How is looking at a guy sexy?
“So, which colour suits me better? Baby pink or coral blue?”
“I dunno Cam, why don’t you ask her?” I reply, too far away to pay attention to anything my best friend is saying.
Explanation? Gerard is in our History class.
Messy black hair, sticking up at the back from where he self-consciously runs a hand through it, floppy fringe falling into bright, keen eyes, skin violently white against the purple pencil resting against his jaw...Mmmmm I would like to be that pencil right now. Except the eraser looks kinda chewed. I don’t think having my foot chewed would be particularly romantic.
“Are you even listening to a word I’m saying?” Cam asks crossly.
“Maybe Cam, but I’ve always preferred Thai food to be honest.”
“You’re impossible,” she snaps.
Her resentment brings me out of my trance and I instantly feel guilty. “Aw dude, I’m sorry. I’m just really...distracted at the moment.”
“I can see that,” she rolls her eyes. “You really are whipped, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” I sigh. “I don’t get it! I’ve never been this...icky...over people in such a short space of time before! How long since we met him?”
“Ummm...” Cam glances at the watch on her wrist. “Five minutes.”
Five minutes! I can’t believe this. “But have you seen him? He’s fucking gorgeous! And so adorably awkward.”
“I swear he’s not even your type?” Cam asks. “Don’t you normally look for bad boys?”
Gosh darn it, Cam. I look at her quizzically. “Cameron Kosravi. You have known me long enough to know that any type is my type.”
“So why don’t you just ask him out?”
“Are you serious?” I scoff. “He’s the new kid. At the moment he’ll be feeling afraid, uncomfortable and hatred towards everything and everyone. Also there’s only a one in ten chance of him being gay. I’m not taking that chance.”
“Then shut the hell up and colour in your Puritan.”
Sigh. This is so laaaaaame. I know, I’ll make my Puritan a drag queen transvestite stripper. I begin by adding leopard dots to his panty-hose. I wonder what Gerard and I would do if we ever went out? Maybe I could take him to a drag queen transvestite strip show. Not that I’ve ever been. That would be so stereotypical.
“Hey Cam,” I say, a thought suddenly occurring to me. “You’re a girl, right?”
“Thank you for noticing.”
“And girls spend pretty much all their time trapping guys...”
“I also tend to think a lot about God, politics and the metric system.”
“Right yeah, thanks for that Dorkus. But you’ve had loads of boyfriends. Kinda. So...tell me your secret?”
She looks at me, aghast. “Frank! That would be asking me to violate Rule 24 of the Girl Code!”
“And the rule is?”
“Never tell a guy any of the Girl Code.”
“You just did!” I accuse. “Come on Cam, I’m gay! It doesn’t count, does it?”
“Yes, it does,” says Cam matter-of-factly. “And I’m not telling you. So drop it.”
I let my head sink onto the desk and knock my forehead against the wood for a little while. The dull thunk reminds me of my own stupidity.
“Mr Iero,” Ms Chambers, our scarily feminist History teacher says sharply. “What in God’s name are you doing?”
“Atoning for all the women I’ve mistreated in my lifetime, Ms Chambers,” I reply, hitting my head against the wood again. “There’s going to be a very lonely girl tonight because I’m out sinning with random male strangers.”
“Stop it Frank,” Cam whispers.
“My brain feels bruised.”
“Then quit it!”
“No! Not until you tell me your secret!”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“And yet, here I am slowly growing a haemorrhage.”
“Okay! Fine,” she sighs, rubbing her temples with her fingertips. I lift my forehead dizzily from the table. The room looks a little funny. “After class,” she adds.
Yes! Am I finally, at long last to learn one of the top secret of girl kind? I glance at the clock and groan. It’s gonna be a long thirty minutes.
“Tell me, tell me, tell me!” I squeal excitedly as we file out of the classroom.
Cam sighs again, grasps me by the arm and drags me into a quieter part of the hall, muttering expletives under her breath. “Right,” she begins in a hushed undertone. “If you really want to know, there are twenty main ways girls use to get a guy to like them.”
My eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. “Twenty?”
“Yup,” Cam nods. “Whenever we’re with a guy we like we try to use at least one of them, subconsciously or consciously depending on how aware of it the girl is.”
