Wednesday, 15 November 2017

BEFORE by Leonard Łukowski

One morning, still drunk, cranked up on caffeine, basking in a post-fuck glow, you will proudly text your friend declaring you’ve just had sex with a guy who’s never been with anyone with a vagina before. Someone off Grindr. You will feel you’ve achieved. You will feel like a pioneering presence in a land of dick pics and hairy torsos. You’re not like other men, but you’re still a man, and your ability to pick up men on the gayest of apps proves it.

That afternoon the hangover will set in and you will ask yourself if the events of last night were really that great. You will recall the anxious, self-deprecating questions you asked your hook-up, seeking to pre-empt any doubts or disappointment your body may provide: ‘Do I look how you expected me to look? Did you expect me to be more masculine? Have you ever had sex with anyone with a vagina before? We don’t have to fuck like that.’ How when he first took your binder off you looked down at your chest embarrassed. How, naked and lying skin on skin, you couldn’t help but feel your body as feminised next to his, how the thought kept running through your head, but he likes men, what does he want with me? How, between fucks, on his bed, swigging cheap white wine, he asked you what your name was ‘before’ and probably this was just natural human curiosity, but what if it was because you were unconvincing as a man? How he’d asked what kind of girl you’d been, if you ever had long hair, if he could see a picture of you ‘as a woman’.  You’d got out your phone and showed him a picture taken at a drag night you’d gone to the other month as a garish queen named ‘Victoria Peckham’ and he didn’t even see the funny side. ‘No. I meant before.’ Then he saw you were getting uncomfortable and assured you he didn’t have a fetish. But it’s not like you were there for his personality. Maybe he was your fetish. 

Once the hangover lifts you will shrug off all the awkward stuff with Morrissey lyrics: ‘Why ponder life’s complexities when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?’ But you will know that, even before the stupid drunken lack of protection, before the confused, horrified looks on the faces of the pharmacists at your attempt to explain why someone who looks like you needs the morning after pill, before the lonely trek to the sexual health clinic where the nurse has to call another nurse who phones a hostile-seeming doctor to work out what to do with you, before the four week course of PEP, before any of that, life’s complexities already get in the way. You will know all this but you will continue to jizz on the passenger seat nonetheless. 

That night you will go to bed, thinking of the way his cum hit your stomach in the early hours, wrapped in the arms of your girlfriend who just wouldn’t understand.

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