Monday, 28 August 2017

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeze!

When I was in my mid-teens, I downloaded a lot of porn. I wasn't aware how much could be downloaded - and was unaware that any porn existed which wasn't the softcore fare I saw on L!VE TV - until I started using, illegally, peer-to-peer networks. Yeah, I know. Most people used them, though - didn't you?

I had, during this time, occasional forays into hardcore territory, which generally isn't my jam, although there are some scenes I can get on board with. One scene I managed to find - although which keyword I used I'm not sure - was called something like "Swedish teens first time fuck in sauna", which did exactly what it says on the tin, although RonSeal may not have approved of the fact that these porn actors almost certainly weren't teens. And, judging by the fact that they were speaking English with English accents, probably not Swedish either.

From my limited experience with saunas (saunae?), I'm not exactly sure why they're so inextricably linked, in my mind, with sex. I've certainly never had sex in one; I've rarely ever been in any (the scented steam rooms in the thermae don't count, probably); the one experience of being in a sauna I have mostly involves being leered at by very old, very large men and feeling very uncomfortable about it. Movies - softcore, hardcore and mainstream - often depict them as magical places, full of billowing steam and with braziers full of hot coals on which one tips water for whatever reason.

I've never seen a brazier of hot coals in a sauna.

And then there's the fact that having sex in a sauna is probably incredibly dangerous. They're very hot environments, with the top-level benches warmer than the ones below. The wooden things to sit on collect heat during the day, so they can cause a little burning if one is less than careful, and the amount of sweat you generate from the heat is probably not going to be helped by the sweat you generate through sex. The hot, heavy action of sex - even the lazy kind - increases your pulse, alters blood flow and decreases intuitive reasoning, all while raising your temperature. It's incrediby risky to do so when all those things are already happening!

It's sex, not a suicide mission!

Despite all this, I still thought it might be kind of fun to have sex in a sauna - particularly one of those fictional ones filled with steam where you can't see anyone or anything (or maybe that's just Antony Gormley's Blind Light...). It has the illicitness of "sex in a public place" about it, plus the natural effect of wood in a setting (which, as an environmentalist, I like), and the amount of sex scenes that take place in one has got to count for something, right...? Right...?

Today, as part of the gym membership I apparently still have, I stepped into a sauna following half an hour's swimming. Maybe, just maybe, this experience would go some way to explaining the connotation in my mind.

Needless to say it didn't do that. But it probably did boost ice cream sales a bit.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Review: Autoblow 2+

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel...

There's a continuing trend in sex toys to make them look more like, well, sex toys - building some sort of awareness that you are, in fact, using a construct of silicone or TPR or TPE (whatever's your fancy) in order to masturbate. If you look at the PULSE or the REV 1000, neither are making any pretensions to replicate any part of a human being nature dictates you should put your penis into; they're just sex toys. You're aware, here, what you're using, and there's no point pretending otherwise.

Where the Autoblow 2+ fails, before you've even started to use it, is that it has gone completely the other way. The opening, into which you're supposed to put your erect cock, is a hideous, disembodied replica of a mouth - except without a philtrum, lips, teeth, tongue, or any detail. This is, essentially, a hole - like the one in the end of a Fleshlight - shaped like someone who's never heard of a mouth is having a go with a hammer and chisel and hoped for the best.

It's been haunting my dreams for months.

Okay, so, the product itself...

The Autoblow 2+ (I don't even want to consider the fact that there's been at least one more of these beforehand) is a white, cylindrical tower of doom with three spring-loaded rows of beads (which rotate) and a pumping motor (which pumps). Into this, you put a sleeve made of a soft, spongy material, all of which end in a "mouth". There are, in fact, three sizes of sleeve, catering for different girths of penis, but claim to cater for "all lengths".

This is a false claim. All the sleeves are six inches long - the box even says so - so, actually, not all lengths. Certainly not mine.

The Autoblow 2+ is mains-powered, meaning you plug it in, which would be easier if it wasn't an American plug. I had to get a socket adaptor to use this - "fortunately", that is relatively easy to obtain, if a little annoying to have as a necessity. The lead is long enough, but it does mean you have to be close to the plug to use it. "Don't worry," the box claims, "we've designed it to be safe." Uhm, I doubt you'd have got your product out at all if it wasn't safe.

But I digress.

