Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wallflower at the orgy

Arrived in Barons Court. Not Maida Vale, as he'd told me.
 "It's the first white house." Ben said.
 Outside security cameras tracked us. The pale thudding of generic techno music, the modern soundtrack to all recreational events, pounded through the fence.
We'd forgotten drink. Rules were you had to bring three bottles of wine or 12 bottles of beer.
The offies were closed.
 "I've got a tiny bottle of airline wine in my van." I suggested to Ben. 
"That'll have to do" he said "Look, you do it, you ask if we can come in. You are confident, good at talking your way into situations"
"No, Ben" I said firmly "You man up. Yes I can do it better than you but I'm not going to".
At the door we were inspected by a portly middle aged man with plucked eyebrows and a thinning pate. Alex. He opened the door just a little bit, we squeezed through.
The inside was suffused with blue, from ultraviolet bulbs. We faced a spiral staircase. On the left was the kitchen, on the right, where you would normally expect a living room, was a large room containing 7 or 8 beds. Dimly I could make out brown bottoms, dark against the glowing sheets, bouncing up and down.
We entered the kitchen. Alex gave us a clipboard and asked us to write down our names, emails and phone numbers.
 "What shall I call myself?" I asked Ben.
 "Well I'm known as Simon Jones. You could be Mrs Jones."
 I wrote that down on the dotted line. I let Ben put his mobile number on there. Behind me, men were walking around bare chested with their bottom halves covered with towels.
Ben handed his tan leather jacket into the cloak room. He was wearing a thin white T-shirt. On the journey here, he asked me if I'd noticed that he'd been working out.
 "How much is it?" he asked the barman.
 "Are you alone or in a couple?"the barman replied "if you are alone it's £125 but free if you are in a couple. However you know the rules don't you? You can't play until the lady plays. She has to initiate."
The penny dropped, this was why I'd been invited. Ben, the bastard, just wanted to get in free.
While this conversation was going on, I looked around the kitchen. A few white cardboard plates were on the counter: a couple of mince pies, a desultory trail of Hula Hoops, a stack of mini spring rolls. Quite plebeian snacks for an orgy, I'm sure I could cater it better: figs, grapes, chocolate dipped strawberries, maybe some eclairs...
But I guess some people weren't there for the food.
I sat on a stool next to the fridge where, attached by magnets, were notices for forthcoming events 'MILF' night and 'BLO' night (Black ladies only).
 Ben crackled into my ear "you might be interested in the MILF night?" 
An older lady came up to me and shook my hand. This made me feel slightly more relaxed. The truth was, I was terrified. I was tensed up. Going into a house with maybe 60 strange men in varying states of undress brings up all your fight or flight instincts. This is what women are afraid of, this is what women are taught to be afraid of, since birth. It goes against every instinct of self-preservation. You are amongst the big beasts, creatures who are directed by their sexual impulses, large hairy mammals with big pudgy fists. Why would any woman voluntarily put herself in that position?
Alex came up to us and suggested, through clenched and bleached teeth, that we wander around, see upstairs.
I'd only been there ten minutes. I felt pressurised. I could feel Ben's impatience next to me.
I gulped. Lets do this. We walked up the spiral staircase. There was a TV on the wall, I wondered who had been evicted from Big Brother.
Below, crowded around a sofa, were maybe 10 to 15 male hairy backs of various hues and their paler bottoms, thronged. On an adjacent sofa, a man sprawled, looking. His proprietorial gaze seemed to be that of a husband. Underneath the men, all I could see of his wife was a calf, ankle and foot clad in black stocking, her leg bent up in the air.
I stood stiffly at the other end of the room.
I wanted to move about, to look, to investigate but I was too aware of my part in this as desirable meat. I was bait. You can't be a reporter when you are bait.
