I turned up late to a hotel with a female work colleague to
find there was only one room at the inn - a small double. Since I
was in charge of the booking it's entirely my mix up. We're going
to have to share it, or 'bunk up together', as my mum would
say. The colleague in question knows I'm gay and it's never been a
big deal, but I can tell that the prospect of being horizontal
together for twelve hours, in a room with a travel kettle,
might change that.
The easy conversation we were having at the desk petered out
pretty quickly with the words, "one small double", and now we're in
an awkward stand off. I'm worried that if I appear too be too fine
with the situation she might think I made this mistake on purpose
and it's a seduction ploy. So I've adopted a theatrical look of
annoyance. She, on the other hand, is trying to appear
completely unconcerned in an attempt to avoid being uncool.
"I'm fine if you're fine." "I'm absolutely fine. If you
are?" "I'm totally fine - if you're fine." "It's all
cool with me." This tedious display of nonchalance continues
for ten minutes until the receptionist tires of it and throws a key
in our direction.
When we get to the room things go from bad to worse. It's tiny.
To be in this room is to be on the bed - it's basically a bed
in a box. It's getting late, so the first hurdle we face is
transitioning into our pyjamas without nakedness. If you've ever
tried to do this you'll know it's basically like auditioning as a
Quick Change Act for Britain's Got Talent - within
seconds you're out of one outfit and into another. But in my
experience when you try to remove clothes quickly you're more
likely to get a foot caught in a trouser leg and be hoping around
with your butt hanging out; not to mention the difficulty of
attempting to remove a bra by dragging it out through the very
small tight opening at the top of your blouse.
I decide the best course of action is to take myself and my
pyjamas to the bathroom so she can change in private. But once I've
changed I'm trapped in there wondering how long to leave it until I
come out. I don't want to barge out and catch her with one leg
in and one let out of her pants, or worse, so I'm mentally
estimating her undressing time. I give her 10 minutes - enough
time to have changed and boiled the perfect egg for good
Then it's bedtime. I don't want to negotiate which side of the
bed she prefers because it sounds like I'm trying to establish a
routine. Instead I get in quickly, feign a yawn, and then lie
rigidly, pretending to be asleep for an hour, and clutching onto
the edge of the bed with my finger nails so that I don't
accidentally roll into the middle and touch her bottom.
The following morning as I re-enter the world I'm
temporarily discombobulated - I'm no longer on 'my side' and
I'm being spooned. Good God. How do I slip the spoon to save
her the blushes? It's like that scene in Indiana Jones - I
need to replace the weight of the statue with a bag of
sand. I'm just reaching around for a 5' 7" bag of lard when she
awakens. There's a brief moment of silence while she gets her head
around the logistics. Poor thing. She's going to feel terrible
because technically the spoonee in this situation takes the lions
share of the embarrassment. But as I slink into the bathroom I
catch her looking at me funny and a thought occurs to me: she
thinks I backed into it.