Junkie in the Joint

When I first got to college, the excitement of my new independence led me to experiment with a changed-up self-image. Before long I’d settled on a punk-Goth look. This involved a beaten-up black motorcycle jacket worn over a sweater with the collar and sleeves torn out, a skirt ripped to midthigh, fishnet tights, eight-hole Doc Martens boots, and dirty white-lace gloves with the fingers cutoff. My hair, crimped to death, was part blond, part pink. My gutter chic was seriously out of place in Oxford’s cloisters and croquet lawns, which was precisely the point. I was secretly flattered when one afternoon, on arriving at an English faculty get-together, I was handed a glass of wine by my tutor, who announced, “I’m sorry, my dear, we don’t have any syringes.”