Stories

What It’s Like to be a Freak Magnet

If there’s ever a weird person in the room, they will find me. And if there’s not a weird person in the room? I will find one.

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THE TIME A GUY TRIED TO SHOW ME HIS THONG

I had stopped in a Starbucks close to my office to talk to my Mom on the phone in private. I figured the Starbucks would be so busy and loud that I wouldn’t be bothering anyone if I took a call at full volume. I’m always way too worried about being courteous in public—I’d never want to be the one at the quiet coffeeshop taking a loud phone call and disrupting someone else’s peace.

I seat myself in the middle of the room, staring out the window, and my Mom and I start having a wild conversation most likely about whatever emotional/career crisis I’m currently dealing with. I notice a man, your typical working dude (30’s, handsome, white, wearing a button down and a vest) looking over his shoulder at me constantly. I check to make sure he’s not looking behind me, like at a barista waiting for her to make his coffee, and I confirm he’s been peeking at me, on the phone with my Mom.

“Of course,” I think. “I’m being too loud and disrupting the coffeeshop vibes.” Even though this is a Starbucks on Park Avenue and there’s a couple of tourists practically SCREAMING at the table next to mine.

Deciding upon the worst and confirming my own fears, I conclude this cool, handsome working dude who probably makes a lot more money than me is upset with me. He’s upset with me, out of all people, for being louder than a whisper at Starbucks. I attempt to carry on with my Mom but with more of a hushed tone, even though this is completely against the whole reason why I came to Starbucks to talk to my Mom.

When the man doesn’t stop craning his head to slyly take a look at me, I suddenly see it. He’s got a ginormous hot-pink thong sticking out of his pants. He’s been looking at me trying to gauge if I’ve seen it yet.

Not one for playing games, I immediately leave. I do not like being the butt-crack of a joke or a fool in someone else’s prank (or weird sex fantasy). If this guy wants me to act shocked and appalled, then that’s exactly what I’m not doing. I don’t get pranked, I’m the one that pranks!

And this is the same reason why months later when an anonymous stranger airdropped a photo of a poopy butthole to my phone, I just sat and stared up with a blank face.

THE TIME I WAS ACCUSED OF SITTING ON A CAKE

Even though Halloween is my favorite holiday, I rarely make solid plans for the day and I almost never come up with a good costume. I guess I just like how Halloween feels in the days leading up to it (and that feeling is: spookiness).

This year was slightly different though: I may not have had plans with friends, but there was a concert I wanted to go to that happened to fall on the day (a Wednesday). A goth-pop concert with a band called Drab Majesty. I’d never seen them live before but really enjoyed their music. And it seemed perfect to go to a goth-pop concert on Halloween!

The weekend before I had been on Tinder and matched with someone I thought was cute. He wanted to meet up that night, a Saturday, even though it was already about 9pm. I declined because I didn’t like the idea of a first date that late on a Saturday night, but let him know I was free later in the week. Turns out he liked the band Drab Majesty as well, and after a few back and forth the next day he asked me to go with him to the concert.

In what I’ve come to expect as a typical guy-move, when the Wednesday night of Halloween and the concert rolled around, he still hadn’t texted me with any details of our night. When are we meeting? Where are we meeting? Do you have tickets or should I buy some? I waited far longer than I should have to follow up and finally on the afternoon of Halloween I asked him what the plan was. A few hours later he lets me know the date is not happening because he has a friend in town he “forgot” was going to be in town.

So this guy is officially cancelled to me, but I wish him the best then go about my business preparing for this concert. Of course I am still going! It’s been my philosophy for many years now that one should always see one’s favorite bands play live (if one likes live music) even if one has no date or accompaniment to said concert.

I check my tickets and see the show has doors at 8. I’m no fool—I’ve been to a concert before—I know this means that the show is at 9, and the headliner won’t go on until about 10. I leave my place at 9 on the dot.

