It was shortly after 6pm on the 14th of March 2011, when I had just settled down in front of my laptop to watch a lovely relaxing episode of South Park, that I received a text message from my friend Byron:
“What have you planned for the night”
What have I planned, Byron? Let me see…
Nothing too enthralling; it is a Monday evening after all… I was about to watch a couple of shows online, maybe stalk a girl or two via facebook for a half an hour, masturbate (to some unrelated content) if I’m in the mood, and top it off by reading a few of chapters of my current Bronte novel.
Of course I don’t tell Byron all this as I don’t want to overly impress him with my sophisticated plans; and instead reply quite blandly with:
“Was going to stay in. Didn’t think there was anything going on tonight.”
I know I’m leaving an exploitable gap, by not saying I’m definitely engaged, for Byron to slip through and gently coax me into joining him in whatever harebrained scheme he has concocted, but on a subconscious level maybe I want to be persuaded.
Or on a fully conscious, lonely, thirsty, agitatedly desperate level.
Byron: “Not a problem. Your plans have changed. We are getting a bottle of vodka. ”
Well so much for slipping through the gap and coaxing me. Byron is climbing in the window and snatching his people up!
I should have been prepared for this. I attempt to resist this humble invitation with an equally feeble excuse:
“But Paddy’s day is in a few days. Really think it would be better to leave it until then.”
Byron: “What kind of a patriot are you that you can’t dedicate 3 nights drinking in one week to our national saint. He died for your freedom.”
My sense of chivalry and patriotism compels me to give in. Either that or my sense of boredom, but who cares.
Byron is satisfied:
“You’re a good man Pete. May Saint Patrick bless you with many strange superpowers.”
He rolls up outside my house at quarter past nine in a car I’ve never seen before. I know immediately that this vehicle is at least a couple of treasure chests out of Byron’s price range, and think that the scurvy cur’ must have commandeered the vessel for his own purposes. I question Byron about this and am met with insistence that he owns the car. Further questioning elicits the truth, which is that his Dad bought it. I proceed to ponder aloud the wisdom of Byron’s father in allowing him drive it.
A mischievous smirk is the only response I get.
As we pass through the traffic of the centre of the city ten minutes later, I break off mid sentence, to notice Byron who isn’t listening to me anyway, not with his eyes on the road and vehicles in front of him, but rather on a trio of disputably attractive young women gathered around a bus stop, and with a smug expression across his face. I am mildly surprised to see all three girls looking back at him, as if impressed.
Then the obvious realisation hits me that it’s not Byron they’re really interested in, but the car. The line from the Good Charlotte song “Boys and Girls” plays irresistibly in my head: “Girls don’t like boys, girls like cars and money.”
In my contemplative, analytical and still sober mindset of 09:30pm, I attempt to deduce (and not for the first time) why exactly a girl would be so taken with the driver of a flashy, expensive car. Is it the obvious selfish reason, which is provided by Good Charlotte, that the wealthier the man, the more jewellery, holidays and precious little gifts his partner can expect, and this is what is so appealing? For some girls maybe.
Or is it the cultural glorification of the “high life” in the Western world that colours the perspective of young impressionable girls and drives them to try to find the richest viable man, to satisfy this “desirable” vision which the world has for them?
Or is the woman’s focus genuinely on the man rather than the material objects? Are the fancy cars and big bank balances of wealthy men merely indicators that here is a confident, proactive individual who will be able to provide for a family, who knows what he wants and who isn’t afraid to get it, and that this is the type of man women want to be involved with?
I’m neither a sociologist nor a psychologist; (merely a lowly student of philosophy), but these ideas fascinate me.
However, I digress. On with the story…
We proceed through the city, and I ask Byron whether he has the vodka with him. He says it’s at his house; he tells me it’s a twelve euro bottle, and we joke about how it’s unworthy of even being inside this car. I suggest that we’d have to hold the cheap filth outside the window for the entire journey like a 3 day old diaper.
