London continues to provide numerous moments of joy every day. Yesterday I saw an elderly man on the Tube wearing a green velvet blazer. And today I saw a whole “crew” of teenage boys barely able to walk in dropped-crotch skinny jeans. And a woman in dungarees with nothing on underneath. This whole city is one big theatre and I could watch forever.
And everything’s here. The other day, I stopped still outside a cycling shop. I mean, there’s a cycling shop in Dublin, but this wasn’t just a cycling shop. This was a cycling emporium, a cyclist’s paradise. I can’t even ride a bike, but I still stopped. You really can get anything in this city. I passed a tooth-straightening shop another day. What can’t you get here?
And I was online and I saw a notice for a Dan and Phil pop-up photo exhibition at the YouTube Creators’ Space in London. Usually, I ignore ads like that, but I don’t need to any more. I can just hop on a Tube and go there. This led to a string of realisations that got me so excited it was kind of unsettling. I’m in the same city as Dan and Phil. I’m in the same city as Niall Horan. I’m in the same city as Louis Tomlinson. I’m in the same city as Emma Watson. I’m in the same city as every single X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing judge and Graham Norton. I could just be walking down the street one day and bump into Zayn Actual Malik.
What a place!
On Wednesday, I was sitting in a cafe after work. I’d had a pleasant day, but was tired and I had online work to get done. One of the men who’d messaged me a number of times on Growlr since I arrived here sent me a message saying that we were close, asking if we could meet. Why not? It had only been three days since I’d met my Italian, but I’m young and single and if men want to buy me coffee, then who am I to refuse?
He was an older man. I’ve never been with an older man. I mean, he’s only 42, but he looks a lot older. He was Argentinian, and his pictures made him look distinguished and handsome, a bit like an evil businessman in American soap operas. He was an absolute gentleman. He told me I was beautiful and took my hand in his hands just sitting there in Caffe Nero on High Holborn like it wasn’t no thang. Long-term readers will know that I find a man showing me affection where straight people can see to be absolutely irresistible.
He asked me to come back to his, and I agreed. It took about an hour to get to his place. We got a bus and he pointed out Tower Bridge to me, all lit up like a Christmas tree from the bus window as we passed and he had his hand on my knee. I felt like Bridget Jones being romanced by Hugh Grant.
After the bus, we took a train to his flat, which is apparently in the area of London where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman lived when they were married and where Margaret Thatcher retired to. So many celebrities in this city. Anyway, he spent the train ride telling me the incredible story of his first sexual relationship, back when he was in the Argentinian Air Force. I won’t share it, as it’s his story, but if you ever end up being taken back to his place, make sure he tells you too. (Also, did you see the way I just dropped in the fact that he used to be in the air force? Literally, living the dream.)
He expressed shock at the fact that I’d never had a boyfriend. He just couldn’t believe it. I’m such a prize to him. In fact, he couldn’t keep his eyes on my face while we spoke. His gaze kept dropping to my big belly and thighs, which he was obviously mad about. He told me that when he saw my photo online, he knew I’d be inundated and he asked me about how many men had messaged me since I arrived in London. I showed him and he was impressed.
He’s exclusively attracted to fat men, a “chubby chaser” and he’s been with other guys who can’t quite believe that anyone finds them attractive, so he was good at eliciting my doubts from me. I mean, I find it difficult not to see being attracted to me as the symptom of a mental illness. My body is the definition of unattractive and unsexual in normal society and fat people having sex on TV is at best comic and at worst gross. Jack Black and Rebel Wilson only get to have funny sex, and they’re not even that fat. Sexy sex is for skinny people. We had a chat about this for a while, about the world of chubs and chasers, and about his relationship history and my lack of one. He’s currently in an open relationship with a fat English guy.
We got off the train. He walked me to this amazing house, huge and ornate and swanky. Of course, it was divided into flats, but it was impressive to walk into the hallway, all red carpets and dark wood and antlers sticking out of the wall. It all felt a bit Brideshead Revisited. (I may have invented the antlers, but that’s totally how I remember it.) Once in the flat, we met one of his flatmates, an Italian. The Italian is also a chaser and also has a fat English boyfriend, but they’re monogamous, so he was jealous of my gentleman friend being able to bring me home.
You don’t know what surreal is until you’re in a new city, in this unfamiliar world of older men and chubs and chasers and London mansions and open relationships and having a Latino military man mesmerised with your belly. Is this my life now?
He led me into his bedroom. His and his partner’s bedroom. The first thing I saw was his partner’s sleep apnea mask. This wasn’t sexy. The room was an absolute mess. I didn’t need to worry about the fact that I hadn’t had time to prepare “down below” for this session as I’d met him on the spur of the moment. This was a room and a man who was comfortable with human bodies.
It was very lovely. It’s true what they say about Latin men and passion. He was something of a hurricane.
We walked back to the train station. He was very charming.When I arrived at the platform and realised there was nowhere to validate my Oyster card, he took it from me, telling me to wait, and ran upstairs over the tracks and back into the station building to scan my card for me. We kissed and cuddled while waiting for the train, more or less ignoring the teenage girls also on the platform. What must they have thought of us?
