Private Magazine

Tag: drama

It Started With A Syringe

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I was at work the other day and ended up having a conversation about losing your virginity. Believe it or not, I wasn’t the one who brought it up.

“I was thirteen,” my co-worker, Ginnifer with the Blue Mani, said.

“I was fifteen,” said Shelby with the Mauve Lip Liner.  “And I’ve been on birth control ever since.”

“I was…seventeen, um, eighteen,” I said. “But honestly it took me that long to hit puberty.”  

We ended up trading stories about the loss of our virginities, about how, like Madonna and Britney Spears and Cyndi Lauper, we all became “touched for the very first time” and “hit one more time” and “time after time” after that.  

It all started in college. When I got to my room in Alumni dorm, I unpacked my Smiths CDs, issues of Nylon and Woody Allen movies to go out and party right away. It wasn’t long before I had a crush on a hipster I saw buying photo paper and film at the bookstore.

“He had glasses and a plaid button-up shirt – unbuttoned halfway,” I gushed to my BFF/roommate Tara as we ate mysterious dining hall casseroles. “I want to know his name.”

The very next day in the dorm,  I was listening to Belle & Sebastian and writing in my diary when our landline phone rang.

“He’s in my logic class,” Tara said. “My philosophy class. The guy with the glasses.”

“No effin way.”

I shadowed Tara’s next logic class for the purpose of learning this guy’s name. He turned out to be a senior named Tommy who said many intellectual things. I was swooning.

A couple days later, I was in our dorm searching for my clove cigarettes. The phone rang at 3:00,  about the time logic got out.

“Tommy wants to know if we can find him a syringe,” Tara said.

“My brother’s diabetic, so probably. For what?”

“His ‘Drug Life’ photo project.”

“I’ll go to LoGrasso. Have him come to our room.”

I walked to the health center, and believe it or not, there must not have been an opiate epidemic in 2005 or something, because I was given a syringe right away, no questions asked. Sweet!  I ran back to the room, and pretended to be working on something at my computer. The door swung open. Tara entered; Tommy was behind her.

“David LaChapelle, David LaChapelle,” Tommy was saying, wearing jeans completely frayed at the bottom with a giant hole exposing one thigh, Doc Marten boots, long wool overcoat and those glasses I had a thing for.

“I really appreciate you doing this for me,” he said while snooping through my bookshelf. He picked up my Annie Hall DVD. “When are we going to get married?” Turns out, Tommy was a huge Woody Allen fan.

“I have to find a few more things for the shoot,” he said. “Want to come along? I’ll grab you guys some wine afterwards.”

Oh yeah, Tommy was 21. It was all music to my ears.

“I saw The Dandy Warhols in London,” he said. We were squished in the backseat of our other friend Valerie’s broken-down Cutlass. She was the only one with a car.

We drove to Wal Mart, the only store in town, to find a “drug dealer-esqe” gold chain, Shower-to-Shower bath powder (“the only kind that really looks like coke,” according to Tommy), and a fake nail (“even though we could probably score one from a theater major,” he said). After Tommy purchased all this stuff, and a box of Franzia, we dropped him off at his place.

“Call me later and we’ll drink wine,” he said.

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Tommy and I started hanging out after that – walking around campus, smoking cigarettes, that kind of thing. One night he invited me to his house – off-campus.

“Sorry, we don’t have heat,” he said, opening the door and wearing a coat.

“Oh, okay, that’s cool,” I said.

We went up to the drafty second floor. Someone with a tie-dye tapestry over their door was blaring Grateful Dead. Tommy took me into his room and closed the door. There were stacks of books everywhere, photos tacked to the walls, an electric keyboard, bong, pack of Ecstasy herbal cigs, Velvet Underground & Nico poster, and a carpet that seemed to double as an ashtray.

“Wow. Your room is so cool,” I said.

We sat on the floor. Tommy rolled a joint, took out his iPod, and put the Brian Jonestown Massacre on. We smoked, and I got super high and paranoid because I was innocent and had no tolerance for weed back then. Tommy’s face kept getting closer to mine, somehow. He was about to kiss me when suddenly a dreadlocked girl barged into the room.

“Do either of you have a cigarette?” she yelled.

I looked at Tommy. He looked at me and said, “She’s trying to quit.”

“Um..uh, here,” I extended a Marb Light her way, my hand shaking. She retreated into the hall, shutting the door.

“Damn,” Tommy said. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,”  I said. “So, where were we?”

