It all happened the weekend of Halloween. Baz Pitch always hosted an annual ‘exclusive’, ‘invitation-only’ Halloween costume party. I, of course, never acquire an invitation, but I get in as Penny’s plus-one (she and Baz are ‘academic allies’) – or on account of being on the rugby team (captain) (although he never tells me to invite the team, he tells our mutual friend Matt to bring over his ‘rugby friends’). Baz is never surprised when I show up like he expects me to be there. But he never actually invites me. He’s aggravating.
Baz’s house looks like a gothic mansion. I’m not sure if that’s part of the Halloween décor or if he legitimately lives in a Victorian-era haunted house. Similarly, I am half convinced that Baz Pitch is actually a vampire. He always dresses up as a vampire for Halloween. Every. Single. Year. I thought repeating outfits every year is ‘uncool’, but on him, it’s somehow ‘endearing.’ I swear he’s mocking us and is actually a vampire – he looks like a vampire on an average day. But what are you going to do? Accuse the most popular guy in school, who dresses as a vampire annually, of being a vampire? I bet that’s his whole cover though. Like; if he makes himself look like a stereotypical vampire, no one will suspect he is one. Anyway.
The thing about Baz Pitch is I hate him.
We hate each other, actually. We’re enemies, yeah? – captain of the football team and captain of the rugby team. Although he rarely acknowledges our rivalry. He pretends to be too cool to even remember my first name, yet he almost always does these subtle things to instigate a reaction from me. After all, he only started dressing up as a vampire for Halloween after I accused him of being one in middle school. He just…owned it.
Anyway, it all happened at Baz Pitch’s Halloween Party.
Saturday, October 31 st
Baz is violently ignoring me. He’s ignoring me with the level of commitment where you know that it’s intentional and he wants you to know he’s ignoring you, very loudly. This silence is deafening, that sort of thing.
Baz is playing that dumb jock game (I say that as a dumb jock) (Baz, of course, is a very intellectually inclined jock. The only student rivalling Penny. I hate him.) where you throw a Ping-Pong ball into a cup of alcohol and then drink.
I’m trying to readjust my tail – I’m dressed as a red demon with wings – when I see Agatha approach Baz. Agatha is my on-again, off-again girlfriend who Baz has always been after. She’s draping herself all over him, wrapping his cape around her body. She’s wearing literally a bikini with rhinestones and feathers. I want to drag her out of here by the feathers – but we’re off right now so I can’t make a scene. Baz is encouraging her flirting, as always. I still don’t know if it’s because he actually likes her, or just to fuck with me. I’m not sure which possibility is worse.
She leans in to kiss him… I tense. My jaw is clenched. I’m gripping a red cup so hard I’m sure it would have been overflowing into my lap if it wasn’t empty (I’m not a heavy drinker, I’ve been sitting here with an empty alcohol cup for an hour, so people stop offering me drinks. ) I should have left over an hour ago, I’m bored, and Penelope wants to leave. But I need to stay here to keep an eye on a very drunk Agatha, and Baz who is definitely plotting something.
He turns his face slightly, avoiding her kiss. She lands his cheek instead – still too much kissing for me, but I’ll take it as a victory. She looks agitated now, I’m sitting far enough away that I can only barely make out what they’re saying. She’s angry about him rejecting her. She’s accusing him of always leading her on, he’s assuring her that he doesn’t want to make a move on her while intoxicated. I guess that means he actually likes her, then. I feel my stomach sink – why? This should be better than the alternative …
She’s assuring him now that she wants this and consents to it. I roll my eyes. She’s a flirty drunk. I can’t hear his response, but he walks away, she looks embarrassed.
I should probably keep an eye on Agatha, but I need to follow him, make sure he’s not up to anything. Why else would anyone reject Agatha?
Baz meets Dev – his cousin, and one of his minions - in the sitting room, I hang back in the kitchen to watch them from a safe distance. They’re bickering about something.
“Just – look, trust me. Don’t keep these feelings to yourself, how will you know if you don’t put yourself out there?”, Baz seems to be giving Dev … romantic advice?
Dev scoffs, “well those are rich words coming from someone who’s never been in a relationship.”
That surprises me. I guess it’s true that I’ve never seen Baz actually have a girlfriend at school, but he’s that type that you know is dating someone.
“I don’t need to draw from experience for this to look at it objectively.”
“feelings aren’t something you look at objectively!”
“It can be – when you know both parties so well!”
Dev sighs, “you’ll understand when you actually develop significant, scary feelings for a person.”
