Monday, 16 August 2010

The Perils Of Drinking

A news piece in Metro ( recently caught my attention and teleported me back in time. The story was about a man who had drunkenly decorated a young girl's face and had been given a ten month prison sentence. Back in my student days, facial decoration was a common pastime after a night out but we never went as far as this guy - gluing someone's eye lashes together with nail varnish sounds pretty foolish and dangerous. I have enough problems applying nail varnish to my finger and toe nails, let alone safely painting it around someone's eyes and the thought of putting nail varnish remover near eyeballs is frankly terrifying.

During the course of the many years I spent in the predominantly male phase of Stanmore Road there was always one game we never tired of playing – pile as many items as possible on top of the regularly slumbering housemate without him waking. This activity was made all the more amusing by trying to arrange the chosen objects in an entertaining fashion and ensuring there was photographic evidence of this achievement. Over the years so many pictures of this particular housemate were snapped while he slept that we were able to create a goodbye slide show when he moved out. One particular night stands out from any of these, although not because I remember it...

For much of my second year when Stanmore had an almost equal male/female split, I had some strange destructive interest in a young man affectionately and aptly named “Bastard Ben”. Despite apologising for his behaviour and promising never to treat me so appallingly again, he repeatedly lived up to his name. Bastard Ben's sidekick had his own destructive interest in me – despite knowing I continued to torture myself over his friend, he seemed to trail around after me. Rather typically it always seems to be the way that the ones we want aren't interested and the unseeable are desperately trying to be spotted. Anyway, this unwanted admirer/keen friend named after a certain chocolate bar aimed at men, attracted the attention he'd been craving one night – just not from me.

Returning from a club night one weekend, he shared a taxi with us and got out at good old Stanmore for a “drink”. A drink later and he clearly wasn't going anywhere so I pulled out the sofa bed and promptly passed out on it. Hours later, I woke up desperately needing the loo. Washing my hands I glanced in the mirror and spotted a smiley face painted on my neck. Too tired to muster any grooming energy, I clambered into my bed, noticing my unwanted admirer sprawled out dangerously close to where I had been lying.

In the morning, my “guest” left in a hurry mocking me for my new neck decor. I thought nothing of his rapid departure, keen to question my housemates about this mysterious face tattoo I seemed to have acquired. They were flabbergasted and in near hysterics when I mentioned it, revealing that angered by his slimy behaviour and retaliating against his attempts to take advantage of me, they had decorated my gentleman caller's face somewhat more thoroughly. Some time before my early hours loo excursion, my fellow sleeper had touched his face to find shaving cream on his cheeks, KY Jelly in his ears (not mine, honestly!) with tampons carefully rested on top like cherries on cup cakes and an array of rainbow coloured make-up brightening his countenance. There were other inventive decorative materials used but now as I recall this story years later, they have unfortunately slipped my mind.

The most poignant element of this tale is that shortly after discovering the array of products smeared across his face, he must have spent sometime thoroughly scrubbing them off using any creams or facial toners he could find in the bathroom. He then went back to bed snuggling close to me so that when I woke some time later, he was disturbingly near and clean faced. The audacity of him mocking me over one tiny smiley face before departing also stands out. It's lucky that his pride over-powered his outrage or my protective housemates might have faced assault charges!

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