Under The Skin

Amanda and I went to see Under The Skin, starring the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson. Based on the Michael Faber novel, it’s a sci-fi thriller about a remote, mysterious woman in the Scottish Highlands who lures men into her van in a predatory fashion; resulting in a set of dark consequences. Never one to indulge in spoilers, I liked how the film lead us to some insightful discussion on science fiction and it’s incorporation of sexuality.

Amanda then regaled me with a story; from her none-too-distant past of a night with, frankly, an alien sex fiend. This man, we’ll call him Michael, had a sci-fi fixation that took in everything from Star Trek to Phillip K Dick novels to, er… modern-day Star Trek remakes; that’s as much as she took in! He seemed be the ultimate geek at first but, after a drink at the hotel bar, she was soon aware that was a quiet yet insistent intensity about him; she felt an unfamiliar pull from the silence and furtive glances from his deep-set, heavy-browed eyes.

On entering his room she freaked out at the contraption in the corner emitting a green, strobe-like lighting effect, the unusual incense scent and a form of music that sounded like crickets heralding in the night sky. He sat her down at the desk and opened his Macbook, at which point Amanda fully expected to be introduced to a new porn channel, but the unexpected happened. Michael simply wanted to introduce her to the heady world of Avatar Sex. According to Urban Dictionary, the definition of which is:

“when your avatar or character in an online game engages in sexual acts via internet message ie: chat, facebook chat, windows instant messenger, yahoo instant messenger or other virtual communication method”

She soon found herself enjoying the sights and sounds on Zindra, a Second Life adult-content continent, where virtual sexuality is the raison d’etre; a place to hang out in boutique singles’ clubs, BDSM behemoths while wherever you look there’s a pixelated penis. Sitting next to Michael, as he guided her hand through virtual urban sex tourism while simply moving his hand up and down her thigh is still the single most erotic experience of Amanda’s career. Which goes to show, you can never judge a book by the cover or, rather, a lover by the avatar.

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Amanda’s diary

Someone who I view as a very good friend calls me weekly for shop talk but we always end up going over her extra curricular social life – some of her exploits outside the bedroom have me howling with laughter. So I asked her to keep a diary, just bullet points of key events. This is how the last week in February panned out for her:

I have decided that as it’s summer I should set up a few dates to ring out the holiday season.

So I get online, onto OKStupid (real name: obvious). I end up talking to a bozo that wants me to talk dirty via IM at 1am on a Monday night; hey I can do this at work so I wrap it up before it’s even started. Then I get on Tinder – turns out that I know at least 4/5 guys on there. Christ, this is bad – I am going to have to leave the house!

Wednesday – I hit an art gallery launch in east London, with my friend Alf. It’s the usual art crowd; people are either bloated on too much red wine, on something and some, quite frankly, just require a bath! I talk to a guy called Charlie – ‘mixed-media painter’ – whatever the hell that is. We make-out in the smoking area and he takes my number. He texts the next day and surprise, he wants to sex text – again, I’m not on a busman’s holiday and so give him the swerve.

Thursday – I wind up at a party for Erotic Review; I know, right? Moonlighting again! I keep a low profile and am dressed demurely and yet… someone mistakes me for one of the pole dancers. This guy wouldn’t let up so I made my excuses, by inventing a limp – telling him that since birth I’ve had a skeletal deformity, I hobble out of there before my lie is uncovered. A single girl’s life in London is not without moments of hilarity, the tragedy of which we keep to ourselves.

Friday – I decide to go dancing at a gay bar in Dalston. The basement dancefloor is hot, sweaty fun and yet again I’m a hit with the trannies – think god is trying to tell me something. Wind up making out with a guy called Jonjo, as we’re leaving (for separate taxis, I’m a good girl!) he tells me he’s not really bi and made an exception for me as I look like Kristen Stewart. Well, he was no R-Patz and I guess being totally gay he doesn’t fulfil the tag: ‘man of my dreams’.

