Thursday, 7 January 2010

Reflections on the Mr D experience.....

Written on Dec 18th 09

Mr D was until recently working for a holiday company travelling across the world managing bars and tourists - meeting women and taking them home was probably in the job description. Taking this into account I don't suppose for one minute that I will be especially memorable to Mr D. Although I do have the added interest of being a lesbian, - ex lesbian - perhaps I will forever be his 'conversion' story.

To be honest my own 'intimate experiences' list is rather longer than I would like it to be. Age 19, I was a bit surprised by the whole lesbian thing - as far as I was concerned I'd come from a normal family (well - normal in as much as any family is....), -I had a respectable upbringing.
By respectable I mean I was taught to 'only speak when spoken to', followed quickly by 'stand up for yourself, don't be so quiet', say 'pardon' not what, pronounce the 't' in butter, 'don't say 'yeah' its 'yes', 'what's 'gonna' - do you mean 'going to'?', 'Speak up, don't be so quiet', 'eat all your vegetables, there are children starving in Africa you know', always say hello to old people on walks in the countryside, and finally to be self-effacing at any possible opportunity. All this has left me with a very healthy and normal dose of British self doubt - I lack confidence in absolutely everything - except the fact that I had a respectable upbringing.

My childhood was 'normal' in all other ways too - I had a collection of Cindies and a Tiny Tears which weed herself, in my teenage years I wore full make up to school every day, tried to make my school uniform 'sexy', and worried about what boys would think of me, and at age 17 I even had a serious boyfriend who I really loved! So how had this lesbian thing happened?! In my opinion I'd done all the normal things that straight girls do and this should not have happened to me. I was supposed to get married (to a man)and have children in the usual way. I wasn't supposed to have to worry about 'coming out' and lesbian bed death and turkey baster babies. I therefore spent quite some time making sure that I was properly gay and hadn't just got confused somehow.
(In hindsight why I thought I could have got confused about this I don't know - I can understand people getting confused about which shop is in which Cardiff arcade, or which lane they're supposed to be in at Culverhouse Cross huge roundabout (this remains a mystery to me even after years of driving in Cardiff) - but if you fancy a girl then you fancy a girl - its really not that confusing.

Anyway despite much 'experimentation' I didn't manage to prove much - except that the more I drink the more my standards drop! Over the years some of these liaisons have sadly been forgotten due to various (mainly alcohol related) factors - like I can't remember what they looked like/don't want to remember what they looked like/was too drunk to remember meeting them ....etc.

Mr D however, will always be remembered - not because I had the most fantastic time of my life - but because he opened up a whole new world. My experience with Mr D has made me realise that I don't have to restrict myself to women - there's another 50% of the population who I could be attracted to after all. I have spent the last 15 years thinking that I don't fancy blokes coz I'm gay -but in hindsight - perhaps it was more because firstly, I very rarely came into contact with straight eligible men, and secondly, I spend all my time with gay women who generally think willies are gross and men are a kind of harmless but less well developed species. They are sort of right about willies - they're not the most attractive things, and to be fair some men do seem to come from another less intelligent species - but its not fair to judge all of them based on an unfortunate subsection - and, thinking about it, over the years I've met a few lesbians with IQ's of less than 'moron' - I think I may have been out with some of them...... Anyway moving on...

This is especially good news for me as I'm one of those people who hardly ever fancies anyone. I meet gay women all the time and quite often I think that they are attractive and interesting - but I don't fancy them. I have concluded that I must have very rare chemistry and although I like the idea of being unique its not very helpful if you want to meet someone. So to find out that the pool of people I could be attracted to just increased by 50% is very encouraging. Having said that I am off to the lesbian Christmas party soon so the male population may have to wait another 15 years.....

