Thursday, 24 February 2011

THE WAITING GAME

THE WAITING GAME

I hate waiting for boys to text back. If ever there were a way to drive me to the very depths of despair and then to the heights of insanity, it would be this. I try everything to divert my mind from the obvious—he's not going to text back, or if he does it's to give bad news.

I pace the kitchen, turning Tracy Chapman up on the stereo, sliding barefoot on the smooth wooden floor. Feels like palms against my soles, just for a second. I unsheathe bananas, just to imagine, and eat them ritualistically, as if tasting him.

I scramble eggs furiously, beating back my doubts as I work on my wrist action. Serve with ham, granary loaf, Harrod's breakfast tea. I close the curtains and turn the heating up. After I finish my food I pour a glass of champagne, splash with pulpy orange, to treat myself, and contemplate running a bath.

I nibble on something every hour, feeling my insides growling empty.

It helps to have distractions at times like these. An old flame, an old friend, an old fuck. The Three Musketeers of the waiting game. I text them all, and see if I can either flirt, laugh or get laid.

Today the flame is in London, burning quietly and too far away to get me hot. The old friend has boyfriend troubles of his own, so can't offer his humorous sidekickery tonight. The old fuck, though, is reliable. He always is. His reliability is the only thing that prevents him being boyfriend material. Who wants a boyfriend you can predict?

He turns up at the cinema, blonde, young, but willing to suck you off at a bus-stop or in a nightclub toilet for half a pill. Qualities I admire in a man. I tote a bag bursting with half the off-licence spirits shelf, and we pick the emptiest, deadest film—the latest showing.

It's almost too easy, but we sit at the back, and for a long time no one else enters the theatre. Then one more person enters: probably a member of staff just finished his shift, wanting to catch the only film he's not yet seen twenty times already. He sits near the middle, back to us. Setting a challenge.

Within minutes my jeans are round my thighs, and blondie has his hands on my knees, his mouth round the beak of my cock, sliding it quickly to the back of his throat. Ten minutes in and I pin him to the floor on the back row, heaving inside him, and we come among popcorn and beer cans. The thrill of getting caught brings us to it faster than we planned, and we shift in the dark, sliding on clothes and getting kernels in uncomfortable nooks and crannies.

We return to our seats and watch the rest of the film. It's surprisingly good.

We bid farewell to each other at the front of the cinema, and we make our own way home in the dark.

The next morning I wake to a text message from the boy: of course he wants to meet up again. How am I fixed for Friday? I think about it. I think about the old flame returning on his train in the downpour. Maybe I'm not that interested, after all.

[Originally published in Nov 2010 issue of Bent]

Thursday, 17 February 2011

FIRST DATE WAR

Okay, so here's the problem. I get lots of first dates. And I mean lots. Sometimes I worry I'm hogging the North's fair share of first dates, but whatever. The problem is, I rarely go for second dates. And it's not that I'm meeting entirely inappropriate people any more. I screen them carefully now, so all the weirdos, unsexy pervs (because a bit of kink is fine with me) and flakes don't get through. But I never want to go on a second date. And often, neither do they.

This strikes me as odd. I'm not the only person this happens to. My friends often bemoan their single status but then steadfastly refuse to invite guys on a second date. After careful consideration, and listening to my friends' umpteen descriptions of technically perfect first dates that have failed to yield results, I think I've figured it out.

First dates are no longer about finding someone to carry on dating. More usually they're about finding someone to stop dating.

How many times have you sat there, on a technically perfect first date, where the chit-chat is witty and funny and sexy, and you're eating good food, drinking nice cocktails, and thinking about how sweet the other person is, while secretly tallying up as many faults as you can find? This to me seems to be the problem.

First dates are about convincing ourselves not to take things further, which seems an utter perversion. I'm almost sure it's more about protecting ourselves than genuinely not wanting to find someone (because otherwise why are we going on these dates in the first place?). We're our own worst enemies.

I was on a great date the other week, and the guy in question had so much in common with me. He was hot. I was hot. The sex was hot. We started off with drinks, which spiralled into dinner, which led to clubbing, which followed with a night at his, and then brunch in an underground café. On paper, it seemed right. But the whole time, I was expecting something to go wrong. I was anticipating that it wouldn't work out because, well, it never works out, does it?

Maybe if we'd given each other a chance, and asked for that second date, we might have found something more? Maybe we told ourselves the problem was there was no 'spark'. But we laughed and had fun and were attracted to each other. It's not exactly an explosion of emotion, but surely it's a spark of some kind?

Maybe we didn't really get to know the other side. We weren't enemies: we were allies, fighting for the same thing, and could have worked together if we'd let down our guard.

I'm not going to lie: I go into first date mode as soon as I meet someone for the first time. Like a great tactician, I move into battle with stories I know will make him laugh, or will impress, or will leave him shellshocked.

I know which parts of myself to reveal and move in formation, trying to delay the inevitable while in no-man's land. But in doing so I'm actually adding to my own defences and retreating from the possibility of a relationship, rather than conquering it.

The revelations are not real displays of personality, because they're constructed and considered. We're not really letting our defences down because we've planned our actions like a military operation. We're dealing out propaganda. We're fighting for hearts and minds, but half-arsed, as if we already expect to lose and just want to minimise the collateral damage.

After we've been round the block a few times, we're all pretty guarded on first dates. It's how we survive. So shouldn't we cut each other some slack? Maybe sometimes we're complaining that there's no spark, but maybe that spark's been sacrificed for best behaviour. Sometimes we need to feel, and the best way to feel is to open up to getting hurt.

