I'd hosted a night at the Thirsty Scholar, which had gone well. Sophie, Simon and I had decided to go and hunt down another beer at a bar nearby: Revolution. On the way in the three towering bouncers stopped Simon.
"Sorry mate, you can't come in."
"What? Why not?"
"You're wearing jeans, mate. And trainers."
Sophie and I pointed out that so, in fact, were we.
The three headed bouncer grunted.
"You're pissed, then."
He wasn't. Two pints, at most. We relayed this, reasonably.
Eventually they conceded, and, glowering as one, stepped back to let us through their bald bouncer barrier. One issued a meaty warning.
"No trouble, though. I mean it."
(It was Derby day. They were ready and primed for trouble. I could practically hear them panting for it.)
We sat down and had a drink in the noisy bar, crammed on to a corner of a table that was already heaving under the strain of six or seven revellers. After a while I wanted to make a phone call, so I headed for the door.
One of the meaty towers stood, arms folded, in my way.
"Where are you going?"
"I need to make a phone call. It's too noisy in there."
He raised a pale eyebrow and shifted an enormous tank of a boot.
"Alright. Two minutes."
I looked around, confused. The bar wasn't closing for another hour.
He winked, lascivious and nasty.
"Because I say so, love."
I grimaced slightly and walked outside.
After about a minute he caught my eye. Winking slowly again, he raised a thick wrist and tapped it.
Ignoring him, I finished my call, then walked towards the door.
"With those boots" I began, unsure of the wisdom of the sentence I had just started, "you should be in the SS."
"The SAS?" A smile began to amble its way across his face.
"No. The SS. As in the Nazis."
To my surprise, he barked a laugh.
"Well, I am half-German!"
I shook my head and the smile, clearly exhausted by the effort, gave up and died.
"Go back inside, you've had your two minutes."
I looked at him.
"By any chance, is this your way of flirting with me?"
He tilted his head.
"Would you mind if it was?"
"Yeah, I would."
A while later, I headed up to the bar. On the way I found myself staring at the polyester chest of the same bouncer.
He was pointing at my left breast.
"Is that your name, love?"
I followed his watery gaze and saw that I still had a name badge on from a workshop I had attended earlier that day.
Before I had a chance to reply he asked again.
"Is that your name?"
This time, though, he extended his sausage-like finger and poked my breast.
I took a step back.
"Please don't poke me." Calmly, logically. Please don't push your hammy digit into my breasts, you mouth-breathing cretin. I didn't say that. I just asked him not to poke me, and went and sat down.
I relayed this to Sophie and Simon.
Simon stood up and walked over to the offending moron.
"Did you just poke my friend in the breast?"
(Trouble. Derby day. He shouldn't have said anything.)
"Well, she said you did."
(Simon is even smaller than I am.)
Suddenly, all three bouncers were there, looming over him like meaty monoliths.
"That's it" we heard, and it was.
They piled on top of him like bomber-jacket clad synchronized swimmers on steroids, and Sophie and I stood up.
They wrestled him to the door, and as the were throwing him, all three together, to the street, I ran over and shouted. "Hey! What are you doing?"
(It was a rhetorical question.)
SHOVE. An slab of a hand slammed into me and sent me clattering onto the street. I stood up, enraged.
"You can't do that! I'm half your..."
SHOVE. Spinning around to another SHOVE.
Soon, the three of us were standing around the corner, Simon's chin trickling with blood. Sophie shaking her head wearily. She'd seen it too many times, you don't risk it. They're all like that.
Furious, I went home, and seethed at the injustice for days.
Saturday night. At Sound Control, where the beer is horrible and the sound quality awful. Gift of Gab, who was performing, was apparently very good if you were standing right at the front of the stage, but from our vantage point half way back, no words could be heard or beats distinguished from one another.
Disappointed, we were finishing our beers at the end of the night. One bolshy bouncer was striding about like a malevolent rhino, shouting orders and instructions at those punters who were daring to stand in slightly the wrong place or just be smaller than him. Projecting his voice like the most expensively-trained drama student, he was clearly having a marvellous time.
He chased someone outside, someone who had been, until that moment, chatting with me and Ben. It was comical, the way the bouncer heaved himself after this guy, who had clearly bruised his fragile little ego in some way. Ben and I automatically moved nearer the front of the club to see what was happening, and slightly giggling at the Carry On Bouncing-esque scene.
The bouncer strode back in, and clocked the two of us and decided to have another bit of a shout.
"And you two can fuck off as well."
Plucking my two-thirds drunk bottle of beer from my surprised hand, he picked me up by my upper arm and threw me forcibly down the three concrete steps at the front of the club. SHOVE. Behind me tumbled Ben, crashing into me from the force of the throw. We picked ourselves up and turned to where the bouncer was still swearing at us.
I took Ben's arm and we made our way down the crowded street, where people had begun to stare. Furious, again, at the bitter injustice of being SHOVED by someone twice my size, to whom I have done nothing.
Today is International Women's Day. I have no experience of living in a regime of violence and aggression. I don't know what it means to be so driven to desperation by oppression and pain that I have to set myself on fire to escape. I don't know how it could possibly feel to have no options, no freedom, no voice. These are only times I have ever slightly tasted the bitterness of testosterone-induced injustice.
I must recall that feeling, and multiply it by a bigger number than I can ever know, and then be grateful that I will never be able to comprehend the pain suffered daily by women all across the world.
It is not comparable, but it made me feel impotent and wronged.
I am going to demonstrate today, and show support for women across the world for whom those feelings are constant, and injustice a daily reality.