Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Level 42 “Lessons In Love”
 Roachford “Cuddly Toy”
 Tavares “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel “
 Rod Stewart “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
 2Pac “Changes”
 Deftones “Change (In The House of Flies)”
 Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On”
 Michael Small “Jaws: The Revenge”
 Godiego “Monkey Magic”
 A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)”
 Clarence Carter “Strokin”
 Barbara Carr “Bone Me Like You Own Me”
First there was Four Failed Auditions & A Rogue Tampon, then there was the more conservatively titled but no less obscene Confessions of a Sex Kitten, and after careful consideration, I have decided to delve back into my murky past to deliver another trio of failed conquests in a long line of dating disasters from yesteryear. It would appear that judging character was never my strong suit as I repeatedly came unstuck in my pursuit of the perfect soul mate. It’s not that I was particularly fussy, just lousy at spotting warning signs I guess, and blinded by desperation to snag myself a keeper. As always, I can assure you that the following tales are 100% authentic and also that no animals were harmed in the making of this affectionate chronicle. I cannot however guarantee that you won’t chuck up a little in the back of your throat at some point during proceedings and accept no responsibility for any scalding of the esophagus that may occur. Anyhoots, with the obligatory housekeeping out-of-the-way, it’s time to go looking for love in all the wrong places. Fret not as I know all the hot spots.
For the purpose of this exercise in humor and shame, I shall cast my mind back to my mid-twenties, and ironically, I’d already found the woman who I intended to grow old with at this point. Better yet, we had even exchanged nuptials and the future looked decidedly bright for the eleven or so months that our marriage endured before the inevitable “I love you but I’m not in love with you” speech was delivered. Regrettably I had punched way above my weight when landing the homecoming queen, and deep down, reckon I knew all too well that it would eventually end in tears. Nevertheless, I committed myself to this lost cause right up to the very sign-off and figured the dating game was something I would never again be required to partake in. As she finally put me out of my misery and cut all ties; a wave of emotions washed over me and I barely knew my front from my back. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression – four of the five stages of grief were present and correct but I hadn’t quite mastered the whole acceptance part yet and that wouldn’t come until some way further down the line.
One phase that is often overlooked is the counterfeit confidence period and I was convinced I had what it took to hop back on the horse and ride it directly back to the promised land with chest puffed out and accompanying cheek dimples. Twenty-five was still young and it hadn’t been that long since my last foray into courtship so I naturally figured nothing had changed during the interim. In truth it probably hadn’t, but I was different and no longer equipped to strut my stuff with anything like the swagger exhibited previous to this untimely heartbreak. You know things are bad when you begin frequenting nightclubs solo and find yourself up at the bar mock laughing at the jokes of other patrons just to give off the impression that you’re a part of something other than The Leprosy Foundation. Things were decidedly grim for a while here and my technique was evidently not working as I barely spotted a second glance that wasn’t attached to the words “Look at that sorry sapling. Do you think he’s employed to clean away the empties?”
Often I found myself engaging in none other than cleaning away the empties just to keep up the charade, and other times, I simply reclined back into the shadows, the only spot in the entire establishment that felt even halfway accommodating. One thing was consistent and that was having no sucker to share my cab fare with and not a solitary digit was acquired during this lonesome period of mettle-sapping rejection. This continued for around a month and I was starting to ascertain just how pathetic an excuse for a plank of inanimate driftwood I was, when I received visual confirmation from heaven that they had misplaced one of their very own. Our eyes met across a room that was crowded in every nook and cranny other than the one I anxiously inhabited. Suddenly the dense rain clouds above my head began to part and a warm ray of light shone through, being beamed directly from her very coordinates. Needless to say, my sore eyes lit up as I glanced around me to affirm myself that she didn’t, in fact, possess a lazy eye. At this point, hundreds of sweaty revelers faded into the backdrop, leaving only yours truly and the simply breathtaking Girl #6 to exchange our opening glances.
Having already exceeded my reach with my top-tier maintenance ex-wife; my first consideration should have been to not make precisely the same mistake twice but it wasn’t. You try thinking straight when faced with one so delectable. Besides, there was a distinct lack of sanguine fluid in my upper torso and my Johnson only had four measly words to impart, those being “Go get her tiger!” Of course, I was fully aware that the hard work was still ahead of me as, while her body language suggested that she had an enclosure perfectly suited to my roaming love cat, my balance is sketchy at the best of times and abysmal once plied with inebriating alcohol. Somehow inconceivably I would be required to navigate a dance floor thinly veiled with relinquished bodily fluids and do so without once resembling a giraffe busting for a poo.