AAAAAARGH! IT'S COMING TO GET ME!
So. This thing is a blowjob simulator. You push your penis into the "mouth" and down the sleeve, hold it in place and then turn it on. The pumping mechanism forces the sleeve up and down while the balls circle around, massaging the shaft. On the bottom of the device is a little wheel like a volume control, which you can use to control the speed (although that's the only thing you can control). The general idea is that you are simulating having a blowjob, down to the fact that if you look down and ignore the white and blue cylinder you are holding, you can see a mouth bobbing back and forth. If you ejaculate into the sleeve, you remove it, wash it with soap and water and leave it to drip dry.

I probably don't need to say that I had problems using this.

First of all, your penis doesn't go in when it's flaccid, and it won't when it's erect. The fact that the Autoblow 2+ is 33% tighter than the original doesn't appear to have taken into account the whole "getting your penis into it" aspect of sex toy usage; while fully erect, it simply would not go in - the mouth doesn't open so you need to jam it in - even with lube applied. After about five tries, I did manage to get it in, but the rigid shape and limited size didn't accommodate either the natural upward curve or 7" length of my shaft... so, as with other sex toys, it hurt.

Let's imagine your penis is short enough to have this thing fit all the way to the base of the shaft, and it's straight like a ramrod so there aren't any shape issues. The next thing you'd need would be a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, because even at the lowest setting, the Autoblow 2+ emits a consistent, high-pitched whine at a frequency designed for dogs to hear. Turn the dial up and the pump action starts, although you can barely feel it because it hardly moves much. I tried this three times, and all it did was stroke the top layer of my foreskin back and forth. My penis barely felt a thing, except pain.

At any higher setting, another noise joins the fray: a repetitive thudding, scraping noise that, for some reason, sounds like the device is saying "Daniel" over and over again. My name's not Daniel, so it's not relevant to me, but even without the Radcliffe-fangirl association, it's not just an off-putting sound: it's a dangerous one. It sounds bad, like a laboured piece of machinery - not the sort of thing you'd trust to bring you to orgasm!

Oh, and it also claims to be hands-free. Bullshit: you need to hold it in place.

So, yes, this toy is a hideous concept with a terrible design. I've had enough blowjobs to know that this isn't what one feels like. It's very difficult to get your penis in, it's uncomfortable when it is in, it barely works and it's a terrible noise and what were they thinking?!

Good Points: The box design, the mains power lead, the colour scheme.

Bad Points: The tight opening, the painful interior, the ineffective mechanism.

Worse Points: The fact that the "mouth" will keep you awake at night wondering when it's going to come and exact its terrible revenge.

Worst Points: Daniel! Daniel! Daniel! Daniel!

Autoblow 2+, available from stockists worldwide. You can also buy it for £159.95 from the hideously-designed official site.

Monday, 21 August 2017

What's the story, morning glory?

Throughout the day my erections take various size (although I'd hope the shape is more or less the same). The one that swells while tiring myself out in five minutes of mild cardio at the gym is discernable, but less potent than the one which strains and throbs in my hand while I bring myself off to the droopy gloss of porn on my netbook's screen. I get them when hearing various strains of music; when I read certain things (not always erotica...); even when certain scents, like sandalwood, evoke a memory.

None of these have anything even close to what I've been experiencing just after waking.

Much as the urban legend is in place because it has a basis in fact, there's more to the waking erection than the traditional "morning wood". I don't know the science behind it - for all I know, it may be just me - but, even following short naps during the day, that pre-dawn moment before being fully awake heralds the start of an incredibly large, incredibly tangible erect penis.

It doesn't go away, either. I tend to wake up on my front, with my penis pressed up against the bed, the pressure making every pulse swim through my body. I barely move away, the sensation too great to want to move. I buck my hips, occasionally, and let out a little grunt, as if having sex with an unseen lover... in the knowledge that I will still be just as hard if I get up and move around.

It vanishes, of course, over time. It always does. But it will be back.

Over the last few weeks, these have been my biggest, strongest and most enjoyable moments of sexual excitement - even more so than the ones I bring on myself. Up until now, I have kept it a secret. My dirty little secret, exciting enough to bring a little spark in that semi-conscious world. But, for what it's worth, it makes me happy.

In today's uncertain world, those little moments of wonder are sometimes what we need to make it through. If mine involve an erect ILB, then so be it.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Beautiful Music

As the band packed up their instruments and began to trundle away in their various cars, I fell into stride beside Karolina. She was beautiful - with the perfect nose, bright blue eyes and golden hair tied into an elegant knot, but still falling down to her shoulders like a waterfall. Like me, she'd just finished university, and like me, she'd discovered this little orchestra who handily rehearsed in the church five minutes' walk from my house. She lived on the other side of town, which was a little bit of a walk away.