Saturday – I go out dancing at a Mayfair members’ bar, I wind up dancing suggestively in front of the rotund owner and being invited back to his pad with a select few. Back at his luxe Mayfair pad I continue to get my groove on and lo’ I do get hit on – by a girl! She’s smoking hot, and wants to come back to mine, which freaks me out a little. I do like some lady-love from time to time but this girl is so drunk she’s foaming at the mouth. I wind up putting her in a cab and taking the bus – good grief!

Sunday – last day of the week, and I’m pretty desperate to be honest. How does a girl get a date in this town?! Some girlfriends and I decide to go bowling. We venture down to Bloomsbury and grab our lane; some of us are decked in hot pants to make the boys wink. We wait and see who shows up in the lane next door while whooping it up on Pimms, despite it being 5pm. Well, we needn’t have bothered as a group of older ladies wearing their best M&S walk in and take the spot. Turns out they’re members of the Women’s Institute out on an away day… I rest my case. Later, I go to my local in Hampstead for a drink and get talking to the cute barman – just as I’m leaving he asks for my number.

Result. Moral of the story: if you go looking, you might just find what you’re looking for on your doorstep!

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Micro-Moments of Connection

In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, Barbara Fredrickson wrote:

“You can experience micro-moments of connection with anyone – whether your soul mate or a stranger. So long as you feel safe and can forge the right kind of connection, the conditions for experiencing the emotion of love are in place”.

This revisionist view of love and relationships really got me thinking about those intimate moments, shielded from the usual constraints of man-woman dynamics, that oftentimes make our world go round. A lasting glance on a tube platform, hands brushing between strangers at a bar, snatched conversations with a flirtatious man/woman at a hotel bar – I don’t know about you but these brief interludes in everyday reality definitely get my juices flowing. I recently met a tall, dark stranger at one of London’s swankiest hotel bars last week: I was waiting on a friend and started talking to the American gentleman next to me. We ordered negronis and settled in for the night, the air was heady with excitement and, despite our conversation leading to conjecture on Edward Snowden’s true motivations, it was the sidelong glances that piqued our frisson. He had told me he was married so I soon made my excuses but, as I travelled home in my taxi, I did wonder what might have happened had I followed him to his hotel room. Something about this so-called ‘intelligence expert’ had gripped to me, and I was soon weaving down Aldwych wondering… Wondering what might have happened in the instant that his room door had closed, as we struggled to find the key-card slot. I imagined pushing him up against the door, in the dark, grappling with his shirt buttons to reveal his obviously manly chest and pressing his naked torso against my low-cut dress as my mouth searched for his. I’ve been wondering about this all week, but the warning: ‘He’s married!’ kept flashing up in my mind. Then I happened upon an old Simone de Beauvoir quote and quickly revised my own concerns on the sanctity of marriage. After all, we’re only human – simply put on this earth to connect (albeit for a short time)…

“To hold and proclaim that a man and a woman (who may not even have chosen each other) are in duty bound to satisfy each other in every way throughout their lives is a monstrosity that necessarily gives rise to hypocrisy, lying, hostility and unhappiness”

Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex, 1949)

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Every Penis is a Snowflake

Last month, while scrolling through the Economist online, I read a review for Tom Hickman’s book God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis and promptly ordered it for ‘research purposes’. A satisfying read, I devoured this light-hearted tome to the trousersnake and discovered many new facts about male genitalia, appreciating they way it debunked myths on size/shape/ideals – as in my experience no two dicks can ever look like duplicates. Hickman asserts that every penis is a special snowflake, whether “long, short, thin, stumpy, straight, bulbous… swerved left or right or up or down, circumcised or not, smooth or as wrinkled as a Shar-Pei pup.”

