I have perhaps misjudged university towns based on the time I spent living Cambridge some years ago. I found Cambridge to be entirely dull, with the exception of a very clever French man I shared a house with. I was invited to Oxford for the night by a friend to a house party. I was wondering what the rival city would be like, and in my view Oxford beats Cambridge hands down. I arrived just at the start of the party and decided to be as sociable as possible, so I walked up to the first group of men and greeted them. I started with the polite custom to shake their hands and to kiss each person on the cheek. Except, I started with perhaps the shyest person in the group, upon aiming for his cheek, he ducked away, in an almost hysterical Matrix style back-flip. It was certainly not the response I was expecting. But unfortunately for this person, it is in my nature to then be very playful with shy people.
I decided to stay and introduce myself to the group, they were all very intelligent, and having not studied for a PHD, I was the odd one out and could not join in their discussions on their research and vivas. I am certainly not jealous, I have studied enough at masters level, and you have to live life. But, I thought to myself, I didn’t come to a party to talk about research. Time to play some tricks! Fortunately, at that point I was introduced to various people and a Polish girl who came leaping in and sent me crashing to the ground for the first of three times that night. She was the perfect companion to play with and kick off the party. Referring back to the first person I mentioned, I also thought there is no way he is keeping his coat on and hiding all night. So I took it off, stole it, ran away and placed it in one of the bedrooms. Very childish I know, but parties are not for grown-ups. I managed to get the whole group dancing at that point and pretty soon the house was full. Although I did have to smack his bottom when I found he had put his coat back on later that night. Of course, the coat was whisked away again. I also could not resist winding him up for the rest of the night.
Rules for most house parties appear to be; you must drink cheap and nasty punch, and there’s always a queue for the bathroom. It is also great fun to see how groups of different nationalities communicate. Polish girls are so much fun to be around; I found a new partner in crime and I love their enthusiasm. Although my new dancing partner was a bit too sweaty from the result of her enthusiasm for me to dance too close by. Considering she was responsible for bruising my back, I found her at the end of the night asleep with everything going on around her. As I was sober, I managed to have some sensible conversations. Even for this party, I could not resist putting on the red lipstick, and curling my hair. It felt good when my little hobby was comprehended and appreciated and I could share my love of pin-up with the guests. But mostly men, much to my amusement, as one gentleman became over amorous. His attentions were superseded by another who could handle his masculinity a little better. I exchanged contacts with a few people, and it was rather pleasant to receive a message the next day where I was referred to as sunshine, so in spite of the one person I scared, I have made another person smile. Unknowingly, due to the lack of options of places to stay I was staying in perhaps the best place in town, I also received another message wishing I would be very happy in my “fancy smancy” hotel. Another great thing about parties is to find out the after effect on your voice, which equates to Marge Simpson on helium. To think I am going to another concert tonight, time to practise silence.
My only regret is that I am not returning to Oxford shortly, as I found the following day, Michael Palin is paying a visit to a book store to sign his latest book ‘New Europe’. If any one can get hold of a signed copy, eternal appreciation is guaranteed, although meeting the man in the flesh would be better, where is Mephistopheles, when you need him?