I moved down the hall, I was looking for a toilet. I found a corner and pressed my back into it, against the wall. I had a view into two bedrooms. In one, there was a man, no, a woman, I could see the pendulous tear-drop of her breasts as her head rose up in the oscillation of her work on a prone body. Later, when she stopped, coming towards me, I could see she had few teeth. Darkly I wondered why.
In the other room, the bulk of the men were collected. Sometimes I caught a flickering glimpse of white female legs. A large black man came out, he introduced himself to me.
 "It's that lady's 30th birthday. this is a party for her. She wanted 30 men!" 
"I bet she's sore" I tried to quip. Thirty candles I thought. 
The black man had pale blue eyes. I clutched Ben's hand. Where I was standing it was very narrow, but no man touched me as they went past. Nole me tangere. They all had ultraviolet dandruff speckled on their bare shoulders, twinkling like stardust. A blonde woman in her twenties announced to me laughingly
 "You are going to get eaten alive!"
The black man talked to me, he was well spoken. "Your first time?"
"Yes" I squeaked. 
"I come about six times a year. This has alot of people, this party. It probably would have been better if you'd come to a smaller one."
"So many men...." I say "I know there are women but they all seem to be invisible, buried under a mound of men"
"You are always going to get lots of men where there's a possibility of women..." he says "of sex".
"N.S.A" I say, thinking of the singles night I held at The Underground Restaurant around Valentines Day. How only three men came compared to 18 women. Strings attached.
"Yeah" he agreed "No strings attached. There are different sorts of parties...I went to one called 'fat munters', it was held in a car park. Loads of men there. I've been to one called 'fat and ugly' ...still loads of men".
A small man, not much bigger than me, with closely cropped hair, joined in:
"I thought it was bi night tonight? The girls having fun with each other?"
Me: "Bi night is only women?"
The small guy snorted:"Oh yeah, we don't want bi men!" 
The black guy agreed "Oh no, none of that!"
Lesbianism and bisexuality was not, in this world, a sexual choice but a spectacle for the titillation of men.
The black guy seemed kind. "Don't worry, no one will force you into anything you don't want to do here. People will protect you"
I trusted him more than I did my companion.
Ben: "Lets go into the bedroom" 
I stood stock still, a mess of nerves. I'd worn pearls, a black dress, black heels. I was wearing the most clothes in the whole party.
"Lets go downstairs then" 
We went to the bedroom with all the beds.
"These are pros" explained Ben. "As you can see, they are rather better looking than the other women."
A young mixed race girl, very pretty, with slim hips trimmed by lacy knickers, strolled gracefully past.
"Can we go?" I asked Ben.
His face fell. He put on his best Oxbridge accent, trying to gain control "We've only been here ten minutes. Lets go upstairs"
"You said we can go anytime" I insisted
I could see he was worried about Alex. About his reputation in the sex party world.
I walked to the bar, one guy muttered something to me.
Ben smiled "That guy likes your bum".
The black guy was standing at the bar.
"You going?" He asked me.
"Yes. I'm sorry. It's not for me"
He looked at Ben dismissively.
"When you get home you should give this guy a slap. I'm proud of you." he said to me.
"I'm not judging anyone" I said. "It's not for me"
"I brought a friend along, she had the same reaction. She is profoundly deaf and finds it hard to meet anyone. But she couldn't handle it. " He shrugged.
"I hope you gentleman have a good evening" I say with exaggerated politesse, departing.
Ben and I row all the way home. He seems anxious. But then it emerges that he is angry, that I should have known what it was like, that he explained it all clearly. I counter that I couldn't account for my own reactions, it was physical, visceral.
He admits: "Well that was probably the sleaziest place I could have taken you to even in that genre of party: pure conveyor belt sex."
I remain interested by the male gaze, how men think, how they compartmentalise women, whether they feel, if they are just like us. I don't think most women know.


