Heavy petting in Glasgow

On the morning of my birthday I wake up in Glasgow. Not the place where I would usually want to spend such a day, but this time it’s worth it. I don’t remember the morning. Most probably it passed by in the shadow of the great expectations I had for the evening.

I meet Walter at 5pm in Buchanan Street, outside House of Fraser. We are going shopping! At least he thinks we are.

Shopping was his idea. The e-mail detailing the Master Plan for the day mentioned shoes, handbags, shoes, clothes, shoes, jewellery, shoes, books, shoes, and oh, did he forget shoes? And while he was being very generous, it can be difficult for a man to guess a woman’s needs, so I had to hint that a pair of shoes would be really nice.

This isn’t the first time I go shopping with Walter. We also went shopping for lingerie once, but this doesn’t count because it was a new experience for both of us. Shoe shopping, on the other hand, is quite ordinary. I don’t know how he usually does it, here’s how I do it. I need a pair of winter boots. I go online. Find the website of the shop I have in mind. Look at all the boots they have. Do they have something in black, with a round toe, 3 inch heel, leather, below ankle and with a concealed zip? No? Next website then! So when we meet and walk into a shop, all I need is to find the shoes I chose the night before and try them on. Walter, do you like them? Great, we’re done then! Now let’s go do something fun! If it’s not clear, shopping is an action, not a pastime. I think Walter was disappointed.

We have a drink at the bar of my hotel. I puzzle the bartender with my request for a non-alcoholic cocktail (come on, I’m allowed to let my hair down on my birthday! It can’t be sparkling water every day of the year)  – they don’t have these on the menu.

‘Would you like Safe Sex on the Beach?’

‘Oh yes, I’m all for safe sex!’

Walter chuckles quietly.

And then, with pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to do what we’ve been looking forward to for a while. Walter pays quickly, we make for the lifts, I pinch his bum impatiently as we wait, doors open, we rush in, kiss passionately until the doors open again and we are in the swimming pool. It’s an ordinary hotel swimming pool: small, simple, mostly empty. When I come out of the change room, Walter is already there. The first thing he says is that my swim suit is classy. Not the sort of word you usually apply to a swim suit, and not the sort of word I’ve heard from Walter before, so I take it as a compliment. He gives my swimming attire another good look and points at the sign with the pool rules:

No running

No diving

No pushing

No screaming

No smoking

No heavy petting

Walter is a very law abiding citizen. During our multiple adventures I couldn’t make him climb a fence with me, and he wouldn’t stay in an empty ladies bathroom to wait for me. So I’m glad I made him break at least this one rule. Oh alright, so he didn’t need to be forced into it, but he still wouldn’t have engaged in this prohibited activity without me: heavy petting on your own is called something else. I am also glad I got to see him swim. It was almost as good as watching him drive. Most people do different things in the same manner. Walter has a separate personality for a lot of activities. Driving Walter (especially in his road-rage mode) never fails to amuse me, same as disgusted Walter; swimming Walter is a joy to watch, loving Walter is a pleasure to do, and filming Walter is someone I haven’t figured out yet. And now you probably wonder which one of us in on medication.

We then have a lovely dinner at a place called Kama Sutra, and spend some time practicing – not at the place. We practice some more in the morning, and then he has to go. Glasgow immediately loses whatever appeal it had the day before. A wonderful birthday nevertheless.

Edinburgh, Friday 19 July, 3pm outside the Scottish Parliament

Most of the text below was shamelessly stolen from ICRSE press-release. If you’ve seen it before, skip to the end. For more information on the protest in the city close to you please go to

 http://jasmineanddora.wordpress.com/

Recent murders and violent attacks on sex workers spark an unprecedented wave of international action calling for an end to stigma and criminalisation. Once again SCOT-PEP and SWOU come together in Scotland to unite people protesting against systems worldwide that fail to protect sex workers from discrimination, violence and murder.

Last week, with one day apart, 2 sex workers were brutally murdered. On Tuesday, Dora, a trans woman and sex worker in Kusadasi, Aydin in Turkey was stabbed by a client. On Thursday, Jasmine, a mother of two children and a sex worker, was also stabbed – by her ex-husband. Those two tragic deaths should be a wake-up call for all of us: human rights defenders, feminists, LGBT activists, policy makers and anyone who refuses a world where people – because they are selling sexual services – are seen as less worthy of human dignity and respect and therefore more likely to be seen as unfit mothers by the state, or to be the victims of brutal and heinous crimes.

Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association in Turkey wrote: “Violence against trans sex workers in different forms has been a common and widespread reality in Turkey. The overall reported incidents of trans sex workers murders has been 31 between 2008 – 2012 in Turkey, constituting the highest number in Council of Europe states. Another case that we have experienced this week was the violent attack of another trans sex worker from Ankara – Ela – who was shot by gun from her arm by one of her clients and she may lose the functioning of right arm. The Turkish Government must take every necessary step to ensure trans sex workers from violence”.

Rose Alliance, a sex worker organisation where Jasmine was on the Board wrote: “Our board member, fierce activist and friend Petite Jasmine got brutally murdered yesterday (11 July 2013). Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker. The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine. They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romanticizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm. He threatened and stalked her on numerous occasions; she was never offered any protection. She fought the system through four trials and had finally started seeing her children again. Yesterday the father of her children killed her. She always said “Even if I can’t get my kids back I will make sure this never happens to any other sex worker”. We will continue her fight. Justice for Jasmine!”

Sweden, with its reputation of gender equality, transparent government and respect for minorities, is also known for passing the 1999 law that criminalises the clients of sex workers. In considering all sex workers as victims and all clients as abusers, the Swedish state denies agency of women selling sexual services. This paternalistic approach, aggressively promoted to other countries as “protecting women” actually led to an attitude that infantilises women and discredits their choices and experiences, and has led to the violation of the human rights of women. Women caught selling sex are seen as unfit mothers and subsequently have their children forcibly taken away from them, are denied housing and disregarded as victims of false consciousness and male violence, an approach that fundamentally denies their agency and their own articulation of their experiences.

[800x600] ICRSE Protest July 19th

The story of Dora, a transgender sex worker in Turkey was a different setting however noticeably still connected in that stigma and discrimination played a huge part in the impunity with which her attacker would murder her. More conservative than Sweden and with a noticeably poor record on human rights, gender equality and respect of minorities, Turkey is also failing to protect sex workers from violence. Though prostitution is not illegal in Turkey when operated from brothels (one by one shut down by the government to satisfy public morality, and by consequence, leaving more women to work, unsafely, in the streets) the stigma faced by trans women is so high that very few found ways of making a living other than through sex work.

Kemal Ordek, chair of Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association said, “Discrimination against trans women in education and employment sectors is widespread. Many trans women end up in doing sex work under risky environments. Sex work is regulated in Turkey in a manner which paves the way to criminalise those unregistered sex workers – even though the laws does not require so – as any step taken in relation to sex work is criminalised under the Turkish Penal Code. The police are generally one of the perpetrators of violence, pushing sex workers under more risky environments where they are more open to violence from people posing as clients or gangs. The 31 reported murders of trans women in Turkey in the last five years is likely to be far lower than the real number.”

In response to these murders and continual violence, and in memory of Jasmine and Dora, sex workers and allies across the world have mobilised to create a mass spontaneous international day of action and memorial. In London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Lisbon, Helsinki, Canberra, Sydney, Vancouver, Chicago, Los Angeles, in Turkey and in Sweden – a total of over 30 cities over three continents – sex workers will gather outside the embassies of the Swedish and Turkish governments, or in other public places to protest what has been called the state-condoned murders of Jasmine, Dora, and so many others. Enough sex workers have suffered or died because of stigma and criminalisation. We demand change!

Shame on Turkey! Shame on Sweden!

Shame on laws that place vulnerable people in danger of violence!

Violence against sex workers must stop.

If you are in Scotland and you care, please come and join us. Please wear black. Please bring your friends. Please wear sunglasses, wigs or masks if you want to protect your identity. In Edinburgh. In Glasgow. Please be there with us and for us.

Sex Worker Open University in Glasgow

Sex Worker Open University Co-operative invites you to Scotland’s first ever Sex Workers’ Rights and Community Building Festival in Glasgow 5 – 10 April!
 
