Friday night I was catching up with friends over what would end up being far too many glasses of wine, just going over ‘the week that was.’ Mine had started out innocently enough; a trip to the opening of a local film festival. I was certain it was going to be a mixed evening of ‘I’m sure I’ve seen them before….yes, they were in Pugwall’ and ‘I know I know him somehow’ (stare at them for a while, horrid realisation hits as I turn to my friend and say ‘We are never ever allowed to go over to that side of the room at all tonight. You hear me! Never!’) …as my mind reflects back to my days as a film student, a beanbag and penchant for boys who wore flannel, told me told me I smelt nice and had a thing for sleeping with my friends while I was in the room next door probably tattooing their name on my arse.
My partner in crime and I were savvy enough to figure out from which direction the free drinks were being handed out (we were allocated one each, but if you went back to them with two glasses and told them your friend was in a wheelchair then oh my how the rum poured..). Yes rum, so regardless to say, somehow I got home and woke up the next day fully clothed with a craving for a prostitute down by the docks, but that pretty much passed, like it does every time, after a nice cup of tea and a snack sized Mars Bar.
However, there was some concern over what might have transpired that night after a friend of mine rang to see if I was alright.
‘Of course I’m fine, a little rough, but fine.’
‘Oh it’s just that as I was leaving I saw a girl behind a tree with little white shoes sticking out and was worried it was you.’
‘But surely you realised it wasn’t me when you came over to see if the girl was ok?’
‘Well I didn’t stop to check I just really wanted to get home, but I’m calling now and that’s what’s important and isn’t it sad that in today’s modern times just being concerned about someone really doesn’t ever get the credit it deserves.’
‘So you pretty much left me in a park in St Kilda to freeze to death.’
‘Don’t be so dramatic Lou, it wasn’t you so what’s the big deal? Anyway I thought you might’ve been with someone.’
‘oh ok, so it’s come to that has it, that you honestly think on a weeknight that I’d take someone out behind a tree and just have a go? Really, it’s come to that?’
‘That fact you needed to clarify it was a weeknight just proves my point Lou…’
I raised this remark with a close male friend of mine at dinner a few nights later and as I suspected he did point out that my use of the word weeknight really didn’t give me any leverage in my argument that I am at heart a prude and not taken to shagging people in parks/ bus terminals/ shopping isles and Nando’s restaurants.
‘I’m not really sure you can argue you’re not a prude just because you don’t have go at in places of shared public convenience.’
‘Ok, so maybe I’m not a prude, but the assumption that I’m that sort of person just irks me.’
‘What? A person that has fun?’
‘Don’t be a word twister.’
‘I’m not twisting your words Lou; I’m just cutting straight to the subtext of your conceit.’
‘I’m not conceited.’
‘The word conceit does have other literary applications Lou. Do we need to visit the thesaurus store again Lou?’
‘No’…I mumbled – I hated the thesaurus store.
‘Well you don’t exactly date do you? You more or less have encounters and sure the tree thing while a little tacky could conceivably be in the realms of possibility.’
‘No, it could not, the heightened capacity for getting a splinter in that situation would put any one off and anyway I date, I have been known to date.’ (I remember back to 2002…)
‘Oh come on, even if you do ‘date’, even you have to admit they always end up more or less just being encounters and even then it’s like getting blood out a stone with you to confirm they’re anything beyond an encounter and even if they are beyond an encounter by the time any of us are even privy to this information the encounter has passed, leaving it as I said just an encounter, tree or no tree Lou.’
‘You make me sound like ET, an eco-warrior ET.’
‘You do have scarily small fingers Lou and eat a lot of salad, maybe I’m just putting two and two together here.’
‘I am not an alien.’
‘…and short legs, like really short legs, like disproportionally short and I bet if we shaved your head….’ He was lost in his own little world.
‘That does not make me an alien.’
‘No, based on that information alone I couldn’t prove you’re an alien, but give me time….’
…the next night I was at a friend’s house playing Monopoly when I raised the issue of me and the tree again. Given the company I was keeping I really shouldn’t have asked but I was anxious that my reputation was one based more on assumption then actual knowledge.
‘It’s not that you’re that type of person perse’ said my friend as eyed off my Pentonville Rd ‘…it’s just that if someone said guess who I caught behind a tree/ up a lane way/ school playground having a go, then yeah, sure, your name might at some point come up in the conversation as a possible.’
‘You’re making me sound like a sex-offender.’
‘Well technically if you do it in a school playground you are.’
‘I just don’t do stuff like that’ …as I watched myself get sent to jail again without passing Go ‘…I’m a romantic.’
‘Yep and as such you’re more impressionable. It’s not you Lou; it’s just sometimes you make decisions as if at some point in your life someone put you in a heshen sack and held your head under some water while they beat you a bit with a bat.’
‘That makes no sense’
‘You’re damaged Lou, sure you don’t look it with your jackets and nice shoes and stuff, but ultimately you’re damaged goods and as such a bit of how’s your father behind a tree, all I’m saying is I wouldn’t be surprised.’ And with that I landed on Mayfair and her 5 houses and declared myself bankrupt.
A few hours later I found myself at my friends after party in the wee hours of the morning talking to some girl who was somewhat amused, ok slightly far too amused, that she’d seen me on telly the night before and was now talking to me live in person, she kept saying things like ‘you’re funnier in real life.’…oh how I needed to book a cab home…
I was trying to pry myself away from the conversation when I noticed she had white shoes on, little white shoes.
‘You weren’t by chance in St Kilda on Tuesday night were you?’
She stammered a bit…
‘…oh yep, were you?’
‘Why? Didn’t think they’d invite comics to those things.’
‘I make films and stuff as well.’
‘Let me guess? Comedy films?’
Damn if it weren’t for those white shoes and my need to now know if she was the girl behind the tree that night and as such I could get my reputation back then I would have quite happily stabbed her in the vagina and not in a sexual sadist kinda way, more because I’ve got one myself and I knew it would really, really hurt.
‘Yes, comedy films.’
‘BAM!’ she tried to hi-fi me, and as was my way, I went along with it…
‘You didn’t by chance end up behind a tree that night did you?’
She looked at me strangely, as if suddenly it all made sense, that I was the strange person watching from the bushes with the camera that knew far too much about what she fed her kids for dinner or how her husband really didn’t appreciate his birthday present last year, or for that matter really never appreciated her either…
‘..I’m only asking cause I have white shoes too and someone thought I was having a go behind a tree and it so wasn’t me and then I saw your shoes and you were there and I thought my god, it’s the tree shagger, so you see I wasn’t being creepy.’
She looked at me with pity as she finished off her beer.
‘Listen, it’s been lovely talking to you Lyn…’
‘Yep, cool, but I’m not really sure I want to talk to someone who thinks just because I wear shoes that I shag behind trees. Do you how damaging it is just to assume that of someone?’
She past me her bottle.
‘Here, can you find somewhere to toss that, I need to pee.’
..and with that she went and squatted behind a tree, with her little white shoes, oh she was a tree shagger alright and maybe I was just creepy enough to just stare at her all night, willing her to prove me right….I left a little while after that – it’s one thing to have a reputation as a girl who shags behind trees, it’s quite another to be the girl who watches other girls pee behind trees, quite another.