Dev groans. A little louder than he probably should have – they’re attracting attention now. Although I guess Baz Pitch can only ever go a few minutes without attracting attention.
“It’s not like you can’t find someone to date you, it’s just that you’re real fucking stubborn”, Dev rolls his eyes
“oh, please”, Baz is activating his diva mode now, he’s tying his sleek black hair into a messy knot, it looks more attractive than it should when it took 3 seconds and didn’t require a mirror. I hate how arrogant he is. “I could probably date a new person every week if I wanted to – I just don’t want to. I’m not stubborn, I just know my standards.”
“Prove it, then.”, Dev smirks right back at him. “I’ll put myself out there when you do.”
“Prove it, then.”, Dev, the bastard says loud enough for at least 2 dozen people to hear - and I know Simon is stalking me. “I’ll put myself out there when you do.”
What does this moron think he’s doing? He knows I’m as gay as a maypole. I’m so deep in the closet that I could find Narnia. I’m not ashamed; Niall is openly bisexual, and he hardly gets shat on for it. I’m just not ready to come out yet … I don’t know how to, without it becoming a whole thing. Maybe I would if I had a legitimate reason to, but I’m single and happy about it, and we leave for college in a few months so what’s the point? I’ll come out in college.
“Pardon?” because it’s all I can say right now. I’m still processing – I might be malfunctioning.
“The great Baz Pitch,” Dev teases, “too good for anyone in this school,” He knows that’s not it. I just haven’t met any viable options. “Prove it”. The bastard is smirking. I roll my eyes a whole 360 degrees – But Pitches don’t back down from a challenge.
“what are you thinking, Grimm?” It’s hard to take him seriously when he’s dressed like a giant Pooh Bear.
We’re drawing a significant crowd now. Mostly everyone who isn’t drunk, hungover, or currently getting shagged. Niall seems to have re-joined us too, from where he was making out with Matthew (our friend from the rugby team, whom Niall has recently started hooking up with) on the Porch. Niall is dressed like zorro. He’s objectively attractive, but we’ve never seen each other that way. Also, he and Dev are pining for each other, with me in the middle as the only knowing party, of no help because they both swore me to secrecy.
“A challenge of sorts,”, Dev is using that tone where I know he’s going to dare me to do some dumb shit, I’m going to do it, and then we’re both going to be fucked until Niall can get us out of trouble. We all know our roles in this friendship.
I hope things stay the same when they start dating.
Dev continues, “– I dare you, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm – Pitch,” I roll my eyes, “ to date someone new every week.” He’s smirking.
I’m not sure what he’s trying to do, really. Kick me out of the closet? He’d never do that. And, he’s in it too.
He is always on my case about casually dating and getting to know people. The only reason I’m even still in the closet is because I haven’t found anyone worthy of coming out for – and personally I’m comfy here. Dev, however, argues that I’m going to be hiding myself until I find someone worth it, but I won’t find anyone because everyone thinks I’m straight.
Again I say: college.
I raise an eyebrow at him, “elaborate.”
“a dare,” Dev explains, taking a seat next to Penelope Bunce on the couch, “you need to date a new person every week. If you get tired of it or run out of people to date – you lose”
“well there’d have to be a time – limit on that; eventually he’ll exhaust all options and then that’s hardly fair” Niall, bless his soul, cuts in
“A dare like this needs proper rules. I nominate myself as dare chancellor, all in favour?”, Penelope Bunce volunteers.
All things considered, this is quite mental, but I actually trust Penelope to keep things fair, so I start clapping, and soon everyone is clapping. I chance a glance at Simon Snow – he looks bewildered.
“okay Bunce, give us the rules”
“time limit. It’s a new relationship every week, so it has to be long enough to require a proper pool of willing participants to prove your point” – merlin she’s already made dating sound boring, “but it can’t take over your whole life” – I’ve always liked this girl. “how about … from Monday until the valentines Ball? it’s hardly fair to force you to celebrate valentines day with someone you probably aren’t voluntarily dating”
“I like that. Three months sounds fair. Dev?”
“sounds fair”, dev agrees. “but, if Bazzy loses then his punishment is he needs to take a date to the Valentines Ball. And I’m talking pre-date dinner, limo, tux, dancing – the full monty”
Dev should stand for Devil.
“what if Baz wins?” Matthew asks. He’s always been a friend but he’s been trying to get an in-, in our trio lately. Trying to get along with Niall’s friends. I see Dev clench his jaw. He looks away from Matthew, back at me.
