I was lost.
Through the miasma of backstreets and alleyways with sex shops I didn't recognise, the steady heat beat down upon Soho like a drum. After my relatively unsteady day, I was looking forward to escaping the sun via the Underground and dragging my way home. I didn't know exactly where I was, but was fairly sure I was heading in the right direction.
"Excuse me, sir?"
I froze like a rabbit caught in headlights, the small plastic bag which held my sister's birthday present loosely hanging from my right hand. Turning to the right, from whence the voice had hailed, I saw a blonde woman beckoning me forwards.
"Are you looking for a girl? I have some lovely girls."
"Oh!" I almost laughed, relieved that I wasn't in any particular danger. "No, thank you."
"Are you sure?" she pressed.
"Yes, I'm perfectly sure, thank you," I said politely. "But thank you for asking."
It was only at this point that I realised this was the first time I had ever been in such a situation. I was also slightly bamboozled by our location - the back entrance to Westminster Kingsway College. As the summer holidays are on, this may have been a less active building than usual, but surely there would have been some activities going on? It was an odd place to solicit from, but I suppose if you're going to do it somewhere...
I still wasn't sure how to react.
"I've got some boys too!" she pressed. "Some very nice boys, if you want."
"Oh, no, no," I replied. "No, I'm into girls, but I just don't want to... I mean, you know, I like girls, but I... I have one."
In fact, I'm just coming from dropping her off at work. This morning, as we lay entwined with her hand wrapped around my throbbing penis, I didn't want to ever let her go.
"Well, what about a nice massage, then? You don't even need to have sex, you can just get a massage from one of the girls..."
However uneasy I felt, I couldn't fault her sales pitch. It was classic patter - get the customer talking, offer something they don't want, and then something they do. And, when it comes down to it, I have nothing at all against prostitution. But I really didn't want to get into a conversation about what I did and didn't want. I'd have been wasting her time, if nothing else.
"No, I'm sorry, but thank you. I'm in a bit of a hurry..."
"You're a bit high?"
"No, I'm in a hurry, a bit of a hurry," I said, beginning to move away. "I'm sorry," I added, even though I wasn't, really. I always feel a little guilty for not buying things.
"OK, well, thanks for stopping!" she said, a little too brightly.
I walked across the street, but just before I turned a corner, I looked back.
"But thank you!" I finished with, unsure as to why I was saying that. "Thank you very much!"
And I scuttled away, emerging onto Regent Street at last.