Thursday, 15 November 2012

Queer Meme

I stole this ‘meme’, if that's what it is, from somebody who stole it from somebody else who’d stolen it from somebody else.
How old were you when you knew you were gay?
I remember my first thrill of homosexual attraction. I was transfixed by a shot on TV of a bare-chested boy diving into a river. It was in a TV adaptation of ‘Swallows and Amazons’, and it must have been the 1962 BBC version, but certainly a repeat, as I was only three when it was new. Even so, I don’t think I was older than six when I decided that shirtless and pantless boys were a bloody sight more absorbing to contemplate than girls in any state of dress or undress. Obviously at that age I didn’t associate this aesthetic pleasure with sex. I must have been about seventeen before I made the connection and acknowledged that for me, nothing in this sublunary world matches the beauty of a fit, naked lad with a twanging hard-on. When did you realise you were straight? Or did you just take it as read that you would be?    

Have you ever had sex with the opposite sex?
Yes, at university. Odd experience: a mixture of genuine enjoyment of the company of the women involved and the peer pressure to get laid as often as possible exerted on one another by young men in an all-male college. I suppose I appreciated the ‘penis exercise’, as we practically and unromantically termed the act, but knew that my heart wasn’t in it even if my other relevant organ was. Have you ever has sex with the same sex?

Who was the first person you came out to?
My sister, I think.  Who did you first confide in that you were (gulp) straight?

Are you out to your family?
Yes. I arrived at my parents from Cambridge one day circa 1982 wearing a sweat shirt I’d ordered from Gay News. It bore a lambda symbol on the chest, and I waited to be asked what it meant. On hearing the explanation, neither of my parents could honestly pretend it was a surprise. My dad never had any problem with it, but my mother had visions of me being eternally mocked and queer-bashed and took a few months to come round. It wasn’t long before she was calling me in Cambridge to inform me of anything of queer interest coming up on on the telly.

Do you want children?
No. I only eat white meat.

Do you have more gay friends or straight friends?
They are nearly all straight.

Were you out in school?
Are you kidding? It was a boys’ Grammar School in working class northern England in the seventies: announcing you were queer would have been like publicly confessing atheism in Saudi Arabia. Anyway, I didn't know at the time that I was. I was aware of being different in a manner I couldn’t define, and of being frequently reviled and sneered at. I might have been slightly camp in a Nigel Slater-ish sort of way, but I can’t really remember. Publisher Stephen Pickles and TV producer David Liddiment were respectively three and five years ahead of me. Both are queer as coots and they deflected the taunts of those days by developing extravagantly stagey personas, Pickles waspish and camp and Liddiment (a prefect) like a Kapo from Belsen. That they both treated me more kindly than they treated other little oiks suggests they recognised one of the brethren even if he didn’t recognise himself at the time.      
Have you ever done Crystal Meth?
No. Never even met her.

Have you ever been in a sling?
Not of any kind for any purpose.

Have you ever done a 3-way?
Yes, three or four times.  All terribly busy. 

Have you ever dressed in drag?
I did two female parts in school plays. You can imagine how this enhanced my reputation, which when all’s said and done is all a girl has.

Cher or Bette?
Eh? Oh, I see, the Diva thing. Neither. Us thinking poufs go for Joni Mitchell, and at 
university I played no music but hers, which drove everybody around me nuts. I feel vindicated these days when I learn that people who knew me then now have Blue and Hejira in their CD collections. Nearly all my CDs are of female artists - Mari Boine, Miriam Makeba, Lisa Gerrard, Mamak Khadem, Savina Yannatou – but the attraction of Cher, Bette, Barbra and Judy is lost on me. 

Have you dated someone of a different ethnicity?
How old are you, fourteen? You seem to have led a rather sheltered life. I've had (as opposed to 'dated') men from all over the place, but my only extended relationship was with a young man from the Seychelles, now resident in Sweden. We are still in touch sporadically, twenty-odd years after we met in Athens. He was 21 and I a decade older. He was naïf, generous, loyal, stubborn and tough. He was not out of the top drawer intellectually and I’m afraid I was a bit of a bully. Was there any point, I would sometimes ask him, in our staying together?

Him: It’s deep end.

Me: Whaddaya mean, ‘it’s deep end’?

Him: It’s deep end on you!


Been to Fire Island? Saugatuck? Key West? Ft. Lauderdale? Palm Springs?
No, and highly unlikely that I ever will. Never even heard of Saugatuck.

Have you ever barebacked?
 No. I’d as soon have a gin and tonic. I put in the side bar a quote from Christopher Hitchens:
“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.”

How many Madonna CDs do you own?

Name of your first love?
I can’t tell you that. Needless to say it was wholly unrequited. I’ve decided unattainablility is a great aphrodisiac.

Do you still talk to him?
Yes, by e-mail.