“Name your price, Bazzy”
“If I win then you’ll get off my back about dates, dating, romance all that stuff! I don’t want to hear a word about it again – I am going to the Valentines Ball stag and looking better than everyone, and you’ll will be fucking happy about it”
“that’s fair – you’d have tried dating about a dozen people by then so if it’s still not for you we won’t bring it up again”, Niall offers
“Okay,” Bunce intervenes, “if Baz loses, he has to take a date to the Valentines Ball but if he wins he gets to go stag for, like, the rest of his life. Any rules?”
To my surprise (or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because he always thinks I’m plotting) it’s Simon who responds, “How do we know Baz is playing properly and not just paying a different person off every week? Or pretending to date someone?”
“Really think I can’t catch a date without my wallet, Snow?” that hurts a bit since I fancy him more than a bit. That’s precisely the reason I’m an arsehole to him. I don’t need the constant reminder about how straight he is when all I want is to scatter his body with kisses, like the moles that cover it.
“ 'course you can,” he says easily, “but a different person every week? That’s a big ask for even you, Pitch” he smirks.
“We could keep it within Watford only – no outside participants” Penelope suggests
“And Baz can’t ask anyone out”, Dev smirks.
“what? Then how the fuck must I date anyone??”
“If you ask people –I know you, cousin, you’ll have a spreadsheet of candidates you’re going to ask out for every week for the next three months by tonight! You’ll do it for the sake of doing it and ask out everyone who isn’t even a legitimate option for something real – you won’t give anyone a chance.”
I roll my eyes, but he’s not wrong.
“that’s probably for the best though,” Bunce adds, “anyone participating can’t feel too special about you asking them out and they need to know the rules – so no one bothers getting attached. Maybe the rule should be that every week, you date the first person to ask you out. That way, you know whoever asks you already knows about the dare and the rules and that you’re breaking up in a week”
“That’s fair. So, if I’m waiting for people to ask me, I don’t really have much control of the situation except being a boyfriend.”
“scared no one’s going to ask you out, cousin?” Dev smirks
“I’m encouraging people to ask me out, Dev, with a guarantee that I won’t reject them I’m certain I can pool together enough people for 3 months.”
“a few more rules,” Bunce cuts in, “there should be a code or something – so we know that the person asking you is asking on the basis of the bet and not genuinely … to avoid any confusion”
“they’re not really asking – it’s not like Baz has much choice. They’re just updating you about who your stand-in partner is for the week” Niall says. I really do appreciate my friends. They’ve so carefully steered clear of saying the words ‘girl’ or ‘girlfriends’ … leaving it open if any guys want to ask me. I’m not out, but this isn’t a bad way to casually come out.
“I got it. The first person every Monday morning – in school – to say “Date me, Baz Pitch” will automatically be my partner for the week. But only until Friday, I’m not dedicating three months of weekends to this”
“the school week” Penny agrees, “they have to ask you out after the first bell on Monday morning, and you can break up after the last bell on Friday afternoon. Fair?”
“fair. So, what are all our rules?”
“Hold up – I’ll post this to my Ig – get the word out” Niall volunteers as Dev and Penelope finalize something adjacent to a fucking contract.
Date me, Baz Pitch: Dare
- Baz must say yes to the first person to ask him out after first bell every Monday Morning.
- Starting: November 2nd2020
- Last Week of Dare: February 8th2021
- Every relationship ends after the last bell every Friday.
- The person must say the words “Date me, Baz Pitch” as a code that they agree to the terms of this dare.
- No physical intimacy during the duration of this dare – this is not a real relationship.
- No repeats. Different person every week.
- Baz is not obligated to any commitments or promises exceeding the break-up date following one week.
- Only seniors of Watford Highschool can participate.
- Baz loses if:
- He fails to be asked out by anyone before last bell on Monday afternoon.
- He quits the bet prematurely.
- He breaks any of the rules.
- Baz wins if:
- He follows all the rules and completes the three months.
“okay”, I’ve just finished a tentative list of rules that Niall and Dev will both put up on their socials to get the word out. Truly I think this whole dare is barbaric and I should not be encouraging this behaviour. I just felt so bad for these morons, they really needed some rules to be dictated to them and someone to make sure they don’t end up breaking the law or anything – they didn’t even realize that Basil is eighteen and needs to exclude minors from the sample group!
And that’s how it started. A stupid argument and a stupid dare to get people off his back about relationships – a deal to temporarily date the first person to ask him out every week.
It had been over two months. Baz had played along, he never broke his rules for anyone.