Innocent Loverboy

Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

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Penetrate

Just before I slide my smooth, firm cock inside her, I’m euphoric. Not just at what is happening, or what has happened up until now, but about what’s about to happen.

I like the smooth, spreading motion that her lips do as I ease myself inside. The way her labia minora tease the head of my cock, the very tip feeling everything as I go further… deeper.

I like how hard I get, growing harder than I thought I could while inside her. As her inner walls contract around my shaft, I can feel it all. The pulse. The movement. The warmth. So hot, so wet. Where I belong.

I love, love, love the sensation when she tightens up around me. Sometimes I wait for this before I start moving. Sometimes I don’t. It happens after we finish as well.

I am euphoric for all the things I’m about to feel, buried deep inside her cunt.

It hasn’t happened for years… but I’ll never forget the feeling.

And I am craving it right now.

The Blame Game

I was watching porn, and I knew it was wrong.

It’s not my fault, I told myself furiously. I’m doing something wrong, but it’s not my fault. At the end of the day, it probably was… if one can find fault with porn; I’ve no problem with it now… but I couldn’t tell myself that.

It’s her fault, I settled on. If she did go out with me, I wouldn’t need to watch any of this stuff. I’m only watching it for the kissing, anyway, and if she kissed me, then maybe I could…

A bare-faced lie. But then again, I never would act on any of my crushes. It was probably hard enough for her anyway. In any case, this was different. Porn was about sex. I never imagined having sex with anyone I fancied – even a hug would be enough. I didn’t get hugs either, but…

It’s BBC2’s fault, then, I offered. If they weren’t showing Dangerous Touch then I wouldn’t be watching it.

Never mind the fact that I always perused Radio Times for every bit of erotica I could find on Channel 5. BBC2 showing something was a novelty. I’d probably have been watching it anyway, no matter what channel it was on, but nevertheless. What was I supposed to do – blame the entire media?

It’s the production company’s fault, a little voice said. They’re making sexy stuff and putting it on TV. It can’t be your fault if you’ve got no control over what film companies make.

My head started to hurt as the cogs in my brain whizzed around trying to find someone else to blame. My parents? No. My sister? Hardly. My friends? Probably not – although Lightsinthesky’s constant sex talk didn’t help. My school? I didn’t know; our year 9 sex ed may have been relatively limited, but they didn’t talk about the ethics of porn.

I could take pot shots at everyone, but then I was the one watching the porn. I could have easily turned off the TV, but I didn’t. I just kept on watching.

At the end of the day, the only one to blame was me.

So I did.

QuoteQuest: Walter

It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.

marquis de sade

and

Some boys are sissies by nature but I was a sissy by conviction.

frank o’connor

I am, to use the common parlance, a wimp. I’ve never been quiet about that, or ashamed – it’s just who I am. I am incredibly sensitive, both mentally and physically: look for a soft spot, and you’ll find one all over. Any sort of stimulus is one I can feel, and at the correct time, the right sort of physical touch is all I need for a galaxy brain moment – get my right nipple in your mouth as I’m about to come, and I’ll most likely see through time.

Walter knows where it's at.
Hard same, my friend.

But I don’t like pain very much.

Understatement of the century, right there. I can’t stand pain. Hypersensitivity isn’t a friend there, and although I’m always receptive to being touched (anywhere, by anyone) – back scratches, hair strokes, long cuddles, spooning despite what GOTN thinks – I can’t abide being hurt. It doesn’t do much for me, and it doesn’t help. It’s a distraction.

And it makes me cry. Some people find crying boys sexy. It’s not meant to be sexy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been hurt during sex. Alicia used to spank me very hard while I was on top. I’d howl with pain, which she interpreted as pleasure, but she seemed to be enjoying it, so I didn’t say anything. I almost died of dehydration giving the Seamstress head underneath a duvet (but kept going until she came, for… reasons). Catherine’s lack of restraint left a hand-shaped mark on my arse; energetic sex with Louise left my muscles sore; I even managed to injure myself once, during sex with Jilly, slamming my head against the wall (but that was an accident!).

I may not be aiming for pain during sex. But I’m no stranger to it. It just… happens. This is the sort of thing that happens to me. I’m expecting it, frankly.

