Tag Archives: chemistry

The Steal

In 2001 I was 25, living in Scotland and still ‘finding my way’.

I was painfully inexperienced, restricted to directionless fumbling, falling in lust with the man who washed hair in my barber’s salon or avoiding hopeless one night stands. Saturday nights (and Sunday mornings) were usually spent at parties, having the same dazzling conversations with less than dazzling company.

I had met bubbly Scouser Cally at one of these parties and we had struck up an incredibly superficial friendship that relied on darkness and close proximity to vodka. Despite our repeated assertions that we would meet up for coffee “sooooon”, there was an understanding between us that needed no words. This was just a party thing.

I was at one such party and had a text from Cally that she was on her way with some friends. Her friends weren’t really my kind of people – and I was certainly not top of their “most influential” lists either. These were weathered gay men, slightly older, and suspicious of the English boy who they never seemed to be able to work out or, crucially, fuck.

I was trading jibes good-naturedly with a guy in the kitchen when suddenly a door slammed and there was a whirlwind – Cally and her entourage. I greeted her warmly, but couldn’t help notice she’d brought a bottle of Grant’s vodka with her – I was willing to lay money on the fact she’d not touch a drop of it herself, not when there was so much Smirnoff around.

I greeted her warmly, but couldn’t help notice she’d brought a bottle of Grant’s vodka with her – I was willing to lay money on the fact she wouldn’t touch a drop of it herself.

As I queued for the toilet, one of Cally’s friends, Nick, queued behind me and started to play a one-man good cop, bad cop routine.

First he complimented me on my hair and then slated me for being too big for my boots. He then followed me into the bathroom and looked at me like a bulldog gazing at a link of sausages. Then: a bang on the door. Continue reading The Steal

Where not to meet your next lover: The gym

I have never dressed sexily for the gym – I have never seen the point. Either I have been partnered during my stack of memberships or, more usually, I have had no interest in romance among the kettle bells. In the dank, municipal hellholes where I like to work out, I have somehow known instinctively that Mr Right was not lurking by the lockers.

While my latest gym is clean and modern, it is most certainly not a place where I will ever feel lustful and attractive. It is so basic, so stripped back, that there is not even a swimming pool – thus it is devoid of the comforting pong of chlorine to mask all the toxic BO of my fellow gymgoers. You don’t just feel the burn; you breathe everyone else’s.

Any attempt I would ever have made to dress sexily – my running shorts are cut pretty high, I guess – is instantly negated by the inability of the staff to really grasp how air conditioning works. Unless you climb up inside one of the three or four pathetic air con units protruding from the wall like tin-covered beer guts, you’re unlikely to experience anything more than a light breeze that feels like it’s coming from several planets away.

A spandex-clad set of cockerels strutting round a farmyard of metal, grunting and always the most unfortunate choices of sock you can imagine.

Thus it takes no more than three half-hearted tugs on a machine that likes to call itself “Lat Pulldown” (very Star Wars cantina) before I am tomato-red, gasping and dripping in vodka-infused perspiration.

While most people are only there because the vending machine is the place to get the coldest Coke Zero in the western hemisphere, for some the gym is a total cruising experience. Cruisier even than being winked at in a public toilet or coughing suggestively in a sauna. I have watched these men (and women, of course, but it is the gay guys who fascinate me) strutting around – a spandex-clad set of cockerels surveying a farmyard of metal, grunting and always the most unfortunate choices of sock you can imagine.

It seems no part of the gym is off limits when it comes to being chatted up or flirted with or, in the most extreme of cases and depending on your proximity to Vauxhall, a spot of shagging. The sunbed room at my gym – 12 tubes, an Ikea chair and a bin filled with discarded wet wipes – is almost always occupied and I have never seen any ultra violet light beaming from under that door.

The locker room is where things begin, of course. I have lost count how many times I have shot down clumsy attempts at flirting as I stuff my bag in a locker only to find it’s broken. (About six or seven, in reality.)

