Naturally, all of the very funniest moments of our lives are the very situations when we know we really, really REALLY shouldn't laugh at all.
Like, for an example off the top of me head, when you've just paid a woman to waggle her boobs in your face.
I think this one easily outdoes old chestnuts of the shouldn't-but-gotta genre, such as an old woman walking around with a dead cat on her head, a puzzled dog chasing a boomerang, or best of all, a deep, sonorous and resonant fart during mass. (Preferably from the priest, but any fart in God's house is comedy gold).
Yes, laughing your tits off, into the face of someone whose tits are in your face, is one of those moments when it's both unwise and unkind to crack up. Then again, as we all know, it is for that singular reason that you piss your pants laughing in the first place.
So there we were, myself and he who will only be known as Mr. Mardzord, at a loose end when a stag weekend in Liverpool had fragmented a little in the small hours. Idling and seeking distraction, we discussed our next move and after some reflection, we decided to order some boobs somewhere. (It was a stag weekend, we felt duty bound).
We soon found a suitable establishment typical of the trade; it was basemental, dank, murky, a bit smelly and uniquely, the ladies jacks doubled as the dressing room for the girls. Or undressing room, maybe. Anyway, we felt a tad uncomfortable with ostentatious sophistication like this, so we consciously threw our shoulders back, took our accents uptown and sat down confidently, trying not to baulk at the dear price of the cheap beer.
The wanton cash-hungry diddy women soon descended on us in a buzzing cloud. First up to me for a chat was 'Helen', and I'm using her real name here because I'm confident she uses a false one. Oddly, as far as such 'conversations' go in hostelries of this ilk, she was diverting enough. She was actually quite nice to talk to, didn't pester me and didn't molest me, perhaps because she wasn't the best-looking of the bunch to be brutally honest. She tottered off somewhere after a while and myself and companion knocked back a few more fuckinpriceofthem beers, inspected the talent and generally sat shooting the shit, with apologies to those reading aloud with new braces fitted on their teeth. And those sitting nearby without an umbrella.
Anyway, approaching chucking out time, I realised I still had a token for a 'free dance' which came as part of the admission fee. I was a bit annoyed with myself as I had actually forgotten I had it and had paid hard cash for a dance moments earlier. It wasn't even that good or anything. She had the obligatory celestial orbs alright but they were hard as rocks and her party piece was to smack them off your cheeks and to be honest I found it all a bit over zealous getting boob-battered across the furniture while I squirmed like a dirty-faced child trying to escape a mother's cloth.
But I digress. I took a look at the token in my hand. Then looked at my watch. I scratched my chin, exhaled a bit in thought.
Well. I was hardly going to bring it home as a souvenir, was I?
It was then that the fateful moment came to pass. All of the other girls had gone to the jacks, presumably to get into their civvies and leave, or maybe they rounded out the night with a big communal wee-wee while singing the company anthem, who knows. Anyway, Helen, it appeared, was the only one left on duty. Oh well.
C'mere, says I. Ahem. Cough, cough. I have this token you see...
And the rest, dear friends, belongs in the history of hilarity.
From the moment she commenced manoeuvres, I knew it wasn't going to be great. She kept pulling silly pouty faces which she clearly thought were sexy, but my instant thought was of the ad for bonjela where the oul' fellas gurn and screw their faces up and stick out their tongues in agony when they feel a gumboil coming on. She kept flicking at her boobs as well and I remember wondering if she was actually hurting herself the poor thing.
A small smile played about my lips as I thought of this and it grew wider at the realisation that I really ought not to be thinking of all this at such a time. Steady now.
Then, all of a sudden, she unleashed breasts, left one first, winking at me duskily all the while or so she thought. She had a penchant for moving through the stages quite quickly, I noted, with no discernible warning. It wasn't a triumphal introduction either. She didn't exactly move with fluid grace like a dancer should, or employ a slow reveal sort of thing. The diddies themselves didn't issue forth proudly either, or swell gloriously into vision as in my adolescent dreams of yore. It was more like two water balloons slow-chasing each other over the edge of a tabletop.
I inhaled deeply, bit my bottom lip, wiggled a finger in one ear and moved a bit uncomfortably in the seat. I could see my pal shooting a suspicious glance across at me and hoped to Jesus he couldn't see that I was starting to find this all faintly ridiculous, because he'd be the type to enjoy watching me in such a pickle. Not to worry, I told myself, avoiding eye contact with everyone (anyone) and gazing studiously at a piece of peeling plaster in the corner over her head. Sure it can only get better.
It was then that the leg work started and things started to unravel altogether. The lassie in question was, how can I put this, not exactly built for speed. She was carrying a bit of Christmas weight as they say, which is no crime of course even in April but perhaps something of a hindrance in her line of work where lithe gyrations are the order of the day.
So when she went to - deliciously - stretch one leg up on to the couch beside me, but couldn't carry it off and had to grip behind her own knee and heft it onto the chair with a wee grunt, I'm ashamed to admit that an audible giggle escaped me. She had even stuck her tongue in her cheek with the effort of it all. There were traces of sweat on her brow. Spry and limber she was not. Oh fuck, I thought, this is a pantomime and I'm going to laugh here.
Meanwhile, best buddy to my right could now clearly tell something was amiss and was peering intently into my face looking for signs of weakness to exploit. I made the mistake of meeting his eye for a second and I nearly went.
What brought me back from the precipice was the thought of how crushing a blow it might be to be a lapdancer trading on one's inner raunch to have some drunken Irish gobaloon guffaw into your face while you did your level best to carry off a performance in something approaching the right side of sexy. As I mused all this I had taken on a somewhat strained expression, laughing a little through the nose, and then covering it up instantly by pretending I was sniffing. Then she flicked her tongue at me - no doubt going for the old mock oral sex stunt but alas kindling images not of Angelina's lips but the landlady from Kingpin - and I swear to God I almost died there and then. But, blessed relief!, she then turned her back and started into some god-awful spanking of her own dimpled arse, and finally, I was able to laugh.
My shoulders shook, tears welled in my eyes, the bastard on my right had a grin the width of the Mersey but it mattered not a jot. She was looking the other way. Another punter gave me a funny look on the way past as he went to the bog, a sort of puzzled why-laugh-at-a-time-like-this look, then he shook his head and went on.
I cringed, I writhed, I strained, I wiped my eyes, I excruciated myself further and deeper. This was going on for what seemed like ages. Holy Jesus, I startled at one point, I think she likes me and is giving me an extra long turn! Nooooooo! I want to go home!
And so it continued, the never-ending lapdance. There were a few more ass slaps accompanied by a blamonge-like shivering rump, a bit of faux shagging on the arm of the chair alongside me - I swear I heard squeaking, more polish please! - a little bit of fidgeting/genital husbandry downstairs, followed up by an elaborate stretching of nipple which almost killed me because I was imagining sound effects by then and was thinking of that long bwoonnnnngggggg noise that oversize elastic bands make in Road Runner cartoons. I think the ordeal came to a close, if not a climax, when she slowly leaned over with a small stumble, slid her hand under my chin, gave me a wee kiss and said in her most sexiest sexy sexual sex voice of sex, which in keeping with all that passed before, wasn't in the least bit sexy, and said:
"So, did you like that, eh?"
I just sat there bolt upright in very back of the chair, my face frozen and contorted in horror, looking all the while like a latter-day Christy Brown, and hoped to hell she hadn't noticed.