I went to a function last night. I’m not good at functions. People want to know what you do. As in your job. I dress very well so people always assume I’m a lawyer or something. Tailored shirts will do that for you. Once you get your first tailored shirt you can never go back. There’s life before tailored shirts and then there’s life after. Before is a distant memory of pain and suffering. After is a reality of people assuming that you are a lawyer at functions.
I tell people that I’m a writer which is nice as I’m not having to lie. Years ago I used to go to functions and lie about being a writer and I’d end up in strange adventures and situations. When I lived in Cairns a buddy of mine worked at the local art gallery. He had two tickets to an end of year bash that was being hosted by the local top 40 radio station. He didn’t have a date so he asked me if I wanted to go. I said fine as long as I didn’t have to wear lipstick or a dress. I also mentioned that I wouldn’t put out unless I got a lot of booze. He looked at me in an alarmed manner and said that the drinks were free. I asked him if he had any lipstick.
It was a rooftop party and they had a famous singer belting out her hits. She was famous at the time but now I imagine she scavenges amongst garbage bins behind the local McDonalds. There was a federal by-election happening in Cairns at the time and all the big-wig politicians were up there, including the infamous Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party and derided by all and sundry as a terrible racist who was out of touch with Australia. She ended up getting several million votes.
I decided to pretend to be a journalist for the Australian version of Rolling Stone magazine at the time, (long since defunct and I imagine its owners fight over the bin scraps with ex-singers). I’d go up to various dignitaries and introduce myself as so-and-so from such-and-such magazine and what did they want to say to the youth of Australia? The first one I tried this on literally shat himself as he fell over his own feet attempting to answer my vague and uninteresting question in as demented a manner as possible. I couldn’t believe the shit that I was hearing.
My friend thought that this was hilarious and he dared me to try it out on Ms Hanson. She was constantly surrounded by fawners and hangers-on but suddenly there was a perfect moment when for some strange reason she was left standing entirely alone. I swooped. Gave her my spiel about the youth of Australia and at that exact moment the ex-famous singer began belting out one of her hits.
Pauline took me by the arm. “Do you want to dance?” she said as her vice-like grip probed the extent of my upper triceps.
I wanted nothing of the sort but I had played with a wild animal and now I was paying the price. We danced in some sort of bizarre fashion with Pauline leading the shots which got me thinking that maybe I should have worn a dress after all. The crowd watched us in utter bemusement, the majority of them wondering who the hell was the guy dancing with the horrible racist. Finally the song ended and I was able to escape her clutches.
As the party ended my friend and I stumbled down the stairs and we went to jump into a taxi. We had to fight a couple for it and eventually we all agreed that we should share the taxi. Turned out the guy was the owner of the radio station and he asked me what I did. I of course repeated the lie that I had been spreading about upstairs all night. He sucked up to me for the rest of the ride so I would write something nice about him.
But now I don’t have to lie. “I’m a writer,” I said last night, a bunch of times to a bunch of different questioners. Then they would ask me what I wrote and I told them and there would be a few more polite questions and then there would be a dreadful silence and then someone would mention how awful the weather has been and everyone jumped on that and I got myself another free drink and pondered whether or not I should start pretending to be a lawyer.