Nice to Meet You, I’m a Slut! Fifteen Again

Illustration: Olivia Duval

Rather than ruining my life in Fever, as I’d planned, I will be marking the end of my second year by getting blind drunk in a field with my home friends just like old times. Only, instead of stolen vodka (from my mum’s booze shelf, not shoplifted – I’m not a criminal) discreetly stored in a Buxton water bottle, I plan on keeping it relatively classy with a bottle of fizz and some beers. I am, after all, twenty, not fifteen. Although, many aspects of lockdown have made me feel fifteen again. Resorting to fields as viable party-spots, because pubs are closed and house parties pretty much illegal, for one thing and the fact that having a sex life of any kind requires substantial logistical planning and some pretty serious sneaking around (not that I condone or have indulged in such behaviour) for another. We are neither fully fledged adults, with stable incomes and houses of our own, nor are we fully fledged students able to flex our new-found independence and legal right to get shit-faced in clubs, pubs, and bars. Instead, we are children once again, confined to our teenage bedrooms in our hometowns living a life of celibacy and relative sobriety.

Being back at home for so long has me feeling, in a word, stunted. After a year and a half of having my nerves tested to the very limits by circuit laundry, occasionally cooking for myself (I’m a regular in my college hall), and coming and going without having to let anyone know where I was going and when I was due home, it feels a little strange to be back in the family home. Especially when my home has so many angsty associations and I’m sure I’m not alone in this as our teenage bedrooms have all seen their fair share of tears, tantrums and hormonal meltdowns. It feels strange, and somewhat regressive, being back in a space I associate so closely with crazy sleepovers, texting boys, and frantically revising for exams. Now, it’s a weirdly alien, but familiar, space and I’m not quite sure where it sits in relation to my current life.

I have a similar uneasy relationship with the fields surrounding my hometown. For context, one of my friends used to live on a farm and we’d often camp out in one of the fields and get completely trashed on vodka and whatever other spirits we could get a hold of. They used to host weddings in a converted barn where we’d sometimes sleep in the colder months. We once found a stash of red wine bottles under the stage and needless to say that was one of the messiest nights of my entire life. Never in my life have I seen so many people vomit at the same time. Never again in my life do I want to see that many people vomit at the same time.  In the summer months we’d wade through long grass and pitch a tent somewhere random for the night. I’ll admit I’m too old for sleeping in damp fields; I’d much rather wake up dry and in my own bed. My days of stumbling out of tents into fields of turkeys (yes, turkeys) at sunrise are long behind me.

This mindset did not stop me, however, when my best friend (a ‘day one’ you might say,  a girl I’ve known since I was five who gave me a penguin necklace with ‘friends’ on it to match her ‘best’) asked if I wanted to ‘get pissed tonight’. This was fairly recently and I hadn’t spent proper time with her since before Christmas what with university and lockdown happening. So, I gathered some plastic cups and a picnic blanket whilst she packed her flask of vodka and pink lemonade into a bag which we took up to some fields behind my house. With there only being two of us, and it being more a catch-up than an all-out bender, it was significantly less chaotic than the times we’d spent in large groups roaming Matlock, and its surrounding rural areas, after dark. It was a little more refined and composed, although being a bit beyond tipsy and out in the open after dark still felt liberating in its own special way. It was when we started getting texts from our mums asking what time we were coming home that we really, truly felt fifteen again.

If the weather allows us, I intend to get (socially distanced) drunk once again with my home friends in a field. I am lucky to live in a place with an abundance of open spaces, even if it means struggling up a 100m incline to get there, and a pretty clumsy pitch-black descent once we’re done for the night. Although we’ll probably never get alfresco-drunk with the same reckless abandon as we did when we were fifteen, we can use the lockdown as an opportunity to partially recreate our early adolescence (just with significantly less angst I hope). I should add, as well, that this marks the last episode in this Lockdown special series of ‘Nice to Meet You, I’m a Slut!’ But I hope to make a return once life is back to a semblance of normality and I get an opportunity to explore all the things I’d initially planned to write about but were rendered circumstantially irrelevant. For now, I leave you on this vaguely nostalgic note, and bid you all adieu. 

Olivia Duval’s artwork can be found on Instagram @livduvaldrawings