We exchanged numbers and he asked me to be his date to a party on the 19th November. He wants to show me off to his friends. He knew I was meeting other men soon, but he begged me to stay in touch. He kissed me goodbye on the platform before the train left and I felt like a straight person, and almost like a thin person.
I was ecstatic on the train back. I mean, I wish I found him more attractive and more interesting, because it’s lovely to be romanced like that. He texted me lots while I was on the way home. That’s two guys in four days. I’m a New Connor.
Wednesday turned out to be my last night with my silent roommate in the hostel. He packed up and moved out the next morning. I crossed my fingers I’d get someone good. I met him on Thursday night. He’s a talker. A real talker.
He’s an Italian guy in his twenties who was a student in my school last week. Thank God he’s in a different school now. I’m fairly sure sharing a bedroom with a student would be in breach of my contract.
As I said, he’s a talker. He talks far too much. He’s basically the polar opposite of the guy he replaced. It’s good to talk, and I enjoyed him the first night. He was eager like a puppy and good-looking enough to make his bullshit bearable. Things were looking up.
I woke up in a good mood on Friday. I was due to meet a young Egyptian man, an engineering student, for a coffee after work. He’d been very chivalrous in our chats online, and had moved from Growlr to What’s App as quickly as he could. Everyone asks the sex questions – what are you into? Top or bttm? Do you like X, Y, Z? etc, but he did it in an understated way that wasn’t as brash as most of the filthy pervs I’ve spent the last week talking to. (Note: I’m not necessarily using the term “filthy perv” as an insult.) And he didn’t send me any pictures of his penis, only of his torso. Such a gent.
He’d made a point of asking if we could meet for a coffee, so I figured that this might be an old school date, rather than just more sex. I was quite excited at the prospect of a bit more romance.
I spent Friday thinking about my Egyptian. I got lots of messages from my Argentinian. I only answered about a third of them. There’s only so much wooing a boy can take. He wrote to me asking “Did you dream about us last night?” which was making his romancing of me almost confrontational, like “Am I in your dreams yet?” I really wanted to answer “No, you weirdo.” But I didn’t, and instead said “If I did, it would have been a sweet dream” because I’m too nice for my own good.
I also finally got a bank to agree to let me open a bank account without a bajillion proofs of address. A nice woman led me into her office and said, “I’ve no time today, but I can make an appointment for the 18th November so you can come in and talk to me and open an account.” She proceeded to take my passport and other documents, to ask me 20 questions and to fill in lots of forms. How did she have the time to do this, but not to open an account? Anyway, I’ll have a bank account in two weeks. At least it’ll be more official then.
I’ve got my zero-hours contract in writing from work, and had even more training and signed more papers. They do like their bureaucracy. So far, I’d only been teaching lovely groups of French, Korean and Brazilian adults. Next week, I have three days of Chinese teenagers. #prayforConnor Eventually, I’ll work my way up from being first sub and actually get my own students.
I deflated a bit after work when it turned out that my Egyptian didn’t just want to meet for coffee. When he learned that I had a roommate and that I couldn’t accommodate him for the night, he decided not to meet me after all. Men are awful. Also, I need to find somewhere to live. (I can’t really blame him – he was coming in from Portsmouth to meet me.)
I went home to my Italian flatmate. He’d been in bed all day and was going to study in the hostel study room for the night. He was in a bad mood as he didn’t get the results he needed in his English exam.
He talked a lot. I heard about his views on Catholicism, I heard stories about his middle school and why he started to learn the clarinet, he told me his boring opinions about macroeconomics and Italian vowels, he mocked my pronunciation of Latin words and he quizzed me about why he hadn’t done better in his exam, he recounted every single match that the Italian volleyball team played in the last Olympics (far too many – they made the final, which I’m glad they lost). He did all this while filling the room with smoke. He has an e-cigarette/vape thing and I have no idea whether it’s allowed or not, but my throat is raw today from it. He’s booked in for four weeks, so I have to spend a month sharing a room with him, and I didn’t have the courage to tell him to stop, especially when he’s so upset. He also watches YouTube without putting in his headphones while I’m clearly watching something on my own computer, so I kind of want to shoot him dead. He’s lucky he’s kind of hot.
In better (I hope) news, I’m meeting a Welshman tomorrow, a 22-year-old biology student. He’s by far the best looking of any of the guys who’s suggested meeting up and I’m terrified. He’s a big fan of my body (as I am of his) and we’ve chatted every day this week. He seems sweet. He can’t have me in his place – I don’t know why – my guess is he’d be embarrassed of bringing someone who looks like me home, but he said he couldn’t wait to meet me. So he’s booked a room in TravelLodge for us to meet tomorrow.
I hope I’m worth a hotel room.
He’s not free and easy like my Argentinian was. He’s given me very strict instructions to prepare myself down below. Sorry to be graphic, but I’m off to buy lube and some douching equipment after I post this. And it’s going to be so awkward tomorrow in a hostel where the shower is in a separate room from the toilet, but you guys don’t need to know that. All you need to know is straight people have it easy.
My life is all kinds of ridiculous. I need somewhere to live and I won’t get paid until the end of December. But this is all worth it. It’s an awfully big adventure. The boy with the longest adolescence in the world rolls on.