Then the irony of the joke strikes me. We are on our way directly to the location of this “cheap filth” with the sole and overriding intention of pouring it into our bodies as quickly as we comfortably can.
Not for the last time during the night, do I have doubts about my life’s direction.
We arrive at Byron’s place and set the pre-drinking scene carefully by going immediately to the kitchen and turning on loud music. Byron seizes the bottle of vodka and starts pouring healthy measures into two glasses, topping them both up with scanty portions of a cheap brand of energy drink.
A cocktail made in heaven.
My taste buds quiver at the prospect.
I give voice to my objection to the quantity of mixer, but Byron simply takes a swig of his own drink and invites me to:
“Taste that and tell me it’s not something that you would happily sit down and drink with your dinner.”
I oblige and take a drink; and though it’s not as vile as I anticipated, I make a private resolution to never use it to wash down my chicken and potatoes.
After a couple of glasses of Byron’s ideal dinner drink, we are feeling merry and boyish and the tone of the discourse deteriorates accordingly.
We are discussing the topic of sexual conquests, when Byron’s face lights up with excitement and he dashes upstairs, shouting excitedly: “I made a list today!”
He returns after a minute with a scrap of paper on which are written names of various girls Byron has hooked up with. A cursory glance tells me that Byron’s list is longer than my own. Another quick look makes me realise that most of the girls lucky enough to be featured hereon are missing their second names.
A personal detail seemingly relatively inconsequential in Byron’s decision of whether or not to sleep with someone.
Not only that, but a number of the ladies are represented, not even by a Christian name, but by a mere place name.
Their mothers must be proud.
It is a matter of routine that whenever we drink at Byron’s the toilet doesn’t consist of a porcelain bowl but rather of a patch of grass in his back garden. Byron comes back into the kitchen through the sliding door after urinating, only to make the fascinating announcement that when he doesn’t guide his (for want of a better word) hose, it always sprays away to the left, so that the contents land just in front of his left shoe.
There is a meagre dribble left in the vodka bottle at this stage, so nobody should be surprised at the intellectual heights to which our conversation is soaring.
I am curious to test Byron’s hands-free hypothesis, and go out to the garden allowing things to take their course. Apart from a trivial splash on my jeans, nothing stranger occurs than my pissing in a straight line. I inform Byron upon my return:
Me: “Mine went straight; you must have some wonky dick!”
Byron: “Nope”, he begins making hand gestures which portray the aforementioned hose making its way down his left leg as far as his knee. “Yours just isn’t long enough”
It’s probably a good thing that at this stage it’s late enough for us to have to begin to organise transportation back into the city, and the conversation is cut short.
Instead of ringing a taxi, Byron makes me ring a girl who lives in his estate whom I’ve never spoken to before to solicit her driving services. After an awkward phone call which ends abruptly, Byron calls her back, and we have our chauffeur.
A quick car Journey later and we’re in Cork city. The only problem is, it’s 11:30pm on a Monday night and the place is dead.
Spurred on, however, by the magical urgency of vodka in our systems we make our way across town to a bar which serves 3 euro pints.
We waltz happily in past the lackadaisical doorman, who doesn’t even attempt to stop us, and survey the few females in our surroundings, feeling like Gods. We approach the bar to buy a drink.
We try the bar upstairs.
Oh, the inexpressible joy of living in Ireland.
It’s not even midnight, and the majority of the beer in the city is unavailable to us; however there are a couple of nightclubs open, serving alcohol until 2am, and it is to the alcohol we must journey.
As we approach the door of a bar which will lead us into one of these few clubs, I notice the distinct lack of a queue. Actually, there is a distinct lack of people and vehicles on the whole street, which is one of the biggest in the city. All this absence of societal distraction makes the walk up to the bouncers blocking the doorway, seem incredibly long and awkward. We finally reach them, their eyes having been tracking us the entire way.
