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[January, 1996] Black Lipstick

The goth goddess that is Siouxsie Sioux

The goth goddess that is Siouxsie Sioux

1/1/96

I’m floating. Barely slept (less than 6 hours), tossed and turned. I was back at the Bank yesterday by my lonesome. It was packed, took me a half hour just to get inside. Didn’t take me too long to get dancing, though (I would have gone out when they played “The Blood” but it was too soon). “Christine” is what did it (I actually had woken up that day to a different Siouxsie song, “Israel,” which they played later on). I really got into the dancing (esp. during “…zombified,” “reptile,” “this is heresy” and some really good Skinny Puppy song).

[Maybe it was a little weird for me to spend New Year’s Eve at a goth club on my own, but after the super-fun time I had their on my birthday, it was my happy place, so it didn’t matter that I couldn’t wrangle any of my friendsnone of whom were gothto go with me.]

I’m getting to the good part.

I was standing outside the Gothic room [not to be mistaken with the main room which played post-punk, industrial but also goth music] when a guy that I had been watching walked by me with a girl (he had dark wavy jaw-length hair and wore a velvet cape and lots of eye make-up and lipstick — black).

[Apart from the hair, that actually sounds a lot like my look at the club the previous week.]

He looked at me as he entered the room and we made eye contact again when he turned around. About a minute later he left the room. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I looked to my right and he was standing next to me. He asked what my name was (his is Morgan) and we started talking.

He said, “So you noticed me?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Well, I noticed you too.”

[I am 1000% sure my little black heart did flip-flops when he said that.]

It was pretty loud where we were standing so we had to lean in really close and talk right in each other’s ears. It was nice just standing in the semi-darkness, chatting.

We were having some trouble hearing each other, so Morgan suggested we go upstairs. We did, it was actually more of a large balcony with a bar and some chairs. We were at one end of the railing watching the people and he asked how late I was staying. I said 4:00 (at this point it was about a quarter to) and he said that was unfortunate.

I didn’t know how late The Bank was open but he was under the impression that since it was New Year’s it was open until 5:00 or 6:00. So I offered to call to see if I could get picked up later. Well, I ran into a problem at the coat check (it took forever to find mine) and they told me down there they were open ‘til 4:00. I went back upstairs and we asked a bartender who said the same thing.

[“ran into a problem” is an understatement. At the time, I owned a black wool peacoat. Somehow, mine got misplaced, so I had to actually go and search through the racks myself. Imagine the coat check of a goth club on its busiest day of the year. The racks had HUNDREDS of black coats. 80% of which were peacoats. All I wanted to do was get back to the cute goth boy waiting upstairs for me.]

...

So then we went down this back staircase to this shady area on the floor not too far from the door. Though it was kind of brief, it didn’t take me long to discern that Morgan does not have a tongue piercing.

[My “coy” way of saying we had a brief make-out session.]

At one point he said something really interesting. Don’t remember the exact wording. Something like,

“You may not understand this. But save me.”

There were a few things I could have said in reply, but instead I just kissed his neck.

[Oh, how much bad poetry was inspired by the brief interlude with this guy…]

We talked about when we would meet and he gave me his number (he lives in Pennsylvania but is staying at his friend’s house in Queens).

I called him today and he wanted me to come over, but Mom was dead set against it. He told me I should come to the London After Midnight show at the Limelight on Thursday but that’s not possible, unfortunately. That’s all I’m going to write for now.

It was my first hook-up with a goth boy and I couldn’t have asked for it to be any more gothtastic. It had all the necessary elements: Noticing each other in a dark goth club? Check. Boy wearing lots of black make-up and a velvet cape? Check. Smooching in dark corner of said night club? Check. Boy says something insanely melodramatic like “save me” to girl, which girl finds strange and thrilling and romantic? Check and double check.

Another thing I learned that night is that smeared black lipstick takes forever to wash off. I must’ve come out of that club looking like a crazy hybrid of Marilyn Manson and Ronald McDonald. If my parents noticed anything unusual about my smudged appearance when they picked me up, I’m sure glad they didn’t say anything.

