Calum McSwiggan

Posts Tagged ‘flirting’

Summer In The City

In Eat, Gay, Love on August 25, 2013 at 11:31 am

Alexandra Palace

‘So I put my faith in something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing.’

– Calvin Harris 

The screams deafened me as I peered through the heaving crowd and up at some of my biggest inspirations, I couldn’t believe that these people who I had watched and read in solitude were now here in front of me being idolised by thousands. I had the same feeling of excitement that other people must feel when they see their favourite musicians perform, watch their favourite actress, or cheer on their favourite sports team.

I listened to their words intently, taking mental notes to drive my own inspirations, hanging on their every word, and then catching the eye of one of them and smiling. Lost in a crowd of hardcore fans you never expect them to acknowledge you, and so when you see them smiling back, you look around frantically, convinced that they’re looking at someone else.

I’d come here to be inspired, I’d only just moved to London when I heard that this global YouTube event was taking place right on my doorstep, and I just had to be a part of it. International writers, film makers, and vloggers were flying in from all over the world to give talks, run seminars, and to meet with their fans. There was absolutely nowhere in the world I would have rather been.

I had been getting despondent with my creativity, with boxing myself into a career path that wasn’t giving me the same enjoyment it once did, battling self enforced deadlines, and ending up necking a bottle of wine instead of getting anything done. This event was the push I needed to branch out and try something new, inject the life back into my work, and finally bring that big project into fruition.

It was incredible to be able to briefly shake the hands of the people that inspire me, to thank them for their work, and get them to sign a good luck card for a like-minded friend about to take on the biggest change in his life. It was thrilling to tick meet one of my idols off my bucket list for 2013, but what was really unbelievable was what was about to happen next.

After meeting so many of my aspirations, there was just one more person I wanted to meet, the person I’d stared up at from the crowd, the person I’d followed religiously for as long as I could remember. I rushed across the room just in time for his meet and greet to find a two-thousand strong queue already snaking across the hall and outside. I very nearly walked away and went to sit another seminar, but just as I caught his eye again for a split moment, I decided to hop on the end of the line and join the monstrous queue.

I waited for so long that when I was finally rushed forward and instructed to snap a photo and move along, I was flustered and couldn’t get my words out. I wanted to talk to him, pick his brain, and ask him a thousand questions, but instead I whispered a quiet compliment, asked him to sign my friend’s card, and was swiftly hurried along. How can I find you? he called after me as the security guard took my arm and hurried through the next person. Tweet me, I said, @CalumMcSwiggan.

I can’t think of a name more difficult to spell or remember, and that was just one of the reasons that I never expected to hear from him again. He took to the stage again later that day and when I heard the screams of thousands echoing his name, I knew that of course he wasn’t going to contact me. I tried to catch his eye again but I was lost in a sea of people, I’d been fortunate enough to meet a handful of my idols, and to expect anything more was delusional.

Just meeting these amazing people and taking part in their workshops filled me with such creative energy and passion that it began to revitalise my dwindling creative spirit. I’ve not been taking my work seriously, and this was exactly the boost I needed to really start working towards everything I want to achieve.

I wanted to try something new, and meeting these people gave me that push. Not only did I want to start vlogging myself, I wanted to try my hand at photography, take up a dance class, complete a marathon, pose for that life drawing class, and track down my saxophone and piano and relearn my love for music. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to do all of these things just as long as I took the leap and got started.

It’s been no secret that I’ve been finding it difficult settling into life in a big city, but all of a sudden I felt like I suddenly fit in, like I was part of something. I understand the importance of building a strong network of friends in the real world, and that’s why I’ve finally settled down and chosen a home, but there’s also a real thriving online community that I’ve been teetering on the outskirts of, and now I really want to throw myself into the centre of it.