Scotland is one of the most recent countries to consider change in sex work laws. This has led to an uprise of anti-sex work groups campaigning for the introduction of an “End Demand” approach. This is the time for us to stand together and say NO to further criminalisation of our work and our clients. This is a unique opportunity to make our voices heard and to organise as a community for our rights and we hope you can join us! Please spread the word about our events and we will make sure to develop and distribute many resources (videos, press releases, etc) following the festival that can be used in our ongoing fight for access to the rights we deserve.
 
The programme includes films, cultural events, debates, international speakers, skill-sharing workshops and much more! Some events are open to public, others are sex worker-only spaces. 
 
We are very grateful and excited to welcome guest speakers both from around the UK (Scot-PEP, X:Talk Project and ECP) and from more distant places (STRASS (France) and Scarlet Alliance (Australia)).
 
With love, rage and solidarity, 
 
Sex Worker Open University Coop

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Sex Worker Open University in partnership with Scot-PEP presents

SEX WORKERS’ RIGHTS & COMMUNITY BUILDING FESTIVAL

Glasgow Fri 5 April – Wed 10 April 2013

April 5, Friday

♥ Sex Workers’ Rights Film Night! (PUBLIC EVENT)

7pm – 10pm, The Cinema, CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

Suggested donation: £5

SWOU Collective is proud to invite you to an evening of short films and documentaries produced by sex workersor about sex work. The videos will be introduced by sex workers and allies and will cover themes such as sex workers’ self-organisation, resistance to criminalisation, sex work and migration and effects of anti-trafficking policies on sex workers’ communities. The films include

  • Sex Worker Open University 2011, by Stoo Ireson, 2012 (UK). The second edition of SWOU brought together activists from a dozen different countries and included a Sex Worker Art Show, demonstration and many workshops!
  • Streets in Red, by Clare Havell, 2010 (UK). Short documentary on the subject of street based sex workers in the UK.
  • Normal, by Nic Mai (UK). Combined interviews with four young migrants impersonated by actors. The similarities and differences between the characters’ life trajectories are explored by focusing on their contradictory aspirations to lead a normal life. The four characters explain how they came to see their involvement in the sex industry as normal and how their notion of normality evolved with their life experiences. At the same time, their life trajectories do not conform to the victim/villain stereotypical opposition which dominates current debates about sex work.
  • The Honey Bringer, by Clare Havell and SWOU Collective, 2012 (UK). A documentary on the 2012 Sex Workers Freedom Festival that happened in Kolkata, India as an alternative conference and protest to International AIDS Conference in Washington from which sex workers were banned. Interviews and images from the biggest international sex worker gathering of all times!
  • Last Rescue in Siam, by Empower, 2012 (Thailand). This is the first film ever made by sex workers in Thailand. It is a short black and white movie inspired by the tradition of the old silent movies. The film accompanies the Empower research report Hit & Run on the impact of anti-trafficking raids on sex workers’ human rights.

 April 6, Saturday

♥ Laws and Policies that Impact Sex Workers, and Strategies for Resistance and Change (PUBLIC EVENT)

11am – 4pm, STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress) 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG

The day will open with introductions to the event by members of SWOU and delegate of Comic Relief and Red Umbrella Fund.

FIRST PANEL (11am – 1pm): The Push to Criminalise Clients and the Roll Out Effects on Sex Workers.

  • Jay Levy, University of Cambridge: Swedish Abolitionism as Violence Against Women
  • Scot-PEP: The Scottish Context: Organising Against the Push to Criminalise Clients
  • X:Talk: The Case for a Moratorium: Sex Workers Organising in the Shadow of the Olympic Games. Lesson for the Commonwealth Games?
  • Morgane Merteuil, Strass: The French Union of Sex Workers’ Approach to Fighting the Criminalisation of Clients

[Discussion between panelists and audience]

SECOND PANEL (2pm – 4pm): An Alternative Approach: Decriminalisation

  • Anastacia Ryan, NSWP and SWOU: Introducing Decriminalisation as an Alternative Model
  • English Collective of Prostitutes: Sex Work and the Law: Organising to Win Decriminalisation, Safety and Rights
  • Film: New Zealand Fight to Pass the Prostitution Reform Act (2003)
  • Anastacia Ryan, University of Glasgow/NZPC: Exploring and Comparing Sex Workers’ Experiences in Scotland and New Zealand
  • Zhara Stardust, Scarlet Alliance: Decriminalisation in New South Wales, Australia: The Successes and Challenges Faced by Sex Workers
  • Film: Australian Sex Workers Fight for Decriminalisation

[Discussion amongst everyone and sharing strategies for the fight for decriminalisation]

April 7, Sunday

♥ Skills Sharing and Discussion Day (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

12pm – 6pm: Email us at glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue details.

