Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Last week I opted to give up the Stellas and the sherbet for a while. It's a decision I take every so often, a resolution so regular you can set your Rolex by it. The difference this time was that my decision to detox was taken not in the shambles of an oh-my-god-how-drunk-was-I-last-night, self-loathing sort of daze, but arrived upon in the cold and sober, holier-than-thou light of day. I need to get into better shape for the summer, you see, and I'd like to sport a six-pack made up of ripped and toned muscle, rather than one produced by Belgium's best.
Of course, this abstinence lark isn't quite as simple as that. For starters, I am a gay man hitting his mid-life crisis slap-bang in the middle of London's Old Compton Street. We all know the Homopolis is centred around ever so stylish establishments, where booze lubricates our social lives, as well as giving us a far better chance for a cheap and not-too-choosey shag at closing-time. Standing with a Highland Spring in the middle of a bunch of up-for-it, havin'-it-large metro-queens is not a recommended look, and definitely not an advisable frame of mind in which to find oneself.
And then there's the restaurant dilemma. I love to dine out, and can usually pick out the healthier options on the menu, but for me a meal, even a Chinese with green tea, isn't a meal without a fine bottle of wine. I also like to eat out à deux, candlelight optional, and it's hardly fair to expect your dining companion to down a whole bottle of Bordeaux themselves, now, is it? He'd be pissed and passed out by pudding, and what use is he going to be to you then?
So if I'm really serious about staying off the booze, then it looks like my only alternative is to give up this gay thing altogether, and dust down the Delia and start cooking for myself. If I need any social interaction, I can always try my friendly straight pub on the corner, which serves pretty damn fine coffee, and whose heterosexual clientele have far better things on their mind than getting their end away with that drunken hairdresser from Ilford.
But when your pint's already being poured for you before you've even reached the bar, just as it was last night, and it's a pint of your usual because that what you always drink and they aren't going to let you stop now, then you begin to suspect you might just be on the losing side in the booze wars.
Cheers, mate, but just a half, mind? Oh, well, if you twist my arm…