Wednesday, 26 January 2011

GAY SHAME

Pride season is pretty much over and all I’ve got to show for it is a killer hangover and a huge dent in my personal finances. Now all the messy, political stuff is out of the way, it’s back to partying the carefree, shameful way. You know, the way those people in the adverts do. ‘You wouldn’t start your night looking like this, so why end it this way?’ Well, um, actually, why not? And if I’ve not got in from my night out yet, why not haul myself over for brunch at Harvey Nick’s in whatever I was wearing last night? I wear the stains like badges of honour. Sometimes the stains help me identify exactly what I have been up to. Sick means booze. Blood means S&M. Leaves mean bushes.

Going out, especially at Pride, is only measured a success by the amount of shame the next day.

But now Pride season is over and I can relax.

Or at least, I could if it wasn’t freshers’ week at the end of the month. But that offers new opportunities. Fresh meat. Hot young boys, drunk, naïve and eager to have fun. I might not even leave the house till midnight, then I can just skim the totty from the streets in a continuous stream until the end of the night.

In order to be a good fresher, of course, you have to be game for anything. It’s part of the bonding rituals. Part of uni life. And in order to be a good gayer, you have to know how to pick them up. The more hardcore among us will be camped outside the nightclubs like particularly ardent festival fans waiting for the gates to open. Then, as soon as the first fresher crosses the threshold, they’ll snap into action, slapping fake tan across their limbs, powdering their noses and tangling their hair in greasy knots. They’ll dash inside, tongues waggling, and fall over themselves (and each other) to deliver cheesy chat-up lines and offer to buy (no doubt rohypnol-laced) drinks.

This year I’ve had a better plan: host freshers’ week at mine. I’ve put up the posters, paid for the ads and sent out armies of boys to flyer and promote. Doors open at 8pm and close sometime around June. Bring your wallet, your best outfit, a change of pants and seventeen or more friends. Condoms will be provided in the industrial-sized bins in every room. Get your money ready at the door, drop your pants and prepare to get screwed. Only the sexiest need bother coming.

Freshers’ week is the most important time of year for any gay scene. It brings in the new faces, without which the bored scene queens would erupt into civil war. Fres meat is good, because there are barely enough gay men to keep any scene alive without newbies arriving to spice things up again. How many times can we visit the same five or ten venues, week in, week out, without going mad?

This year I also plan to travel even more. How else can I top the last year’s shagging record?

If you see me around, buy me a drink. But be nice. I might just put you in my column.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

BRUISED EGOS

I was recently talking to a guy who couldn’t stop old men from chatting him up. He then suggested I should write an article about it.

‘So you’ve read my column?’ I asked.

‘You’re a writer?’ he asked.

That he’d asked me to write about him when he didn’t even think I was a writer made me laugh. Obviously this kid thought he was so interesting he expected random strangers who’d never put pen to paper to become so inspired they’d become flourishing Wordsworths overnight. And it got me thinking: are gays really that self-absorbed?

A friend of mine (let’s call him Michael) travelled all the way to Manchester for a shag. The guy spent all evening watching what he wanted to watch on TV, doing what he wanted to do, playing the games he wanted to play on the Wii. Then he just disappeared, content to spend ages in the bathroom without even telling Michael. When he came out, he got into bed and waited for my friend to join him. When Michael wasn’t there in five minutes (presumably gay men are psychic when it comes to sex), he called my friend into the room like a servant who should know better.

The sex was equally self-absorbed. The guy lubed his dick up and readied it for penetration, before my friend pointed out he wasn’t wearing a condom.

‘Oh, yeah, I didn’t think.’

No, he did think—he just expected to get away with barebacking without even asking. So Michael watched him put on the rubber and slid it inside. The guy wanted, of course, to do it in his favourite position, with Michael face down in the pillow and getting very little pleasure. Luckily, a minute and a half later, the guy pulled out. Great! Michael thought. He’s going to change positions! But he didn’t. He’d cum already.

When he took Michael to the train station the next day, he turned and asked, ‘So when will I see you again?’

‘I don’t think you will, darling!’ Michael said, before he turned and walked away.

Clearly the guy had been so confident he was the shit, he’d failed to realise he was, um, a shit.

But this isn’t all. There are the gay men who think ignoring you on a date is hot, and that they’re so gorgeous you’ll never be able to resist, only to be left stunned when you leave them at the dinner table with the bill. Of course, they’ll also have been so busy fawning over their own reflections in the cutlery, they won’t have noticed the lobster thermidor and champagne you’ve ordered and which they’ll now have to pay for.

There are also the guys who walk into the club with a giant trout pout and sashay their hips like they own the place, only to be utterly stunned when the barmen won’t respond to their finger clicks and hand banging on the bar. Remember: screaming and hurling straws and napkins is not an acceptable way of ordering drinks. Neither is, ‘Serve me now bitch! Don’t you know who I am?’

Of course, all of the above goes for anyone other than me. I have to be a bitch so I can research my column and bring you such sage wisdom. If I was good boy, what would you stand to learn then?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

BOOK ME IN!

[Originally published Nov 08 in Bent: http://mag.bent.com]

Strange things have been happening this month. Maybe I’m going crazy and imagining things.

