A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Thursday, May 17, 2007

To Move Forward, You Have To Go Back

I think Carrie from Sex And The City was talking shit when she said "The worst reviews are the ones we give ourselves"

As my 24th birthday looms (it's only 8 days away; buy me something nice), nicotine withdrawals suck the rationality from my veins and the promise of romance snatched away as easily as it was offered in the first place, I'm forced to reflect on the year gone by in a most brutal and confrontational manner.

I met a friend of mine for lunch today, and having embarrassed ourselves on one of those dance machines in an arcade (why do they always put them by a window? Everyone looks in and puts you off! I feel like turning round and saying "I did contemporary dance once!"), I decided to take her to a bar I hadn't been to in ages.

The barmaid looked at me and lifted her head with resentment as if to say "What do you want?"

Hmmm... I thought. I had been going to that bar for 5 years and they knew my face.

"2 diet cokes please" (yeah, yeah... I know. Usually I would drink normal coke, but apparently changing your habits are good when you're quitting smoking) and as I turned my head I noticed a mistake.

It was a mistake that was slightly older, with long brown hair, a deep voice and an eccentric demeanour. It was a mistake that frequented that particular bar quite regularly, and knew the staff quite well... One might go so far as to say he was friends with them. And me? I was just lowly clientele.

"Shit." I thought to myself.

Now, believe it or not, I wasn't always this perfect (stop laughing at the back!). Roughly a year ago, in said bar, when my friend used to work there. I was DJing one night, and I threw myself at this long haired love in the middle of one of my sets (I cringe at myself sometimes), then went home with him. Long story short: Second date wasn't even worth mentioning, and an embarrassing incident occurred where coincidentally I was on a job at work and upon telephoning a point of contact, who else should answer the phone?

The embarrassment and shame caused me to make a fool out of myself twice more in front of him.

I thought it best after trying to be nice to him to just ignore him, or have as little contact as possible.

Unfortunately, about a week later, I walked into the bar and my friend said "(Insert name) is here".

And I said "Who?" and upon looking around, I went, "Ohhhh him! He was really shit in bed, you know"

And there we are; that phrase damned me as it spread round the pub like wildfire and right back to him. I am ashamed of myself for even saying it (no matter how much truth is in the statement!). So to bring it back, there I was having to face an embarrassing episode and, worse still, being made to feel ashamed about it by Ms. "I'm going to give you as little customer service as possible" as she thrust a crappy £5 note into my hand that she took out the till on purpose (you know; the kind that won't be accepted at any other shop) and Mr. Long Hair.

As I skulked to a corner of the bar, I wanted to move cities. Remembering all this past seemed too much to bear, and the fact that my reputation (and yes, it would appear I have one) preceded me made me think that my name may have been irrevocably tarred. Was it worth staying in a city where all I was known for was being a blabbermouth, possibly even a drunken fool and a promiscuous weirdo?

But then I thought if I was that barmaid, I wouldn't really care all that much. She has a job to do at the end of the day. And then I thought if I was Mr. Long Hair, I would be a damn sight nicer than he's ever been to me when I've coincidentally bumped into him.

But then again, I know I'm good in bed. :p

So it seems life has not snatched away chances from me of late, but has been trying to teach me a lesson perhaps.

Lesson number one; don't be a doormat. I think the whole episode with the guy from the wedding showed me that I have become stronger and more able to pick out the flaws in potential dates, rather than being impulsive and reckless with my emotions. Yeah... I didn't know him that well, admittedly. And also I may have over-reacted a little, but I stand by my decision which also shows I know myself even better.

Lesson number two; forgive yourself. So you made a lot of mistakes and.... So what? We could sit there and pick fault with everyone and everything all day. As long as you can face up to what you've done and recognise that even though a situation may be your fault, it can often be circumstances that conspire against you as well especially if you were acting 'out of character' at the time. So what else can you do but let go? Or face up to it and say "Yeah, I was a shit, but at least I know it. A thousand other guys wouldn't have admitted their mistake." Hence Mr. Long Hair acting like a wounded puppy when really he was an alcoholic underacheiver.

Lesson number three; who cares? Over the past couple of weeks, I really couldn't care less anymore. My final 'shyness' barrier with men has completely dropped. I was thinking today that I remember a guy checking me out at a bus stop when I was 22, and even though I was intrigued and followed him on to his bus, I ended up running away because I was too nervous. I always regretted that. Only a couple of days ago, I smiled at a guy on the street and I finally had the guts to do that without fear of whether or not the smile would be reciprocated, or even if he was interested. It was a guess, and it paid off (even if I didn't give him my number!).

So I think I'm going to really like it this year. With this new found confidence, I feel as though I have shed the last skin of the young me, and finally become the person I always wanted to be.

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Anonymous Stephen said...

If all blabbermouths, drunken fools and a promiscuous weirdos left London at least the rest would get a seat on the tube!

[I stumbled onto the site, don't think you know me. I'm 30, lived in London for 10 years and was a 'scene' regular, but about a year ago moved to the countryside. Not, I hasten to add, for any of the reasons you suggest, although - being self-aware (!) - all apply to some extent!]


3:00 AM

Blogger Astariel said...

Oh, where did you go to? Come back to the Big Smoke! I can point all these charcters out to you...

8:09 PM

Anonymous Stephen said...

Thanks. But I think I had to spend a good couple of hours deleting them from my mobile when I escap.. moved away.


4:05 AM


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