Archive | September, 2011

The Marathon of Shame

28 Sep
Mass runners

flickr image by Stuart Grout

Back in the not too distant past I attended a friend’s wedding in London.

With my hot new dress and skyscraper heels (that I would no doubt be discarding later in the night, opting instead to classily go barefoot) I was all too aware that weddings were supposed to be a pick-up goldmine for singletons. What with all that free booze, everyone dressed to the nines and enough talk of love to make you want to regurgitate your smoked salmon entree… The single women are supposedly feeling despondent over witnessing yet another friend join the ‘happily ever after’ club, while the males are rearing to prove how fun single life can be to the once lone wolf who’s just joined the married pack.

However, in the past the closest I’ve come to picking up at a wedding was having the misfortune of dancing with someone’s overly handsy uncle. In my experience as a wedding guest, the single females have far outweighed the single males in number; leaving a bevy of drunken beauties to compete for the affections of the groom’s pockmarked cousin. 

Nevertheless, I ensured my legs were waxed and my nether regions manicured. Everybody knows the law of the universe ensures that the moment you leave the contents of your knickers ungroomed, is the very moment you’ll pick up some man-god you’d give anything to pillage. Anything that is, except for the shame of having him witness the afro currently residing inside your pants. So to be on the safe side, I decided it was best that I be prepared. (Just in case that handsy uncle was in fact a looker.)

The usual wedding festivities ensued.

The gorgeous ceremony ignited my stereotypical neurotic femininity; a harsh whisper inside my cranium rasping that I was boyfriend-less, hurtling towards thirty at breakneck speed and would in fact die alone. Luckily that heinous bitch of a whisper was easily silenced with the application of free champagne.

And plenty of it.

The free booze ensured the best man was plastered enough to deliver a vaguely inappropriate speech, during which he basically outlined his desire to sleep with any one of the bridesmaids. He even managed to throw in some sexually-soaked comments directed towards the mother of the bride, just for good measure.

The floral-patterned garments worn by grotesquely overweight aunties strained at the seams as their owners joined the drunken group on the dance floor in shaking their heaving white flesh to clichéd wedding DJ classics such as Nutbush City Limits, Love Shack and Grease Megamix.

It was while busting some of my classically amazing moves such as The Sprinkler, The Lawnmower and the ever-faithfully crowd-pleasing The Shopping Trolley, that I spotted him. There he was, endearingly executing awkward dance moves with absolutely zero rhythm, precision or skill.

Bless him.

I knew I had to have him, despite his dancing (if you could call it that) exuding the appearance of somebody tentatively trying to move whilst wearing a chaffing g-string.

At the conclusion of the wedding reception, a group of party-goers moved on to a club near Piccadilly Circus. As I patiently waited to be served at the bar, the charmingly atrocious dancer approached me.

Our script went a little something like this:

Him: Hi.

Me: Hi.

Him: You’ve been watching me tonight.

Me: (Scoffing) So has everyone. When you attempt to dance you look like a hessian sack filled with a litter of kittens.

Him: (Smirking) A litter of kittens you want to kiss?

Me: Maybe.

Game on.

We then ensconced ourselves in a dark corner and preceded to maul each other’s faces off for an hour or two, resurfacing for air only when our drinks needed refreshing or our bladders needed emptying.

After a couple of hours we decided to leave the club. By this point my gentleman-friend had somehow misplaced his wallet and I had just had my big toe attacked by the vicious heel of a wayward stiletto.

As we walked (well, he walked while I hobbled) towards his hotel, he chivalrously offered to buy some bandaids from an all night off-license store for my injured big toe, which was currently spray-painting the footpath red. Only, of course he had no money due to his wallet being missing in action. And I too was a little too low on funds to be purchasing first aid supplies.

Once we were safely installed in his hotel room, we climbed under the sheets and commenced a vigorous bout of drunken coitus. Even through my immense level of intoxication I could faintly feel the throbbing pain radiating from my toe, especially when the jaggedly torn nail would painfully catch on the bed sheets.  

