Pills and Puke

This is not the “amazing” club I was told about. The blacked out windows are covered in dirty ripped flyers and the two bouncers are uglier than Sloth outta the Goonies.

‘This is a shit hole.’

‘What?’ The Ex says.

She’s not really listening because she’s chewing her face off.

‘This place . . . is a fucking shit hole.’

‘Nah, it’s right,’ she says. ‘Wait til you get inside, the tunes are amazing.’

She’s already throwing miniature dance moves out on the spot even though there’s no music.

I look behind at the disorderly queue filled with spotty chins and Reebok Classics. Looking down at my V neck sweater, black pants and brown slip-ons I can’t help but feel a little over dressed. The Ex looks like a celebrity compared to the other females in the queue. Bleached blonde, Shell-Suit wearing girls are looking her up and down and rubbing their Sovereign rings in anticipation for when she goes to the toilet so they can punch her in belly and rob her Lipbarm and fake Louis Vitton handbag.

‘I think we should go somewhere else.’

‘What?’

Fuck me I’m alone.

‘Urrhhhh fffbbbhmnjh,’ Sloth Number One says in some type of Irish/Australian/Klingon accent. We shuffle forward because we’ve been to enough clubs to understand what it means. Sloth Number Two points to a cross eyed brunette, with pigtails and knee length socks, who’s sitting behind a small table with a tin and stamping equipment. She’s either eighteen years old or sixty, I can’t tell. But I kinda fancy her anyway in a weird sort of, it’s the socks probably, reminds me of school.

Fuck me I’m sweating.

‘Yygbhbdb jnjdbnjd,’ Sloth Number Two says and the two Sloths point at my shoes and laugh. That hasn’t helped with the paranoia.

The brunette’s definitely not eighteen either because my Gran has the same hands. She stamps both of our wrists with what looks like a pigeon which I can only presume is supposed to be a Phoenix considering that’s the name of this hole.

‘Fiver.’ The brunette says.

I fumble in my pockets for an eternity. Everyone’s waiting for me. Eyes are burning the back of my head and the brunette is thinking about spitting in my face.

I hand her the money.

She stares at me as if I’ve asked her to find the square route of 1525.

‘Each.’ She says.

Fuckin’ ‘ell, I’m sweating now. Why did I wear wool jumper to a club? I have a shirt on underneath but if I take the V-neck off now I’ll look like a right nob. It’s not as simple as you think. The only way to take it off, without messing my perfectly gelled hair up, is to stretch the opening from opposite sides to make sure I miss my head. My shirt will probably ride up my back as well completing the unwanted task of making me look like a nob.

I hand her a second fiver and she points with her thin eyebrows towards a set of double doors which look like the opening to a crack den in a 1980’s New York back street where men get raped and women are forced to watch while toothless addicts jump around laughing and squealing while pounding them furiously from behind and beating ’em’ with a metal bin lid.

The Ex wriggles and chucks dance moves out (still, no music!) while I walk sheepishly towards the door, looking down at my shoes and thinking, where’s my drugs? Which of course has nothing to do with my perfect slip-on shoes which I personally cleaned with Pledge Furniture Polish this evening.

I push the door open and to my horror, and I mean this sincerely, complete fuckin’ horror, there’s about seven people in there, including staff. Bouncers are such dicks, they keep you waiting outside for ages and you, as in me, come to the conclusion that while you’re waiting outside in the shitty Manchester weather, you’re about to enter a vibrant, absolutely amazing hidden gem . . . I’m waffling.

There’s probably more than seven but I’m fucking paranoid and sweating like a teenager buying a porno.

‘I thought you said this was some sort of super club?’

‘What?’ The Ex says in-between dance formations.

You know what, I’m gonna get mangled and see what happens!

I walk, the Ex tip toes, towards the refreshingly empty bar.

‘What do you wanna drink?’

‘Malabo and lemonade.’

‘Nothin’ wrong with your hearing now.’

‘What?’

Fuck me.

She peels off towards an elevated viewpoint of the dance-floor. Not to close to the soon-to-be squashed clubbers, and not to far away from the bar that we have to mish later on to get to it.

The barman says, ‘What can I get you?’