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[August, 1995] Bite Me

8/10/95

I sure suck for neglecting this thing so much. It sort of makes sense, though, because if my life is proceeding in a cool way and I’m doing a lot, keeping busy, etc. I should not have a shitload of free time to write down what I do/think/feel. And the more time I do have to write things down, then obviously the less interesting my life is and the more boring what I write is going to be. Sheesh. Still, I do have some stuff to talk about.

If you're looking for a bleak mode of travel, you found it!

If you’re looking for a bleak mode of travel, you found it!

My visit with Tim, for one thing. Of course now that I’ve told the story so many times—to friends and penpals—I will be reduced to a brief summary. Oh well. It was cool, we got along (his friends Lana, Leslie and Lanie—the latter being the girlfriend—were also really nice). I love his stereo, Disintegration sounds too gorgeous on it. We saw the Cure Picture Show (lovely video). Greyhound busses were the transportation. Was hit on during both rides (by an attractive 30-year-old going there and an unattractive 16-year-old coming home). I’m tired. Will end with a quote.

“You tore the make-up from my face
With every acid word you ever knew
Now every line and crack exposed
Exploited fully with each scar shone through.” –Moist

This was a strange and frustrating trip. I don’t know what I expected from Tim (some background on Tim here and here), knowing he had a girlfriend. In retrospect, it must have been odd for this girl from New York to offer to visit him several hours away, for 24 hours. Maybe he accepted the offer out of politeness, maybe out of boredom, or curiosity, or a combination of all the above. In any case, the visit itself was lackluster. All I remember of the town itself was a diner and a record store. All I remember about his house is the sloping roof of his dark room and his amazing stereo system. The details that stand out about Tim in person are that he was nicer and less angry than in his letters, he had attractive bright blue eyes but an unattractive receding chin.

 The two parts of the trip that stick with me to this day are: 1. The 30-year-old who flirted with me on the ride there. 2. The mosquito bites I got from sleeping in Tim’s room. 

To expand on that… 

1. To this day, I don’t think I had ever been flirted with quite as aggressively as I was on that outgoing bus ride. The guy was nearly twice my age but believed me when I told him I was in my early 20’s. He was cute in an average way: brown eyes and hair, slightly receding hairline, slender. I was nervous about travelling hundreds of miles by myself and was initially suspicious of this guy, but his friendly charm put me at ease a little bit, though I never fully let down my guard. He was on his way to Reno to start a new job and was afraid of flying, so he decided to travel cross-country via Greyhound Bus. I warmed up to him during the 3-4 hour trip, letting him hold my hand and even kiss me goodbye. He gave me his number in Reno and his calling card number so that I didn’t have to spend money calling him long distance. I thought it was remarkable that he trusted me not to make any other calls using his card, but I never used either number.

2. Todd had a screen on his bedroom window, but there must have been a massive hole in it, because I was eaten alive by insects while I slept. When I got home the next day, I counted the mosquito bites in the shower and I swear there were over 60. I was itchy and uncomfortable for a good week.

For all the effort and frustration, was the trip worth it? For anecdotal purposes, I guess so. Kind of.

 

[March, 1995] Kissing in the Kitchen, Sleeping on the Floor

This is what happens when you look for images of a "90s party". For the record, no party I attended in the '90s, or ever, looked like this.

This is what happens when you look for images of a “90s party”. For the record, no party I attended in the ’90s, or really ever, looked like this.

3/26/95

Ceecee had a party last night and it was probably the best one (or one of the best) I ever attended. When I look back on it, it almost seems like a movie, a really interesting, cool movie. Though I’d like to, I’m not going to go into detail. I’ll write a couple of more things about it though.

Spent a lot of the time hanging out with/talking to Jamie (and we were so not used to it, having emailed each other for so long). Met this girl Mary, an NIN fan who does a ‘zine (needless to say we bonded instantly). 