Smelly Restaurant Kissing

Written on Thursday 17th December 09

Mr D asked if I wanted to go for a meal with him and some of his French friends - which of course I did - even though this meant getting back across the whole of Paris on the dreaded metro and spending the evening with a group of French people I didn't know and couldn't actually communicate with. The French friends turned out to be very pleasant and almost as bad at English as I was at French which - despite the almost complete lack of any meaningful interaction - made me feel much better about myself.

There was much friendly smiling and laughing at things which may or may not have been funny. Mr D started off by interpreting everything but after a few drinks the interpretation got less and less regular and I just pretended to myself that I could understand. This is easier than it sounds as when I can't understand what is being said in French my brain just fills in the gaps for me. At the start of the evening it generally made up relevant, in context type things which, although may not have been what was actually said, made sense to me and made me feel like I was part of the conversation. Unfortunately later on after an aperitif, a few glasses of wine, a couple of whiskeys and another cocktail - the contents of which remain a mystery - my brain was off in its own little world and I have a suspicion in hindsight that the conversation I heard for the last hour could have been entirely fictional.
The meal was in an appres ski style restaurant - all wooden and rustic. It also smelt really bad in a mouldy cheese type way - this is apparently a sign of a really good traditional restaurant. I remain unconvinced - surely any smell which makes you wretch cannot be good in a restaurant - traditional or otherwise. Having said that the food was lovely - if a bit odd. I had to cook my own pieces of steak in boiling red wine. It took me twice as long as everyone else to eat because being British I had to simmer my tiny steak pieces for about 20 minutes before I considered them ready to eat. The average French person steak -piece- cooking -time was about one minute.

The meal was followed by a number of after dinner drinks - which to me seemed to be pure ethanol but apparently did have some other ingredients. At some point during the ethanol drinking session me and Mr D had a kiss. It was a sort of 'oops, get us, we're so drunk we fell into each other and landed on each others lips, there was nothing else we could do' type kiss. A proper full on snog - which despite being completely hammered was great - the sort of kiss that comes with all the excitement of having been thinking about it for weeks before - as opposed to the one where you met the person 5 minutes before and when you kiss them you find yourself thinking about where to get chips on the way home and wishing you remembered to set the heating to come on.

Anyway to cut a long story short - and because its not that kind of blog - I went back to Mr D's house where I stayed.

A few days later we met up again and repeated the experience - not the smelly restaurant bit - just the getting hammered and me staying at his. When I say ' his' I actually mean his parents' house. I was mortified in the morning - a 36 year old woman waking up in someones' parents house after a one (or two) night stand. I tried to appear respectable (which was hard given the circumstances) and made polite conversation with his mother - whilst feeling like a right slag! His mother didn't seem to feel at all awkward - which made me wonder how often this happened.....

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Metro Mission

After the TEFL course finished, me and my room mate who I shall call B decided to move into a hostel in the city centre. This seemed like a great idea - until we were struggling to get across Paris on the metro with enough luggage between us for a 6 month tour of Europe.

On the Paris metro to get onto a train you have to first get through the barriers. These are gates which require you to insert your ticket on one side, take it out again a bit further along, then push through some very narrow mini barriers, and then through a metal gate - all within a time limit of about 5 seconds. It's as if they don't really want people to get on the trains - or at least not any people with luggage anyway. Or fat people - although there are hardly any fat people in Paris - I thought it was because they can't afford to eat and just have to survive on coffee and cigarrettes - but I guess they have to stay thin so they don't get stuck in the metro gates and have the fire brigade called to remove them. It was impossible to get a person and their luggage through at the same time so either we were through but our luggage was behind us, or the luggage made it through but we were left behind - or worst case scenario - both us and the luggage were stuck between the 2 barriers - usually with some random French people laughing at our predicament.