Time out. I have issues. Not emotional ones. I’m talkin’ about my ability to physically take drugs. It all started while living through a year long amphetamine binge. When the dirty yellow paste was wrapped in a Rizlar and raised towards my mouth, my body would clench and rebel in response to the chemical currently on route. Basically, in-order to take the drug, I had to fight the retching which occurred every single time and make sure I had a wide glassed drink, preferably non-alcoholic, but not essential, which I could fill my mouth with, preventing even the paper from coming into contact with my tongue. I tell you this because you need to know why what happens next, isn’t my fault.

The barman repeats, ‘What can I get you pal?’

‘Malabo and lemonade, and . . .’

I search the fridges behind the bar and the beer pumps. I have no idea what any of this shit is. No Guinness, no Fosters. It’s to early for red wine and if I order a G&T I reckon they’ll get the bouncers to eject me, or worst, shame me for havin’ impeccable taste.

‘Bottle of Bud please.’

I hate Bud, always have. It’s the pressure, if he’d have given me more time I could have reflected on past experiences and assessed my current predicament clearer.

‘Six quid,’ the barman says.

Cheap, I like it. The money’s already in my hand. That’s mint. Maybe this night’s moving forward? I turn and face the room and it’s rammed. From nowhere there’s fit girls everywhere, all wearing dresses and high heels and all that shit. There’s still plenty of scruffs knocking about but maybe I judged to quickly? Maybe I don’t know what the fuck is going on? I know this tune that’s kicking in and I like it!

Where are my drugs?

Right hand slips into right Jonny pocket. Small bag, several pills, quick scan around the room, no one cares, remove bag, remove pill . . .

‘Av’ you been here before?’ Asks the lovely smile with long brown hair.

‘Erm.’

‘Do you know anyone with any pills?’

‘Erm.’

She’s joined by a group of her friends and I’m forgotten like a cheese slice at the bottom of the fridge. I look around the room again and see the Ex posturing at the side of the dance floor like a mating peacock. How does she get into it so quickly? I raise the pill to my mouth and drop the pill onto my tongue.

My stomach clenches. My eyes widen. My arseholes opens wide and I snap it shut!

Stay calm.

Where’s the drink?

I turn to the side and grab the bottle of Bud off the bar.

Thin, not quite spit and not quite sick seeps into my mouth.

Stay calm.

The Bud arrives at my mouth and I take a large gulp but the stupid little hole prevents the beer from filling my mouth adequately. I swallow but the stubborn pill’s moved from my tongue and it’s now wedged to the back of my throat.

My stomach performs a somersault and my mouth fills with sick.

Get back down there fucker!

I swallow it down and place my free hand on the bar for support.

Stay calm.

Here it comes.

Sick fills my mouth again. More than the first time and with more force but still manageable.

Get back down there fucker!

The brunette smiles at me. I return the gesture with a buffoon like grimace and she raises an eyebrow and turns back to her friends.

In that moment. The milisecond after she turns away, I projectile vomit all over the lower half of her lovely brown hair.

I wipe my mouth with cat-like reflexes and scan the room.

Nothing.

Not a single person saw. A group of lads, with gelled hair and shiny shoes, just like me, enter through the shitty double doors and immediately start chucking out some serious dance moves. All eyes are on them. Nice one.

Should I tell her? I feel bad. What a shit thing to happen so early in the night.

I swig from the pointless Bud and turn to the bar for the Ex’s drink and right there in the brunette’s hair is my pill. It’s right there sitting on a piece of carrot.

Just leave it, walk away. You’ve got loads.

Eight quid’s eight quid though.

I reach forward and pinch the pill between my fingers and place it into my back pocket. I look around, swig from my Bud, grab the Ex’s drink and slide away, smooth as fuck.

Close one.

I pass the Ex her drink and take in the sights of the dance-floor. It’s filling up nicely and the tunes are mint. Maybe I judged too early? Need to take this jumper off somewhere private.

‘I’m just nipping to the . . .’

You know what, I’ll just leave her to it.

The pill I took at the other bar is kickin’ in. Don’t know why I was bothering to take another one so soon. I open the toilet door and yes! Empty. I rush over to the mirror and expertly, slide both arms out of the sleeves then gently, because all my jumpers would be fucked if I was too rough, widen the hole so I can lift it over my head, completely missing the hair. Shirt’s looking a little creased but all-in-all, lick of the lips, double check for white shit in the corners of the mouth, looking good.

