Boyfriend and I went to an engagement party in Howl at the Moon on Saturday night. After sitting alone for two hours we decided it was time for home. Suddenly, we were inundated with people. It seemed everyone wished to talk to us. Boyfriend excused himself for the bathroom and I continued chatting to a small group of girls. Amidst the crowd, completely out of nowhere, appeared a little blonde girl. She approached with momentum comparable to a steam locomotive; she was on a mission. She grabbed my hands and pulled me away from the other girls.
“Oh my God it is so good to see you,” she said in an over-excited screech. “I’ve not seen you since college.”
The look on my face obviously spoke volumes.
“I cannot believe you don’t remember me. I was in your class in college. You honestly don’t remember me?”
After verifying that she did actually do the same degree in college, I apologised. “I’m so sorry; I can’t place your face. Do you definitely know me from college?”
“Of course I do. I cannot believe you don’t remember me. I’m genuinely insulted. I’m Clare. Does that ring a bell?”
“I feel really bad now”. I looked to floor with guilt.
“Let me introduce you to my friends. Maybe you’ll remember them.”
Clare forcefully pulled me towards two other girls who stood at the bar, one of whom was strikingly attractive. By now the group I had been talking to long had disbanded. I introduced myself to Clare’s accomplices.
“Apparently, we were in college together …”
The two girls looked confused.
“Were you in my class in college?” I asked.
“I don’t recognise you,” the dark girl observed. “What is your surname?”
I gave them my surname. It was unfamiliar. Suspicion arose in my mind. I was well known in college. Everyone (whether they liked me or not) knew my name. There were only one hundred and twenty people in my class. Everyone knew everyone. I pressed them on this. The dark haired girl, Helen, let it slip that she graduated in 2004.
“I graduated in 2005,” I admitted. “How could we have been in the same class? You were a year ahead of me!”
The best looking girl of the group was called Sinead. “I think I remember you!” she exclaimed while pointing her finger. “Did you always wear a cap in college?”
My attention was diverted. “No, I didn’t wear a cap. I mean maybe I wore a cap on a particular day, but I didn’t always wear a cap.”
“You did wear a cap. You wore a peaked cap. You were Cap Boy!”
Helen laughed. Meanwhile, Boyfriend had returned from the bathroom. Clare had struck up a conversation with him.
“Does Cap Boy not make me sound like a kid with special needs? Seriously, I did not wear a cap.”
“Oh,” said Sinead. She thought for a moment. “You used to visit the shop in the canteen, didn’t you?”
“Everyone in college visited the fucking shop!” I answered animatedly.
I turned to Clare. She was still engrossed in conversation with Boyfriend. “So you weren’t in my class?” I asked abruptly. She continued talking with Boyfriend without acknowledging me.
I was bamboozled. What was going on? I felt someone was taking the piss. I continued talking to Clare’s friends. We chatted about the various lecturers and people we knew through college. I did some impersonations. Boyfriend was still talking to Clare. As soon as Clare drew breath, I pulled him aside.
“These girls said they were in the same class as me and they were not. One even claimed she was friends with Barry. I don’t think she even knows Barry. What is going on? Why would they lie so much? Is someone taking the piss out of me?”
“Surely, you have it figured out by now?” Boyfriend asked with a bemused look.
“What do you mean?”
“Stephen, these girls are trying to chat you up. Do you really have no idea?”
Boyfriend leaned over to speak to Clare. I did not catch what he said.
She looked over at me. “Are you really gay?”
“Yes, I am gay. This is my Boyfriend.”
All three girls laughed. “You’re not gay,” said Sinead. “If you’re gay, kiss one another.”
With that I planted one on Boyfriend. All three girls looked shocked. They then broke into laughter.
“I can’t believe this,” one said.
“How long are you together?” asked Sinead.
“Around five years,” I responded.
All three were instantly consumed with embarrassment. They could not wait to be away from us. I wished them good evening as they escaped our company.
I turned to Boyfriend. “What the fuck was that about? Can you believe someone would make such an effort to chat someone up?”
“Clare told me they fancied you when you were in college. They had no idea you are gay.”
“Wow, that was four years ago. I suppose it’s flattering. I just can’t believe the great lengths they went to get my attention. I mean the Mad One pretty much dragged me away from the other girls. That wouldn’t ever happen in a gay bar. And ‘Cap Boy’? What the fuck? I never wore hats in college. I don’t even approve of wearing hats in indoors. I am actually offended by the idea that anyone may have referred to me as ‘Cap Boy’.”
“You focus on what matters, hun” said Boyfriend as he patted me in the direction of the exit.