Oh my God!! It’s like I’ve just unearthed gold! How many guys would kill for this information? Maybe I could sell it on eBay! “A Misfit’s Guide to the 20 Ways”. That’s a dumb name but it has a nice ring to it. Cam, seemingly reading my thoughts, adds “But you can’t tell anyone about them, especially not a guy. That would just creep them out if they thought that girls were strategically plotting to ensnare them.”
“You make it sound so evil!”
“It’s not evil,” she states plainly. “It’s survival.”
I reflect on this statement for a moment. Survival. That’s how girls see high school? Like I do? I shake my head to clear it of all deep thought. They fuck with your brain, these female types. “Okay. What are the twenty ways?”
“I’ll write you a list,” Cam replies. “But number one is ‘eye contact’.”
“Eye contact?” I repeat perplexed. “How is looking at a guy sexy?”
“It’s not all about sexiness,” Cam explains. “Stage one is getting someone to notice you.”
“But the sexy part is the fun part,” I pout. “Never mind. How do you do the eye contact thingy?”
“The trick is to watch him,” says Cam. “Watch his eye movements. Look away when he looks away. When he looks at his feet don’t look directly into his eyes, it’ll make him feel embarrassed. But most importantly, when he looks at you make sure your eyes meet and hold the connection for as long as you possibly can before looking away. It’s crucial that you look away first because that leaves them staring and noticing things about you that they didn’t before. But don’t let him catch you staring or watching him. That’ll creep him out.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” I yelp, pulling out a spare rough book and hurrying to note down all the little details. “This is so confusing. Look at him, don’t stare at him. Don’t pull away then pull away. This Girl Code has more contradictions than the Bible!”
“Which is why it’s an unwritten law,” Cam nods, smiling wryly. “But let me enforce the fact that these twenty ways don’t necessarily work. They’re just techniques someone might put into practice, not impeccable instructions that will guarantee you a date to prom or whatever.”
“But all that’s about to change,” I counter, underlining the title. “I am going to be the first woman to try all the twenty ways in a strategic order. I shall note my findings using evidence from my own experience and then I shall publish them and make, like, a billion dollars.”
“You do realise that you’re not actually a woman, right?”
“Details, details,” I wave away impatiently. “Where’s Ray-dude? I wanna put this eye contact thing into action!”
We find him in our common room reading a porn magazine which he stuffs down an armchair as soon as we come in. “It’s not mine,” he states automatically.
“You can say that as often as you want Ray, we’re never going to believe you,” says Cam, sinking into the armchair and picking up a textbook.
I look at Ray straight in the eye, trying to see deep into his soul. “I believe you Ray.”
He squirms uncomfortably. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Like what, Ray?” I ask, unblinking. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“I don’t like it,” he whimpers, crawling behind an armchair. “Please stop it, Frank.”
“Cam, it’s not working!” I cry. “All that’s happening is that my eyeballs are getting itchy!”
“Serves you right, you’re creeping me out,” Cam shudders. “You need to be more subtle. You can look at him normally in a casual conversation but when he’s far away only look up when he does.”
“But how do I know if he’s looked up if I haven’t looked up?”
“Glance at him occasionally to check. But don’t. Be. Weird.”
I stifle a gasp. There he is. Doing homework. I can do homework too. “I need to do some homework,” I tell the guys and quickly grab a desk nearby.
I think he notices as I sit down because his pen stops moving momentarily. Not that it means much. Maybe he forgot how to spell ‘tangerine’. I pull out some work from my bag and spread it across the desk.
Maths. English Lit. I don’t really care. I’m way too preoccupied with glancing occasionally and indiscriminately at Gerard’s shmexy self. I can’t seem to help it, my eyes are drawn to his direction like a magnet to a safety pin adoring tartan pants. I keep wondering what he’s thinking, what he thinks of me. I mean, I know we only met once but I got a big ego. Does he think I’m a freak and wants me to stay as far away from him as possible? Or does he think I’m hot?
I notice the little things. Like the way his hair curls slightly at the ends and around the nape of his neck. Like his hands, long fingered and defined. Artist’s hands, maybe? Suddenly he looks up. Our eyes meet and I start to panic. Okay, I think hurriedly. Remember what Cam said. Hold the connection. Hooooold the connection. What the fuck is a connection anyway? All that’s going on here is that I’m staring at the new kid like a perve in a playground and his eyes, hazel in this light, are widening in...is that fear? Shit, I’m terrifying the poor kid! Think of something. Think of something now.
