I was out one night at a club in the east side of London. We’d just moved that week; we were eager to hit the town and explore the country that was sassy enough to walk out on daddy (read: the European Union). We were Londoners now, with trashy taste for Pret A Manger over Starbucks and trips to Tesco Express for fudge brownie BJs rather than a Ralphs.
By now, Sara had tingles for a young suitor she’d Bumbled upon a few days prior — a Scotsman who’d kilt it on the flirting front. We met up at Be At One (which we were later informed is “the Chili’s of U.K. bars”) for a little something to wet our parched American pallets. If she couldn’t have iced water, Sara would have a wee sip of her tall (plaid-wearing) drink of water.
But the night had other plans.
A few spilt drinks and stained Primark pants later, we found ourselves in a late-night bar in the red light district near Piccadilly Circus — sure, a touristy location by day, but definitely the hangout for locals by night. After all, we were there. We ordered a Long Island and a Cosmo since we’re adults now and talked about serious topics like how the Scotsman had romantically lost his virginity at 17 in a music festival “to a fatty” and how now he’s “super into American girls and their up-for-anything attitude.” We giggled femininely at the multinational universality of sexism.
I turned my attention to a clump of middle-aged men. The man with the most hair (still not much) reached his selfie-arm out. I sauntered over, martini glass tipping onto my shirt, a beer glass toppling from a bump of my elbow. I proceeded to stage the men: “Closer together, tilt your head up, now one the long way!” From the corner of my eye, I spotted two Europeans? Cute gay men? Er, two well-groomed men in well-fitting pants and single hoop earrings sitting close together and exchanging what I assume to be opinions on local avant garde pop-up technicolor installation art.
Time passes. We bump into each other. Correction, I bump into them. Correction, I tumble onto their laps spilling yet another beer and sipping what I find to be a gin and tonic. We do in fact talk about art. We talk about gender. In protest of prescribed gender aesthetics, we remove our clothes to swap. The bouncer is not convinced of the necessity of such an important contemporary political statement. We leave the bar (unrelated). I wake up the next morning with an address for an indie-pop concert that Friday in which the curly-haired, pierced bar-lurker will be performing.
We arrive on Friday, properly chuffed to be out. The night progresses as glamorous as a flash tat: beers, shots, dancing, invitation to some private event attended exclusively by close friends of the artist. (One bloke with bleached locks welcomed us in, flashing open his coat to reveal a petite bottle of Jägermeister. Our boy is sponsored!!)We proceed with fags (smokes), more dancing and discussion of how dumb Americans are for thinking they’re hip and unique for saying Trump is as grimy as a disintegrating stick of Juicy Fruit. The (not?) gay cute European with curls and a hoop asks to link up again Tuesday. This seems an appropriate amount of time to wait for my suitor. Short enough that he cares, long enough to indicate his social life has a pulse. I text on Sunday to confirm our Tuesday rendezvous. (What’s sexier than a night out on a Tuesday?)
In the meantime, I stroll down the Thames and titter between sweeping recollections of Wordsworth’s poetic reflection on Westminster and fantasies of rising to stardom beside my curly-haired indie European. We’re chatting now with Beyonce on the ingenuity of my PR tactics — laughing haute-ily, drinking free glasses of Jaeger. I check my phone to see if I’d missed it buzzing. It’s been 36 hours and he still hasn’t responded. I hush imaginary-Jay-Z’s commentary on the pairing of my comedy with not gay? Euro’s bangin’ tunes. Did our sweet sweet kisses mean nothing to him? Was he not eager to hear more about how tastefully unpretentious I am, a humble Yale student who drops my Uni name only after swapping an appropriately substantial amount of saliva? I couldn’t help but what wonder: Was he dead or just ghosting me? That’s when I realized, the love he had for me was purer than 50 proof — it must be the truth. I report the strange but true: Jägermeister killed my boyfriend.
Julia Leatham | email@example.com .