I let the last few inspirational words wash over me as the last of my idols waved goodbye and disappeared backstage. I slung my backpack over my shoulder and got ready to leave when my phone buzzed in my pocket and there was a message from him. He wanted to see me again, and even though I only got to see him for the briefest of moments, my heart somersaulted in knowing that he’d chosen to contact me out of the thousands of people who’d queued to meet him.

I never expected to hear from him again as I hugged him goodbye and tumbled down the hillside with a handful of new friends. It was a pleasure to have met him, he was no longer a person inside my computer screen, but he was now a real person and that was enough. I never would have thought I’d have been so lucky to stay in touch with him, that he’d go on to read my work, and become somebody that I could call a friend.

I had wondered if I had made the right decision in moving here into the big city, knowing that I could instead be off island hopping and setting off on my next voyage, but meeting so many of my inspirations changed this. This time last year I was alone in Ibiza in the middle of a whirlwind adventure, but I wouldn’t swap any amount of Mediterranean sunsets for what I have now. I’m just beginning to start this new life, and I couldn’t be happier to spend the last of the summer in the city.

Paint Your Life

In Eat, Gay, Love on August 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Hyde Park

 ‘I like it in the city where the air is so thick and opaque, I love to see everybody in short skirts, shorts, and shades.’

– Adele

It only took two days to find a place, to move off my best friend’s sofa, and cart my suitcase through the streets of London and into my new home. The wheels buckled as I dragged the weight of my entire life behind me, and as block by block I approached my new front door, my wheels fell off and the seams of my suitcase began to tear as my belongings toppled and fell out into the street.

This suitcase and I had travelled together for a year and a half, we’d visited countless countries and had countless adventures together, and yet somehow, on the day that I’d finally decided to come back to my own country, it’d given up and was falling apart. It was as if it was telling me that it’d had enough and wanted to stay in one place.

Clutching the keys to my new place in hand, I pushed open the front door and pulled the suitcase up each flight of stairs, breathing in the fragrant flowers nestled in the window boxes, and stepping over the threshold of my new room. I dropped my case to the floor and let all of my worldly possessions spill out, opened the window to the fire escape, and let in the song of a pair of singers duetting in the dusk.

I had more space than I could fill with my few dwindling possessions, and even after mounting my Buddhist tapestry, plastering the walls with several dozen photos, and hanging my gay pride flag, it still seemed terribly empty. I was still missing friends.

I’m so fortunate to now have my best friend living around the corner, but we’ve always operated independently. Like a functioning married couple, we live our own lives so we always have something to talk about when we sit down to dinner. I didn’t want to piggy-back upon her friendships, I wanted to build my own, and that’s why I was so overjoyed when the doorbell finally rang.

Leaping down the stairs three at a time, I pulled open the door and dived into the arms of the American standing there. She was from Ohio, we’d worked together in Italy, and now she was here standing outside my London apartment. It was hard to believe it was really her, and with our combined knowledge of the city totalling nothing, we ventured out together to explore.

This was the life I had wanted when I chose to move here, and in those few days that she was with me, I experienced it all in a snapshot. Just as quickly and as rapidly as she’d come, though, it was soon time for her to disappear on a train and leave me wanting more. It was a scene so familiar to me, except this time it wasn’t me going somewhere new and exciting, it was somebody else, and I was the one being left behind. I might have been living in one of the world’s hubs with people endlessly coming and going, but I still felt very much alone.

 It was a letter from a friend that really made me feel solitary. He said that I was an inspiration for uprooting my life and coming here, and he brazenly played with words like brave and courageous. It was the most flattering letter I’d ever received in my life, but every word stung because I felt like my friendless self was a complete and utter fraud.

I knew then that it was time to stop pretending and to actually start building this life for real. It was time to paint a life that suited me, and so I began trying to make friends in whatever way I could. Scrolling through endless Grindr profiles by day, and bar hopping by night, I talked to anyone and everyone in search of someone I might call a friend, but it seemed everyone just wanted benefits. A topless man would ask me for a fuck, my inbox would flood with pictures of penises, and somebody would take me aside and request to pay me generously for my services.

