Friday, 11 September 2009

The final denouement of humiliating awfulness Part 1

I woke the next morning to Tina Turner screaming ‘You’re simply the best!’ outside my window. Suddenly a big lightbulb flashed on in my head. It was all about sex! I needed to unleash my inner slut! I took some more aspirin to kill my sleep-deprivation headache (I barely slept or ate a single morsel the whole time I was there. This is partly because all the hotel food tasted of vinegar and partly because I spent the entire holiday in a state of sheer, edge-of-cliff terror. By the end of the week I looked like I should be hanging out in an alley waiting to rob grandmas for crack, but my hipbones looked fantastic!). Then I eagerly typed a new Facebook status:

‘Audrey was woken at half-ten by Tina Turner (I fucking hate Tina Turner) and in my sleep-deprived state have managed to splatter suntan lotion all over my bikini top so must walk along the beach with suspicious white stains all over my tits.’

I logged out smiling smugly at my powers of suggestion, the phrase ‘all over my tits’ fluttering on the breeze. Then I spent the whole day swimming in the sea and visualising living in The Spanish Resort, sitting on my little balcony in a black sheath dress among my chili plants and bougainvillea, drinking a bottle of lovely white wine with my new boyfriend The Irishman.

That night everything changed.
My mother and her boyfriend agreed to come along with me for one drink. As we walked in the band was already playing. Then something unfathomable happened. The Irishman looked over, smiled and waved at me.
They played one more tune. He seemed in a hurry to get off stage. Then he came straight over.
‘Come outside and talk to me for a while’. It didn’t occur to him for one minute that I might say no. ‘Wait...hold this a minute.’
He thrust his guitar into my hands and walked off. I sat feeling ridiculously pleased, like some pathetic WAG type. I held the guitar on my lap and strummed a few chords (as if to say, I can actually fucking play). The Irishman’s bandmate and friend (a cute-looking little guy in a cap whom I shall call Ratface) strolled by and laughed, giving me the thumbs up. The stars were shining upon me! Suddenly the world was my friend!

Then he was back. ‘Come outside and talk to me.’ I followed him out to a balcony outside the club. There was just me, him and the drunken morons down below. He regarded me with his smouldering black eyes.
‘If you’re ever here and I’m not in the club, this is where I’ll be,’ he said.

We chatted for a bit about London, which is where I live. I knew through Facebook stalking that he’d spent some of the winter in London with his girlfriend. She was a worrying choice of girlfriend and made me wonder about him. She had bleached hair and massive bleached teeth and a perma-tan and wore clingy voile dresses and worked as a ‘dancer’. She was, in fact, the total antithesis of me. I called her Porno Miss Piggy, which I know was a little uncharitable.
‘You know, I spent some time in London over the winter with Porno Miss Piggy, the girl I was going out with,’ he said meaningfully, as if to say: I’m now single!
‘Really?’ I asked in faux surprise.
‘So...who do you live with, then?’ he asked, giving me another meaningful look. He knew from his own Facebook stalking that I had a boyfriend.
‘Oh...well, I’m living in a house-share with some other people,’ I said, which is true. One of them just happens to be my boyfriend. ‘There’s a mad Russian girl who lives downstairs and plays Abba at 3 in the morning. But mostly it’s okay. I’ve got my own kitchen, at least. I used to have to share a kitchen with an Italian prostitute.’
‘I used to share a house with a prostitute, back in Ireland,’ he said, and then he told me a lovely story:

‘I was living in this total shithole and there was a prostitute who lived right below me. She used to entertain her clients there all day and play that Cher song –‘Do You Believe in Love After Love?’ – over and over while she was doing it...’
‘Why? Did it enhance her performance?’
‘No, I think it was to drown out the noise. Anyway, one day I was off work with flu and I just lay there hallucinating, listening to that fucking song over and over again until I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my hurley stick and went down there, stripped to the waist, and banged the door and said, If you don’t turn that song off I’m going to smash the fucking place in.’
‘Hahaha!’ I laughed, imagining him swinging his hurley stick around, semi-naked. Hmmm. It was on the tip of my tongue to mention that my boyfriend had actually done the same thing minus the hurley stick a few weeks before when Russian girl and her boyfriend were having a late night Abba session, but I managed to not to.

I liked that story. I would have liked to have told him a flirtatious story that made me look sexy and feminine, but I don’t have any. I’ve never invented any and I’m no good at making stuff up on the spot. The Irishman and I spent ages on the balcony chatting, and on the surface of it we had lots to say and got along, but underneath it all everything was quietly going wrong. I forgot to flirt with him. I got all excited about actually talking. Perhaps this is the problem: I relate to men like they’re human beings. I’d had far too much of his spliff (again) and wasn’t thinking straight. At one point he said: ‘You babble as much shit as I do!’ Which isn’t a good sign, is it?

