It was 1981, winter. I was living and working in London - part of a polytechnic sandwich course. During the course of an average day, whilst in a London underground station I spotted a girl (let's say Jane) who I had known whilst at school some three years ago. Jane had been one of the beautiful people - the untouchables that the likes of me didn't speak to. I was a different person now however, more confident (so I believed) , and so I took it upon myself to approach her and ask her out. To my amazement, Jane agreed.
She told me she was a nursing student and suggested meeting the following evening at a pub close to Paddington station that apparently was not too far from her residential nursing accommodation. I arrived first at the chosen pub, naturally, at least 30 minutes early. I wasn't going to make the rookie mistake of keeping Jane waiting. I downed a pint of lager to help quell the first night nerves.
Jane arrived and I think it fair to say we had a terrific evening. Conversation flowed easily and to my surprise she seemed warm, approachable and gave the distinct impression that a second date would follow and a relationship, not completely platonic, might blossom. Time had passed easily and Jane looked at her watch. It was later than we imagined. She jumped up and said she had to leave as the nurses home closed in 30 minutes. ''Would I like to walk her to the gates of the home?''. Without a single other thought, the answer to such a stupid question was 'yes'. We exited the pub and starting walking in the frosty, still night air. Conversation continued to flow but I became aware that a visit to the toilet before leaving the pub might have been a good idea. We continued walking and I was increasingly aware of bladder discomfort. I considered hopping over into a local garden but concluded that urinating in public might not be the ideal way to finish a first date. We continued for a further 200 years by which time discomfort had turned to pain. Happily Jane pointed out the nurses home a further 100 yards further on. Thank the lord, I would be fine. Reaching our destination Jane turned and thanked me for a lovely evening and planted a warm kiss on my lips. Latchkey urgency is defined as 'the knowledge that you will soon be able to go to the toilet causing the bladder to contract'. A number of events followed. The dams broke as I felt Jane's lips meet mine and not only was time standing still but the dozens and dozens of returning nurses had also ceased walking and all were looking in our direction. This being a particularly cold night, warm urine quickly turned into into billowing clouds of ammonia filled steam. I chose not to pursue Jane's telephone number or to ask where our second date might take place, or indeed to offer to dry clean her now, less than fetching outfit. Instead I chose to turn and march quickly away from the humiliation, without looking back and begin my slow progress back to Paddington Station.
Skin tight jeans are never more skin tight than when soaked with urine and proudly on display in the London tube system. Two changes of rail lines were thrown in for the public's general entertainment. Definitely not entertained was my landlady who instructed me in no uncertain terms to throw the offending jeans and pants away.
Nearly 40 years have passed though the memory of that night and one particular moment in time remains vivid.