A link: The truth about the porn industry in the Guardian

25 comments:

  1. oh dear ....
    where is love ?
    not at that party,
    or others like it.
    how can mutual respect survive in
    such an environment?
    my guess is it does not.
    sex is good,
    but sex with love is
    the greatest thing.
    perhaps
    the best feeling in this life.
    no wonder so many people try anything to even pretend at such satori.


    with a kind and somewhat sad hart (for you deserve all the happiness that life can bring) Corbin

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  2. What an experience!

    Closest I've ever been to an orgy was the Christ's College Ball. It was the social event of the year, the reason a girl from my school would try to get a boyfriend from Christ's.

    The boys were handed 10 drinks tickets each at the entrance, which they were supposed to share with their dates, but not all of them did (the drinking age in NZ was 20 in those days, but so poorly enforced that it was acceptable for a school to serve teenagers alcohol).

    There were kids on one side of the room having sex, while the teachers stood in a row on the other side of the room, near the entrance. I think they were afraid to go any further in.

    I went home disappointed; I suspect my date did too.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Blimey. I really thought twice about leaving a comment tonight. Why, because I am so angry I can hardly type.

    I'm a straight bloke and, back in the day, I had the reputation such that it was said "He would stuff it if in his mouth it didn't move and stuff it if it did". Actually, it was both at times, but that's in the long distant past. Even in those desperate days (and sex for a bloke is as much searching for love as it is for a woman), I would have slapped that guy 'Ben' myself.
    There's something about blokes that assume women are happy to be sexual objects that makes me so angry I can't speak. Some women do in restricted circumstances, it's a choice (one I am uncomfortable with, but it's their choice). Some despicable guys trade on that, but it's bullying and that's the only thing that can truly and spectacularly cause me to lose my temper.

    Big hugs. You're a wonderful woman and you don't need to put up with that. You really don't. Spit.

    Thank you for sharing that, but please don't put yourself in harm's way again. You've got a lot more to write and cook yet and although I doubt I shall taste the latter, I want to read (and look at the photos) about your food again. And finding blokes can't be that difficult, surely?

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  5. Hi Chumbles,
    thanks for your comment.
    This guy Ben has been trying to persuade me to go to a party like this for a couple of years. I always said no. I've been to Torture Garden a few times and it was interesting, but a very aesthetic experience. The girls were beautifully dressed, although there was a sleazy element.
    I'm not into that stuff myself, but I've always been interested in people's motivations, what makes them tick.
    Finally last night Ben called again. I'm bored at the moment. I'm spending alot of time in by myself, writing this book. So I thought, what the hell, nothing ventured, nothing gained, it's an experience.
    I went with the idea of having a reporters detachment. But actually I was scared.
    Ben has definitely got issues with women. This was part of our argument. I also think the pornification of society is damaging men's ability to have proper relationships with women. Increasingly we are objectified. Perhaps it's a reaction to our so called equality.
    I feel like something that started as a sort of laugh, ended up being a bit icky. But I wanted to write it down before I forgot the details.
    There is some weird shit going on out there. Behind closed doors.

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  6. More: I feel as a writer, it's important just to record it, not pretend it's not happening.
    I wonder about the women. How they can do that to themselves? What masochistic fantasy they have?
    Or am I being ridiculously 'christian'?
    It's only bodies, it's only flesh.

    A guy with an arabic name left a comment and by mistake I rejected it (classic mishit on my iphone). I'm not censoring you.

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  7. Well, I was going to reply with some experiences from my past where women had asked me to do things to them which I really, really couldn't - I was engaged to one of them - an American who had two degrees and a doctorate, who wanted me to use chains and leather - and that killed the relationship. Think about it. If I could've done that, lived with myself afterwards, what would that say about me as a person?

    It's the Heisenberg principle - you cannot be there and observe. You observe and participate or you are not there. Frankly, you should be scared by guys like that. Anyone who wants to jump you into a situation like that is not your friend.

    There is no such thing as the 'fly on the wall' - you are either in the situation - vicariously or physically - or not. It's taken me nearly sixty years to learn that. So please leave the "I am a camera" bit to someone less vuulnerable and valuable.

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  8. Damn, that's the problem with a quasi-conversation like this; I'm always out of step! Which is why I don't twitter *smile*

    The difference is, it's your body, your flesh - stuff the Christian bit - whatever you do in it, you have to live with the consequences thereafter. As a writer, yes, record it, but being honest doesn't mean that you should experience it - think about Auschwitz or some similar horror - you actually observe less by being in it.

    As for women who have these masochistic fantasies - I really, really have no idea why. They upset me. But I'm glad you are not one of them. I've counted back and those with that persuasion in my life have been about 1/15. Doesn't seem a high proportion, but that's a declared proportion. The American woman put me off women for nigh on 10 years.