Crashed on Ceecee’s living room floor and it was fun. Slept three hours tops but didn’t mind one bit.

Can’t concentrate on doing work. I’m terrible.

Had a nice chat with Eduardo. Don’t feel like doing work. I’m really going to try now. 

The reason I didn’t go into detail was that I was still paranoid about my father reading my diary (having that happen once already). Kind of ironic that I want to go into detail now, with the full intention of having others read it.

Let’s just clear up some of the hyperbole above right now. While I only have vague recollections of the party aside from the details to come, it was certainly not something out of a “really cool, interesting” movie unless it was an understated coming-of-age indie about a kooky Russian alterna-girl growing up in the 1990’s. Because in the years following this diary entry I will have attended some truly cool parties that could have been featured in a movie (featuring everything from tinfoil on walls to cage dancers to Jello shots in plastic syringes; held in crazy lofts, Victorian mansions, giant backyards with laser light shows… and that doesn’t even cover the Halloween weekend spent in New Orleans).

So let’s get to the real reason I had such a blast at this party.

Ceecee was a year ahead of me and in a creative writing class with Jamie and me. It was initially daunting being invited to a party where nearly everyone was older and a stranger to me. So it was great to meet a fellow Nine Inch Nails fan and ‘zine writer (oh, memories). And it was also nice to bond with Jamie, who was a funny and irreverant breath of fresh air in our hypercompetitive magnet school and one of those people I always thought I could be better friends with (how weird is it that we emailed each other, even though we saw each other in class all the time?). But the real reason this party stood out for me was Eduardo.

All I remember about Eduardo was that he was a cute soccer player from Bolivia, about my height with thick, dark floppy hair. When I wasn’t chatting with one of the girls, he and I did plenty of flirting.

I didn't have bangs at the time, but you get the idea.

I didn’t have bangs at the time, but you get the idea.

At one point, I went to the kitchen to get some ice and for whatever reason, I didn’t turn on the light. He followed me in and we talked/flirted some more and then ended up kissing. 

Ceecee had gone out with Eduardo in the past, but she saw we were clicking and gave me her blessing. Truth be told, I don’t remember if that was before or after I already made out with him (we were in the kitchen for quite a while).

I ended up sleeping on Ceecee’s living room floor about a foot away from Eduardo. There was probably some more smooching during the night. At some point later on, when everyone had left or passed out, I had my eyes closed but was still awake and heard Ceecee in the kitchen talking to a male friend. Talking about Eduardo and me hooking up. Essentially, she said that she wasn’t envious, because what they had was in the past, but at the same time she kind of was.

The thing about Ceecee: she was very pretty in that exotic, multi-ethnic way and probably had no trouble getting male attention. Whereas I was just coming out of the awkward phase of my adolescence and male attention was something newer to me. So instead of feeling guilty that I may have hurt her feelings, I felt kind of flattered that someone who looked like me actually stirred up envy in someone who looked like her. I was used to being insecure and feeling like I didn’t measure up, so it was strange to hear that sort of sentiment expressed towards me. And it did a lot to bolster my self-esteem. 

I ended up having one semi-awkward coffee date with Eduardo before he went back to Bolivia. We didn’t stay in touch.

[March, 1995] Drunk on Life… and Midori

...

3/18/95

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday where huge amounts of drinking goes on. I’m home from Claudia’s house and still a tiny bit groggy, as I always am the morning after sleeping over. I told her all bets are off and no one has dibs on anyone.

A Liz Phair line comes to my mind, I think it’s from “Strange Loop.” I don’t remember the exact thing but it’s something to the extent of “I wanted you, I wanted more than I knew.”

Right now I’m listening to Anita’s Superchunk tape (who are opening up for Belly), it’s pretty good.

