Another late night, another pair of tired, drooping eyes sitting opposite a computer screen. Yep, that's me in a nutshell. Last night I experienced my first house-party in Paris, and I'm glad to say I made it out alive. It was the 19th birthday of the guy I'm living with and he had about 30 friends around to celebrate till the wee hours of the morning. I wasn't sure what gift to get him so I made my merry old way to the supermarket and found a bottle of Champers for just over a tenner. It probably tasted rancid but I presumed that by the time he drank it, he wouldn't have known the difference between a €50 bottle and my cheapo version. I mean, how many 19 year olds can really appreciate a good glass of Champagne anyway? I know I can't, and I'm 20.
So last night was pretty entertaining. I use the word entertaining on purpose, rather than incredible or amazing. Why? Well, all in all it was a very fun night, but a few things "went down'' which I shall recount. Of course I shall try my best to protect the identity of anyone involved. Emphasis on the word "try".
First off: The whole kissing on two cheeks thing is starting to piss me off. I don't even want to say how many people I was forced to kiss last night. You know how in the UK we'll ''judge'' someone on their handshake? I mean, there's nothing like a limp handshake to ruin your day. Likewise, you don't want all the blood in your hand squeezed into your elbows now, do you? It's all about maintaining the right level of pressure and grip. I don't want to feel like you're handing me a fish, but I also don't want a Chinese burn. In France however, handshakes don't really happen. Although I've had a few people, on realising that I'm English, who have insisted on throwing their right hand at me. Perhaps to make me feel more at home? But it just feels strange. But back to kissing. Last night I experienced a range of kissing techniques. Some of them were so airy fairy that it was like the kisses just got lost in translation and never quite arrived. Maybe that's their style, or maybe the person was repulsed by me. Hoping it's the former. Others practically slapped the side of your face with their cheek, while some almost drooled half way down your face. I'm not sure whether there's an art to giving "la bise'' or not; are you actually supposed to kiss their cheek, or is it really much more of a cheek bash with a few added sound effects? Beats me. And apparently stubble is à la mode with 19 year old guys - if I wanted to make out with a porcupine, I'd let you know.
And if we're going to mention technique, I might as well mention strategies. Where exactly on the face should this kiss be placed? Are we talking slap bang in the middle of the cheek, or perhaps a little closer to the mouth, just to be that bit more daring? But then perhaps that's a little too cheeky for when you've only just met. And then there are those kisses which are encroaching on an ear nibble, which is just plain nasty. Which gets me thinking of those weirdly "romantic" gestures boys sometimes make which involve hair smelling (or in some cases "eating") because they drunkenly insist it tastes like strawberries. I'd rather you consumed my bottle of Herbal Essences - my hair doesn't look or smell this great for you to salivate all over it!
And then you get the tongue down throat, I want to rape your face type kisses. Thankfully I didn't have to endure any of those last night but let's just say the party was home to quite a lot of PDA. You know that slightly uncomfortable moment when you realise that the two people next to you are practically eating each other’s faces off and you've unconsciously been staring at them for the past 5 minutes? You want to pretend you're disgusted, but frankly, it's pure entertainment and you're loving the spectacle. And then you turn to your right and two people are going at it against a wall and all you can think of is ''oh DO get a room! But please, not on my luxury Egyptian cotton!''
Then you notice the guy in front of you on the dance floor is inching his way closer and closer towards you with his mouth hanging open, like a lion ready to pounce on a deer. As much as the inside of your mouth looks tempting young chap, I'd rather lick a doorknob. No offence…
And then you fall into bed at 3am when the party is still going strong because you remember that you do in fact have work on Sunday morning which requires a reasonable level of level-headedness. You then realise that some partygoer has left a half-empty bottle of Kronenburg next to your bottle of deodorant which means they were probably having a drunken nosy around your room. You frantically check your laptop is still alive and functioning and that someone didn’t hang it off the balcony as a practical joke. But maybe that’s more of an English thing. You then wake up at 4am to find a boy in the middle of your bed in between you and your friend who seems insistent on “joining in” on the fun. A random Italian who cannot speak French and therefore cannot understand that you want him to leave. One thing leads to another and you end up commissioning a troop of five men to heave him out of your bed. Only in Paris!
Watch this “personal” space.