It feels like someone is stamping on my chest. This music is ear-bleedingly loud! Opposite sits my ‘mate’. I mouth various indeterminable phrases at him, and in response he leans over and splurts a foul cocktail of spittle and warm beer in my ear. I’m distracted. Across the swarming bar I’m drawn by the bright smile and prominent cheek bones of a young lady. She’s surrounded by a menagerie of gorilla-looking blokes. One of them, presumably her ‘significant other’, presses his forearm high against the wall in a cliched ‘cinema seat’ pose, trying vainly to make his attempts to wrap his arm round her appear completely innocent.
Our eyes meet again fleetingly. I want to know her, but any more and I’ll give the game away. I may even earn a knuckle sandwich from gorilla-boy.
This is so superficial, I feel my best, perhaps only, chance lies in asking her back to see my fridge. Setting aside the implausibility, it strikes me a refrigerator says far more about a person than any well-worn chat-up line.
Of the 100 ill-placed letters on my own fridge door, prominent phrases include “big hugs here” and “mad moo”. The faint pulse of my street cred is kept alive with “Helena wants to stay, x x x”. Though I’ve never yet explained Helena is my 6-month-old cousin. And if you look hard, you can probably construct “chocolate rules” (with a ‘zed’).
Back in reality street, and my mate waves his empty at me. The bar is heaving with pheromones, most of them condensing on the outside of my glass. But all this sexual charge is having an unpredictable effect on me. For here I am thinking to myself, “how am I going to get into.. her kitchen?”