I’m also not overly comfortable with delivering pain. I’m not a particularly violent boy, and even with the consent that’s necessary for any sort of sexual contact, I don’t really know how to do it. I’ll do a few (soft) spanks if she wants – I’m a percussionist, after all – and I’ve even wielded a vegan rubber-tipped flogger at some points. But this is, in every case, for her pleasure, and at her request. Given the choice, I prefer kisses as foreplay.

This extends outside of the bedroom, of course. Slaps in porn make me flinch. Crying babies make me nervous. I don’t like shouty teachers, or strict parents, or authoritative bosses. I had a massive panic attack once watching a fisherman kill a fish. Upset children are a specific weakness, too – mostly girls, in fact. I can’t emotionally deal with any of these things.

And I really don’t like pain.

I’m aware this may be painting me as the antithesis of so many of my fellows in the sex-positive community. But it’s for the reasons above that I don’t partake in BD/SM or hardcore porn. If I can live a softer, safer and more comfortable sex life, then I will… because, on the most basic of levels, it doesn’t hurt nearly as much.

Doesn’t mean I don’t fuck hard, though.

QuoteQuest

Missive to a Miss

Between ten and fifteen years ago I had a stop-over in Manchester on the way home from… somewhere up north; I forget where, exactly. I know Manchester with a kind of vague familiarity which makes it seem both navigable and forbidding.

Seeing as I only had about 45 minutes to kill, rather than heading out to do anything interesting, I walked down a street I knew from Piccadilly Station, into a corner shop, and bought a sandwich, a chocolate bar, crisps, a Sprite and an issue of Batman: Legends.

On my way back to the station I pulled out my Nokia 8210 and started writing an SMS message.

[Pause while ILB feels himself age exponentially and is suddenly confronted by his own mortality. As you were.]

I’m in Manchester briefly for a stop-over from [wherever it was]. How are you doing?

My message was, as far as I was aware, loaded with subtext. There was a lot to be said in “how are you doing?”. Quite clearly, in fact, my text had a much deeper meaning. What it genuinely said was something like, “hey, I know we’re friends, but I’ve genuinely got a crush on you and I wanted to tell you that from a safe enough distance so I don’t get hit. Manchester is very far away so it seems like the right time.”

Except that was all hidden. Hopefully, however, she’d get the message. It was Valentine’s, so obviously she would.

I’m not well, she pinged back. Laid up in bed with a terrible virus – well, you’ve got to end up in bed with something on Valentine’s 😉 I hope you are okay!

It wasn’t the message I was expecting to get back. But then again, it wasn’t a bad message, either. I was sorry to hear she was unwell, and so I thought I’d respond, trying to avoid the obvious “I’d rather it were me in your bed” comments which I would never have had the balls to send in the first place.

I’m sorry to hear that, I tapped back. Maybe I can see you soon once you feel better? Happy Valentine’s!

Yes, that seemed safe.

I swiped back in at Manchester Piccadilly and was just scanning the board for whichever train would get me southbound as soon as possible when my text alert sounded again. My heart, which was already beating painfully fast due to the fact that I’d sent an unsolicited Valentine, ricocheted around my chest for a while before it settled down enough to get my hand into my pocket.

Happy Valentine’s to you too!

I stood there in something between shock and awe. Here, on a screen in front of me, was a response to a Valentine which didn’t consist of revulsion, ignorance or outright rejection. From someone who I actually fancied. On Valentine’s Day itself. With an exclamation mark!

What could this mean?!

I found my train, got a double seat to myself, set up my lunch and fired up one of the CDs I’d brought with me to keep me entertained throughout the journey.

But I didn’t reply to her message… for I had nothing else to say.

Or, at least, I did.

But I wasn’t going to, was I?

Watering Hole

You’ve got infinite patience
And the scent of the sea
Love these days when I’m near you
Watering hole, watering hole

Scene: It’s 8pm or thereabouts, and it’s autumn, so it’s already dark outside. I’m sleepy – leaning to the right, my head resting against the cool glass. The rain rolls down the window, and as I let my eyes blur, the watery shades of cars going past become little, indistinct lights. The M1 is busy – it’s always busy – but I’m in my little bubble here, so I’m all right.

