By: Caitlin Bergh
I’m standing in a long line that winds around the outside of a huge ballroom in New York City wearing a bright yellow prom dress. I’m waiting for my college’s senior prom. The long line is filled with people from my senior class, people who I should know by now, but people who I’ve only had awkward Facebook interactions with and whose faces I’ve seen in passing about a hundred times.
We’ve never actually spoken to each other. A wave of regret washes over me that I’ve only taken the time to get to know the four girls I am standing next to in my four years at this school. Look at this huge line! I could have had so many friends who I fell desperately in love with and ruined everything with, as I tend to do.
This line is not moving and it is raining on my yellow dress. I don’t have a jacket. There is no one to give me their jacket. I hate that. This night is guaranteed to suck. Or is it? I do have four friends. We used to be really close, but none of us are really talking to each other tonight. Things have been awkward ever since everyone found out that I was in love with one of them. She is here, the one I fell in love with, with her girlfriend. Seeing them looking so cute at prom makes me want to die. So I decide that I need to meet new people. Yes, at the senior prom, one month before graduation, I’m going to make new friends.
We get inside and I start staring at people. Just hanging around, with crazy hair from the rain, a bright yellow dress, staring. I guess for most girls, they can just wear dresses and go places and guys hit on them. It doesn’t work like that for me. Guys might talk to me, but’ll quickly get out of it. I’m looking for girls. No one knows that because of how I look. It’s tragic.
Just a week ago, I had gone to the senior gay prom. I wore a pink dress. I went alone. A gay man came up to me and asked me what I was doing there, as he put his boa around me. “Oh,” I said, “I’m here because this is gay prom. And I’m gay.” He laughed really hard.
“Honey,” he said, “you can’t be gay. I think you’re lost.” “Nice meeting you,” I said, turning away, coming face to face with the rugby team, a group of girls who looked so gay that I realized I’d never fit in. I wished I could rip my dress off and scream to them that my “non-gay-looking” body was EXACTLY THE SAME as their gay-looking” ones. Then they would see that their haircuts were the only thing that made them look different. Also their rugby muscles.
So here I am, staring at everyone at the regular senior prom, totally alone on the night that is supposed to celebrate how many connections I’ve made. That’s when I see something amazing. Someone amazing. A girl in a floor-length black prom dress walks through my line of staring-vision. She has a mohawk. Yes, a mohawk. My heart surges. COULD SHE BE GAY TOO!? I can barely control my excitement as I walk towards her and pretend to be needing a dinner roll very badly, because the dinner rolls are right next to where she is standing.
“Hi,” I say. Since coming out, I’ve lost all sense of shyness. Nothing happens when you are shy. And I’ve had way too much of nothing happening. I’ve been coming out for two whole years and I’ve still never kissed a girl.
She smiles instantly. “Hi!” she says. Her eyes are open wide, and they are blue. We start talking about how strange it is we’ve never seen each other before in the past four years. “I haven’t been out much lately around campus,” I say, “kind of busy checking out all the gay bars in New York City” “Oh,” she says, “are you gay?” “Yep,” I say. ”Cool,” she says. “I wish I could understand how people ‘know’ that.
How do you know?” “Oh,” I say, “I just do.” “Yeah,” she says, “my friends say I’m the gayest looking straight person they know,” she starts to laugh. My heart sinks. Straight person? Just my luck. I laugh back. “Funny,” I say, “I’m pretty sure I’m the straightest looking gay person anyone has ever known.” She laughs again. She is really pretty. Really. So the elephants in the room have been slain. I figure this night is indeed going to suck, as mohawk girl was truly my only shot in this room full of gorgeous girls with their tall sports team boyfriends. I stare blankly into the distance again. Then, out of nowhere, someone grabs my hand. I look down. It’s mohawk girl. ”I’m straight,” she says, “but I’ve always wanted to try it.”
If someone said that line to me now, I’d send them to Craigslist W4W. But back then, that line was the best line I’d ever heard in my life. Try what? I’d try anything with this girl. What were we going to try?
“Can I get you a drink please?” she asks. I can barely think let alone talk. “Yes,” I say, as she leads me over to the bar. People are looking at us holding hands. It feels amazing. The friend I had been in love with sees us holding hands, and that feels even more amazing. Mohawk girl gets close to me as she orders me a drink, and we talk more and dance, and hold hands, and hang out. When the prom is coming to an end, she grabs my hips and says, “you’re coming with me and my friend to a fantastic bar in Brooklyn.” “Yes,” I say, as she leads me toward a cab with one of her friends.
At the bar, the three of us sit at a table drinking, and mohawk girl and I are holding hands under the table. It’s crazy how this happened, it’s awesome. Her friend goes to the bathroom and we immediately start to kiss. Her friend comes back, sees us, makes an excuse about having to get home for some reason. “BYE!” we say, in unison. The kissing continues. This is my first kiss with a girl EVER, and we are in prom dresses at a bar in Brooklyn. It. Feels. So. Good. “Let’s go sit on that couch,” I say, leading her to a secluded corner in the back of the bar.
