don't ask, don't tell. what happens when teenage girls play games
easily manipulated. Not from my point of view, but does it really
One time, at overnight camp...
It's dark; we're playing the worst version of truth or dare. It's only truths. I like to refer to it as let's-ask-each-other-embarassing-questions-so-we-can-get-to-know-each-other game but everyone always lies.
It's the one time I tell the truth.
Because no one else does, because I like watching them cringe and reply with, "No way!" as they shrivel their noses in disgust. And fascination.
Because they ask more.
It starts, as always, as an after-lights-out, I'm-bored kind of game. We sit on the lower bunk and floor in the dormitory, door locked and the weary light of a single cell phone illuminating eyes, both shy and eager.
I can't believe I'm doing this.
The game starts innocently enough. Asking about weird sleeping habits and the like, but I know it'll eventually turn to darker, stranger, more taboo things. At least, once the feeble-hearted have been weeded out and sent to bed.
I wait and grin.
The first question I'm asked is a true example of how much I don't belong here.
"What's the most embarrassing CD you own?"
I snort and reply, "Would you consider country embarrassing? Or classic rock?"
They laugh, and I already know that I'm supposed to be some sort of ashamed at my love of country. I shake my head and formulate a question in my head. That's how it goes you see, you get asked, you ask. There's a bit of order in this unpredictable world. The order that I'm going to have a bit of fun tweaking.
I'm so bad.
I look around, direct my question to the boldest of the group, she's cute, dark hair, pale skin, a kissable mouth and cheekbones you could cut yourself with. If I was a guy…well. "Have you ever had dirty thoughts about someone of the same sex? …A girl." I clarify.
The room goes silent, excepting a few soft titters and everyone turns to look at her face. She has an eyebrow raised and her lips are pressed tight against each other. A faint blush rises on her cheeks, the light is just right so I can see it. A normal person would think that it's anger. But I know, just like how I knew who to ask the question, that the emotion is actually embarrassment.
"Who was it darlin'?" I drawl, reminding them of the southern twang of country music, of a pick against a guitar string. "Your best friend? A teacher?" I pause for a second before deciding that yes, tonight I'm going to be an asshole. "Me?" I grin, lick my lips at her and wiggle my eyebrows.
Her eyebrows draw together and plunge towards her nose. I'm reminded of that cliché of a diving bird of prey. "I never have, why would you ask that question, you dyke! That's disgusting!"
I grin wickedly and know that my bed is going to get a decidedly pleasant visit later tonight.
I still my features and gesture towards her. "Your turn."
"Same question, whore." The petty insult makes me grin again, I knew there was a reason I liked this game. The atmosphere is tense, the faces turn towards me, and I feel as if I'm in a duel of words and hormones. But tonight, no matter what I say, I'll win. I always win this game. That's what I get for using my unfair advantages.
I sprawl casually, roll my eyes as if it's the stupidest question to have ever been asked, as if I hadn't asked it in the first place. "I've kissed a few girls in my day." I run my tongue along my teeth in a most lascivious manner. "Does that make you hot?"
There's a physical shock that spreads as my words register. I mark and remember the girls who draw back, who remain, who draw closer. The air is suddenly both charged with a raw sexual heat and frozen with prudish disgust. I've no need for either, but both can make this game fun. This game is already fun.
"I'll consider that your next question?" I have to admire her quick wit, I've a feeling I'll bear the brunt of it time and time again, and the idea warms me. I shrug and nod in reply, using those gestures to state that that sounds like a reasonable conclusion to me.
"No. It doesn't make me hot. My turn, are you a lesbian?"
I laugh, loud and hard, from the belly. I throw my head back, roll, brush fake tears from my eyes and pant. When I've finally caught my breath I respond, " A lesbian? A few girls kissed and an awesome rack do not a homosexual make." Hah. Poetry. I allow time for the words to sink in and for the inevitable glances towards my chest. I know people too well.
My question, I do love this order thing. "What does your boyfriend think about your pussy-loving ways?" Wait for it. I know she doesn't have a boyfriend. She's a chick kisser all the way and she doesn't know I know it. Oh gods, I'm too good.
"I don't have a boyfriend, but since I have no pussy-loving ways, he can't think anything of them."
The faces have long gone silent, existing only to laugh or to draw away and talk about how crazy the new girl is. This is between Miss Ravenhead and me. And everyone knows it; still a few hangers on are interested in where this will end up. Hell, I'm interested in where this will end up.
"Fair enough." I reply. I bite my lip and look towards the ceiling, then lean over to my bag and grab my wallet. Leafing through it I pull out a few green bills. "How much would I have to pay you to make me kiss me," I ask. "I've got…maybe fifty bucks in here."
If she was absolutely straight her face would show primal disgust, especially if she was a churchgoer. But I know for a fact that she's bi-experienced, or at least bi-curious. I can smell it.
I'm rewarded with a wary look, not disgust, not quite. And in that instance I know she's considering it. Is fifty dollars worth it? She could always say she did it for the money. What she isn't thinking is that I stole her question, that if she asked, I'd give her a kiss for free. But she doesn't want to think that, doesn't want the other girls to know about the thoughts in her head, doesn't want to be seen asking. Her reputation is at stake, but only because she chooses it to be. Don't tell her that though, I like reading minds.
She turns away, snaps shut her cell phone and turns to the faces. "I'm sick of this shit. It's 3:45, let's go to bed. Careful though, wouldn't want to get raped by the dyke."
I smile in the dark. Life is good. I may have just ruined another person's life in the name of equality. Hah. Equality my ass. A seed of confusion grows between my ears, and I wonder, for not the first time, why I do this. It's not the first time I've done this to someone and it won't be the last. I fight the confusion, knowing that I was given no purpose in life and so I make up my own as I go. These girls, who after tomorrow I will never see again, who don't even know my real name, believe I'm gay. That's okay, they aren't the first. But they don't know my secret. I don't have a sexuality, I'm just sexual.
I laugh at the joke being played on the world.
I lay down, pretend to sleep and wait for the inevitable poke in the shoulder after everyone else has gone to sleep.
I sit up, act groggy, pretend I don't know what's up.
Before I can take a breath to ask who's waking me this time of night, a darkling's cute mouth meets mine and we kiss, rather chaste but with a promise of devilish things to come. I hold back a giggle as a whisper meets my ear.
"Where's my fifty bucks?"