This blog never gives an explicit play-by-play because it’s better to leave things to the imagination, in my opinion. It’s classier. But when I left Tommy’s house that night I wasn’t as innocent as when I entered.

“Tara,” I said, turning the light on and waking her up. “It happened.”

“Oh. My. God!” She sat up in bed and hugged me. “I’m so proud of you!”

The next morning, we were celebrating over DIY omelettes in the dining hall when I felt nauseous.

“BLEEEEGHHHHHH,” I puked for a good five minutes in the bathroom then came out, pale and sweating. “Tara…I’m so sick.”

I was in bed for the next 36 hours, perspiring, worried I was pregnant, watching The Virgin Suicides.

“Baby girl…You can’t be pregnant,” Tara said. “It’s got to be the flu.”

Sure enough, it was the flu. The only “clean” glass I could find at Tommy’s was totally cloudy and under the bathroom sink, but I was desperate.

The following semester, Tommy left to study abroad in the UK. I thought I’d never see him again. But junior year, Tara and I took the school van down to Pittsburgh, where Tommy was in law school…

READER SURVEY: WHAT SONG WAS PLAYING WHILE YOU LOST YOUR VIRGINITY? FACTORYGIRL1987@GMAIL.COM

THE GAY BAR: Unadulterated Back Door Access

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It’s Saturday night. Jaclyn, an acquaintance who I work with occasionally,  has invited me to a party. The party is being held at a well-known gay bar. Jaclyn has been dating the gay bar owner’s brother for quite a while. It’s the owner’s birthday. There is a celebration being held at his club.

I take this as an opportunity to encounter some new people, to immerse myself in a completely foreign scene. I’ve started to see the same faces, been ending up in the same places. I need  something new, something… unorthodox. An investigation into the gay nightclub underground seems apropos.

Around eleven, Jaclyn and her boyfriend Sal, the owner’s brother, pick me up from my apartment. We head downtown. The club’s neon sign glows radioactive pink. The bouncer welcomes us inside with a nod. We meet up with Jaclyn’s friend Kate and her boyfriend, Keith.

The four of us sit down in a booth area while Sal goes to get us a bottle of Absolut. There is a large open area around the bar – not many patrons have arrived yet. Another dance floor/stage area is in a curtained-off, adjacent room. The place is mostly black spray paint and concrete with hot pink accents. We are enclosed in a dark sitting area behind the bar.

A middle-aged transvestite woman descends upon our booth in kitten heels. She sits down across from us without speaking, looking at us. Five minutes pass, then she asks –

“So, what brings you guys here, a bachelorette?”

“No, just her boyfriend’s brother’s birthday,” I reply. We’re getting antsy for Absolut.

Ooh, is it a party?” She asks, fiddling with her reflective clutch purse. She wanders away before we answer.

“Was she about to offer us drugs or something?” Jaclyn asks me.

“Probably.”

Sal returns with the vodka, some mixers. We drink for a little bit until Sal suggests we take a walk down to the basement of the club. We head through a back door, down concrete steps covered in flecks of glitter. Once in the basement, there are racks of sequined costumes and props left over from the drag queen shows. Guy stand around smoking cigarettes. I stick a fake rose in my hair, from a drag queen of yore. Abandoned stage scenery is scattered about; speaking of which, one such performance is about to commence. I pop a Tic Tac and feel a revitalizing rush.

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We head back upstairs to watch the show. It was advertised as an Underwear Competition. A drag queen is standing on stage, with a pretty decent crowd gathering around. The crowd is mostly young, very young, gay boys – this club allows 18 and up.  The Queen is speaking into a microphone, shimmying around in a fringed figure skating outfit. A young blond boy is staring up at her in awe.

“What do we have here, hmmm?” The Queen Bee is purring down at the blond boy, stroking his hair. “Is that because of me?” She is acknowledging the boy’s raging hard-on. I’m surprised at this, because I never thought drag queens were sexy, or even really trying to arouse people with their theatrics. I always thought it was just about an artistic performance.

The Queen calls up the two finalists of the Underwear Competition. We missed the early rounds, I guess.

“Our first finalist is the luscious, lascivious, Damian!”

An early-twenties black guy in a purple Diesel thong struts onstage. He’s pretty buff.

“An the sumptuous, sexual, Stephen!” Stephen looks about 18 with a septum piercing and tattoos. He’s nervous and dripping in sweat. I wonder where his parents think he is.

