The Day I Got Mistaken For A ‘Margaret’

Picture this – Earl’s Court, London, 1988, the height of the Summer, and me working as a part-time barman in one of the coolest gay bars in the city.

Hugh or Margaret? Which one do you think I am?
Hugh or Margaret? Which one do you think I am?

Now he was the biggest catch in town (no, not me, the hunk I am referring to).  He’d been cruising and eyeing me up for weeks.  Overtime I caught him looking at me, I blushed so that my face resembled a tomato but, at the same time, my heart skipped a beat and the butterflies in my stomach were released making me think they were rioting in there.

Just about each one of my friends fancied him.  He was at least six-foot tall, mid thirties, with a stocky build, short dark hair, moustache, piercing brown eyes, and always wore the tightest of Levi 501 jeans which almost revealed his crown jewels (not that I noticed of course).  He was what I called a ‘man’s man’ and nobody would have ever guessed that he was gay had they seen him walking down the street.

Nobody knew much about him.  He often stood on his own, occasionally would chat to someone, and he always seemed to leave the bar on his own.

I didn’t want to make the first move.  I hated rejection and couldn’t think of anything worse.  As well as my friends, the other barmen I worked with had noticed that he was giving me lots of attention. They started to tell me to make the first move, but I couldn’t, I just couldn’t.

Then, in the early hours of the following Sunday morning, having just finished my shift at the bar, I left the pub and started to make my way home which was less than a two-minute walk.

“Hi” came a deep voice, “I’ve been watching you for weeks and wondered if you fancied coming back to my place for a coffee?” The butterflies in my stomach began to riot again and it took what seemed like hours to say ‘Yes’ in a very high-pitched voice (not my normal sounding voice, of course).

I felt like King (or should that be Queen?) of the World as he walked me to his apartment, which was a fifteen minute walk.  We chatted like we’d known each other for years and, as soon as he closed his front door, I shocked myself by grabbing him and forcing him to do some tongue dancing with me.

Now what happened after the tongue dancing, first time around, did not last long, but neither of us seemed to care much about that.  I had the feeling that he was the one and that we’d be doing much more of what had just happened.  He got some cans of beer which we drank as we talked in bed.  By 05:30 we were both exhausted and he asked if I wanted to stay the rest of the night, but I had to get home and get myself ready for my other job as a Sales Assistant in a well-known Department store.

I quickly freshened myself up while he went and made some coffee.  I grabbed my clothes and walked to the kitchen where he was waiting for me.  We drank the coffee while I got dressed and then we had to say ‘goodbye’.  I wondered if he was going to ask me out again.

As he escorted me to the front door of his apartment, he suddenly stopped and told me to wait, muttering something about that I’d forgotten something. While I waited for him to return I was sure I could feel those first dew drops of love falling inside of me.  Then it all started to go wrong…very wrong.

“Here you go” he said, thrusting a wad of ten pound notes into my hand.

I was shocked, so shocked that my jaw almost hit the floor and for the second time in my life I was speechless, completely speechless!

Mr absolutely one hundred and fifty thousand percent of all man (the man of my dreams) had mistaken me for a ‘Margaret’.

This is where my story ends, but if you’re still not sure what a ‘Margaret’ is, then pop over to one of my favourite blogs “Write Dorne – Putting Life into Words” and read her wonderful post “Do you make your words REALLY speak for you?” and discover just what a ‘Margaret’ is.

Do you think I look like a ‘Margaret?’

Thank you Dorne, for bringing back this “I shouldn’t really tell you this…” memory.

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  1. Nope. I don’t picture you as the Margaret type at all. I’m trying to put myself in your place and I know I would have felt horrible! It does make for an interesting story, doesn’t it?

    1. Good to hear, Kat, that’s another vote for ‘Hugh’ then 🙂

      Yes, it’s an interesting story and one which would shock most people if it happened to them, but hopefully something they would later in life laugh about.

  2. Omg not the ending I expected. My mouth is hanging open in shock on the 8.30 train to Belfast, not a good look believe me lol

    I was kinda hoping it was going the love route too. Did you ever see him again?

    1. Oh dear, I hope you were not eating breakfast at the time. I feel for the commuters most of whom were either yarning or taking a quick nap while their mouths were wide open (I’m going on my commuter days travelling into London).

      No, never saw him again. He never came back to the bar, nor did I see him at any of the other bars I drunk in. I did think about knocking on his door and saying sorry and having it out with him, but I decided to move on and leave him alone. It was a good decision because, only a few months later, I met Boyfriend/Partner number two!