The reality is I find the situation even more awkward than them, gradually going redder and redder and looking anywhere, at anything, other than their eyes, arms, pecs or, on one most unfortunate and unwelcome occasion, their depressingly low-hanging balls.

A range of subjects from where I got my padlock to the colour of my socks, via the incredible “Where did you get your hair cut?” have been among the awkward opener for potential suitors.

Of course, in my head, my tongue is an anti-aircraft gun and these hapless blokes are the Luftwaffe circling. Bang! Bang! Bang!

The reality, however, is that I find the situation even more awkward than them, gradually going redder and redder and looking anywhere, at anything, other than their eyes, arms, pecs or, on one most unfortunate and unwelcome occasion, their depressingly low-hanging balls. As soon as politeness will allow I give a friendly, yet curt, nod and head out of there.

I have seen it work on others. The chat will begin super-innocently in the changing rooms, and then once they’re out in the exercise area, chat will turn to protein drinks, running times and before long they’re ‘spotting’ each other’s ‘reps’ in that sweat-glazed palace of meat that is the free-weights area.

This part of the gym is full of mirrors, and our boys spend as long as possible glaring into them, but actually at each other, trying desperately to gurn as sexily as possible. The success rate is below sea level.

Not that it deters them – like attracts like, after all. Before you know it, they’ve got their towels over their shoulders and a mortifying time in the locker room for everyone but them is all but guaranteed.

But how to avoid all this eye-fucking and unrequited lust across the yoga mats? Well, why would you?

Just watch your eye contact; participation is automatic and there’s only one way to get yourself an early shower…

Nobody ever said all football fans had to be able to score goals at Wembley. Strap yourself in for the ultimate spectator sport – you still get the fitness benefits but don’t have to compete. Just watch your eye contact; participation is automatic and there’s only one way to get yourself an early shower…

Once you’re muscle-buddies and getting regularly up close and physical, though, what next? What about the times you can’t always make a training session? Is he there without you, making those same locker-room eyes at the cute guy on the treadmill? What if he says “great pecs” to all the boys? Is his spandex hanging out with other lycras?

Maybe look further for your next partner than the end of your dumbbell – save your communal sweating for the bedroom.

Image: Flickr

The Forget-me-not

To celebrate my blog’s fourth birthday, I decided to give everyone a rest from my prattling and instead hand over to a guest contributor – and not just any guest poster, oh no. This wonderful, funny tale of a brief encounter, which I knew I had to have for the blog as soon as I heard it, comes from none other than my wonderful, funny boyfriend. Take it away, handsome…

It’s Friday night, and “the girls” are on the town. I’m with my friend James and his mate Chris, who I’ve not met before, and the scene could not be more like the start of Grease if a load of girls in pink jackets appeared and started singing Summer Nights.

Chris, you see, is in love. He’s just met Dan, and he’s keen to tell us more, tell us more.

“He’s just perfect,” he sighs. “HOT. Amazing body. Perfect kisser. Great sex. And he’s so into me. I think we might have a real future together. I just can’t believe my luck!”

James and I, painfully single, each raise an eyebrow. Frankly, we can’t believe his bloody luck either. And to put the tin lid on it, this God of a gay is on his way to join us, so we’ll have to watch them getting off with each other all night.

A couple of drinks later and Chris perks up even more when his beloved arrives.

As he walks towards us, we see that Dan is indeed HOT, with an amazing body. And I realise that I know exactly  how perfect a kisser he is, because I had been suctioned to that oh-so-beautiful face mere months earlier.

“You know who that is, don’t you?” I whisper to James.

He nods wearily, having been one of the unfortunate witnesses on the night Dan and I had made quite the spectacle of ourselves on the dance floor before vanishing into the night.

When Dan sits down beside me, it becomes clear that his memory is not quite as vivid. As we’re introduced, he regards me with suspicion.

“Have we met before?” he asks.

“I’m sure I would remember if we had,” I reply, icily.

Eventually, Chris and Dan head to the bar.

“Bloody hell,” I say to James. “He’s the last person I wanted to see.”

