Once upon a time, I was young and skinny and looked to all intents and purposes like a girl. My father was very proud. And by “proud”, I mean, terrified that I was more Martha than Arthur. Not that he said anything at the time of course. But years later, he confided in me his fears, and the subsequent conversation that lifted that heavy weight from his heart. It went something like this…
*Dad is giving me a lift into town on a Saturday night. I’m wearing his wife’s blouse and makeup*
Dad: “So…these clubs you go to…are there lots of girls there?”
Me: “Yeah” (remember, I’m a monosyllabic teenager)
Dad: “And do you ever ask any of them to dance?” (He’s fishing!)
Dad: “……..oh…..right then..(SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!)…”
Me: “I don’t have to….they usually ask me.”
And with that simple exchange, my father breathed a sigh of relief that he had been holding in for years.
Anyway…moving on. The year is 1991 and I’m a heterosexual 17-year-old glam rocker with a penchant for dressing up like a big girl (mainly so I could pull rock chicks you understand). So you can imagine my delight when I heard our local pub was having a TARTS & VICARS night! With a prize for the best tart and vicar, no less! It was almost too good to be true. How could I possibly lose? I looked so much like a girl anyway that I’d stopped correcting bus drivers and barmen when they called me “luv”. It only confused them further.
The big night arrived, and with the help of my mother (who wasn’t phased in the slightest anymore) and her wardrobe, the transformation began. After much chin scratching, I decided upon a sequined black silk dress, fish net stockings, f*ck me heels, a faux fur jacket and a red and black feather boa! I topped the whole ensemble off with a rather natty pleated fabric headband. I was working it! *does waggy zorro girlfriend finger thing*
Eat my dust Gok Wan!
My long-suffering mother then finished off the look by doing my hair and putting on some proper girly make-up (I’ve always been a bit cack handed with an eyeliner). The transformation was complete, and I was hot-to-trot.
I headed down to my mates house to hook up for a couple of liveners before we tottered our way up to the pub. It was at this point that I couldn’t help but notice, that normal blokes looked…well…a lot funnier than me in a dress. They looked like they’d been dressed by their nan…and I looked like I’d only charge you ten dollah.
Once we got to the pub, I was extremely pleased to see that we weren’t the only tarts in the village. Turns out you don’t have to ask a Scot twice if he’d like to put on a frock and drink copiously of an evening. And of course, there were plenty of vicars too. I must say, this did cause the sexual dynamic one normally encounters at a gathering of rampant teenage libido to wobble somewhat.
The night was a hoot…all the blokes (except for me) looked like the only gay in the village, and much hilarity was had by all. And then he arrived.
By “he”, I mean………….The Local Nutter.
You could tell he was the local Nutter by the way everybody tried to melt into the background whenever he walked into a room. That, and his interesting array of self-penned hand tattoo’s…most of which made some reference to just exactly what he’d like to do to the pope if they ever met in a dark alley.
Needless to say, Mr X (I shan’t name him here…that would be STUPID!) wasn’t wearing a frock as the invitation stipulated. Mr X was also quite drunk, and his presence at our little soire was as unexpected as it was surprising. Mr X was a “Football Casual”, you see…and most of us were his sworn enemy, “The Sweaties” (not a name of our choosing). In fact, Mr X normally liked nothing more than to hunt down “Sweaties” for sport and bash their little heads off the pavement with his feet. Mr X, loved a good pagger!
On the plus side, Mr X appeared to be in high spirits this evening, and it looked like we’d probably all go home with our teeth intact. So we carried on as if he wasn’t there.
And then he asked me to dance.
I don’t know if it was the alcohol, class A drugs or dim lighting….but that mad fucker clocked me from across the packed room, stood up, walked straight across the dance floor and asked me as nicely as I imagine he could, if I was “dancin?”
It was at this point, to my utter horror, that I began to suspect, he might have mistaken me for a bona-fide piece of ass.
My brain was scrambled. If I tell him I’m a bloke I could end up in hospital. If I don’t tell him I’m a bloke and he makes a pass at me…I could end up in hospital. In fact, every possible scenario pretty much ended up with me in traction and leg braces.
So I did what any self-respecting man/boy would have done in my situation and very demurely accepted his kind invitation to waltz.
And so we did….twice….in a row. One of them (and I am not fucking joking here)…was a slow dance.
I don’t remember much after that. Self preservation had kicked in and I was running on instinct alone. And my instinct was screaming at me to stay quiet and keep dancing!
Years later, we met again in the same pub. For some inexplicable reason, he came and sat at our table. Again, I have to say, he was perfectly pleasant (in his own special way). But all the same, I thought it best not to remind him of the fleeting moment we’d spent together, swaying, arm in arm on that dancefloor as the rest of the party looked on, slack jawed. It would only soil the memory.
And do you know what the worst part was? I didn’t even win the prize for best tart!
But I did keep my teeth…