New Englishman in New York Part 6: Homeward Bound

After failing miserably in his attempts to get a visa our Englishman is on his way back to Reading. But not before being made painfully aware of his baldness and mortally offending a mermaid.
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The Party Animal

It's my leaving do. I didn’t organise it. I know 4 of the 15 people here. For the untrained eye it is a massive success. For me I know I'm meeting most of these people for the first time.

One fella who I meet is the classic 'party animal'. He is the kinda guy who introduces himself with comedy gags. Rather than play the safe, dull, humourless persona I have been donning for the last decade.

So 4 of us are stood talking. Myself, my girlfriend, the party animal and his friend. The friend looks at my girlfriend.

"Oh I love your hair."

She lunges and grabs her hair. The party animal has seen a comical routine in this.

"Girls ay? Imagine us guys doing that."

He puts on a female voice and plants his hand on my head saying "Oh I love your hair."

Problem is I'm bald. Well, the official line is “I am balding.” But I could have dropped the “–ing” years ago.

The party animal runs his hand through my scalp. Keeping up the girly voice he says "Oh your hair is so nice". Then he realises. There is no hair. The grade 1 all over is as unconvincing as a bad wig. There is total panic on his face. His hand is still on my head. He doesn’t know what to do. He slowly removes his hand. Nods and walks away. He knows what he did.

He recovers though. Hours later I see him wringing sweat out of his hair after over doing it to a Michael Jackson medley.

The Last Taxi Man

In a taxi. Heading to the airport. Heading home to Reading. It's early in the morning and the taxi man is flying around. Really steaming about.

Now, I never wear seatbelts in taxis. I wear them religiously in any other vehicle at any speed. But taxis, no. It's because I put on a seatbelt once in China and got tutted at. As if I was some health and safety maniac. I must have insulted the taxi man for believing my life was in jeopardy. It definitely was as well.

It then hits me. The mermaid wasn't a man. I just praised a woman for dressing up as a woman on Halloween.

From that point onwards in an effort to appease a man I never properly meet, I haven’t put on seatbelts. I just sit there. Utterly petrified.

Now this guy is really going fast. It's dead on the roads so he can really motor. But I do nothing. Just cling on to the seat guessing the trajectory my body would fly in if we crashed.

At his speeding peak the taxi man begins the administrative paying procedure. He has me signing a receipt he is holding in one hand as he guides the car around sharp corners with the other. Like an idiot who has just been conned out of contract, I sign with no questions asked. We arrive.

"There you go buddy."

Was it worth risking my life just to hear that? Yes. Yes it was.

In conclusion

Yep. So that is that. What a pointless rollercoaster ride it was. Gonna try again in January.


It is Halloween. Just been to an excellent wedding in Brooklyn. We walk to the after party at a dive bar.

I'm stood at the bar. Two men stand next to me. Both dressed up. One as a Thai King. The other a Mermaid. I congratulate them both on their costumes and give particular credence to the guy dressed as a Mermaid. “Well done on the Thai and a particular well done on the Mermaid. I mean its extra effort going in drag isn’t it?" However the Mermaid looked distinctly unimpressed with my praise. I walk away.

So I sit down with my group. It then hits me. The mermaid wasn't a man. I just praised a woman for dressing up as a woman on Halloween. I'm the worst man in the world. I go back to apologise but they are gone. I tell my friends about this faux pas. I feel terrible. A girl remarks "When you do stuff like that you probably shouldn’t tell people."

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