Some may find parts of this story NSFW or offensive, if you think that might be you, I suggest you read something else (you have been warned).
This week I am writing about something a little different from my usual posts and revisiting my past. While the general content of what you are about to read is based in truth, some events have been merged into one for the sake of brevity or because my memory is not accurate. Nothing has been deliberately fabricated, a lot has been paraphrased, and I have changed the names to protect me from embarrassment (though I don't think it will work).
It had been over a year since we had last met when I got a call from Susan inviting me out for a date. If I recall correctly, it was somewhere around Valentine's Day, but I might just be making that up. I was living near Cambridge at the time and Susan was in Manchester, but I was single and Susan was gorgeous, so I gladly accepted.
I had first met Susan sometime during my third year at university in Manchester. My friends and I had ventured out to a night club called 5th Avenue for indie night. I remember my visits to 5th Avenue fondly, throngs of tightly packed students dancing with our hands behind our backs like a legion of Ian Browns and Liam Gallaghers, mouthing the words to "Fools Gold" by The Stone Roses, "Cigarettes and Alcohol" by Oasis, and many more. The following playlist will give you just a taste of the music we swayed and swaggered to at 5th Avenue back in the mid-90's. Consider listening to it while you read on.
On the night I met Susan, I was wearing my favourite trousers, unaware that they were perhaps a little too tight for me, and a shirt, untucked as was the style for the very best indie fans. After waiting in line outside for the privilege of paying to get inside, I grabbed a drink at the bar. Back then, I rarely danced without a little lubrication to dull the sting of staring strangers — insecurity had grown deep roots. Before long, I was swaying amid the mass of other club goers, enjoying the 12-inch remix of "I Am The Resurrection". I spotted Susan almost immediately, her long blonde hair and bright blue eyes were hard to miss. My heart skipped and panic set in when we briefly made eye contact.
Did she look at me? Was that a smile? Oh, fuck. What if she likes me? What do I do now?
I have always been prone to over-thinking things. When others would find joy in a moment, I would work hard to find the pain. I was also terribly shy and, at that time, had yet to lose my virginity, so any connection with a woman was always panic-inducing to me. Where would it lead? What do I do? How do I act? It was terrifying. So, I did what made the most sense to me and avoided eye contact at all costs. So much so, that eventually, Susan had enough and came over to me.
"Why are you ignoring me?" she asked, "Clearly, so rude."
Susan said "clearly" a lot. It didn't bother me.
"I say 'clearly' a lot," she said, "Clearly."
We both laughed.
Susan and I really hit it off and I had an amazing time dancing, talking, and smoking with her, and I had the best time making out with her in a dark corner. The close proximity of an attractive woman, the kissing, the touching, the sparkling blue eyes, the perfume; for a 20-something virgin it was arousing to say the least. I adjusted myself to try and hide the erection that was lying against my thigh — in my tight trousers, it was way more visible than I felt comfortable with. When we stood up to dance again, Susan brushed against penis with her hand, and her eyes went wide. She was grinning. When she dragged me to her friend on the dance floor to eagerly show off the growth lying against my leg, I blushed and nervously glanced around.
"I can't help it," I implored her, pushing her hand aside as she continued pointing at my readiness.
She just smiled even wider. "I know!" she said, excitedly.
When we reached the end of the night, we stood together outside the club. Susan was leaning against the wall of the club. She pulled me in for another kiss as we waited for Susan's taxi home.
"Why don't you come back to mine?" she whispered in my ear, her fingers tickling the end of my still aroused manhood (it is very difficult to get rid of an erection when someone keeps playing with it). My heart was racing. Here I was with a really beautiful girl and the possibility of a life-changing event, and I was terrified. I was terrified since I'd never done it before, because I didn't want to get anything wrong and because I was over-thinking everything.
So, I declined. She pleaded, pouted, and generally enticed me, but I dug deeper into my insecurities and declined again, and again. In my head, I justified it to myself.
I really like this girl. She's gorgeous. It would be wrong to take advantage. That's what this would be, right? I'm a gentleman, I should decline.
Susan climbed into the taxi, leaned out of the window to check I was sure about not joining her, and then blew me a kiss goodbye.
In romantic, Hollywood-style stories, that would be the last time I saw her until some serendipitous event brought us back together in a romantic liaison, except maybe with less inappropriate tight-trouser torpedo. But this isn't that kind of story. Although there was a lot more to our original meetings than what is told here, let's skip that and get back to that phone call a year or two later around Valentine's Day.
After chatting on the phone with Susan, I got on the Internet and booked a hotel room in Manchester. This was going to be a night out drinking, so a hotel room made sense. Not to mention that something might happen between Susan and I.
The train ride to Manchester was tense for me as my mind raced about my upcoming date with Susan. I have always found it difficult to determine the difference between excitement and terror. In fact, I'm pretty sure they are the same thing with different interpretations, so I often flip between both states several times a minute. I walked from Manchester Piccadilly train station, past the night club where we first met, and on to the bar where we had agreed to meet for our date.
I entered the bar and nervously glanced around for Susan. She wasn't there, so I bought two drinks, downed one, and found a seat. I made sure to sit somewhere I could see the door, but not immediately visible from it, like I was comfortable on my own and totally not waiting to meet anyone (after dropping everything and travelling a couple of hundred miles from Cambridge to see her, I didn't want to seem too eager). When Susan walked in, my heart skipped; I had forgotten those eyes. She saw me almost immediately and came straight over to where I was sat. We hugged and got to chatting.
It was clear from the beginning of the date that Susan had an agenda. I was not an experienced dater at the time and definitely had my share of trust issues. When we got to the second bar of our date, there was a shortage of seats so Susan eagerly suggested she should sit on my lap and I agreed. Even though I was completely into her, my insecurity still flexed its muscles when she reached under my shirt and caressed my pudgy belly, and I flinched as if she might rip my heart out or otherwise humiliate me. Yet Susan persevered and I was amazed that she genuinely liked me. By the end of the night, we were lying next to each other in my hotel room, mostly naked, watching amputees and amputee fetishists on Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, or some other crass TV show. It was hard not to find it hilarious, until Susan's hand wandered into my underpants.
"Am I doing it right?" she asked after about three minutes, a look of confusion on her face.
I reassured her that she was, wondering why she asked such a strange question and with so much concern. I started to reciprocate and for a while, things appeared to be going well. I was very excited, or terrified. Then, abruptly, she stopped.
"Is everything OK?" I asked.
"Yes, let's just not, OK?" she said, instantly transferring her earlier confusion over to me.
"OK," I said.
We naked hugged, finished watching and laughing at the show, then went to sleep. The next time I saw Susan, it was to watch a movie together as friends. We never spoke about that night in the hotel room, and it took me way too much time to piece everything together, but eventually, I realised the cause of Susan's confusion.
Susan had never forgotten that first time we met when my tight trousers left little (although, it turns out, something) to the imagination, except she had assumed the bulge in my trousers was caused by a flaccid penis awaiting arousal. So, when she eagerly reached into my underpants in that hotel room bed years later, she had been expecting me to deliver a bigger package than she found. All the time I had been terrified about her thinking less of me for having an erection in public, that her and her friend had laughed at me just because I found her sexually attractive, when in fact, they thought I was packing something extra special in my pants. There are some things that stick with you forever.
Though Susan and I are still friends, we have never spoken about any of this; it could be that I still have it all wrong. However, it has always brought a smile to my face to recall the day I learned for myself that size can matter. Thankfully, my imaginary giant penis brought a friend into my life, and who can be upset about that?