The 3am girls
I stayed out last night after 3 and felt just like The 3am girls (do they still exist or have they settled down, put away their sparkly mascara, had babies and turned into the 10.30pm girls?) of the Daily Mirror. I have "a night out" about twice a year. There was a party at a club I was invited to, so I went along (with misgivings). As someone who is mainly introverted, I can assume the personality of an extrovert for about 2 hours, but it's a terrible strain, like doing a difficult conjuring trick and I usually have to lie down in a dark room afterwards. All that smiling and being interested in other people and thinking of funny things to say hurts after a while. It's not that I don't have good social skills - I'm just antisocial. My fella is even more antisocial than me - he wouldn't even go to the party but stayed at home to watch Dr Who and play strategy games on his computer.
"I've seen you in Borders cafe" a very drunk man said, lunging at me. "And you look like my brother." I made my excuses and hid in the toilet for a bit. Luckily, I found a fellow misanthrope and we stood in a corner and complained about how difficult it all was. Anyway, apart from that, it wasn't too bad - despite the fact that I now have ringing in my ears and it's the next day and all my clothes smell of cigarettes (but not for long, the clock is ticking on those nightclub smokers - I hope incoming PM Gordon Brown realises that the air may be cleaner, but the collective mood of the UK will be fouler as smokers either go cold turkey or have to stand out in the British weather to get their fix).
I think I had dressed well and appropriately, but my shoes let me down. I only have 1 pair of shoes. They are brown slip-ons intended for a 63 year old man and I have had them for over a year so the soles and heels are worn down to practically nothing. I have "problem feet" and every time I buy new shoes, always end up crippled with blisters so end up throwing them away. My friend Richard who is more fashionable than me tells me that "You just have to ride it out" but I like my comfort. He was wearing very stylish shoes with pointy toes and was complaining about them hurting by the end of the night. "We're gay men, we have to sacrifice comfort for style!" I think I must have missed that particular lesson at Gay School....
When I emerged from the club I offered to drive some friends home (they were talking about getting the nightbus, whatever that is, and I didn't like the sound of it). So we drove through Bristol town centre. It was a weird experience - drunk crowds of people spilling out onto the pavement and road. But oddest of all - the seagulls - dozens of them, swarming and circling overhead. "They're after the chips" said one of my friends. And it seemed they were. Feeding the birds used to mean putting out a few slices of stale bread. Now they feast on leftover kebabs. I'm surprised they don't fall out of the sky more often.