Madrid’s intercambio events. They might seem innocent enough on the surface, masquerading as places to go in order to ‘practice language’, but don’t be fooled by that. Intercambios are fuckfests five-minutes away from an all-out orgy.
As if that isn’t marketing enough, the intercambio is also a hotbed of sexual and criminal deviancy, attracting a wide spectrum of humanity, from casual drug dealers to Physics professors, strippers to upstanding solicitors and defence contractors. It’s a veritable human pick-of-mix. Dip your hand in the slimy ether at one of the many around-town venues and you’ll never guess what or who you’ll end up coming up groping.
Perhaps that’s why they’ve become a secret pleasure of mine. Maintaining a level of anonymity at each one, I’m able to slip and slide in at will, change my colours like a chameleon, fade into the furniture and simply observe. When confronted from my hiding place? I simply change my story depending on the day’s mood.
The trick, at the intercambio, is to never really truly reveal who you are. Doing so means you might make an actual friend. The type of friend who will WhatsApp you relentlessly, tell you the most intimate details of their life and convince themselves you’re someone who actually gives a shit.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. The typical Madrid intercambio isn’t quite like that. But, sometimes at least, they can feel very close to the last thing you were ever seen or heard doing on this cold, lonely Earth.
That’s why I feel it’s crucial I provide a guide to the Spanish capital’s favourite forgive-the-marketing-hype event-type. Because it pays to prepare. And failing to do so could cost you your soul.
Or the virginity you never knew you still had…