Roughly a million years ago I wrote what was then the…second draft of what is now Catalysts. Early last year I wrote “The Housewarming Party”, which starts with a few Derries and Singer Thurman in a car, on their way to Will and Adam’s new house.
The following exchange takes place between Jeremy, struggling to reconcile the Will he thought he knew with the grown man, and Singer, who knew more than he’d ever let on:
“It’s not like Will said he’s gay. It’s like he just—has this whole side of his life that no one even fucking mentioned to me. I mean, Christ. It’s been years. I made Ads tell me.”
“If that’s why you’re angry, you should be angry at me, too.”
“Because Will called me six years ago to ask if gay men notice when their date wears a nice shirt.”
It’s not an especially earth shattering moment by ay means, but it did occur to me that I wrote that scene eight million years ago, so I tracked it down. And I now present it to you. For fun. And also because a little Singer is never wrong. Just ask any of the Derries.
A missing scene from Catalysts. This takes place right before Will shows up for dinner at Hugh’s. (You’ll remember this dinner as the one Lucy and Nick crash in order to see Will–or, far more precisely, in order to see Hugh with Will.)
He’d been standing in front of his dresser for five minutes before deciding to call Singer. It seemed stupid to keep standing there, internally debating shit he didn’t know anything about.
“Will! How’s finals?”
“Oh, over, thank god.”
Singer laughed in his ear.
“Uh, Singer, can I ask you a stupid question?”
“I don’t necessarily grant the premise, but you can ask me anything, Will.”
“Uh…do guys like clothes? Gay guys I mean?”
“I’m afraid I need a bit more to work with. For instance, I’m a gay man and I wear clothes every day. But I suspect that isn’t what you’re asking.”
“Yeah. No.” Will sank down on his bed and checked the time again. He didn’t have to be at Hugh’s for another hour and a half. It took about twenty minutes to walk there. Was this what women did? Stress out about clothes and watch the clock tick down?
“Will? What’s going on?”
“Oh, sorry, yeah. So I’m going to, uh, Hugh’s tonight. He’s making dinner, I think maybe to celebrate me being done with the semester. And I was thinking I should wear a decent shirt. But then I started thinking about how girls always get dressed up for Ads and he never even notices, so then, I don’t know, maybe guys don’t care about clothes and girls do?”
Singer made an air noise in his ear. “I’m not sure you want to use Adam as a model for whatever it is you have with Hugh, Will. But regardless, I feel obligated to point out that you are a guy and you are thinking about clothes.”
“Huh. Yeah. Okay, I missed that. But still, is this a thing? I’ve been staring at my dresser and I can’t decide if it’s a waste of time.”
“I don’t think wearing a decent shirt is a waste of time, if it’s what you want to do. I imagine that Hugh, who is incredibly sensitive to how people present, will notice a change from what you usually wear.” He paused, then added, “I notice. When Jake wears something new, something interesting. He is far less likely to notice when I do the same.”
Will winced. “Hell, sorry, Singer.”
“For what? I wear the clothes I enjoy wearing for me, not Jake. I may wear something special if we’re doing something we don’t usually do, and sometimes I do hope he notices, but he doesn’t always. And that’s all right, Will. It’s worth it to put a nice shirt on, even if Hugh never mentions it, because you want to, because it changes the way you feel just a little, or reflects the way you feel better.”
Right, right, of course that made sense. “This isn’t a gay thing, huh? It’s just – a thing.”
“Well, Jeremy’s standard attire improves considerably when Maria is present.”
“Ha. Yeah. I guess I should, uh, get dressed.”
“Have fun tonight, Will.”
“Uh, yeah, okay. Thanks, Singer.”
So he pulled out the green shirt, with the buttons, and pulled it on. And desperately hoped Ads didn’t come home before he left, because Hugh might notice or not, but Adam would definitely know he was dressing up.