We got talking, something we didn't do much during rehearsal, since I sat at the back row of the violins with the ad libitum parts, some of which I'd scored myself, and her fingers danced across the piccolo across the circle. We occasionally shared a smile - sometimes a wink, occasionally a note - but very few words.

We discussed music - what we liked, what we disliked, and what got us into our chosen instruments. I shared stories of the band I was in at university, and the society I helped found in my final year, sketching bass clefs onto whiteboard in meeting rooms and taking minutes in musical shorthand. She told me of the times she had spent in her room in university hall, twittering her way through musical scores which she picked up second-hand from charity shops. Once everyone else was out of sight, we sang the title song from Fiddler on the Roof to each other. I was amazed she knew the words, since they're not sung in the musical.

We harmonised well.

As we were walking in the direction of town, I suggested we get a coffee. Starbucks would still be open; we were young and silly, and although we both had work in the morning, it wasn't that late. So we walked down the tree-lined road, up the alleyways that provide a handy shortcut into town, and perched on stools with vanilla lattes, our instruments making love on the floor beside us. The conversation flowed freely - the laughter too. At this late hour, people were beginning to trickle away, and for a while, we were in our little bubble, the sparkle of her eyes reflecting my nervous brush-back of my hair which, I noticed, I was doing a little too much.

We stayed out far too late and waltzed back to her tiny flat near the train station on the hill. Where once we were waxing lyrical, now we were virtually silent. The door closed; our instruments leaned up against the wall. Our bodies met; her opal kisses tasted like vanilla, strawberry and excitement, with a hint of crescendo. A laugh, a smile, a breath and a tumble, and she fell backwards onto her bed, landing like a soft stick on a timpani. She hitched up her skirt; I tugged at my belt. She bit her lip as I sank my cock into her, her eyelids fluttering closed as her body relaxed around me. I moved inside her, gentle deliberate strokes, her giggles fluttering into my ear as I took breaths as deep and measured as I could.

Moving in rhythm... from the rehearsal room to the bedroom.

We awoke, kissed, dressed, and walked hand-in-hand to the station. I waved her farewell as she joined the stream of commuters heading into London; I turned to make my way to work - on foot, since I'd left my bicycle at home. Violin in hand, I sang softly to myself as I made my way up the hill, a soft glow illuminating my path in the dawn's misty light.

Karolina and I walked around town almost every night - sometimes going for a drink, sometimes just sitting in the park or watching the ducks on the river. We almost always went back to her little flat to make love. Occasionally, we would play music together. We always went to band practice, but this time we talked during the interval. I never told anyone else about her.

I never told anyone else about her, because she didn't exist.

And this time, I didn't want to. She was my secret girlfriend - the one I created. I carried her around like a light in my heart: a secret that I didn't have to feel guilty about. Someone I could talk to, share my stories with, and feel close to. I would walk to band practice every Wednesday, play my part, and then take her hand and walk home.

Say hello to my parents, make a hot chocolate, lie back on my own bed, close my eyes... and walk off into the night with Karolina, always ready to share one more adventure.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Fair Trade

I was lost.

Through the miasma of backstreets and alleyways with sex shops I didn't recognise, the steady heat beat down upon Soho like a drum. After my relatively unsteady day, I was looking forward to escaping the sun via the Underground and dragging my way home. I didn't know exactly where I was, but was fairly sure I was heading in the right direction.

"Excuse me, sir?"

I froze like a rabbit caught in headlights, the small plastic bag which held my sister's birthday present loosely hanging from my right hand. Turning to the right, from whence the voice had hailed, I saw a blonde woman beckoning me forwards.

"Are you looking for a girl? I have some lovely girls."
"Oh!" I almost laughed, relieved that I wasn't in any particular danger. "No, thank you."
"Are you sure?" she pressed.
"Yes, I'm perfectly sure, thank you," I said politely. "But thank you for asking."

It was only at this point that I realised this was the first time I had ever been in such a situation. I was also slightly bamboozled by our location - the back entrance to Westminster Kingsway College. As the summer holidays are on, this may have been a less active building than usual, but surely there would have been some activities going on? It was an odd place to solicit from, but I suppose if you're going to do it somewhere...

I still wasn't sure how to react.