A booty-poppin’ jam blasts out of a speaker. Damian and Stephen make their ass cheeks clap like strippers, directly in the faces of front-row spectators. They bend over, drop it low, twerk. We’re in the way back, and the crowd is getting riled up in a crushing horde.  I’m reminded of that French short story from 100 years ago about some strangers having sex at a public execution.

What’s the prize for this competition anyway? Young and doe-eyed boys wander around in various states of undress. Are they gigolos for hire?

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We walk back to our couch and bottle of vodka, amid applause for our young exhibitionists. A half hour or so passes. Then, we hear the DJ start his set. We make our way through the curtain, onto the dance floor. Jaclyn and Sal are dancing together. Katie and Keith are dancing together. This leaves me getting groovy by myself. Obviously, none of the men in this joint want anything to do with me. Should I have brought a date to this shit? I continue to dance alone in the middle of the room. Whatever. I’m not a total loser.

An overzealous black kid in short shorts bends over in front of me. I think he feels sorry for me. The feeling I’m experiencing is the loser at the school dance, and this guy must pity me. It’s kind of embarrassing. I swivel around – a gloomy looking brunette kid starts swinging me around. At first, all’s well and good. Then, he starts inching his way closer to my face. This boys smells like ass. Ass. It’s unbearable and nauseating.

“Excuse me, please, I have to go throw up.”

I run away into the other room, hunch over the couch, gasping for fresh air. Inhale, man, inhale. What the fuck was up with that?   

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The drinking continues. Now, the night is not so young and my body is not so sober. I am swept up in my own thoughts.  A dark tunnel opens up in my mind and I follow it through, down down down into the foggy abyss.

A bespeckled guy sitting to my right starts talking to me. He comes off as kind of straight. Straight and alone at the gay bar. I tell him a little about what has brought me here, and I’m sure that he knows that I’ve never been here before, because I’m sure everyone else here is a regular. It just gives off that type of vibe.

He takes my phone from my hand, and puts in his name and phone number as “Master Jeremy Dollar$.”

“What’s up with your name?”

“It’s because I have coke,” Master Jeremy says. “About four grams.”  That makes sense – who else but a drug dealer would be straight and alone at a gay bar?

The two of us embark on a teeter tottering walking tour of the club. Master Jeremy bursts into the bathroom after I head inside what I thought was the girl’s bathroom. “The bathrooms are unisex,” Master Jeremy informs me. I suppose it wouldn’t make sense to separate guys and girls in a place like this, where the girls become guys and the guys become girls and the girls who are guys like the guys that are girls.

“Would you…watch me while I pee?” Master Jeremy asks. “That really turns me on.” He’s unveiled his arsenal of coke with the bathroom stall wide open. He is sputtering and coughing and sniffing like a broken snow blower. I stare at my own face in the mirror, but can’t really see anything. I’m chain smoking Marb Red 100’s and foaming at the mouth. It’s after four in the morning.

“I need to find my friends,” I declare. “What if I can’t find them? What if they left? In ninth grade I got left behind at the Lincoln Memorial. Will you drive me home, if I got left behind? I need to go find my friends. I don’t want to get left behind.”

“Yeah, babes, I’ll drive you home,” Master Jeremy says. “You are beautiful, you have a perfectly-symmetrical face, and great eyebrows.”

“Hmmm…thanks.” I wander back out into the bar, and quickly spot Sal and Jaclyn on the same couch we were on earlier. Katie and Keith left long ago. We head out into the crisp air of dawn, and I am ushered into the backseat to be taken home at long last. What a night.

Then, Jaclyn exclaims – “Ahhh!!!”

I look out the window, directly next to me to my right. Master Jeremy Dollar$ has his face down at eye level, looking into the car, at me.

“Ahhh!” I shriek. “This is some Twlight Zone, creature-on-the-wing of the plane shit! Peel away!”

Sal accelerates; the tires screech. We are off, speeding away from the notorious club, from Master Jeremy Dollar$, from the smell of ass.

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Any resemblance to an actual gay bar that really exists is purely coincidental.

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

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A fire burns inside of #54. It’s a soft, welcoming cocoon of holiday cheer. Outside, snowflakes ferociously converge like bumblebees, and I hope Dan will get here soon. He’s my date for the night, to the Pearl Street Grill Christmas Party. I’m hoping that he gets here soon, because I’m ever-so-steadily sipping bourbon from a pint glass with my downstairs neighbor, Michael. If Dan doesn’t get here soon, I’m going to be drunk. Very drunk.

It is mandatory that a true lady remain sober and in control for an entire date. I already fucked it up. Bah! My phone rattles and dings like a goddamn slot machine. Dan has arrived!