James smirks. “Really?” he says. “Didn’t you say he was the best sex you’d had in your life?”.

I scowl. “Well, yes. But I’m obviously the only one who thought so. He doesn’t remember me!”.

Dan returns, plonks himself back down and peers at me intently. “You look so familiar. Do you ever go out in Clapham?” he asks.

“I’ve only been there once,” I reply.

Dan will not be placated, and an hour of gentle interrogation follows. Eventually, he loses patience. “I’ve definitely met you before,” he says, just a bit too loudly. “Are you sure you don’t go to the Two Brewers?”.

It’s obvious I’m going to have to spell it out, so I lean in to remind him about the cold January night when he dragged me back to his Clapham lair and administered the best sex I’d had in my life.

Suddenly, Dan can remember our encounter only too clearly – right down to the phone call he made the following afternoon, not quite accusing me of stealing his Vue Cinema unlimited pass.

“I’m sorry I never called you,” he tells me. “It was a big mistake. Can I see you again?”

A-well-a-well-a-well-a-HUH?

I glance at Chris, who gazes adoringly at his new love, even as he puts the moves on me. Do I really want to be him? Looking on while my beautiful boyfriend blatantly chats up other men?

I consider this for a moment and, remembering the best sex I’d had in my life, decide that yes, I absolutely want to be him.

Last orders are called. James and Chris head off to the cloakroom, leaving Dan and I alone at the bar.

“So, can I give you my number?” he begs.

“I have your number,” I laugh.

“Oh, yeah. Well, please give me yours then. I promise I’ll call you.” He asks to the barman for a pen and paper as Chris walks back toward us. “Write it down,” he whispers, urgently. “I’ll shake your hand when we leave and you can slip it into mine.”

Devious! He’s no first-time philanderer.

I take the paper, discreetly scribble on it, fold it up and pass it to Dan, as arranged. The happy couple leave – Dan gives me a cheeky wink as he goes, and Chris is none the wiser.

Do I feel guilty? Absolutely not! Just a bit sad that I won’t be there to see Dan’s beautiful face as he opens the piece of paper to read:

“You absolute bastard”.

Image: Flickr

The Wow Moment

Everybody should have their Wow Moment – that one moment in time where you look and feel fantastic and are at your absolute pinnacle of excellence, confidence and desirability. Most people aren’t aware of theirs when it’s happening – which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it – but if I’m ever going to have mine, it’s now, as I walk into the bar precisely 33 seconds late for my date with a man ten years my junior.

The wow is all over my date’s face as I approach him. I don’t see that look too often, sadly. I am nothing if not realistic; I know the only way I’m ever likely to grace the cover of a magazine is if I become a famous serial killer. But whether his expectations were low, or my pictures were bad, or he’s just really desperate, I have no idea – all I know is that his eyes widened when he saw me. And not in horror. It’s delight. I’ve seen it just about enough times to know the difference.

He’s wearing a blue button-down shirt which looks like it was ironed by a depressed cat and chinos the shade of every unlovely hotel room you’ve ever stayed in.

He is 25, “a musician” and has a name that sounds like a countryside railway station – Clark Deeping or Brent Malling or something like that – and he is tall and sturdy and looks just the right side of sexy-boring. He definitely collects things, I can tell; I just hope it’s not scalps of hapless middle-aged midgets he goes on dates with. He tells me he’s glad I gave up my Saturday night to meet him. Yes, a first date on a Saturday! Very unlike me, but there was something in his jolly-masquerading-as-confident texts that told me it wouldn’t be a miserable evening. He’s wearing a blue button-down shirt which looks like it was ironed by a depressed cat and chinos the shade of every unlovely hotel room you’ve ever stayed in. I have always had a soft spot for sartorial awkwardness, so I am not remotely deterred. Clothes come off, after all.

We have been together for precisely two hours. He has touched my hand eight times. We have had four drinks. Not that I’m counting.