I got the song right but for clarity’s sake, the exact lyric is,

I always wanted you
I only wanted more than I knew 

That St. Patrick’s Day was one I’ll never forget, despite the vague diary entry. Claudia called me after school, when I was already home in Brooklyn, and told me Neil, Adrian, and a couple of their friends would be coming over to her house to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. By celebrate, we all know that meant “drinking a bunch of booze.” She invited me to join her, but I didn’t think my parents would allow me to go since it was dark out and I knew they wouldn’t want me to take the subway after rush hour. But I was beyond desperate to go. I had to think of a good plan, and fast. 

I told my father that Claudia’s parents invited me to go out to dinner with them for St. Patrick’s Day and would even pay for a taxi to the Upper West Side, where they lived (and of course I was also invited to stay over). It’s a good thing that Mom was still at work, because chances are she would have seen through the ruse. But it was easier to lie to Dad.

“I’ll let you go…” he said. I held my breath. “…But they shouldn’t pay for your taxi.”

Not only did he grant permission, he gave me money to take a car all the way uptown (over an hour’s drive from where we lived in Brooklyn).

I couldn’t get to her place quickly enough. 

Oh Midori, you green angel you...

Oh Midori, you green angel you…

When I arrived, Claudia was already tipsy and Neil and Adrian were there with their two friends. I had met Adrian before; also a punk, he was a little older than Neil, wore his hair in purple and blue liberty spikes and was kind of ridiculously gorgeous. Claudia handed me some Midori (hey, it was green and boozy, St. Paddy’s-appropriate) and introduced me to the two I didn’t know: a pretty blue-haired girl (my immediate envy of her must have erased all memory of her name) and a cute punk guy named Mark. All I remember about him was that he was less overtly punk—at least aesthetically—than the others (his hair was shaved on the sides, but a simple brown color) and  Russian like me, even speaking the language. 

It wasn’t long after those chugs of Midori that a giant make-out-fest broke out. (That’s around the time I told Claudia, “all bets are off, nobody has dibs on anyone.”)

At first, we all rolled around the floor of Claudia’s room in like a pile of kittens. Finally, after all the months of pining for him, I got to lock lips with Neil. So how was it? Like many overly-anticipated things: disappointing. The only thing I could think of the entire time we smooched was how small his mouth was. It was a wonder this kid could eat anything bigger than a jellybean (no wonder he was so skinny!).

I had better lip-compatibility with Adrian, and loved making out with him, but Mark and I just really clicked in terms of chemistry (just goes to show, better-looking doesn’t mean better physical compatibility). As the night progressed, we ended up pairing off (Neil with blue-haired chick, Adrian with Claudia, Mark with me) and heading off to separate rooms. 

Mark and I ended up downstairs on the living room couch, making out in the dark for what might have been hours and murmuring to each other in Russian. It. Was. Awesome.

 

[November, 1993] Wait, It Gets Better!

Benny and Joon

Saturday, November 27, 1993

Dear Journal,

We went to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, but not to my cousin Jenna’s house. We visited The Weinstein’s, the people we met on the cruise. Melanie wasn’t there because she’s in France for the year but Jack came home from boarding school. At first I was a little uncomfortable because I hadn’t seen him in like four months and because I was used to having Melanie around, but that didn’t last long.

We went down to the basement to watch t.v. and only came up for hors d’ouerves and champagne which we each had three glasses of (I didn’t get drunk but I got a little lightheaded which felt great). Jack was sitting on the loveseat (I was on the couch) and he was kind of far away from me. We were watching “Benny and Joon” when Melanie called. I told Jack I wanted to talk to her so I went over and sat down next to him so I could grab the receiver (plus I did want to sit next to him). He had his arm on the back of the couch and when I started talking to Melanie he put his arm around me!

Wait, it gets better!

After he hung up we were watching the movie and I was resting my head on his chest. He kept looking down at me and once he even said something like “I’d kiss you, but I’m really involved with the movie.” Of course after that I could care less what Benny and Joon were up to.

