Scottie find his very identity challenged when he meets a girl in a gay bar.
“You’re kidding. Please tell me you’re kidding.”
I looked at the girl sitting beside me with both fear and disbelief. Her vacant expression didn’t help what I was feeling, trying my best to think clearly in spite of the tequila consumed an hour previous.
“No,” she replied. “I figured you were straight.”
“IN A GAY BAR.” I shouted at her, louder than I actually intended. “YOU THOUGHT I WAS STRAIGHT. IN A GAY BAR.”
The night wasn’t going to end well.
It started with an impromptu trip to London with my best friend. He had never been to the gay mecca that is Soho (Londoners: keep in mind that we’re tourists – everything looks amazing) and I couldn’t wait to go back. We ended up going to G-A-Y Late for the first time, and got chatting to two lovely English girls in front of us in the queue. One of the girls said her father was from the west of Ireland, and proceeded to prove her heritage by revealing the bottle of vodka & 7Up she had concealed somewhere in her bra. She offered it to us, and I still don’t think I’ve tasted anything as strong in my life. With our new BFFs, we made it into the club where we hit the bar, drooled over the topless bartenders, and danced to the horrifically cheesy music.
As the night continued, we got chatting to people in the smoking area. While I was discussing culture to a beautiful Canadian with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life, my friend was also approached by a cute guy.
“Sorry,” he interrupted with a smile, “but are you Irish?”
“Why, yes,” my friend replied, lost in his stranger’s eyes and thinking he found Mister Right. “How did you know?”
“You dropped your passport,” the stranger explained. “Someone has it at the bar.”
“Oh.” With his hopes dashed and heart broken, he disappeared to reclaim his papers.
That was the last I saw of him that night, and even though that should’ve scared me to death, the amount of alcohol and sugar (alcopops – don’t ask) in my system meant that I thought he had probably gone off with some Englishman. With that, I eventually returned to the bar, where I noticed two gorgeous guys nearby. What stood in my way between us was this short but very pretty girl, who was dancing away to the music while her friends tried to get a drink. Somehow, I ended up dancing with her, and we got talking. Once she heard my Irish accent, her eyes lit up, telling me how much she loved Ireland and that her ex-boyfriend was from Donegal.
When abroad, I must admit that the Irish get a bit cocky – or rather, more so than usual. We’re constantly told of how our accent is sexy, that we have an attractive charm and carefree love for life. Some think we’re an entire nation of Colin Farrells and Michael Fassbenders, and we learn to feed off that fascination. So, when this girl was all over me like a rash you’d pick up from the local sauna, I just thought she wanted to add me to her gaggle of gays. Seeing as I still couldn’t decide which one of her two friends was hotter, I stayed nearby and kept chatting and dancing to the girl.
“You’re such a good dancer, and you’re so much fun!” She was throwing the compliments at me like an eleven-year-old would at Justin Bieber, before asking if I wanted to go back to her friend’s apartment for an after-party. I looked at her friends at the bar.
Yes. Yes yes yes. Me and those two hunks in a confined space? Christ, yes.
Her face lit up when I agreed, now totally forgetting where my own friend had gone off to (he managed to find his way to the nearest taxi and go back to the hotel, barely remembering that night). Eventually, the club’s bouncers were telling us all to move along, and we all grabbed our coats. We jumped onto a night bus – my first ever experience of a London night bus – and settled down upstairs. The two guys sat down together and were lost in conversation, while the girl saved a place for me.
As the bus pulled off, leaving me totally ignorant as to where it was going, she eventually approached the topic that made the night go so very sour.
“So, do you have a girlfriend?”
I laughed. Awkwardly. She stared in confusion, losing grip of her now-obvious hopes.
And then it hit me. She wasn’t trying to collect gays. In one of London’s most popular gay clubs, she genuinely, bafflingly, thought I was straight. She thought I was into her. She thought she had pulled.
As I dashed her hopes, I had no idea what to do next; I was on a bus to some London suburb, yet the only areas I knew well in the city were Soho and … nope – that was all I knew. I had no other choice but to stay with the gang until we got to the apartment, stay for an awkward twenty minutes and then ask them to point me in the direction of the nearest Tube station. That way, I thought, I’d have some clue as to where the night buses would take me back into the city. Eventually, I made it back to the hotel, where I filled my friend in on what happened in his absence. To this day, he has not let me forget it: “Scott, do you remember that time you turned straight in London?!”
Moral of the story? A fag hag isn’t always the quickest way to a guy’s heart; keep that in mind next time you’re dancing with your future husband’s best friend.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick