I remember being twenty-one years old.

Specifically, I remember August of that year. It was spent pursuing a history course in Oxford, you might recall.

Even more specifically, I remember one night early in the month. It was the night that the legend of Magic Mike was born.

***

It took about five  minutes to walk from my residence building to the building where the party was taking place. It took another five to actually find the entrance once I’d arrived. I considered turning back and just having a quiet night in rather than looking like an idiot struggling in the dark to find the doorway, but other people noticed me and invited me in.

I was armed with one bottle of pear cider. Brothers, I believe. I figured that would be the extent of my drinking for the evening.

And then someone suggested that we play flip cup.

Now, I’d never played flip cup before. Or any drinking game. Instinctively I backed away from the table, not wanting to be roped in by some well-meaning person who I hardly knew. Alas, I was roped in by some well-meaning  person who I hardly knew, and put on a team. I sheepishly admitted having never played before to someone in the room, and received a crash course: Drink your drink, and flip your cup.

And off we went. I did reasonably well for a rookie. Some games were won, some games were lost, but plenty of good times were had by all.

And then I was thrown into the fire: They put me on the anchor leg for a game. I would go last, and victory or defeat would hinge entirely on whether or not I could properly flip a plastic cup upside down before the person standing across from me. I felt the weight of the cosmos on my moderately inebriated shoulders.

My team did a good job setting me up, and as expected it turned into a showdown between me and my opponent. Each of us fumbled around, trying desperately to seize victory. I can’t remember how many attempts it took me to flip the cup. All I remember is that I flipped mine first. There was a roar from my team and from the spectators.

And then someone started a chant.

Magic Mike! Magic Mike!

It started low, and built to a glorious crescendo. Soon the whole room was chanting.

Magic Mike! Magic Mike!

Thus I stood as a god amongst men. From my lofty pedestal I overlooked my worshipers and bathed in the golden sunlight of their praise. It was a truly magical moment.

From then on, I was known as Magic Mike to the group. Though the reference to the male stripper portrayed by Channing Tatum is obvious, the nickname was always said as a compliment, and I wore it as a badge of honour. Magic Mike was this guy who loved a good party and could pound back a beer with the best of them, and that’s how those present that night viewed me for the rest of the month.

***

I’m not Magic Mike. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I’m not Magic Mike. I prefer small gatherings to large parties, I hate beer, and I don’t have a quarter of Channing Tatum’s abdominal muscles.

But I do think it’s nice to pretend every now and then.

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