After a tedious sermon at a mosque somewhere in London, cursing the drinking and homosexuality the western nations have obviously embraced, the Pakistani hasn’t got enough time to go home and get dressed. She has a late lunch date with a friend and has some issues to clear up with her, so she goes straight into the city wearing traditional South Asian clothing. On the bus, so far so good, nobody has passed a comment on the Pakistani’s appearance; it’s hard to find a girl wearing odd clothes and speaking perfect English on the phone. One middle aged woman complimented the vibrant colours imprinted on the fabric, which was gratefully received. It was a hot day so the Pakistani took off her coat and scarf that she had religiously worn inside the mosque but there was no one here to judge her, she though, so it would be alright. Off the bus and onto the underground she had never felt more relieved that she wasn’t wearing her headscarf, half the people in the carriage might’ve died of heart failure upon seeing a Muslim on the tube.
The Pakistani had been to so many of these sermons that it was replaced with white noise in her mind, much like a mother can blank out the irritating cries of children in a café after having four herself. She thought nothing of it, nothing of the statement “homosexuality will be the downfall of our nation, now we have welcomed it wholeheartedly into our government.” Aside from the economy, violence, rape, and murder of British citizens, being gay is most certainly the reason for the third world war… Off the train she stood outside the station, enjoying a cigarette, checking the time. She was early. She wandered off into the bar, sending a text;
Babe, I’m actually early, sorry for the miscalculation. I’ll see you in ten, meet me at the bar, top floor. X
Ordering a drink, sitting at a table with the view of the city, the Pakistani thinks about her father. At the mosque she is a Pakistani; to her friends, she’s seen as more of an Indian, she’ll settle with being a Pakistani right now. Normally impatient, the sermon was still ringing in her mind, stinging her face like a tight slap passed across it. All of her efforts for her family were thrown back in her face and now she’s sitting in a bar, drinking, waiting for a girl she’d previously been involved with. A major cluster fuck western intellectuals would drool over the prospect of debating. The Pakistani just wanted a drink and a chat.
She scoped out her friend amidst the slowly growing crowd, thirsty for release after a hard day of work earning money in the city on a Friday evening. Suddenly the Pakistani grew conscious about her attire. Her friends loved her in it, her friend in question preferred her in it, but she herself felt odd, misplaced, out of order; defected, almost, as if her attire was a silky “FUCK UP” label branded across her body. She finished off her drink and stood up with a glossy smile over her face to receive her friend. Both pairs of arms outstretched, both faces with smiles, the brown one subtly swerving in the other direction of the white ones lips because god forbid two girls were to kiss in public. The Pakistani’s friend looked bewildered at the rejection for a moment, but shook her face into politeness again, how-are-you’s and this-one-time-I-was-so-drunk’s were exchanged and laughed about. Drinks were flowing; money was no object, the crowd getting larger around the intimate table for two. The sun was setting over London and the bar was getting warmer, the Pakistani placed a hand over her friends and the got closer with the alcohol. The conversation was broken with an unwelcome remark of “interracial lesbian porn, nice one. Get that paki in a hijab.” She was was a bit confused, because I thought lesbian pornography was pornography containing two lesbians, not two girls who were holding hands over a table sharing gentle conversation. Either way the Pakistani’s friend bowed her head, her cheeks flushed. The Pakistani didn’t know how to handle the cat calls and wolf whistles entirely well so she stupidly went off outside to have a cigarette, leaving her friend there, alone.
Smoking outside, her head spinning slightly, the Pakistani was approached by a fellow smoker, as the smoke hovering above their heads had joined them together, and introductions were prompted which took the form of “your dress is really nice, you don’t see much of that in the city.”
“Why thank you, my mother made it for me…”
The elderly gentleman was wearing an expensive suit and looked well-travelled, like he’d seen and heard it all before, easing the Pakistani into comfort, allowing her to talk about her family and life in other countries. But before they knew it, the cigarettes had ended and she was walking back up to her friend, instilled with confidence to have a good night. She’d missed the last step and jumped onto the second floor, and bounced towards her table which was surrounded with yuppies in their mid-twenties, talking to her friend. As she drew closer she heard what they were saying, “come on, get it down you, we were nice enough to buy you a drink… it’s not like you don’t like getting a bit naughty, it’s obvious, we can get your Indian friend involved, happy days!”
“Actually, I’m Pakistani, and I’d appreciate it if you leave us alone, we’re in the middle of something.” There was a tremble in the Pakistani’s voice as her dress became moist with a nervous sweat. Whoever told you brown people can’t blush is a damned liar.
“Whatever you’re in the middle of, my man would sure like to squeeze in between,” the classy and original joke had caused howls of laughter and knee slapping from the group. The Pakistani’s friend got up and tugged on her friends arm, muttering, “Let’s just go,” and they both walked out of the bar, defeated, followed by a chorus of more wolf whistles and cat calls.
Outside, the night air cooled both of their faces down and they wrapped coats around themselves. The Pakistani felt shit for leaving her friend alone, girls aren’t meant to be left alone in bars, that’s how they get sexually harassed; Pakistanis aren’t meant to go to bars, that’s how ignorance is conceived. Anything queer has to be left in the bedroom, that’s how fetishizing and homophobia comes about, because we’re so damned selfish we can’t keep those things to ourselves and we have to flaunt them in everyone’s faces. The Pakistani thought she’d make it up to her friend,
“We could go to another pub? There’s one down the road which seems quite nice.” Met with refusal, the Pakistani couldn’t blame her friend, the same thing would only happen again. If only she’d spent half an hour going home and pulling some jeans on, this wouldn’t have happened, feck’s sake. “Just come back to mine?” Met with another rejection, again, not that the Pakistani would blame her friend for never wanting to see her again; so they had an awkward hug goodbye and went their separate ways, the occasional like on Facebook not really cutting it for communication for some reason. She doesn’t smoke that much anymore, anyway.
A Pakistani walks into a bar, and would like a Desperados, please and thank you.