I walk out of the toilet, the brunette’s outside the ladies crying with a couple of her friends.

‘It’s sick.’ One friend says.

‘You’re jokin’?’ Brunette says.

‘Someone’s been sick in your hair.’ Another friend confirms.

One friend touches it and even gives it a little sniff. She’s a good un.

‘Definitely sick.’ Another friend says.

The brunette starts to cry. Real sobs. Real pain. The poor girl.

‘Did you manage to sort any pills out?’

All the girls look at me like I’ve just walked in on them havin’ a shit.

‘At the bar earlier, you asked for some pills.’

I reach into my back pocket and remove the, perfectly intact, pill which had previously been sitting on a carrot on the back of her head.

‘Here, you can ‘av’ it.’

Brunette takes the pill from me and smiles.

All the the girls in unison say, ‘Ahhhhhhhh.’

I smile and skip away towards the dance-floor, as one of my favourite tunes kicks in, knowing, I’ve just made that poor girls night.

Homebirth; that’s for Hippies, right?

‘Let me get this straight,’ I said. ‘You want to have the baby at home?’

‘Yes,’ she said.

‘In a, what did you call it, a birthing pool?’

‘Mmmhmm,’ she agreed.

‘But what about the mess? What if something goes wrong? The baby could get stuck, what happens if you die babe? Why do you want to die babe, don’t you love me anymore?’

Yes, I might have overreacted a little bit. But, it was confusing, my brow creased and my palms began to sweat, it felt like she’d asked me to calculate the square route of 5000! I couldn’t really grasp what she was suggesting; my third eye exploded with visions of blood and ripped up curtains. I wanted to slap her around the face with a fresh salmon and run out of the room.

Why salmon? We just ate it for tea.

For the whole of my adult life, I’ve been an alternative thinker. I disbelieve everything the government says, the mainstream media is a joke and there’s certainly no desire among the large pharmaceutical corporations to cure diseases. I most definitely believe in aliens and I don’t believe Neil Armstrong really walked on the moon and yet, when Claire suggested having our baby at home, in a birthing pool, I’d never, in all my days heard anything more outrageous.

This was a knee jerk reaction though, a reflex as a result of years of conditioning. Think about all the films you’ve seen, the dramas, the soaps, think about all that pain, the screams . . . and of course, the blood! That was the way women were supposed to give birth wasn’t it? I don’t feel stupid or foolish for having those feelings during the initial conversation. As far as I’m concerned, that was the old me, the new me sees birth in a completely different light.

Because I didn’t have anything to slap her with at the time, I did something useful and fired up the laptop instead. I was going to research the hell out this hippy nonsense and prove to Claire that the safest place to be was in hospital. Before my lazy laptop had even considered saying hello, my first revolutionary thoughts began to filter in. Hospitals are horrible, hospitals are dirty, nobody likes hospitals!

It didn’t take long, I can honestly say, it took less than fifteen minutes to realise a homebirth made perfect sense for us. We would have control over our surroundings. We’d have relaxing tones tinkling away in the background, mood lighting and incense to create an inviting environment. I’d be able to prepare some tasty treats if required, maybe even a glass of organic ale. Only the right people would be present and the option of a water birth would be practically guaranteed. It all seemed too easy.

What about the actual birth though? What happens if the umbilical cord is wrapped around his soft little neck? Wow, did I really believe a midwifes job was just to say push and count between contractions? Oh silly, silly me. A midwife is equipped with all the knowledge and skills necessary to make the tough decisions. There was no reason why we couldn’t plan for a homebirth and in the end, that’s what we did, and it was amazing.

I look back now and see my reaction for what it really was. I was scared for Claire, worried that if something went wrong, I would be defenceless to help. Pretty much what would have happened if she’d have given birth in a hospital of course. For us, having Arlo at home, in our own space with only the key people there to assist meant the experience was ours to enjoy. We didn’t have to worry about strangers coming in and out, poor lighting and unwanted sweeps, (Still have no idea what that actually is, sounds nice though.)

