Not very far from where I live, there’s a tiny village, quite pretty with a handful of houses along the side of the road which leads to somewhere else more inhabited. There are two commercial buildings. One is a butcher’s shop – it’s very traditional looking and sells fabulous fresh meat from local farms. Opposite is a run-down looking building which puts me in mind of a Girls Guide type hut of yesteryear, grubby and worn out. It has a home-made sign stating that it is “Le Cupidon”, a “Club Privé”.
The husband and I assumed that this was a night club – of sorts; it’s certainly not the kind of huge funky club I attended in younger days. It’s basically a wooden hut with no obvious signs of bling-bling, as a bit of glamour is called in France.
We’ve passed Le Cupidon a few times, it has quite a big car park and we’ve often thought we’d go there one night and have a beer, it can be very difficult to find somewhere open even on a Friday night, just when you feel like a change of scenery after a week of renovation, animals and things going wrong as they invariably do. For instance last week the lawnmower broke down, the TV broke, something went wrong with the electrical box (micro-switch melt-down-something-or-other).
I mentioned to my elderly neighbours Aurelian (pronounced Orwellian which is how I thought it was spelled for ages and thought his parents must have been George Orwell fans) and his wife Babette that we were thinking of popping down to “Le Cupidon” and did they want to go?
A terrible and ominous silence fell in the room. Babette looked at the floor, Aurelian looked at me open-mouthed. Nothing was said for several long seconds. “Look”, I said “you don’t have to go, it was just a thought, maybe another time”.
“Or” I said, wondering what on earth I’d really said in my usually okay French but clearly not today, “you could come to us instead, have a beer, celebrate the end of the week?”
Aurelian cleared his throat and said “We’re a little old for that sort of thing”. What on earth was he on about, he drinks beer like it’s going out of fashion. “What – beer?” I said incredulously. “No” he said “libertines”.
Well, after it became clear that I had no idea what he was talking about, we had a fun conversation which involved the rare these days use of a dictionary as I looked up some new words – I discovered that Le Cupidon is actually a swinger’s club.
Who’d have thought it, in the middle-of-nowhere France. I didn’t know whether to be more surprised that it was there at all or that Aurellian says he’s a bit old for it “these days”…