And because I’m really very stupid the only thing I can think to do is smile. As widely as possible.
Oh dear. I look like I have tooth ache. Or gas. Gerard blinks and looks away hurriedly. I deflate like a balloon released into a mosh pit. I look back down at my Maths textbook, blinking hard to control my emotions. He hates me. He thinks I’m a paedophile. He’s got up to leave. He must really hate me.
“Why do you hate me?” asks a small voice.
I jump up about a foot in the air to see Gerard, standing there innocent and wide eyed. Taken aback, it takes my brain a few seconds to think up a reply. “Why do you think I hate you?” is the only sensible thing it can come up with. I don’t think “You’re so motherfucking hot” is my best option to go with here.
“Please,” he rolls his eyes sarcastically. I can just make out a line of black eyeliner darkening his lids. “You’ve been acting weird around me since I first got here. You kept whispering about me in History to your girlfriend and now you’re...what, like trying to kill me with your eyes?”
“Cam’s not my girlfriend!” is the only thing which makes sense to me in that statement. “Ew! No! God no! Fuck no! Heeeeeeeeeell to the no!”
“Have I done something to you?” Gerard continues. “I mean, I get that some people hate me on impulse. The jocks and the cheerleaders, that’s the way life goes. But you? Do you want my place on The Source? You can have it. I don’t really want it. My mom forced it on me to get me to socialise. And, like, you can copy off my History homework if you want. Just...please quit making this place a shit hole before I can even make sense of things.”
“Duuuuude! What?” My shrunken brain comes out with. “Cam is not my girlfriend. I am hated not just by jocks and cheerleaders but by the rebels and punks as well. The Source sucks. No one reads it but the smart kids and by that I mean Cam. And you...” I LOVE YOU!!! “I think you’re really cool.”
His eyes light up as if someone flicked a switch. “Seriously?”
“Sha dude,” I nod. “Means yes,” I add at his confused expression.
“Oh.” The pink tinge colours his cheeks. “Oh. Cool. Ummm...sorry. About. That.”
“You’ve been here what, thirty-five minutes? And already this place is fucking with your brain,” I say consolingly. “Happens to the best of us.”
Gerard nods and chews his lip. I want to beat myself up. I’m such a loser. I made the new kid think that somebody already hates him and he’s only been here for, like, half an hour. The awkwardness of the situation starts dawning on the both of us and within seconds I’m casting a line for something to talk about.
Thank you Cam, thank you Cam, thank you Cam! “Oh hey, Cam.”
“I was looking everywhere for you!” she lies. She was totally sitting in the armchair spying. “What are you doing? Trying to convert the new kid?”
“Convert me to what?” asks the new kid.
“Our cult of awesomeness,” I answer. “Basically, we’re freaks, right? And you...you have excellent freak potential.” That was the nicest way I could think of saying that.
“You don’t have to be polite. I’ve been to three different high school’s in four years,” Gerard smiles wryly. “I know where I stand in the social scheme of things.”
“Well then, you’ll know about the cliques,” says Cam. “And you’ll know that we don’t belong to any of them. We’re just...here.”
“So unless you want to be mind raped by any of the others I would suggest hanging with us,” I add. “We’ll protect you from their brain genitals.”
What. Did. I. Just. Say. Luckily Gerard laughs, albeit nervously. “Basically, we like you a lot and don’t want your innocent little soul to be corrupted by the horror of the emo kids,” says Cam. “And we’re asking you to have lunch with us.”
“Who is ‘us’?”
“Frank, our friend Ray and I,” replies Cam. “Technically I should be eating with the Drama club today. I’m writing an article on how all the school productions are metaphors for underage sex. But you’re protection is more important.”
Gerard laughs and nods. Cam settles down at the table we’re at and dumps some homework on the surface. Watching Gerard out of the corner of my eye, a strand of loose hair just tickling his jaw I’m wondering if protection purely from the emo kids should be Cam’s first priority.
So there’s the first proper chapter of this. You like? You read more? You rate and review? You so lovely.
I will try, as usual, to update at least once a week. So look out for it Monday!