I wanted to have a last dance before my leg joints wore away. It was agreed by two guests at the end of my thirteen hour long drop-in seventy-fifth anniversary celebration of my birth way back when in the mists of time that we’d go dancing. They arrived on the appointed day, with another, the first’s partner, after ten and we were in Vauxhall not long after, clambering over locked gates into Kennington Park where Chartists once had roamed and now, as probably then too, cruisers. That mission accomplished, a half bottle of whisky was secreted down the front of one of our trousers where it’d be less likely suspected if we were searched than if hidden anywhere else and, suitably fortified, we entered a club for only £8 and were stamped to let us in again should we choose to go out as continually we did into a coralled-off area. My friend thrust foil wrapped things into my hand I put in my pocket.
The first big front room had a bar, lights and electro music, which is good to dance to because it varies and you have to adapt to changing tempos if you’re any good. None was fleeter of foot.
Stairs could be climbed to other rooms and cottages, and in the darkest recess was a cruising area where one could join in a variety of activities should one feel inclined. My friend took my hand or put it on his shoulder as he led me through the packed throng of bodies so dimly seen through the murk I asked how he could distinguish between one pretty well naked body and the next. He said he could. I was continually touched by hot skin but, evincing no participatory interest, I was not otherwise encroached upon as I was led protected like Eurydice by Orpheus through Hades. What most fascinated was a bum. Ankles and feet protruded from under it but only the one set. There wasn’t anybody else so far as I could discern beneath the bum. There was some jerking activity. My giggling friend kept trying to make me touch the bum which didn’t wink like the one once seen on Ham Fields but was quite blatantly there to be used. Slippery with condom wrappers, the floor here was best for dancing on but dancing, as a means to attract, was really de trop. I was reminded of a gay party I was taken to in the eighties which had the like room. Nothing much has changed then. Civil partnership – I was there with civil partners, one of whom continually disappeared and could not easily be found – has made no difference I was almost pleased to observe. “Sit down there, stay, watch the show, don’t move till I get back,” my friend said, and if it wasn’t him making sure I was all right, it was his friend taking good care of me. The show I watched was one man into sucking and another into being sucked, then into two being sucked, one after the other, and the being sucked became quite vigorously active, becoming quite another activity altogether. I thought of John, who sucks too among a variety of things, and what the difference was, basically that it’s me he wants. If the drive was in itself and could be satisfied by anybody, then it would be with anybody. Quite suddenly the show was over, the participants gone – as I now suspect – cottaging because there was a cottage naked men hung around in prospectively and one dashed into a cubicle where some action had already invitingly begun but leaving the door swing so as not to exclude anybody else’s joining in. I wondered what they’d done with all their clothes. I didn’t dwell there.
It was a very safe environment. People were so obliging and accommodating, I had to restrain myself from telling anybody too physically obtruding to back off or make moue at being kissed far too wetly by my friend’s friend’s friend. One girl, Laura, kept pushing into me, where I sat on a chair outside, with her body and boobs while she questioned my friends, one of whom did also find women interesting. She wanted a real man, she said, which made me wonder what the hell was she doing there then, since by real man she meant one interested in her. She asked how old I thought her. Over thirty. “You’re mean,” she said. She was twenty-seven. The only two the worse for wear were women.
In the morning when I came out into the light, thinking my age would show, I observed, “they’re not attractive,” except for one young man; and I mean by attractive according to that very basic appraisal of attractiveness we all continually do. My friend agreed. It’s not I hadn’t felt stirrings but these were scarcely avoidable and hadn’t amounted to anything. I watched perplexedly two men kissing and canoodling, obviously into each other, when I wasn’t at all. They were two bald-headed, otherwise hairy, fat bears, the only difference being one was big and the other small, by appearance endorsing each other.
It’d been most enjoyable. I was surprised I wasn’t tired. My legs weren ‘t even sore. I could’ve danced all night and still have asked for more but what I did ask for was to go home.