I woke up with a hangover and slowly cast my mind back to the previous night. What had I done? Oh, I’d gone out for dinner with #110, and then we’d had a few drinks at Planet Out. What had I done after that? Presumably I’d just gone home. A nice simple night, I figured.
Actually, when we parted ways, #110 settled down to sleep in the doorway of a pet shop while I jumped in a taxi to go to an art student party that #166 was at. It was starting to come back to me now that I’d switched on my phone and found the text #166 had sent once I was already en route: “Full of wankers. Avoid!” Too late.
Head thumping, I struggled to piece together the rest of the night chronologically. Making a failed pass at #166; making out with #177. Okay, fine. Oh, yeah, and then there was this other boy I made out with too. Huh. Well, y’know, these things happen. I gradually remembered that the party was an eighties party and the boy was wearing a tracksuit and a sweatband and I’d said “Mark Knopfler!” and he’d had no idea what I was talking about because he was TOO YOUNG.
I’d left the party with Leonard, hadn’t I, so presumably going home had been quite straightforward, right? Except – my hazy recollection triumphantly delivered another flash – we’d somehow encountered that same boy wandering lost around Marchmont, so we’d taken him back to mine. Leonard had wanted to get off with him too, but me and the boy swiftly got busy again, so Leonard did the sensible thing and left us to it.
Here is where it gets stupid, if it didn’t already. See, I broke my own rule of not having sex with boys. I’d finally figured out earlier that year that it wasn’t really something I was interested in doing, and I was conducting my encounters accordingly. I’d always been sort of ambivalent about it, and then my experiences with #117 had really fucked everything up. I was getting flashbacks sometimes – I still get them – and I realised that, although I’d generally been pretty clear about boundaries, it couldn’t hurt to be still clearer. So I made the rule. I was allowed to break it whenever the hell I felt like it, but keeping it in mind meant that I could just get on with fun stuff, like making out, without worrying about whether anything was supposed to happen next.
Because this is a key thing: feeling like I was ‘supposed’ to do something. This meant that my experience of heteronormative sex was somewhat characterised by a sense of “hmm, am I drunk enough to do this now? Okay then, let’s see how this goes!” rather than “oh my god I am so turned on, I want this so badly”. Fuck that, I decided. There was scope to see how I felt about it if I was in an actual relationship, but I wasn’t going to feel that comfortable with someone I’d just met in a drunken blur.
So, I didn’t feel desperately inclined to sleep with #178. But all our clothes suddenly fell off and somehow I decided that getting a condom was the logical next step. What followed was horrendously awkward. He seemed to be in a bit of a rush, while I was basically just going through the motions. I doubt #178 had a good time – probably quite a weird time. Also I’d already forgotten his name and felt it would be impolite to ask again now that we’d gotten to this stage.
Afterwards, we compared ages and I discovered that he was nineteen. I also asked him if he was gay, seeing as some folks at the party had thought so, and he looked utterly freaked out. I hadn’t meant it as some sort of comment on his performance; I seemed to get off with gay boys fairly often, so I hadn’t thought it a particularly weird question, but I guess it depends on what sort of circles you move in.
He didn’t stay over, but he left his watch at my place by accident. I got a text message from an unknown number at stupid o’clock that said “U theif [sic]!” so I figured I might have given him my number and that he maybe thought I’d deliberately stolen the watch. As it turned out, the text was from #158, who’d just been treated to Leonard’s version of events in which I’d stolen the boy he was after. I never found out who #178 actually was.
So, what did I take away from the whole encounter, besides the watch? Well, it didn’t traumatise me. It wasn’t a big deal. But it served to remind me why I’d decided to stop having sex with boys in the first place. It was a dumb experience, and it was also perversely funny that I’d done it on the same night that I’d been telling friends how nauseous the idea made me.
Mostly, I feel self-conscious telling this story just because it’s yet another drunken blur, which is clearly par for the course.