For someone so youthful, he seems a serious soul. There is much knitting of brows and thinking before he speaks. I, of course, am in this ridiculous Wow Moment mode, so am doing lots of what I’m assuming are enigmatic smiles peppered with sparkling conversation. To the outsider I probably look like someone having a stroke while they read out a shopping list. Whatever it is, it is working. We have been together for precisely two hours. He has touched my hand eight times. We have had four drinks. Not that I’m counting.

He asks me how many dates I’ve been on, and I pretend to mull this over in my head, staring into middle distance, as one would expect a person thinking about something to do. After a few seconds, my acting master class moves on to a lying one, and I throw out a number that shows I have experience, but doesn’t make me look like a miserable slut who uses dating as an excuse to go the pub and stare at men’s nipples through their shirt. He tells me he is fairly new to dating – I have no idea whether this is true but he trembles a bit as he picks up his pint so it may well be – and then says he often ends up going home with his dates.
“What an odd thing to tell someone you’re actually on a date with,” I say.
“I am a bit odd,” he replies.
“How odd?”
“Odd enough.”

An excellent reply. Barman, drink number five, please.

He suggests moving on somewhere else. Given that he has done everything but write “You are going to see me naked later” on a Post-it note and pass it to me, I pretty much know it’s a sure thing, but am intrigued by how much effort he’s going to put in. I play as dumb as I dare, letting him decide where we go. Which direction will he take?

He suggests a place that I happen to know isn’t too far from where he lives. I’d congratulate him for being so smooth if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve played this game so many times before. And with more subtlety. But for a near-novice, he’s doing pretty well. I reward him by pretending I haven’t caught on to his ruse.

Getting off in the middle of the club like the teenager I’m glad I never was.

We arrive at a club that sounds very loud from the outside. I wince, but we queue behind lots of fashionable people who are talking about haircuts and DJing and chlamydia. To my surprise, the girl on the door smiles widely at us and we are waved into the club. I have no idea why: he’s dressed like a member of the Oxford rowing team having Sunday lunch with his parents and I’m sporting what I call my ‘date-boring’ look – a simple polo and slim fitting cords.

My threads are dull to make my personality – and my eyes – stand out more. It’s a boring old tactic, but a well-tried one. And what do you know, within minutes of our arrival, it becomes apparent it’s doing the trick.

Without so much as a warning, his face is on mine and I stand awkwardly – although enjoying myself immensely – spilling my beer all over the floor while we go to town on each other. Getting off in the middle of the club like the teenager I’m glad I never was. The Wow continues.

We break apart and sit down at a table occupied only by one very drunk girl who is trying to do cocaine off her hand, but spilling it everywhere every time she exaggeratedly hiccups. Ignoring her, my date leans in and whispers: “I just want to rip your clothes off right here.”

I can’t help but laugh. First of all, what he’s just said is totally fucking preposterous; we’re in the middle of a club, music is banging and drinks sloshing left, right and centre. Also, I am not the kind of guy that men want to tear the trousers off. In a way, I’m flattered, but it rings hollow. See? My Wow Moment is happening in front of my very eyes and I don’t want to believe it’s true. Perhaps his confession that he takes a lot of his dates home make me feel less special.

However, if this young buck thinks that clumsy line will work on me, who am I to knock his confidence? I’m going to leave life’s harsh lessons for another time – tonight I’m going to have some fun.

“Probably best not to do it right here,” I smile, idly playing with the open neck of his shirt. “How long will it take to get back to yours?”
“About 15 minutes.”
I break into my last enigmatic smile of the evening. And then: “Let’s try to make it 10.”

Stats: 6’3″, 25, brown/brown, Gloucestershire
Pre-date rating: 6.5/10
Post-date rating: 9/10
If the date were a song: Betcha by golly wow

A truncated version of this post originally appeared in the monthly dating column I used to do in Gay Times magazine. I now answer GT readers’ dilemmas and dole out relationship advice. Take a look at the Gay Times website to see when the next issue is out.

Image: johnwennerberg on Flickr

The Hogmanay Kiss

Have you ever been to Edinburgh for New Year? You really should. Edinburgh is beautiful.

