It’s either been an amazing night or a really horrible night, I can’t decide. I had been invited out by my boss, Melanie, to go a gig in East London as she had no one else to go with. Being invited out by the boss is, needless to say, not something I ever expected to happen in my life. So I was quite excited, as well as a bit nervous, leading up to this evening. First we went for a meal near where I live then headed to the East End to see a really new, unheard of band play in the basement of a pub. It was a good gig, we had a great time and I felt for the first time like a true friend of Melanie’s. The hopes for my future at work couldn’t have been higher.

After the gig neither of us felt like going home, so we went to a nearby gay club to see if we could end the night on a really high note. Melanie isn’t gay, but she has loads of gay friends (I would have called her a ‘fag hag’ a few years ago, before I realised that I despise that term). And she really likes going to gay clubs. Unfortunately the club that we chose to go to tonight wasn’t exactly rocking. The music was bad, the place was near empty, and the dry ice machines were on overload, making us nearly suffocate. For the next two hours we sat in a corner becoming increasingly tired and miserable, waiting for a good tune to come on. We’d paid good money to get in and we weren’t going to leave without having our three minutes of fun.

As the hours passed I began to feel pretty bad for bringing Melanie there. It had been my suggestion, and she clearly wasn’t enjoying herself. I started to think all sorts of horrible thoughts about being sacked on Monday for this huge transgression. She might be really annoyed with me – we might no longer be friends after this. Eventually at 2am Melanie gave up waiting for the atmosphere to change and went home, promising me that she wasn’t angry with me. I guess in reality she can’t be: I didn’t force her to stay all that time. She’s a grown woman capable of making her own decisions. That doesn’t stop me from having a slight worry that she’ll never want to go out with me again.

I would have left the club with her, had I not seen someone giving me the eye at just that moment. The guy was pretty cute, I thought; I might just be in luck. It’s been a very long time since I pulled in a nightclub. The idea of being found attractive by someone new overrode all those doubts about casual nightclub sex that have built up in the last couple of years. Having realised that Gareth, the only man I’ve spent the night with since 2008, is now a lost cause, I’ve kind of decided that I have to start seeing other men, somehow. If I happen to find one I like in a club, so be it.

I found the guy staring at me tonight equally as attractive as he obviously found me. We could hardly take our eyes off each other. Unfortunately the doubts and fears wouldn’t be silenced, and I couldn’t go up to him. For an entire hour we just gawped at each other across the dancefloor, turning away every time an inviting smile threatened to break out across one of our faces. By 2.30am I desperately wanted to leave the club. I was tired, dehydrated and frankly very horny. But I couldn’t leave until this man, whatever his name was, had made a move on me.

At 3am we were within just feet of each other. A move was surely about to be made. Then the guy’s friends decided that they wanted to go home, and shockingly, he walked out with them. Never to be seen again. The letdown was unbelievable. Angry, confused, sad, I quickly got my coat on and prepared just to go home to bed. Before I could leave I was grabbed by a much older but fairly attractive man who had been standing next to me most of the night. “Don’t go home!” he pleaded with me.

What’s he after? I thought. I still desperately wanted to go home, but now that I had finally been approached by someone, I couldn’t leave. He introduced himself as Gary, proceeded to explain to me why he had felt detached from and disenchanted with the whole gay scene for years, then he told me I looked beautiful. He kissed me on the cheek sweetly, almost lovingly. I was instantly smitten.

Then his boyfriend came over and disrupted things. They’d been together in an ‘open’ relationship for 28 years, apparently. From the look on the boyfriend’s face when he saw me, I found the open bit hard to believe. Gary evidently adored me, and for half an hour or so tried to dance with me and stick his tongue down my throat. He was very drunk, and so was his partner, whose scowl just got worse as time went on. At 3am he practically pushed me, and demanded to know if I was going to fuck his boyfriend or not.

I’d finally had enough. I was snapped out of whatever sick fantasy had made me think I liked Gary, and I put my coat back on to leave. Gary said nothing. Perhaps he knew, like I did, that any further involvement would have been a terrible idea. After I left they probably had a blazing row about me. I’d like to think so, anyway. By tomorrow it will be forgotten about, and they will go back to being in a loving relationship that has lasted since before I was born. I meanwhile will be left wondering how the fuck tonight went so horribly wrong.

If I’d gone up to that first guy, if I’d found the courage to make a move on someone I might actually like, the night would surely have turned out much better. As it is I ended up in a quite dangerous situation that I’ve been in before, many years ago. I learnt a long time ago that getting involved with ‘married’ men is just about the worst thing I can do to myself. It always ends in tears. As I walked home from the club in the cold air at nearly 4 in the morning, I was on the verge of having a breakdown. I felt like I’d gone back to 2004, back to those awful nights in Norwich when I’d desperately wait for someone, anyone to come along. This is not good recovery. What happened tonight had nothing whatsoever to do with recovery. It was pure acting out. Even though I didn’t have sex with Gary, even though I left pretty much as soon as I knew everything was going wrong. I shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I should have left with Melanie when I had the chance. Instead I stayed in a ‘wet’ environment for an extra hour, on the off chance that some random stranger might take an interest in me.

Part of me must have believed that sex would complete me tonight. Part of me must have been convinced that after all this time in recovery I deserve to be a bit naughty and rebellious. Who cares if the guy I end up with is a pissed stranger whose name I won’t remember in a year from now? When Gary came onto me that needy part of me was just in heaven. The attention! I absolutely adored it. From a man old enough to be my father, I couldn’t get enough of it. All ideas of sexual sobriety and the need for real intimacy would have been abandoned. I would have slept with him, if his boyfriend had been in a better mood.

And that’s really fucking terrible. I could have been drunk tonight, it wouldn’t have made any difference. I’d have acted exactly the same way. What the fuck am I doing here, all these years down the line? I’m supposed to be getting better, but when it comes to sex everything keeps getting worse. I’m sick of being attracted to unavailable, totally inappropriate men. I grew sick of walking out of nightclubs feeling sad and jaded with life years ago. It broke my heart to come home alone tonight. Until I was about five minutes from home, I kept wanting to turn and run back to the club, back to Gary’s sexy, unavailable arms.

Do I still hate myself that much? Or is this just a blip in my recovery that will make my resolve to get better all the stronger? I suppose I will come to believe that this was meant to happen, and I will be grateful for whatever lesson it teaches me, like I am with everything else that’s ever happened. It may be ironic that I am supposed to be starting step one with a trusted member of Sex Addicts Anonymous this week. I finally got off my butt and asked someone, a friend from the Friday night gay & lesbian meeting (my home group), because I’ve known for months that I have to do it. I need step one now more than ever. Right now I can’t begin to fathom how I will ever have a healthy sexual relationship with anyone. I really can’t. Only a tiny part of me thinks the steps might provide some sort of answer: they did with alcohol. That’s why I’m prepared to give them a go again. Oh Lord, I hope they work!

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