Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

'Tis the season for binge-dating
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The Independent Online

All I want for Christmas is to get through the party season without a repeat of last year's catastrophe. It all started when my then-boyfriend gave me a pair of red-and-white crotchless knickers meant to be paired with a Santa hat. This was creepy, not sexy.

We got into a fight, which ended with him saying that he "needed some time apart". So my girlfriend Victoria and I hit an office party, where I loudly declared that I could "drink everyone under the table". Two hours, one margarita contest and a session on the mechanical bull later, I pulled a mild-mannered yet very hot banker named John.

The next thing I knew, we were back at his flat ripping each other's' clothes off. The sex was frantic and fantastic, until the next morning when I woke up feeling like I needed to stick my head into an ice bucket. I could feel my stomach churning when he stepped into the shower, and was reduced to vomiting into his tea towels and frantically throwing them out the window. Not exactly my finest hour.

So this party season, I've tried to be a good girl. I vowed to stick to a three-drink maximum, not make out with any random guys and avoid karaoke bars at all costs. In the past week, I'm delighted to report that I've broken every rule - and it's been fantastic. Instead of just binge-drinking, I've been binge-kissing.

In fact, my week has been so productive that I keep waking up with mens' business cards lining my wallet. And, because I'm still raw from a recent split, I've been taking numbers rather than taking their owners straight home.

On Tuesday, I was moping in my pyjamas when my flatmate dragged me out to a west London nightclub, and we started chatting to a blond Canadian. He offered to walk us home, and when I complained about the lack of late-night food delivery options in London, he called his flatmate, a 6ft 5in sexy fellow-Canadian who cooked us penne. We stayed up talking and eating until 2am, and Mr Pasta e-mailed me the following day.

The next night I went to a nightclub and met a gorgeous personal trainer. We got into a very heated discussion about porn, and shared a laugh at the men in suits attempting to break-dance. Then, moments after an "accidental" wine spill required him to pull his shirt up to reveal a rippled washboard stomach, he asked if he could call me. I was on a roll.

I spent Friday night at a house party, where, under the mistletoe, I locked lips with a Scottish guy whose name I can't recall. This was probably a good thing, since he got into a fight and was chucked out 10 minutes later. Instead I called Mr Pasta, who showed up with a friend and shared a taxi home with me. We kissed for a full 10 minutes outside my door, and drunkenly pawed each other in my lobby.

On Saturday, I went alone to the Ireland Fund's winter ball, surrounded by so many eligible men in tuxedos I felt like I was watching March of the Penguins. I took a deep breath and walked straight up to three guys - and ended up dancing with one of them to Human League cover songs. He took my number, and I kissed him on the cheek.

I may have been more naughty than nice this season, but I'm also realising the wisdom of Oscar Wilde, who said that to fall in love with oneself is the beginning of a lifelong love affair. After all this foreplay, I may even have to take advantage of myself.