I thought #46 was kind of cute but I guess she was too much of a Socialist Worker for me to develop a proper crush on her. She was cool to hang out and play spin-the-bottle with, though. And she had the best double-barrel name ever. I remember one time, she invited me to a communist conference in London. “Um, but I’m not a communist,” I said. “That’s okay,” she explained, with trademark enthusiasm, “you can be one!” She’d thought of everything.

There were a couple of dramas. First was when she had a girlfriend who we’ll call Danni. Every time Danni’s name was mentioned, half the dykes in our group chorused, “Dump her.” This was because Danni had hit her once. Most people were agreed that once was too much and as such the relationship had no future.

I’m still not sure what I think about that, and the actual context is too hazy now ten years on. Sure, my starting point is that there’s no excuse for violence, but what happens after it’s happened? What if it was an isolated incident and they worked it out between themselves, forgave and moved on? And if it was an abusive relationship, how likely was #46 to listen to people who just said “Dump her”, and how likely was it that this could have alienated her from her friends?

I hit #117 twice. Apparently. I was drunk, I don’t remember it. The first time was when I gave him a compliment. He had self-esteem issues and he refused to accept it and I was frustrated that I couldn’t even give him a simple compliment without it being difficult, and I gave him a slap which was harder than I intended. The second time was after I had been to the party with #43. When I got home I couldn’t take it any more. I was crying and shouting and I wanted him to leave me alone and when he didn’t get out of my space I hit him. I think it’s maybe the worst state I’ve ever been in. I was so desperate, and there was still the best part of eighteen months to go before the relationship finally ended.

Where do you file these things? Is it relatively okay – insofar as these things can ever be okay – because it wasn’t part of a systematic campaign of abuse? Is it relatively okay because I was traumatised too, certainly by the time the second incident happened? I don’t know, and maybe I don’t remember the stuff about #46 and Danni right anyway.

But back to 1998: towards the end of summer term, #46 mused to me that she wished she was bisexual. Not that it would be easier, as such; maybe she just wanted to be more equal opportunities. After a while, she took up with a male Socialist Worker and pretty much vanished from our crowd. Danni, who I became friends with a couple of years later, was hurt by the rumours that #46 had gone on to describe herself as straight, as this invalidated their previous relationship. #53 remained friends with #46, and reported that the rumours of what she’d said were inaccurate. I don’t know what became of #46, maybe she moved back to London.


~ by Nine on 6 December 2008.

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