And so it is - as circumstance would have it - that the PFY and I find ourselves single and bored on a Friday afternoon.
"Pub?" the PFY asks as the clock approaches 4pm.
"To prime ourselves in expectation of the Friday evening female advertising executive onslaught?" I ask. "I like the way you think!"
"DENNY CRANE!" the PFY replies, grabbing his coat.
"So let's get our stories straight," the PFY says carefully. "I'm a solicitor's assistant, specialising in the environment - and the current case I'm working on is how to save the baby seals from oil spills."
"A greeny caring so much he wants to look after baby seals..." I say. "Smooth!"
"Denny Crane," the PFY repeats. "And you?"
"I thought I'd just go with the truth, that I'm a moderately senior IT support professional."
"So what are you really going as?" the PFY asks, after we'd stopped in the foyer for a good laugh - knowing as we do that the IT profession holds about as much mystique 'with the ladies' as a cup of cold vomit with a hair in it."
"Airline Pilot..." I say
"Sticking to the old faithfuls," the PFY sighs, shaking his head. "I tell you, women today want more than a fancy uniform and the possibility of a cheap overse..."
"Airline Pilot who's been suspended for two weeks for...smuggling orphan babies out of war torn...somewhere...so they can have a real future...in the West."
"Almost makes me want to weep," the PFY says as he waves to the Barman and orders a couple of pints.
...Two hours later...
"...and what do you do?" one of the women we're chatting to asks the PFY.
"What do I NORMALLY do you mean?" the PFY asks. "Normally, I'm a pilot, but at the moment I'm under suspension."
"Oh? Why?" the woman asks.
"It's a long story," the PFY says, forgetting to add that it was someone ELSE'S career only moments earlier. His long-winded account of how he had his hand luggage modified to save two babies per flight has gilded the lily a little too much and I'm starting to see doubt in their eyes...
"And what do you do?" her friend asks me.
"I'm an astronaut" I say, pulling the ripcord on my backup career option to the PFY's surprise and disgust.
Well, it is a much better story.
"An...astronaut..." she responds dubiously, while the PFY gets a slight green patina.
"The British Space program," I respond with just a hint of indignation.
"What British Space program? You mean the Beagle thing?"
"Nah, the Beagle thing was just a diversion so we could send the real spacecraft up under the pretence of it being a booster unit. You know, like the Yanks faked the moon landing so they could open up a McDonalds in Russia."
"I...You don't really believe that America faked the moon landings do you?"
"Of course they did! You've got a better computer in your toaster than the spaceships had back then, and it can't even land a piece of toast on your plate!"
"So is there really a British space program?" the PFY's friend asks me, avoiding computer talk like the plague.
"Well," I say, looking around the pub "I could tell you, but then I'd have to have sex with you."
"Don't you mean kill her?" the PFY snaps in nastily.
"No, no, I'm not that good," I tell the women. "But obviously you'd be taking your chances as I can't make any guarantees...Perhaps you should write down your medical insurance number and next of kin just to be on the safe side."
So things are going pretty well all things considered, and while no one's buying the astronaut story it's still better than admitting you're a furry toothed geek who spends half his day writing Perl scripts and the other half browsing porn...
Just as the glow of sweet success overtakes me I realise that the Boss has just entered the pub with a couple of beancounters and that the game is about to be up. Sure, I might be able to steer the conversation away from why we install service paks or something equally dull, but once the beancounters wade into the conversation it'll be duller than a hardware install guide.
HAVE TO THINK FAST!
"Isn't that those mental patients?" the PFY says, going for the save.
"No," one of our acquaintances says. "Those two work in our department - they're Accounts too."
"Sorry, you're accountants?" the PFY says, feeling the kryptonite-like effects already.
"Yes!" one responds "We specialise in tax accounting and are working on a plan to estimate VAT returns by looking at the previous quarters..."
"WE WORK IN IT!" the PFY blurts. "AND I'D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE IP V6 PROTOCOL. DO YOU KNOW IT"
"That was a close one!" I say to the PFY as we return to the bar alone. "For a moment I thought we were done for. Good call on the IPV6 stuff, that even scares me!"
"DENNY CRANE!" the PFY says, handing over a new pint.