Other bad things that happened:

He said to me: ‘I’m sorry it’s so uncomfortable out here – there used to be chairs, but they took them away.’ I replied in a happy voice: ‘Oh it’s okay – I can stand!’
‘You can stand...huhuhuh,’ he repeated slowly and derisively.

I told him that I wanted to move away from London and have ‘a new, exciting life!’
‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘But Audrey, you can’t leave yourself behind.’
‘But why would you want to?’ I retorted.
‘That’s a good point,’ he said, which it was. Though of course, he was right.
It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him that what he’d said was the exact same thing a therapist had said to me when I told him I wanted to move to The Spanish Resort, but I didn’t. See, when I think of all the terrible things I could have said to him, maybe I didn’t do too badly…

When he asked me what kinds of books I liked to read, I said: Books about penniless alcoholics.

He brought up the subject of cooking. ‘Do you like to cook?’ he asked.
‘I do, actually...I know it sounds sad...’
‘Why does it sound sad?’ He asked. ‘It sounds like you’re the sort of person who worries too much about what other people think of you. If you like cooking, you should say you like cooking.’
‘No, it’s called having a self-deprecating sense of humour, you pseudo-Freud wanker! This gherkin is your father’s penis! This peanut is your fucking brain!’ I nearly said. But didn’t.
‘I like cooking as well,’ he said.
‘What do you cook?’ I asked.
‘Oh...bits and pieces,’ he said vaguely. ‘What about you?’
‘Mostly I just make the same thing over and over again.’ I said.
‘Oh,’ he replied, in a disapproving voice.

We talked about playing guitar.
‘I can teach you how to play guitar, if you want,’ he said, enthusiastically.
Perhaps I should have batted my eyelids like the Caramel bunny from the creepy 1970s adverts and said: ‘Ooh, I’d love it if you could teach me...’ But I’ve always got this crappy idea that men will like me because I’m clever and good at doing stuff.
‘But I can already play a bit,’ I said. ‘I’ve got a good ear for music, it’s just that I can’t hold the strings down hard enough and my strumming pattern’s all wrong, so it just goes drang, drang.’ I did a little strumming gesture with my hand to illustrate.
The Irishman gave a small, folded-in smile. ‘It looks like there’s lots of stuff you want to do at the moment.’
‘There is!’ I said happily.
I didn’t realise that this was a bad thing, and why, until the next morning.

Eventually a bandmate of his came out and told him it was time to play.
‘Entramos’ he said, as we went inside. ‘That means ‘Walk with me.’
‘No it doesn’t,’ I thought.
We stood by the bar. A random woman was gyrating around a pole next to the stage. The Irishman was sneakily watching her.
Suddenly he turned to me and said: ‘Do you like Pink Floyd?’ He gave a wicked smile and said ‘You know, it might just be the end of our friendship if you say no...’
‘We-ell...’ I laughed. I hate Pink Floyd. Their music makes me think of stoned students lying in a rubble of takeaway cartons talking total shit. ‘Well...I like ‘Wish You Were Here’ and the mad Syd Barrett stuff...’
‘Ah, no,’ he said in genuine disgust. Then he said:
‘Shall we meet up for lunch tomorrow – there’s this nice Italian place not far from my flat. We’ll meet up about three.’
‘Okay,’ I said.
That was the point at which I should have left.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The awful tale...part 3.

I am back in Britain. It is cold and raining. Is it possible to find one’s inner sex goddess in a country where as soon as you step out of the door your hair turns into a giant fuzzy cloud?

I hope so.

Back to my story. After the previous night’s debacle I’d decide to affect a Greta Garbo air of unattainability and NEVER go to the club again. I imagined The Irishman pushing his long dark curls out of his eyes and scanning the room night after night in mounting anxiety while I sat in a cocktail bar in a black sheath dress that I don’t actually own, drinking a dirty martini and looking out at the sea with an inscrutable expression.
But alas, it was not to be. When I checked Facebook that afternoon I found that he’d left me a message: up to the club when the fiddler is finished, its open till 6...

I also had a bossy message from my older, seductress, advice-giving friend telling me off for my utter gormlessness in leaving on the first night and ORDERING me to go there again that evening. So I had no choice.