Making friends as an adult is hard, I never seem to have trouble when on the road, but when I finally come back to my home country it seems impossible. Perhaps being the mysterious guy who arrives on a train and then leaves on a plane is easy, but being a new permanent addition to somebody else’s city is hard. I’d make fleeting friendships by chatting to the girls in the ice-cream shop, getting drunk in somebody’s kitchen, falling asleep in a stranger’s bed, but by the time I’d get home, these people couldn’t even remember my name and I’d probably never see them again.

The people I’d pass as I wandered through my local plot of green frustrated me, I was so jealous of them as they laughed with their friends and lapped up the last bit of the summer sunshine. Laid out on their picnic blankets, wrapped up in their happiness, they had everything I craved but were oblivious to me and the rest of the world around them. They’d found their lives, and it was time for me to find mine.

Everything I wanted was here, I just had to be patient enough to let it happen. Trawling bars and casual sex apps was not going to find me the friends that I wanted, and as soon as I started looking, I began to notice the people I’d shut my eyes to before. A girl sat reading a book alone beneath the boughs of a shady tree, a boy sat on the curb with headphones pushed into his ears, and somebody who smiles with such genuine intentions that you know that they’re just as lonely as you.

Like my visiting friend from Ohio, people come and go from this city every single day, but just as people leave, new people arrive, and those people are all looking for the very same thing. They’re looking for a life that isn’t handed to them on a plate, a life they have to work for, a life they can design from scratch. I may not be able to snap my fingers and have everything I want come shooting out from them, but in time it will all come. Yes it’s lonely, yes it’s scary, but more than anything I’m just grateful that I’m able to sit here and paint my life with whichever colours I so choose.

The Dating Game

In Eat, Gay, Love on February 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Gay Piggy Back

‘I hear the birds on the summer breeze, I drive fast, I am alone in the night. Been trying hard not to get into trouble but I’ve got a war in my mind.’

– Lana Del Rey

I stepped out of the blood clinic and made my way across London to meet one of my closest friends. By legally donating blood after a year without sex, I had ticked one item off my list of goals for 2013. The truth, though, was that I had a secondary motive for my short time in England. There was another goal I wanted to accomplish.

Everything was beginning to shape up exactly how I’d planned it would. I’d had to dodge a few curve-balls and make a few last minute decisions but it seemed like I was on the right track to ticking off every item on my list. Lessons were being learned, travel arrangements had been made, and I was making bold steps in terms of my writing and my career.

There was only one goal that was being left in the dust. The pursuit of romance was being forgotten about amidst the other exciting steps I was taking, and it was seeming less and less likely that I would find that man who’d give me butterflies.

Living in Spain, an hour’s drive from the nearest gay bar, makes dating seem almost unfathomable. In England I could open Grindr to find that the nearest suitor was a few metres away, but here it’s a couple of miles. I’d like to be able to go down to one of the local bars and flirt precariously with a hot stranger but my fear holds me back.

The language barrier doesn’t worry me, that never stopped me before, but it’s terrifying to hit on a man knowing that they’re most likely straight and you don’t know how they’ll react. Some gay men have the confidence to do it without first loading up on liquor, but memories of past homophobia prevent me. Even when I catch the eye of a stranger and offer them a friendly smile, I’ve a constant fear that they might react violently to even my most subtle advances. I rarely make a move on anyone outside the safety of gay friendly establishments.

The internet is one way I can pursue boys that I like. There’s hundreds of good looking boys I could taken on a date if only they were on my doorstep. I regularly flirt with gorgeous Italians, cute Scotts, and stunning Americans, but without taking time off work and splashing out on an expensive flight, they’re way out of my reach.

So, knowing that I was flying back to England just before Valentine’s Day, I knew that it would be the best shot I’d have at romance until I finally moved to New York. I decided that I’d donate my pint of blood and then spend an evening wining and dining somebody special to celebrate, and all I had to do was find them.

