Catfish Part 3

catfish, noun: a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
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So apparently things could get more awkward between Mark and Jason.


So now it's Saturday and things are kind of awkward between us. For once he doesn't seem to have anywhere to go, just when I'm wishing he would leave. I'm back to my normal clothes but he still keeps on looking at me weirdly.

I'm trying to use my computer and he keeps looking at me weirdly and finally I get fed up and snap, “What is it?! Why do you keep staring at me? It's weirding me out.”

Mark shakes his head and looks hangdog. “I don't know, I just…”

“Just what?”

'I keep thinking about, you know… Alicia.”

“But I'm not even dressed like h—that,” I complain.

“Yeah, I know,” he awkwardly scratches his neck, “but I keep looking at you and seeing her.”

“Are you saying I look like a girl? Because I resent that.”

“No, it's not… well, I guess that kind of is it. I hadn't thought about it before but you don't look that different from when you were dressed up. I… keep flashing to seeing you as a girl, even though you're dressed like you normally do. Just for a moment, my perception flips or something.”

“That's weird. That's a super weird thing to say. I don't know why you'd say that.” I feel my face start turning red. “You've known me for a while and only seen me as… a girl, once. Okay, twice, whatever.”

“I'm sorry. I'm not doing it on purpose. You just… I guess you made a big impression on me. As Alicia.”

“You know,” he adds, “I don't know exactly what's up with you but if you want to dress like that around the room it's fine with me.”

I death-glare at him. “Why would I want to dress like that?! I told you, it was a prank.”

He looks apologetic again. “Sorry, I guess I keep forgetting that. Well, not forgetting, but it just doesn't… feel that way, you know?”

I don't know.

I'm out of there.

***

I'm sitting in the library working on homework—I know, what a nerd, but I needed something to do that was away from the dorms—and I'm still feeling super weird, when a guy approaches me.

“Hey, you okay?” he asks cautiously. “You seem upset. Is there anything I could do to help?”

I don't know why this random guy is bothering me—it's not like it's any of his business if I'm upset, is it?–but I tell him to bug off. He does but looks kind of mad. And he says one more thing before leaving.

“I'm sorry, but I just don't like to see such a pretty girl unhappy.”

WHAT THE F******CK?

Okay, I'm not even dressed anything like a girl so I don't know what that guy's problem is. I guess I might have still been speaking in a slightly higher voice but that doesn't seem like it would mean much.

I'm just generally annoyed. But for some reason I also feel kind of happy. And turned on. I don't know what my problem is. I don't think I'm gay. I'm not really that into anyone but I was never into guys.

I guess I can't escape my problems in the library. I pack up my stuff and go to a nearby restaurant that I like. I like that they don't really care how long you sit at a table. Very hands-off approach.

I'm sitting there and I start worrying about my problems again. I start thinking about the date—sorry, “date”–but I'm sick of wondering what things mean and I kind of zone off. The date was weirdly fun and honestly Mark was really… attractive (gulp), something I'd never noticed before and I start feeling warm and fuzzy and drifting off thinking about his eyes and his pecs and—suddenly I snap awake. What the hell am I doing?

Sh*t, it looks like these problems are going to follow me wherever I go. I better just deal with it at the source.

I head back to the room.

Maybe actually seeing what the real Mark looks like will dispel these weird fantasies.

***

So I get back to the room and of course Mark's not there anymore.

The clothes I wore on the “date” are still on the floor. I look at them and have a weird urge to put them on again. Wait for Mark to come back. Tell me how pretty I am.

I stuff them in the trash.

I can't do this anymore. If I did, Mark would be right… it wouldn't be a prank anymore. I'd have to excuse. Except that I wanted to.

That's not good enough.

If this got out it would destroy my reputation. Girls would cross to the other side of the street just to avoid me. My family would be embarrassed and angry.

I'm just going to try to forget about this. I think it's for the best.

***

The next day I log in to do some browsing and I see that the dating site is still open. I go to exit it but see that I have a new message and pause. It's from Mark. Why wouldn't he say it in person?

I guess I embarrassed you and I'm sorry. I enjoyed the time we spent together but I guess it's over. Say hi to Jason for me.

Huh, he actually capitalized stuff. Weird.

It's also weird how he's acting like “Alicia” and “Jason” are two separate people that happen to know each other. He's in denial, I guess.

