I am ashamed.
I feel lost.
I don’t know how to start this latest account of an aspect of fashion gone awry. I don’t know how to tell you how one night, my close friend Jessica Buchleitner in tow, normally-ferociously-vociferous-oh-dontchu-mess-wid-me-you-mothas-ROAR me lost her voice.
Yes, I am ashamed.
I am ashamed because I should have known upon the first glance given at his filthy-as-in-F.I.L.T.H.Y.-to-the-point-that-I-wanted-to-rip-my-nose-off-my-face-gouge-my-eyes-out-with-my-bare-fingers-all-whilst-shrieking-“HOW-god-HOW-can-ANYONE-live-like-THIS?” apartment that I should have walked away, that I shouldn’t have walked in and smiled to be polite, to spare his feelings.
But I did.
I walked in because insecure-at-my-lack-of-make-up-artistry-skills-in-spite-of-many-a-time-spent-walking-the-runway-me was too polite. The price I paid for my politesse was heavy. It was traumatizing…and dark.
He told us to make ourselves at home, at home in his filth-ridden-with-dirt-so-thick-I-SWEAR-to-you-it-could-measure-half-an-inch-of-caked-on-pure-unadulterated-hellish-MUCK-that-had-not-been-touched-with-disinfectant-in-probably-years-I-kid-you-not-it-was-THAT-F.I.L.T.H.Y apartment where said caked-on-pure-unadulterated-hellish-MUCK was EVERYWHERE from the couches to the coffee table to the fireplace to the floor to the carpeting to the oh-don’t-even-get-me-started-on-that-bathroom bathroom, you name it, it had it, and, ever so politely, I declined to sit on his couch and, ever so politely, stood there, a frozen smile on my face, tear-filled eyes, fighting the urge to grab my bags and to grab Jessica and make a run for it.
I declined and soon found myself sitting in front of him, on a filthy stool, where breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him touched my face and I held back the urge to vomit. I held back the urge to slap his filthy hand away and the filthy make-up and the filthy brushes as I sat there, politely, holding in body-wrenching sobs that begged to be set free, free of him, free of his touch, free of my politesse! I held back…
I held back and in holding back my face was ravaged by his heavy and brutal touch as he yammered on and on about his “skills” and his “talent” and the “adoring models” that flocked to breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him and his runner-up status in the fashion awards when he hadn’t even won and he yammered on about it and on and on and on and…
HOLYMOTHEROFFUUUUU… what the FUUUUU was touching my leg, grazing it as breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him raped my face with his indecent touch? WHAT? WHAT WAS THAT? HOLYMOTHEROFFUUUUU it was his that-better-be-sleeping-junk-tell-me-that-is-sleeping-junk-I-don’t-think-it’s-sleeping-OHMAGAWD-I shouldn’t-be-feeling-junk-sleeping-or-no man bits, point being that I don’t know because I didn’t want to know because I was horrified and he was too close and I was being too polite and I couldn’t stop and I wanted to cry but instead shot glances of despair at Jessica who stood there tight-lipped, angry, frozen in the horror and disbelief I myself felt as I lost my voice and was swallowed by this abyss called politesse-gone-wrong and I turned sideways to avoid the that-better-be-sleeping-junk-tell-me-that-is-sleeping-junk-I-don’t-think-it’s-sleeping-OHMAGAWD-I shouldn’t-be-feeling-junk-sleeping-or-no man bits, and he stepped in closer and so his protruding, obnoxious, offensive belly now touched me and moved up and down as it grazed the side of my body with the rhythm of his brutally violating touch on my face and…
AND I WAS POLITE AND I SAID NOTHING AND I SMILED WHEN I WANTED TO CRY AND I COULDN’T BREATHE AND I WANTED TO DIE AND I WANTED TO LEAVE AND…
… and then it was Jessica’s turn…
Jessica was brave and wise and had brought her own make-up and instructed breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him to use only that but he fought her every step of the way, with every stroke of her brush as he tried to replace her clean brush with his filthy one, her clean eye-shadow with his filthy one, her clean mascara with his filthy one and on and on as a visibly angry and shaken Jessica sat politely, fighting him every step of the traumatizing way afflicted by my politesse as he grazed her too and as his hands violated her face and I stood there… and she sat there… ever so politely as he yammered on and on and on and Jessica and I held back the tears and the rage and the pain and the anger at breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him and at ourselves and at the suffocating politesse and in a daze we grabbed our bags when it was all said and done, confused at what had just happened, nauseous from the filth, abused by his touch, craving searing-painful-yet-burning-a-good-burn alcohol showers and as we lost ourselves in that liberating fantasy he touched us again as breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him grabbed us in an all-consuming-and-unasked-for-non-consensual embrace that went on for far too long while he moaned “Mmmmm!” and I screamed a silent scream that was swallowed by my politesse!
I am ashamed.
As we stepped out into the night, in a fog, the politesse slowly lifted away and our voices returned and the anger bubbled forth and the rage set in and so here I am declaring LOUDLY that NEVER AGAIN will breathing-heavily-smelly-fleshy-and-oh-SO-high-squinty-eyed him so much as touch me or non-consensually embrace me as he moans his nausea-inducing “Mmmmm!” and NEVER AGAIN will I take a straight man seriously with make-up because, as politically incorrect as this may be to voice out loud but I’ll be damned if I care, GIVE ME A GAY MAN OR GIVE ME DEATH!
Writer, poet, model, actress, jewelry designer, Astanga Yoga Instructor, WOMAN! Leila Radan, a contributing columnist for Helium Magazine, shares what’s in her mind every week through hyper-hyphenated-swoons-and-ROARS. Learn more about Leila @ www.LeilaRadan.com
Disclaimer: Opinions held or expressed by contributing columnists are those of the individual and are not necessarily shared by Helium Magazine, its staff or affiliates. Helium Magazine is an open forum for the SFBA fashion community.