With time ticking away, I had to act quickly. My fingers tapped on every gay dating app available, scrolling through thousands of gay men’s profiles, trying to find the small handful of people that jumped out at me. Plucking a few London based suitors from the masses, I set about laying the usual groundwork. Finding out about their interests, showering them with compliments, and building myself up to the big question of asking them on a date.

It really highlighted how bizarre the concept of dating really is. If we like somebody, instead of showing them how incredible we are, we bombard them with praise and tell them how incredible they are. It’s so far removed from every other aspect of our lives. Dating should be more like a job interview, that’s something I understand. We should be able to unashamedly boast about our personality and our best traits, exaggerate about what a compassionate partner we would be and how good we are in bed, and then give them a list of references from our ex-partners.

Instead, we do the equivalent of walking into a job interview and showering the interviewer with praise. We tell our potential employer that we think they’re amazing, tell them how gorgeous they are, and then without sharing with them any of our best qualities, we awkwardly ask them for a job.

It’s all backwards. It’s a game where the majority of us end up making complete fools of ourselves and yet we continue to play because we want the end prize so badly. I always make the mistake of coming on too strong, finding a gay man I’m attracted to comes so rarely that I get way ahead of myself and start planning our third date before we’ve had the first.

I played the dating game to the very best of my ability, but when the moment came to strike with my offer of dinner and a show, I was met with tumble-weed on each and every occasion. So I resigned myself to the fact that romance just wasn’t something I could force. I can plan and make arrangements for everything I want to achieve this year, but when it comes to romance, I’m well and truly blind.

I did what I should have done in the first place and offered to take one of my closest friends out instead. I had such a good time that I almost forgot about my search for romance, and when a cute Londoner invited me to come for a drink, I passed up his offer and stuck with my friend. As much as I loathe to admit it, it really is true what they say. You can’t go looking for love, you have to wait for it to find you.

There’s an on going war in my mind between me and my inner control freak, it’s hard to sit by and just let fate guide me towards romance, but I know kicking and screaming won’t help. Sometimes you’ve just got to sit back and enjoy the ride.

There And Back Again

In Eat, Gay on October 6, 2012 at 11:31 am

Munich By Night

‘I don’t do drugs, I am drugs’

– Salvador Dalí

As I slam my feet down on the tables, clink my stein together with those of my fellow lederhosen-wearing patrons, and pretend to know the words to German songs in celebration of the debauchery of Oktoberfest, I cautiously keep one eye fixed firmly on my drink and think of the last time I came to visit.

I opened my palms to the warmth of one of the camp fires, buried my toes into the sands of Nektar beach, and took large generous sips from my Mojito. I’d come to Munich for a big gay party and although I should have been thrilled to be there, all I felt was disappointment. I’d expected body shots and strobe lights; drag queens and transvestites; and teenage boys and love bites, but instead was greeted with a much more sophisticated event.

Groups of men in smart shirts and blazers gathered around flickering candles, listened to classical music, and talked about business. As the only person under the age of thirty, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, I stuck out like a sore thumb, and naturally it wasn’t long until I attracted the attention of a crowd of nearby Germans. They circled me like a pack of well-dressed hyenas on a wilder-beast calf, and before I knew it they were handing me drinks faster than I could drink them.

I indulged them for a while, listening to their stories and sharing some of mine, but it didn’t take long for the conversation to fall into tedium. I knew that what I really wanted to be doing was drinking Jaeger out of somebody’s belly button, not discussing my opinions of Angela Merkel, and so I finally came to the end of my tether, slammed down my drink, and demanded to know where the hell the party was.

The youngest of the pack turned to me, and with a sly wink he whispered, it’s right here sweetheart, and handed me another drink, and that’s when things started to turn hazy.