If the sober Peter, who is currently writing this story in the emerging sunlight of 08:00am on the first of April, could travel back in time and offer some advice to his stumbling counterpart at that precise moment, I imagine the conversation might go as follows:
Future Peter: “Be cool, there are three bouncers. That woman standing behind the two men, she’s working as security also.”
Drunken Peter: “Of course she’s not!” *smiles and says hi in a creepy manner, to the woman, while fumbling for his College I.D.*
Future Peter: “You idiot! Just act normally, as if you were going into McDonalds at lunchtime with a friend.”
Drunken Peter: “Nom! I would love a Double Cheese Burger right now…”
Future Peter: “Oh Christ…”
*One of the male Bouncers asks drunken Peter and Byron where they’ve come from*
*Byron begins to answer*
Future Peter: “Fuck this shit, I’m outta here!”
*Future Peter vanishes*
Byron: “My house…”
Bouncer: “How much drink are ye after?”
Byron: “Two Pints”
(Byron insisted to me afterwards that he said “cans” and not “pints”, but I heard “pints” as clear as day, and have the feeling he was just trying to make excuses for the mistake which could have been our downfall, so “pints” it is.)
The bouncer hesitates momentarily and glances at his co-workers before saying:
“Sorry, lads, your alcohol levels are too high.”
If I had a cent for every time I heard that I could probably buy an extra 3 euro pint the next time I go out.
Crestfallen and defeated, Byron and I tuck our tails between our legs and saunter back across town, cursing the doormen to oblivion.
Our dejected wandering brings us to the door of a pub very familiar to us both.
We greet the doorman here cordially; he acknowledges us with a weary smile, and we chat to him for a few minutes.
The value of knowing someone’s name, using it when you meet them, and accompanying the gesture with a sincere smile is woefully underestimated.
Calling someone by their name and smiling form two of the principles outlined in Dale Carnegie’s esteemed book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Carnegie explains that to any human being, the sound of their own name is the sweetest sounding utterance you can produce. And to smile warmly when you greet somebody is to say, in a way which words couldn’t match, that their presence causes you delight. What could be more gratifying to anybody? People often don’t realise the difference either of these seemingly trivial tokens of feeling can make to a person’s self esteem.
The doorman is a regular guy like the rest of us, working a job to make ends meet. He probably doesn’t relish standing still for hours in cold weather and receiving abusive heckling from intoxicated teenagers and young adults whom he has to refuse entry to. His job is to make nocturnal socialising as safe as possible for partiers, and most doormen aren’t malicious, in my experience.
Unfortunately though I’m not always in such a sympathetic mind frame when wobbling drunkenly on the doorstep of a nightclub, being told I can’t come in.
We enter the pub and before we can even make it across to the bar to slake our thirst we spot three girls sitting, drinking at a table; two of whom we know.
We get beers and join them.
The third girl, whom we don’t know, is quite pretty.
A brunette with lively smiling eyes.
After a while I notice that Byron is sweet talking her, and from where I’m sitting, it looks like he’s about to move in for the kill.
They are both laughing, and he’s leaning closer and closer.
I feel a vague twinge of jealousy, but have to respect that he initiated conversation with her and deserves whatever results from his move.
I however, have my own female struggle to deal with. And it’s certainly one of a less desirable nature.
As I’m sitting and talking to the two girls we know, washing down every slurred sentence with a mouthful of Heineken, I feel a prodding in my lower back. I turn to find a girl with thick-rimmed glasses smiling at me, in a childish manner, as if we are both happy participants in a game of tag, and I’ve just become “it.”
I look at her with a mixture of incredulity and confusion.
She stares smilingly back.
I quickly realise that I have no desire to be “it”.
I don’t find her the slightest bit attractive.
My sense of common courtesy won’t allow me to turn my back on her immediately though.
Neither will my fear of being prodded an inch lower.
