Almost exactly one year ago, Gentle Reader, I was given a chaise lounge* for absolutely free. As a rabid collector of both free things and pseudo-Victoriana, I snapped it up like nobody’s business. I’ve always wanted one, to dramatically drape my lithe and languid† frame on, clad in an enormous silk dressing-gown. Not only that, I’ve always dreamed of being able to fool around with a gentleman caller on one, like some sort of plucky heroine in a trashy novel.
You see, it had been brought to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire by some friends of friends, for use in their campsite‡, and as often happens, it was too much bother to get it back home again. Luckily, I was living just a mile or two down the road at the time, so it was no trouble getting it back to the humble domus. I rearranged my bedroom, doing my damnedest to make it fit. I only just managed, but it looked splendid against the hand-lettered wallpaper.
I had recently had an amazing epiphany in this little sanctuary of mine: If you stop asking yourself “is this something a crazy person would do?” and just do it anyway, you will be more free from self-judgment than otherwise. This is a fine philosophy in theory, but it becomes a little trickier in practice.
You see, we had suspended Mimosa Sundays for the month of August because we’d be tied up with the Faire, and the first Sunday back at the Mix was our triumphant return. My favorite bartender, Dallas, greeted me with a “Welcome back, sir,” a handshake, and a bro-hug. My companions and I set out as usual, to make more beauty and truth in this world, and to get plastered while doing so.
As the evening wore on, I met a nice young man, and encouraged by the libertine atmosphere of the Faire and also by Mimosa, I went home with the fella, which is completely out of character. I probably wouldn’t have done so without the encouragement of Miss M, who had freshly returned to Washington after several years in Virginia. She took the gentleman’s photo, just in case something news-worthy§ happened, and off we went to do what young men in lust do. In the morning, I took down the young man’s name and number, and returned to the bar to await my ride. As Dallas mixed me a bloody mary, he had a knowing glint in his eye. I waved a hand dismissively, and rolled my blood-shot eyes. With a smirk, he handed me my drink, and said no more about it.
As you may have gathered, Gentle Reader, I don’t date much, and I am constantly questioning my mental health. So when the young man got in touch with me, wanting a date, I hesitated. I’ve never really managed a relationship with anyone besides Ex-Husband, unless you count Wine, so I was naturally trepidatious. Still, new experiences mean new stories, so I agreed, despite the fact that I wasn’t exactly over the moon over this guy.
While waiting for my date, I quickly cleaned the house, getting ready. It was just possible that he might want to come home with me; it pays to be prepared. Even tidied up, though, I began to despair: I looked at the quite literal writing on the wall, and started in on a fresh new round of anxiety and self-judgement. The shelves of poorly taxidermed creatures and things in jars? The quotations of madmen and poets swirling around in half-finished sentences, the armless and chipped mannequin in the corner, and on and on – it really did look like a madman’s cell. Paroxysms of doubt, anxiety, and fear pulsed against my skull, until I quieted them with a cocktail♠, because that’s an excellent idea when you’re expecting company. As I rested on the chaise, I came up with the perfect scheme.
He turned up; we went on our date in a loud, crowded, and above all expensive restaurant. There was no chance of getting to know one another better, as it was far too loud, and since I’d seen him last, he’d shaved, which was disappointing. We hurried through the meal, and made awkward small talk on the ride back to my place. I was disappointed, but I was fully committed to my scheme; I invited him inside for a glass of wine.
Here’s where my cunning plan comes into play, Gentle Reader: as soon as he was inside my bedroom door, lest he see the glorious panoply of madness all around him, I shoved him backwards onto the chaise, and went at him full tilt. He was so distracted by my apparent ardor that he didn’t notice the decor until much later, when we were curled up together on the chaise lounge, watching Doctor Who and sharing a glass of wine. At that point, he was so enamored that he could forgive anything, and as we downed the wine and went back in for round two, he murmured “I like your place.”
*Properly speaking Chaise Longue, I know. Still, in English, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
† I’m pretty sure that I’m anything but lithe and languid, but I know people who would disagree.
‡Years ago my encampment and household had started the fashion of bringing actual furniture with us for camping. We’re a little ridiculous.
§ i.e. murder
♠ As my twitter feed from that day notes, “Rum and possibly-expired hibiscus juice go together, right?” This is because, as demonstrated, I make excellent decisions.