Does size matter?
Absolutely it does, and the 'size-doesn’t-matter' twaddle is a sad piece of rationalisation made up by men with scrawny knobs. If you detect here a certain self-confidence on my part, well, then... Your really huge plonkers are, for purposes other than micturation, pretty useless. I once had a strikingly handsome boyfriend, rather like the lad on the right here, whose member on the jack was gargantuan.  Such was its girth that no hand, mouth or ring-piece could encompass it without risking trauma.
You could only really look and say, ‘right, yeah, it’s big, isn’t it?’ When the point of climax was inevitable, Glen would sit astride me wanking that pole, massive bollocks aswing, and I swear you could hear the stuff coming. No, what matters more is proportion. Big dicks on skinny boys look silly, and vice versa.


Biggest turn on?
Youth. Wiry muscles. Lascivious smile. Stubble. Bollocks. Hairy thighs. A fat bulge in a lad's Jockey shorts. Light dusting of chest hair.

Biggest turn off?
B.O.  Those blokes who single-handedly turn an encounter into a threesome: you, him, and his tool. God-botherers who babble about 'the gay lifestyle' and never stop to consider how vacuous the phrase is.

Ever been harassed due to your orientation?
All the way through school. It took me a long time to realise the extent to which as a kid I had internalized the constant, low-level verbal bullying and rejection and turned them into the body dysmorphia that has been a source of misery (and celibacy) on and off for most of my life.

Worst gay stereotype that applies to you?
Err… Once when a (gay) guest was coming I had to dash out and buy two matching tumblers for vodka and tonic because although I had several, they were all different and more suitably shaped for whisky. Does that count? 

                                                        Would you marry if you could?
No. I long ago decided that those of us who lack a talent for intimacy had better do everybody a favour and stop trying.

Would you rather be rich and smart or young and beautiful?

Rich and smart, and pay for surgery.

Ever had sex with more than one person in a day?
Yes. There is a club in Athens called Lambda that has a not-too-dark dark room, where those of us who see sex as a contact sport rather than a divinely-ordained sharing of souls can get it on, or at least in my case could get it on – it’s all in the past for me now.

Do you have any tattoos?
No. My generation associates them with petty criminals, thank you very much.

Do you have any piercings?
Dear God, no. The sight of a Prince Albert makes me wince and cross my legs.

Would you date a smoker?
That question dates you, or my answer dates me. I don’t think I’ve ever had sex with a non-smoker. Persecuting smokers and ostentatiously wafting your hand in front of your face when you pass one is a prissy habit that hadn’t really taken off when I left for Greece, and most Greeks smoke like Battersea Power Station used to.

Do you know anyone who has died from HIV?
Not personally. I know some people with HIV though.

Grinder or Scruff?
I don’t understand the question. 'Grinder and Scruff' sound like a pair of cartoon dogs.

Are your best years behind or in front of you?
Christ… I have a horrible, horrible feeling they are behind me.

Got Porn?
Yes. Looking at beautiful, joyful, naked ithyphallic males is a source of unending delight. Bloody Christers burbling about porn addiction make me want to rip off their heads and piss down their necks. Before any literal minded idiot reports me to the Blogger /Twitter Thought Police, I don’t mean that I would literally do that or advocate it as a course of action. Still… I dunno.

Make out music?
Never really been important to me. Since I can't ignore music, it'd put me off my stroke... I remember being ravished on somebody’s living room floor to the accompaniment of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, but I suspect that isn’t what you mean.

                                                       Ever been in love with a straight guy?

Dozens of times. Here, for example.

Did you ever have sex with him?
Of course not.

Have you ever been to a nude beach?
Super Paradise on Mykonos a couple of times, and another on Angistri. I bloody hate beaches, but all those tanned boys and their swinging cocks made them tolerable.

Have you ever been to a bath house?
I went to a place in Athens called the Ira Baths, in the (then) very down-market Omonia Square. It was a most anaphrodisiac experience. Rent boys and their clients, men of astounding seniority, were bossed about by a fat, squawking female receptionist who might previously have been employed at Ljubljanka. It was all hideous cracked marble tiles, marble slabs and humid, cockroach-friendly darkness.    

What gay gene did you miss out?
I think most of them, looking back over this. 
Anyway, isn’t it time we retired the adjective ‘gay’, and ‘homosexual’ used as a noun? What information of any importance do they convey about anybody? Am I gay when I’m teaching? Am I a homosexual while reading a book on the train, or just  staring into space? I don’t think so. I just like dick but not pussy. So what? 

Now, if you will excuse me, I have backs to bite, false witness to bear and that which is unseemly to work. 


Candy said...

Interesting stuff, Steve, especially the fact that not a lot of straight people would be as open and honest as you have been if asked the same questions. What is it that makes it okay to ask homosexual people to reveal all, but not expect straight people to be as accommodating? I so agree with your plea in the last paragraph. I was 9 when the first of many "gay" couples came into my life - a fragile little man called Paul and his partner, the rather more ebullient Victor who had a penchant for kaftans and wooden beads. They were as normal to me as everyone else. I don't really know what else to say except that funny, generous, intelligent, honest, witty, sardonic, interesting and healthily cynical are much more useful when describing you.

