Back at the party I met a blind French philosopher. Let’s call him Louis, because his name is nothing like Louis. He’s famous enough to be in a magazine (which was why I recognised him), but they didn’t put him on the cover. Still, it was odd to run into him in a provincial university town.
We talked about an argument he was having with an American philosopher about free will. They disagreed over the way in which free will isn’t real. It had got quite heated.
But he was getting bored with his one fan, and he asked if there were any ‘ot girls in the room. So I went up to a girl with long red hair, and breasts the shape of beehives in a tanktop. I asked her name, and then led her over.
“Louis, Rachel, I think you two should meet. You’re both interested in cooking, and baseball. And surfing, and 90s rock. Look, I’ll just leave you to it.”
I left, as promised. My introduction had been unhelpful, but I was confident that Louis would be able to parlay his (I expected) complete ignorance of baseball into something charming and impressive. Rachel was probably pretty clever, too.
After that I talked with another woman, but she was keen on making her lack of interest in me absolutely clear, so I said, “oh, excuse me a moment”, as if I’d just seen someone, and took myself elsewhere.
“Elsewhere” was the kitchen, where a girl in a tight olive dress wanted me to help open her champagne bottle. That was a promising start, but then she started talking about the Bauhaus school’s influence on women’s fashion, which she was studying. Stupidly, I failed to disguise my contempt for all things Bauhaus.
I thought we were having a conversation, in which disagreement helps keep it lively. But she hated being disagreed with, and the people who did that terrible thing. We parted, mutually unimpressed. But I could be as unimpressed as I liked: I’d still blown it as a sex-and-fun opportunity. Sex and fun is way more important than Bauhaus.
I decided I should shut up and dance. But first, I sat on the arm of the couch, watching the party.
In the corner Louis had his hand inside Rachel’s tanktop. She was fending him off but laughing. The laughter seemed to be real. Anyway, it was Louis who had his back to the wall.
His approach seemed to be to say something clever and then grab the woman and paw her like a drunken gorilla, or maybe the young Gerard Depardieu. But it seemed to be working. Being blind means you get to do a lot of touching. And a French accent lets you get away with all sorts of things.
Anyway, introducing them was likely to be my one sexual achievement for the night. I sat for a bit longer, mildly displeased with myself.
And then the door that led to the corridor and the bedrooms opened and Qing, the girl in pyjamas, walked in.