I’ve got James’ seventh studio album Whiplash in my Sony Discman, my trusty, battered headphones putting up a valiant effort and filling my ears with the familiar music. I’ve listened to this album so many times in the past couple of years. Among all the tracks, hidden behind things like She’s a Star and Waltzing Along, sits Watering Hole. I have no idea exactly what the recording process for this was. But it’s trippy.

The rumble of the coach’s wheels, the whoosh – whoosh – whoosh of the cars beetling down outside, the constant patter of rainfall on the pitch-black windows and the deadpan mumble of Tim Booth all blend into one.

I may be chill, but I’m not content. The weekly coach trip back to London means that I’ve had to leave Rebecca, once again. The trip there, on Friday evenings with my magic box, is a fun one, full of anticipation and excitement (and perhaps a little horn). On the way back, it’s a feeling of deflation. I may, of course, be filled with good memories, accomplishments, achievements and a general good feeling (and, let’s be honest, probably well-fucked, too, as we tended to have sex just before I left).

But it’s not a good feeling. Nothing positive is awaiting me at home. I have work tomorrow and I hate it there. I’m not fond of school right now, either; it’s far too stressful and doesn’t really let up. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, but that’s about it. Whiplash is my saving grace. I’ve got Gold Mother in my box as well, so I might put that on next.

I do this every week, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise. It doesn’t, really. I’ll do it again next week. And the week after that. And the week after that, as well.

A cloud shifts and the dark, rainy M1 is temporarily bathed in milky moonlight. This makes me feel better, for some reason.

And I start planning next week in my head.

QuoteQuest: Letter 20

A morning coffee is my favourite way of starting the day, settling the nerves so that they don’t later fray.

marcia carrington

Much as I like coffee in the morning (and hot chocolate, malted drinks, fruit juice, warm milk, or anything soft that tastes like lemon or cherry…), when I’m in a pinch, it’s tea that I keep coming back to. While there’s a blog post about how it’s my favourite thing to quaff while writing, a simple search for the term brings it up so frequently that I do have to wonder if such a post was at all necessary.

I’d forgotten all about dicksplash.

Tea was a very important part of my first relationship (ironically, since throughout the course of my fourth relationship, both of us have mainlined coffee so much we’ve both worked in coffee shops). It was a cornerstone, of sorts: during my two-day weekend visits, our Saturday mornings always started with tea. Tea would herald the fact that we were up, and active, and it became so much of a ritual that she wouldn’t kiss me before we’d had tea.

Tea also punctuated our heady days (as it was readily available – I like to think I have a healthy relationship with tea; with her, it was becoming a problem). With lunch, which happened soon after breakfast as we were sickeningly slack in getting out of bed, we had tea. Mid-afternoon, we had tea. Listening to music – tea. Chatting with 47 – tea. Working on the computer game we wrote together – tea.

And after sex… of course… tea. Cuddles too. But mostly tea.

In fact, practically every relationship I’ve had has involved tea in some significant way. Louise imported British tea to her place in South Africa because she missed it so much. Alicia asked me to pick up some milk on the way to her flat, lest we run out and have to forsake tea. Snowdrop promised me that she would “make us both a brew” before utterly ruining me on the bed upstairs. Although the drinking girl was more fond of gin, her mother made a very nice cup of tea (and even offered me one mid-wank once, fortunately through the door). Catherine’s mum regularly made me two cups of tea, for the simple fact that I could drink one after the other.

And this blog post, in fact, is brought to you by a battered, chipped mug from Eroticon, containing a nice, strong cup of… well, you don’t need me to finish that sentence, do you?

*

In 2005 I saw a friend at camp attempting to drink a cup of tea approximately the size of his head. Having failed to find an appropriate mug, he had taken a two-litre measuring jug and thrown in a couple of teabags, a tablespoonful of sugar and a sizeable amount of milk, then topped the whole thing off with boiling water and gave it a stir.

“Sleep is for the weak,” he answered all the unasked questions.

But I drink tea before I go to sleep.

