It was a Saturday afternoon and I had been told to bring a plate.
I decided guacamole was a quality party choice and so I chopped, mashed and squeezed half my weekly budget into a small bowl.
I looked up at the beaten down terrace in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy and sent a final text to my best friend: “I’m going in.”
I had been invited to observe an ‘all-inclusive’ sex party to write a story about my experience for a small publication.
The idea of going somewhere – anywhere – as a student journalist was thrilling so I had talked up the event loudly and widely for the past three weeks.
“Yeah. I’m going to cover this sex party. No. I’m not participating. Yeah. I’m pretty much Louis Theroux.”
This was my first mistake.
The second mistake came when I walked up to the door and didn't leave when a half-naked man answered.
But don't worry. He was wearing a shirt.
I presented my bowl of guacamole and organic corn chips and he laughed and welcomed me in.
"Most people are outside having a chat, there's already some fun going on in the lounge room and that's also where you can place your dip," he said.
I followed him down the hall and into a room that held: three bowls of chips, a platter of Tim Tams, a sad looking fruit salad and two people fucking.
There is nothing quite like the image of gyrating flesh to make you feel like you're in too deep.
It doesn't have to be in the middle of a room for it to be super weird. Post continues after video.
The host noticed my hesitation and beckoned me to follow him.
I ripped my gaze from the slithering bodies and walked outside where ten or so people gathered in small groups.
I felt several sets of curious eyes upon me, but it may have been less to do with me and more to do with how I was still clutching a bowl of guacamole.
I smiled brightly and the host introduced me to a girl my age. She asked if I was 'the writer that was coming' and then launched into several anecdotes of her own writing career.
I noticed the host was the only other person to be in a state of undress and wondered if he was there to set the tone.
"You can put your dip on the table inside, babe," the girl said.
I nodded and walked back towards the lounge room. I kept my eyes down as I walked towards the table.
The food sat untouched and I noted there was mango and bananas in the salad. I thought about how bananas were a cheap choice. I thought about how they'd turn brown too soon. I placed the guacamole and the chips beside the Tim Tams.
One of the bodies let out an almighty screech and I was so startled that I turned and saw something you can't unsee.
I'm not sure how quickly I left or if somebody had called out because I went into full-flight mode and only returned to reality two blocks down the street.
I thought it would be easy. I had a list of questions.
I'd seen at least five documentaries on similar practices and I considered myself the kind of young, progressive type who could list 'sex parties' as casually as somebody would say they 'went to Coles' or 'took a walk'.
My pocket buzzed and I looked down to see my friend had replied to my earlier text.