When I get to the subway platform though, I decide to check the set times just in case. Low and behold, the concert starts at 9 but the headliner is not scheduled until MIDNIGHT. Well I’m already out of my house, in full makeup, and it feels way too boring to turn around and go home to wait until midnight. Besides, at that point I’d probably just stay in and not go out again. So I decide to kill time until midnight.

I remember then that there was another concert I wanted to go to that night: one of my favorite artists, George Clanton, was playing a show in my neighborhood. If his set time is before midnight, I could just go watch him perform and kill time that way! So I reroute myself at this subway station and hop on a different line to get to the Market Hotel in Bushwick.

As I approach I clock a line out the door at the venue with tons of cool hipsters wearing costumes and sneaking vodka from water bottles with each other. I’m incredibly envious. For the first time in the Halloween season I wish that I had made plans with my cool clique of friends (which I certainly do not have) and worn a cool, planned out costume (which I certainly never do).

“Maybe concerts are for the young and with-clique” I announce to any followers who will listen to me on social media. “I don’t think I belong here and I might leave.”

It felt lonely standing in line without any friends, seemingly the only person without friends, and I could hear George’s music start. Just then I notice another cool clique of people rush past the line, but this time I recognize one of them— my friend Alexa! It was a sign. Just when I start thinking about leaving because I’m uncomfortable alone, I find myself a friend!

We decide to meet up inside and watch the show together. It goes great, I see most of George’s set, I hang out with Alexa and meet her friends, I get to say hi to George, and I’m out of there before midnight. In the Lyft over to the Drab Majesty show the driver plays “The Monster Mash” and it feels like everything has fallen into place.

I’m excited when I reach the venue: it’s a huge warehouse in Williamsburg right on the water and it smells like a Halloween store (kinda plastic-y). Everyone inside is goth, which makes me laugh for some reason. I treat myself to a beer and a shot at the bar, even though I know the beer will make me gassy.

“Doesn’t matter!” I think. “I’m not on a date tonight!”

I have a few minutes until midnight, so I’m able to leisurely sip my beer (which ends up tasting like piss, oops), go to the bathroom, and find a spot close to the stage. When the opening act finishes, some stagehands start putting set pieces on stage and it feels like time for music!

But actually, no. I find out the hard way that it’s not time for music. Yes, it’s almost midnight, but it’s actually time for four naked-ish ladies in matching Sia wigs to bring on a shackled and blindfolded person and place them in a cage. Then it’s time for them to play around with the blindfolded person with little whips and dance around sexily. It’s time for them to start whipping and licking each others butts. Then, of course, it’s time for another naked-ish lady who’s not as skinny as the others (and also not in a Sia wig; she has a brown ponytail) to bring out a big cake and sit on it. It’s time for her to sit on that cake over and over again and then rub it on herself.

This whole thing goes on for about 45 minutes.

I watch politely and patiently, un-offended by the content but just annoyed that it had to happen in place of the music I was expecting (if I wanted to watch a burlesque show, there are plenty of ones I would’ve paid money for and attended in my own time). When it’s finally over, I have to wait another 20 minutes for them to clear the stage and sound check. I wonder why the band has to sound check at 12:30 before they go on, but figure maybe this is a music-industry thing I just don’t understand.

As this is happening, a stranger approaches me: a nice guy, kinda short, who reminds me of one of the weird little nerds I did theatre with in high school.

“Excuse me, was that you on stage just now?” He asks.

There were about 6 naked-ish girls on stage just now, but it’s clear to me which one he thinks I am.

“The girl sitting on the cake!?!” I ask.

He nods.

“No! I was not the girl sitting on a cake just now!” I’m not offended, but I’m not flattered. I’m just thinking— yeah, this would be happening.

The guy continues on to ask me if I’ve heard of Radiohead and if I’ve seen the movie Suspiria. He seems harmless and sweet, so I try to make sure he doesn’t see me rolling my eyes. And here I was thinking I was not on a date.

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