The year I go to Edinburgh’s annual street party, usually avoided by the locals, is 1997. I am 22. I have just broken up with my girlfriend. Yes, girlfriend. We weren’t together very long and my tears had dried before we’d even got to the second syllable of goodbye.

My friend and I don’t have tickets for the street party, but we are not-very-reliably informed it is the ‘place to go’, so we buy lots of beer and make sure we are within the boundaries before they are roped off for ticketholders. It is ludicrously easy. But now it is 7.30pm, it’s freezing and I am going to be here for at least five hours.

I light a cigarette in the absence of absolutely anything else to do (this is a very long time ago – I haven’t smoked for over a decade) and as I take a drag, a group of people my age appear before me, one guy and two girls. They are what my grandmother would call “merry”. They ask for a light and we chat for a while.

Alex laughs longest and loudest of everyone.

My friend is very sociable and boisterous, so we soon develop a kind of camaraderie. The guy is warm and friendly and introduces himself as Alex. I’m sorry, girls, but your names escape me all these years later. We get chatting to another group of guys and soon we have a little posse all of our own, swaying as the beers take hold, lighting each other’s cigarettes and talking utter rubbish – each of us pretending it isn’t absolutely freezing. Everybody laughs at all my jokes, even the ones that aren’t funny. Alex laughs longest and loudest of everyone.

The hours crawl by and eventually we resort to the game you can only comfortably play with strangers – Truth or Dare. Various dull revelations are uncovered during the first couple of rounds: weirdest place you’ve had sex, weird celebrity crushes etc. One of the guys we have met, who is freezing his balls off in a kilt, asks Alex if he is gay. Alex says he is, and looks straight at me.

One of the girls, who has been feeling my backside on and off for about half an hour with absolutely zero response from me, dares the man in the kilt to kiss Alex for ten seconds.

Something happens to me that I don’t quite understand. I want to back away from them all, to run. I’m not homophobic – or at least I don’t think I am – but I don’t want that question to come my way. I shuffle from foot to foot and feign blowing into my hands to keep them warm. They are not cold – my gloves are thicker than axminster. I feel nervous and excited. And yet I drip with dread.

The game continues. A dare. One of the girls, who has been feeling my backside on and off for about half an hour with absolutely zero response from me, dares the man in the kilt to kiss Alex for ten seconds. My stomach churns; I feel sick. Mr Kilt reluctantly accepts this challenge. We all watch and cheer.

I play along and exclaim “Urrrrgh” loudly as they kiss, noticing that Alex tries to slip the other guy his tongue. And just as he does, for the last second, he looks me right in the eye.

Then, it is my turn to be asked. I pick “truth” – I don’t want to be dared the same.

The other girl tries to focus on me and asks my question: “Do you fancy Alex?”

I try not to glare back. I think what my reaction should be. I pull what I think is my best puzzled grimace.

“Me? No, no.” I laugh nervously.

And then I look at Alex and pat his shoulder with a pathetic ‘matey’ stroke.

“Sorry, man. You’re just not my type. Wrong sex and all that.” I am basically chucking out a #NoHomo response.

Alex smiles back at me without even a hint of snide. “Haha, no problem!”

And then it is over. For the moment.

The game fizzles out once everybody else has snogged each other – it is fairly obvious the man in the kilt will be going home with almost every female within a 10-mile radius – and I drain my can of beer and excuse myself to go to the loo. I’m glad to be away from them, but I am not alone for long. I hear my name being called and turn to see Alex bounding up behind me.

“I need the loo too so thought I’d chum you along,” he says.

My stomach lurches and I start to feel light-headed. He chats to me as we queue for a portable loo but I feel awkward and can’t really process what he’s saying. Suddenly, he produces a cigarette for me and lights it. I look at him.

“I thought you didn’t have a light?” I ask.

He looks from my face to the lighter and back again. Busted.

“Ah,” he says. If his cheeks weren’t already rosy from the cold, he’d blush. “That was just a ruse.”

“A ruse?”

“Yeah, to get to talk to you.”

“What?” I ask. “One of the girls wanted to talk to me?”

