The main problem with huge, exhilarating events is the crash back down to planet normal afterward. There is the inevitable need to prolong the high, to stave off the mundane.
It is when bored that I am at my most very dangerous, and the warning lights are certainly flashing now as I sit in my lounge staring at the wall just minutes after arriving back home after my friends’ beautiful wedding. The day itself was perfect and the couple radiant. The setting, in the grounds of the groom’s parents’ house in Kent, was so idyllic and flawless that my flat feels like an oversized KFC bucket in comparison.
It is Sunday. The phone goes on. And that app is launched. Last time I was this bored, I ended up sharing a bath with a stranger. Like I said, boredom can be dangerous.
Being literate and enjoying full sentences can be something of a barrier on Grindr. While all those little avatars of six-packs claim to be erudite grammarians, it seems nobody is safe from that dreary “hows u??” or “heyy mister”. So when I hear that magic ping and see a headless torso wishing me “a very good afternoon, handsome” I am intrigued, interested.
We get the usual rigmarole out of the way very quickly. “Any more pics?” and “Yes, but can I see what your face looks like” are soon despatched and I find myself chatting amiably to a very good-looking man with strong features and the most marvellously perfect body I have seen in a long time.
His thighs are huge and muscular, his stomach and chest rippling and he has biceps that would make Zac Efron self-conscious. Yet none of this perfection looks over the top or ridiculous; it’s all in proportion and not at all intimidating.
This isn’t someone who spends all day and night in the gym – he’s actually fit. These are real muscles; they are earned. In the next breath comes the reason: “I’m a volleyball player.”
Hold. The. Phone.
I instantly assume this poor creature is massively bored and only talking to me to pass the time of day. He is woefully out of my league. But it seems he has different criteria he needs to tick off because before I know it he is complimenting me on my English (he is, it transpires, Spanish) and saying I sound as if I might be quite bossy. Well, he’s got me there.
“I do like to get what I want, yes,” I reply, before realising that makes me sound like a high-maintenance bonehead. I quickly add: “But I always ask very nicely.”
His reply comes as fast as lightning. “And what would you ask me to do? And you don’t have to ask nicely.”
OMG am I being sexted at? I start to mildly panic. I’m not at good at this. Despite my sexually liberal leanings, I am at heart a mortified Victorian.
Luckily, my brain remembers I am still drunk from last night and so the ribald charmer who only gets an airing once I’ve had several pink gins comes to the fore. It only takes three or four more sentences that are, um, unsuitable to print in a family newspaper before he is firing over his address, telling me his real name and asking me to hurry up.
I put product through my hair, change my T-shirt, give it two squirts of Chanel (my two is like your four) and am skipping down the stairs to the street like I am off to meet Santa himself.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
I know exactly what I’m doing.
My bravado is terrifying, but it’s all I have right now.
It takes me about 25 minutes to get to the street where he lives, amid a sprawling estate with tower blocks looming over me. I ring a buzzer, hear a gruff “hello” and get in a very frightening lift with scratched mirrors and a carrier bag filled with something.
The lift doors open at the appropriate floor and I can see the apartment door directly of me ahead is ajar, yet behind a security grille which covers the entire doorway and is locked. Keys jangle. A face appears. And then a body. There is my ‘date’.
We seem to have different ideas of what 5’10” actually is, as he is shorter than me, but no matter. He looks much more average in the flesh but is still good-looking, and looks like he has just got out of the bath. While he’s not wet, he is super clean and is dressed in a crisp white T and some baggy shorts. He’s pale.
He says my name, and lets me in. I follow him down the hall into his lounge which is clean but packed with too much furniture and three clothes-dryers groaning with fashion I would generously call ‘European’, along with assorted sporty attire.
“Would you like a drink?” he asks with a tiny smile. His lips are quite thin. My mother would not approve. Of any of this.
He gets me the tiniest glass of water in the world and I sip it nervously while he stares into space and asks me a few questions about myself.
After five minutes of this sexually-charged inanity, he moves toward me. I moisten my lips in anticipation, trembling slightly – my Dutch courage but a memory.
“I don’t like kissing that much,” he says. Oh. I am disappointed. I do. “Shall we go to the bedroom?”
He leads me to his room – a bright, white sparse cell with a huge window and no blinds – and undresses me quickly. And then himself. My disappointment evaporates.
When it is over, I look down at my belly – bloated from the excesses of yesterday and pale and unappealing – then to his: taut, exquisite, and rising and falling with his deep, rapid breathing. He looks straight at me. “Shall we have a shower?”
We make our way through to his bathroom. It is the usual rented flat shade of depressing, with mushroom-coloured tiles and a mottled shower screen that probably won’t last many more drenchings.
I clamber into the bath, feeling as gracious as a fawn on rollerblades, and stand feeling hopelessly exposed and stupid. He climbs in too and starts the water, holding the shower attachment in his hand and showering first him and then me, in turns like an old man absentmindedly hosing his begonias.
He’s expressionless as he takes shower gel and squirts it into his hands, soaping himself before slathering my shoulders with a few stray suds.
I simply have to speak because he’s not kissing me or anything and the sight of the bubbles running down his body is making me feel light-headed. But it seems this is not sexual for him at all; he may as well be bathing a pug.
“We should have done this earlier,” I squeak. “Got us, errr, in the mood.”
He continues to look through me, and a mere slit of a smile crosses his lips. “Uh huh.”
It’s increasingly clear this shower is purely functional; there isn’t to be an encore. I am not to be treated to a satisfactory outcome of my own.
Eventually my X-rated water torture comes to an end and he turns off the shower and hops out, grabbing the nearest towel and offering it to me. I step out with all the grace of a ‘90s ladette getting out of a black cab and take the towel.
He stands before me, his face a picture of vague amusement, and helpfully guides the towel to places I may have missed, carefully patting me dry before taking his hands and smoothing down my hair into a side parting, so that I look like a superannuated schoolboy. Butter, however, certainly would melt.
I follow him back to the bedroom and begin to pull on my clothes, which now smell stale and beery and belong to what I felt like an hour ago.
He regards me as I dress before breaking the silence with a shaky “You have a nice, uh, butt. And legs.”
I laugh nervously in the hope it will stop him calling out any further random body parts.
“Yes.” I sigh. “You look like a painting,” I say, revelling in his furrowed brow as I zip up.
As he opens the door to see me out and unlock the unwieldy grille, he almost leans in for a kiss but then seems to change his mind and shakes my hand. I wonder why he chooses the hand; it’s not as if he doesn’t know where my mouth has been. But like he said, he doesn’t like kissing that much.
I say goodbye cheerily and slink down the stairs and out into the open air again, breathing in deeply and joyfully. I chuckle to myself as I make my way back to my seedy bachelor’s pad.
Life – it’s fucking brilliant, isn’t it?
Stats: 27, 5’10” (not), brown/brown, Santander
Post-date rating: Date? Come on. But 8/10
Date in one sentence: I never cease to surprise myself.