Failure to make it into her personal space without performing the splits, a forward roll, or an involuntary windmill would inevitably prove an eleventh-hour deal-breaker and leave me even more reminiscent of lowly plankton. Therefore I summoned up all my inner resolve and used the strobe light as my guide, using each subsequent flash to shuffle another inch until which time as I was deep inside enemy territory and still standing no less. Granted, her assumption that I possessed clustered hemorrhoids wasn’t yet out of the question, but I had navigated this obstacle course without once becoming snagged up in cargo net. I luxuriated the following three seconds with a sense of supreme achievement and congratulated myself on being every bit the wildcat I knew only too well that I wasn’t. However, while Dick Hallorann endured sub-zero conditions and fended off the persistent threat of frostbite to make it to the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, it didn’t stop Jack plunging a woodsman’s ax into his gut before he could return to room temperature. This voyage was still in its infancy and the next leg was to prove my most challenging yet.
The thing about spending too long in a marriage that is steadily dissolving before your very eyes is that you tend to unlearn the art of basic conversation. Night after night, such ill-fated couples sit increasingly far apart on the couch in a state of self-enforced comatose, unable to muster a single worthwhile line of dialogue that hasn’t been heard a thousand times over already. Eventually you find yourself remarking about the pleasant floral display in the garden of Number 43 and it is then that bleak realization sinks in for one if not both parties. Making small talk may not appear the sternest of challenges but a battle can be won or lost in the time it takes those first few woeful syllables to hang in the air like phlegm on a frisbee. Indeed, should you pay close enough attention to your unimpressed quarry, then it is possible to pinpoint the exact moment when your one remaining hope becomes dashed to smithereens. I’d come this far so turning back now seemed too counter-productive to entertain, especially given the return journey I’d be expected to negotiate to the cozier confines of my chosen darkened recess. My lips began to part and after a couple of feeble squeaks and a screech, I finally prised free my doozy of a chat-up line.
Too excessive? Heaven forbid she thinks me self-involved or too forward in my approach. There have been times when inner monologue has been my best friend and only confidant, but this wasn’t that time and the only intelligence bouncing around my cerebral cortex was the word “pleb” funnily enough. I had half a mind to form a fist and punch my own kidney until it turned mauve but the other fiddy was having far too much fun repeating “pleb” over and over and applying for a last-ditch transfer before the walls could come tumbling down around me. Little was I aware that I had delivered this single noun with enough of something (likely despair) to earn my bye into the next round and the game was still very much on. The first thing that struck me when she delivered her rejoinder was that this evidently wasn’t a young lady of English origin and therefore I was probably skating this thin ice on account of novelty value. If there was ever a time to reel off a mouthful of cockney rhyming slang then this was that moment. However, I was far too busy endeavoring to decipher her language and I have Lethal Weapon 2 to thank for supplying the answer.
Girl #6 was a white-skinned South African complete with matching hair and the most mesmerizing pair of baby blues ever to twinkle their blessing my way. Truly a vision of beauty, she had an aura of self-confidence about her that made her fragrance even more intoxicating and, what’s more, she seemed genuinely willing to slum it. Who was I to argue with such questionable logic? Perhaps her cocktail had been spiked prior to our introduction, and if so, then I had precious little time to reel this carp in before the effects begun to wear off. My decision was to keep our interaction brief, which she likely believed to be my attempt to remain cool, but was actually more a case of getting out while the going was still borderline good than anything else. To my astonishment and intense glee, I departed the scene with a collection of scrawled digits and gormless smile spread across my face that really had no right to be there. Now all that was left was to time my next communication and patience has never been a virtue I’ve been au fait with. Predictably, I made it all of an hour before thoroughly capitulating.
If her response had been a surprise to me, then what happened next was entirely unprecedented as we planned a date and when that went exceedingly well, promptly planned another…and then another. Before I knew it, we were approaching our one-month anniversary and one tends to keep track of time when convinced that it is only being lent to them. During those four glorious weeks we had breached numerous topics and all signs pointed to being reasonably well matched, apart from the fact that she was some way hotter. Thus to mark the occasion, I made arrangements for Girl #6 to meet my family and solidify our standing as a bona fide couple. She agreed willingly to these terms and I knew we had made it to our first checkpoint beacon unscathed so the future was positively gleaming with opportunity. Regrettably there was one eventuality I hadn’t seen fit to cater for.
