SoHo lunch started at 1 and finished at 10. I don't spend enough Sundays like this, pottering amiably around with pleasant company. We discovered that London's mintiest gay bar, The Box, now does table service, but in a dismissive "Wait in that corner. Someone will get you a drink - you're blocking the view of our beautiful bar staff."
We were in The Friendly Society when a young man in a wheelchair approached us and told us the story of his life. Whether we wanted to hear it or not. It says something about the times we live in that people in wheelchairs can now feel free to be a bit unpleasant.
"Are you single?" Tony demanded of my friend Tim.
"Well, I'm straight!" he snapped, dismissively. And then started to tell us again about the documentary film that was being made of his life. Tim went to the loo.
We were joined by a friend of Tony's, who was quite the most sexually available marine you could meet. "You have great eyes and teeth," he said to me, "What do you think of my arse?" and pulled down his trousers. "Do you want to touch it?"
"...er, my friend, Tim.... is..." I managed.
"Tim? I can't stand that name!" wailed the marine, "My ex was called Tim!"
"Isn't that funny! I'm a bit weird about Pauls," I giggled. "What about you, Tony? Are there any people's names you don't like?"
Tony looked up sullenly from his wheelchair. "They used to call me Bent-Back. I didn't like that."
"No! That's not what I meant! Are there any bad Sandras in your life?"
Tony thought about it "I hated it when they called me Peg Leg."
The marine pulled down his trousers again. "They call me Bubble Butt, cos of my great arse. Can you see why?"
Tony told us some more about his hard life, as being made into a documentary. On the one hand, I really envied his ability to come over, introduce himself, and have a conversation with two strangers. On the other hand, he was truly terrible company.
Tim came back. I got up to go to the loo. The marine showed me his arse again as I squeezed past. He was, I think, completely missing the point of marines. They are supposed to be hard to get into. That's their charm.
When I got back, Tim was being lectured by Tony about how the Hackney Gazette had featured his bravura display of wheelchair breakdancing. And the marine placed a hand on my loins and squeezed. It was nastily like having an unfamiliar cat settle in your lap.
"Er, haven't we got to...?" I said to Tim.
"Oh, yes... we're almost certainly late for..." He replied, and we headed to the door.
"Myspace me!" cried Tony. "I reply to as many messages as I can!"
PS: Things that make me realise I'm 33: After a hard day's drinking, I do not have one more and go clubbing. No, I return home and thoroughly enjoy a documentary about Channel 4.