We had a birth plan, written by us and designed to give Claire the experience she deserved. I’m not saying there weren’t a few scary moments but Arlo is my first baby, I’m sure the next one will be even easier!

Chinese Burns and Swinging Chandeliers

I have a weakness. One that causes me a lot of distress. I’m pretty good at covering it up I think. I mean, I’m only passive aggressive when I don’t get it about 70% of the time. The rest, I’ll get pissed or clean the bathroom, cook some veggie burgers, basically, find anything I can do with my hands that lessens the internal, constant, chatter from inside my head.

Did you guess it?

I’m constantly, and I mean this sincerely and without apology, constantly horny! I think it’s a mental illness to be honest. It’s not that I want sex all the time, I know you have to eat and pretend to care about the economy and shit but I definitely want it more than say, watching telly, making money or socialising with family and friends.

If you’d have asked me a few years ago how much sex could you actually handle? I’d probably have said sex for breakfast, mutual masturbation for lunch and a slow candlelit sensual massage and oral sex for tea. And a bit of rough play for dessert. Oh and really naughty sex after a few drinks once or twice a week as well would be lovely.

Although, it’s fair to say, I’ve changed my opinion on this subject somewhat recently. When we were trying for our son, sexy time was on the menu everyday. At first, I thought it was amazing.

‘Right, come on,’ she’d say.

I’d be over in a shot. Kissing, cuddling, fondling our way to the eventual orgasm. It was bliss. For about a month, my life was so sweet. Then one day, it all changed!

‘Right, come on,’ she said.

I dropped whatever I was doing like a sack of spuds, rubbed some warmth into my hands and flipped a fresh mint into my grinning mouth while Dirty Dancing my way over to the bed. Smooth as fuck. I lent down and took in the sight of my beautiful wife. I placed a loving hand on her cheek and kissed her tenderly on the lips.

‘What you doing?’ She said.

‘What?’

‘No time for any of that, just get on with it.’

‘Erm, seriously?’

‘I’ve got a uni assignment to finish.’

Wow! What did she think I was, a piece of meat? How rude. I must admit, as I began taking my pants off I felt a little used but I love my wife so I did what I was told.

‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Just this once.’

I can’t lie, I struggled to enjoy it. She made it worse by constantly checking her watch during but I’m a trooper and with a lot of concentration, I powered on through. A bit like an athlete completing a marathon or a neurosurgeon removing a tumour.

This became the norm. From then on, even if I was tired, or if I wanted to talk about her day, or my feelings goddamit! It didn’t matter. She might as well have had a whip, cracking it on the floor around my feet, ‘Perform for me,’ crack-crack-crack, ‘now!’

My favourite past time became a chore. I’ve never been the type to cry after sex but it was getting close. My penis looked like it had been used for Chinese burn practise but she didn’t care. I couldn’t remember the last time we’d snuggled. She didn’t seem bothered. Who was this beast? This woman on a mission was not the woman I’d fallen in love with. She was a machine. A sperm collecting machine and if I hadn’t have given it willingly, I think she would have taken it by force!

‘I’m a bit tired.’ I said one night.

‘Haha. Funny.’ She said.

‘Seriously, I’m knackered.’

‘Lie down.’

I turned away so she couldn’t see the tear escape from the corner of my eye as I lay on the bed like a good slave. And that was it. That was the limit to my fight. After she’d had her way with me and told me to clean myself up, I realised something. Women are cruel when they want a baby!

Of course, that story is only partly true but what I’m trying to say is, be careful what you ask for because when you get the quantity without the quality you’re left with a shadow of the experience in which you enjoy.

When my wife became pregnant, things settled into a calmer rhythm. We were back to love making and tenderness. Plenty of kissing and fondling and always time for a spot of foreplay. My wife nor I ever had any qualms about having sex while pregnant. We didn’t try the wheelbarrow position or swing from any chandeliers but the intimacy and togetherness we shared during that period brought us even closer together.

Now the little pudding is a toddler and wakes up thirty times a night demanding to be breast fed, our sexual relationship has changed again. It makes me feel a bit shit sometimes. Fundamentally, I’m the same person and I struggle with the animalistic urges inside me. My desire for my wife remains the same and I expect more than she’s able to give. She knows when I’ve turned inwards for one of my little sulks and she gives me time to become “normal” again.