Vilges Suola said...

Thank you! I don't know how we move away from the idea that straight is the default position rather than desire and fascination are the starting point, and if kids result, fine, and if they don't, fine.

Candy said...

Perfick! I have heard, from the mouth of a straight man, that gender isn't the main attraction - it's the person. Whether that person is male or female is beside the point - it's desire and compatibility at some level that make the decision. So there it is. Works for me....

Bo said...

Wonderful---I'm borrowing this meme. If you wouldn't mind, that is?

Vilges Suola said...

Well, for me it's wholly about gender if we are going to hit the sack. I don't have a heterosexual bone in my body as far as having it off is concerned. Like lots of poufs I get on well with women because there is no sexual electricity to complicate matters.

Vilges Suola said...

@Bo, thanks! Yes, do use it, I'll look forward to reading your version.

Candy said...

Same here VS - can't be thinking about women in that way. But I think there are people who can and do and as long as they don't include me in any hot sweaty girl on girl action, that's fine.

Candy said...

So NOW you put up the pics......young and beauty - can't beat it.

Vilges Suola said...

Gives me a powerful feeling of exclusion.

maria verivaki said...

really really educational, as i am really really ignorant of gaydom - i never ask about people's sexual orientation, and it comes as a surprise to me for people at my workplace to say 'well, he's gay, right', and i wonder, how do they know? did they ask him? did he tell them? and why do i have to be told, anyway???

Vilges Suola said...

Strange that people judge others so much on the basis of what they do in bed, and that we have had to oppose this dumb judgment by making an issue of what we do in bed.

Nik_TheGreek said...

It's funny how you are more in tune with gay Greece than I am. I've never been to Super Paradise in Mykonos nor to gay places in Athens, apart from a drag show in a bar called 'Dolls' in Sygkrou.
By the way, I really like your meme replies. :-)
(I don't have Greek in my laptop at the moment, so I'm writing to you in English).

Vilges Suola said...

Glad you liked it! I'm way out of touch with gay Greece now - I understand that nowadays it's Gazi that's the place, not the top end of Syngrou as it was in the nineties. I used to work across the road from 'Koukles'. We worried a bit that having a teacher training centre so close to such an establishment might not be good for PR. (Ours, not theirs.)

maria verivaki said...

i was doing speaking tests last wekeend, and i interviewed a boy who i thought spoke effeminately, i cant quite put my finger on it, becos i've never tried to guess who a person is going to have sex with; let's just say that he talked about his friends in a nice way, giving a descrioption full of emotional adjectives abotu them - and i guess he smiled a lot...

my colleague graded his repsonses and we never discussed the issue - we just continued with the oral exams, but after the testing session (we tested lots of students after him), we discussed how good or bad the test takers were and i mentioned 'the tall boy with the american accent' - my friend said 'oh, you mean the gay guy' and i said somethign to the likes of yes, altho i just thought it was just part of his personality that he spoke (not necessarily acted) in an effeminate way

she said that he was definitely gay and i should trust her word, becos she lived in england for 13 years and her best friends were gay and she knows when someone is gay

of course, i could say i had a hunch that the boy was gay, but i still cant bring myself to say that i really do know when someone is gay

i know this is a weird conversation - but since you brought up the discussion (through this meme) i thought this story would add a bit more to the dialogue...

Vilges Suola said...

Maybe there is indeed a constellation of behaviours that go along with homosexual orientation - I've read that gay men tend to have better language skills than straight, and more connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Also, believe it or not, there are serious studies that suggest we have the bigger dicks. (Tripp, 'The Homosexual Matrix' nineteen seventy-odd - haven't got the reference to hand.) I also have met (i.e., had) 100% homosexual prop forwards, so the effeminacy thing is by no means universal. Also two of the rugby players were hung like chipmunks.

maria verivaki said...

this guy had excellent language skills, and he got a good mark - i also think that i would get along with him very well and i'd like to have him in my παρέα

here are two things i rememebr - i askled him about the shops in his town; he mentioned he liked going shopping in athens where his sister is studying, and that he loves going up there becos it's a chance to see her and he loves her very much - then i asked him what kind of shops he liked to visit - becos he was a boy, i thought he'd say gadget places, but he mentioned clothes shops, and how good his sister was at picking nice clothes for him - he also talked about americans and what nice people they are, and we also cracked a couple of jokes (which we dont normally do, as rxaminers, but as i said, he was an exceptionally nice person with very good english skills)

as he left, he said he wanted to visit the US one day, and he put his hand to his heart and stated that he will always be a greek wherever he goes - he knew himslef very well, and i guess my colleague and i thought a lot of him for this reason too

Vilges Suola said...

Μήπως έχεις το τηλέφωνό του...;

maria verivaki said...

ούτε το όνομά του δεν θυμάμαι

Vilges Suola said...

Αχ,με απογοητεύεις μετά από τόσο build-up.


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