Saturday, January 20, 2007


So, things with the Irishman have pretty much petered out. You know how it is - a sudden, sad decline in texts and calls and then... an empty weekend.

Rather than mope around the flat, I ran away to Bristol for the day. I've always loved the city, and it's silly that i've lived next door for a year and never popped round.

I spent a happy morning shopping in the markets, had a great lunch, and then in the afternoon, inevitably, headed for a gay sauna.

After all, I figured, reckles shagging after you get dumped - that's just a sign of desperation. Whereas, reckless shagging just before being dumped - that's technically cheating, and therefore thrilling.

The Cottage Sauna (oh yes, really) turned out to be marvellous. For one thing, ahead of me in the entrance was a deaf lesbian buying cigarettes and sex toys. I hadn't, until that moment, felt either furtive or seedy. But that dignity vanished standing behind a woman while she slowly shouted "THAT ONE'S NOT BIG ENOUGH. GOT ANY BEADS?"

When I got in, I was struck by the enormous counter that was selling a wide range of confectionary and marital aids. Poppers next to Smarties, and vibrators next to chocolate eclairs.

It was the strangest English sauna. It was aiming for a "homely" feel. A big labrador happily wandered the corridors. A smell of bacon sandwiches was everywhere, and there was a big display of local attractions, such as Wookey Hole and Bristol Zoo. Which is obviously daft. I mean, who thinks "That was a mildly disappointing afternoon of random shagging. Oooh, let's go look at giraffes!"

The nicest thing about the sauna was the Glaswegian squaddie who i spent a merry few hours with. He was also called James, and his enormous arms were covered with tattoos. Including one of a highlander playing the drums, which is a tattoo of a tattoo, if you think about it.

The strangest thing about the sauna was the transvestite. In full drag. There you'd be in the steam room - four men wearing only towels, and a fifth wearing stockings, little black dress, blonde wig and a handbag.

It didn't help that he'd not shaved his legs, and the black stockings were covered in woolly pompoms. So he looked like a walking vag.

Plus the wig was perming in the steam.

The neat, polite bit of me thinks "It takes all sorts, and let's celebrate the difference and the courage it takes to express that". Then there's another side of me thinking "Honey, blokes come here to forget their wives."

After I'd finished looking at the squaddie's tattoos upside down, we went down to the telly room. The transvestite joined us, followed shortly afterwards by a very hairy, very fat man, and the labrador. We all settled down to watch The Golden Girls, and I thought, "yes, in its own way, this is homely".

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