  3. I read Dorne’s post just to make sure I got the ‘Margaret’ right and I can tell you, despite the fact you look super cute and have this ‘I’m so cool and sexy’ vibe going on you most certainly do NOT look like a ‘Margaret’ or a ‘Margaret’s mum’…Obviously the guy has ‘issues’ and I just hate the fact he made you feel cheap that way…I guess ‘crown jewels’ does not a king make.. ;)…This post was funny and well written..Thank you for sharing Hugh!

    1. Another vote for Hugh rather than Margaret, that’s great to hear Nishi, thank you.

      Glad you enjoyed the post and could see the humour in it. It was a horrid story at the time it all happened, but I now look back on it and laugh.

      1. Oh yea…I totally understand the moment you realise the ‘object of your affection’ took you for just being an ‘object’..but must say I’m glad you were able to turn this around and push back the pain and present the humour..Lots of love ❤

  4. Oh dear, Hugh. I am so sorry about how all of this ended. It sounded like he had a great night, though. It must have been hard for you working at the department store that day. Some people just judge and assume based on looks. It didn’t sound like anyone in your bar circle suspected this side of his character…looks can be deceiving. Then again, love can be blinding and misleading *sigh*

    Now you’ve got me wondering if you’ve ever crossed paths with him again, or if anyone happens to know what he is up to now. By the way, that is a wonderful photo of you. You look like a pro bartender 🙂

    1. Oh, you got it so right, Mabel. Love is indeed sometimes blind and deceiving, and as for looks, well I’ve seen many a situation where they too can be very deceiving and very well hidden.

      I never did see him again. He never came back to the bar and I never saw him at any of the other bars I frequented. I did think about going back to his apartment and having it all out with him, but I decided to move on and to try and forget about it. Fortunately I managed to do that, but probably only because our paths never crossed again.

      Thank you for the lovely compliment about my photo. You’ve made me blush 🙂

      1. Never saw him again, that is interesting. I really dislike this thought, and no offense, but maybe you rubbed him the wrong way…or the other way round as he thought.

        I’m backtracking for a second. There’s love, and then there’s also infatuation…akin to lust. Maybe it wasn’t love between the two of you after all.

        No worries, Hugh. If I drank beer or any alcoholic beverage, I would certainly ask you to pour me a drink. Then again, I’m sure you make other nice ones too 🙂 Very lucky of you to have saved the photo all these years.

        1. I just felt those first pangs of love, Mabel. You know the ones, they enter your body and you know that the person standing in front of you is “the one”. You have a nervous sensation in your body, but it’s the type that makes you happy rather than make you worry. I totally agree that he had no feelings for me what so ever, but that was his loss 🙂

          I’d pour you a drink anytime. Even a cold water from a bottle, and serve it to you with a big smile and friendly “hello”. During those days I even mixed cocktails, but I could not throw, juggle and catch three bottles all at the same time like some bartenders can.

        2. I am sure you are a nice memory tucked behind Mr Attractive’s mind. How can that incident not stick in anyone’s mind. Who knows, he might one day read this post…

          Will gladly throw you a few extra notes if you ever serve me a drink. Your bartending days certainly sounded fun. I can’t wait to hear more about your younger days 🙂

  5. Geez Hugh, I don’t know what would have been more upsetting, that I’d been mistaken for a Margaret or that all he thought I was worth was 10 pounds! ; ) Seriously, that must have been awful, to realize he had totally misread you, especially since you had had such a crush on him! Thanks for sharing the story with us!

    1. Oh no, it was a “wad” of £10 notes, Grace. I didn’t actually count how much was there as I threw the money on the floor before I left.

      Yes, it was awful at the time, but almost thirty years on I now look back at it and laugh. Just goes to show that you may think you know what a person is going to be like, but often you can be so very wrong.

      1. It’s so true, Hugh. I think we have each encountered a person like that in our lives. I know I have and it stunned me when I realized how off base I was. I’m glad you are able to laugh about it now.

  6. Ah the 80’s , Hugh – discos, sequinned blouses, ‘big’ hair and roller- skating too! (Sigh!) What a great photo – you look terrific – and it seems like you are pouring a perfect pint there. Well you definitely don’t look like a ‘Margaret’. Thanks for the story though – it gave me a laugh! Have a great weekend. Cheers, Maria.

  7. First, thank you for defining a Margaret. I was thinking “he didn’t think you were really a woman, did he?”

    Second, his loss for sure. Probably just as well though I know it stung at the time.