First off, my friend got really drunk on a night out, went to the wrong apartment, woke a straight couple up at 3am, vomited in their sink and on their floor, came onto the man and fell asleep on their sofa. This in itself isn’t weird—but the fact I wasn’t there to witness it (or do those things myself) is.

Then I had a semi-hallucinatory dream about the ending of Hollyoaks’ McQueens storyline. The dream continued after I’d ‘watched’ the episode, where an author I know broke into my house and tried to kill me for saying his novel was crap. Luckily I grabbed an empty magnum bottle of champagne and clobbered him to death with it.

Then I signed the contract for my first novel, an illustrated book called Troglodyte Rose. The story itself is pretty weird, which led my publisher to ask if I’d been sober when I wrote it. Naturally, I replied, I wasn’t. But the whole affair seemed rather unreal. The contract was there, I argued with my publisher for about a week over certain clauses, he changed the contract, then I finally signed it. Problem is, the ending for the book’s still not written, and it was written in about a month or two, after the publisher, who’d been emailing me for a while, agreed to publish it based on a very loose idea. That’s probably why it doesn’t feel very real at all.

But the weirdest thing of all is the half-stupor I’ve been wandering round in some days. It’s a result of too little food and irregular sleep. But until the novel’s out and the royalties come in, that’s unlikely to change. I have no time to do anything else but live and breathe it. Hence I never sleep and I never eat. I can’t focus on people in the street and I can currently play my ribs like a xylophone. Maybe I should take up busking using my ribcage as a musical accompaniment and overtake Amy Winehouse as the skinniest of musical oddities. Then again, I’m not that skinny.

The only time I feel okay is when I’ve been drinking. That probably makes me an alcoholic. I wake up most mornings with a sore mouth, washed out with too much harsh liquor, and a fuzzy head like a TV set tuned to a dead channel. Any day now I’m expecting Heat to pap me and make up some story about crack addiction or the guilty conscience of people smuggling. It’s nothing of the sort, of course, it’s just the result of hard work and even harder play.

Yes, it certainly all feels like a dream. An episode of The Twilight Zone with Karen Walker’s drinks cabinet. I can’t wait for July 1st when the book comes out and it’s all over. Then I’ll no doubt be back to my usual contented, bitchy self.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

ROMANCING THE STONE

[Originally published Feb 09 in Bent: http://mag.bent.com]

I know a couple who constantly profess their undying love for each other. It’s in their status updates on Facebook; it’s in their texts to each other; it’s all they ever talk about. At least, when they’re not together. When they’re together it’s usually ‘cunt this’ and ‘cunt that’. True, one is 18 and one is 19, so is that all it is? The folly of youth and first love?

‘No couple that goes on that much about how much they love each other can really be that in love,’ said a friend of mine.

But is it that simple? I have another friend, let’s call him Simon, who used to write love letters and poetry to his boyfriends. He’s currently single, but I’m sure he’d do so again, and at least two of his relationships were of the deep, long-lasting variety. It seems shocking to many of us, who think sending a text with the words ‘i fancy u’ in would be too much. But perhaps we’re just unused to romance?

True, teenagers are hardly the best example, as they probably will break up in a few months and be in love with someone new. But there must be real romantics in real relationships out there? Or are there? And how much romance is too much romance?

My friend Simon has been in love with a friend of his for quite some time now. He knows it will never go anywhere, but that won’t stop his feelings. As he himself puts it: ‘How can I get over something that never happened?’

His problem is that without having some form of relationship with this person, or even just sex, he’s been unable to move on because there’s nothing to move on from. Simon understands this and is happy with it.

‘I’d rather have a fantastic friend whom I loved than lose him by trying to push anything. It’s not my fault I love him and it’s not his either, so I just get on with it.’

However, Simon decided he had to tell his friend how he felt to avoid it becoming an issue between them. So he wrote a letter detailing his feelings and how he hoped they’d still be friends. I couldn’t help but wonder if his love interest would reply or not. Would he find such a letter too much information? Would he rather not know? Or would knowing allow him to handle the situation better, in case it ever did become a problem? Or would Simon writing him a letter be enough to ignite dormant passions in his friend and get them together? It seems a difficult situation. But ideally Simon’s friend would find the letter sweet and endearing, and it would make them closer as friends rather than driving them apart, and perhaps grant Simon the closure he needs.

Another example of romanticism at play is love songs. Many of us would feel embarrassed writing some of the lyrics to popular love songs (‘I wanna fall from the stars / Straight into your arms . . .’ etc), but there’s no doubt these songs inspire us. They make us feel good about ourselves and perhaps make us do things we wouldn’t consider otherwise. I’ve also often thought a good love song, or a happy song in general, can do a lot to cure a broken heart. Music is a tonic, and perhaps served with the right gin it can give you that warm, fuzzy, drunken feeling we all pay so much at exorbitant gay nightclubs to feel.

So maybe these romantic gestures—letters, poems, love songs—have their place. Maybe we shouldn’t write them off just yet.

Then again, maybe I’m just thinking too much because it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and I haven’t got a date yet!