QuoteQuest

Keeping the British End Up: Emmanuelle in Soho (1981)

This one’s on Amazon Prime if you want to watch it. But, you know, don’t.

Soft porn experts (such as myself) and the more clued-up will probably have noticed that the Emmanuelle series has its own recurring motifs. All incarnations of Emmanuelle have, at some point, been seen on (or near) a wicker chair. She’s always bisexual. She’s always a hedonist, to some degree. And she’s always, always spelled correctly, with two Ms – Emmanuelle.

“Who are you?”
“I’m Emmanuelle.”
“One M or two?”

Emmanuelle through time: Emmanuelle’s forbidden pleasures (2011)

And then there are the unofficial ones – not just the Black Emanuelle series with Laura Gemser, but a whole glut of others (some not even featuring a character called Emanuelle!) with the label slapped on – dodging copyright simply by eliminating the wicker chair and one of the Ms.

So how they actually managed to release this I have no idea!

Emmanuelle in Soho (1981)
Director: David Hughes
Starring: Mandy Miller, Julie Lee, John East, et al.

Naked woman standing in front of... London, I presume? Dunno, really.
Neither of these women are Emmanuelle. Yes, I know.

This one is a strange mix of sex comedy, sexploitation and a satire on the British sex industry (and, indeed, the US release – yes, there’s a US release – starts with a short documentary on the Soho adult films market). Like a lot of the other British sex comedies I’ve seen, it does at times appear to be a little confused about what it’s actually trying to do. There’s also very little sex. Man…

So, the plot. Struggling photographer Paul (Kevin Fraser) and his unsatisfied wife Kate (Julie Lee) live in Soho. They have been trying to make it big, but to no avail; therefore, their openly sexual pal Emmanuelle (Angie Quick credited as Mandy Miller) gets involved. Emmanuelle is presented here as a very British, very leggy blonde who, the first time we see her, is trying to sleep with Paul. Paul, however, is a married man and not up for being caught in flagrante delicto.

The first scene – the very first – reminds me starkly of why I found this very difficult to watch. The lines are delivered in a relatively piecemeal, monotone way – specifically from Paul, whose pitch and cadence neither vary nor amuse. None of the jokes really land, and because the scenes are so short (the film itself moves at a breakneck pace), I’ve found myself having to pause to puzzle out what’s going on at times!

Naked women doing... naked woman stuff.
Nudity!

Erotically speaking, we do indeed get a lot of the traditional “nudity without sex” here – as early as the second scene, which has Paul doing his photography thing with Emmanuelle and model Sammy (Kathy Green). They are getting increasingly naked as the scene goes along, and although Paul is being a professional, the girls are getting into it. Were it not for the fact that Paul genuinely says…

“bisexuality is very fashionable these days…”

…I might understand what’s going on here.

In fact, it’s those random, innocuous lines that throw me. We get things like “I’m a straight guy in a bent business” (Paul), “I’m always sexy early in the morning” (Emmanuelle) and “I wouldn’t handle his prick, let alone his business!” (Bill) coming in ten-a-penny, presumably to raise a smile, whereas all I’m raising in an eyebrow. Yes, it may be that this flick is from a less enlightened time, but you can’t possibly tell me that they’re even funny, never mind appropriate!

Kenneth Williams' stunt double meets some woman with a mullet.
Emmanuelle seducing Bill. I will admit that that Emanuelle poster on the wall is a nice touch.

The antagonist is Bill Anderson (John M. East – also the co-writer and co-producer of this!), a sleazy porn producer who, I assume, is meant to embody the seedy, untrustworthy side of Soho. Emmanuelle, after sleeping with him (I assume – the scene cuts away), gets signed to his business with Paul representing her; Kate takes a job as a stripper to make ends meet. That’s it. That’s the film.

There is, somewhere here, a blackmail plot – something to do with our heroes having enough of Bill’s bullshit and fleecing him out of cash – but there’s very little of that. The majority of this is inoffensive nudity – not just Paul’s increasingly desperate photo sessions and Kate’s stripping for the very camp theatre director, but the obligatory “naked party scene” (we’ve seen this trope before) which takes up about a third of the hour-long runtime.

