One night, I was in bed reading a book. Ron, my housemate and long-term best friend, was out at the cinema (we had a friend who worked at the local Showcase and so would let us in for free). About 9pm, I heard the front door slam and Ron hurtled into my bedroom.
“Jones,” he gasped, “Houseparty. Tonight. Teeming with puss.”
I was dressed and ready within 10 minutes. The party was in a very quiet secluded suburb of Bristol, and as we entered the hallway, I immediately sensed that this was a houseparty being thrown by stupid rich kids simply because their parents were away. How right I was. The girls were almost infantile, bitching about everything and anything, and the lads were acting like they had just discovered a time after 10pm. I joked out loud that I’d need to see some ID before I’d fuck any of these girls, and thanks to a momentary drop in conversation, everyone in the party heard. A great start to an unpromising night.
Now the hostess of this party was a tidy-looking blonde called Shirley. Due to some sports-related accident, she had her leg in plaster and spent the whole night sat on a kitchen surface, kept company by Ron. One thing about Ron was that he had a superpower – the gift of charm. I had the blue eyes, blond hair and dimples that seemed to attract the older women, he had the easy-going charm that attracted ALL women. This particular night, he had his charm cranked up to 11, and Shirley was soon under his spell.
A few nights later, Ron said “I’ve got a date with Shirley!”
“Cool! When and where?”
“That’s the thing – she wants to go out on Valentine’s night. Where do you reckon I should take her?”
I’m not a great believer in first dates on Valentine’s Day. It’s busy everywhere. There’s also the expectation to be romantic, which isn’t a good thing if you’re still discovering each other (and may not necessarily be up for it) and will introduce a certain amount of pressure on both parties.
“Well,” I said, “Why not bring her over here? If you find that you don’t like her, at least you’ll have the option to conclude the night like a gentleman, and if things go really well, your bed is only upstairs. I’ll excuse myself for the night – I’ll even help you prepare.”
So it was decided. We downloaded a couple of recipes (the chosen meal to loosen her panties was risotto, if memory serves), went shopping for ingredients and candles and wine (especially wine – remember this), and made the house suitable to host a romantic meal, which mainly consisted of packing away my turntables in order to use the dining table for it’s true intended purpose for once. I was single at this point, so this actually became my surrogate date. Valentine’s Day arrived, so I arranged to meet my other single friend for a clearing ceremony up the local pub, and left Ron to dine Shirley into the sack.
My night went OK – me and my friend got hammered, burnt some old loveletters, talked shit and had a bit of a laugh about love’s lost. At 11pm, the last orders were called so I text Ron to see if it was safe to come home. No reply. At 11.30pm I text Ron that I was coming home and found myself outside my house just after midnight, trying to fumble my keys into the lock as quietly as possible.
The house had been left in an odd state. On the table were two half-finished meals. Candles were burning and had been for a long time by the stumpy length left on them. There were two empty bottles of wine, a third half-empty (for the pessimists out there) and two wine glasses, both empty.
I crept into the living room; the TV was off, and there were two more wine glasses and Ron’s mobile phone on the cofee table. Ah, I thought, I bet they’re upstairs making sweet sweet love. Within a couple of minutes of watching TV, my bladder reminded me of how much beer I’d consumed earlier so I went to the bathroom, which was accessible through a small utility room joining onto the living room.
I switched on the bathroom light to find a scene of horror. The sink was full of angry-red sick. The bath was peppered with chunks of sick. The toilet was full of shit and there was piss and sick all over the floor. The bathroom visibly hummed and I was momentarily speechless. Ron was generally a very tidy person; we both were, and neither of us would have left the bathroom in this state, especially if we had guests. Something must have happened, and the number one explanation in my mind was that Ron had poisoned himself or Shirley with his Valentine’s Day meal, and they had both gone to hospital.