My mother and her boyfriend refused to go with me, saying that they had no desire to sit in a cloud of 80s dry ice watching fat, greasy, semi-naked men slip around in each other’s sick to the same five turgid indie tracks in rotation (but whyever not??) so I had to go alone. This is how it went.

The Irishman was looking particularly fucking Heathcliff that night – he was swaggering around the bar with those big shoulders and that dark, brooding look, and was wearing a grey checked shirt open to reveal black chest hair (ahhh! I know that makes him sound like Tom Jones or Mr. Porno, but when you’ve been going out with someone blonde for eleven years a glimpse of black chest hair is like the Second Coming). I sat near the exit by the second bar, far away from Psycho Barmaid. He walked straight off-stage and disappeared outside for a spliff. For about half an hour.

Meanwhile the droopy-moustached Spanish barman had taken a shine to me. As I stared into the distance with a look of smouldering sophistication he threaded straws into my hair and then whistled a busy tune when I turned around. I tried to sneak one back while he was pouring someone a drink, but he was too quick. This went on for some time. Eventually I was pelting him with handfuls of straws across the bar when The Irishman turned up.

‘Ah, hullo there,’he said, with a flash of a smile, while I straightened my skirt. ‘What did you do today?’
‘I went for a walk...’ I started, and then stopped. What else could I tell him about? ‘Ooh well, I stalked you for a bit on Facebook and then I hung around in bed for too long fantasising that you were an artist who was painting me naked and you kept touching me until I was on the point of screaming then walking back to finish off another bit of your painting.’
Perhaps not.
‘You went for a walk...’ he repeated slowly, like I was five. Then he scanned the bar around him.
‘I’ve got to play now. Catch you later.’

I sat feeling like Baby in Dirty Dancing when she says to Patrick Swayze: ‘I carried a watermelon!’ And that was that. He went back to the DJ’s box. I ordered another drink and realised that Droopy Moustache Barman now hated me. He glowered at me and shoved a handful of straws into another woman’s hair. For the remainder of the night I sat listening to the music and getting hit on by a succession of random men (some in their very early twenties – ooh!), all of whom went on about how oh so sophisticated and world-weary I am. Ha! From this I learned two things:

1) I’m good at cultivating an ‘air of mystique’. In Spanish holiday resorts, at least.
2) As soon as I open my mouth and speak my air of mystique is fucked.

It’s very sad. Is it because I’m too nice? Is it because I’m pathologically avoidant about rejecting anyone? (When I was a student a creepy old Pakistani taxi-driver once asked me to kiss him goodbye and I did because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He tried to slip me the tongue and then said, like he was doing me a massive favour: ‘If you want, you know...we could have intercourse’ To which I answered ‘No thank you!’ in a nice polite voice, like he’d just offered me a cucumber sandwich. I was brought up all wrong). I think men are a little disappointed when they find out that I’m actually an affable pisshead. Perhaps with men you like you are meant to act like a sulky monosyllabic Polish barmaid. But who wants to act with a monosyllabic Polish barmaid with a man that you really like and get along with?

Anyway, despite my rejection avoidance I managed to beat off my hordes of admirers, but had no luck with The Irishman. The DJ played The Specials so I got up to dance. I got back to my seat and discovered that Droopy Moustache Barman had thrown away my drink. The Irishman was talking to a girl with massive tits. Then a big fat man fell on me. It was time to go.

To be continued...

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The awful tale...part 2

Today was the last day of my holiday. This morning I went to a quiet spot at the end of the beach and started to write the whole sordid tale into my diary, until in a sudden fit of rage and melodrama I stood up, drew back my arm and flung my diary out to sea as far as I could throw it. Only to watch it circle three times and then float happily off towards the beach jam-packed with all of The Irishman’s friends and acquaintances. Jesus H Christ.

Now I am sitting in the airport in a cafe called ARS.

The next night – the night after the one I described in my last entry - he ignored me. He stood right next to where I was sitting by the bar with my mother and her boyfriend and looked psychotically engaged with his Spanish friends, getting them drinks and asking them questions and utterly refusing to acknowledge my existence. I know this trick because I’ve done it a million times with my best friend in an attempt to get rid of men that we are not remotely interested in.

Oh shit. I hadn’t even thought of it like that.

He went off to play a set. The barmaid, who I had noticed is in love with The Irishman and looked aghast when I had been chatting to him the night before, was now doing a happy little dance behind the bar. Panic was rising in my chest. Once again I had ruined everything by leaving just as things were getting good. I was an idiot! It was a disaster!