You see, my brother-in-law heralds from Trinidad and I have three mixed race nieces, all of whom I cherish dearly. While Girl #6 was polite and courteous throughout the evening and I figured it had been a rousing success, I was ill-prepared for her outburst once we departed together at its natural conclusion. It wasn’t so much the revelation that she was inherently racist that hit me straight in the solar plexus and twisted, more the fact that this prejudice stretched as far as my nearest and dearest that transformed this dashing gazelle into the most repellent wolf ever to look delightful in lamb wool. Here’s where I stand on the whole race debate. Whether black, white, yellow or green – we all fart in the bathtub because we enjoy the acoustics regardless of skin color. And here’s where Girl #6 was positioned. Whether black, brown, or one beyond pink – enjoy the burning effigies while I just go retrieve my hunting rifle. Our month-long association concluded that evening and along with four of my loved ones, I suspect I may well have dodged a bullet there.
One thing I was determined about was to keep on in my pursuit of true love, although I deemed it high time that I adopt an entirely different approach and search for the precise opposite of the kind of girls I’d been drawn to previously. If there was one thing that Girl #6 taught me then it would be that beauty is skin deep so looks ceased being a deciding factor, and instead, it became all about forging a genuine connection, regardless of whether or not the person in question was “my type” or not. This coincided with another stage of the grieving process called reinvention and I traded in the trendy bars for a brand new skateboard deck of all things. In addition, I banished my skinny fit slacks and designer shirts in favor of cargo pants and oversized baseball tops, accessorizing with a spiked choker and mass of hipster chains just to further sell the whole skater boy image. Could I kickflip? Nope. Ollie? Negative. Move in a semi-straight line so long as no uneven pavement compromised my balance? Barely. But it sure felt great to rebel.
It wasn’t long before I caught the attention of the opposite sex although the jury was still out as to whether or not Girl #7 even fitted that description. She appeared to possess a pair of breasts, albeit more reminiscent of gentle speed humps than the burly zeppelins that traditionally determined gender. There was absolutely nothing ladylike about her chosen attire, pretty much the exact same clobber I was decked up with. Moreover, when she parted her chapped lips for the first time and spat out her gum, there was precious little sweet about the nothings that followed. Nevertheless, I wasn’t about to be discouraged when her easy-going nature appealed so and there was little to no awkwardness to hinder our progression so we pooled our collective contempt for society and listened to Korn and Deftones together until which time as hooking up simply felt like the natural progression. There were no tummy butterflies or birds suddenly appearing; just two hollow lives that felt markedly less vacant when attuned to one another.
Alas our honeymoon period lasted barely a week as, with second base now facilitated, it felt right to share the same bath water. I had it all figured out in my head. Aromatherapy oils, scented candles, incense, the seductive tones of either Korn or Deftones – everything you could possibly need to stage the perfect spiritual seduction. Girl #7 may have been somewhat lacking on the female characteristic front; but intelligence suggested that beneath her stained sports bra and men’s boxers were bona fide lady parts and I felt like Sir Walter Reilly prior to peeling his very first potato. It’s probably a good time to mention that Girl #7 had rusty-red hair, the kind that comes out of a packet, not the natural variety. This may seem an irrelevant detail but, as she lowered herself into the bathtub while I performed a final sweep to ensure the ambiance was just right, its significance proliferated tenfold.
By the time I made it to the tub, my scarlet woman was already totally submerged up to her shoulders and the water had turned claret from her hair dye. Given that I had an intense fascination for all things horror, this didn’t dissuade me in the slightest. On the contrary, it was like stepping into my very own bloodbath, and I may have even come out with “I want to drink your blood” or some obvious Dracula-themed line in the same vein. However, while enthused about dipping into this crimson tonic, there was still something deeply troubling me. You see, I hadn’t the vaguest clue what ominous treats awaited sub-aqua and, for all our light petting and topside groping, still hadn’t seen Girl #7 naked. Just for the record, I’m no Shallow Hal or anything superficial like that but, back then, certain factors could still act as instant deal-breakers. Should a set of alpha junk have floated to the surface, then I’d have been out of there before my rubber ducky could avert his eyes. With her lack of femininity, this was my primary concern, and my first step into the fray was tentative to say the least.
Mercifully, upon reaching between her legs to clear up the whole gender conundrum, I was greeted by drapes as opposed to grapes and breathed a sigh of relief that could only be described as Brobdingnagian. This was the acid test and Girl #7 had passed with flying colors, reinforcing everything Bert and Ernie had taught me about bath time being fun in the process. With the pressure now off, we engaged in the customary canoodling and the temperature began to rise accordingly. This was the closest we had felt and I decided it was high time I quiz her about her lifestyle choice when opting to become a fully fledged tomgirl, just to satisfy my own curiosity. I mean, she was pretty in an unconventional kind of way, and everything appeared to be in order in the nether region department, so why deny herself the sugar and spice that came with dressing up in frilly gowns and tying her hair in bunches?
