At a house-warming party – Cammie looked at me…I looked at her – to our surprise Oscar Wilde had just walked in. I complimented his scarf and he didn’t seem too pleased. A little stuffy and unapproachable, you could tell he didn’t want to be friends with us. Maybe it’s because we insisted on seeing his apartment? Wandered around his bedroom? Or complimented his dandy-esk appearance?
In our defence we were only admiring his likeness to the author, his style, and his old world, yet modernized decor. We had turned into Wilde groupies.
I can’t imagine sharing this experience with anyone else. If I had they wouldn’t have understood. Cammie – who majored in english literature at Carleton – understood the reference as it immediately entered my mind and before it left my lips.
Let me explain…
In brief, Oscar Wilde was an author. Controversially, his work was used against him in exposing his homosexuality while on trial during a time when being gay was against the law. Cammie and I weren’t being forward. We had been socializing with Hilary – the hosts – neighbours when their friend arrived. This Wilde look-a-like was also a neighbour, and his silk scarf paired with a purplish jacket caught our attention. Our chat led to a tour of their apartments, which were the most beautifully decorated spaces we’ve ever seen.
While in this man’s apartment we were mesmerized. His living room looked as though everything was imported, and set in 19th century England. With a trunk, and bookshelves from floor to ceiling we were in awe. Big, chunky leather couches, and bay windows looking out onto the street. A trunk – just like mine but more expensive looking – against the wall. A coffee table with artistic, and political magazines sprawled across it. His hallway was covered in black and white photos of his famous friends, and family. We ventured into his bedroom where we saw this leather dentistry-surgery-like chair, and more ceiling to floor book shelves. His bed had faux-leather drapes hanging from the banisters…this threw us off a little. Now apprehensive to go any further – but we couldn’t stop ourselves – we went into the bathroom where black leather pants were hanging over the shower-curtain rail. We inquired about the size of his closet – because we had seen the walk in at Hilary’s other neighbours place – but Wilde’s twin refused to let us see. We thought…bondage? And scurried out of the bedroom.
What an experience. In our haze of enthusiasm, and excitement we couldn’t stop ourselves from exploring the man and his apartment. It was unlike anything either of us have ever seen. I doubt we will ever return.