    1. Well, it’s Dorne you have to thank about the Margaret thing, as she put me on to the idea of calling it that. 🙂

      Yes, it did sting at the time, but now it makes me giggle. I do wonder how I would react if the same thing were to happen again to me, but I’m now way beyond ever being mistaken for a ‘Margaret’.

      1. I would probably wonder why I didn’t get more nowadays. Money is something I can use right now! 😀

  8. Not a Margaret, more like a Rhett I think😁handsomely handsome.
    Bet he was ambivalent about his orientation and this was his way of denying it. Love and happiness is not real if you pay for it.
    Always good to be able to admit the wild things we did and laugh about them.

    1. I totally agree. Who wants to pay for love? OK, pay for somebody to help find you love, as in dating agencies, but not for anything else.

      Yes, this was a little part of my life that had sunk deep inside my memory and I thought I’d forgotten all about it. Just goes to show that it only takes a second for these forgotten memories to come right back up to the surface. I’m glad it did because I do laugh about the experience now.

      Thank you for saying “handsome” twice, Claudette.

  9. Oh dear! I would have been beyond angry at the dude if it was me! But then I tend to have a hot head at times.

    His loss seriously and you look like a nice normal fellow on the picture. He must have been dealing with some personal issues at time.

    1. Well I was just speechless. Can you imagine that? No, nor can I, but I seriously was. I think it was a blessing in disguise. Just imagine had he not offered me the money. Oh I dread to think.

  10. Well Hugh, first things first. Here in Yorkshire we have a saying:
    “Ee, yur a rite silly bugger!”
    Imagine a guy saying that… with a pint, a pie with mushy peas, in the pub ,wearing his flat cap and with a wippet by his side.

    I was mortified for you when the creep offered you money. I hope you told him to shove it!
    Secondly, I absolutely howled with laughter at your ending. This is dangerous as I am still a bit chesty, well a lot chesty actually… but we won’t go there, after the woman flu.
    Okay , so you very nearly killed me with this fabulously moving and funny story.
    Thirdly, I wondered why I’ve had additional traffic this afternoon… so it’s a big thank you – again!.
    Love the picture by the way.
    Dorne x

    1. I was thinking Wallace and Gromit for some reason when you said that. Then I wondered what had happened to Shaun the sheep. A one hit wonder I think.

      Sorry to make your chesty condition even more chesty. Rub some Vic into it. It always does the trick with me and Vic is quite nice when he wants to be 🙂 Woman flu? Have you ever had drag queen flu? Believe me, you don’t ever want to catch that one.

      You’re very welcome about the extra traffic. It was your post that inspired my post, so you deserve some extra traffic to your neck of the woods.

      I’m off to get ready for the mad party that awaits us here in the UK tonight. The election results!

      Have a great night.

  11. Hi Hugh, nice story, how brave you are, telling this for all the world. I’m curious: what was your first time speechless occasion? What happened after you saw the money? I believe you through it at his face! Great to know you a little bit more!

    1. I’m glad you asked those question, Elizabeth. I threw the money on the floor and never ever saw him again. I did think about going back to his apartment and having it out with him, but I decided to leave it all alone and move on. Fortunately, despite it being a small world, he never came back to the bar and I never saw him in any of the other bars I visited.

      Thanks for the lovely comments. Brave? Maybe a little, but I find the story so funny now and it was a long time ago so I didn’t mind writing and publishing it.

    1. Thanks, Sally. It wasn’t as if I was even standing under a red light on the street. Just pulling pints and being everyones best friend (as bar staff usually are), which I enjoyed a lot. That’s another vote for Hugh – thank you. Polling is going well. Results during the night!

  12. Hugh, I must admit I didn’t know whether to be mortified, angry, sad, or just plain amused. I know it was painful for you at the time, but I just can’t believe this guy thought you a “Margaret.” Seems he had quite a bit of insecurity, thinking the only way someone would be with him was for money. Much better off the relationship didn’t go any further! And at least up until that point, you had had a wonderful time (and as Edwina says, he obviously did too, based on his payment :))

    1. I wouldn’t mind what ever you felt after reading this post, Stacy. After *cough cough* years, I find it rather funny now. Of course at the time, I didn’t, but I moved on quickly from it.

      Yes, Edwina’s comment made me laugh, as I had never thought of the situation like that before.

    1. I’ll never think of Norwich or Burma in quite the same way after watching that, Geoff. Thanks you so much for this clip. It had me in tears, and here is one back for you (being as I mentioned “department store” in my post).