“No,” says Alex patiently, gently. “I wanted to talk to you.”

“Oh, why?” I reply, not being deliberately stupid, I promise. I am 22, remember.

He takes a really long drag of his cigarette. “I thought you and your friend were together, a couple,” he chuckles. “I just wanted to check.”

“Why?”

“Because…” he begins, but then a loo becomes free in front of us and a man further back in the queue tells me to “get a fucking move on, pal”, so I leap into it and have a very shaky, anxious piss.

“I want to talk to you,” says Alex, gulping.
“What about?”
“You. You’re gay, aren’t you? I mean–” he scratches his head. “I hope you are. Are you?”

When I come back out, there’s no sign of Alex, so I assume he has gone back to the group. I then feel a hand on my shoulder. It’s him.

“I want to talk to you,” he says, gulping.

“What about?”

“You,” he says, his eyes desperately searching mine. “You’re… you’re gay, aren’t you? I mean–” he scratches his head. “I hope you are. Are you?”

I pull my mouth in tight and attempt to shrug. “No, I’m not.”

Alex leans in closer. “Are you sure?”

I look around to see if anybody from the group is near us. They’re miles away, but I have to make sure. I run my hands over my face and try to think.

Finally, I pull Alex away farther down the street.

“What are you doing?” he smiles drunkenly. I don’t reply. I don’t know what to say. We just keep moving. 

We end up on a narrow, dark street, free of Hogmanay drunks. There is an even smaller close just off to the right, and we scoot down it. It is drizzling. There is just one streetlight, glowing bright orange but far from warming. There is a metal fire escape staircase. It’s almost like I know I will never forget this.

Alex clears his throat. “I want to kiss you. But I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

My mind explodes over and over again. A supernova of confusion, curiosity and fear. I have been cautious all my life, risk-averse. Tonight, something feels different.

I put my hand round Alex’s waist and pull him to me. I feel the damp chill of the fire escape pressing into my back. I am surprised by the feel of his stubble and the forcefulness of his mouth. Somewhere, on another planet, a crowd starts to count backward from ten. Everything melts away.

When we break apart, it is 1998. And nothing will ever be the same again.

The Reluctant Casanova

Stats: 31, 6’, brown/light brown, London
Where: Soho, W1
Pre-date rating: 8/10

I lean forward on my hand and do my best ‘interested’ face as tonight’s contestant, dark-eyed, floppy-haired Matthew, regales me with stories about his ex-boyfriends. Well, I say, boyfriends – he’s dispatched them with a fervour and speed usually reserved for delousing a nit-ridden child.

“I just can’t seem to tie myself down to one person,” he drawls, his eyes flicking to all corners of the room – no doubt scoping it out for any other, sexier men, just in case this date doesn’t turn out well.

“What are you doing on a dating site, then?” I ask, much less confrontationally than he deserves.

“Well,” he shrugs, “I suppose at the time I really do think I want to settle down, but when I get into it, it doesn’t really happen that way.”

I’m puzzled, but more intrigued. Why would a potential date try to present themselves as such an emotional fuck-up on the first meeting? Is it a misguided attempt at a boast? And yet I can’t help myself; I have to find out more.

“And so how does it happen?” I find myself blurting.

He raises an eyebrow in what appears to be a well-practised move. My buttocks clench. “Same thing happens every time,” he says. “They fall in love, I get bored, and I break their heart. Every. Fucking. Time.” His eyes rest on me as he finishes his little speech.

I laugh out loud at his conceit. I think I’m a bit drunk already. He certainly is. “And pray, oh mighty one,” I mock, “just how many hearts have you broken?”

He takes me through the trail of destruction he’s left behind him, and I imagine his bedroom wall lined with pelts of his previous conquests – a tattooed arm here, an ironic haircut there.

I can believe the prospect of never having his mouth on you again would lead to much weeping and wailing. He’s so pretty, so charming (at first), that you’d be reluctant to let him go. But let him go you must, before he drives you totally mad.

