- Friday Fiction: Matthew Eden’s ‘The Home Tree’ - 8 January, 2021
- Friday Fiction: Call for Submissions! - 25 December, 2020
- Friday Fiction: 12th Man, a Footballer’s Boyfriend - 18 December, 2020
Hey there, I’m a FAG. I mean sure, that too. But no, I’m a footballer’s boyfriend. I am determined for the ‘12th man’ to catch on, but annoyingly my boyfriend’s uncle ‘wittily’ called me a FAG once and it has tragically stuck in our little circle instead. I tried to explain that WAGs stands for something (Wives and Girlfriends) and FAG thus doesn’t work, but he just laughed and then spluttered up half his lung as he took another drag on his cigarette. That’s the main reason anyone puts up with him really: the expectation of imminent death. Harsh? Maybe, but the first time we met he crept into the bedroom at 4am and put out his cigarette on my forehead. So, you know what? He can honestly go choke on the diaper I wore for three days as part of an article on ABDL for a god awful ‘things you now need to know to date online’ section for an awful online mag. I got just 20 quid and a trip to the GP with an extreme yeast infection and an inflamed urethra, but it would’ve been worth it to see that.
It seems we have begun the ‘getting to know me’ stage a little earlier and more graphically than expected… So let’s move on, shall we?
We met in Scotland when his side were on a pre-season tour. He was out celebrating after a drubbing of Civil Service Strollers F.C. and I was drowning my sorrows after a failure at the Fringe. Don’t get me wrong, I never actually really truly really wanted to be a stand-up and so it wasn’t really a failure. Honest. I was part of a comedy group at Uni (Tippex Puddle) and two of them took it incredibly seriously and signed us up for the Fringe. I wasn’t sure, but seeing as they paid for everything including a hotel down the coast, I wasn’t about to argue. But regardless, even the most passionate and enthusiastic of us slumped after that show and we unanimously agreed it was our final performance. The vote was so unanimous in fact that it actually had more votes than members of the group with the doorman agreeing we should ‘return to our day jobs’ after he felt sorry for us and came in out the cold as the only member of the audience. (If only any of us had one.)
So yes, we met in a bar. This may sound boringly normal to some, but for me it was incredibly novel. As a noughties gay I had read about ‘gaydar’ as a thing people have when scouting a room, but I just didn’t get it. For one thing, surely everyone just presumes the hottest person in the room is into them? Also, isn’t ‘gaydar’ just bowing down to stereotypes? Regardless, we have a pocket version these days and I just walk into a new room, train carriage or street with the apps open and buzzing. Lazy perhaps, but it works.
Anyway, yes, the bar. I was drowning my sorrows with my fellow ‘joke’ writer with us feeling a little sorry for ourselves and he came over with all the confidence of a drunk sports star. I mean, ‘star’ is stretching it now let alone then, but his ego made up for any infringements of reality. Anyway, he demanded “a tray of shots” and smashed a wad of notes into the sticky bar. The barman grumbled as he had to pick them up from the soaking counter and he waved them in the air to dry them off; splashing lurid liquids in my face. The footballer laughed and then apologised, adding drinks for us into the order. I made a drunken quip about that not being the facial I had in mind for the night and he gave me my first genuine laugh of the day. It may not have been much, but this hot jock laughing at a joke made me sit up (ironically) straighter and feel good for the first time in hours. And, to boost me further, he even gave me a little wink as he walked away.
Earlier in the evening the team had been taking it in turns to head to the bar, but from that moment on it was always him that strutted up. Each time we would flirt and it would take him longer to return to his table. I was buzzing and my friend was finding it all incredibly entertaining and annoying in equal doses. Sadly, though, this couldn’t last all night and eventually the team started to leave.
In a complete blur he came dashing over and started making out with my friend. Almost immediately his teammates started wolf whistling and making lewd comments and one pulled him away, saying there “would be more” at the club. He grunted and said he was going to stay, snaking his arm around her waist. They laughed and finally agreed, making further comments as they left. He immediately spun to me to apologise for kissing her and not me, but before he’d gotten half the words out she slapped him square across the face. He spluttered in annoyance and then realised what he’d done and apologised properly, looking genuinely pained. She gave him her best attempts at a Paddington stare and failed, giggling instead and giving him his gum back as she pushed us together and headed to the loo after a second slap for good measure.
And there we have it. Were there perhaps some warning signs for a relationship seeing as the first kiss was me watching him clash gums with my mate? Sure. And perhaps I should have been alarmed by some of the ‘banter’ I heard all night coming from their table. But, what can I say? It was exciting and his smile pulled me straight out of my funk and into his arms. I was hooked, but little did I know what I was getting myself into…
by the 12th man.