Last summer I was in Paris. My friend and I had a night we’ll never forget.
The bar in Pigalle
had dark blue walls dotted with small silver sequins.
For a second it made me feel I was at the planetarium but
then I remembered we were at a bar.
Jess and I were the only ones in there, apart from the bartender-
a Mr.Tumnus looking geezer, who maintained a strict:
“No! No drinks aohht-seed!”
policy with us, which was especially jarring considering it was a cruel 34c.
I ordered, under his recommendation,
“Une baseel infused jeeen an toneeq!”
At first sip it tasted exotic, but after J said:
“Ew! Tastes like pesto pasta!”
I reconsidered things.
a group people came bursting in, which in hindsight makes sense, because from outside looking in you’d have spotted us dancing under red lighting near a stripper pole…
a sight that would’ve made a Dutch tourist feel right at home.
Ping of the phone.
It was Jacques…5 mins away.
We thought the sequins and pole might be giving
off the wrong vibe so opted for the place next door.
“This place reeks!”
Jess shouted as we went up to order.
The bartender’s eyes widened with shock, which
was startling as he had a face like a cartoon.
Before we could say another word, in entered Jacques and…
He had a big smile with white teeth,
tanned smooth skin and long, elegant hands, which almost
made up for the fact he had no personality.
He looked fresh off the set of a Harmony Korine film (maybe giving him too much credit)
wearing a white bomber on top of
white ankle swingers and
light green plimsoles
when he turned round the Bomber said: “KENZO”.
I took no time to crack some banter:
“Where’s your bomber from?”
“Kenzo…?” he answered.
He couldn’t seem to stand still, so I suggested playfully:
“Loic just wants to dance!”
but he shot me a look that suggested otherwise.
Did I fancy him?
Well, I mean I was kind of primed to, seeing as this was a
“You bring a mate, I’ll bring a mate” situation.
(Also, he did have a great face.)
I felt the pressure for there to be as much attraction
as there was with Jacques and Jess, so
I panicked and resorted to what I usually did-
the healthy way to shield from rejection.
Played out a little like:
“How old are you lot?”
“I thought you were 16.”
In retrospect that ‘insult’ was tasteless and not really an insult at all.
Looking young is what Olay makes money off and,
more to the point, why the fuck would I want to
hang out with 16 year olds?
We all squished into a booth table.
Loic could speak pretty good English, so immediately
became Jacques’s translator.
I thought this was a good thing at the time, but
now I think it worked best when we didn’t really understand each other.
I felt so on edge crammed on that sticky red booth that I
even kept my trench coat on-
regretting choosing to wear flowery beach shorts.
Jess was either super comfortable or just overcompensating,
putting lipstick on Jacques’s pursed lips whilst Loic sat
there grinning with his fucking white teeth.
(Deffo used Colgate strips.)
I offered up my lipgloss but that was,
2 Jacques’s House
Piled into Uber and went from Pigalle to the Marais. Entered through a sturdy grey door and into a courtyard,
then followed a walkway made of bamboo
which led us to another door, that took us into another
building which looked and smelt like
a hotel hallway.
It looked like something out of ‘Vogue Interiors’-
grand paintings of naked women,
a chaise lounge, and a spiral staircase made of dark wooden planks.
Jess was doing a half hearted lap dance on Jacques, who looked as appreciative as he could with eyes glazed over.
Loic and I were on slightly different wavelengths, sitting on opposite sides of the sofa.
He suddenly shot up and put on a song.
It was techno.
Or was it house?
Anyway he shot up and his arms did too,
alternating between a “classic” fist pump and a dub pistol motion, like something front row on
Boiler Room TV and I sat there, giving the facial equivalent to
“You’re doing great, sweetie.”
He sat back down, thank God, because his attempt at getting people
involved was both uncomfortable and in vain.
I lit another cigarette and chucked him one too.
Then I paused and said:
“You’ve just got no vibe, do you?”
“You (pointing at him) have…no (making an x with my hand)…soul (pointing at my heart). No vibe (hands forming a wave shape)!”
“You think I’m…wee-erd??”
And before I could answer he had his
lips on mine, my cigarette dangling out of my hand,
ashing all over his white trousers.
I felt pleased with myself, because maybe negging
really did work, but otherwise it was a bit toothy and I was
thinking about other things.
“Shall we go upstairs?” He suggested.
“What for?” I said, knowing the answer
but playing dumb, like a yute at Capital VIP.
Then I pulled myself up off the sofa and climbed the wooden planks to the loo.
Was Jacques sponsored by Le Labo?
Perfume bottles were everywhere and I spritzed (poured the whole bottle) with what
I assumed was a fig scented number…(pretty good- slightly overpowering) .
“Guy-yyss, how do I smel-“
Cut off by blood-curdling screams.
Loic pointed up.
Not a sight I was ready for.
It was Jacques.
With his hot older brother (also topless) who I never knew was home. Why they had felt the need to take their kits off still doesn’t make sense to me, but it was the most arousing thing I had seen all night. (Soz Loic)
“Ees fighting wiz ‘is bruzzzair, because we aren’t supposed to be ‘ereh.”
“Shhhh Loic, I said, I’m trying to watch.”
And with a venomous
Jacques threw on a shirt and marched out the door,
swiftly followed by Loic.
Jess and I stood there, gawking at hot brother who shot us evils and said
“You too geh-rls…GO!!!”
(No need to take it out on us-sheesh!!)
5 minutes later
we were out on the street like a bunch of stray cats
with Jacques kicking rubbish and stones emphatically across the rue,
like he saw his “bruzzair’s” face in them all.
We were on a main road and when we abruptly turned,
it was onto a street with cobble stones. It wasn’t well lit.
Out of nowhere,
a group of men emerged. They were wearing knock-off designer garms.
One of them asked Jacque for a lighter, and when he replied “Non” they kicked off, swinging a punch at Jacques and then all of a sudden,
one wearing a “Guci” top grabbed Jess by the collar
and shook her, as if she was a piggy bank.
“GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING NECKLACE.”
Even I was a bit scared of her in that moment.
“WHERE THE FUCK IS IT? she started to cry. “IT’S MY GRANDMOTHER’S.”
Guci spoke in a voice that suggested he smoked 50 fags a day.
“I don’t take your necklace.” and he spat on the pavement.
“I KNOW YOU HAVE IT. JUST PLEASE, ONE OF YOU, TELL ME WHERE IT IS?”
Jacques came up behind me and asked:
“Dew you have ze light-air?”
“Not now Jacques, for fuck sake.”
Two people seemed to have some sense. It was couple, and they rushed over and said:
“We’ve called the police.”
And in 10 minutes
an inconspicuous white car pulled up,
with two handcuffed dudes in the back, looking up at us with puppy dog eyes, as though we might set them free.
“So…cood you please point out to me who took ze necklace?” The policeman said, sighing.
I had no clue, to be perfectly honest, but impulsively shot my finger
at Guci, whose gormless face and stupid t-shirt had really done me in.
Policeman patted him down. No necklace was found.
“I told you!” he hissed.
Jess woke me up to tell me she had found half of her Grandmother’s necklace.
Maybe I had been a bit unfair to Guci…kind of.
I had also made a discovery. My iPhone was gone.
Great, I thought, another trip to Jacques’s.
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