Then his set was over and he was standing opposite me at the bar. Finally he looked over and gave me a shamefaced little shrug and lift of the hand. I stood up and walked round to him.
‘Where did you get to last night?’ he asked, warily.
I babbled some crap about it being his fault for getting me so drunk. He sighed.
‘One step up, two steps back.’
‘Nothing, it’s a Bruce Springsteen song. Never mind. Come and meet my friends.’

He led me to a group of people standing by the doorway and immediately fell into deep conversation with a guy with dreadlocks. (When I saw that he was friends with a white man with dreadlocks I should have known no good could possibly come from the situation). The Irishman’s back was turned to me. Perhaps this was a test, to see how sociable I was and how well I would get along with his friends! I beamed at a short, wizened man whose head was a few inches from my elbow.
‘Hello!’ I said. His face contorted in hatred.
‘Who der fuck are you?’
Perhaps not.

I stood there for some time at the edge of the group smiling benignly with my arms hanging, like some random imbecile that had just wandered over out of nowhere. My mother and her boyfriend watched in bewilderment through the dry ice. Suddenly I felt mightly pissed-off and went back to where they were sitting.

‘No-one treats me like that. Ha!’ I said imperiously, on a vodka wave of triumph. My mother grabbed my arm.
‘I think we should!’
‘What? Why?’
‘Ssssshhhh!’ Her face was pure panic. She gets melodramatic after a few drinks. ‘I can’t tell you here...but... we must leave!’ She started edging me away from the bar. When we got to a dark corner she explained.
‘It’s the barmaid! SHE WANTS TO BEAT YOU UP! As soon as you went to talk to The Irishman she went like this to his friend!’ My mother pulled a deranged face and did a mad little punching and strangling pantomime. ‘WE MUST LEAVE!’
Ptooey! Why should I go meekly and let Psycho Barmaid sink her claws into The Irishman? I couldn’t stop thinking about what he’d said about Bruce Springsteen. Surely that meant he liked me? I herded my family out of the door and bought another drink just along the bar from him, taking an excruciating amount of time with my change so that he would have to walk past me. Eventually he touched my arm and said:
‘Come on, come and talk to my friends. They’re nice people.’

So I followed him again, and again he neglected to introduce me to anyone and I stood like a moron until I got talking to a kindly Dutchman with a mullet and told him all about my trip to Amsterdam and how I'd meant to visit Anne Frank's house but instead just ended up staring at many different-shaped dildos in the sex museum. He seemed quite interested. I was a social success! Finally The Irishman deigned to talk to me. He was nice at first, saying that he’d asked one of his friends about getting me a job out there, but then he suddenly turned moody and whinged on in a fake Bob Dylan voice about ‘havin’ left a big bag of fuckin’ weed in my friend’s fuckin’ car’ etc etc etc.

Then Wizened Dwarf rocked up again and it turned out that he was one of The Irishman’s very good mates. His face was packed with 100,000 years of the bitterness of all humanity. I made another doomed attempt to befriend him.
‘I durn understand yur fuckin accent,’ he snarled.
Then he and the Irishman imitated my voice for a while, which was just starting to get my hackles up when we somehow got onto the subject of whether or not I could speak Spanish.
‘I can say: “Me gusta queso!”’ I said happily. This was an unfortunate choice of phrase, but by this time my brain had left the building and the vodka was running the show.
‘I bet he could sort you out some cheese HUR HUR HUR!’ Wizened Dwarf said nastily, pointing at The Irishman. The Irishman shifted his shoulders around and looked embarrassed.
‘Ah, how did I know you’d say that!’ he said, and then he and Wizened Dwarf started hurhurhuring into some endless bonhomie in-joke that might have been in Gaelic or frigging Silbo Gomero for all the sense it made to me, but I could the feel evil vibes emanating off them in waves. I’d like to say that at that point I lifted my nose into the air, said: ‘Oh how utterly hilarious your Wizened Dwarf friend is!’ in a dead voice and stalked haughtily out into the night. But I did not.

Nah. Instead I stayed there for the band’s next set, was molested by an unshakable Nigerian holidaymaker whose idea of a pick-up line was to rub himself excitedly against my leg and whisper ‘Come dahnce! Come dahhhhnce!!!’for about half an hour, and was entirely ignored for the rest of the night by The Irishman, who was more interested in hanging out in his mate The DJ’s box. Anyone who had a brain at this point could see that our story was on a downward trajectory, but somehow I’d managed to believe that he was punishing me for leaving the night before, and that it was something I perhaps had to endure for humiliating him. Ah, what a pile of wank.

And then I went back to the hotel and sent him a drunken message on Facebook. Oh no. It said:

“What did you mean, one step up, two steps back?