This really got me thinking about the snowy London scenes surrounding me – and despite the city not coming to a standstill and putting everything in flux – that we can still have good reason to operate autonomously. On Monday my best friend called, exclaiming gleefully that her office was out of bounds for the week due to adverse weather, and with much work to do on my personal projects I too decided to hunker down by the fireplace and hide from the world. But this wasn’t before I’d the brainwave of inviting my local, personal ‘handy’man-friend Brendan over to help with some ‘diy’. Brendan came over on the Sunday afternoon with his special toolkit – trust me, I’ve reached a plateau with the English sexual innuendos so this is not a euphemism – and set to work, putting up some shelves. After a welcome feast during an extended lunch, in which we gorged on Beluga caviar and oysters, he hoisted me over his shoulders and led me to the bedroom. There we remained for several hours without a care in the world, every now and then just checking on whether his SUV would get snowed in on my driveway. Later we sat in the living room and played a hilarious game of Salacious Scrabble – basically the only words allowed have to be of the saucy kind – while listening to the kindling crack on the open fire. So rather than freak out about how the snow might hinder my progress this January, I took the opposing view; that of an opportunist who managed to catch up on reading while allowing ample enough time to appreciate life’s individual snowflakes, because as the aphorism goes: sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you’ll get or how long it will last!

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Bright Young Things

F. Scott Fitzgerald once penned the line, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you …” Well this could sum up my New Year’s Eve in London. It all started innocently, when a couple of girlfriends and I were invited to join a VIP party hosted by a Mr Jay Buchanan, obviously not his real name ;-) , for dinner at the Oxo Tower which was decked out a la The Great Gatsby. This of course meant that we’d readied ourselves in embellished low-waisted dresses of opulent silk, pearls and headdresses.

On arrival Jay greeted us warmly, his eyes glinting as he took me in. All I knew about him was that as a publishing magnate, he oversaw five big glossies and owned a private jet and large piece of the East Hamptons. Jordan, one of trusted girlfriends, maintained that she’d recently seen him inside her local betting shop looking very shady with a woman that wasn’t his common law wife. Well, I was not in this business to ask many questions and avoided brass tacks by agreeing to imbibe the champagne as it flowed freely at our table. Jay paid particular attention to me in my low-cut, flapper girl dress and, after our fairly sedate phone conversations, I found him to be a charming raconteur with a heart of gold. Jordan, however, had a different impression entirely and later told me in the powder room that a mutual friend had attended a private dinner where Jay had entertained the two honchos of one of the city’s most notorious Russian gangs and that he received regular pay-outs from them while aiding them on their endeavours. We toasted in New Year at midnight despite my eyeing our not-so-venerable host’s huge gold rings suspiciously and feeling just a little afraid.

Much later we found ourselves at a very exclusive but low-key party at Shoreditch House. I still didn’t know what to think about Jay but decided to lap up the attention he paid me as the passed over girls sat conferring. Within minutes of him leaving my side to smoke a cigar I found myself cornered by Agatha Waugh, a former wild child/model who nowadays was known more for her brush with mental institutions having set fire to her ex-fiancé’s country cottage in a fit of anger. By the time I politely edged myself away from her I started to feel woozy from the champagne and intensely radiating outdoor heaters. Managing to edge by back to the wall – far enough away from the pool for fear of slipping in and losing my dignity, and more importantly, my Louboutins – I scanned the room for Jay – feeling unnerved by the stories and his elusive to-ings and fro-ings. It was then I heard a loud SPLASH in the pool and looked over to find Agatha floating, facedown in the pool, with the trail of her black widow dress behind her. My alarm vanished however as her head emerged from the water with a peal of laughter… soon followed by the familiar visage of Jay Buchanan who it seemed, despite ‘owning’ prime beachside real estate at the Hamptons could not swim… So he really wasn’t who he seemed at all. There was no cause for alarm as Agatha managed to get him a light headlock and swim him to safety, much to the bemusement of all present. I guess everyone had had a little too much to drink that night, most of all Jay. As I returned home safe and sound I imagined Jay kicking himself for not holding back and retaining that air of mystery and intrigue that had long been his calling card. But in London, a Gatsby-esque charlatan sooner or later always gets found out. And that’s why I love this town.

