Book #21

Double Booked by Lily Lindon

Georgina is a sensible 26-year-old with a routine: 1) schedule dates with long-term boyfriend, 2) teach piano to inept children, and 3) repeat until dead. Perfect.

But when one night she deviates from her usual timetable and sees the indie lesbian pop band Phase, Georgina realises: 1) she longs to play her own music again, 2) she wants to be just like them, and 3) their drummer is really hot...

Scared of losing her happy straight life, but feeling a new sense of belonging in the gay scene, she does what any rational person would do: she splits herself in two. She'll be Gina by day, George by night. It's going to take painstaking scheduling, a versatile wardrobe, and an ambiguous haircut, but maybe Georgina really can have both?

I have always considered the idea of a double life to be an exhausting one. The lies, the scheduling gymnastics, and in this case, the constant changing of clothes, seem to be unworthy of my time. Of course, I’ve never found myself in a situation where I had to lead two lives, but I just can’t see the payoff being equal to the anxiety of keeping things hidden.

Georgina lives a cosy life with her boyfriend, governed by routine. She loves the rigor of her schedule, and loves knowing what to expect. One night, she finds herself at a gig in a gay bar with her best friend, and the gorgeous drummer starts giving her butterflies. The drummer is gay, and Georgina is straight. Or is she bisexual?

And so begins a life of blouses and makeup during the day (the old Gina), Clark Kent costume changes at dinner time, and an array of plaid shirts, denims, and Docs at night (the new George), to allow her to live both gay and straight lives at once. As I’ve said, the image changes were exhausting in themselves, never mind all the lies and delicate side-steppings to allow this double life to continue.

I did enjoy this as an almost slapstick coming out story, but I truly disliked Georgina for her dishonesty, manipulation, and her incessant need to see herself as the main character in everyone’s lives. I worked out pretty early on that she wasn’t the dazzling person she believed everyone thought her to be, and it was excruciating to watch her embarrass herself.

With that said, there’s a lot of important stuff here about coming out, bi-erasure, the importance of friendship, and the absolutely necessity of not being a dick.