"I've got some boys too!" she pressed. "Some very nice boys, if you want."
"Oh, no, no," I replied. "No, I'm into girls, but I just don't want to... I mean, you know, I like girls, but I... I have one."

In fact, I'm just coming from dropping her off at work. This morning, as we lay entwined with her hand wrapped around my throbbing penis, I didn't want to ever let her go. 

"Well, what about a nice massage, then? You don't even need to have sex, you can just get a massage from one of the girls..."

However uneasy I felt, I couldn't fault her sales pitch. It was classic patter - get the customer talking, offer something they don't want, and then something they do. And, when it comes down to it, I have nothing at all against prostitution. But I really didn't want to get into a conversation about what I did and didn't want. I'd have been wasting her time, if nothing else.

"No, I'm sorry, but thank you. I'm in a bit of a hurry..."
"You're a bit high?"
"No, I'm in a hurry, a bit of a hurry," I said, beginning to move away. "I'm sorry," I added, even though I wasn't, really. I always feel a little guilty for not buying things.

"OK, well, thanks for stopping!" she said, a little too brightly.

I walked across the street, but just before I turned a corner, I looked back.

"But thank you!" I finished with, unsure as to why I was saying that. "Thank you very much!"

And I scuttled away, emerging onto Regent Street at last.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Life Lessons

"You can be really dirty sometimes."
"Yeah, 'course I can. Everyone can be."
"You've got a long-term boyfriend," I pointed out. "You've probably got a lot more experience than the rest of us."

At which point I stopped saying anything. Lightsinthesky had just walked in and I certainly didn't want to hear about how much experience he had.

"Yeah. I'm probably going to marry him, too."

Unlike some of the other upper-sixth-formers taking more ASs, she was less of an enigma. In bigger AS classes, we usually had one or two - older ones, usually girls, taking on a different subject in order to get another qualification. In our English class, we had one I never really talked to, because I couldn't remember her name. For a while, I thought it might be Urethra. This one, however, was in our Philosophy class, which consisted of five. We were a tight unit - me, Lightsinthesky, two smart girls who we got on well with, and her. She was part of us, and when she'd left in our second year, we generally felt bereft.

She was, of course, incredibly good-looking. Lightsinthesky looked upon her with barely-disguised lust. I just thought she was a nice girl... with her dirty moments.

Lightsinthesky had entered the room with one of the other members of the class - the one who decided she'd evolved from a sheep rather than a hominid, and ended up getting straight As in her A2s.

"No, hang on, it's got to be three."
"Two, surely?"
"I thought it was three."
"My mum told me it was two?"

"Your mum's wrong."
"Mums are never wrong."

"Hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up, hold up," I said, although I probably didn't say that. "What's all this, then?" Only I probably sounded less like a policeman. I think I probably said something like, "Huh?". Or maybe I didn't say anything at all.

"How many holes does a girl have?" he asked. "I thought it was three, but she says it's two."
"I think it's three," I said.
"But she's a girl, so she should know."
"No, it's three," our upper sixth colleague pointed out. One here..."

...at which she pointed...

"...one here..."

...she demonstrated...

"...and one here."

All with a dazzling smile.

"Hey, guys, what are you talking about?" asked our teacher as she bustled in with what looked like the Dead Sea Scrolls cradled in her arms.
"How many..." started Lightsinthesky, before I trod on his foot and he stopped talking.
"It's fine," I said, "it's a question that's been answered." And I sat down, got out my books, and made a mental note to have a word with the Biology department.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Faker

An image came to me last night. Just an image from the past. Dream ILB took to Google, but couldn't find a copy of the picture, and although Real ILB has also just done so, he can't find the picture either. The last time it was available was in 2000, so maybe that goes some way to explaining why.

In 2000 I was young, horny and slightly foolish. But then I expect we all were at 15. I had a rampant imagination and unbridled creativity, which helped in some situations, although not others - especially when an acquaintance on ICQ (yes, really, ICQ) gained a girlfriend, of sorts, and started bragging. Bragging, you know, about the things an imagination doesn't really want to conjure up. At 15, although going through a sexual awakening - albeit slowly - I still thought masturbation was disgusting, found the idea of blowjobs repellent, but was desperate for a girlfriend, although having never kissed a girl.

Into this mass of contradictions, introduce a bundle of acquaintances - friends of a friend - many of whom I ended up meeting, however briefly, at a few student parties years later. They all went to the same school - a selective grammar for boys - which seemed a world away from my mixed-sex, mixed-ability comprehensive. Despite the fact that they all seemed to assume that I'd be doing a lot of rampant shagging due to having girls my age around on a daily basis, this was clearly untrue. Exactly how much the bragging one had actually done was all conjecture.

