The day before I’d had a cyst the size of an egg removed from up my back passage and was now lying in a hospital bed recovering. I hadn’t been able to vacate my bowels properly for weeks and, as a result, was lying in a bed full of… I’ll spare you the details… so it probably wasn’t the ideal time to ask me if I would go out on a blind date.
“No” I snapped emphatically. “There’s no way I’m going on a blind date arranged by you. Not after the last time.”
The last time had been some months earlier and it was the most surreal night of my life. I had to attend a sports awards ceremony at which I was due to receive a trophy and my mate arranged for a friend of his then-girlfriend, a young lady he knew only in passing, to accompany me for the evening. Why I had agreed to the arrangement, I don’t know. Perhaps it was because everyone else I had asked was busy that night, washing their hair, doing their nails, nursing their sick grannie, or simply bursting into fits of uncontrolled laughter when I asked them out.
It was… I was going to say it was a disaster, but that’s not really true, for something to be a disaster something has to happen. Which it didn’t. Not a thing, the girl in question didn’t even speak to me. That’s right, I went on a blind date with a girl and she didn’t speak to me. All night. Note once. In fact, I’m fairly sure I never knew her name and if I did I’d forgotten it.
The night went something like this… have you seen that film where Kim Basinger plays a shy, prim young woman who, after a couple of drinks, turns into an insatiable nymphomaniac? Well, it was nothing like that. Having been given directions I drove to the house where she lived with her parents to pick her up, she got in the car, I introduced myself… and she panicked, blushed like beetroot and started to wheeze. Concerned that she might be having a seizure, I asked her if she was alright, she issued a strange whimpering noise, lowered her eyes like she was checking to see if her bust was still there (either that or she was making sure the cotton wool she had used to pad out her bra hadn’t become dislodged) and off we went making the journey to the venue in total silence.
When we arrived, we deposited our coats, found our table, I asked her what she wanted to drink and… and you would have thought I had just suggested ripping her clothes off, throwing her across the table and eating vol-au-vents off her naked belly; she started to hyperventilate, gurgled like she was choking, clutched her throat and turned away. My mate’s girlfriend glared at me like it was some kind of sex pest and it was all my fault like I’d made an improper advance or something. “She’ll have vodka and orange” she hissed venomously. And that was it, the highlight of the evening. Although, I did hear back later that she had really enjoyed herself and would like to do it again sometime. Yeah, right!
Now, you might expect, in terms of my early love life that was the most embarrassing moment in my young life. But no. Nowhere near. Not even close.
“No, no” my mate assured me far too enthusiastically as he sat the edge of my hospital bed stuffing his face with the grapes he had brought in for me. “I’ve seen a photo of her. She’s a real looker… and she has a great personality”. There’s a problem with that remark that isn’t immediately apparent when someone is referred to as having a great personality, it usually means they are lacking something it the looks department, but, being naïve, I simply presumed he meant she had vocal chords and the ability to use them. So, I eventually agreed.
Now, given the circumstances, you might be asking yourself why he chose such an inappropriate time to suggest such a liaison. The answer is simple… desperation. A girl he had been lusting over for months had finally agreed to go out with him, but only in a foursome and only if he could find a consort for her friend. He’d asked everyone else he knew, begged them, pleaded with them, offered them money and still they refused, so I was his last resort, his one and only chance of getting to grips with a girl who stirred his lustful loins. Frankly, it was deeply hurtful and humiliating being cast as plan “Z”, but, and this might surprise you, eventually I agreed. Why? Out of loyalty to a mate? Because I was weak and still suffering the effects of the anaesthetics administered during my operation? No, because I too was desperate.
On the appointed evening, off I went. The arrangement was that I pick the girl up from her home and then meet up with the others later in a local pub. At the time, I drove a car, Betsey, who today would be legally impounded in Big Sam’s Wreckers Yard. Apart from the brakes being a bit dodgy – zero to sixty in a flash, sixty to zero in a lifetime – the windscreen wipers were intermittent by fault rather than design, the starter motor was dodgy and Betsey would fail to fire up in bad weather fearing for her life on the open road. On top of that, the poor thing suffered from pre-ignition, a condition whereby the engine shook, rattled and rolled for some considerable time after the ignition was turned off. Needless to say, I was broke at the time.
On the appointed night I set off early so as to make a good impression (or get away if she hadn’t learned to speak yet). At the time, I lived, still do, close to a forest on the edge of which there is a steep an incline, the one side of which is lined with large, expensive homes hidden behind a curtain of tall, leafy trees, so you can imagine I was feeling a bit out of place even before I pulled onto the narrow gravel driveway leading to the house. I parked up next to a Bentley, turned off the ignition, got out of the car, went to the door and rang the bell. The girl’s mother, a well-dressed, handsome woman (always a good omen when you’re about to meet a girl for the first time) answered and invited me in. And, as I stepped over the threshold, I glanced back at Betsey sobbing fearfully at being left alone in the dark in case some ruthless band of thieves abducted her. Just why she would think that sat next to a near new Bentley, I don’t know.
Anyway, the girl’s mother leads me into the sitting room, offered me a drink and for a few minutes we chatted. Just the usual pleasantries on meeting a girl’s parents for the first time. Like, was there any insanity in the family? Did I have any STDs? Was I a convicted rapist? Then the girl arrived, we introduced ourselves and she asked if I minded waiting a few minutes so that her father could meet me before we left (clearly he didn’t trust his wife’s character analysis). So, we waited and after about five minutes I heard someone at the door, politely stood up to greet them and…
My bum was only halfway up from the chair when I noticed a tall, distinguished man standing in the doorway pointing at me. “I remember you,” he said with some relish “I removed a bloody great cyst from up your arse last month. Are you able to move your bowels properly yet?”
Have you ever wished the ground would open up and swallow you?