or, I Knew There Was a Reason I Didn’t Want to Turn On My Phone on Sunday
Like Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t handle hard news before Noon. 1:15 p.m. was a late check-in, though, even for me.
Sunday morning I woke up with a wicked headache. As I waited for the Excedrin to kick in, I started thinking about this night out that I’d had when I first moved to Albuquerque. I remembered how my new friend had invited me out with a couple of friends of hers to go dancing at a gay club on a Saturday night. I remembered her telling me that straight people went to this club, too, so I could totally meet a cute straight guy. She also told me that people dressed up a lot more there than they do at the other clubs in town.
I didn’t believe the part about me meeting a cute straight guy, mainly because I couldn’t even meet a cute straight guy in a straight club.
I couldn’t afford to believe the part about dressing up. I’d just moved here, I was broke, and I convinced myself that my one nice pair of blue jeans and a fitted red button down shirt was dressed up enough.
So this was us: a bi, a lesbian, a gay guy, and a straight girl walk into a bar …
… where there were all these beautiful go-go dancers and drag queens and girls in pretty sparkly dresses and even prettier boys in –well, honestly, I don’t remember what the boys were wearing, if anything. I just remember they were pretty.
I remembered that I followed the gay guy, Billy, around most of the night because we had the same sense of humor and we were both after the same thing: cute boys. I remembered how woefully unsexy I felt in my conservative clothes and demure make-up.
It didn’t take much for me to feel unsexy back then. I mean, my bi friend was totally fucking sexy. She attracted guys and dolls everywhere she went. Me, not so much. And I hated my job and I didn’t have a running vehicle, so I was not in a good place at the time. I remembered that Billy was trying to sell the lesbian girl on a girl he knew, a girl that he described as “clean-cut, kind of conservative, and attractive, like Shannon.” I was like, Whoa. Stop the car. What? Did he just say I’m attractive?
And yet, I just could not get out of my headspace, my fucked up headspace.
I regretted that I didn’t just forget about it, forget about trying to be pretty and forget about trying to attract someone, and just take advantage of the opportunity to dance my ass off without having to worry about getting mauled by straight men. The kind of straight men who think that if a woman is on the dance floor having fun, it must mean she wants some random asshat to grope her.
I remembered how the club we went to that night, called the Pulse, closed down a few years ago. I regretted I hadn’t gone back just one last time, with a new dress and a new IDGAF attitude, before it was gone forever.
Then I came back to present. The drugs had kicked in. I went for a walk, did a load of laundry, set up my bird bath bubbler. Finally turned on my phone.
The first thing I saw was the New York Times alert. 50 people killed in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. A gay nightclub called Pulse.
Some piece of shit asshole had gone in and destroyed the lives of people who wanted to get together, have fun, and dance. DANCE.
I spent the next hour alternating between rocking myself in horror and pacing around in agitation.
I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to turn on my phone.
And, boy, do I have regrets now.
Maybe it’s time to stop living that life. The one I’ll regret later.
Photo credit: Dana Henry, 123rf.com