Leaving a friends birthday party with a close friend of mine, a rather cute man confronted me, a gay man but still cute in a way I could appreciate. He asked me if I could light his fire, we giggled, I battered my eyelids, my friend rolled her eyes, lit his cigarette and proclaimed ‘oh for fuck’s sake Lou, he sucks cock!’
I waited in the cold, looking for a cab as my friend finished her ciggie, making idle chit chat with my newfound man friend when he asked how long my friend and I had been dating. I laughed, warming my hands in my pockets.’ We don’t date.’
‘But you’re both gay right? I inhaled deeply, adjusting my scarf.
‘Oh wow, I’m sorry, I just assumed because you were leaving together…’ he trailed off.
Correct me if I’m wrong but last time I checked the phrase ‘leaving together’ did not always mean ‘I’m leaving now to go get finger banged by my same sex travelling companion.’
I was just about to say something when my friend piped in, rather enthusiastically ‘but it would be awesome if we were both gay, because we’d be great together’.
My awkward silence said it all.
‘What? You don’t think we’d great together?
‘Let’s not get into that here’.
Cute boy put out his ciggie and looked to be heading back inside, ‘sorry guys, I didn’t mean to cause an argument’.
‘It’s fine really; she’s just had a little too much to drink – let’s just get in a cab and go. I’m tired.’
‘No, I don’t get it.’ I could see she was getting more upset ‘we’re great mates, your dog likes me, your dad even made chicken soup for me…’
A crowd had begun to draw ‘look, you’re making a scene, shut up.’
‘I’m not going to be silence on this. I’m a great girl’
‘Yes, you are. I’m not debating that, it’s just..don’t make me do this…’
‘Say it, go on, you know you want to’
‘You’re not my type. There I said it. Happy?’
The crowd drew breath, as my friend lit another cigarette.
‘What? You have a type now – I’ve seen the guys you’ve hooked up with lately – seriously you have a type? That’s just bullshit!’
Finally a cab pulled up and I pushed my reluctant friend into the backseat. We both fell silent.
‘I don’t get you Lou. Don’t you want something comfortable, something predictable?’
‘No’ I whispered under my breath. ‘I want more.’
We drove off into the cold wet night and I couldn’t help but be reminded of an incident much like this one….
It was 2002. A bunch of us had gathered at my house for a dinner party. A few bottles of wine in, a game of Yatzee and chocolate cake the conversation began to become more intimate. Each of us revealing some of our most personal desires. My friend Sophie stood up. It was her turn. ‘If Louise was a man I’d date her, we’re great together.’
I remembered that dry feeling on the back of my throat, the way I looked away as she waited for me to reciprocate, the humiliation in her eyes as I helped myself to another piece of cake wishing this moment away.
It was no surprise she’d fancy me as a guy. I knew I’d be her type. Olive skin, dark hair, dark eyes, arty and a good cook and yes, by my own admission we often finished each others sentences, but as she stood at the end of the table, begging me to answer with her silence I knew in my heart she could never be my type if she was a guy.
Sure, I could lie and we’d gone with our lives, occasionally joking to friends about how like a married couple we were, but I’d know in my heart it was wrong. I couldn’t live a lie and she couldn’t ask me.
I needn’t have said anything, we could’ve got on with the evening as planned but I felt compelled to make things right.
‘Hey, enough of this. Sophie I think we’ve run out of wine sweetie, why don’t you make yourself useful’. I could see the tears in her eyes as I tossed her the car keys.
Yes, I knew what I was doing. It was a rainy night, sure she’d been drinking…but I digress…