I lean forward tentatively before speaking so that she can hear me over the din of the heavy rock music:
“Do I know you?”
She suddenly recoils in a violent fit of laughter, as if I’ve just spouted a fountain of funniness directly into her face, which is overwhelming her sense of humour.
The last time I was so astonished at someone’s laughter was the previous summer in Fuengirola in Spain, where I saw two English girls positively shrieking with mirth. The only difference between the two situations being that the English girls had recently purchased considerable quantities of laughing gas.
They don’t sell laughing gas in Cork City.
I reason that the girl with the thick-rimmed glasses must be on drugs.
I glance around me in a bid for help. Byron is still wrapped up in flirtatious conversation with Pretty-Eyed-Brunette and the other two are laughing (in a far more controlled manner) amongst themselves, paying no attention to me.
I make no hesitation in departing with haste for the bathroom.
I go to the bar for a pint before returning to our table, and while I would usually jostle eagerly but fairly in the throng of people looking to be served, this time I stand back and let a few people get ahead of me.
Thankfully when I return there is no sign of the drug-crazed girl with thick-rimmed glasses. Nor is there a sign of Byron.
I don’t see him for the rest of the night.
(Byron informed me afterwards that he had been flirting shamelessly with Pretty-Eyed-Brunette, and was rather enjoying himself, until she had dropped the boyfriend bomb. Byron isn’t one to hang around after that thing goes off to clear up the pieces. He makes no apology for leaving abruptly if things aren’t going his way, and I really respect that about him. Byron has certain needs to be fulfilled and I don’t know if he went off hunting for another more viable girl that night, or if he just went straight home and resigned himself to the wonders of Redtube and a box of tissues, but of him I saw no more that fine evening.)
Time is wearing on, and I’m feeling drunk and tired.
I hardly move from my seat over the next hour or so, and there is a friendly ambience governing the interaction between the three girls and I, which plainly says: “Let’s have fun and get drunk together and possibly even dance a bit, but let’s leave it at that.”
I am in one of the peaceful moods, which often beset me once I consume too much alcohol. I feel lazy and happy and wistful, but miraculously am not concerned about sex. I sit back with my pint and laugh when I think of the vehemence with which Byron would chastise such an attitude.
As I recline in my seat I notice a group of guys standing between our table and the bar whose eyes are flicking over towards us a little too often to be considered casual scanning. One of the guys, a tall tanned man in a blue shirt, is staring over at our table. His eye suddenly meets mine and he quickly looks away again. I can’t help but think that if I weren’t sitting here, the guys would be over in a second chatting up the three girls.
The funny thing is that I wouldn’t mind in the slightest if that were to happen. Unbeknownst to them I would welcome any extra friendly company, male or female, and wouldn’t even provide any competition to their attempts to seduce the girls. It’s amazing to think that the mere presence of a single guy might be enough to shake their confidence and put them off approaching.
It’s natural when you go into a bar or restaurant and see a gorgeous girl and a guy talking together, for example, to think that they must be an item. That they must be going out, and that one therefore has no chance with the gorgeous girl in question. (Swap “gorgeous guy” for “gorgeous girl” depending on your preference)
But experience (and common sense) has told me that it’s not unthinkable that the two might not be interested in each other romantically. They might be long-time friends; might have just met; might be work colleagues; might be siblings.
In the latter case it might be better not to approach the girl anyway, unless you wish to feel the wrath of her brother, but nonetheless, many an amorous opportunity is lost due to people making assumptions and fearing rejection.
Not to mind kinky sex.
I wear instances of rejection as badges of bravery. If you’ve never been rejected, then you’ve never tried. And the more you try, the more likely you are to experience new exciting relationships and consequential happiness.
The group of guys never make their move however, even when the girls begin dancing wildly near our table.
I stay sitting, and am faced with a fast approaching closing time and a table full of drinks.