Having extricated ourselves and the luggage from the barriers with the help of some kind French people (there are a few of them), and some brute force (and probably some permanent damage to French metro property) we then had to actually get onto the train. This unfortunately involved lifting our suitcases - something neither me or B were able to do (we hadn't planned this journey very well!). At one point I got onto a train and then despite a huge effort, completely failed to lift my case off the platform. As the doors were about to close I was pulled backwards by the weight of my own case towards the gap between the train and the platform - (the one that in the UK they have special warnings about - just in case you thought it would be ok to stand in it whilst waiting for the train). As I headed towards the big black hole and certain death , I was overcome with panic - and came out with a torrent of abuse directed at the French metro system. This didn't help me to get on the train - but did draw attention to me and a man noticed my plight and pulled me and my suitcase onto the train. (B would have helped but at the time was trying to escape from under her own suitcase).

After a few seconds of sheer relief at being alive, I looked round and realised that the people around me were not looking too pleased with me - then it dawned on me that they had just heard something along the lines of 'bla, bla, F***king French, bla bla 'crap', bla, bla French b**tards...'. Oops!

We were so relieved when we actually made it to our hostel and checked in ..... until they said 'your room is down the road, round the corner, through the door, across the court yard and up the 4 flights of spiral stairs'. Great. By this time I felt like i was on an endurance test and this was the final mission - I was sweating and aching and exhausted, my brain was foggy and confused - but I knew I had to carry on and find the physical and mental strength to get to that room. Half an hour later me and B had managed to get ourselves and all our luggage to the room - where I laid down and fell asleep for 3 hours - I was eventually woken up by the phone - it was Mr D.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Well I've been in France for about 7 weeks now and I've discovered lots of new things to like. Like crepes, - my favourite is Grand Marnier, and Cafe creme, and Sacre coeur, and creme brulee. and also on a not so French theme - Whiskey - thats what happens when you stay with 2 Scottish women for a month! I haven't been able to drink whiskey since an unfortunate incident when I was 14 involving a couple of pints of Southern Comfort - so I was surprised when I found that not only did I not throw up on trying whiskey but that I actually really liked it.

The other new thing I've discovered in France is men.

This isn't the first time i've discovered men - I did try them before - about 20 years ago - but I wasn't that impressed - really couldn't understand what all the fuss was about - so I decided to try out women instead. and I've stuck with women ever since and although not all (or lets be honest - many) of my relationships have been ideal I really thought that I was properly gay - not bisexual, polysexual or metrosexual, confused, open minded,or bi-curious but just plain (and slightly boringly)gay.

So there I was - comfortable with my very gay sexuality, single but happy and especially looking forward to discovering 'gay Paris' - when I met Mr D.
I was in Paris to take a TEFL course. Mr D was on the course and happened to be sitting next to me.

On first meeting Mr D I thought he was a nice bloke and very confident and funny.... and interesting and well educated....and spoke fluent French with a sexy accent... and actually not bad looking...nice eyes....oh shit! I had a crush - on a man!
I decided that having a crush was nothing really - I mean everyone has crushes on people they admire or would like to be like - and I would like to be confident and funny and especially to speak fluent French (not sure which of these is the least likely to ever happen!). So that was ok then - just a harmless crush - nothing to do with sex just a 'strong admiration'.

I actually came out as a lesbian during conversation to a few people including Mr D at the end of the first week. Mr D didn't respond in any particular way although I noticed that immediately after he went out for a fag. I liked to think that he felt the need for a fag coz he was surprised and disappointed that I was not available - although in hindsight - it was more likely that he needed nicotine as he is French and smokes like a chimney.

The course carried on and I continued to try to convince myself that it was a harmless crush that didn't relate to my sexuality whatsoever. Me and Mr D continued to get on really well in a platonic type of way and I tried hard to resist the urge to flirt - its not fair to tell a man you're gay and then flirt - how confusing is that?! In my head though I was thinking about Mr D rather a lot - and it wasn't about his lesson planning abilities or excellent understanding of English grammar!


There was a young lesbian who stayed
in Paris for a few days
It wasn't the plan
but she slept with a man
and discovered she swings both ways

Our bisexual was very confused
no matter how much she boozed
You know how the scene is
you don't mention penis
The lesbians would not be amused