The sun woke me the next morning and, checking the time, I frantically leapt out of bed and threw on my clothes. I had to be on a train to Italy in an hour, and it was a forty-five minute walk to the station. My legs felt like match-sticks and the floor felt like custard as I rolled my suitcase out into the street and pushed my headphones into my ears. Everything was blurry as if the whole city had been submerged underwater, or as if I was looking at it through a Vaselined lens, and my mind was running so fast that even the drum & bass that blasted in my ear drums sounded sluggish.

I reached the train station in less than five minutes and, as if my body was running on auto-pilot, I veered off straight for the sweet counter. My whole body was dripping with sweat and drool began to trickle down my chin as I gawped at the dazzling colours of the various candies. I grinned from ear to ear as I snatched up a bag and began scooping up handfuls of yellow bellies and flying saucers, and then gobbled them up in front of the cashier before beginning to refill the bag.

And those, I said through a mouthful of gummy bears I hadn’t yet paid for, two of those! My whole body began to convulse with excitement as she began to pour two large slushies, and not able to control myself any longer, I lunged forward for my two cups of sugary delight, threw money at her, and disappeared into the surging crowd.

It didn’t take long for the numbers to overwhelm me, and then suddenly I felt dizzy and was overcome with fear. Everyone was out to steal my sweets, and I didn’t know where I was, and didn’t understand why that girl was following me, and then in an explosion of colour the entire city collapsed around me until there was nothing but darkness and a high-pitched humming sound.

I woke up on the train, face down in a magazine I don’t remember buying, my face stuck to Thom Evans’ naked torso, and an Italian grandmother sat opposite, looking at me with the combination of repulsion, disappointment, and fear.

I apologised, and in an attempt to make awkward conversation, she asked me where I was headed. I told her I was on my way to teach English to children in the north of Italy, and those words very nearly gave her a stroke.

I was lucky, if somebody could slip a rave drug into my drink, they could have just as easily slipped in something more malicious, and I realise now the importance of being careful- from here on out I won’t be leaving my drink unattended and I definitely won’t be accepting drinks from strangers- unless they’re exceptionally cute.

Teenage Dream

In Eat, Gay on August 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hot Skater Boys

‘I told him I wouldn’t teach him any more but he refused to accept it, he just kept coming back. It began to feel like our secret, and well, secrets can be… seductive.’

– Notes on a Scandal

Over the past couple of months I’ve grown used to having students develop crushes on me; I’ve been passed gifts of adoration in class, had scampering feet and giggling voices slip love letters under my hotel room door after curfew, and even had girls declare their undying love for me all over their Facebook pages- I’ve always found it both flattering and endearing but never thought that this attraction would ever be reciprocated.

Alarm bells first began to sound when I was offered work teaching sixteen to eighteen year olds in Germany. I’ve dated boys younger than that, I thought, and young skater boys are my kryptoniteyou can imagine my relief when I arrived to find that I wasn’t attracted to a single one of them, they weren’t unfortunate looking, they just thankfully weren’t my type.

That was until I was handed the bios and photographs of all the new student arrivals- I took one look at the pile, and, as if deliberately taunting me, a handsome eighteen year old Spanish boy smirked up from his photograph. I steeled myself for his arrival, reminding myself that I was an authoritative figure, but the moment he strutted into the hotel, showing off his ravishing good looks and muscle tone, I immediately went weak at the knees. It was almost impossible to keep myself composed, but I just about managed it, at least until the cruise…

I lay sunbathing on the deck of the boat as we sailed down the River Rhine one sunny afternoon, and as I admired the stunning scenery he took off his shirt and lay down directly in my eye line. The glistening sweaty torso of my eighteen year old student was unavoidable, and the thoughts whirring in my head couldn’t have been more inappropriate. I felt like I was Cate Blanchet in Notes on a Scandal and that at any moment I might be leading him down the railway tracks and

I knew I had to get rid of these thoughts, and quickly, and so I made a conscious effort to avoid his naked torso, but it proved to be impossible. He scored a goal in a football match and off came his shirt, we went for a walk in the rain and off came his shirt, we sat quietly in art class and off came his shirt, and then one evening when I thought things couldn’t get any more inappropriate, he answered his door to me wearing nothing but a carefully placed wash cloth.

