Yesterday morning, I woke up at 7:00ish, unusually early for a Sunday morning. My head felt like someone was going through it with a rusty chainsaw, violently rending parts of my brain asunder and scratching the inside of my skull while it was there. My first real hangover of 2016. And it’s December.
I lay really, really still. I desperately wanted to fall back to sleep but I couldn’t. I just lay there, wrapped in pain, immobile and 90% dead.
Bits and pieces of the previous night drifted into my mind. I let them drift out. It all felt deeply shameful. I can no longer vomit out drink. I wish I could. I think hangovers would be easier if I could just sick it all up. But I can’t. It just stays in me.
At 11:30, I managed to reach for my phone. It was sticky and there were hairs that I didn’t recognise on it. I watched some YouTube, and remembered that before, when I’d got home drunk, I’d watched the first six minutes of last week’s Project Runway on my phone and then fallen asleep. I watched the rest of the episode with the volume turned most of the way down because I basically couldn’t cope with noise in any form.
I was going to have my hostel lunch, which is served between 12:30 and 1:30. I couldn’t though. I just felt too bad and stayed in bed. At 3:00 pm, I finally staggered out of bed to go to the toilet. My glasses were sticky and I could barely see through them. How on Earth had I got home?
I got straight back into bed and went to sleep. I woke up at 5:00ish and felt a lot better, but still not whole. I spent the next few hours on the internet. I finally got up at 8:40 pm. I needed food and drink. I was craving fat and salt. I needed chips. And hydration.
I decided I would go to Five Guys. One of my filthy men from Growlr had wanted to take me to a Five Guys in order to fatten me up. He had told me about their big burgers and big servings of chips. I hadn’t taken the bait at the time, but it was exactly what I needed. (What even is my life? Is this how anyone else makes decisions?) Google Maps told me that the nearest one was five Tube stops away. Perfect.
I got there. It basically looks like England’s version of Eddie Rocket’s. I walked in. The music was just too loud for my delicate state. I walked in and turned around and walked out again. There was a restaurant next door called Garfunkel’s that were playing music at an acceptable volume. I went in there, ate their entire menu, had two Pepsis and was back in bed by 10:30 pm.
Why was I so hungover? Because Saturday was a work night out.
Work’s been going OK. And not OK. I haven’t taught full-time in five years and I started teacher training in 2008. I know it sounds snooty, but after training for eight years, I’m “over” teaching. The two classes I had for the last few weeks were disastrous for different reasons. In the mornings, I had a group of adults that I just couldn’t gel with. But they were fine in comparison with afternoons, when I had bored Chinese teenagers for Maths and Business. They don’t care. It’s like trying to teach furniture, and not humans. And Maths? Me? Like, I was really good at Junior Cert maths, but 1996 is a long time ago. I was teaching them algebra and we were doing simplification and expansion and factorisation. It didn’t take much for it all to come back to me. But this is not my thing. When doing factorisation, I taught the students to find the “highest common demoninator”. I only realised after the class that I should have called it a “highest common factor”. I have no idea if this will damage these students as they embark on A-Level maths after Christmas, but what on Earth was I doing teaching maths in the first place?
And work was consuming my energy – hence fewer blogposts and fewer men in the last few weeks. So I put my foot down. After Christmas, I’m going to be on the teacher training team, and not the teaching team. It’s a risk – I might not get as many hours, but they’ll be a lot better paid and a lot better suited to my skill set.
And on Friday we had our Secret Santa ceremony. Now, all Secret Santa ceremonies are kind of embarrassing, but this one was spectacularly so. People pretending to be excited by pound shop moisturiser and middle-sized candles while drinking semi-cold mulled wine is just not fun.
The staff Christmas party was that night, but I had to be at work the next morning at 7:15 so I decided not to go. I was invigilating at exams. These exams are official ones and went on all day. I have grown to accept that there is something vaguely comic about me, even when I’m not aware of it. At these exams, you have to read out instructions and ensure that the students are under “exam conditions” before you open the sealed exam papers. Every time my fellow invigilator cut open the envelope of exam papers, no one reacted in any way. Every time I got the scissors and cut open the papers, the entire room erupted in laughter. I don’t know what exactly is funny about the sight of me with a pair of scissors, but I guess I can’t be sad about bringing laughter to the world. Exams give you a lot of thinking time and many ideas were stewing in my mind because invigilators aren’t allowed to use their phones. It’s amazing how liberating this is. There will be a blogpost later this week about at least some of my ideas. But this blogpost is about me getting very drunk.