It wasn’t that I objected as I’ve always been a believer in each to their own, rather that I enjoy a good debate and now felt like the ideal moment to get a little more up close and personal, given that the tub was barely large enough to accommodate both of us. The term “ignorance is bliss” springs to mind here as, while prepared for her response, it was the grand unveiling that followed which I was ill-equipped for. According to her, it all stemmed back to the moment she took up skateboarding for the first time and found it a most agreeable pastime. That seemed feasible enough to me and, I had to hand it to her, she was far more adept at this extreme sport than I so kudos for finding something she was good at and sticking with it, despite any snide comments from her classmates. I felt that this clarification warranted commendation so complimented her on her skating prowess and requested that she enlighten me further on the key to not bailing repeatedly.
When she replied with the words “it’s my monkey feet you see”, my heart dropped to the pit of my gut and I anxiously cast my eyes over to the far end of the bathtub to confirm this dubious intelligence. There was still no sign of either trotter at this point but it was the what lies beneath part that chilled me to the very marrow. There was plenty sheepish about the way I delivered the line “monkey feet you say?” and concluded with a gulp. It’s funny how we openly invite our fate in such situations, regardless of the fact that we know full well we’re not going to appreciate the answer. I seem to recall something along the lines of “Yeah dude. You’ll love this, they’re fucking hideous” and my first thought was that she had me all wrong as I was under no illusion that I wouldn’t, in fact, “love this”. Granted, she could skate pretty, but it was the ruthless efficiency with which she could undress a Cavendish banana using only her toes that had me sweating like Bill Cosby on Celebrity Deathmatch.
It was then, as I remembered I hadn’t attached my water wings, that she unleashed the kraken so to speak and it would be fair to say that these terrifying titans and I clashed the very second they emerged from the crimson swim like a pair of unfriendly alligators. In the interest of providing a mental picture, please allow me to switch Girl #7’s title card with a more appropriate depiction of how critical a game-changer this brace of huckery hooves were to our little tryst and I’ll pick things back up on the flip-flop so to speak. For the record, I’m not altogether convinced that stores sell open-toed sandals in size orangutan.
Let’s not punish the pretzel here, I happen to be rather fond of primates, and make it my mission to head straight to their enclosure every time I pay the zoo a visit to join in their carefree festivities. That said, I’d always envisaged the moment when I met the queen of the swingers to be a celebratory affair, preceded by a banquet fit for Greystoke’s extended family and three hours of tribal dancing to Jingo by Jellybean. Not like this. Not deep in the throes of passion. Being bare ought not to have been such a necessity and, while she may well have been the jungle V.I.P., I instantly found myself searching every which way but loose for the first hanging vine to swing on out of there. Now I’ve been made privy to some fairly grievous tootsies in my time, but none quite this utterly repugnant (apart from one old lady whose big toe sprawled across the other four like the lap bar on a runaway rollercoaster). There are ten pinkies on the average pair of feet and six of hers appeared to know their place. Regrettably, this left the big toe and token side nub, never the most appealing of the cluster and hers jutted out like misshapen spuds and battered baby potatoes.
While this explained her unshakable equilibrium, it also denoted the untimely end of bath time, and I made my excuses shortly after, citing my marriage break-up as the reason for my sudden change of heart like the coward that I was. To be fair, it was more a case of not wishing to hurt her feelings or donate the poor girl/gibbon a complex, but our brief engagement needed to draw to a close as the blast radius on this bombshell was simply too vast to endure. It’s bad enough that my mental co-pilot is a cantankerous chimp and spends most of his time coaxing me into making ludicrous decisions. To settle down with a young woman who evidently had a fair amount of evolution to do before being primed to undertake the rigmarole of a long-term relationship seemed deeply inappropriate at this juncture. Having already dodged a bullet with my unjust African queen and now sidestepped a banana skin here, there was only one tenable option available.
I’d had it with relationships for the foreseeable and commenced a vow of emotional chastity that lasted a good three years or so before venturing back into the great unknown for further sin and punishment. This prolonged period of inactivity served me well as it allowed me to rediscover my identity and provide me plenty of time to forget the horrors I had been subjected to through lousy selection and a reasonably rational fear of monkey feet in the bedroom. However, I still have one more tale of terror to share, and shall approach this one from a slightly different angle to the others. Thus there will be no Girl #8, or at least, not in this communication as the true story I’m about to tell involves a completely different breed to the one I was snuggled up on the sofa with on this particular fateful night. Brace yourselves Grueheads and I implore you to remember that the following incident couldn’t have been more innocent on my part. Just one big old misunderstanding and a tube of ominous shade lipstick.