Humble though I may have been at the time, I wanted to be able to brag too.

In Summer 2000, I chanced upon an opportunity. In the pages of the Telegraph (don't judge me, it was my grandparents' copy) I chanced upon a little article concerning an undergraded A-Level paper and the girl who had almost missed out on a university place as a result. An image accompanied it - the same image I recalled last night - of the girl in question. She was stunning - a remarkably normal-looking girl with a slightly haughty, unimpressed look on her face. Beautiful hair held back by a band, nice stance and figure, and (let's not forget it) incredibly large breasts, under which she had crossed her arms, lending them even more support. Behind her were shelves upon shelves of books.

Which is the best thing about any picture, really.

Taken by her looks, her attitude, and her intelligence - confirmed by the article - I quickly convinced myself that she was my dream girl. Fair enough, she was three years older than me and over one hundred miles away, but none of this mattered. I wasn't going to actually try to meet her.

And so, for the first time in my life, I had an imaginary girlfriend. Her geeky, smart, sexy intelligence was the envy of my ICQ buddies. They were jealous of the fact that my parents let her stay over, that we had kissed, and taken in by the romantic way we met - in a library, because books are sexy. Of course, none of them knew that she was completely invented, but as the days went by, even I was somewhat taken in by whatever glimmered behind the softcore sheen. The bragging guy stopped bragging; the others were all impressed; I was satisfied. I'd managed to get a girlfriend completely out of my imagination.

It all got a little too real when one of them asked if I had a picture.

Of course I had a picture - it was in the newspaper. But, as I let my eye rove from the page I'd kept to my flatbed scanner (yes, flatbed scanner), I shook myself briefly from the anxious excitement I'd found myself in. This is a picture of a real girl, I told myself. All I've done so far is appropriate her name and made up a person. I can't use her picture, surely.

"I bet my girlfriend's better-looking than yours," the bragging guy said.

And so I did a terrible thing.

"Wow, she's a very attractive girl! Why aren't you fucking her?"
"We're both underage," was my honest(ish) reply.

Weeks passed. Now I'd actually got her picture on my computer, things started spiralling out of control. I carried on the story, shared details I made up on the spot with all and sundry, and shared her picture - but, every time I did so, I felt a pang of guilt. This poor girl had a tiny spot in a newspaper for almost failing to get into university because exam boards suck, and here was this 15-year-old kid, using not just her name, but her mugshot... pretending to be with her.

I knew, from the very first moment, that what I was doing was wrong. I was lying, and I generally don't tend to lie. But I'd had enough of everyone else's bragging, the burgeoning sexuality of everyone my age, and the constant crushes I had at school which never came to anything - I wanted to feel the exhilaration of love, so I invented someone to love. I never dreamed that I'd lose control of the situation.

But sometimes things have got to stop.

"I've been forced to break up with her," I said to one of my buddies on ICQ. "I don't want to talk about her again."
"Why? Why 'forced'? But you love her!"


Good question. Think your way out of this one, ILB.

"She's moved to the Isle of Wight," I lied smoothly. "Her dad got a new job and moved there, so she's on the island. I think she has a new boyfriend down there, too." This, too, was based on a real person - a good friend from school, who had been in the very same situation. I had difficulty adjusting to him not being around, but because it had happened, it seemed a plausible enough excuse. The guy who I was talking to swallowed it, and I suppose the (fake) news spread, because people stopped asking me leading questions. I also made sure to delete her picture, and asked everyone else to delete it too.

I'm so relieved that this little venture didn't involve Lightsinthesky.

About a month later and things were continuing as normal. I had another crush at school, the usual ICQ talk had reverted back to bragging and hackery, and my ruse of an imaginary girlfriend had been all but forgotten. I still felt guilty about it - I hadn't intended to deceive anyone; I just got carried away - but I supposed that, in time, people would forget.

"Hey, have you heard from [her name] recently?" asked one of my friends on ICQ, two months later.
"She doesn't exist," I admitted.
"Oh. Okay."

Really? It was that easy?!

And so ends the tale of my first, completely fictional, girlfriend. It began with a name, continued with an image, and ended with a guilt-ridden exorcism and an admission of sin. Even now, I still visualise her picture in my head - long deleted, of course - and feel the guilt and the glee come back in one huge rush.

