How did you see in the new millennium? I was asked this the other day and I didn’t know what to say……….
I was single, she was single. She was with a group of friends, I was with a group of friends. My plans to spend the end of the millennium somewhere “cool” lay in tatters so I was at a nightclub in Maidstone called Ikon. That’s not a typo by the way, that’s how they spelled it and should give you some idea of how unbelievably shit it was. It was the sort of nightclub that has lots of pictures of attractive people having fun on all the walls but if you took the time to look at the “actual” people around you they would bear no relation to these pictures (a bit like Facebook then?). In the real world it looked a lot like Mordor. Mordor with Robin S. The dancefloor was always packed because, away from it, the carpets seemed to be made of flypaper or jam or superglue. Maybe that’s why the queue at the bar moved so slowly?
Through some licensing quirk they had to serve “food” so there was a brightly lit corner selling dirty burgers to people who really should have avoided both fast food and bright lights. The music was loud and the booze was cheap and although I now cringe, back then I thought it was okay.
I was a bit drunk and we’d danced together and “done a get off” or a “frenchie” or whatever we called it back then. Kissing with tongues. It was a result – I’d “pulled” and that didn’t happen very often. Except that I was definitely on the rebound and she seemed very keen and at one point she mentioned “our future” and I suddenly realised that I didn’t want any commitment. For the first time since I was 6 years old, I didn’t want a girlfriend. This revelation came to me as I was at the bar getting her a drink and I had a only a few minutes to concoct an escape plan. Whatever I said would seem weird and unreasonable, I had seemed “keen” only moments before. How to go from canoodling in the corner to cooling things off without making her feel bad?
Then suddenly it hit me, a way to make us both feel good – it was a great plan.
I sat down and passed across her drink.
“Look I really like you but I’m not sure this is gonna work because one of my other friends has fancied you for ages and I just can’t do that to him. I’m really sorry, it’s not you. It’s him”
“Oh” she looked quite taken aback at my massive lie, “okay”,
I gently shook her knee in sympathy and tried to look “forlorn”.
She took a sip of her drink. It was cheap and white, like my shirt, like my lie.
“So…. who is it that likes me so much but has made no move on me?”
Shit. I hadn’t really thought about this bit.
“Well please don’t say I said this because he’ll kill me but it’s Matthew”, I gestured over to Matthew Manson who, blissfully unaware , was talking to a very pretty girl.
“Which Matthew?” she asked
“Y’know Matthew, Matthew Manson, he’s always fancied you. And we’re mates so it wouldn’t be right”
“Matthew Manson fancies me?”
“Yup, always has done, he just can’t tell you. You know how shy he is”
“My cousin Matthew?”
“Matthew is my cousin, you knew that right?”
Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit why did I not know this? WHY HAS NO-ONE EVER MENTIONED THIS!!!
She looks confused and a bit sick.
My brain says “you are a fool Conmy, tell her the truth, admit to her right now that this is a cheap attempt to distance yourself from a scenario which you are probably reading too much into anyway. She’s not proposed! She’s a sweet girl who seems to like you, so tell her that, no, you didn’t know that Matthew was her cousin and it was a stupid stupid thing to say”
I take a deep breath.
“Yes. Yes I did know that Matthew was your cousin” I shrug “and that’s why he’s never told you”
So now you know how I saw in the millennium – accusing a good friend of mild incest.