Please allow me to set the scene. My fair lady and I were getting more “acquainted” on perhaps the most comfortable couch ever created, huddled together under a blanket that possessed magical properties, with a refreshing alcoholic beverage and some stellar televisual entertainment to further heighten the tranquility. The evening was going swimmingly at this point and I felt the most relaxed I’d been in some time. Moreover, the feeling was clearly mutual and we stared into one another’s eyes adoringly, prompting the whole world around us to cease spinning on its axle. Sweet nothings were in play as were delicate kisses and affectionate nuzzles. Indeed, this rendezvous couldn’t have gone any smoother as I was about to find out in a fashion no less than harrowing. You see, a third-party was suggested and, while the proposal was decent and not in the slightest bit freaky, the fresh addition to our ménage à trois wasn’t familiarized with the rules of engagement.
For the purpose of this reenactment, let’s call our four-legged friend Projectile Pete, and yes, that’s Pete not Patti in case you require this spelled out any farther. Now Pete had been around the block a few times and had a reputation for being a little racy from time to time with peppy pooches from around the way but, deep into his doggy retirement, he no longer deemed it necessary to sow his seeds and was more than content just to revel in the platonic affection of his owner. This time it was I placed beneath the microscope as failure to secure Pete’s blessing would see me surrendering precious brownie points with my maiden and I was determined to make a lasting impression on this historically finicky mongrel. Considering I had one hand free when Pete decided to join us on the love seat, there seemed no harm in a little friendly persuasion courtesy of five fur-seeking fingers and he reciprocated by rolling onto his side to allow for more thorough perusal.
It was working a treat and Pete began faintly panting in no time as a way of informing me that I’d hit the spot with some accuracy. Meanwhile, I recall feeling as proud as punch for winning this tough crowd over with a mere clutch of tummy tickles. However, I have a tendency to slip into daydream at any given moment and this once resulted in inserting an unwound paper clip into a live plug socket so awareness obviously isn’t my strong suit. I was far too engrossed in the film we were watching to draw a diagram of the transaction but I’m pretty sure we all know where it’s headed at this point. Having never owned a dog prior to this little matinée, I naturally figured I was acting respectfully, and in no way, leading him on.
So when I informed my partner that “Pete loves having his nipple tweaked” and glanced across to see a mixture of abject horror and “this is one to tell the grandchildren when I’m old and grey” flavored amusement, I hadn’t the vaguest concept of what had encouraged this reaction. That was all set to change with a reply that will likely still haunt me in the urn. The words “Dude, you’re tossing my dog’s junk” were still reverberating through my ear drums when I fearfully looked down to validate them. Sure enough, Pete’s mammalia were untouched, and the object I was grasping in my palm and tugging on rhythmically was indeed his gammon whistle. Worse still, the lipstick was on display and I didn’t care a great deal for its maroon shade.
I may have been sickened to my innermost core but Pete just carried on gazing up at me with those big brown eyes of his as if to say “don’t suppose I can tempt you into swallowing can I?” My whole life flashed before my eyes in that very moment and, in the very next, I relinquished my grip on Pete’s helmet before a stream of creamy mutt relish accompanied it. And as I did, his tail instantly ceased wagging and I was left feeling like the biggest cock tease on the planet. Had I been fluent in hound, then I would have gone on to apologize for any misunderstanding but, as far as Pete was concerned, I was simply taking a short breather to rest my wrist. Thus whenever my fair lady and I settled in on that luxurious sofa from that point forward, it would be a matter of seconds before Projectile Pete bounded in expectantly to join us and this is the look that greeted me each time.
So there you have it – one Springbok, one Gibbon and one Frisky Canine – three close encounters and not one with a happy ending (much to Pete’s frustration as he really was this close). Whether hero, villain or shameless tease, my intentions have been sound if not always my judgement. That said, the path to true love was never supposed to be anything other than fraught with peril and it’s a well-documented fact that we must be prepared to kiss a few frogs before finding our princes or princesses so there are plentiful reasons to be chipper fellow jaybirds. I just wish that someone had thought to mention that wanking off Benji’s nephew was also a requirement. If you’re reading this Pete then firstly, that’s fairly fucking impressive, and secondly, the right bitch is out there for you somewhere if you just keep believing. Now if you wouldn’t mind pointing that loaded weapon elsewhere, I’m beginning to find it a tad distracting.