One year passed as I knew it would... and then, of course, I invented another one.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Meta-conversation(s)

"So what did you do to get past that firewall?"
"Eventually? I used a VPN, which took some doing, as all the VPN sites were blocked too."
"Why did you need to get past it anyway, if Google and Wikipedia were open?"
"First of all, half of Wikipedia was blocked. Google was also blocked, and I couldn't read any blogs, or update my own. It was written well in advance - I just couldn't update."

"Oh, you blog?"
"Yeah."
"What do you blog about?"
"Uhm..."


*

"Can I read anything you've written? Maybe I've already read you, I read a lot of blogs."
"Oh, maybe you have. Uhm... do you read Girl on the Net?"
"What? No. I don't know who she is."
"Then you probably won't have read me."
"Oh, is she your boss?"
"What? No! She's just a friend."

"Then why do you say that?"
"Uhm..."

*

"Am I on your blog?"
"No, not really."
"Is anyone here on it?"
[ILB scans the room, taking in Einstein, the young raver, friends-who-are-teachers-midwives-and-nurses, Mane, Mane Jr., scene girl, and all their relevant significant others...]
"A couple of people, yeah."
"Can you read me something from it, at least?"
[ILB does so. It's relatively clean.]
*Laughter* "Are you going to write anything about tonight?"
[Pause.]
"Of course not."

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Change of Heart

"Are you going to Michelle's party?" asked Blaine, relatively innocently considering Blaine's usual demeanour. Friends though we may have been, I was surprised he was talking to me at all; he usually spent 23 out of his 24 hours per day playing Counter-Strike, the remaining one devoted mostly to sleeping. How he managed to stay enrolled at university, much less get a hot girlfriend, I've no idea. Good genes, or a lot of luck, or something.

I had my soft porn; I'm not complaining (much).

Was I going to Michelle's party? I had been invited, although not officially. But then, this was a party organised by a university student, so it wasn't overly likely to have had any sort of official invite. It was her 21st - she'd probably been inviting everyone.

"I'm not sure," I said, truthfully. I hadn't given it a lot of thought. "I might be away or something, let me check. Are you going?"
"I'm not sure," he replied. "I'll go if you'll go."


I checked.

"I'm not doing anything," I said. "I'll fortunately be able to go. Will you come along?"
"Fortunately, eh?"
"Yeah... why...?"
"Hey, ILB. You don't fancy Michelle, do you?"

At which I was more than a little blindsided. Did I fancy Michelle? I'd been sitting next to her in lectures, sure, but only because I knew her a little, and moreso than others. But then, I reasoned, I sat next to Claire, and I fancied her, and to Kat, and I fancied her too. And Caroline, who I also fancied, and occasionally Sarah. Who I fancied. I didn't fancy Lisa, however, which was odd, because everyone else did.

Michelle...? Again, I'd never given it much thought. Michelle was a nice girl. Quiet, but perceptive and very good at her chosen subject. She'd always been nice to me, and I'd been polite and pleasant in turn, discussing history with her and not turning away when she sneezed all over her hands and didn't have a tissue to spare. But I'd never considered the idea of having a crush on her before. I certainly didn't.

Before I opened my mouth, my mind spun an intricate fantasy in which I did fancy Michelle. In an instant, it seemed less like an impossibility, and more like an opportunity. 

"Okay! Maybe I do fancy Michelle! And maybe I'll go to her party and I'll pull her, and then I'll finally have my first kiss in years, and a girlfriend afterwards! And maybe this is my chance, and maybe she fancies me too, and this is why she invited me to her party!" I didn't say. It was part of my thought process, perhaps, but it didn't come out of my mouth. I was, however, vaguely aware of the fact that Blaine was still standing there, waiting for an answer.

"I'm not sure," I said, truthfully. "Do I fancy Michelle?" Which was, perhaps, the worst possible thing to say, as I'd just invited Blaine, my friend in a relationship with Sarah, who was friends with Michelle, to pass on the idea that I had a crush on someone who, up until a few seconds ago, I didn't have a crush on. It wouldn't be the first time that Blaine had shared such information.
"Do you?"
"Maybe! I guess, perhaps, I don't really know if..."
"Okay, so I'm going to the party!"

I didn't go. Neither, in fact, did Blaine. I went to Canterbury to see 47; he spent his evening playing Counter-Strike.

I got a first in the module, but after that, I never saw Michelle again.