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parlez Francais part deux

I’m not so into strip bars these days, I’ve seen the majority of venues in this town go from hero to zero in a short space of time, with the cheap ‘n’ nasty places pulling in the most punters. So when I heard that Parisian legend Crazy Horse was bringing its brand of class, intrigue and variety to London I jumped at the chance to go to the launch. One of my girlfriends, Brigita very sweetly asked me along so we got dressed at mine – low-drop-waisted dresses, sheer lace tops, stockings and black silk lingerie that peeped through our clothing.

At the Southbank pop-up venue we were hit by the attention to detail, for a makeshift space they had really gone to town –that town being Paris, with the chandeliered, plush interior conveying 1950s French decadence to a T. We were ushered to our velvet banquette at the side of the stage, and after the cocktail waitress took our order we settled in to watch the show. Each girl was neatly turned out; all bob haircuts with fringes, high cheekbones, long legs and ample curvature to their bodies – their costumes, or should I say accoutrements really added to the show, and I took mental notes to pass on to my girls – for when they’re performing Crazy Horse numbers in the bedroom. Though the stripping was alluring, the perfected choreography and mimed singing left me a bit cold, though one titillating performance by a women bound behind bars, whose angry balletic moves, lunges and expressions was pretty impactful. It turned out Brigita knew some of the dancers so we decamped to their hotel across the river for drinks in the lobby bar.

While Brigita worked the room, I propped myself up at the bar and got chatting to a French literary agent who specialised in high-end, erotic novellas and coffee table books – well, it’s a shame my identity is shrouded as I would love to author a book about my experiences. His name was Louis and he seemed courteous and intrigued by me, the less I disclosed about myself. However, after his third Armagnac he grew overbearing – complaining ungallantly about his ex-wife and losing all sight of my visage as he breathed down my shirt collar hoping for a peep of my silk bra. I looked ahead and past him, desperate to make a quick exit but Brigita was locked in conversation – I then felt a presence behind me at the bar, and as I turned 180˚ I felt my left breast brush against another woman’s followed by a surge of electricity between us. I looked into the bewitching eyes of the caged dancer from earlier, who beamed at me flashing her Bardot-esque gap between her teeth. After she introducing herself as Astrid, I proclaimed her performance to be the highlight, and we were soon talking like we’d known each for years. So much so that literary bore Louis had to take his leave, much to my relief. After gaining many recommendations on Parisian lingerie stores, I kissed Astrid goodbye – and, as he made a beeline for her, manoeuvred Brigita away from Louis’ sightline. We left him muttering to himself in the lobby and escaped to an awaiting taxi. Sometimes when it comes to relations between men and women, the only thing that springs to mind is the French phrase ‘vive la difference’.

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I’ve not been in radio contact as I spent my summer yachting around the Côte d’Azur – a yacht and an invitation to swan around the French Rivera is not to be sniffed at and so I promptly plucked two girlfriends and booked flights for a trip to la dolce vita. Our chauffeur-driven car arrived at port, and an over-excited ‘Roberto’ greeted us gleefully – the mere sight of Lauren, Apphia and I in our beachwear, climbing aboard the dinghy that would wing us to Plage de Pampelonne caused his head to spin 360°. We had a similar reaction as we approached his 150-ft, five-star cruiser close to shoreline… I’d never seen a yacht so huge.

Our days were spent in tranquil peace, with only the sound of motorboats breaking the silence. Lauren, a cute blonde with amazing legs and flowing locks, and Apphia, a dusky beauty with Victoria’s Secret curves, would hit the upper deck stripped down to their bikini bottoms (for an all-over, even tan) whereas I was far more demure, keeping my one-piece on. Our days were so harmonious… we’d awake with the sun and move from port to port, taking photos of the stunning scenery while I would occasionally pen poetry – a pastime of mine. We’d dine on high-end, fresh seafood in wonderful shoreline restaurants and finish off the evening in a club. One particular night in St Tropez was a memorable one – Roberto decided to surprise us by taking us to a ‘friend’s’ party at Nikki Beach, well this turned out to be Paris Hilton, no less – Roberto’s line of work often takes him to LA, and the pair struck up a friendship. Not quite the wild child we expected, the heiress was composed though slightly tipsy from too much Armand de Brignac. Later we were invited to party on her monster yacht, complete with its own helipad. As we swayed to music under a star-lit sky I thought, ‘a girl could get used to this’ – not looking forward to my return to the London grind. But return I did, and after a few days catching up on life admin I’m back in the swing of things but every now and then I have flashbacks to fabulous Francais and have to pinch myself to realise that it wasn’t all a dream…