By the end, we don’t really care too much for the plot, which I suppose shouldn’t really be a surprise. What is a surprise is the fact that Emmanuelle in Soho‘s only actual sex scene takes place right at the end.

As I’ve said above, while there’s a lot of nudity, there’s very little sex in this. Scenes which involve some amount of sex either involve disrobing before they cut away, getting to a bed but nothing ends up being particularly explicit, or naked kissing, which may well be nice, but it’s fairly obvious what it is (and/or what it isn’t).

Got milk?
The scene. They don’t really get any closer than this.

Here’s an example. In the third act there’s a lesbian sex scene in a bath of milk (yes), which cuts away and back several times. Each time we can see the girls kissing in a different position, but there’s clearly no touching elsewhere. Yes, it’s difficult to film lesbian sex, but it looks a little socially distanced at times. You could have the ladies wrapped around each other to kiss and that would give some indication as to what you’re aiming for. It doesn’t really work otherwise!

The final sex scene, which actually looks like a sex scene, is well-shot, but spoiled slightly by the context. Kate spends her time narrating over it – Derek (her male lover) is the other participant – but what happened to Paul? In Kate’s words, “he turned out to be homosexual, and into little boys. I like horny men.”

Excuse me?

Naked woman rides a gormless man in front of the least realistic depiction of a tiger since Tony.
I’m sorry to report that this isn’t a real tiger.

So there’s a completely new, totally superfluous gay paedophilia subplot here, which serves no purpose at all (other than to give Kate an out, I suppose). It’s both disturbing and ridiculous… plus, there’s been no indication at all of any of this for the rest of the movie! It’s the worst kind of ending: something so out-of-the-blue, so contrived, and so tacked on (not to mention ethically dodgy and maybe even a little homophobic!).

Emmanuelle’s not even in it that much!

So, yes. Emmanuelle in Soho is a confusing, disjointed mess. There’s a plot I’m not interested in, nudity which is so commonplace it doesn’t serve to titillate, sex which doesn’t happen, and a postscript so ridiculous that I had to rewind it three times to make sure I wasn’t hearing things!

Incredibly, I think I’d prefer this sort of film without a supposed Emmanuelle name, unofficial or not. It doesn’t do anything but sully it!

Trichofurarimania

What’s this?
A hair!
She left a hair on the board!
It’s mine now.

The impending splash (2000)

The silver girlone of the unfortunates I had a crush on – was, through no design of her own, the unwilling recipient of yearning, angsty poetry. I spent my time, during breaks and lunch, in the library writing it.

We had a sort of routine. Einstein would sit there, saying very little; Lightsinthesky would be working on one of his unspeakably violent sci-fi novels or trying to draw what the inside of a black hole looked like; Music Man would be writing things in ɿɘvɘɿƨɘ, ɒƨ wɒƨ ʜiƨ wɒγ; Man o’ War and our token black friend would be engaged in some sort of discourse about the events of the day…

…and I’d be writing my poetry.

Whether or not the silver girl, with whom I later became friends, was ever aware of what I was doing was uncertain, but I’m fairly sure she didn’t know. I certainly never showed it to her; I also had the only hard copy of what was essentially becoming an anthology of woe (although I typed it up, thirty poems later, for my GCSE English teacher to read). Life kept chugging on, but my crush stayed doggedly stuck where it was, and so the poetry kept coming.

The Christmas holidays came and went, and for those two weeks I refrained, before writing one on the very last day about how she probably hadn’t thought about me, not even once.

Eventually, after months of complete inaction and some incredibly embarrassing moments, I wrote The Impending Splash. This was a completely fictional yarn about going swimming with her (ironically, since going swimming with her was how I originally noticed her attractiveness), waiting for my turn on the diving board (again, ironic; I don’t do diving boards) and noticing, before picking up and keeping, one of her hairs (although where I’d put it while wearing nothing except Speedos…).

It’s only yesterday that I realised how creepy that sounds. Certainly her hair was pretty, but I didn’t actually need to own any of it. Take that to its logical extreme and there’s some stalker-level stuff there.

