The British press has been titillated these past few days over the pre-Christmas party organised by Manchester United players. It started off chastely enough, with drag queens and lap dancing, but subsequently adjourned to a hotel, entirely booked for the occasion, in the company of a hundred aspiring WAGs. As one journalist pointed out, you don’t book a hotel unless you intend to use the rooms. Six footballers (or five, according to your source; the actual number may or may not be academic) and one young woman did indeed use one of the rooms, apparently to their mutual satisfaction. It’s thanks to their sexual antics that large swathes of middle Britain are now acquainted with the more exotic meaning of roasting.
Marina Hyde, in the Guardian, commented, quite rightly in my opinion, that the footballers weren’t driven by passion or even lust – one in six is actually not that hot a ratio if you’re one of the six – but by their desire to emulate the internet porn that has taught them all they know about what men do with women. And yet. And yet.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of a group of men, fluidly numbered but at no time fewer than four. In my case, it wasn’t so much roasting as microwaving saveloys, but I don’t recall feeling humiliated or exploited, or even dirty. What I recall is being up for it in an eager, undiscriminating – OK, drunken – way. I was thirty, not seventeen, and the men I was with, in the loosest sense, were almost certainly not professional footballers, so my motives were almost certainly purer and more pondered than those of the aspiring Victoria Beckham in Room 101 (or whatever). Almost certainly. After all, I didn’t give head (or anything else) for a recording contract or the newest quilted handbag, the one that looks more like a shrunken anorak than an iconic fashion object (but what do I know?). I didn’t expect to be interviewed by Hello, or snubbed by Lindsay Lohan, or have my ‘life’ filmed for a Channel 4 documentary (though I wouldn’t have minded). I wasn’t after anything much beyond the moment, some time around 3 am on a Friday morning if I remember rightly, on my knees behind a laurel bush and, well, lapping it up in the most literal sense. I was happy, more than happy, to be there.
Maybe I had to be self-hating to find it fun, by which I mean radically naughty and thrilling and life-enhancing, but I did. And that’s the problem. Because I don’t think she did, the girl who was roasted in some hotel in Manchester and was happy because they’d said she was a good fuck. And I don’t think they did either, the would-be Jeff Strykers and John Holmeses, queuing for their go at whatever bit of her was free. And that’s a pity. Because if it isn’t fun, it’s not much more than a career move in a very crowded profession. It’s bags and shoes and interviews, assuming you can find your knickers.