Old man deodorant

by Matt Potter


Pink-faced, he glowered in the corner, champagne in hand.

“I didn't realise just how much you'd got around,” he said. “You'd only had five men when we got together.”

That was twenty-three years ago.

What could I say? Sorry my sex life has turned into a gay cliché? None of these men meant anything to me?

Bring something that will remind me of you, the invitation said. I'm turning fifty.

Even with the noise of the thousand men in the room, I could hear Jasper's angry breathing. Had I really fucked them all?

“Who's that anaemic-looking group over there?” Jasper pointed to a pale-faced quartet. Even in the middle of the room, they looked backlit.

“I think they're dead,” I said. “You want me to ask?”

Jasper looked away. My heart lurched inside my chest. I wanted to put my arm around him but didn't dare.

“I'm surprised you haven't fucked yourself to death, too,” he added, “given your record.”

I would have said, Well, I've given it my best, but a well-known face walked in. Conversation lulled, just a second, as he made his way through the crowd.

He — the newest guest — was well known for a long-running series of so-bad-they-were-unintentionally-funny TV commercials. Buck, he'd say, holding a deodorant stick at the camera. For the man in you.

“You fucked old man deodorant?” Jasper smiled. Now my face turned pink.

Jasper downed his champagne. “I'm gonna see if I can score,” he said. “Some freebies.”