Awaking the next morning, I was unpleasantly greeted with a dull pain inside my cranium, an excruciatingly throbbing toe and the rancid morning breath of my partner-in-crime.

Trying to work as quickly and quietly as possible, so as not to awaken my slumbering suitor, I hobbled around the room, uncoordinatedly redressing myself. On closer inspection, the nail on my big toe appeared to have almost been cracked in half and was now covered in coagulated blood. I gingerly attempted to wrap the injured digit in toilet paper before slipping my now swollen foot back inside my high heeled shoe. However, the nauseating wave of pain that greeted me when I attempted to execute such a manoeuvre insured that I would have to instead escape barefoot.

Glancing at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I was aghast at the she-beast peering back at me. I hastily raked shaky fingers through my wayward hair, primitively used water to wipe at the unbecoming dark smudges under my eyes and lastly gave myself a hearty spritz of his lynx deodorant – a shower in a can. My reflection was still worlds apart from pristine, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

Peering back towards the slumbering figure in the bed I clocked the state of the once white bed sheets. Our fornication from the night before must have included some pretty impressive acrobatics, as the bed sheets were now soiled with caked blood that had no doubt flowed from my injured appendage.

The cleaners would be justified in assuming a hymen had exploded in these bed chambers the night before.

Grabbing my shoes, I scuttled barefoot through the hotel and burst onto the street below. My escape would be easy; I’d simply hail a cab and effortlessly make my way back to the safety of my own hotel room.

Only, after riffling through my clutch I remembered that I was dangerously low on funds. Spying a conveniently located off-license store, I made use of their automated teller machine and purchased a packet of crisps. My hangover was threatening to cause the contents of my stomach to disobediently travel back up my oesophagus, so perhaps the greasy potato snacks would assist my insides to behave.

Making my way back to the curb, I patiently waited for a cab to amble past. However, after a short while it became obvious that no vehicles were driving past. I walked a little way down the street and waited despondently at a bus stop. But again, no vehicles presented themselves.

I wondered if there’d been a nuclear holocaust and I was in fact one of the only survivors. Me and the guy in the off-licence. Dear God, I hoped the continuation of the human race wouldn’t be dependent on our copulation.

I was currently located in a (usually) busy section of London, so where was all the traffic?

With no other options, I continued to limp down the deserted street; the large wad of toilet paper wound around my damaged toe starting to unravel. Plan A (hail a cab) and Plan B (catch a bus) hadn’t exactly come to fruition so I figured the only option left at this point was Plan C (attempt to catch a tube).

Charring Cross station was proving to be depressingly far away as I continued to hobble along. As I continued my painfully slow journey onwards, I spied the reason for the traffic-less street; the entire road had been cordoned off with fluorescent witches’ hats.

As I approached the tube station it became apparent as to why the street had been closed; hordes of disgustingly fit-looking people in exercise attire were spewing forth from the station. I had never seen so much lycra in all my life. Many of the athletes had a numeral pinned to their front, alluding to the likelihood that they were in fact about to compete in the running of a marathon.

My throbbing toe was now unsubtly trailing a length of toilet paper behind it, while my hands were scrabbling to keep hold of my shoes and clutch whilst simultaneously attempting to shove handfuls of greasy crisps into my hungry mouth.

Blessedly, I finally entered the tube station. However, accessing the train I wanted to catch involved trekking along what seemed like miles of underground passage ways. All the while, marathon enthusiasts were pouring along in the opposite direction. Whilst I, like a wounded platypus attempting to paddle upstream, tried to forge my way through the crowd.

There are moments in life when you self-consciously imagine people to be peering at you in judgement. Let me assure you; my barefoot hobble through Charring Cross station on a Sunday morning whilst clad in a short dress, my face scarred with the remnants of last night’s makeup and the guilty crumbs of a recently devoured packet of crisps, was not one of these moments.

Rather, I knew with complete conviction that those toned exercise freaks were judging me. And according to their disgusted expressions; quite harshly.   

However long, strenuous and tiring their marathon that fateful Sunday may have been, I can guarantee with absolute certainty that my own marathon of shame through the tube station that morning was far more painful.

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