Eventually he did kiss me and it was really nice. At one point he put his hand up to my face which I thought was the sweetest thing (I always wanted a guy to do that). He had a really warm face and neck and smelled good (though I can’t explain how).

Jake Gyllenhaal could play Jack in a movie

The rest of the afternoon we made out, trying not to get caught (we didn’t). After dinner we went for a walk by ourselves. It was really dark and cold out and there were a lot of stars shining (which one doesn’t see many of living in smog-filled New York).

Jack led us to this grassy area near a University where we made out on a hill under the stars. I swear it’s true.

The next day I had to leave so we exchanged addresses and I gave him my picture. He is going to be able to come to my birthday party in 3 weeks. I miss him already.

Jack never responded to the one letter I wrote him and never made it to my birthday party.

I think I his parents mentioned something to my parents about him having a girlfriend. So much the better that we weren’t caught smooching. However short-lived it was, it was the first proper kissing I experienced since the previous spring. It was pretty great to lock lips with an attractive, nice-smelling boy who in retrospect I realize bore a striking resemblance to a gawkier Donnie Darko-era Jake Gyllenhaal.

There’s nothing quite like that nervous anticipation before the kissing begins, and doing it in secret made it just about the most thrilling boy encounter I had experienced up to that point. The champagne, the basement, the starlit walk later on, the stolen kisses the following morning… It was certainly the highlight of my fifteeth year, regardless of the silence that followed.

To this day, I haven’t seen Benny and Joon all the way through.

[August, 1993] Really Crazy Idea

October 15, 2010 5 comments

...

Monday, August 23, 1993

Dear Journal,
My summer has not been that boring. The thing I have been doing the most is writing. I just started one day and now I have 64 pages and seven chapters completed. That is the most I have ever written. I hope to have at least 80 pages done before school starts. School. Ugh. I have to go back in less than three weeks.

It will be great seeing my friends again. And Leon (he’s my friend too but I have to put him in a separate category because I am going to write about him). Thus summer, I have kept in touch with him more than I have with Didi. I think we have become really good friends. In one of my letters I told him that even though we might not see each other on the bus a lot, I wanted to stay good friends and not lose touch. He said he agreed in his next letter.

Also, one night I couldn’t fall asleep and I got this really crazy idea in my head. I thought I should ask Leon out! I wasn’t even sure I liked him but I thought since we had so much in common (movies, books, MUSIC) it would make sense. Plus, I rationalized that we would not see each other a lot anyway so this way we could. And if it didn’t work out, or if he turned me down, I wouldn’t see him much. Then I realized it would be a mistake, especially since I was not sure how I felt.

What I did decide was to invite him to lunch before we went in to get our schedules. I couldn’t ask over the phone so I wrote him a 6-page letter and asked him at the very end if he wanted to have lunch, just as friends. He got it the day he had to leave for Paris and called me a couple of hours before. Before we hung up he said he would call me when he got back so we could get together and have lunch. That made my day.

A couple of days ago I had a dream that made me think about things. It took place right across the street from Hunter and is this area of steps, benches and plants that is attached to this huge building next to it. Leon and I were both there and we were standing face to face. Then we… we kissed. It was strange. The kiss was alright, I guess, but afterwards everything was very uncomfortable. I don’t know, it’s weird.

It’s stating the obvious, but maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me there was no real chemistry with Leon, and that we should stay friends. Of course, I would never take such sensible advice from my subconscious. What would be the fun in that?

Granted, I did not have the most auspicious record of asking boys out. One disaster was followed by a second blow to my ego. Both left traces of embarrassment and disappointment, but obviously not enough that I wasn’t ready to attempt a rejection trifecta–albeit, one in which I lose every race.

Leon was different, though. He wasn’t some boy I developed a crush on because of good looks. He was someone whose personality engaged me, someone who I wanted to have a crush on in a way, because he was someone actually worth liking. Except that there was still something not quite there in terms of romantic potential. In theory, I should have been head over heels, but in practice I…wasn’t. Nor was I used to being so friendly with a boy on a platonic level, which was all kinds of confusing to a self-professed “guyaholic.” So for once, I was going to try to be a bit more cautious and sensible, boring qualities it was becoming necessary to cultivate.

