One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.
8 February 2001
I always thought this love and sex lark was a bit of a laugh. Especially in a provincial town like my own, where hordes of impressively impressionable youngsters undress to go out each weekend, seemingly willing to trade down a league or two in the attractiveness stakes in favour of a few free Bacardi Breezers. And a few additional years of 'experience'. A middlingly good-looking late-twenties chap like myself can't fail. Like the fella says, 'That's what I love about these high school girls: I get older - they stay the same age'...
But these last six months, it's got to being a bit of a drain on the old reserves of energy. And for once, the body's willing, the flesh is appealing, but I don't know - I just can't do it any more.
Here's how it used to work. After a hard week's grind, we'd relax for a few hours in the pub, then head on to the local totty centres. As long as you flashed lots of cash, wore a smart suit and generally behaved like a twat, you got plenty of unmerited attention. Then you plied a few kids with plenty of vodka (or Bacardi, depending on their level of sophistication) and appropriate mixer, declined the persistent pestering to 'ave a dahnce' in a token effort to preserve your dignity, and took home your pick of the two or three buzzing around you, like ordering fish in a fancy restaurant. Only cheaper and in many ways more satisfying. The next few hours you can imagine.
Come the morning, kick them out of bed (accusing them of eating crisps is apparently a satisfactory pretext, but one I could never get to succeed), watch Football Focus, go to the match, start again as per 24 hours previously. Sunday morning, same as before, except you can say you're going to church if she complains - I suppose synagogue might be a good excuse for Saturday, but if she's seen you're uncircumcised you're scuppered. Have a good breakfast, play your Sunday League footie, come home and get fourteen hours' kip. And once more from the top...
Nice and easy. No cheesy chat-up lines, no recriminations, too few regrets to mention. Sure, you might get the odd 'Will I see you again?' but you soon learnt to spot the troublemakers. And best of all, it was all on your own terms.
But now look at me. Come Monday, I'm a wreck: eyes flickering furtively, beset by dark baggy rings, people asking if I'm OK, joints aching from a lack of sleep and a surfeit of worry. It's almost a relief to get back to the terminal, with its familiar green screen and wobbly chair. And it's all down to my traditional weekend exploits.
It's not even the worry I used to get about potential bunnyboilers avenging their rejected selves. [Here's a handy hint - if someone does do a Fatal Attraction on you, keep the pan on the hob for about two and a half hours, and you'll get some lovely stock. As long as you sieve out any hairs, of course] No, today's bright-eyed youth are much more frightening - perhaps even more so than Glenn Close's perm...
Take the other night. All going swimmingly as ever, weighing up the pros and cons of a few prospective partners, when two of them suggest that we should all go home together. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but that only happens in cheap porn films; the only time I ever suggested it resulted in a stinging cheek and an empty bed. I went along with their little game of course, sure that at any moment they'd sober up and come to their senses, but it appears that the modern youth knows what she wants and how much she wants it - and both appear to be beyond my personal capacity. God knows when these girls actually sleep. I had to get out and leave them to it.
As is so often the case, modern music has to shoulder a proportion of the blame. The above scenario owes a great deal to Girl Power (if you wanna be my lover, gotta get with my friends and zig-a-zig-ah, which I did till I could no more). But every teen popstress these days seems to be encouraging a demanding sexual attitude:
I'm a genie in a bottle, baby. Got to rub me the right way, honey. I'm a genie in a bottle, baby. Come. Come. Come. And then lick me out.
I'm sorry, Christina, but if you think I've got the energy for a bout of cunnilingus after three orgasms and a bit of manual, you're very much mistaken. You've had your fun. And switch that fucking drum machine off, I can't keep up.
But however much I protest, I keep getting dragged back to consciousness. You should see me on the pitch on Sundays: I look like a cripple, and if I hear the words 'groin strain' and accompanying laughter once more I won't be liable for my actions. I've tried just making it the one night a week, but to be honest there's fuck all on the telly on Saturday, and what else are you going to do on your free evening? I get the comments from old people about how I should settle down with a nice girl my own age, but to be honest I'd rather just see my mates, thank you very much. More to the point, I prefer a body unaffected by gravity. God, I'm like Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire - I've got the taste for young flesh, and couldn't live without it if I tried.
So, to be honest, I don't know where I'm going to end up. Probably a lonely cripple in a bedsit in Walthamstow by the age of forty. But then again, at forty, all you've got is your memories anyway. And my memories will keep me going long into the night...