I’m clomping down three flights of stairs in precarious and uncomfortable Forever 21 platforms and some outlandish beaded top. Must go and meet Dan in the parking lot with dignity.

Now, I met Dan last month, when I was on a date with his friend John at the casino. Dan was there, too, with some girl named Jamie. It was a double date. But after John won $3,000 and was determined to spend it all, we went to Wine on Third to wet our whistles. And there, amid hazy drunken revelations, Dan and I developed a crush on one another.cards

So I invited him as my date to the Pearl Street Grill Christmas Party. Everyone who lives at our apartment, # 54,  is attending – myself, my downstairs neighbor Michael, Jack (a 31-year old dubstep burnout who wears sunglasses backwards on his head), and Kurt. I went to college with both Kurt and Michael. Kurt moved away to California but he’s back now. I hooked up with Kurt on Election Day after he drank a box of merlot and couldn’t ride his bike back to Kenmore. He’s gotten many DUI’s, so he doesn’t drive. Kurt is a hot mess.

Just as I’m settling in with Dan on Michael’s couch, with a background symphony of cacophonous jam-band melodies, Kurt struts through the living room, clad in a dress shirt, tie, and vest. A cigar is sticking straight out of his mouth. My back stiffens. Ugh! Could he get more cocky and conceited?

Kurt continues to walk through the living room and onto the balcony. I turn to Dan.

“Ugh, that’s just Kurt,” I tell him. I really like Dan. He is extremely laid back, with a good head of hair. He’s even put on a dress shirt for this party. Kurt isn’t going to tarnish my mojo. So I toss back some champagne, re apply my lip stain, and pile into a cab with the entire group.

The scene at Pearl Street is intense – wall to wall people, and for some strange reason, I cannot get my footing in these fucking Forever 21 pain in the ass platforms! I can’t control my wobbly, bobbing to and fro body! I feel like the room is circling around me. I need to get some air and have an intimate, passionate moment with Dan.

BourbonAs I pull  him under the stairs, Dan looks at me in confusion.

“What…what is it?”

“I just…I just…wanted to share a passionate moment and get away from it all!”

“Oh, uh..huh? Ok.”

I grab Dan’s fuzzy beard and pull his face into mine.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“But we just got here, oh, uh, ok!”

In my mind’s eye, the two of us are rushing out into the cold, dark night to have passionate sex in my bungalow. What really happens, well…

Dan and I arrive at the foot of the ladder that leads up to my twin size loft bed. I say,

“Go ahead – it’s easy! It’s only nine steps.”

“Don’t you worry that you’ll fall out of there?”

“No, never!”

And the two of us go up to the bungalow.

………………..

My dry, bloodshot eyes snap open to the shrill beeping of my phone. Time to go to work! Put me out of my misery. It’s going to be one of those days.

I walk Dan down to his car, and shower away the sinfulness and inebriety of the previous night. I’m combing my hair in front of the bathroom mirror. Suddenly, my apartment door opens with a chilly gust of wind. I’m only wearing a pair of Victoria’s Secret leopard print underwear. My hands snap up to conceal my boobs. What the fuck!

Kurt struts in, still clad in last night’s apparel.

“Good morning!”

“What the fuck, Kurt, leave Kurt! Don’t you know how to knock, Kurt? Can’t you see I’m trying to get ready, Kurt? I have to go to work, asshole! Hey! I’m talking here! WHOAAAA!”

I work myself up into such a frenzy in my tiny bathroom, I fly backwards – arms flailing-  into my little cabinet and tall stack of magazines. A container of cosmetics crashes on top of me, with a cascade of lipsticks falling around me. I’m lying in a heap, on my back, practically in the nude.

“HELP!!!! Somebody! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! Seriously! HELLO????”

Finally, I muster the strength, wrap myself in a towel,  and charge out into my apartment.

Kurt is standing naked in my kitchen.

“Hi!”

“Kurt, get out, you are still drunk from yesterday…BLAHAAHGHHHAH!!”

He decides to pick me up straight off the ground and spin me around pseudo-romantically. It’s not exactly the most chivalrous deed, to barge into someone’s home and strip down naked. But whatever.

“I just thought we could spend some time together.”

“Your timing is off, and I have to go to work.  Now get out!”

He pecks me on the lips suddenly.  I ever-so-politely push him out the door.

When it rains, it pours…I think to myself, leaning against my door with  a sigh. Still have to put some damn clothes on. I wonder if things will work out with Kurt.

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