I never really bother with fancy dress, but that Halloween I decided to be a nu-metal kid. I put on oversized black trousers and clumpy stacked shoes, and worked on looking angsty all night. Gregor applied eyeliner for me and smudged it, but I managed my own lipstick, although this required a lot of encouragement, careful instructions and moral support. One of the regulars at Frenchie’s had donned Nora Batty drag, but overall not that many people had really made an effort, so after a while we thought fuck it and went to Planet Out, where Gregor fell on the floor a lot. I deftly avoided the usual trip to CC’s when it closed, opting instead to go to a friend’s party. I listened to Linkin Park on the way so I could stay in character.
I had expected the party to be full of goths, but it wasn’t. People played the piano and the saxophone. I mingled. When everybody was leaving, a tall boy who I hadn’t been introduced to suggested that the two of us should go somewhere and have some fun.
I like brazen. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if I’m not interested then brazen is not going to change that. But I appreciate when people take the risk of being up-front, because that’s usually me. I was interested enough with this one, and plus he had a bottle of rosé which was of interest too. We sat on the steps outside the vet school and he pushed me down and kissed me.
That part was good. But beyond that, what I remember most is being unsure at first about taking him home, and telling him up-front that he couldn’t spend the night.
“Last time someone stayed over,” I said by way of explanation, “… something happened.” Great, now this sounded way more dramatic than I actually meant it to. He looked worried and said, “But we don’t have to talk about that, do we?”
I fucking hate it if I’m just acknowledging my boundaries and somebody assumes that means I’m trying to trick them into a therapy session. There was no way in hell I was interested in pouring my heart out to a stranger whose name I’d already forgotten. I was just letting him know that there were limits on where this was going. And the something that had happened, it wasn’t like someone had attacked me or anything: far from it. It was simply that it was all too fresh in my mind of what it was like to wake up still grieving, and I had absolutely no desire to share that experience with him. Still, his response, an attempt to just gloss over my vague disclaimer and skip to the action, didn’t win him any points. An “Okay, no problem”, for example, would have sufficed. Not that difficult.
And so, we went back to mine. “I don’t usually look like this,” I explained, like it mattered, like I was ever going to see him again. I realised I didn’t really feel like being with him. I hadn’t wanted much more than a makeout session anyway, which clearly clashed with his expectations. He stayed for the duration of a Smiths album and then I sent him on his way.