This is a day for sex workers to gather to share skills and experiences. Workshops will include professional skills and discussions. It is a sex worker only event and all workshops are delivered by sex workers themselves. This is a safe and confidential space.

April 8, Monday

♥ SWOU Taboo (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

1pm – 5pm: Email us at Glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue details.

1 pm: Taboo. Another sex worker only space, SWOU Taboo is a chance for sex workers to discuss issues that are quite personal and often used against our self-determination. We will create a safe space to discuss issues such as sexual violence, mental health and addiction, our relationship to money or our clients.

3pm: Sex Work as a Helping Profession. As sex workers we often provide our clients with important and invaluable services that support their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. We will create a space for us to collect our stories and share our experiences of ‘helping’.

♥ Building Alliances (PUBLIC EVENT)

7.30pm – 9pm Mac Lecture Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RQ

Viewing of extract of Proudly Trans in Turkey from Gabrielle Le Roux about trans activists and sex workers in Turkey, followed by discussion and presentation from members of sex worker, LGBT, HIV+ and migrant communities, feminist groups and trade unionists on the intersection between sex work and other criminalised or stigmatised communities and how we can build alliances for social justice and human rights.

April 9-10, Tue-Wed

♥ Reducing Stigma and Building Our Capacity (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

Email us at glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue/time details and to register.

A public education workshop for sex workers by Maria Nengeh Mensah (Stella and Université du Québec à Montréal) and Chris Bruckert (POWER and University of Ottawa). This two-day workshop is a unique opportunity for sex workers to develop their knowledge as an educator, reinforce their capacity to confront whore-stigma, learn about the principles of public education, and share knowledge, skills and ideas around diverse trainings about sex work. Registration by email necessary.

April 9, Tuesday

♥ Sex Work, Stigma and Criminalisation (PUBLIC EVENT)

6pm – 8pm, CCA5, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

This interactive public education workshop open to all is led by members of Sex Worker Open University and aims to look at the root causes of whore-phobia and the effect of stigma and criminalisation on the lives of sex workers.

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PDF version of this programme available to download here. Please help us promote this festival!

SEX WORKER OPEN UNIVERSITY: www.swou.org (possible issues depending on your browser)

SCOT-PEP: www.scot-pep.org.uk

FACEBOOK EVENT: Sex Workers’ Rights Festival and Community Building Glasgow www.facebook.com/events/347770968675060/?fref=ts

Farewell, September

It was a lovely enough (for Scotland) Saturday morning. Oh alright, make it early afternoon. Week-end is the time to care for work-related clothing, so I had just done the laundry: silk and lace knickers were hanging off the door knobs while the airer was full of… anyway, it was full. I just sat down to look again at the gift card I got the previous day – a voucher for a couple of hours worth of body treatments at one of the top (read “ridiculously expensive and even more appealing for that”) spas in Edinburgh – and to figure out when I can spare half a day for this trip to heaven when my personal phone started ringing.

My friend on the other line (let’s call her MSH, and yes, it does stand for something) was somewhere very noisy but she didn’t say where and I didn’t care to ask. The beginning was innocent enough, we both happened to be fine thank you, and both seemed to be enjoying the week-end so far. She then went on to ask what my plans were. My plans were to call the spa to book the treatments and then to update my blog and look into advertising for my tour, so I told her I was thinking of doing some grocery shopping and then packing my bag for the visit to Glasgow on Monday. I really don’t know why I mentioned Glasgow. It just came out of my mouth as a better alternative to selling sex in Oxford.

– Oh, – said MSH, – I didn’t realise you were going away! I’m just at Waverley and I was hoping to spend a few days with you.