You may be pleased to hear that real-life ILB didn’t then start following the silver girl around looking for loose hairs to plunder. In fact, I stayed far away from her in case she suddenly became physically aggressive in some attempt to exact revenge for my desire. As the years went on, and we gradually became friends (me ardently following her career as she became briefly, but deservedly, famous), my love waned, and with it went my desire to touch – maybe not take, but at the very least touch – her hair.

And then, after a GCSE Science class, she left some of her hair behind – having briefly brushed it before getting off her seat. Loose strands drifted to the floor, little blonde wisps… and I was the only person to notice.

Go on, ILB. You know you want to.

“Hey, ILB! You coming?” Einstein called from the corridor.
“Right,” I replied, bustling off after him, leaving the silver girl’s hair where it lay…

…making sure, as I did, to touch it – ever so briefly – with my foot.

Soft Porn Sunday: Heidi Schanz & Tom Berenger

If you recognise those names, you’re not alone. This film, despite the “early-’90s soft porn”-style title and limp thriller set-up, is a genuine mainstream thriller with actual actors, albeit rated R (the BBFC might render this as either a 15 or 18 – but that’s up to them) and containing a fair amount of nudity and even some sex.

Tom “was in Inception “was in Inception “was in Inception“”” Berenger is the star here, as attorney Gavin, working hard on defending a Mafia don, when Pandora Circe (Heidi “out of The Truman Show” Schanz) rocks up looking for his help. She’s hot, and has a story to tell about a brutal husband, so of course Gavin is interested.

Anyway, that’s the set-up and it’s all you’re getting.

Appearance: Body Language (1995)
Characters: Pandora “Dora” Circe & Gavin St. Claire

Hmmm, Gavin has a porn star surname.

Kiss the miss.
Are you as worried as I am about the fact that Gavin doesn’t appear to have eyes?

The scene I’m going to be looking at is, for a mainstream flick, genuinely quite explicit for a mainstream film, and of course it happens between Dora and Gavin, so I suppose there’s some amount of “star power” here. Like many mainstream films, there isn’t much build-up to the sex in a sex scene either; whereas genuine softcore might spend time focusing on disrobing and/or foreplay, Body Language makes do with a brief kiss followed by a jump cut to the sex, so at the very least, we don’t have to wait.

There are a few dimly-lit close-ups to begin with, but at 00:13 we get a full-body shot, which unfortunately means that you have to see Berenger’s bum, but leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind of what’s actually going on here. There’s even quite a lot of steam between the two of them – Dora and Gavin are working off a fair amount of passion that’s been building up, so…

I don't know about you, but I think he's a bit of a bum man.
He’s got a better bed, but I’ve got a better arse.

In fact, it’s the closeness that makes this scene. The other shots prove to highlight this – deep, lusty kisses in tight head-and-shoulders shots; rolling over without breaking the connection; grabbing the back of the head; plenty of moans and gasps (from her; he makes a noise like Christopher Walken at the beginning, which…). We switch to Dora riding Gavin at 00:37, by which point it’s more than believable that they are both genuinely into this.

So, the riding. As I’ve said before, this scene is genuinely quite explicit, but for a fair amount of time the camera doesn’t focus on anything except Dora’s head and shoulders (and her pretty hair). As it isn’t porn, that’s clearly a stylistic choice, and not having boobs on show doesn’t really take anything away from the scene – they’re just absent enough to be noticeable.

Yaaaaaaaaaawn...
Yes, I too like to play at “going to the dentist” during sex.

In fact, although we do see her back and bum a few times, the one time her boobs could be on display, they are covered by Gavin’s hands. Nevertheless, they are both naked throughout this scene, and there’s enough bump’n’grind to keep everything ticking along nicely. Even the moans increase in volume, which… helps, I guess?

Having said all that, this isn’t real softcore and the sex isn’t the focus, however much of it we may see. There is, however, a nice postscript to this scene, with a fully naked Dora getting a drink from the ‘fridge afterwards. I’m aware she’s just had sex, so she should be, but it’s nice to normalise both nudity around the house and getting a cold drink after sex.

Oh, and fishkeeping.

