You may not know this about me, or you may already have guessed, but I am quite a gullible person. Quite a few years ago, I had this boyfriend called Alf, a middle aged artist with a shaved head, who had a problem with impotence, which was fine with me, since I wasn’t all that mad about sleeping with him. He also had a bit of a problem with fidelity, because he lived with a girl, who, he said, understood his need to have other girlfriends. In short, he was a psychological mess, but quite amusing for about five minutes.
Anyhow, one day he said, “I’m taking you to an erotic party. Don’t get freaked out if the people next to you start kissing or having sex. It’s just that sort of party.”
I thought, That’s cool. I can handle that.
I suppose that some of you will be wondering why I didn’t twig that he was talking about a swingers’ party. You’d have thought I would have, because what I’d learned about Alf was that he was quite interested in sex, as long as he could watch. For example, I’d let a friend of his pay me to hold an erotic life drawing class in my bedroom.
Alf had initially told me that the erotic drawing class would consist of a woman posing in lingerie.
I can handle that, I thought.
All the artists who arrived with their pads and charcoal looked very serious. And then this middle aged couple turned up and had sex on a mattress in the middle of my room for three hours. How the man kept his erection up, I will never know. It was amazing! Anyhow, it was also amazing just how unerotic it was. Not a turn-off, just nothing sexy. I just sketched and thought nothing of it. And later while I was making the female model—a softly spoken quite dull person who worked in a bank—a cup of tea, she told me that she and her husband had a game they often played in restaurants. Once they were settled at their table, she would go to the bathroom and come back naked, and they’d get the most tremendous kick out of everyone in the room staring. They’d been chucked out of quite a few restaurants but this hadn’t dampened their passion to indulge their hobby.
Anyway, back to the swingers’ party. I accompanied Alf to an apartment block in Central London, and we went up in a lift which opened directly into a dark room, with a mattress in the middle which was covered in various sex toys, I think, although I didn’t actually examine them. I met a few chatty suburban couples, who in London we call Essex types. The women will have orangey fake tans and lots of cheap gold jewelery, while the men will be wearing lime green or pink polo shirts. I was beginning to wonder how this could possibly be construed as an erotic party, since nothing erotic was happening.
Not that I would have cared if the people around me had started getting it on, I’m just not sure how I would have reacted if someone I found sexually repugnant would have tried it on with me. I still don’t have any idea about what the swingers’ etiquette is for getting rid of people you don’t want touching you at such an event.
In any case. I needn’t have worried. No one was swinging.
At some point the organizer explained that he was cancelling the event. Gesturing to the lecherous looking men lurking in the shadows, he said that the problem was that there were too many single men there (who are charged an entrance fee) and too few single women (who go free) for the event to be a success. Even then, I was still a bit vague about what exactly he was on about. The objective of the party, however, was swiftly clarified by a crazed, desperate looking young Eastern European, who ran up and started begging to go home with us.
“This has always been my fantasy. Two men and one woman. I am promising I am very good lover,” he said.
I didn’t want to upset the poor lad, so I said, “Sounds great, but I have a really bad head cold.” Actually, this was no lie. I did have a cold. But I could have been leaking pus from every orifice before this man would have lost interest. After much pleading and cajoling we eventually managed to shake him off. Although I’m sure there may be more appetizing and less sleazy swingers’ parties somewhere (New York possibly), I have never been tempted to try them again.
Anyhow, recently in a pub at my friend Daisy’s fortieth birthday party, I had another brush with the secret lives of swingers. I watched with interest as a recently divorced woman called Cara, plain looking with a nervous laugh, greeted a single, well groomed woman called Alice. Cara told Alice, “Gosh, I haven’t seen you since we moved to the burbs. How are you?” Both Cara and Alice blushed a little, as if remembering in what circumstances they’d last seen each other. Since Daisy once told me that Cara and her ex-husband Bill are swingers, and that Alice, Cara and Bill were once embroiled in a ménage a trois that lasted several months, I can only imagine what flashbacks were going through their heads, as they hugged each other in a polite and totally chaste way.
The other amusing thing is that Cara had just been telling me what a devout Catholic she is; mass every Sunday, God bless the Pope etc. Why it should surprise me that a staunch Catholic should also be a swinger, I have no idea, but it does.
“So, how do you and Alice know each other?” I asked.
“Oh, we used to be neighbors, and she was always popping round,” Cara replied.
“Oh really?” I said, wide-eyed. “You mean one day she popped round to borrow a cup of milk and her clothes accidentally slipped off, and before you knew it a porn soundtrack started playing, and the three of you were rolling around on your living room carpet?”
Actually, I didn’t say that last bit, but I would have been kind of curious to find out how these things actually start. I will have to get Cara drunk some time and enquire.
Later I said to Daisy, “Do you think it was the swinging that killed Cara’s marriage?”
Daisy said she didn’t think so, that the divorce had more likely been prompted by the couple’s recent move from the city to suburbia. Apparently, Bill told Daisy that he hadn’t been able to get to grips with living so far away from civilization, and that the stress of the daily commute had led, first to a screaming nervous breakdown, and then to a divorce.
So take note. Swinging won’t ruin your marriage. But moving to the burbs might.
5 hours ago