I didn’t drop my mobile in surprise but I was very close to it. I looked around my flat, my mind registering all those things that my friend should not see under any circumstances. The 37 pairs of shoes by the door. The array of Thank You cards from clients on the mantelpiece. A few dozens of condoms on the sofa: they have just arrived in the mail, I needed to sort them out by size, type and material they are made of and re-stock the condom bag that I take to work. The stack of books by my bed – research on sex work that I had just received and needed to go through. The lingerie and other work clothing that I had just put to dry. And don’t even start me on the bathroom and browsing history on my laptop. And now I only had about half an hour to somehow hide it all. I also had to find a place to hide it all: these things are part of my everyday life, they aren’t meant to be hidden so it’s not like I have an extra wardrobe where they usually go.

25 minutes later, when MSH rang the bell, I was slightly out of breath but happy with the results of my clean-up. As she walked in and gave me a hug, everything seemed normal. She opened her luggage to take a few things out and thankfully she didn’t have anything that would need to go in the wardrobe: I’m sure things would come pouring out of it cartoon-style if I attempted to open it now. I made her a cup of tea and she sat down so we could discuss our plans for the week-end together. This is when it happened.

We noticed the beautiful cream and gold card on top of the papers on my desk at the same time. I mentally bit my own bum as she reached for it.

– So beautiful, what is it?

The most expensive gift MSH ever got from her husband was a blender (he can be incredibly romantic for a Brit) but from the look of the gift card even she could tell it was worth more than a tenner. She opened it.

– Oh how lovely! And it says “With thanks” here! Who is it from?

– Erm… it’s…

– It must be from a man! Come on, tell me! I didn’t realise you were seeing someone! Why do your friends always find out last?

– You don’t… See, the thing is…

– Wait, is this what you’re going to Glasgow for? I’m sure it is, why else would you go to Glasgow but for a man!

– Yes! Yes, that’s right! I’m going to Glasgow to see the man who gave me this gift card!

Why am I telling you all this? Because people don’t always realise that living 2 lives is not easy, especially when you have to hide the one that you prefer. In a month or so I’ll have to think up a reason why things didn’t work out with “the man in Glasgow” (his accent should be reason enough, I’m thinking) and for a few months after that I’ll be subject to lengthy talks about how I’m not getting younger, how it’s impossible to find a decent man, how all men are bastards and how difficult it must be for a woman on her own.

Which leads us up nicely to this charming video:

Christian’s blog is now in my Blogroll, hope you enjoy it. Could you also please take part in the new Poll, it would take you less than a minute and would help me a lot. Other than that, there’s an entry out of sequence and please remember that I’m down south for 10 days in October.

Very old “friend”

If you remember, last week brought two old friends. One of them you’ve just heard about, now is the other one’s turn. This “friend” I saw a couple of times over a year ago, so “very” refers to his age rather than to the time that passed since our last date. I open the door and recognise the man who sells sperm for a living (I’ll just keep you guessing here).

I’m not telling you this to show how good my memory is, although my memory does seem to have been a sort of leitmotif in the last few posts. Most of the time I can’t even recall what I did last night. But I’ll always remember whom I did. A good waitress may not know your name but will always know your favourite dish. A good bartender will always know what you usually drink. Sure enough, for that they need to serve you that dish and that drink a few times, but let’s face it – they have far more customers than me and they don’t have sex with (most of) them.

So yes, committing a little knowledge about your clients to memory is just natural. If it’s a regular, I’ll know his birthday, the names of his kids, his favourite drink, his plans for the week-end, the name of the girl he was in love with in high school and pretty much anything else that he may bother to tell me. If it’s someone I see once a year or so, I may confuse if he’s from Alabama or from Arizona (it’s all the same, no?) but my memory will still keep the basic information – his job and his sexual preferences. And you don’t come across a sperm-seller every week. Well, I don’t. If you’re a sperm-buyer, you may meet them by a dozen. It’s not such a rare occupation apparently. But…

But this time R surprised me by asking if I have a strap-on. This wasn’t in his sexual preferences a year ago. Makes you curious about what happened during this year that I haven’t seen him, doesn’t it? Another thing I find rather curious is that older clients tend to be more open-minded than the younger ones. Younger people somehow tend to think that pegging is gay. In fact, I remember a 30-year-old man who once got in touch with me asking for a strap-on because he wanted to explore his bi side. I know! Anyone with a little logic will see that having sex with me, however unconventional it may seem to you, is simply exploring your backside and no other sides, but somehow a lot of men seem to miss the point.