There have been a few different groups sitting at the table beside ours throughout the night and the most recent group having left a few unfinished drinks, I take the opportunity to thirstily imbibe what would otherwise have been thrown down a sink.
It is 02:10am, the music has stopped and there are bouncers making their way around the pub urging people to finish their drinks and leave. The girls are thinking of going to McDonalds, which doesn’t sound like a bad way of concluding the night to me. I go outside to get some fresh air and wait for them.
That’s when I bump into my friend Tox. He is with a group of people I’ve never met before.
I assume they have something to do with the band he plays in, and that he’s finished a gig. I inquire about the possibility of an after party.
He tells me it’s my lucky night.
I don’t know whether to be excited or scared.
One of the people in the group of after-partiers is a rather unappealing girl, a little older than I am, with a thick Dublin accent.
It pains me to resort to the classic 1 to 10 point rating system, as I rarely think of girls in terms of structured points of attractiveness, but recourse will be made to the system to illustrate a vital point.
It is often said that when one becomes drunk, as I most assuredly was at that moment, one begins to perceive members of the opposite sex as being more attractive than they would if they were sober. Beer goggles are supposed to make girls look more beautiful and therefore more alluring.
I don’t think this is true at all.
At least not for me.
A girl never appears more or less beautiful to me when I’m drunk.
However, this doesn’t mean that I’m not more likely to hook up with a certain girl whilst under the influence.
I perceive a 4 as a 4 when I’m inebriated. Make no mistake about that. She didn’t magically become a 7.
I knew exactly what this girl looked like.
The thing which happened due to my hearty consumption of alcohol was that my standards dropped, my self-control wavered; not that my sense of perception was skewed.
You might say that it amounts to the same thing, and it is therefore a triviality, but I think it is an important distinction to make.
I always knew that she was a 4.
But thanks to alcohol, I was now willing to sleep with one.
But I’m getting too far ahead of myself, as our group is still standing outside the pub and hasn’t yet gone to a place where this sort of thing is likely to happen.
Tox introduces me to the girl in question.
Me: “Hi, nice to meet you.”
Dublin-girl: (to nobody in particular) “Oh God, he is cuuuute.”
I am mildly flattered.
It appears that she is just as drunk as I am.
I have absolutely no recollection of getting from outside the pub to the apartment that I found myself in next. I can only assume that I had at this stage reached the summit of my drunkenness, and that my memory began to be seriously affected by my intoxication.
There is also the consideration that interesting occurrences are those which stick in one’s memory and this was probably one boring ass walk/cab journey/helicopter ride.
I have no idea how we travelled.
I find myself on the couch in the living room of a small apartment with Tox, a guy who I assume is one of his band-mates and Dublin-girl.
She is beginning to make increasingly obvious moves to get my attention.
Tox is relentlessly making fun of her accent, which in all fairness is asking for it with every grating drawl she utters. He has a talent for impersonations and I am highly amused.
As this is happening I am actively scanning the room for drink.
Dublin-girl leaves momentarily to use the bathroom, and we check the fridge. We find a partially full 200ml of vodka and dispose of it quickly and accordingly.
When she comes back in she deliberately collapses into the gap between me and the side of the couch which could reasonably be expected to accommodate a quarter of a person at most. Her legs inevitably spill over onto mine and for better or for worse I find myself mostly underneath her. My only thought is to avoid kissing her.
My self control is waning.
Tox’s friend has left at this stage and it is just Tox, Dublin-Girl and me in the room, with some shitty music playing in the background on some equally shitty speakers.
A guy has already come from one of the bedrooms to tell us that we also have to leave shortly.
I am unsure whether Tox is interested in hooking up with Dublin-girl. He seems to be drunk enough and I desperately try to communicate with my eyes from underneath her, that my liberation would be gratefully embraced.
He asks her if there is any drink around the place.
She gets off me saying that she is sure there is some vodka in the fridge.
We let her check.
