when one of them stopped abruptly.

“Um, Dave, we have to tell you something. You might be a little pissed off,” he spluttered, still laughing stupidly. “Remember when we were here a few months ago? Well, we got a little hammered and started watching some of your old tapes. We found one…”

The next morning, when I finally came out from under the bed, I took a cricket bat and destroyed the tape — admittedly, a bit late. When your friends have witnessed something that inspires the comment, “Interesting technique there, mate,” it’s best to destroy the evidence, and violently.

Wahey! Check it out… I think I’m finally writing frankly about sex.

Oh, and about that story I just told? I made it all up. Not true. Don’t believe it. You know what writers and journalists are like… always fabricating! Just pretend you didn’t read it… Um… what about that Arsenal – Newcastle draw, eh?  And the weather! Don’t you think it’s getting a little bit warmer outside these days?

Spotify: Mötley Crüe – Red White & Crue