I fumbled awkwardly for a moment, but just as I went to turn on my heel, I caught the scent of beer dripping from his lips. Want some? he said, noticing me clock the bottle on his bedside. My teenage dream had come true, a naked teenage Spaniard was inviting me into his room for a drink, and for a moment I had to remind myself where I was. Just five years earlier I was brainstorming different ways to illegally procure alcohol, and now here I was having to confiscate it.

Can I buy you a none-alcoholic drink? I joked the following evening as he grumpily slumped against the bar at the teenagers’ disco. He wasn’t amused, and as if deliberately trying to make me uncomfortable, he headed straight for the pole, ripped off his shirt and went at it like a wild animal, gyrating in an overly sexual manner, his muscles bulging as he lifted himself into the air and gracefully glided back down. I no longer felt like I was at a teenage disco, I suddenly felt like I was marvelling at some sordid show in Amsterdam’s House of Boys. 

And so eventually I resigned myself to the fact that I was attracted to him, and decided there was no point in pretending that I wasn’t. As long as I kept such thoughts to myself and didn’t write about it on the internet where the authorities and future employers could see, it would probably be okay to look as long as I definitely didn’t touch.

One Night In Frankfurt

In Eat, Gay on July 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

Frankfurt by Night

‘Life is a sexually transmitted disease’

– R. D. Laing

I stumbled out of the Frankfurt train station and took to a street at random, I’d managed to lose my map but figured I had a good nose for direction- five minutes later and I was in the middle of Frankfurt’s red light district surrounded by strippers.

So what kind of girls are you in to? one of them asked me.

The kind with penises, I told them, and they waved me off down a side-street, assuring me that that was the direction I needed to go.

Unsure over whether or not it was a good idea to take advice from a stripper, I figured I didn’t really have any other choice, and began winding down the dimly lit streets. As I walked I found myself drawn into a pulsating bass-line and the ominous sound of a heaving crowd, and the closer I got, the more I began to realise why they had sent me in this direction.

At first I began to notice same-sex couples holding hands, and then I spotted rainbow flags and drag queens, and then I turned the corner and it hit me. As a deranged drag queen screamed down a microphone and began attacking glitter filled balloons with a machete, I realised I had accidentally come to Frankfurt Gay Pride, and then as if things couldn’t get any better, right there in the middle of it all, lit up in neon lights and decorated liberally with rainbow flags, was my hotel.

I couldn’t believe my luck. After finishing my job in Switzerland, I rolled out a map of Europe, randomly slammed my finger down on Frankfurt, and booked the first cheap hotel I could find, and somehow by absolute chance, I’d managed to orientate myself right in the centre of an enormous gay party.

There was one reason I chose Germany over all of the places that I could have visited, and that was the chance to finally complete my long unfulfilled fantasy of sleeping with a German boy. When the closest thing to sex you’ve had in several months of travelling is ten minutes in the shower with a clone of your ex’s penis, it’s no surprise that I’d go off in search of a real man. I’d spent the past months flirting with Italian boys, Spanish boys, and French boys without any real fulfilment- flirting with a German wasn’t going to be enough, so I renewed my Grindr subscription and headed to Frankfurt with every intent of fulfilling my fantasy. And The Universe approved of my plan by putting the entire gay population of Frankfurt right on my doorstep.

I dashed straight upstairs to my hotel room, quickly showered and threw on fresh clothes, necked a bottle of wine, and headed down into the party. My song was playing as I glided down the staircase and out into the street, my feet trod so lightly on the pavement that I felt like I was flying, for the first time since splitting with my ex, I felt like I had complete control back over my life, I was free to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I had a wallet stuffed with hard-earned disposable cash, nobody to disapprove of me or judge me for my actions, and absolutely no commitment to anything but the dance floor.