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Just another night out in Soho

It’s been a while since I posted on here – I’ve been travelling around France, trying to escape from this non-entity of a summer.
But just before I went away I had one of those awesome Thursday nights out that only London could summon. The gorgeous Tamsin and I started out mellow with dinner at La Bodega Negra; we got our usual table and watched as everyone pretended to ignore Kelly Brook and her cute beau dining in the corner.
After finishing up with margaritas (ordering them with high-end tequila makes all the difference), we had wet our whistles enough to want to move elsewhere for some naughty fun. It’s only right we should show our newly honed bikram bodies off to the masses – and Tamsin and I were kitted out in our finest Lanvin and Louboutins to ensure maximum impact. We headed for The Box for some risqué business and are greeted by the ever-friendly Marielle at the door – wearing the most amazing basque, I might add, one that made her ample bosom look so delectable that I couldn’t stop staring. We get a corner booth and enjoy the frolics onstage before it all gets a tad too zealous, and after two bellinis we decide to head to one of Soho’s exclusive “members only” clubs.

Once there, the evening takes on an even more surreal tone – we head to the smoking area, the best place in Soho to openly mingle in my humble opinion. I spy Jack Guinness wafting in and out with a beautiful model on his arm, but soon another scene-stealer catches my eye. Let’s just call him Mr ‘X’ – he being the ex-partner of one of our finest singers, one who sadly passed on last year. We wind up making contact with him and his cohort, a 27-year-old whippersnapper that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Vogue Hommes – and he immediately decides to make me his conquest for the night.
As a thirty-something woman, I tend to steer clear of young tykes, I like my men somewhat assured, with crinkly eyes and robust upper bodies – I lose patience when I have to teach them how to treat a lady. But something about Thom was disassembling me – a thing that usually happens after the tequila and bellinis kick in. He kept holding the door open, would fetch me my drink and even waited outside the bathroom like a dutiful knight in shining armour. And after a particularly rambunctious yank musician decided to bequeath me with the honour of having ‘the finest ass in the room tonight’ before slapping it – to much hilarity – Thom quickly stepped in and made sure he didn’t go any further. Now that is a fine quality in a man, right ladies?
In a sudden flurry of activity, Tamsin, Thom, Mr ‘X’ and I opt for another change of scene and soon we’re cruising in a convertible down to The Den on New Oxford Street. At this point Thom makes his move, as we’re in the backseat I have no escape but quite frankly, don’t really want one. We necked like young teenagers all the way, despite Tamsin giggling and threatening to take photos from her pole position by Mr X. Eventually I had to come up for air… that boy certainly knew how to kiss a girl but I wanted it to go no further.
Sashaying into the bar, we soon realised it was time to wind down… we just couldn’t fashion a ‘night without end’ this particular evening. As I was standing by the bar, I suddenly saw a familiar face- it was a distinguished looking lecturer that I’d been under the tutelage of when I did my post-graduate at LSE – we made a beeline for each other, and the attraction was palpable after all this time. It all came flooding back; I again knew the reason why I’d turn up to his class in a pencil skirt, uncharacteristically early just so I could sit in the front. We flirted and talked listlessly – as things were winding down – his marriage had broken up and he was now at the ripe age of 57, though he looked much younger in my eyes. A man with that much vitality and charisma will always remain youthful to me.
As a parting shot he took my face in his palms and after many minutes of intense eye-contact he kissed me passionately and moved his hips in to meet mine… all of a sudden I felt a hand at the small of my back and pulled away to meet Thom’s eyes, staring in a non-threatening but looming manner. So I did what any self-respecting woman would then do, and made my hasty goodbyes, kissing each one on the cheek before galloping off.
Tamsin and I flagged down a cab and went off into the night, laughing giddily at my good fortune – two men in one evening and 20 years between them – well, why not? After all, ‘age ain’t nothing but a number’ in my book.

