Dave’s Lovely Crush
February 3, 2000
We were at 46 Beach Street in Chinatown as directed by the little red flyer handed to us by a woman in boots earlier today for the opening of a new goth club called Corruption. On our way in we saw a lone drag queen, willowy and beautiful and not at all at home in Chinatown. She looked like the mannequin Dave used to make out with. Normally I call drag queens The Doctor, to avoid switching between he and she, but this person was all things delicate and demonstrated none of the hysteria of the unskilled female impersonator. This was no Doctor, this was a she.
The woman in boots was inside, holding up the shirt of a kneeling fat woman and instructing a long-haired man to suck the fat woman’s nipples. Also present, besides the usual throng in black, was a guy on stilts and a couple of girls dressed like Victorian children corsets, multiple skirts, red circles on cheeks. I was leaning on a banister, watching the dancers, while Dave got himself a drink.
“Get out there and dance . . . now!” said a voice close to my ear. “I’m going to see how you move.” It was the booted woman.
“No thanks,” I said politely. I didn’t like her tone.
“Do it!” she barked. I didn’t. To dominate someone, you don’t just yell at them. You have to watch them for a while, figure something out about them, then include what you discerned in the command. They’ll think, “Wow she knows me. Therefore, she must know what I need.”
A couple were framed in the doorway while their i.d. was checked. He had on a black suit with a white shirt and tie; she wore a black dress. She had a great body. He had short black hair, hers was red and lacquered. They chose a corner table. No one approached them; they did not dance. They appeared content. The thought of seducing them was twice as heady as moving in on a single person, because a couple doesn’t need anyone. Since I wasn’t drinking, I was full of philosophies. If I had a beard, I’d have chuckled into it all night long.
I watched Dave watching the drag queen, who stood all alone; her posture was flawless. I got up and Dave cried, “No, Lisa, please!” He’d guessed where I was going. “I mean it,” he added, and I pinched the back of his neck affectionately.
I complimented the drag queen on her outfit a gray, felt, form-fitting jacket (buttoned to the top; short, round collar) with matching short skirt and thigh-high stockings, garter lacings showing. One tiny pink flower covered each snap that hitched her stockings to the garters. Her legs were long and shapely. Even I was attracted to her, and drag queens are not my type. Drag queens’ dads are more my type, the fat old guys from Northern Utilities who read my meter and don’t know what the hell their son thinks he’s doing.
“Thank you,” she said. “I make all my clothes myself.”
It was sexy picturing her leaning into a sewing machine, squinting, with just the tip of her tongue showing between two (I couldn’t help but notice) absolutely perfect lips.
“My husband thinks you’re cute,” I said. I pointed out Dave, who was busy practicing having absolutely no facial expression. Dave was in a mahogany-colored silk shirt and looked exceptionally lithe tonight. “He would like to say hi to you, but he’s very shy.”
She looked over at him and then smiled demurely at her hand. “I see. But I am more shy.” What a fox. I invited her to our table, where she and I talked about all sorts of things while Dave suffered. Then I left them alone together. From my spy cubby hole at the opposite end of the room, I watched them not look at each other and not say a word. But at least they stayed there, in proximity. I could almost feel Dave’s heart racing.
Next, how to approach my couple. This was hard to do dead sober. They sat close together on the booth; there was no chair at their table and no spot on the booth next to them. I was working on a good opening line and failing miserably. I figured it would come to me under pressure, so I took a chair from another table and carried it awkwardly across the room. I sat myself down opposite them. They looked at me, waiting. No good line came to me, so I used a bad one.
“Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” They graciously pretended to guess where we all might have met. Then I said, “You are both so elegant. You look different from everyone else. I dressed like this tonight because I wanted to look like a Beach Boys song amongst all the sinister people.” I was wearing a baby blue hooded sweatshirt, clamdiggers and a ponytail.
“You do look like the beach,” the woman said. “My name is Amanda. This is my husband Will.”
“I’m Lisa,” I said, and we all shook hands. “Lisa Carver,” I added, and waited for a reaction. I’ve had two anonymous emails now from people who read this column and have seen me around, but never introduce themselves. They could be anyone. Amanda and Will didn’t register interest in my last name, so I was free.
I asked Amanda what she thought about Stilt Guy. “I want to push him over,” she said matter-of-factly, and I fell in love. “I don’t mean him any malice; it’s just like he’s presenting an equation and I must solve it.”