Anyway, I introduced R to my strap-on and the three of us enjoyed ourselves. And, seeing that R had so much fun, I found it natural to ask why he hadn’t bought a strap-on for his wife yet.

– Oh no, I wouldn’t! We haven’t had sex in years!

I try not to roll my eyes. If only I had a pound for every client who has no sex with his wife! So I insist:

– But this is different! She may very well be bored senseless with the idea of having sex with you after all these years, but it doesn’t mean she will not want to put on a strap-on and make you pay for all the years of senselessly boring sex!

– You know what, you might be right, it’s different! – I can see it in his eyes that it struck a cord with him, but they soon turn dull again as he goes on, – Who am I kidding? It’s not going to happen.

He’s right. It will never happen if you don’t do anything for it to happen.

The Brits can be surprisingly inhibited when it comes to sex and relationships. They can marry someone, live with this someone and have children with them but sex, or feelings or sexual needs will never be discussed. They may live under the same roof as a family for decades, never really knowing each other. But what do you expect from a nation where generation after generation the Queen has been the sex symbol to fantasise about for both spouses? And it doesn’t matter that the two of them have unfulfilled lives. After all, they are in the same boat as the Queen! In fact, the following day after this date with R I got a call from a man who was also looking for a strap-on (with a woman on the other end of it) and a similar conversation ensued: he hadn’t had sex with his wife for over 15 years (this is happening over the phone so Jewel rolls eyes to her heart’s content), but was always interested in exploring his sexuality further. He ended up cancelling the booking because he didn’t want to cheat. At this point I felt safe to ask why he didn’t discuss his fantasies with his wife. The usual answer – what if she thinks he’s a pervert? Well, first of all, what if she doesn’t? But if she does – what do you have to lose except an unhappy marriage and an unfulfilled life? Because if you don’t talk to your wife – it’s not something you have to keep to yourself for a week or a month. You keep it to yourself until death do you part. You know what, I have just realised why the older clients are so adventurous. It’s not because they are more open-minded than the younger ones, it’s because they’re more desperate as they’ve been married for longer.

 

 

There is no place like Glasgow

I get off the train and follow the signs for taxi rank. It’s outside, it’s raining, there’s a queue and no cabs. A large sign reads “Welcome to Glasgow Queen Street Station”.

There is this type of cabs, not the traditional LTI hackney carriage but an MPV type with sliding doors and steps – hate ’em. I can never open the door, and even if I do, I can’t slam it hard enough to close it behind me. The cabbie eventually gets bored and comes out to open the door for me. I climb inside and he shuts the door. How do they do it so easily?

– West Regent Street, please.

– But it’s just round the corner! Can’t you walk?

I look at him in disbelief – no, not only because of the broad Glaswegian accent which is puzzling enough in its own – and then turn to look at the welcome to Glasgow sign again. I’m not sure how to explain it to a Glaswegian cab driver why someone may want to have a ride. Eventually I reply that it’s raining so I can’t walk.

– Don’t you have an umbrella?

How do I tell him now that I did not take an umbrella because I knew I’d take a cab? There should be a law in this country that forbids cab drivers to talk with passengers without their explicit permission. Talkative cabbies are a pain. It’s nobody’s business where I’m going, what I’m going there for and why so late and without an umbrella. Their job is to look at the road and drive as best they can. My job is to clutch at my handbag, close my eyes and pray. Why don’t we both do just that? In silence?

It takes him 10 minutes and 4 extra turns to arrive at the place round the corner. I had a look at the map before I set off, but I don’t tell him that I’m not after a tour of Glasgow (partly because it’s rude to interrupt people). I get out of the cab and slam the sliding door so hard I can almost hear the windscreen cracking in half. I guess one needs to be constantly fuming to work with these doors.

G is waiting for me outside. We kiss and he asks if the journey went well. He’s probably just being polite and I only have one chance to make a good first impression, but I can’t help it:

– I just got told off by a cabbie for taking a cab! (G looks at me with alarm. He’s not Glaswegian either, otherwise he probably wouldn’t be surprised.) On the other hand, he approved your choice of the restaurant [in quite a few words]. He said it’s one of the best places in Glasgow.

G is visibly pleased. We kiss again, then again, and then eventually go inside. He’s far less nervous than I thought he would be.

