“My mom is a flight attendant so she always brings me their extra liquor bottles. Here, take a shot.”
One of the better things that happened as a result of my ending up at Shorter College was that I got to study abroad basically for free. I spent the Spring semester of my sophomore year in London with a bunch of kids from non-Southern Baptist colleges. You know, normal college kids.
I’d gotten drunk only three times in my life, but the day I arrived in London I made the snap decision that I was going to begin drinking. I like to think that I packed all of the life lessons of Freshman year into those four months and that when I came back to the US, I returned a woman transformed by real life. As alcohol is the best social lubricant, beginning to drink also meant the beginning of my hanging out with people I wouldn’t otherwise hang out with. Over the course of my stay in London, I worked my way through a cast of characters that in retrospect were fit for a Van Wilder movie.
It started out with like-minded peers – the kids who liked indie rock as much as me. Then I met the stoner circle, who’d ask me to play guitar for them while they’d pass a bowl around their dorm room. It seemed the more I was down to drink, the more I liked EVERYONE, and so I moved my way through each group until I got to a group of wild and crazy party girls.
I don’t even know how I ended up in their dorm room, because I had a terrible cold and was on antibiotics, but there I sat, drinking cheap wine and taking a double shot of grey goose from a plastic bottle stolen from an airplane. My mom told me over the phone that alcohol would reduce the affects of my medication, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t warn me that drinking on antibiotics would DESTROY ME. I had no idea what was about to happen.
Our study abroad group had just discovered that the drinks at gay bars were significantly less expensive, so we were almost exclusively hanging out at G-A-Y, London’s giant (and probably terrible) gay bar that boasted a floor for lesbians and a floor for gay men. Before I knew it, we were in line and one of the wild girls was like, “You know what would be great? If we went to the lesbian part of the bar and tried to see if we could get free drinks.” My response was something along the lines of, “Dude, totally! I’ll definitely kiss a girl for a free drink!”
Baby Tiffany was not just drunk – she was fuuuucked up. Here’s a rundown of my sexual experiences at this point in my life: I a virgin, and I’d made out with like four people. Until moving to London, I’d only kissed my high school boyfriend, who I was still completely obsessed with two years after the end of our three month relationship. Once I got to London, I made out with my RA a few times and I think one time I slept in his dorm room. His interest level in me was about as high as your standard college boy (that’s an optimistic description) and I was completely infatuated with him because, well, I was a stage five virgin clinger. When I think of all the Fall Out Boy lyrics I posted on my Facebook profile back then I’m just… So glad there was no such thing as a minifeed.
After the end to my almost entirely imagined love affair with the RA, I made out with two other boys in London. I felt like a sassy bitch and the cocktail of alcohol and antibiotics made me ready to take on the next feat of college craziness – lesbianism. Someone should have told me I wasn’t ready for this idiotic rite of passage. That’s some Junior year shit. Alas, none of my new friends understood the depths of my naivete, so down the stairs to the lesbian bar I went. The wild girl ordered an entire pitcher of something blue and the two of us downed the entire thing while we talked about boys. I listened, wide-eyed, as the wild girl told me about her open relationship. She was so cool.
“So… What type of girl do you like?” She asked me, turning around on her bar stool and examining the hardly crowded lesbian bar.
“I… don’t know?” I honestly had no idea what type of girl I would like, if I liked girls. I knew the type of girl I wanted to be, so I decided maybe I’d like girls like that, but Kiera Knightley was nowhere to be found. I ended up talking to a girl with two-toned hair and thick black eyeliner. She also happened to be the DD for her friends. I stood no chance, but luckily(?) for me the night got spotty after that.
I woke up the next morning to the usual post-drinking memories rushing back into my brain. The one difference was that this time the memories were not so usual. Did I really start talking to the ugliest lesbian at the bar? Did we dance? Did we then go to that terrible American sports bar afterwards and did the bouncer almost not let me in except the lesbian convinced him that I was fine and promised I would not drink anymore? Did I really stay in the booth while everyone else danced and did I throw up underneath said booth because I convinced myself that everyone was doing it? Did I then leave and walk ALL the way home because I didn’t want to wait for the bus? Did I throw up in the public restroom of our dorm building? Did I bump into the RA? Did the below conversation really happen?
“Hey Tiffany…. You’re wasted.”
“No! Itswhatevah, I’m whatevasoberrrrr. YOU GOT NEW MOUTH WASH.”
“You remembered what type of mouthwash I have?”
“Yeahhhhh… Youuuuu hatttteedddd it. It wasgrosssss.”
Did that really happen? Yes, yes all of it did happen.
I was miraculously ok with the throwing up in the bar, the walking home through London by myself in the middle of the night, and even the admitting to the object of my affection that I creepily remembered his feelings of regret surrounding a purchase of off-brand mouthwash. I wasn’t, however, prepared for the, “WTF is wrong with me,” feeling that accompanies any sort of deviance. Someone told me I gave the ugly lesbian my phone number and this simple fact spiraled me into two days of questioning my sexuality. I didn’t even kiss this girl, but I was so confused.
“If I got her phone number, does that mean I’m gay??”
God I was a fucking idiot when I was 20.