My student grant finally showed up sometime after I’d finished my final exams, so I booked myself a flight to Reykjavík and set off.
The Reykjavík gay scene was tiny, which didn’t come as a huge surprise. I had complicated matters by making plans to check it out with an Icelandic internet friend who turned out to be extremely hard work. I couldn’t remember how we’d first gotten to know each other; I thought she was maybe queer, but maybe she wasn’t. The first time we met up, she mostly sat and looked at me while I searched frantically for ways to keep the conversation afloat. We arranged to meet again in the Lesbian and Gay Centre, and I decided the best course of action would be to arrive early, in the hope of making new friends.
This worked. I walked in to the centre and ordered the cheapest alcoholic beverage available, feeling self-conscious for all of two minutes before the local boys came over to say hello. The clientele consisted half of them and half of gay men on holiday from the USA and England. Gathered together, they were a friendly bunch. I was feeling quite at ease by the time my socially awkward friend arrived, and we all set off to a club.
That’s where I met the hottest woman in Iceland. She was a lesbian who’d organised the club night and was wandering around in a cowboy hat swigging from a bottle of champagne. “I saw you in the paper,” I blithered at her, and she sat me down and talked to me, and we hung out the next day, but I never got any action with her.
Not that I could exactly complain, because I got off with the second hottest woman in Iceland. At some point, she joined my collective; I don’t remember if she actually knew anybody there. I was astonished to discover she had the exact same name as the penpal in Reykjavík I’d had when I was 11 (who was born on 5 April 1979: why do I still remember things like this? And folks wonder how I retain all the information for this blog), but she wasn’t her. There are a couple photos of us together, to prove that she really was that gorgeous. In fact, she was very much my previously identified type, the type I figured I never really had any hope with. Meanwhile, my socially awkward friend got drunk, got talkative, threw up on my shirt and left without saying goodbye.
Eventually, #93 and I headed to Gaukar a Stong, the bar where the friend I was staying with worked. I think it was about 5am, but it seemed kind of irrelevant since it was June and that meant 24-hour daylight. My friend was still working, so we sat in the big hall upstairs and made out some more. This is when I became aware of a fortysomething man on his own who’d decided to sit down next to us in order to leer at us, or more specifically, at her. I decided to do the butch thing and politely asked him to quit with the inappropriate behaviour, which prompted him to tell me I thought I was so cool for having green hair, and we argued for a while and I was too apologetic for not knowing how to speak Icelandic, and despite my absolute failure to be halfway assertive, he finally fucked off, after asking if he could piss on me.
Angry but relieved, I turned my attention back to #93, who had now been joined by a male friend of hers. The pair of them agreed that the man had been an asshole. Eventually, I made the decision to go home with my friend instead of with #93, because otherwise the logistics involved would have been complicated.
I didn’t hear from #93 again, but I met her friend by chance in a bar the following night. He was complaining that after she went back to his place, she wouldn’t have sex with him. Wow. I was surprised that my sympathy was being solicited for this. He proceeded to proposition me, and I mean not just once, but again and again and again despite my insistence that I was really not interested. It was seriously goddamn obnoxious. After that encounter, I got to thinking about what the deal was with #93. Someone had said that she had gone to the gay bar because she was sick of the men she met and wanted to try something different. That didn’t sound too promising to me – it didn’t ascertain whether she was actually attracted to women at all – but suddenly I considered that if her friend was halfway representative of the men she knew, then I could maybe see where she was coming from.