G e-mailed me about 10 days in advance. I haven’t had e-mails like this from Brits before. If he didn’t say he was English, I’d assume he is American: lots of personal details including the company he works for, height, weight and the team he supports.  He then called as arranged for a little chat and you could tell he was quite nervous. It gets worse the night before, when he calls again to confirm the choice of restaurant and my arrival time. He sounds like a 17-year-old before his first date: he’s excited, a little scared, a little anxious and very eager. He’s worried that I might not like the restaurant or the hotel.* Aww… The restaurant was really good, by the way, mostly because the staff were Australian and, unlike the cabbie, familiar with the definition of customer service: they didn’t try to tell us off for having come to the restaurant to eat.

The hotel is decorated with a large Christmas tree in the lobby (already?) and cute little rudolphs and snowpersons everywhere. I pinch one of the red noses. G opens the room door. We enter and kiss, his hand sliding under my coat. He tells me it’s a very cheeky cheek.

The last train back to Edinburgh leaves at 23.30. G goes to the station with me to make sure I leave get on the train safely. I go aww all the way to Edinburgh.

* I need to expand on what sort of hotels and restaurants I prefer. Next post probably.

Good things

They come to those who wait. Today’s been a proof.

Let’s start with I (bold as opposed to me). I got in touch with me a month ago. We arranged a date that I had to cancel with a short notice. Though the circumstances of cancellation were out of my control, I felt rather guilty and did not expect I to ever call again. He did. Another booking was arranged, and nothing short of apocalypse would have made me cancel this time.

D. D called on Monday and wanted to see me on the same day as I. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of 2 bookings in one day, but D sounded like a lot of fun (I’ve a thing for Highlands-ish accents) and there was a good few hours in between the dates, so I agreed.

Today eventually arrived. By 10am I had 2 texts: a confirmation from I and a cancellation from D. Just when I thought that things are as they were meant to be, I get an impromptu call from J. Now J is a long story.

J first contacted me 10 months ago (I told you it was a long story) when I was on tour in London. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that time. We then tried again half a year later when he was in Glasgow, and again it didn’t happen. I’m not a fatalist, but certain things just make you think, don’t they? J, obviously, was feeling the same way, and the third time round he decided to just call me on the day instead of e-mailing a week in advance. The trouble was with the time – he wanted the slot I had reserved for I. As we were both intent on making things happen at last, it took us a few changes (to my dinner plans and to J’s drinking arrangements mainly) to reach a compromise. And then I rushed to shower.

Some time later I was sitting next to I, unwrapping a wonderfully scented present. It’s a pity men don’t know the pleasure of being given girlie gifts. Another pleasure was to look at I‘s bum: for someone over 60 (I still think he made it up) he has a bum in its prime – not a day older than 40.

A short while later I was opening the box of chocolates J brought me for dinner. Aren’t men sweet?! When I think of T Godman &Co calling my work a paid rape, I want to repeat after a salty Disney cartoon character who said: “Man, if this is torture, then chain me to the wall!”

As it happens (rather often) in this line of work, my day was not what I had thought it would be but, even chocolates and presents aside, it was so much better than I could have imagined! These gentlemen made my week. Meeting them was totally worth the wait in both cases. I just hope they feel the same way.

As for D, I have a feeling it’s another wait for something great.

An eejit fae Glasga*

There was this lovable chap I saw last week-end. We had the most interesting conversation about the curious relationship of Glaswegians with English language. He was also the first one so far who guessed (more or less) my occupation (the one in my other life, of course). And he made me laugh. Guys, if only you knew how important it is to make your woman laugh! Not at you (although this is something most of you are quite good at) – with you. Think Jessica Rabbit. I am in genuine awe when it comes to people with kind and open sense of humour. My own disposition is too cynical and saying something simply funny is a hard work for me. So I never do.

Anyway, the eejit: If a couple of limbs don’t fall off during the night then I’ll see you tomorrow.

Would he still have made it from Glasgow to here if it had been only one limb that fell off? More importantly, do I want to see someone with a freshly severed limb? Luckily for both of us, he made it to Edinburgh in one piece. And back, too, because I got an e-mail of gratitude from him later!

Love my job.

*Large chunk of this post is taken from private correspondence with P’s kind permission. Much muchness, P. X