I actually feel kind of bad reading the message. What happened really wasn't his fault. If anything it was mine.

I message him back. Somehow the removal of communicating through text makes it easier to say things. Less awkward than face-to-face, I guess. Especially if just looking at me is going to remind him of what I pulled on him.

You don't need to apologize. For what it's worth I enjoyed it too.

I linger for a long moment before deleting the second part and hitting send.

He doesn't reply.

***

Life goes back to normal. I don't see much of him and he doesn't see much of me. We're back to our awkward male-roommates minimal necessary conversation.

I keep thinking about what happened though. I enjoyed people thinking I was a girl, treating me like one. I must be some kind of pervert, but does it really matter? Lots of people have weird fetishes. As long as I don't let anyone know about it it's not going to do any harm, right?

I'm not sure I trust my own logic but I'm alone so much and eventually I give in to temptation.

I go through the rigamarole of ordering more clothes online. I still have the makeup from before. I never got rid of it. I thought maybe I could use it for a Halloween costume at some point.

I start dressing as a girl a lot of the time Mark is gone. I don't go outside. Just because I pulled it off last time doesn't mean I will this time. I don't want anyone in the dorms to see me doing this and recognize me.

I also masturbate while dressed up. I feel like a huge pervert but it's really effective. At first, anyway. I guess like anything after a while I get used to it and it doesn't work so well any more. Like building up a drug tolerance or something.

Actually, that metaphor kind of worries me. I don't want to get more and more extreme doing this.

I keep doing it anyway.

I have to talk to Mark more to figure out what his schedule is. So I can avoid him. When I'm like this. I'm relieved when he doesn't ask why I want to know.

A few times he offers going out to dinner together, as friends. No mention is made of “Alicia.”

I turn him down. I feel way too awkward about it. The shadow of the past hovers over all our interactions, but neither of us ever brings it up. For all I can tell maybe he really has forgotten about it. I know I can't forget but he acts like the whole thing never happened.

It kind of annoys me, actually.

Then one day I'm dressed up but just sitting on the bed using my laptop—but trying to sit in a girly position, mind you. Mark's not supposed to be back for another hour.

Then he comes bursting in.

This is eerily familiar.

“Sorry, I forgot my--” he pauses. “Alicia?”

I'm staring at him wide-eyed in fear.

“Wow, I haven't seen you for a while.” He's taking this really weirdly and calmly. I think he's pretending I'm not his male roommate.

“Um, yeah,” I stutter. If he wants to pretend I'm not doing anything weird than by all means I'll let him. “I haven't seen you either.”

“Hey, I'm free if you want to go out,” he offers.

I can't let him keep doing this. “Hey, you remember that I'm your roommate, right? Your male roommate?”

“Yeah, I know,” he said casually. “Sorry, I was assuming you wanted me to call you that when you were presenting as female. What do you want me to call you, actually?”

I ignored his random question. “How are you so calm about this? Your roommate is a pervert; you should be mad.”

Mark looks confused. “I don't care what you do with your time. Why would I be mad?”

“Because it's—it's disgusting! Like, have you never watched any comedy? It's the funniest thing to most—to people.”

“I don't think it's disgusting,” Mark says, earnestly plodding onward as if my tirade hadn't just happened. “I think people should be able to wear whatever clothes they want.”

Now there was liberal bullshit. Not that I was conservative, what kind of college student would I be? But obviously that just isn't what the world is like.

“No, seriously,” he asks. “Can you explain to why a person, wearing clothes, is a bad thing?”

I sputter, “Because they're the WRONG clothes, mor—dude.”

“The wrong clothes?”

“Yeah!” I was finally on firmer ground. Not that he was much of a debater. Or this was much of a debate. “Certain people are supposed to wear certain clothes. Clothes are either for men or for women, and if you wear the wrong ones people... do stuff.”

“Do stuff?” The asshat was smirking. Yeah, you're so smart dude. I bet your smile would be way uglier without any teeth.

Come on, work with me here. They make fun of you, or you're disgusting, or they'll like beat you up.” I vaguely remembered something in the news about a tranny getting murdered. Or probably more than one.

“You know, I'm honestly disappointed in you Al—Jason. I didn't think you were the kind of person to just go along with society wants.” He's still smiling infuriatingly. “Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go to class.”

Ha. THIS guy going to class. That was a laugh. He clearly just wants to get out of an argument he knows he'll lose.



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