Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Great Night In

Thanks to Meg, a quiet night in became a tour of Soho's achingly hip, achingly gay bars and clubs last night. It was a warm up for my birthday, you see.

We started with modest drinks in The Yard, where Meg met up with his friend Chaos as I stared at the video screens around the bar. They were featuring pictures of London's cool set, with graphics indicating the makers of their shoes, jackets, hats etc. All I could think about was Nathan Barley, and then I realised that this was his territory.

Afterwards, we went into Barcode, the sort of bar where you can go several hours without seeing a woman. It took the pressure off a bit, I felt, and I went up to the bar to get the first round in.
"I'll have a JD please", said Meg with a slightly intimidating smile.
"Are you sure you'll be OK?" said Chaos.
"I'll be fine", I replied.

As I went up to the bar, I did my usual tactic of finding an empty space no more than a few inches wide, and leaning one hand on it, thereby reserving a place at a very busy bar. As I leant waiting to be served, I felt a stroking on my shoulder. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a smartly dressed man gesturing towards a door. For a moment I considered exploiting the situation to get a free drink, before realising this was probably a bit dangerous. So, being English, I decided to just turn away and ignore it. This was a bad strategic move.

I handed Meg and Chaos their drinks with a smile.
"I got chatted up" I said with a grin.
"And you're happy?" said Chaos.
"You come here all the time, and I've been here all of three minutes. You'll not believe what an ego boost that was."

A while later, as we leant in the corner and chatted, the same man walked past. He deftly weaved past the other two, before squaring up to me, and half colliding and half rubbing, he passed me very slowly.

"You both saw that, right?"
"He's drunk", they both chimed.
"No", I said, "that was the same guy who chatted me up earlier. At the bar. He started making, um, contact there too."
"Why do you care?"
Well, I said, warming to my theme, this is the big lie my people* like to tell when we go to places like this. That we're not gay, and that's why we're keeping out of the way, but if we were, we'd be the hottest property on the dance floor. As there's no obvious way of testing this, it makes us feel better about ourselves, and any time we get chatted up by another man it boosts our belief and, therefore, our egos.
"He was so drunk" said Chaos.

A while later we headed downstairs to the dancefloor. On the way to disprove my theory, we all saw the same man sitting on the stairs, struggling to speak as two bouncers tried to carry his slumped form out of the doors.

"Alright, so maybe he was a bit drunk...."

*metrosexuals, apparently


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