first date

People often ask me “the things you write about, are they true?” Well yes, yes they are. Things just seem to happen to me. Silly thing. Embarrassing things. Like the time I met a girl and for our first date, we went to the zoo and ended up splattered in… it wasn’t nice.

I arrived at her house, rang the doorbell and waited. Her mother answered the door, the girl standing a couple of paces behind her. I was invited in, stepped inside and, as the girl’s mother closed the front door behind me, her father came out of a second door at the far end of the hallway and a cat raced past him, his frantic cries of “heel” or whatever it is you shout at cats to bring them under control, totally ignored by the furry moggy who planted itself firmly at my feet purring beguilingly. Now, I’m not very good with cats, they can make me sneeze and cause my eyes to run, but as it sat there looking up at me and tipping its head for attention, I felt obliged to bend down and pat its head. So I did and… and the vicious, sabre-toothed feline went for me, growling ferociously as it made a beeline for my nether regions and snapped its jaws firmly around my scrotum. I shot bolt upright. It was agony and I desperately wanted to scream out loud and start blubbing like a big baby, but it was our first date and I couldn’t, not with a fallacious cat swinging between my thighs like an enormous willy wrapped in a furry condom, it’s tail lashing like some sort of giant stimulator, not if I wanted to maintain my cool and appear butch. So I whimpered pathetically, my eyes watering and my bottom lip quivering. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the girl’s mother found it necessary to join in the unprovoked attack a well and without asking, without so much as a by-your-leave, she grabbed it (the cat, that is, not my scrotum) and started yanking at it with both hands. Wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t leave it alone, tugging at it like she was using the cat as a crowbar to separate me from my manhood.

Now, I’m not stupid, so I was aware there would be some kind of negative reaction to a strange bloke full of testosterone turning up to take out their only daughter, it’s only natural, but well, frankly, I thought this was a bit much. A quiet word in my ear would have done the job. But that didn’t seem to be that way, the savage attack continuing unabated until the cat got bored, decided it had had enough of testicles which can be a bit coarse and dry (at least, that’s what one of those celebrity chefs on the television says), let go, dropped to the floor and trundled off for a more nourishing bowl of Whiskas. I breathed a sigh of relief, desperately wanting to take my hand and rub the damaged area better, but worried the girl’s mother might misinterpret my actions and start on me all over again. So I suffered the pain and for the next half, an hour strutted around like John Wayne as I tried to get some blood flowing back into my… you get the message.

After an hour of everyone apologising profusely and me assuring them nothing was permanently damaged other than my pride, the girl’s parents waved us off and, to be fair, the first few hours at the zoo passed by uneventfully; it was warm, the sun was shining and we wandered around enjoying seeing the wild and exotic animals on show in their humane, environmentally friendly enclosures, eating hot dogs and slurping ice cream. But as we neared the great ape enclosure, I was overcome by an inexplicable feeling of utter and complete dread. And not, as it turned out, without cause.

Around thirty or forty people were standing outside the enclosure, heavy bars separating them from an enormous, hairy gorilla sitting on a rock harvesting  bogies from its nose and feasting on them. Some people, of course, found this disgusting, but having been at school with a boy nicknamed “candles” due to his propensity for licking away the mucus dribbling from his nose and down onto his top lip, I was somewhat desensitised to it.  Soon, however, the enormous primate got bored and started hammering its chest like a bass drum whilst letting out a deafening roar that caused adults to jump back and children to start crying. And not satisfied with scaring the crap out of everybody, it stuck its huge hand under its arse, dumped in it and flung the stinking, straw-filled steaming dung pat… at me. Why me? Why was I the one the hairy bastard had decided to pick on? Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, the steaming pat flying towards me through the air and there was nothing I could about it. It just kept on coming until, in real time now, it splattered against the bars of the enclosure and I was covered from head to toe in fresh gorilla shit… and it wasn’t nice. Not nice at all.  And apart from stinking like a camel driver’s jockstrap after he’d been trudging the desert all day, I felt a right prat standing there with adults tittering behind their hands and snotty nosed kids pointing at me and laughing out loud. “Wipe that bloody grin off your face or I’ll rub your nose in it” I snapped at one of them. “Little bastard”… and the kid started to cry again and his father dragged him away, glaring at me like it was my fault. Which, of course, it wasn’t.

Feeling a bit conspicuous, I made my way to the other end of the enclosure, distancing myself from the crowd so that I could clean myself up and regain what was left of my dignity. Yeah, right! Fat chance! I looked up and the hairy bastard had jumped down from its rock, followed me and had its hand under its arse again. Just then a keeper walked past. “He’s always doing that,” he said like he was offering me some kind of consolation. “Picking on somebody and showering them in shit”. It didn’t. I turned around and a second handful of steaming dung splattered against the bars.

Despite the incident with the gorilla, the rest of the day passed by relatively uneventfully. Well, I say uneventfully, it did… until we went on the chairlift… and it broke down… and we were left dangling in mid-air for an hour… and there was a thunderstorm… and it started raining… and I’m scared of heights.

“It could have been worse, I suppose,” I thought to myself as we hung there. Which, inevitably, it was, of course. Me and the girl got married eighteen months later, then we got divorced and I was showered in shit all over again.

C’est la vie

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