I don’t want sex every day, I’ve experienced that and it wasn’t fun in the end. About three times a week and maybe an extra one at the weekend would be ideal. Maybe with age, the urges inside me will fade or maybe they won’t? Sometimes I think there’s something wrong with me but the truth is, most men and other dads don’t talk about this part of their lives so I don’t have anything to compare my experiences with.

If anything I’ve said resonates with you, please leave a comment below because I would love to know what you think.

What TV Did To My Baby

The TV turned my amazing baby/toddler into a proper little pain in the arse. In what way, I hear you ask? Well, let me explain. He was poorly for a few days, the weather was a bit rubbish and to be honest, when he’s unwell, we all suffer. He wakes more than usual in the night which of course means we get no sleep. And what does lack of sleep and illness create within a person? Fatigue, grumpiness and, not the worst ailment, the desire to lie on the sofa under a duvet while blitzing through a box-set of something adult and sexy!

Well, those days are well and truly gone so we had to resort to a half thought out plan B. We don’t have the telly on much, either with the baby about or when he’s asleep but we still own one and enjoy it occasionally the same way most people do. We’ve managed to last over eighteen months without relying on the magic box to entertain the little one for a few hours. Now don’t get on your high horses here, I’m not judging you and the amount of time your child watches the TV or plays on the smart phone. I don’t care. It’s personal choice and you’re free to make yours. We quite simply don’t like having the TV on much. However, during his latest illness, while attempting to grab a moments peace to work on the laptop, or clean the house without him dragging Aliens Love Underpants towards one of us for the one millionth time that day, we plonked him in front of some nursery rhyme videos on YouTube and there we have it. Space to breathe!

It was cute for a few days. He’d put his little chubby fingers together signalling his desire to watch Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and we’d look at one another and say, “Fuck it, anything for a minutes peace and quiet.” And so it began. Every time he got bored of playing in the garden or with his toys or with us, he’d rip his coat off and plant himself on the sofa with his chubby little twinkle twinkle signal. We’d oblige. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

Very quickly, to him, everything except the TV was shit. And nothing would do but the most ridiculous looking animations you’ve ever seen in your life. I’ve come to consider some of the traditional nursery rhymes as very odd but the more modern ones are next level weird. Weird and fucking absolutely pointless. Some “Kitten,” has lost its “Mitten,” and other brainless lyrics. Nearly as bad as 90’s shit sensation Des’ree singing, “I don’t want to see a ghost, it’s a sight that I fear most, I’d rather have a piece of toast.” Utter crap! 

As we all started feeling better and the outside world didn’t seem so cold and filled with racists, we ventured out to the park and other fun places. Usually, our monster is the first one out of the door. But no, no; he didn’t wanna go anywhere. Whilst getting ready to leave, we’d have to wrestle him away from the sofa, tears streaming down his red cheeks, still signing twinkle twinkle over and over again. He was addicted, no doubt about it.

During the first few days when, like I said, it was still cute, he’d stare at the screen. Literally, expressionless and motionless. Just staring, open mouthed like a nerd at a strip bar. It wasn’t cute for very long, it was worrying. We started to take a real interest in his behaviour and we realised quickly that our fun, outdoor loving, ball throwing little monster, was in-fact, turning into a real pain in the arse. And not much fun to be around either. Pretty much like his fifteen year old sister who has to check the internet moment to moment to see if she’s still actually got a personality.

So we had to get tough. I placed a blanket over the telly and the next morning when he swaggered all cock sure of himself into the front room, planted his ass on the sofa and turned his porridge smeared face, up towards the blanket where the telly was hidden behind, we saw real pain in his face. He was devastated. Proper! But we had to do it. He screamed, bit his own fingers in protest and continually threw himself to the floor. Changing his nappy became an absolute nightmare, initiating any type of play was impossible and when he saw the food on his plate, he gave you a very sincere look which translate to, “Why you trying to feed me poison, Nazi!”