Regardless of this romantic ambivalence and machination, considering the fact that Leon and I are friends today, I must have done something right.

[June, 1993] Like Something Out of a Movie

September 29, 2010 3 comments

Saturday, June 12, 1993

Dear Journal,

Today was my date with Mark.

This morning after 7:00AM I had all these terrible nightmares, one where he doesn’t show up and the other where he hates me. I was so nervous.

I was afraid that he would be late but he was on time. My parents just said be home by nine.

so romantic...

First we went to a diner and had bagels. Then we went to Rockaway beach and it was really nice. There weren’t many people there and the sand was almost white. We sat down and talked for a while. He lied down a lot and I was sitting Indian-style. I liked him a lot and was hoping he would kiss me. At one time he was on his knees and kind of leaned toward me and I thought he would but he didn’t. Then he started trying to tickle me a little and I kept brushing his hands away. He also played with my hair, tugging at it and looking up at it.

Then I lied down on the sand and he started taking my hand and stroking it and putting it between his hands. He kept teasing me that my hair color wasn’t real. And then he was on his elbow (but over me) and telling me that it was a wig. His face was very close to mine and that’s the last thing I remember before he kissed me.

I felt like I was in another world. He’s a very good kisser (I hate to admit it but it was the first time I ever french-kissed. It wasn’t gross like I expected it). There we were, on the beach making-out. It was like something out of a movie. Hell, it was better than that, it was real!

Then we left (I really had to go to the bathroom) and drove around some more. We stopped on this quiet block where we kissed some more (he kissed my lips, chin, neck and even ears. It was really cool being kissed on the ear.) and other stuff (I wouldn’t let him get carried away. No further than second).

After that I saw my lip was swollen (it was very passionate) and was a little worried. He drove me home, told me to give him a call, and I kissed him good-bye.

My parents were pretty pissed about the lip (“What is he, an animal?”) and my mom wants him to apologize next time I see him and my dad wants to have one of those “man-to-man” talks with him. Oh boy. At first my mom told me I couldn’t see him anymore but I can on those two conditions. Also she doesn’t want me acting so slutty with him anymore (not exactly her words).

Except for when I got home, I had a really great time. Mark is really nice and very cute. He has brown hair but he thinks his eyes are brown and they are more hazel-green (gorgeous!). Also he has these long, long eyelashes and dimples! *sigh*

Well I better go study my social and science. I hope I have a great relationship with him. Gotta go!

not so romantic...

The thing I remember most about my first make-out session isn’t the boy or the beach or the anticipation and excitement of it all. Oh no. What I remember most clearly was really, really needing to pee in the middle of all the kissing. Having such a romantic set-up and beautiful setting for the event, I wanted it to last and last, so I held it in for as long as I possibly could. I mean, how many city kids get to have their first “real” kiss take place on a deserted beach?

Did I say the set-up was romantic? I thought so then, but in hindsight, my mind goes back to Mark’s behavior in the diner. We each had these paper place mats that listed cocktails with accompanying illustrations. There were familiar ones like the Martini and Pina Colada, but Mark kept pointing out and laughing about the “Sex on the Beach.” If he mentioned it only the one time, it would probably not have stayed with me, but he said it a few times, and any discomfort I felt as a result, I brushed away. However now I can’t wonder whether he was trying to plant some kind of subliminal signal. One that wasn’t successful due to my caution, inexperience, and unrelenting bladder.

When I finally couldn’t hold it in any more and asked to find a restroom, the nearest one we could find was at Sizzler, a low rent eating establishment known for its salad bar and buffet which wasn’t quite as cinematic as Rockaway Beach.

Oh, and I had those swollen lips for days. A friend of mine joked,

“That’s not love, that’s assault and battery!”

It turned out to be neither.