  13. I love this! You must be in a small select group of accidental Bel de Jours! The 80s were a strange time anyway, I guess, if you were gay, what with everything else going on so mistakes happen I suppose. By the sound of it, he got his money’s worth. And he can’t have been a gentleman because, had he been so, he’d have pushed some more business your way!!

    1. I’m so glad I published this post, Geoff. It’s been hidden away in me for ages, and I must thank Dorne for releasing the memory and bringing it to the surface.

      I so much loved the 80’s, even if they were a little strange, and most of my stories stem from them.

      Did he get his monies worth? I’m not sure as I have no idea what I gave him, was worth. However, can you put a price on love? I know it wasn’t true love, but I certainly had the first signs of it before his wallet came out. OK, you can put the handkerchief away now. I promise no more making you cry.

      You did make me laugh with the last sentence in your comment. You’re very naughty!

  14. Not a Margaret at all, my dear Hugh! In fact, I’d say this ‘hunk’ created something internally to believe, despite the fact he KNEW the contrary was true. Does that make sense? Cher xo

    1. Thank you, Cher. That’s another vote for Hugh and not ‘Margaret’. Phew, I seem to be doing well in this poll.

      Yes, your last sentence does make sense. I had to read it a few times but, yes, I fully understand what you are saying.

  15. Ouch! I’m glad time has turned a hurtful experience into a “did I tell you about that time…” kind of thing.
    You would think that your blushes would have clued him in, not exactly Margaret-like behavoiur. But the fact that he took so long to approach a guy he thought was a Margaret makes me think that perhaps he was as shy as you were.
    I agree with Edwina, a huge wad of cash certainly isn’t a complaint 🙂

    1. I often wondered if that was how he got his kicks, Aimer. I’ve heard of people who do get their kicks from imagining and then paying someone after sex. In the end I put it down to that and then moved on.

      Oh I could tell a lot of stories, believe me 🙂 and no, they are not for my blog.

      1. To use the title of one of my favourite TV shows in it’s original format, “There’s nowt so queer as folk.”
        I’ve lived an incredibly boring life so you can regale me with your adventures in September 🙂

  16. A Margaret?! What an earth gave him this idea? Poor you… I guess he was no longer the man of your dream from that moment onwards (Despite how tight his Levi’s…*cough* Jewels were!)

    I love the Throwback pic, too! (Great mustache!)

    1. I have absolutely no idea, Amanda, other than perhaps the red light that shone through my bedroom window, but that was only when the disco ball was in full action. 🙂

      Moustaches were all the rage for us gay men back in those days, so if you didn’t have one then you were suspect!

      1. Hahaha! Those days seemed like such fun. I was only 2 in 1988…two years old! My dad had a moustache though (much like the one your were sporting) …. *shocked face*

  17. Ha Ha! I think your hunk had a bloody cheek! How could he have thought you were a ‘Margaret’ when you were working behind the bar? Unless of course he thought you would take your ‘clients’ out the back for a bit of fun or something! Oh I bet your were mortified. Not only because he thought you were ‘on the game’ but also because you thought it was going to be the start of a beautiful relationship! (I have to admit that I did laugh though, I have a cruel sense of humour)!

    1. Well I’m glad it made you laugh, Edwina, because it made me laugh remembering and writing about this bit of my life. I look back on it now and wonder why it ever worried me, but then I’ve always been the kind of person who worries about what other people think of me. I know I shouldn’t, but it has stuck with me.

      1. I understand that, as I always worry what others think of me as well. I know I would be extremely affronted if I had enjoyed an encounter with someone, and they gave me money afterwards! However, look at it this way, you must have been damn good to get such a huge wad of notes! 🙂

  18. Blimey, Hugh, how horribly upsetting for you – and after what seemed like such a lovely experience up till that point. I can guess what a Margaret is – and, no, you don’t look like one (in my eyes anyway!) xxx

    1. I’m so glad you don’t think I look like one, Ali. I’m not even sure why he thought I was one, unless of course he got some kind of kick out of it? Each to their own I suppose.

      I now look at the experience with some humour but at the time when it happened (and only having been living in London for two years), it did come as a bit of a shock.

        1. At the time yes, but time seems to have healed that up pretty well, otherwise I don’t think I would have published this post . 🙂

          Thank you, as ever, for your support, Ali.

        2. Glad to hear that healing has occurred, Hugh, and hope writing/posting it was therapeutic. xxx

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