So, Alan and I are texting each other on whether we want to go to the show at 9pm. He texts to say that Karen and Natalie [all names are made up] are coming too. I say I am in, definitely.
At 7pm he texts to say that Natalie's pulled out and Karen has not replied. He says we are on the waiting list with unconfirmed seats; so, what do I think?
"Leave it," I say. "Being on the reserve list is too risky."
At 7.30pm, he texts me to say Karen is now in and he is already on his way. What! I text back "On my way as well. Definitely worth taking the risk on the seats."
So, it's 8pm, and I'm first through the doors of the pub that hosts the sketch show. Really nice area, posh people, good atmosphere. Long gone are the days when I caught young things' eyes just by walking in. But I get a glance or two. And, in a sign of what is forthcoming, I am invited with enthusiastic welcome by a Polish mother to take the seat next to her. It's her daughter I'm interested in.
"I'm here. What now?" I text Alan.
Alan turns up two minutes later with a big smile. "What, am I your mum? What now!"
Karen turns up. We go to the tickets office, only to be told that we are definitely not going to be able to get in. The show's performers have booked up all the reserve seats. Show's totally, completely sold out.
Since when was topical sketch comedy so popular!
We go back to the pub. And a couple of merry hours later ... we're in the middle of a conversation on the flat that Alan owns. I take the opportunity to lean on Karen to tell her that Alan is a very eligible bachelor. Alan is amused, and I am glad he is playing along with my game.
"Is this a good time to tell you about something rather personal," Karen says, to much suspense. "I am with someone who I absolutely adore and love. She's wonderful and we've been together for years. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against men. Gosh, I don't know why I'm telling you this. Should I be doing this?"
I look at Alan. He's looking at me. Fuck. I need to make eye contact with Karen. I can't. I can't look her in the eyes. Say something, Alan!
Alan: "So, you're a lesbian."
All the words that are flashing across my head have to do with sex, lesbianism, dildos, ... Darn it, I should stop drinking. Thinking clever is so much harder with alcohol in your bloodstream.
Ahmed: "So, have you been, ever, with a man?"