Many a middle-aged man in Missing has gazed into his eyes and seen their feelings reflected… then been flicked in the bollocks and called a ‘Dirty Bitch’.
Meet Ruru… the Marmite of the Birmingham gay scene. Love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him. A beguiling Yemini, capable of going from sweet boy to sassy bitch in just one of his faint heartbeats.
To misquote the Sisters of Nonnberg Abbey from The Sound of Music:
‘Unpredictable as weather
He’s as flighty as a feather
He’s a darling! He’s a demon! He’s a laaaamb!’
I originally met Ruru on… well, I’ll say a popular gay networking app. He came over several times then spent one long sunny afternoon sat in my back garden… and stayed… and stayed… and stayed. He wouldn’t leave. He stayed so long that day that I started wondered if he had moved in, but had just failed to mention it to me.
He chatted occasionally, but mainly spent the time making me ‘go live’ on social media and trying to take selfies with my aging dog.
I had a bottle of wine cooling in the fridge and after the fifth time I had unwillingly featured on MyFace or Twatter (look at me ‘getting down’ wiv da’kids), I really needed a drink. #timetogetpissed
As Ruru was Muslim, I didn’t want to offend him by drinking alcohol, but after a couple of parched hours, I finally gasped, “Would you mind if I had a glass of wine?”
“No, but just a small one,” he replied.
“No, no, no,” I blathered apologetically, “I wouldn’t get drunk in front of you.”
He gave me a coy look, “I meant, I’ll only have a small one.”
“You Drink?!” I spluttered in exasperation, “I’ve been sat here gagging for hours but didn’t want to insult you by drinking in your company.”
We polished off the bottle of wine (admittedly I had most of it, as he was a lightweight) then reached for a bottle of Prosecco. Midway through releasing the cork, I got particularly animated while telling a story and set the bottle on the kitchen counter as I gesticulated. Unexpectedly and dramatically, the bottle erupted in a geyser of sweet effervescence and the cork ricocheted from ceiling, sink and fridge in startling fury. I screamed and Ruru dropped into a lithe Spiderman crouch. Spidey-senses all of a tingle! Ru has subsequently discovered he has a fluttery heart. It could have killed him.
Several weeks later, I was strolling by the expansive windows of Loft Lounge and was attracted by Ruru’s frantic waving. He was sat inside on a sofa (Ah… Those comfortable days when Loft Lounge still had furniture you could sit on without getting splinters! This was before they ditched the Friends inspired Central Perk look for industrial chic) and motioning me to join him.
He had an untouched glass of red wine and three beer bottles in front of him, two of which were empty. It turns out that he had only wanted the wine but had bought a beer to take him over the £5 card limit at the bar. He had never had beer before and necked it. Now having a taste for it, he immediately returned to the bar to buy another, but of course the card limit meant he bought two more to bring him up to the required amount. Why he didn’t just buy a bag of crisps like a normal person I will never know.
By the time I walked in, he was absolutely spannered.
Ruru just sat, consumed by an oversized sofa, gazing around in dazed contentment and occasional blowing out of his mouth, producing a sound like a gently neighing horse.
Whenever his eyes met mine, a dopey smile spread across his face and he emphatically poked me in my chest with a fickle finger, exclaiming a meaningless, “You… You… Yoooooooooou!”
He was in a right pickle.
I had been on my way to meet a friend, so had to leave. It was all a bit of a rush.
“I’ve got to go. Are you going to be OK?”
Ruru rolled his eyes in indignation and harrumphed, “Offff coursssse!”
I left him basking in his newfound love of beer and staring around the bar like a new-born calf trying to make sense of this strange new world it found itself in.
He survived the night (I did text him several times, just to check he wasn’t sprawled in the gutter).
Five years later and he is still an adorable lightweight and complete Muppet. Missing Bar is now his second home, where he regularly flirts with and winds up the other regulars, broadcasts live karaoke on social media and once got so drunk that he came out to his Muslim family in a text message then promptly ran away to Scotland to hide in the heather with a herd of wild haggis… but that is a whole other story.
One night, I was describing Ruru to someone that I assumed must know him.
They asked, “Is he small, really cute… and a nightmare after three pints?”
The radiant Ruru! How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?