To celebrate IDAHO(T) 2013, Polari Magazine is publishing stories from its writers about their experiences of homophobia and transphobia. Some tales are funny, some are shocking and some are sad.
In this story Eva Monkey writes a lyrical censure of the beer greased lads on a Saturday night, looking for anyone different to make them feel better about themselves.
You can see them from a mile off. Dressed up but dishevelled, beer greased, out to impress the lads, big night, braggadocio, gonna try to out-fuck, failing that out-drink, failing that out-fight the rest of ’em – ooh, there’ll be stories tomorrow boy! What we need, between here and there is something to unify us, a joke, an inside joke that we can lord over the outsiders on facebook tomorrow. Oh-oh! This one will do….. And here comes li’l old queerzy, just trying to get home through the sea of drunken malcontents that make up the jazzier parts of East London on a weekend.
We have been trained – years of playground eyes, fake ‘looking casual’ with that gleam of the plot all around them. You can smell it, it’s coming off this lad in cartoon waves as the pack get closer … You are better at looking casual than they are – honed that skill in more precarious situations that this jack-the-lad has ever been in. Just act normal, you don’t want to spook them.
You do a quick inventory, what about you is snatchable, laughable. It’s best to adjust your bag strap, and have a few catch-all responses handy, to check you won’t drop anything if you have to run, to get all your troops in one foxhole, so to speak. You wonder if you should straighten up your walk, but you think, fuck you, so you throw a touch extra sass in it, maybe your confidence will throw him off.
You can see him nudge his mate, a nod slightly in your direction. His mate’s isn’t really paying attention, and you know that doesn’t help you, nothing like an attention seeking Beta on a Saturday night in Shoreditch to get you sucker-punched right in the face as you cross paths. Better that they should all participate in the fucking with you – no-one will have anything particular to prove.
What has happened to this area, man, it used to be awesome here – who told Ilford that the new Place To Be was only 20 min on the Central Line? Didn’t we work hard enough to get out of those shitty places – God this would never happen in Soho. Oh, except for earlier when that woman accosted me for being in the wrong toilet – but that’s Old Compton Street now, it’s crappy since they tried to turn it into a family tourist attraction. WHY the hell are you even walking though here at Dickhead O’clock? You Should KNOW this always happens.
Oh, good, his friends have seen you now, and they are trying not to smirk, Mr Beta has separated himself away to the side, just trying to look bored, uninterested. Okay, so that’s where it’s gonna come from, unless they are planning on creating a distraction and coming from both sides. Clever lads.
Right, best thing is just to plough straight through the middle, there’s people around, they won’t help, but these dickheads will be less likely to do anything dramatic if they can be seen. They’ll just give me some shit, I’ll do a Defcon 3 response, and then hopefully they’ll have gotten their fucking kicks and that will be that. I do NOT want to have to go to A&E on a Saturday night! It’ll be full of drunks, total pain in the ass.
Okay, okay, okay here we go, the pack is dropping further and further back… getting ready to pass aaaaaannnd NOW – “what the fuck are you supposed to be!?”
God, is that IT?! Okay, nothing to hardcore, but leave them confused “Haven’t decided yet.”
Oh, he’s not satisfied with that, I aimed too low… “FUCKING LESBIAN.” Wow, haven’t heard that in a while, he needs a little more to be satisfied that he raised hell – couple of steps past them now, so… “oh, Fuck Off Dickhead.”
Just keep on walking – don’t look around just yet – doesn’t sound like there’s anyone behind me – nearly at the crossing … okay can look around now. Oh, they are off, back down the road – oh, great, street-harassing some girl who just probably got off her bar shift. Idiots.
Argh, I’m all twitchy now – should stay on the main road as much as possible until I get there, don’t fancy the quick way much…… Why do I give a fuck what they think. Fuck em. I don’t care – why do I even worry about them. I shouldn’t take it all so seriously – a couple of drunken idiots, that’s par for the course. I’ll be home soon. Out of the bad bit now, should be good from here – maybe I’ll pop in and get a Beigel on the way through. Oooh, salt beef would be aweso-
“OI! MATE! ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL? HA HA HA HA!”