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.

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