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  9. Sounds like a scene from "Eyes Wide Shut"! Still, it was an experience for you; and you got out OK that's the main thing. I've never been to a do like that (As I hope you've gathered I'm a different Ben). I think it wouldn't bother me, but then I'm a bloke. We're programmed differently from girls. Even though there are rare cases when men are sexually abused by women (That HAS happened to me, but that's another story.) I'm not sure I'd be able to... participate... with lots of other people around. I've only ever had sex on my own with one person. Blimey I have led a sheltered life! At least in the sexual sense if not in others.

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  10. I read that Guardian article yesterday. I know the Guardian's been waging its war against porn for a while... not sure I agree with it completely though. It's like they are trying to say porn is inherently violent and anti-women, when it doesn't have to be. But I'm not sure why men seem to be so drawn towards violent pornography.

    The first porn image I ever saw was of a man having sex with a dog. My brother had saved it on our family computer. I was trying to figure out why we suddenly had no hard drive space left and stumbled across his archive, which he'd collected in internet chat sessions with dodgy men. I think he was about 12 or 13. And this was fifteen years ago. These days we have youporn.com.

    The Guardian article mentions a study of men who have been convicted of child rape. I'd love to see a study of "normal" men, and how porn affects them.

    My best male friend was at a stag party that got extremely pornographic once (the bride made the groom have an STD test before she'd go ahead with the wedding - needless to say the marriage didn't last). Anyway, my friend got up and walked out of the room. But all the other guys stayed. Why was there only one guy in the room prepared to admit that what he was seeing was wrong?

    Then later on I went to a baby shower where someone had hired a male stripper (yeah I know, WTF?). Far from being exploitative of him, the routine involved the sexual humiliation of the female guests, several of whom seemed perfectly willing to take part. A friend and I were not, so we left.

    Anyway, you did right by leaving. It's a strange, scary world, isn't it?

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  11. Fingers and toes: I have mixed feelings about porn. But my own anecdotal evidence is that it is desensitising men.
    I've sometimes thought men would rather watch porn and masturbate than make love with a real woman with messy feelings, physical imperfections, unpredictable reactions, her own needs.
    I know my teen was watching 3 girls and a cup on her school mates phones from the age of 11.
    That's got to be wrong.

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  12. Just a brief comment; about porn, and the general sexual objectification of women in society having a desensitising effect. I can absolutely see how that would be true.

    I attended a student run feminist conference last weekend at my old University. There were lots of really interesting talks and discussions, but at the front of the lecture hall it was held in they'd put up some placards that members of the organising group had made in response to an attempt to start a University beauty pageant. They were all against the objectification of women, but one consisted of lots of cut out magazine images of topless "Page 3" girls, with the header "Is this empowering?". One of my friends eventually questioned whether it was right to be objecting to these sorts of images whilst at the same time using and displaying them and requested it was taken down, but before that I'd already spent two days with it there in the background.

    I'm a bisexual woman, but two days of looking at these images of semi-naked women, directly and even in-directly just while I was watching the speakers talk, and I realised I'd already become desensitised to it. I commented this to my friend, that I was so used to just seeing breasts as a normal blasé image I wouldn't find it that strange if we were now all just sat around topless ourselves.

    So I can completely see how the current saturation of women as sexualised objects would desensitise men, and women, and push them into greater extremes of sexual activity and imagery. I think if you get used to seeing women half naked or in sexual positions and poses on a daily basis, when you're looking for something more arousing, intimate or taboo you have to start looking into more hardcore areas. So people attend parties such as those or watch more extreme pornography, because what used to be sexual is now just boring to them.

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  13. Yes Becca, maybe some of those men don't get sex at home but I feel that many of them, yer average domestic missionary stuff is no longer getting them going.
    Bring back mystery!

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  14. It's a difficult issue (as most are), I've never been against pornography, having watched some myself I'd be a bit of a hypocrite to be so, and I'm not sure a banning anything like this is ever the best option, as it often just increases and gets more extreme/dangerous for the people working in it if forced underground.

