Part 124: Brass Instruments


When I started this blog, I made a pact with myself; I promised I would never use it to tell embarrassing or mean stories about people I’d slept with, on the basis that doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is a sensible dictum by which to live your life – despite the fact it’s from the Bible (Luke 6:31). And I have pretty much adhered to the terms of that pact – although, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve been mean about my bad ex-boyfriend in almost every post I’ve written. Still, I don’t feel too awful about that because I know him well enough to know he’s flattered – not least because I always attempt to infuse my reminiscences with affection as well as bile. And, anyway, he should count himself fucking lucky. I could have been worse.

The thing is, I’ve decided that there’s not much point in writing a sex and relationships blog if, on the rare occasions I do let a man inside my bedclothes, I keep all the gossip to myself, and lie to you by writing about how I only watch QVC and eat cheese in my pyjamas. It’s not honest, frankly.

And also, I need an outside perspective.

Because the other thing is this:

Men keep playing brass instruments at me in sexual scenarios and I don’t know what to do about it.

I say keep playing. In truth it’s happened twice* – but that seems like an above average amount, especially considering that my sexual career has had more or less an eight year hiatus, due to – well, if I knew that babes, I wouldn’t be writing this.

The first time I was faced with a brass instrument in the bedroom, it was probably the most erotic thing that had ever happened to me. I was seventeen. I was naked. My (now ex) boyfriend (no, not that one) pulled a trumpet from under his bed and played it with his breath and his finger-tips – as though it were part of his body, or mine. It was beautiful, spontaneous and seamless. He was very excellent at the trumpet. I swooned and promptly submitted to all of his sexual advances. Of course, because I was utterly infatuated with him, and because it was the early 2000s and, like most of my generation, I was smoking an obscene amount of hydroponic weed, I might have misremembered this event.

Perhaps because it was some twelve years later, and I didn’t know the bloke that well, perhaps because he preceded it by telling the story of how he’d once pulled an unlikely artefact from a girlfriend’s vagina (and then, for reasons I don’t understand, he took her picture from a drawer, and showed it to me. It felt, from the manic look in her eyes as she grimaced into the camera lens, as though she were sending a warning, telepathically, from the past), or perhaps because he chose to play Baggy Trousers, the second time I was faced with a brass instrument in the bedroom it was not the most erotic thing that had ever happened to me. It was really, really weird. Was he trying to impress me, or was he – using a subtle, baffling form of ridicule – taking the piss? It didn’t help that this time the brass instrument was a tuba; a heavy, unwieldy, tuneless thing – as favoured by Harold off of Neighbours – almost the size of me.

It is testament to his good looks and the sedative power of a strong jaw line that I did not ask ‘what the fuck are you doing?’, and leave immediately.

Is it cruel, writing that? Am I an unspeakable bitch? I know I’m probably breaking all sorts of sex-related, unspoken trust rules – although if you are going to insist that women you don’t know behave impeccably after they sleep with you, it is probably best not to play the tuba and talk them through a wodge of hot ex-girlfriend photos, while they sit next to you in their underwear, wondering where the fuck it all went wrong, and whether, perhaps, their bad ex-boyfriend might consider a reconciliation, if they promise to get pregnant right away.

How is one supposed to respond in brass instrument related sexual encounters? I think this is an important contemporary question that needs answering, and I’d be grateful if you could concentrate your considerable intellectual powers upon it for the next hour or so.

I will be on the sofa, eating cheese and watching Diamonique Jewellery with Alison, patiently awaiting your response.

*I have just remembered a third brass instrument related sexual incident from way back in the day – when I was unwittingly present as my mate shagged a saxophonist called Malcolm. (He had a massive, black and white picture of the Twin Towers on his living room wall – and I recognised them, so it must have been some time just post-9/11.) This, however, is not my story to tell.

*Image by scottchan at

2 thoughts on “Part 124: Brass Instruments

  1. Jonathan Bliss says:

    Re Brass instruments and bedroom antics. Just because this made me think of it, not sure it helps.

    There is a, probably apochryphal story that Dr Bowdler; he from whom the term bowdlerisation was coined, changed a passage of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline from “‘Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed” to “‘Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the trumpet in my bed”

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