We sit on the couch and, seeing that we are totally alone in the dark corner, we attack each other. We are really making out, to the max. She starts to pull my dress down, and my breasts definitely pop out of my dress. I’m sure no one is around, but I still think I should put them back in. I pull my dress up. We continue. This would be less awkward if we were wearing jeans. It feels like some kind of “Girls Gone Wild” situation because of the prom dresses, but I remind myself that no one is watching. She starts tugging on my dress again, and I decide we need to get out of here so we can get naked. “Hey,” I say,pausing the kissing, “why don’t we go to my apartment so we can…um…be alone?” She says, “no, let’s go to mine. My roommate’s gone all week.” “Ok,” I say.
We hesitantly start to stand up. As I stand up, I look up for the first time in probably an hour of making out, and I see that we are surrounded by men. Approximately fifteen men have pulled chairs up and are sitting in a semicircle around the couch, where they have been watching us make out and, presumably, watching my breasts pop out of my dress. “Oh my god,” I think to myself, “could this be any worse?” And then it gets worse. They start to applaud. I grab my blue-eyed mohawk friend. “Let’s get away from these creeps,” I say, leading her to the door. The cheering follows us all the way out of the bar. Ewwwwwwww. Sick. I feel disgusting.
My mind is spinning as we hail a cab. I’m wondering if being gay will always be like this. That was my first kiss with a girl. Will there always be a crowd cheering? (spoiler alert, the answer is no, there will only be applause when you are wearing a prom dress or shiny leggings). We get in the cab and to my shock, mohawk girl tells the cabbie to go to Queens. “You live in Queens?” I ask. “Yeah,” she says, ”you’ll love it.” She grabs me and starts kissing me again and I go for it, forgetting about everything in the back of the cab with her.
But I start to notice that our cab driver is screeching to a halt at every stop light, then turning around to watch us. The light turns green, but he won’t go until people start honking at him. This happens at every single light. But I’m not going to stop kissing her. I’ve waited too long and it feels too good.
“Yeah,” the cabbie says, “yeah girls, I like that, yeah.” Ew. ew. ew. ew. ew. But I can’t stop. What is he doing up there? I shudder at the thought. “That’s really nice,” he says, “really nice, I like your dresses, I like that.” Ew. ew. ew. Help me! This cab ride is taking forever. Finally we get there. I throw money at him and we get out of the car. I’m so relieved to be rid of him as mohawk girl leans her perfect little body on me as we walk along a deserted street in Queens. She is perfect. Everything is perfect. We have escaped the world here in Queens. Except that the cab is still following us.
The cabbie rolls down his window, inching his car along side us. ”Girls,” he says, “I like that. You turning me on. Girls.” “Oh my god,” I say to mohawk girl, who is too drunk to walk and/or to know which direction her apartment is in. I have no idea where I am and this cab driver is the only other human in sight. “Where do you live?” I ask her. “That way,” she points. Then she points in the opposite direction. “No, over there,” she says. Oh good god. The cab driver is still following. “Girls,” he says, “you need a third?” This is not happening. This is not happening. I just wanted to go home with a girl, like a normal person. I didn’t want applause or propositions. It isn’t about YOU PEOPLE, it is about US! ME!
“Listen,” I say to the cab driver, “we don’t need you. At all. I can handle this.” “You sure, you need a third when you get home?” “NO!” I scream. “We don’t need ANYONE!”
He tries at least four more times before driving off, and luckily we have stumbled in the correct direction towards mohawk girl’s apartment. She gives me the keys and we go inside. On her bed, we start making out again and take our dresses off. This is fantastic, but also, this night has been so skeevy and I feel a little freaked out. Is this all just some kind of show? She said she wanted to “try it,” what does that mean? I miss my friend, the one I had been in love with.
This mohawk girl is gorgeous and currently topless on top of me, but I miss my friend because I’m still in love with her. It makes me so angry. I hate my friend so fucking much right now. I hate that I can’t enjoy this as much as I should.
I guess I wasn’t just looking for girls. I was looking to be with someone who means something to me. “Caitlin!” I scream at myself. “You suck.” Mohawk lady falls asleep on top of me and she is so pretty and I feel so many crazy feelings. I get up, put my dress on, write her a post-it note and go out into the street. It is raining again and it is 6 in the morning. I can’t beleive I’m leaving. I’ve dreamed of this for so long and I’m leaving. The cab driver and the men from the bar and my family who has never supported me being gay flash through my mind and I’m filled with shame and guilt and disgust. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It isn’t a show. It isn’t an experiment. It isn’t Girls Gone Wild. I want to be with someone who means something to me. I want to go on a date with her and kiss her and I don’t want to do it in front of people. And I don’t want anyone’s applause.
Caitlin Bergh is a Chicago comic. She is the producer & host of The Funny Story Show at LooseLeaf Lounge and co-producer & co-host of Performance Anxiety Chicago at The Pleasure Chest and #LadyBros Comedy at Cole’s Bar. She is a winner of the Moth StorySLAM & has performed at Mayne Stage, The Comedy Bar, Zanies, Berlin Nightclub, Chicago Underground Comedy, as well as in NYC and LA.