Isn't it a good idea to wait for a second date, when the armour slowly comes off? Isn't it then we should be expecting the real spark? Isn't that when we start to ignore the catalogue of imagined problems (he won't call me back, he isn't prompt enough, he went to public school, there was too much teeth when he blew me) and let ourselves get to know someone?

I've been on many first dates, and one thing I'm positive about is I never got to really meet someone until much later on.

[Originally published in Oct 2010 issue of Bent

Thursday, 10 February 2011

THE GAYTRIX

I’ve never been one to let social networking sites rule my life. I’d much prefer to be out meeting people in the flesh than chatting to socially inept retards with Photoshopped pictures to rival the cover of The Face. Sure, we all like the odd wank over a webcam, and dating sites can be useful for getting dates every now and again—but the majority of sex I’ve had has been on nights out. I prefer it that way. Then the only shock you get is the one when you sober up, rather than the one where the person you’re meeting looks entirely different to his pictures and the sinking realisation you’re not going to get sex after all.

The reason I bring it up is that I’ve become more computer-based the more time I spend working. I’m either designing my next issue of Polluto, assessing a novel someone has sent me for publication, writing my column or writing one of my own fiction pieces. So I spend a lot more time online. I’ve found myself alternating between cyber-overindulgence and Luddite rejection of all things with a plug on the end. Pens and paper are a blessing. It’s just a pity I can’t do everything that way.

And I’ve noticed: the more I’m logged on, even if I’m doing nothing, the more I notice how active other people are online. They start thousands of threads on message boards. They change their online status every five minutes and get heated over who’s top of the Facebook Campare People polls. Strangely, I’ve been top of a few for a while, even though I ignore all applications requests and shy away from checking such things for fear it will become addictive. I couldn’t become a computer nerd—my skin’s not pasty enough and I have too many real life friends. At least, I thought I did till they all uploaded themselves onto the net.

It’s now reached the stage where friends of mine update their Facebook status via their mobiles when they’re in bars. Even worse, nearly every gay bar in Manchester and London has the internet, and an increasing number of queens spend their time hunched over a computer screen and adding ‘Are you a cunt?’ applications rather than mingling with the totty around them. To a self-confessed socialite like me, that just seems wrong. We’ve become mindless batteries, charging the bionic armies of advertising executives and millionaires known only as Tom.

People are cocooned in goo (and not just from all the cybersex). They don’t get out; they don’t live. They don’t meet up with each other anymore, they just exchange instant messages and rate each other ad infinitum.

Whatever happened to the great outdoors? No one has sex outside anymore. Or even in beds. It’s all filtered through emoticons and MSN nudges. And I swear, if one more person on Facebook pokes me without it resulting in some sort of orgasm, I will grab my nail file and commit murder. Cum should be on young men’s chests and faces, not their computer keyboards.

I think I miss the days when queens went out every night à la Queer as Folk. The clubs are far too empty and I need me some fresh meat. So put down the mouse, grab your handbag and meet me at the bar in five. I need a stiff drink and a cock I can feel.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

DRIVING ME WILD

Gay men are kinky gits. It’s hardly breaking news.

About a year ago, a young emo kid I pulled wanted us both to dress up as chavs for the night. He took me shopping, picked out white briefs, sports socks, pale blue trackies, a Le Coq Sportif polo shirt, blue trainers and a cap. Then I donned a gold chain and ragged him around the room for a couple of hours till he was satisfied. My sister was staying over at the time and tells me she recorded the sex noises/battle cry for future blackmailing purposes. I told her I hope she sells it to The Daily Mail and gets a good price.

A few weeks ago a guy asked me to wear my trainers again and give him a good trampling. The offer didn’t really appeal, until the guy asked me to drive over his hands. Hang on! I thought. Did he really want me to drive over his hands? Yup. He wanted to go to a field (the ground is softer and his fingers could sink into the soil) and drive over his hands in his brand new car. It wasn’t a small car, either. Naturally, being the investigative journalist I am (Oi, you! Stop laughing at the back!), I decided to get behind the wheel.

‘What would you do if you actually broke a bone or something?’

‘I wouldn’t care. You’ve told me to do this,’ I said.

So I did. I drove over his hands just to see how much he enjoyed it. Only, now I wish I’d filmed it and posted it on YouTube. It’d get a million hits within the hour. Paris Hilton’s sex tape was nowhere near as risqué. I think I’d have preferred her firing ping-pongs from ning-nong. Maybe she’s a closet necrophiliac. Or, more likely, we’ll next see her in Two Rich Girls, One Horse. They say girls who horse-ride often break their hymens. I’m beginning to understand that in a whole new light . . .

But I know there are other, stranger fantasies out there. A friend of mine reportedly likes being fucked by glass objects. I only hope he doesn’t clench and find himself in bits. Another likes to cut her girlfriends and lick up the blood, lesbo vampire style. When a guy asked if he could suck my toes, I thought him positively boring.

To be honest, I’m game for anything. Life’s for living and you can never say never. Much of my experimentation comes from boredom. After your thousandth shag, doggy style just doesn’t cut it. It’s like drugs. You need bigger and stronger hits to get your rocks off. In that respect, I’m the sexual equivalent of Amy Winehouse. Whilst she’s smoking crack, I’m licking crack; and whilst she’s shooting up, I’m shooting rent boys with a BB gun just so they can get it up.

But there have been some things I’ve shied away from so far. One guy wanted to put on a wetsuit and have me piss on him. I’ve never been one for golden showers and I’ve never visited Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, if you catch my drift. There are some depths I’m yet plumb. Maybe one day I’ll get bored and find myself swinging from a chandelier, ready to take a dump on a hungry geriatric below.

Then again, maybe not.