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Girls Night Out

Last Thursday a colleague and I grouped some of the girls together at her Kensington pied-à-terre for a spot of pampering before a night on the tiles, as a way of getting reacquainted with good old London town. One of my longest-serving girls, a dusky French beauty named Laetitia is now one of my best friends and we have such a tight relationship – and look so much alike – that clients often think we’re sisters. We had a carnival of treats in-store at hers on this particular eve as she’d booked a private pampering session with Manuela and Rosario from Spaja spa nearby. The go-to girls we often use for all our Brazilian beautifying needs, these two Latin foxes could administer anything from blow-dries to mani/pedis and of course the namesake wax if needed. Soon the rest of the party arrived; a few seasoned scene queens alongside freshers who were eager to soak up new knowledge and a couple of trusted girlfriends from my inner circle.
The apartment was soon a flurry of activity and conversation – this was the epitome in female bonding. After much prosecco, giggling and a bit of girl-on-girl flirting we managed to eventually stop checking out our new hair/nails etc – pulling ourselves away from the mirror and pulling down the hems of our skirts to head out to show the town how its really done. LeBaron was our destination, the London outpost of the hip Parisian hot-spot and, as Mya knew Drew in the house band, we’d have no problems getting in – so we set off in taxis to see what the night would hold in store.
As presumed, on arrival we just waltzed past the queue and got shown in to the venue with a warm greeting by the door girl. Though Mya and a few others were single, this was not a night to be out ‘on the pull’ as it were.. One-by-one we trouped in as if fresh off a Parisian runway – a sea of Brazilian blow-dries, stack heels, and directional dresses. It felt good to have all eyes on us as we found our corner by the spacious bar. After we’d huddled for a catch-up pow-wow to pick out which members of the hipster clientele we recognised, we ordered a round of rum cocktails. Eva pointed out two suited David Gandy types at the bar, who looked too louche to be married, and inevitably locked eyes with the hotter one. Soon enough, he sauntered over pretending to look for the bathroom before she beckoned him in the ‘right’ direction, ie. us! It turned out he was none other than the French model who last week had been given the red card by US singer Katy Perry – we’ll call him ‘Antoine’ to protect his identity from the gossip forums. With his olive skin, cheekbones to hang couture off, and plump, kissable lips – it seemed only right that he’d make a beeline for Eva – a Latina with great bone structure and the hottest pout since Brigitte Bardot. We observed them as they did that playful flirtatious dance that people do when really they should be ripping each others clothes off; a heady mix of coyness, eye contact and titillation. But that conversation was as far as that went. Soon Eva was back in the fold and we all got up to boogie Studio 54-style.
Meanwhile Mya and Samara had made friends with a hot looking couple at the bar; he a spruced up Mayfair type and she a gazelle-like African model in a dazzling maxi dress with an alluring split up the thigh. At one point they all had their heads thrown back in dizzying laughter but when I looked back again, they all seemed to be heading outside… so I texted Laetitia to check all was OK before I too got parlayed by a preppy English guy called Max. A Notting Hill art dealer, he explained he was toasting in a new acquisition by way of tempting me with a drink – well, who was I to refuse such an offer from a dashing gent… We flirted ridiculously while I pretended to know an awful lot about the art world before he made his excuses to head off early (not before taking my number!). It was then I checked my phone to discover that Laetitia and Samara had headed to a bar nearby with their new best friends. The rest of us continued, dancing up a storm in such a playful, sexy manner that a lot of the male clientele were getting a bit hot under the collar – unfortunately for them, we were enjoying our own company so much that they didn’t get a look-in. The evening then took on a time-lapse effect and we found ourselves heading to a Fulham club for more dancing but it was soon apparent that our collective energy had waned and heels were desperate to come off – so home time it was.
Four of us went back to Laetitia’s for cups of cocoa and a dissection of the evening. Somewhere around 3:30am, Mya and Samara called to join the slumber party and found us in silk pyjamas and dressing robes with cleansing masks at the ready. It seems their consciences had aleady benefited from cleansing however as the couple had asked them to join them in a group ‘scenario’ back at their Belgravia townhouse. My girlfriends had declined for no other reason than the evening being all about ‘girls together’, a night of woozy, innocent fun. Seemingly Mya had been slow on the uptake, rendering the cheeky male instigator at great pains to avoid the literal plane, so much so that he wound up tying himself in knots of innuendo. We laughed at her naivety, before I explained that this was all part of London’s rich nightlife tapestry and then, on feeling sleep descending, I tucked her and the others in with a big kiss and took to my room to get some shut-eye for the next day’s shopping frenzy. As I lay there dozing I could only think of a well-known phrase, one with roots in a religious proverb but I appropriated it for my little sisterhood: ‘the family that plays together stays together’ – and with that I drifted off for my beauty sleep.

