The first time I got off on being used as furniture, I was 17 years old.
It was at my best friend N’s 18th birthday party. Her parents had converted their basement into an awesome entertaining room – complete with a full bar and bear skin rug. On other occasions, N and I would sneak down there, concocting a vile mixture consisting of one capful of every liquor present until we had a sizable tumbler of guaranteed drunkenness that we’d share, later gorging on beef and cheese sticks in a futile attempt to mask the odor of ethanol on our breath. How we were never found out, I’ll never know.
But N’s birthday party was different. It was daytime, parentally sanctioned, and even though her mom wasn’t looming over us at every opportunity, she was upstairs and awake, so things were kept considerably more tame than what I normally associated with the space.
I brought my boyfriend G as my guest to the celebration. Things had always been strange with G and me. We’d been good friends at a summer music camp since we were 11 or so, intensely bonding a few weeks every year before returning to our respective lives, then went through puberty and found each other delicious. At 14, we’d made it official, and while we’d had some lovely ups, we had more than our share of downs. We broke up at least 4 times during the 4 years we dated intermittently and were often in an ambiguous place where we really didn’t know what the heck we were. Sometimes he’d fake having a mental illness just to see what I’d do, and I’d call his house 5 times a night like a stalker begging his little brother to put him on the phone. We were quite the pair.
At this party, we were in an “on” phase, one of the better ones. N was the only one of my friends who liked G (the others said he creeped them out), and it was nice being able to have a social event I could bring my boyfriend to without facing overt complaining about my choice to do so, so I jumped at the opportunity. However, as soon as the party began, I started to regret it. The energy was just too weird. G was in an odd mood, and my romantic feelings for N (who had begun exploring her bisexuality with a nearby college GLBT group while I intently watched her from my closet) were mixing with his energy in a way that was completely frying my circuits. I could feel the blood boiling in my head. I felt like the room would begin to spin at any moment, wild desperation coursing through my veins.
I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but it was at that moment, completely overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, that I knelt on the floor and looked up at G, who was sitting in a recliner, and smiled at him and said, “Use me.”
“As a footstool. I want you to use me as a footstool,” I said.
And I don’t know why he did because G rarely did what I asked, even when it was what he wanted to do, but for some reason, he actually did it.
I instantly felt grounded, at peace, centered. I had a purpose, something to focus on. The anxiety quieted, and I floated in place, the party completely fading away. It was this way until he lifted his feet off my back a period of time later. I found myself the rest of the party more relaxed, sedated. I stayed that way long after he and I left the party and made out in my car. It lasted after I dropped him at his house, 40 minutes away. I was still a bit hazy into the next day at school.
It got me thinking that maybe epiphany was a force within us that could be summoned by the proper stimuli rather than the province of a mysterious “other.”
I had just found a big shiny button.