Three days to create the addiction and luckily, three days to wean him off it. It was tough but the little monster is back to himself and we’re very, very happy. Now and again, he points up at the telly, now blanket-less, as if controlled by some type of muscle memory but his heart’s not in the request anymore and micro-seconds later, he’s forgotten about it and moved on. I honestly don’t see how we can introduce the TV back into his life now and I have no idea whether that’s a bad thing or not. All I can say is, I’m glad to have him back dragging Aliens Love Underpants towards me a million times a day rather than the emotionless drone he’d turned in to.

To Co-Sleep Or Not To Co-Sleep?

Co-sleeping’s been a nightmare.

Co-sleeping’s been amazing.

Both these statements are true. Let’s deal with the nightmare situation of having a fat, wriggling lunatic crying for the majority of the night between you and your beloved. It’s frustrating. A passion killer. It’s not what I signed up for. I’m not saying the only reason I got married was for sexy time but it’s definitely top three.

Don’t judge to harshly, I’m also on board for plenty of cuddles and chatting in the darkness but these basics have continually been thrown out the window. Co-sleeping, breastfeeding and not wanting to put our son through the whole controlled crying technique are all connected in my view and I’ll tell you why.

For whatever reason, (not too be explored here today, although we have researched) Arlo wakes in the night screaming. Not little cries, a stretch and back to sleep. I’m talking about snot gurgling screams worthy of any horror film. And when that milky breath unloads that tortured cry next to your ear for the fifth time in the night, you can’t help but want to join in. For long periods of time I’ve suffered from anxiety during the night. I can only describe it as the flight or fight sensation and as far as long term health is concerned, this isn’t good. And I’m the lucky one, I can always skulk downstairs, red eyed and twitching, my wife must endure. Her boob’s are all that stands between sleep and madness.

Claire’s ready for change, there’s no doubt about it. We tried to gently take the boob away and he screamed all night with ten minute gaps for sleep before continuing. We were right next to him, supporting him through it but he was having none of it. He went mental. It was horrendous. We decided to never do that again. That was four months ago and ever since, it’s been one big massive mixed bag of emotions.

It’s been marginally better recently but we’ve had to find new ways to spend time with one another. Example; he’s in bed at eight, there’s a massive chance he’ll sleep for two hours straight before the nightmare starts again. So we go to bed early too so we can enjoy the intimacies of the night. But even then we’re tiptoeing our way through it. Putting any naughtiness to one side, the one thing I miss at the moment is spending time with my best friend (my wife) out on the town, drinking and dancing the night away like we use to do. It’s been two years since we’ve been out on the piss together and we really need it! Luckily though, we’re very close and able to discuss these feelings so we hold tight to the saying, “This too shall pass.” Knowing or hoping we’ll regain some freedom.

Maybe if we’d used control crying things would be different but no matter how punishing it’s been, we wouldn’t do it any different.

Here’s the amazing bit.

Whatever it is Arlo’s experiencing during the night, we’re there for him. Eventually when he crosses that bridge and develops that sense of security which we’ve helped him achieve through patience and red wine, he’ll look in his own bedroom, see the den I’ve built for him and he say, “Sack this, I’m sleeping in there with all my cool shit.” This could then lead to him coming off the boob, us getting a baby sitter, him sleeping right through, 8 till 8 every single day, climate change turning the UK into a tropical paradise, all governments imploding in on themselves, human beings becoming self-aware and realising energy can never die, all this so the wife and I can get pissed in nice clothes while dancing to cheesy 90’s anthems in a space that isn’t our front fucking room!

Went off a bit there.

Back to the amazing bit about co-sleeping. When he’s not being a psycho, he’s lovely. He wakes us in the morning with a kiss. He talks to himself and plays in the room while we get a sneaky half hour before breakfast. We play and wrestle and laugh lots and he’s right there with us when we finally begin stretching and discussing the day ahead.

If anything, this experience has made Claire and I closer because we’ve had to adapt to the change. We’ve not been able to live the life we became accustomed to but we managed to create a different one.

Do I want Arlo in his own bed? Off the boob? Yes of course but in his own time. I want him to have the strength and confidence to seek his own space but know we’re only a room away. And if this doesn’t happen in the next year, forget everything I’ve just said, he’s getting chained to the radiator in his room and we’re buying earplugs. And we’ll just chalk it up as one of those things and allow him to live a life of emotional trauma like the rest of us!