Britain, July 2017.
With threat of a UK State visit from the President of the USA triggering a #ShowYourRumpToTrump campaign, on Twitter, it made me think of another occasion I’ve had at mooning!
A few years ago, a friend of mine and I joined several other nurses from across Europe to form a specific nursing organisation. We were launching it at a conference in a major European capital, so the whole planning team turned up and checked in to the hotel the day before the conference launch.
We had plenty of work to do: planning the logistics of the event, sorting out the participants’ packs, welcoming early / newcomers etc. As any of you who have organised and managed a conference will know, there’s lots of hard and stressful work to do especially for the last-minute preparations. On top of that, most of us organisers had numerous other roles to carry out too, such as delivering main presentations and chairing sessions.
So that evening, a Tuesday, we had a few hours off to explore the local city. My friend had asked me to check out local gay bars, and as luck would have it, there was one just a few blocks away from our hotel. Work done for the day, off we trotted! It was a strange looking bar, with what looked like a check-in desk near the entrance.
We could only see a young man sitting at the cash register at this entrance desk; no one else in, further on down in the bar. So, we said “hello” and motioned that we wanted to go in (we didn’t know if he spoke English or whether there was a door charge for us to pay). He just grunted at us and appeared generally unfriendly and rather unwelcoming. It was obvious he was stopping us from entering.
So I said again that we wanted to go in, and showed him money in case there was an entrance fee. Again, he just grunted / shouted at us in his native tongue. We didn’t have a clue what he was saying. Then a colleague of his came up and they both said something to each other. When I said to the new man that we wanted to come in, he said “the manager, he says, you can’t come in!”
“Why?” we both asked in tandem? I said “this is a gay bar, isn’t it? And we are both gay!” He looked me up and down and with the roll of his eyes, replied: “That’s obvious!” The cheek of it! Anyway, when I asked why we couldn’t go in, he said “the manager, he says ‘you are too old’!”
Hel-llo!!!! Then I remembered that one of the bars advertised on its website a young people’s evening, one night of the week. I presumed it was here and now, so I completely (mis-) understood him. Remember, this was a Tuesday night … Presuming this was the young people’s night, I said to him “Okay, fine! So can we come back on Friday?” (our last night in the city). He looked at me as though I had fallen right out of the Dumbo tree!
“If you are too old tonight, Mister”, he exclaimed,
“you will be more old on Friday!!!”
As ‘Gran’ on the Catherine Tate Show would say …
Not to be disheartened, I remembered there was another bar some distance away. We went there and found it quite easily. And what a lovely welcome we had there. At that time, I had been on a fitness spree for quite a while, all that macho Russian Kettle Bell training, with an ex-Royal Marine Commando for a few years.
As a result, I hadn’t had any alcohol for about a month. When we sat down to our first drink, it was a very strong local larger. I took one sip and BANG! my poor head was gone! Anyway, to cut the story short … six pints later we returned to the hotel. In the middle of the night, something woke me up. Maybe it was someone’s door slamming, I don’t know. But still with too much larger in brain (!) I woke up startled, bolted out of bed and ran in to the corridor to see what the noise was. The door slammed behind me! AAAgggggh! I didn’t have a stitch on! I was standing in the corridor, bedroom door locked behind me, and, as the abbreviation goes: SBN!
I was like a headless chicken. Hands covering my ‘bits’ and running up and down the corridor saying “Oh my God! Oh my God! I’m locked in the corridor and I’m naked!” So, I knocked on my friend’s door. He was sleeping too heavily to hear me; I kept running – the headless chicken run – up and down the corridor, not knowing what to do next.
I knew I couldn’t get in the lift and go down to main reception / concierge: the doors would open, like something in Trump Tower, and I’d be standing there: SBN! Just at that moment, I remembered seeing a phone on a low, round, table in the elevator lobby. I thought “I’ll phone and ask Concierge for help”, and so I did. Concierge said someone would be right up with a key.
I bolted back down the corridor towards my room. Our room doors were on one side of the corridor, and long ceiling-to-floor curtains adorned the other. I hid behind the curtains. As I stood there, with only my head exposed, I didn’t quite realise that my rear bare body was in full view, like pressed ham against the windows, facing all the rooms and windows opposite! But it gets worse. The Porter who came to let me back into my room was a right gentleman. He unlocked my door and opened it wide, his full arm stretched to hold it open, but he faced the other way, so as not to look at me (and add to my shame) as I ran by naked! “Thank you!” I said. Slam!
Next morning at breakfast, one of the other conference organisers at table exclaimed: “I’ve never been in a hotel with so many CCTV cameras! Have you seen them?” Message to floor: Open Sesame! I sneaked back to my room only to find there were not only CCTV cameras at either end of my corridor – hence, catching the headless chicken impersonator, running up and down the corridor SBN – but worse was to come! You know I said I had to bend down to that low phone table, outside the lifts? …