After a while she gives up, comes back and sits next to me.
I desperately need to piss and I ask her where the toilet is. She seizes my hand and tells me she will show me.
I am thoroughly apprehensive.
If I were the kind of guy who felt awkward easily, I would have done so during that brief walk down the corridor to the bathroom. Instead I find the situation slightly funny. We reach the bathroom door and I let go of her hand and fix her with an arched-eyebrow sort of stare which says:
“Oh! Are you coming in too?”
She responds by opening the door and leading me in.
It is a tiny bathroom, with the toilet occupying most of the floor space.
She rapidly twists the lock on the door and jumps at me.
It is no exaggeration to use the verb “jump” as her two feet did literally leave the floor for a moment before her body hit mine.
I am forced backwards onto the toilet seat, which is thankfully down.
I hear the first crack beneath me.
She is sucking my face mercilessly, holding my head in place with both hands; her full weight on me.
I am acutely aware that whatever I’m sitting on is shifting beneath me.
I’ve never been kissed so violently in my life and our teeth collide painfully as she throws her head backwards and thrusts it forward again.
Another crack and a shattering sound as a piece of the toilet bowl hits the floor.
This causes Dublin-girl to release me momentarily, grab the fallen shards and stuff them into the too-small bin. She turns back to me with a hungry smile on her face, as if she has fixed all of my problems.
The bathroom is too small. There is no escape.
She reaches for my penis, and instead of warning her that the only thing she is likely to get down there is a mouthful of piss, I restrain myself and tell her that I really need to use the toilet.
Dublin-Girl: “Do you really need to go?”
Me: “Yes… Yes I do.”
She reluctantly leaves and I breathe a sigh of relief.
A minute later I’m back in the room with Tox and he seems to have gathered somehow the nature of my trip to the bathroom.
He tells me he’s leaving and whips out a condom from his pocket to give to me, but before he does so he begins to open it.
Why the fuck is he opening it?
He says: “Fill this up for me” in classic Inbetweeners fashion and hands me the half opened condom wrapper.
I don’t know what to do.
I could easily leave with Tox and forget this whole sorry affair, or I could do what Byron would want me to and stick around and finish the job.
We come across Dublin-Girl near the front door of the apartment and tell her that Tox is leaving. I add that I’m going to walk him down a bit and will be back up in a minute.
Tox says perfectly audibly: “Come on Peter, just stay. She’s hungry for it.”
I don’t even bother looking at her reaction to this for confirmation.
She tells me to hurry back as we exit the apartment.
I walk Tox down a few flights of stairs, and decide that I will indeed return to Dublin-Girl. The alcohol is nowhere near having left my system and I latch on to this circumstance as an easy excuse for what I am about to do. Tox wishes me luck and I traipse back up the staircase.
I realise I don’t know which floor the apartment is on.
I also realise that to gain entry to the apartments from this external staircase one needs to know a pin code.
I try a random pin code at one of the doors.
If “0000” doesn’t work, I know I’m fucked.
I try it.
It doesn’t work.
It’s well past 4am.
I begin to get panicky and frustrated.
I run up and down flights of stairs trying different codes on different doors. There is the air of a very desperate man about me.
Surely she’ll come out to look for me. The thing I was so indifferent to five minutes ago is now the only thing I want; because I can’t have it. I feel cheated of what is rightfully mine.
Another five minutes of this and I call Tox to ask if he has a number for her.
I begin banging on doors.
An irate bearded man in pajamas suddenly appears.
I flee the scene.
It turned out the apartment complex was pretty close to the centre of town. In the end I met up with Tox in Mcdonalds, who told me that he had walked the opposite direction and was almost at UCC before he realised where he was headed. He was very sympathetic to my plight as we chatted over chicken nuggets and cheese burgers. But that didn’t stop him asking for his half-opened condom back.
Want not waste not, I think he said.
Story of my life.
I was Drunk Last Night.