    As I said definitely agree with the desensitising aspect though. People should be free to do whatever they like sexually as consenting adults, and I'm sure there will always be those who seek out parties like the one you were invited to, but I wonder if they would be quite so well attended if we were bombarded with less sexual imagery on such a daily basis.

    Saying that I find a little mystery much more titillating than the explicit anyway, just as the unknown/unseen terror is always much scarier. Then on the fewer occasions when you do get to see it all it's much more exciting. Bring back mystery indeed!

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  15. Sorry, I think I entered that post twice.

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  16. ML and Becca. "Pornification" is a good word and one that describes our society very well. However as far as I can see, what we normally think of as "porn", just basic sexual descriptions and imagery, is fairly harmless in the hands of a man who has been allowed to psychologically mature. In my view what is far more pernicious and damaging is what is known as "men's lifestyle" magazines; ones which have titles like "Front", "Loaded" and "Nuts" etc. While porn merely panders to our biological urges, "Lad Mags" are actually conditioning men to think, feel and behave in a certain way. They, much more than porn, encourage us men to see women as virtual subhumans to be treated as objects, or far worse than objects, ENEMIES, to be conquered and deceived with trickery. They portray respect and a desire to relate honestly to women as a fatal weakness. However "cads" are put on a pedastel as heroes and role-models. These magazines also contain massive amounts of sexual images of women who only have extremely conventional good-looks, therefore branding women with "imperfections" as unattractive by omission. The magazines actually promote a shallow and matertialistic lifestyle in general. The basic message is: "If you want to be a REAL man then be as ruthless, aquisitive, materialistic and incincere as possible; treat everybody else as rivals and only fancy the girls that WE tell you to fancy!" It's extremely destructive to the male psyche and culture. (I think that this is deliberate, but that's a long story.) Men are as much victims of this mental attack as women are. The aim of this propaganda is not to regress society back to the former kind that was based on male privilege, but to create an entirely new type of society in which BOTH sexes are equally enslaved.

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  17. Capitalism innit? Designed to make you discontent with your lot. Buy more, get the girls you see on TV and magazines (who of course don't actually look like that)...

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  18. I suppose one good thing to come out of it was a really good blog. I don't really think orgies are my cup of tea, but I got to wondering whether there is such thing any where as a setup like this where women are comfortable. What you described seemed very male-centric.

    I sort of thought about why people would attend such a do with a partner and I keep coming back to dissatisfaction or boredom with their relationship.

    Given your cooking success and the success of your blog, it doesn't surprise me that such a party isn't really for you. I think you need someone who appreciates what you have to offer not as a walk on part in their sexual fantasy, which is what Ben seems to want

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  19. HI Rog,
    Ben and I had a fling a couple of years ago but are no longer involved. In fact I thought we were friends...
    I didn't even have a walk on part: he literally wanted me there to get in free, that's all.
    Yes it is male-centric. I don't even know if boredom was the reason the women were there, I think it went further than that, surely there is an element of masochism?

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  20. I think this blog post is one I'm going to keep re-reading - such a powerful piece of writing. So strong; you've managed to do something which an author both you and I love (O'Brian) could do, which is to comment as much as possible, without excessive coloration.

    On a lighter note, for an interesting biography, Dean King (terrible name, great biog) has written something worth reading - out of print, but you can pick up a second-hand copy for about £3 from Amazon. Patrick O’Brian: a life revealed, (New York: H. Holt, 2000; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000). Fascinating.

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  21. Thanks again Mr Chumbles. The piece practically wrote itself!

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  22. I loved this piece! You described your discomfort beautifully. What a horrible ambiance this place had... And far too many rules. Great observation that the activities was not "choice" but "spectacle."

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  23. Wonderful writing, but I fear that I must be missing the point. Why can someone be scared of going wife swapping , or whatever the term is, when she can look back to her youth spent with the openly nazi Screwdriver whilst attemting to form a relationship with the drummer of the Thatcher loving group, London?

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  24. Wow Dave S. You are obviously a fan!
    Love the complete exaggeration too!

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  25. Fantastic website, I had not noticed travelswithmyteenager.blogspot.com earlier in my searches!
    Carry on the excellent work!

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