Is a back alley safer than your bedroom?
I’m sure that, at some point throughout my teenage years, I was told or led to believe that we shouldn’t sleep with strangers down back alleys; that the comfort of our own home is the safest place to indulge in a little frolic… That said, I had a near encounter on Saturday night which, had I been as drunk as I used to get, could have ended tragically. Similarly, it made me consider a range of potential scenarios should someone else have been in my position that evening.
I’ll explain. Walking from town at about 1am, I picked up my pace as I came up behind a chav. I did consider crossing the road but, since he was alone, decided it wouldn’t be necessary. The heels on my smart black shoes clicked on the pavement as if I were a lady in stilettos; a sound made louder by the silence of the closed shops surrounding us. As I approached, he looked at me and said ‘alright’. I responded with a grunt. He picked up his pace making it difficult for me to overtake him. We casually started talking, as you do.
I won’t lie, he did look fit in his grey joggers, black Nike trainers and patterned cap. If this were a fictional blog I’d be writing now about how I took him behind a bus shelter and fell to my knees… Sorry boys, that didn’t happen I’m afraid! Although, had I been willing to pay, he said he would have been more than happy to oblige…
After a bit of general chit chat, (he said he had been in Yates; clearly bollocks given how he was dressed) he, quite noticeably, started touching himself. I didn’t make much eye contact but he either looked like he was wearing funky contact lenses, had really unique eyes or was wired. I assumed it was the latter, confirmed later when he offered me flake.
Anyway, so as he was getting hard in his joggers he asked where I lived and if anyone was up; a bird, a boyfriend..? I said my housemate was waiting with a take away. He wasn’t. But I didn’t want him to know I was going to an empty house. I asked where he was going and whether he had a girlfriend, or boyfriend. He answered with Broadgate, and went on to say that he would be anyone’s boyfriend if (and I can’t remember exactly how he phrased it but…) if the price was right.
To get out of that one I gave him the story (one which many of my friends have heard over the last few months) about me living on my mates’ sofa after having been sacked for placing a grievance against the HR Director at my former workplace. I basically made it clear that I didn’t have a penny to my name and that I wouldn’t be entertaining anything like that. I think I probably pecked his head a bit too much but hey ho, it got him away! The conversation soon ended and we went our separate ways.
Whether he was a closet gay or a lost soul trying to make money for a fix, the reality is that, had I been staggering home that night, or, had a former version of myself been in that position, I could have been mugged down a back alley or side street. Perhaps more worryingly though, had I invited him back to the house I could have awoken to the realisation I’d been drugged and/or burgled. To be honest, I have nothing for anyone to burgle at this point in my life but, again, a former version of myself would have fifty pound notes lying around the sides and over a dozen varieties of aftershave in the bathroom. All that, and more, could have been swiped in one swift move as I slept.
Fortunately, the scenarios I’ve depicted here are exactly that: scenarios. The initial encounter does raise a number of what if’s though. I’m not familiar with official statistics but I know plenty of guys who have been robbed after picking up lads in bars – my experience of it has usually been in large cities like London, Amsterdam and Playa del Ingles. I’d never have expected it to (potentially) arise on my own doorstep, or in my own bedroom.
Obviously, there are risks involved in having encounters with strangers no matter where it is. But perhaps those back alley fumbles I’d had in my youth, actually spared me the heartbreak of waking up to an empty flat. Perhaps, for that reason alone, it could be argued that, if you’re drunk and desperate for some fun, it could be wiser to do it in public after all; no matter how controversial that may seem…
Check out the back alleys I’ve stumbled down over the years via Twitter