Ecstatic Gaydar by Caitlin Bergh

November's edition of The Funny Story Show, a hybrid storytelling and standup show at The Looseleaf Lounge in Lakeview, is tomorrow (11/8). In advance of tomorrow's show, Caitlin Bergh, TFSS' host and producer, submitted the following true story to run here, saying "I tried to write a story that I would (and will) tell at The Funny Story Show. If it's too vulgar/out there, feel free to tell me and I can send you something more tame! But it is true to what I would say on stage." 

I’m not a drug-taking person, but once upon a time, when I was very desperate and sad, I tried ecstasy. I was desperate because I had just broken up with my first serious girlfriend. We were the kind of couple that had actually rented a U-haul to move me into her place within weeks of knowing each other. When you have that level of unhealthy closeness to someone, the breakup is pretty shocking because you haven't been alone, even for a second, in months. Suddenly you are totally on your own, and it feels like being scalped (or, what I imagine being scalped would feel like).

Since the breakup, I had spent a lot of time crying while masturbating with my legs up against the wall and my head hanging off the bed in my tiny studio apartment (my sadness was so profound that the blood rush was the only thing that worked for me). Unfortunately, my apartment was so small that this maneuver often resulted in my head sliding into my laundry basket while I was masturbating, which, of course, didn’t stop me or even slow me down. I had also been taking sleeping pills from Walgreens every night in an attempt to force myself to sleep through the tears, and then crying in the shower every morning before going off to work to cry at my desk when no one was looking.

Everyone in my Boystown apartment building could hear me doing the first three things in my studio and enjoyed making mock “crying while cumming” sounds through the paper-thin walls. When my best friend, who lived upstairs, suggested that I try ecstasy to feel better, I was like, “mmmmmm, I don' t know. I kind of just want to feel what I'm feeling, you know?” And she said,  “I need you to take this because I can't stand you anymore and no one wants you to feel what you are feeling. Especially your neighbors.” I agreed.

After putting on our most see-through outfits, we took her little happy face pills and made our way to the mother ship for all desperate, drugged women: Berlin nightclub. Once inside, I immediately took my shirt off and got up on the platform to start "dancing." I had always wondered what effect X would have on me, and it turns out that it shuts down my gaydar. In short, it makes me think every woman I see is gay. Which, even in Berlin, is definitely not the case.

I grabbed the hand of a girl dancing nearby and she came up on the platform. She said something about being married and straight, but she was new to Chicago and wanted to make friends, but the information didn’t register, and I just kept laughing at everything she said. We danced for a while before I got her number and made a date with her for that weekend. It was a great night.

That weekend at our date, the girl from Berlin talked again about how she was married and straight and new to the city and wanted to make friends and was so glad that we were going to be friends. "Yeah!" I said, “me too.” But I had forgotten all of that stuff. I tried to hide the fact that I'd bought a new shirt from American Apparel for this "date." We ended up drinking for hours and, once we were very drunk, we walked to Belmont harbor.

We were so drunk that I told her all about how I had thought she was gay because I’d been on drugs the night we met; the drugs had shut down my gaydar and also my ability to listen, I explained. I told her I’d thought this was going to be a date and I’d bought a new shirt because I thought she was really hot. She laughed a lot and said things like "well who is straight, really?" I laughed and said some people are. Then we fell onto the grass on Belmont harbor and started making out. It was confusing, but it wasn’t a time for questions. We took our shirts off and she didn’t have a bra on. The grass felt awesome on our drunk skin.

After about 30 minutes, we heard someone coughing loudly at us. We looked up to see that there were plenty of people out walking because it was a nice summer night. We’d thought we’d been making out in a secret, dark nook, but it turns out we had been making out, topless, right under the bright glow of a streetlamp. It wasn’t even 10pm yet. We got dressed and I walked her home. "Call me!" she said as I was leaving. "Ok," I said back, suddenly remembering how she had a husband. I went home and put my head in my laundry basket. It was amazing that an illegal substance had made my perfectly good gaydar fail me; it was even more amazing that a legal substance had made a married woman’s gaydar about herself disintegrate.

-Caitlin Bergh