Of inappropriate displays of manliness during birthday celebrations

Phall is derived from the word “phallus”. It is actually a British dish, concocted in restaurants in this country. Eating Phall is either symbolism for “food which shows you how macho you are” or “food which is so spicy that your own phallus falls off”. I am never too keen on the latter in Mark’s case, so I just queried his sanity. It didn’t go so well the last time he tried it, which was a couple of years ago.

I am inclined to go with the second option that it is “food which rots your phallus”, and declare it to be food for stupid people, or smart people who get a stupid idea when they drink too much. Although, before Mark decided to order it yesterday, he had only had a few sips of his first glass of wine. That leaves an alarming possibility that Mark is not as smart, always, as I think he is.

Anyway, aside from the macho bravado in side-dishes, yesterday was a magical evening which started with a dinner for two at a pricey Indian restaurant that sated my craving for fantastic curry. It was one of those restaurants that require you to wear a suit and tie, and I was forced into wearing formal clothes for about three hours.

With my current mop of whipped hair, which is held together in a delicate balance between ruin and rebellion by copious amounts of hair chemicals, I always look a bit conflicted in a suit. It’s banker below the neck and young Einstein above it. The hair style fits some student radical in jeans and t-shirts. It does not fit the pained conformity of upper middle-class restaurants. If I’d had a beard as well, which I seem incapable of growing despite my head’s rapid hair growth, I could have channelled Russell Brand. Then, at least, I could pass off as some alternative middle class person who wears sandals and eat Quinoa and vote Green and read The Guardian.

Surrounded by Asian businessmen and their wives or mistresses or assistants, Mark thus challenged himself to eat Phall. He’s tried it before, and the result was predictable. The only reason he did not throw away the table flowers on the table’s neighbours, and submerged his face in the water of the flower-bowl was that it would mean his claim of manliness would die a whimpering coward’s death.

Bemused as I usually am by overt displays of machismo, apart from asking myself what the point of it is, and if there’s some kind of male ritual that I’m missing out on, I didn’t say much during his struggle with sudden overflowing eyes and a flush equal to an Englishman after five hours in the sun.

After the dinner for two, which despite the inappropriate displays of daring went very well, and after Mark had drunk about nine pints of water, we went back home to change for the second part of the day’s activities. And this was the Big Secret he’s kept from me for so long. About ten of my friends and acquaintances from uni, and some even from my old College, together with the usual crew of Stephen, Ian, and company, we ended up in a basement bar which had no other guests than us.

It was an annex to a pub about thirty minute’s drive by taxi from home. The pub usually hosts weddings and birthdays down there, when you don’t want the guests to mingle with the normal punters queuing for a pint. Stephen manned a sound-system that allowed for a club-like atmosphere without suffering the indignity of standing in line to get into one in the freezing cold. For once, surrounded by people he almost knew, Mark didn’t start to beg to leave after five minutes. We stayed until the guests started to leave, and me jumping up and down to the beat kept me on the right side of being happy but not drunk.

We came home an hour ago, and Mark basically escaped to sleep right away, while I’m sitting here allowing the buzz of the evening and night to wear off. Now that I’m no longer a teenager, I suppose that I’m allowed to stay up for as long as I want. Right? I mean, it’s downhill from here, now that I’m old and worn and spent.

Looking back on it, I’m very pleased with the evening, and it was quite a magical one. Mark did good, although I suspect Stephen was the one who properly organised everything. I have no idea how, for instance, Mark would know about this pub and this underground disco. That, surely, is a mark of Stephen’s hand.


This is my thousandth post on this blog. So much blather about so little, for so long, eh? I’m incredibly grateful for your patience with me and it. You indulge me too much. Thank you to everyone who has read it so far. I know I’ve not been so active of late, but life just gets in the way of my attention seeking activities sometimes. :) Here’s to another 1000.

Not only limping through life, but suffering injured pride as well

Today has been about getting present from sundry relatives. I had a package in the mail from my parents. Now that both are in Sweden again, they jointly sent a parcel through the mail. Auntie didn’t send mail, she came over and gave it to me in person. Oh, and another thing is that both my mother and Auntie told me to be “careful” tomorrow.

This makes me wonder about my reputation among my relatives. Am I expected to go crazy and party until I drop? I thought I had lived such a quiet and bourgeoise existence that the pensioner’s club in the area were fingering an early membership invitation for us two. We could go and do a bit of bowls when the weather becomes a bit nicer, and we’d receive free winter fuel. Or something. But partying like it’s 1999? I’m not sure I’ve ever given off such a vibe. I don’t even like getting drunk.

My mother told me to be careful when I rang to tell her that the parcel had arrived, and that its contents weren’t broken or torn. When I asked her, sarcastically, whether she expected me to get drunk, throw off all my clothes, and run down the street, she even suggested that “all young men are a bit wild, aren’t they?” I almost said something misogynist in response to that.

My birthday isn’t until tomorrow. I still don’t know what Mark is up to, except that something somewhere is booked. He is very tight-lipped. However, his bandage is off now, and he has a wicked looking scar on his hand. At least, whatever he has planned, he won’t execute the plan injured. I may however limp a little, which is another argument against us not being careful. We’re too lazy to not be careful. Not being careful takes effort.

I would probably make for a terrible adventurer. I would spend all my time sitting in comfort in a hotel room instead of discovering new things and having those adventures that I would be supposed to have. Not much of Stanley Livingston in this scrawny frame, I’m afraid. If NASA would ever consider hiring a literary minded English bloke for a mission to Mars, they’d be wise to skip my name when they got to that part of the rolls.

Anyway, this is my 999th post. Next one will be the thousandth. I think I’ll save that for tomorrow, or the day after if I fail to stay relatively sober. I always tell myself to be careful with drink, because as I said I don’t really like to get drunk. I don’t always succeed, however. But sobriety is always a goal! And I like goals!