Last Sunday I’m standing in the queue to check my coat in (I’m at Salvation, an evening club popular with it
boys and muscle men) when Aiden Shaw comes up and nudges me with his shoulder in that playful, big kid kinda way that I expect he still thinks is charming.
Aiden is perhaps the most famous gay porn star ever to come out of Ireland. He has a cult worldwide following, he’s written a few books and apparently Kylie had a magnet of him on her fridge. When Aiden and I started dating, I described him to friends as a thinking man’s porn crumpet (me being the thinking man, natch). He was harder to work out than a Rubik’s Cube in the dark, but I thought that was part of his appeal. That was, until he stood me up a few times and I realised he was just self involved. I called it off and felt empowered because I’d dated someone “famous” without getting too drawn in. Everything was still intact.
Then about a week later I get a text – a real knock out “I miss you, we didn’t really give it a proper chance” text that goes straight to my ego.
So. We decide to eat at my favourite date restaurant, a little Italian place in Soho that’s closed down now - good food, cheap wine, and, most importantly, very quiet. Aiden’s oirish mumble is difficult to understand at the best of times, but in a packed restaurant it’s almost impossible. We take off our coats but before we sit down Aiden says he needs to use the toilet. I flick through the wine list and smile at the waiter when he brings the menus.
A few minutes later Aiden returns. He sits back down and picks up his glass of water.
“I don’t think we should eat here, it’s dirty downstairs.” He doesn’t drink the water, holding it in front of me as if it’s evidence.
“Well, I’ve eaten here before. I’ve never thought it was unclean”
“Fine, we’ll stay.”
The restaurant is quiet, almost silent it seems now, and the people around us are listening intently to our conversation.
“Where should we go?” I ask finally, trying to be diplomatic.
“What about Satsuma?”
“That’s like eating at McDonalds!”
I’m cross now and our discussion continues, more heatedly. Each restaurant I suggest he finds fault in. It seems hopeless.
Then a thought hits me. Why has he really taken me out? It couldn’t be to… He’s wouldn’t… Nobody’s that petty…
Aiden looks at me.
“Maybe we should just leave then. Separately.”
Yes, yes he has. He’s taken me out just so he could dump me.
Back at Salvation and Aiden is mumbling an apology. I’m polite. I’m aware of his charming tendrils and they make me nervous. He’s with friends and is making quite a performance. As I hand over my coat he gives me a final remorseful squeeze on the shoulder and disappears into the club.
While Will and the others are buying their first drink, I nip to the loo. Aiden has just washed his hands. As he walks towards me I smile and put on a silly voice and say “we’ve got to stop meeting like this!” He gives me a half smile, as if embarrassed that I’m so charmless and I let him pass, rolling my eyes to myself and muttering under my breath as I finally reach the urinal.