I was tired at the end of the day of exams, but as we’d come in so early in the morning the day after the staff party, the man who was organising the exams had told us that the company would buy us a dinner.
We finished around 4:00 pm and started getting pints. We had already had two pints by the time the organiser arrived. There were four of us, and we were off to a Polish bar. The man in charge was buying us drinks and dinner there. He had lived in Poland and had a Polish wife. In fact, I discovered that he’d been working in the school where I’d originally done my CELTA and my DELTA and we knew many people in common.
I was now on pint number three and a nice tall straight man was paying attention to me. And then the Polish food arrived and the nostalgia for my three years in Poland started, and the fourth pint happened and it could only end one way.
I haven’t been “out” at work. Like, I haven’t been “in” either, but I haven’t happened to tell anyone I was gay. Other than one man, a salty camp elderly teacher, who winkled it out of me weeks ago, as salty camp elderly men tend to do, but he appears not to have told anyone else. But it was time.
They had been talking about weddings and it was MY MOMENT. There is no better way to rip off my mask and reveal the gay-as-Christmas Connor than to describe my wedding. I have described my wedding in detail in a previous post. It really is fabulous. You should read it. It involves multiple song and dance numbers, including my groom singing the song from Karate Kid 2 to me and me dangling from a crescent moon suspended from the ceiling. I drunkenly relished the details. I do love the “oh he’s gay” dawning in people’s eyes. And I ADORE the “oh he really is very gay” that dawns a second or two later.
The pints kept coming and I didn’t stop. You know when you know you’re getting louder and messier, but you don’t care because you’re just going down well with the crowd? I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this drunk.
I didn’t stop at my wedding. I kept going.
- I told them how my plan for my funeral now includes Sia’s dancing girl swinging in on a massive chandelier, as well as Lady Gaga hanging out of a giant toilet like she did when she sang Bad Romance on the X Factor in 2009.
- I told them about why Hugh Grant films are just better than films without Hugh Grant.
- I expounded on why, even though Love Actually is problematic, it’s still a damn good film and I dismantled Lindy West’s arguments from her too-often-quoted Jezebel blogpost.
- I told them why we all really want to be living on a Greek island and choosing between Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan to be our father while our mother sings ABBA while wearing dungarees.
- I talked about penises. A lot. Like really a lot.
- I told them why I deserve to be on TV.
- I gave a presentation on why One Direction are important, using my many One Direction cover photos from Facebook as a kind of Powerpoint Slideshow on my phone to support my argument.
- I told them about my nipple piercings and my plans for other piercings and tattoos once I have the money.
- I told them about the man from Growlr who wants to buy me a suit and masturbate at me.
- I talked more about penises.
They were really engaged. I can only imagine how awful I was being, but they liked it. At one stage, my new straight male friend leaned over to me and showed me a text he’d sent to his wife about how adorable I was. (I may have called myself “adorable” more than once.) I welled up and he gave me a big hug.
I know. I should be used to male attention by now, with actual gay men pursuing me constantly since I’ve moved to London. But a straight man was paying attention to me. And straight men being nice to me are my kryptonite.
After pint number seven or eight of Polish beer, our two colleagues left us alone. And the bar began to close up. He suggested we go on to a club. Of course I said yes. He gave me a choice between his type of place or mine – a rock club or G.A.Y. We went to the rock club. Of course as soon as I stood up, I could barely support myself. We made it to the rock place. It reminded me of Sir Henry’s in Cork in 1999. Lots of piercings. Lots of black clothes. I think the night ended when I mused out loud about what would happen if I pulled on the chain that was hanging out of a beefy looking man’s leather trousers.
It was time to go home. We left the club and I hugged him. I began to get emotional again and told him I was just going to cry and I had to go. I got another quick hug in and left.
Eventually I’ll learn. But it was really wonderful while it lasted. Really, really wonderful.
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