“You know what would happen,” Will said. “He’d fall on his face.”
“But how would he fall? Fast or slow?” Amanda did an impersonation of Stilt Guy falling in slow motion: “How could you do this to me-e-e-e?” With some people, it’s not that they’re cruel, they just have a heightened curiosity. When that kind of person does bad things to you, it feels like attention. I wished I were Stilt Guy.
I peeked over the partition to see how Dave and his drag queen were doing. It was unbelievable! They were leaning into each other on the bench, foreheads and knees touching, gazing at each other’s lips! Dave has never even sat on the same side of the table as a man before (he’s very sensitive about keeping the order boy-girl-boy-girl). Now he and the drag queen had that look the one where two people are so inspired by the prospect of touching each other, their skin changes color and they are so focused and powerful anyone who looks at them wants to be them. The not-quite-touching of their lips radiated outward and almost knocked me back. Dave’s palm rested on his own knee, the fingers dangling, fingertips a millimeter shy of the small pink flower on the hard man-woman shimmery thigh. My eyes went boi-oi-oi-oing.
I was being rude. I turned back to my own couple. When Will went to get a drink, I took his spot close to Amanda, who was saying that goth music did not inspire her to dance. I said the best party I’d ever been to was a polka wedding. Everyone danced old men, little kids, me. The band instructed us on what moves to do for each song, like hop around on one foot or pick someone short up. Amanda said she grew up with polka; she’s one hundred percent Polish. She can play the accordion and everything. Amanda was so opinionated, I wanted to go all the way with her. I told her about my one skill (juggling). She said one of Will’s band members
juggles hatchets and things on fire!
“That must be very attractive,” I said. “You know the danger element. All I juggle is balls.”
“I’d take you over the hatchet juggler any day,” said Amanda. My heart raced for about half a second, then it went back to normal. I know it’s immature and egotistical to complain about how easy seducing married women has become, but I do not enjoy my confidence. I’m tired of it. The doubt Dave was feeling made him concentrated. It illuminated him. If only Amanda hadn’t been so easy, I’d have taken up the accordion in a futile attempt to win her love. I’d re-think my ways. I’d have tear-stained nights and dreamy afternoons. I want to go on a long hunt. A pain-filled one. Like the one Dave was embarking on. When the drag queen excused herself, I took Amanda’s number and went back to Dave.
“How is it?” I asked.
“I’m not used to topping,” Dave said, and blushed.
“Topping?” I said.
“You know, being the man.”
It’s true. Dave’s style of flirting is to not look at the woman he’s interested in, and then when she asks him out, he says no. This method works surprisingly often. I didn’t think “topping” was quite the correct term, but Dave was so electrified with himself and the drag queen and the tiny amount of unkissed space between them, I let it go.
“It’s hard because I look at her and she’s a girl and I’m attracted to her, but I found out she has a job and then she became a real person I realized all those people see him as a man, and I don’t want to have sex with a man.”
“She has nice legs,” I said, bringing the conversation back to the task at hand.
“Yeah . . . ” Dave was dreamy and confused.
For the rest of the night I danced while Dave’s crush unfolded. I ran into a friend of mine, and asked him if he would mind getting a ride home with us instead of with his girlfriend, so that Dave would be stuck in the backseat with the drag queen. (Her car was only five blocks away, but that’s not safe at 2 a.m. I’d arranged to drive her there.)
The back seat was bathed in silence and hesitation. The rear view mirror revealed that Dave and his drag queen were back to neither seeing nor
touching each other. We dropped her off, and Dave waved forlornly at her delicate figure bending over stiffly to unlock the car door as we pulled away. We drove my friend to Allston, and then the almost, the hovering, became this real thing in the car with us as we talked about it over and over. The unkissed lips and the unstroked thigh grew brighter with each imagining, until we were both shivering. It was 4 a.m. and a crane made of lights to the right of 95 North was swallowing golden leaves and then I realized it wasn’t a crane it was a brontosaurus and then I yelled and got back in my lane.
By the time we got home and showered, it was six. The memory of almost was like static electricity lining our bed, and though Dave had to get up in an hour, we had to have it.
I sent a secret email to my friend from Allston: “If you see the beautiful drag queen, tell her Dave says hi.”
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.