Well, since Ron’s phone was on the table, there was no way of contacting him if he was at hospital. With no better idea, I ran upstairs and knocked on Ron’s bedroom door. No answer. I listened and could hear no noise the other side, so I opened the door and turned on the light. Nothing, although his usually-tidy bed was a mess, the duvet heaped in the middle. For some reason still-unknown to me, I pulled the duvet off the bed – it was a great idea, as underneath was a comatose Ron, completely bollock-naked. I tried to wake him but he wouldn’t respond.
“Ron,” I said as he at last opened his eyes, “What happened? Where’s your date?”
“Dunno…” he managed to say, “Downstairs…”
“Nope, she’s not here.” Then he passed out again, so I left him to sleep and tidied up the filth in the bathroom.
The next day, Ron explained to me what happened. After I left, Ron had a glass of wine to steady the nerves and cooked the meal. About 8 o’ clock, Shirley arrived. They exchanged gifts, had a glass of wine, and flirted whilst Ron served the meal. It was going very well up until this point. During the meal, they both had another glass of wine and, once the meal was concluded, they retired to the living room, chatted, Ron had a fourth glass of wine, and they started kissing.
Now there’s another thing about Ron which should be mentioned, and that is he could not take his drink. AT ALL. As English men, the pub formed a certain part of our social life, and Ron had always seemed to hold his own when the beers were flowing. After I moved in with Ron, I quickly realised that he was a bit of a sneaky bastard, and he would hide or ditch his drinks during a night up the pub, giving the impression that he was keeping up when he was drinking no more than a pint all night. The first time I realised this was at our first houseparty. In short, it was the biggest and loudest houseparty ever, which resulted in drinking and sex and music and police and a warning from the local council due to the neighbours six doors-down complaining. At this party, we were playing Red or Black (a pack of cards cut randomly, with one person trying to guess whether the card is red or black) for shots in the kitchen – Ron lost 5 or 6 in a row, then had to sit down for a bit. 20 minutes later, he crashed into the toilet, pulled his trousers down and was sick in the sink whilst taking the meanest-smelling shit ever. This was done with the toilet door open with the whole party watching/laughing. This also happened at the second houseparty, so it was always Ron’s “thing” to drink too much, then get nasty.
Back to the Valentine’s Day massacre. Both Ron and Shirley were sat on the sofa, drinking their fourth glass of wine when they started getting’ passionate. According to Ron, he closed his eyes, started to kiss her, then felt the room spinning. He opened his eyes, which stopped the spinning, but then he started to feel sick. He put up with this for a couple of minutes whilst trying to keep up with Shirley’s “fondling” until he felt that he was going to throw up. Ron stopped and made his excuses to go to the bathroom. Bear in mind that, with the toilet next to the living room, you can hear what’s going on if you make enough noise. Knowing this, Ron switched the shower on to cover the sound of him throwing up, and then hurled his guts up into the toilet. Yes – all the sick that I had the pleasure of cleaning up was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much Ron actually threw up that night. Although covering the sound of chucking up is a good idea, switching the shower on halfway through a date raises questions. Regardless, Ron cleaned himself up and tried to get back into the heavy petting, except that his head was now spinning, his speech was groggy and he needed to shit and be sick. So he mumbled something at Shirley, then returned to the bathroom.
According to Ron, he stayed in the bathroom for about an hour, being sick and shitting himself whilst drifting in and out of consciousness. Eventually, he staggered out of the bathroom (we think that he was naked at this point as I found his clothes on the bathroom floor during my clean-up), walked straight past Shirley, and went to bed. Ron thinks that Shirley woke him up to say goodnight as she left… but again, he wasn’t too sure about this.
The next two weeks saw Ron desperately trying to apologise to Shirley via text, but she saw the whole night as some weird trust issue that we both couldn’t comprehend. From that moment on though, we both agreed that special events should be treated with the minimum amount of alcohol, if featuring alcohol at all. Although we had many many stories involving our quest for women, this one sticks in my mind because it has the strongest lesson to be learnt; treat alcohol with respect.