As a kind of foreplay before mating, female giraffes will urinate in the male’s mouth.

– Uberfacts

My rules used to be “No shit, no blood, no piss”. Now they’re simply “No shit, no piss”. Blood is fine. You get used to it when your ex’s party trick is removing your tampon with his teeth and flinging it across the room like Pollock. I have pals who happily crap through meshed nylons onto their fellas. Their shit seeps through via osmosis, those relationships never work out – and they inevitably take up bikram yoga.

I first discovered these mercy words and limits when forced to shriek them in Spanish in a bar in Bollivia. The Mexican bar owner had a piercing that to this day baffles me. It was a long chain dangling straight down from under his lower jaw – a jaw which has now surely become bloated coke jowls. His tats won’t suit bloated coke jowls.

He invited me into the toilet. His bar, his toilet. He’d designed it himself. On entry there was a square mirror-topped marble slab in the middle of the solitary fully-reflective cubicle. He picked me up and sat me down on it, then thought better of it and lifted me up again, wiped the surface with the edge of my dress and racked up the biggest lines I’d ever seen – up to that point. Within half a minute I was sat back on the slab and he’d pushed himself between my legs. I could see at least 24 of my leg-fractals reflected back. This looked good. Gondry would be proud. If there had been such a thing as Instagram then, I’d have been all over it. He then repeated the procedure twice more. I didn’t want to appear too British.

“Do you like pain?”

I’m about to shit myself – and in a Gondry toilet.

“Do you have any scars?”

Oh god.

He lifted up his t-shirt. Knife wounds everywhere. Then it was a blur. Mexican army blah blah? Guerrilla something something. Prison? Then something about a bomb, or was it a party? Screw my shit Spanish. And again, ”Do you have any scars?” I nodded and pointed to my recent injuries – 2 identical grazes on each hand between thumb and forefinger, “I was canoeing last week in the Amazon. I held a sloth.” Oh, the scars I have, the pain I have seen. Quick, mention the scalp. ”And I had a very bad car accident, so have many scars in my hair, but you can’t see them.” I scratched my head and tried to look like it was such a dark experience, not to ask.

Ah, I forgot the caterpillar bite! I have a hole in my leg, see?! I used to collect caterpillars as a kid and keep them in a shoebox, but one day one was furry and colourful and it bit me. I had 2 ops – when 4 and 5. Aged 11, I told the kids at school I’d been shot in Camden. Did he want to see it? I chose the wrong leg. How the fuck can’t I remember which leg has a hole in it after 30 years? I frantically start remembering scars. The boobs. Yes, I have boob scars. One under each. Hmm, maybe showing those is a bad idea. I don’t want to look superficial. He’s been the victim of a bomb, or a party that’s gone wrong, or in prison or something? Can I get away with a stretch mark being a scar?

“Do you like pain?” Mr. Pain asked again. I think Mr. Pain likes pain.

My Spanish comes back, “No mierda, no sangre, no piss.”

And thems became my rules. Well, just “No shit, no piss” now.


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