You would have thought that I’d learnt my lesson about venturing outside of London for dates. But no, ever the glutton for punishment, when my latest beau, Kevin suggested a day trip to Brighton, I jumped at the chance.
Kevin was/is the son of my then hairdresser. I say was as he’s no longer in my life and his mum no longer puts a pair of scissors anywhere near my bonce.
This one day, she was chopping away at my rather thinning hair and she started talking about Kevin. Although I knew she had a gay son, I’d never met him.
“Oh Mark. My Kevin’s just split up with his fella. He could do with cheering up.”
Alarm bells should have immediately started ringing in my ears. REBOUND. But this is me after all and I’m never one for saying no. Infact, NO has always been a word that struggles to leave my lips. Perhaps that’s why certain people have called me a slut over the years.
No sooner had the words, “Okay, I’d love to meet him” left my gob, this tall, jaw droppingly handsome man appeared from behind the door.
She was either a magician or this had been a planned set up. Seeing his gorgeous flop of brown hair and deep set green eyes quickly made me erase all thoughts of my hairdressers’ wizardry. Either that, or she’d wiped out my memory with another spell of black magic.
We caught each other’s eyes and I saw a glint in both his and mine. I smiled and I witnessed him become rather dazzled at the sight of my pearly whites. I’d been to the hygienist that particular day for a clean and polish.
“Do you fancy a day trip to Brighton?” He forwardly asked me.
“Damn right!” I blurted out quicker than you could say pier.
Before I knew it, we were at Euston waiting for the twelve minutes past ten fast train. We chatted with ease and laughed a lot. We had the same stupid sense of humour.
I soon found a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the train’s buffet table was going down a treat. Luckily, he shared my love of all things Savvy B. Except he appeared to love it much more than me. He was already on his second glass before I was even half way through my first.
But, as you know, the good Catholic boy that I am, I shalt not judge.
No sooner were we off the train, Kevin had his lips firmly plastered around another glass of savvy b inside The Queen’s Arms. My eyes widened as I saw him pour the wine down his gullet quicker than Jaws approaching a surf board.
As my friends quite often say, “if Mark is shocked by someone’s behaviour, then that’s saying something”. It MUST be shocking. Now, until I spent some time with Kevin, I thought that I could put the Savvy B away. But he made me look like a tee-total monk.
After god knows how many glasses in The Queen’s Arms, he suggested we take a walk along the pier. Well, I say walk. By this point, it was more of a stumble.
Stumbling along the pier, we ventured into the arcade. As we came out the other side, Kevin grabbed my hand with excitement. How romantic, I thought, the way he’s clutching at my hand with such enthusiasm. It soon became clear that the over zealous way he held my hand had more to do with the pub on the pier he had spotted and was now dragging me into.
Five more glasses of vino for Kevin and just two more for me, I was struggling to keep up. I suggested we get some sea air. I thought it might help sober us up, if nothing else.
As we ventured out onto Brighton sea front, I turned to look at the pier all lit up. What a beautiful sight. Suddenly confused, I turned to look at Kevin who seemed to be sporting two heads.
“I didn’t know there were two piers!” God knows how I was managing to string a sentence together.
“There is only one pier”, Kevin told me, “the other one burnt down in the eighties.”
With hindsight, I realise the copious amounts of Sauvignon Blanc had probably started to affect my vision.
“Revenge should be open by now!” Kevin grabbed my hand rather enthusiastically. The fact that I struggled to put one foot in front of the other should have been a massive hint that I was ready to get the train back to London.
Just as we went to cross the road, a policeman tapped me on the shoulder. My head flopping from side to side, I managed to turn to face him without falling flat on my boatrace.
“Don’t you think it’s time you called it a night.” P.C Plod advised, obviously observing my inebriated state.
Wanting to nod my head, I didn’t get a chance to respond as Kevin took the lead.
“The night is only just beginning!”
“It looks like it began a long while ago!”
I do like a policeman with a sense of humour.
Ignoring the officer of the law, Kevin took my hand once more and started to pull me away from P.C Plod. Struggling to stay in an upright position, I found myself clinging onto the policeman’s shirt.
And before you could say, old bill, I had fallen to the pavement, pulling P.C Plod on top of me. And then, just to put the icing on the cake, the Savvy B (and empty stomach) finally caught up with Kevin. I saw projectile vomit launch towards us.
“I’m arresting you both for being drunk and disorderly in a public place.”
Those were the last words I heard before my eyes opened again in the cold light of day. Sunshine beaming through police cell bars.
I got the train home to London all on my own.
Receiving a caution on a date was a sure fire way to ensure that a second date with Kevin was definitely not on the cards.
Mark David Woollard graduated from Brunel University, West London in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then, he has written for many publications as a freelance writer. He has been ‘The Undateable Gay’ for The Gay UK magazine since 2015 where he documents his unsuccessful dating life. He wrote an opinion column for the national Student Times, discussing LGBT issues.
He also writes educational pieces for ‘Massage World’ magazine, giving advice to Reflexologists about treating certain ailments. He authored a novella in 2013 entitled ‘The Fun and Frolics of FIFI a L’Orange’, the crazy adventures of a drag queen.
And is currently working on a series of LGBT books for children and a collection of flash fiction.
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