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34 Restaurant

When it comes to fine dining being in-the-know is as paramount to any Londoner as wearing the right shoes, but my recent visit to new Caprice Holdings’ Mayfair restaurant was definitely more like a ‘getting to know you’ experience. It was Friday, and I was meeting ‘Christian’, a faithful purveyor of my ventures – charming and so undeniably handsome that his company was always a pleasure. On entering, I screened the décor – all the classic hallmarks were in place, a lavish room with clean lines that immediately gave the impression of being adrift on a luxe cruise liner. Christian greeted me at the bar, looking devastating in a Margiela suit, his stubble brushing against my cheek as I inhaled his scent, causing my stomach to flip like a teenager.

We sat at the busy bar and got stuck into one of our flirty conversations. Over on business, Christian had an evening to kill and soon made it clear that my company was appreciated – dining alone seemed to have lost its appeal. I had to run across town for cocktails at 10pm sharp but forward planning meant that a man this fine would not be decamping solo to a hotel room. Cunningly I’d placed a call in to Lola, a colleague who was as vivacious as she was beautiful, and right on cue she arrived as our plates were cleared. Entering the room in Charlotte Olympia platforms and a red silk dress that danced over ripe curves, every male eye looked away from their counterparts to drink her in. I shimmied out to the ladies room, winking back at her as she sidled over to Christian, her plump lips smiling like a sphinx with a dark secret. I returned minutes later, by which time they were chatting like old friends – Christian cupping her delicate waist in his palm – rubbing his thumb lightly along her ribcage, moving it closer to the cup of her breast in each movement – his head thrown back, laughing. After a quick round of specialty Black Velvets, where we tantalised him with details of our saucy spa massages, I said my goodbyes and headed out.

My taxi sped on into the night and I smiled assuredly – Christian was definitely in for a good evening… it was then that my basket-case antics called for a reconnaissance mission back as I’d stupidly left my purse in the bathroom. I sashayed out the taxi, into the building and found myself in a restaurant corridor – I must have got lost somehow. I turned into a dark hallway, past a clandestine, disused lift shaft when a sudden movement caught my eye. Hiding behind a doorframe I watched, a silent voyeur, hazily making out the form of a man and woman. She had her back to the wall, with one heel propped up against it – her body in complete submission within his grasp, as he flicked his tongue lightly along her ear lobe. I soon realised I’d coveted those same shoes earlier in the evening. Things were coming to a head, literally, as I then recognised the familiar motion of a hand, submerged inside his suit jacket, moving back and forth in his groin region… He let out a gentle yet guttural gasp just as I felt a longing within me and my nipples hardened. Compelled to waltz over and join in, I bowed out to time creeping up on me. Retrieving my purse finally, I re-entered the busy restaurant, flushed yet safe in the knowledge that that was another job well done.

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