Paracheirodon innesi +++
It’s not meant o be the focus, but that’s such a nice fish tank…

The only thing I really don’t like about this scene, really, is the music. But, again, softcore pays a lot more attention to music than other genres do. This scene uses semi-orchestral piano and woodwind stuff, which I suppose does suit the mood. It’s not particularly inspiring, but it doesn’t stick in my head. Mind you, this is one minute of passionate lovemaking, so that’s a minor quibble.

Overall, then, this is A Good Scene (and thanks to the reader who sent it in). It’s quick, it’s hot, it’s filmed well, and yes, it isn’t from actual softcore at all…

…AND YES, I’M VERY ANNOYED ABOUT THAT!

Evangelism

In the early weeks of December I was well aware that I was truly in the twilight of my employment. I was holding out a little hope – although very little indeed – that I wouldn’t have to leave (and I’m still having dreams, including those of last night, in which I’m either still employed or have managed to inveigle my way back in), but realistically, I was leaving, and I knew it.

I told myself that I wouldn’t be too cavalier in my approach to work, even in those final days, if I wanted to either continue in the career I had started to forge or stand any chance of getting back there. And so, for the most part, I didn’t.

For the most part.

Part of my daily duty involved finding a computer and using it to log my activities (on the assumption that they’d be read. I’m not sure they were.); computers were in plentiful supply on the top floor, but that involved effort. I’d go to the break room, get myself a cup of tea and use the one computer in there. Occasionally there were biscuits, so you can see where my priority lies.

At that point in the day, the break room was usually populated by middle-aged women who came in a little early before starting the late shift. We were always cordial, despite not really crossing paths at any point during the day; there was, however, some amount of camaraderie going on. I hardly ever joined in with their conversations, though, as I can’t really identify with discussions of how many children one has.

Until, one day in the week before my final, the topic of sex toys came up.

I don’t know who broached the subject, but I’m fairly certain that it was another colleague of mine – a tall, sporty black dude whose main job was to stand outside (and he did so, too, even in winter, which commands a certain amount of respect on his own!). He has, like all of us, his filter, but seemingly feels it loosen when nobody else is listening.

Even to my untrained ears, the conversation was grating. Ann Summers was being frequently named, as were the unspecified term “vibrator” and the agonisingly vague “rabbit”. Somebody had to say something.

“What you WANT to be using,” I said in a loud, clear voice, “is SOMETHING called DOXY. It’s doing a lot of trade and is VERY well-regarded.”
Everyone looked at me.
“What was that?” asked one of the middle-aged women, while the sporty guy flashed a full-beam smile in my direction.
“Doxy,” I said clearly. “D – O – X – Y. It’s a personal massager, which…”
“It’s a what?”
“It’s a sex toy, it’s a sex toy,” I acquiesced. “It’s not exactly the market leader, but according to everyone I’ve talked to it’s by far the best…” Not to mention there’s one on my bedside table. But I’m not going to add that.
“How do you know about this?”

For once, I had an answer ready.

“Because I know the guy who runs the company,” I shrugged, which is technically true. I’ve met him. He’s the one the Doxy on my bedside table is from (although, again, it’s actually my girlfriend’s Doxy, even if I’m usually the one wielding it). He seems really nice. And it seemed to be a satisfying enough answer.
“Mmmmmm,” said someone. “That’s good advice. I’ll make sure to be asking you again if you know about this sort of thing.”

Dangerous territory. Evidently I do know about this sort of thing. I just can’t let conversations about this go unnoticed. So I chose the immediate course of evasive action, steering this Doxy-shaped boat out of the shark-infested waters.

“You’re welcome to ask me,” I said, “but it’ll have to be quick. I’m leaving at the end of next week.”
“You’re leaving?” everyone said at the same time.
“Unfortunately, it’s true,” I said, with a small, sad smile. “Contractual, though. Nothing to do with me.”

I got up to wash my teacup, it being a truth universally acknowledged that my end of day usually followed said action.

It was on my way out of the door that I heard my name being called. Of course, said the voice in my head, this is the point where someone genuinely tells you that they are going to miss you. Of all the people you’ve told, everyone’s been very professional. Maybe one of these ladies will actually say that.

I turned around.

“What was the name of that toy again?”

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