A Night on the Town

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I’m in the toilet of a pub, the woman of my dreams in my arms. We’re kissing passionately, and I’m irrationally contemplating getting her into one of the stalls to get my way with her. She feels exactly right in my arms; exactly mine, and my head is giddy with all the voices screaming in protest and cheers. How did I end up like this?

I had not planned on meeting her, but I sadly did. Why “sadly” you ask?

Incidents like this never happen to me. Stories that could be based on movies never happen to me. So why now? Why this?

In sinful, indulgent daydreams, I’d paint a picture of her in my mind. As I drove past crowded streets, I’d unconsciously seek her out, hoping to meet her, knowing that I might never. I’d toy with her image, making her hair lighter, darker, cropped short or wavy long. She was mine for the keeping, the fantasy girl I hoped and feared to meet. Would she want me as much as I wanted her? Would she settle for little ol’ me when she could have any woman (and man) on the planet?

And yet, I sadly found her.

I wear my disguise, the “props,” as I like to call them: a short purple dress, black panty-hose and a pair of heels that I hope will make me look more feminine, even if I don’t feel it and probably never will. I cringe as I notice my friends casually change in front of me, sometimes stripped completely nude as they animatedly discuss the coming night. We are going to a hip and very “in” nightclub in Downtown Beirut to meet a couple of my old friends and their respective girlfriends, adding a few single “hot” ones. The girls have already decided whom of those single guys she’d like to sleep with / date / fall in love with, as they stand buck naked in my room, fumbling for their attires.

“How about you bitches get dressed before we run late and end up having coffee at Dunkin instead?” I say menacingly, too menacingly, wishing I were less gay or gay enough to gawk at their strikingly feminine curves.

We venture into the nightclub, the loud, crazy music already filling my bloodstream with a sense of relief. I am always most alone in nightclubs, my thoughts crystal clear. I don’t have to socialize, I don’t have to put on the mask that has become me; I can only introspect. It’s then that I see her.

She has her arms around her boyfriend — my ex-boyfriend, the only ex I felt comfortable enough to come out to — whispering something in his left ear, and I watch his face laugh as I could not hear the sound. “Kay!” He mouths, “I’m so glad you could make it! This is my girlfriend.” A tiny slip of a girl. Petite, yet curvy, with a slight air of boyishness to her figure. I don’t understand why the ghetto slang crosses my mind: tight. Her face is almost angelic, almost, for her almond, hazel eyes sparkle with a hint of mischief, or the vin rosé she has casually clutched in her right, delicate hand. “Hi,” I say curtly, already soothing myself, “She’s probably just another dumb, pretentious wannabe; they’re a dime a dozen.” I avoid her eyes all night.

I never liked club hopping, but that is what we exactly end up doing. One club after the other, until we finally settle into a cozy, moderately loud pub. At least we can hear each other speak now. She sits by me, attempting to engage me in conversation and I cautiously comply. I’m too afraid she’d be threatened by my presence, like any current girlfriend would be in the presence of an ex, but I am amused instead at how relaxed she seems to be. She talks idly: anecdotes from work, funny incidents from her day, and I laugh at how such a petite package could be so mischievous. I sadly realize: she’s neither dumb nor pretentious. I excuse myself to the restroom.

I don’t realize she has followed me until I catch her reflection in the mirror as I attempt to freshen up.

I open my mouth to speak before I hear her say “you’re pretty” in a very matter-of-fact voice. I remember to close my mouth.

She’s being nice to the ex. That’s thoughtful. I think. Aloud, I say, making sure I draw a very grateful motherly smile on my face, “Thank you babe, so are you.”

“I know about you.” She continues with a look in her eyes I can’t fathom.

My mind races. What the hell is that look? Pity? Disgust? Humour? Has he told her? I feign innocence, “Yeah? What do you know?”

“This.” I watch her approach me in slow motion, before she stands right in front of me, her head craned upwards to look at me. Spellbound, I watch her lips come closer before I feel them on mine. My disguise fails. The dress fails, my carefully colored nails fail, my feminine pretense: fail, fail, fail. I grab a fistful of her hair, taking charge, kissing her like I have never kissed anyone in my life. I see colored stars and planets. We draw apart, panting for breath. She immediately latches on to me, her head barely reaching my chest, in a hug that I can swear would break my bones.

“I’m gay too.” She whispers.

“No kidding, toots.” I say, chuckling at the irony of it all. My ex seems to be a gay-girl magnet. “Does he know?”

She nods slightly, “I told him about this when we first started dating. He says he thinks it’s sexy; as long as it isn’t other men I’m lusting.”

I chuckle again; boy have I heard this one before.

We go back outside in silence.

As the night draws to an end, we say our goodbyes formally. My ex walks us girls to the car.

“I don’t mind if something happens between you two, Kay.” He says quietly so no one could hear but me.

“WHAT?” I bellow, a little too loud than I had hoped.

“I don’t mind, Kay. That’s what I’m saying. Worst-case scenario, she gets it out of her system and you get to sleep with a girl exactly your type. Are you dumb enough to say no?”

I glare at him sardonically, “Are you pushing for a threesome now, Jack*?”

He laughs, his familiar booming laugh, “You know me better than this. I’ve had enough threesomes in Europe to last me an eternity. This girl is amazing, and I’m all for personal growth. Think about it.”

I despise myself for the thought, “This is too complicated for my own taste, to be honest. Yes, she is gorgeous, and exactly what I dreamed of in a girl. Smart, sexy, funny, down-to-earth. But I’m not about to play wife-swap with you. I don’t think I can do this.”

He nods as he opens my car door, “Think about it.”

- Contributed by Kay

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