He may think he’s ruining their lives when he ditches his latest fling, but in the long run he’s doing them a favour – being in love with such a heartless work of art would be an expressway to insanity.

I have already decided I’ll sleep with him, purely to see what it would be like but I almost don’t want to give him the victory he so obviously expects.

Although I really want to break the mould and be the fly in his ointment, I’d only be taking a scalpel to own nose if I were to go home alone. Do I care whether he does a celebratory fist pump as I leave, his run of bedpost notches unchallenged?

While I’m not eager to further feed his monstrous ego – it’s already morbidly obese – sometimes itches should be scratched. I prefer my disappointments first thing in the morning, with a whole day ahead to ruminate before shrugging them off.

Not for me a frustrated bus ride home on a rainy night, with a cold duvet at the end of it and a sleepless night of “what if” beyond.

“OK,” I say. “I’ve heard enough. Let’s go.”

We leave the pub, but I don’t let him hold my hand. I’m fairly certain my heart, encased as it is in my iron will, is sure to remain intact. But I may as well let him have a crack at it. He’s got one night only.

Post-date rating: 7.5/10
Date in one sentence: This damaged Casanova comes up against the hardest heart to break.

– A truncated version of this post originally appeared in my monthly column in Gay Times.

The five sexiest people you’ll ever see on public transport

I have a love-hate relationship with travelling on the Tube, London’s dog-breathed series of arteries which carries us all safely around the place, while we moan about how long it takes to get anywhere and how far away everyone lives.

Buses can go fuck themselves, frankly; dull as they are with their stench of fast food and myriad teenagers playing generic hip-hop through tinny speakers. Buses are unsociable and unsexy – everyone facing forward like they’re at the world’s worst cinema.

In the sexiness stakes, there’s no getting away from the Tube’s dominance. Everyone’s facing each other across those dirty aisles and pretending not to look. But you’re looking. We’re all looking. And here are the five sexiest people you’ll meet on the Tube.

The staring man
Staring man breaks the first rule of ‘no eye contact’ within seconds, appraising you like you’re a prize heifer at a country show. He drinks you in and in further and further, until you can taste him behind your eyes. He thinks the quickest way to make you fall in love with him is simply by keeping his peepers trained on you until you say: “OK, I give in. Take me back to yours and possess me for ever”. I guess it must work sometimes.

The man with dirty fingernails playing on his iPad
This man purposefully sits next to you with his handy screen of nothingness and dramatically swipes his filthy claws across it until you can’t help but look at what he’s doing. He will either be playing a shoot ’em up, trying to get the next level of a ridiculous game for pre-school infants or, worst of all, watching Top Gear and tapping his rank talons against the screen with pleasure every time Jeremy Clarkson tells a ‘joke’.

The arranger
This guy gets on the Tube in full conversational flow on his mobile phone. Decibels and social appropriateness mean nothing to him, so he’s bellowing down it confidently, satisfyingly smoothing down his Lacoste polo which hugs his bench-pressed chest like a toddler clinging to its mother’s leg on the first day at nursery. He is loud, probably has whichever accent you find the most distasteful and, to put the icing on your cherry cake of misery, is arranging a weekend which sounds like it’s going to be much more fun than yours. With people hotter than you.

The politeness refusenik
This beautiful beast won’t give up his seat for an elderly person, will pretend that he’s not sure whether that pregnant woman standing in front of him is “just fat” and will tut and moan if you so much as graze his adorable knee with your bag/suitcase/coat. Because the Tube is only for people who travel without any luggage and are going somewhere very important and need a sit down. If you want a guaranteed seat, get a cab, right? Ugh.

The drunk
They smell like pub. They talk like pub. They sway like pub. They annoy you like not being able to go to a pub. And they always sit next to you when you’re feeling at your most irritable and unforgiving (aka every single day).

So there you are, five of the best, hottest guys (or gals) you’re ever likely to meet. And yet somehow I manage to fall in and out of love with total strangers every day on the Tube. I suppose it’s best not to think too hard about what they’re thinking of you. I’m sure it’s all very complimentary. Right? Oh.