I´m very sorry I left last night without saying goodbye, it was just that I was very drunk and you´d disappeared and the band hadn´t come on and I was getting chatted up by some random and it was becoming a bore. I did want to stay but I didn't.

I am now sitting in my hotel getting eaten by mosquitoes and tomorrow I will be in the evil clutches of the fiddler and it is all your fault.


Oh no.

From here on it gets worse. Then better. Then much, much worse. I will tell you tomorrow.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The awful tale of how my quest began...

I am thirty-four and currently in a Spanish holiday resort. My entire life is in ruins. Last night I was convinced that I was finally going to get it together with the beautiful Irish singer of a band that I have been secretly in love with for years and have moronically based my whole future around. Instead I had the most humiliating experience of my adult life. Tonight, instead of being seduced and fucked senseless, I am going to spend the evening with my mother and her boyfriend (whose holiday I gatecrashed) staring into space and listening to an elderly fiddler who plays the exact same tunes in the exact same order every single fucking night.

This is not entirely my fault. But it is a little bit. And this is why I need to find my inner slut. Or more succinctly, my inner sex goddess.
Here’s what happened:

I have been obsessing about The Irishman for three years and the most annoying thing is that HE FANCIED ME FIRST – when I first set eyes on him singing and playing guitar in his band in this same resort he had both a beard and a bun. Who could possibly fancy a man with such a hideous combination? But then the next night he’d cut his hair and had been magically transmogrified into the bastard son of Heathcliff, DH Lawrence’s gypsy and the devil, and as I danced a messy, vodka-addled dance to Blondie on an empty dancefloor that night I suddenly realised that he was staring at me! But did I care? Ha, no! Until the next night he spent the whole gig with his eyes burning holes in me and I was wetting my knickers just from looking at him and then he waited outside for me and convinced me to go along the next night, saying over and over in his sexy Father Dougal voice: ‘Ah, but you must come tomorrow! You must! I’ll get you a drink!’ Etc.

I spent the whole next day bobbing up and down in the sea and fretting about it. Then that night I went along, completely ignored him and left before the end, not giving him a chance to speak to me. And then got my flight home the next day, utterly furious with myself.

And why do I behave like this? Because I am scared of looking like a fool.

Anyway, since then I’ve been going on holiday to the same resort and going to see his band, and there’s been this weird backwards forwards thing between us where we’ve had short, loaded conversations which have gone absolutely nowhere because of my shyness and drunkenness and his opaqueness and contrariness. The time in between for me has been spent doing hundreds of futile sit-ups, reading too many books about creative visualisation and cosmic ordering, compulsively stalking him on Facebook and generally laying waste to my life. Until this week.

On the first night of my holiday I bumped into him as I stood at the bar – he seemed genuinely excited to see me and whisked me off to a quiet corner of the club where we sat talking about music (I’m obsessed with music) and life and our big dreams (I love that question! “But what is your big dream??” I asked him, my hands waving on the air) while he plied me with vodka and shots and blasts on his spliff. He was lovely and funny and charming, we had lots to say to each other and the only awkward moment came when he told me a joke. I fucking hate jokes. It don’t remember it properly but it went something like:

Something something favourite vegetable? The one in the wheelchair! Hahaha!
I sat with my face screwed up as different vegetables raced through my head. Courgettes. Carrots. Cucumbers. It still didn’t make sense. He was disappointed in me, I could tell. Then the penny dropped. Vegetable. Wheelchair. Ha.

It was only the next day, scribbling in my diary and gazing into the sea with a morbid expression, that it occurred to me that we got along and could talk and talk but that talk would never lead of its own accord to us fucking. We were like parallel train tracks running on forever. Not that he didn’t try – I reckon all that vodka and spliff was his attempt to lead me screaming and kicking to my inner slut – but the fact is, I just didn’t flirt with him. I don’t know how to flirt without sounding like something out of ‘Carry on Camping.’ How does one flirt without sounding like Kenneth Williams? This is something I intend to learn.

Eventually someone tapped him on the shoulder and he said it was time for his band to play their next set. They play three sets a night until six in the morning. He disappeared and I sat there for a long time. The band didn’t come back on. Where had he gone? I ordered another vodka and drank it too fast. Some black guy sat next to me to me so I talked to him. “But what is your big dream?” I asked him, my hands waving on the air, just before he and his mates got kicked out by the bouncer. Then eventually the band started playing again but by this time I could feel rebellion against it all rising and rising from the soles of my feet and before I knew it I was standing and turning and walking right out of the back door.

I shall continue this tomorrow. The elderly fiddler is calling.