And right there before me was a crowd of beautiful skater boys, all slender and toned, with dazzling blue eyes and perfectly straightened hair, I had come to Germany just in time for the skater-boy-buffet, and my only complaint was that I only had time to sample one dish.

After hours of dancing, with fire in my belly and lust in my veins, I found him at the Brazilian cocktail bar. He flicked his messy jet black hair out of his eyes as I approached him and gave me a wide-cheeky grin; he was ordering a blowjob from the topless bartender, I simply told him that I knew where he could get a better one and lead him back to my hotel.

I was proud of my accomplishment, not that I had bedded a German boy, but that I had wanted to do something and so I simply went and did it, it was really that easy. I never expected to hear from him again after I kissed him Auf Wiedersehen in the hotel lobby, but as I headed for the airport to catch my flight to Rome, my phone buzzed and I found a single text from an unknown German number. I knew instantly who it was from- it just said three little words that made absolutely no sense, yet at the same time meant so much, love the world.

I knew he’d meant to say safe travels, enjoy your trip, but in his broken English, he’d managed to say something ultimately more poetic.

Love the world.

I will, I thought, I will.

The Language of Sex and Love

In Gay on May 30, 2012 at 7:25 am

The Language of Sex and Love

‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart’

– Nelson Mandela

This morning I fired up Grindr to check out the local talent and found I was quickly bombarded with messages from foreign men- Spanish, German, French and Danish, they were all suddenly encroaching upon me, and even with the help of Google Translate, I was well and truly bamboozled.

Grindr is complicated enough without throwing a handful of new languages into the mix, I couldn’t make sense of any of it, but after some determined frustration I began to realise that the words they were using were foreign variants of gay slang.

As a sub-culture, we have developed our own personal language, a language of delectable shallow nonsense that we flaunt in our everyday conversations. It’s only when I meet somebody new and they keep interrupting to ask what an otter or a cub is, that I realise how much we overuse them.

It’s come to the stage where when a young gay man comes out of the closet, he needs a gay encyclopaedia thrust into his hands so he can understand what the hell the rest of us are talking about. It can instruct him to identify a bear from a twink, how to figure out whether he’s top or bottom, and whether or not he’s ready for manscaping and anal douching.

I was only fifteen when a boy hit on me over the internet asking me whether I was a top or a bottom. It seems so obvious now, but at the time I had no idea what he was talking about. Now I read ‘Bottom Vers LF Dom Top 4 NSAF’ on the daily and understand it like it’s second nature.

You can even take an online test now which helps identify which gay clique you fit into, it’s all very shallow, categorising ourselves as bulls, chickens, pigs, and various other farmyard animals, but there’s one very strong reason I’m not at all against it.

Gay language can be traced as far back as the 16th century where Polari was used as a code-language in the gay-underground scene- Oscar Wilde himself was said to have used it. As silly and shallow as modern gay language may seem, it was once used to aid in disguising a person’s homosexuality, long before we had the rights we do today, and the fact that we’re still using it is actually something quite special.

Every time we talk about mincing, call someone camp or butch, or call someone a queen or diva, we’re honouring our heritage and history, and that’s what gay pride is all about. It’s not about standing out from the crowd and causing a scene, it’s about being proud of who we are and being truthful to our roots.

As for traversing the language barrier in order to communicate with the Spanish and the Germans, I might just try the handkerchief code.

I’ll go for dark red and tealI think.

Summertime Sadness

In Eat, Love on May 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

Skater boys

‘I think I’ll miss you forever, like the stars miss the sun in the morning skies.’

– Lana Del Rey

As I lugged my bright green Calvin Klein suitcase through town, it never really occurred to me that I was preparing to leave forever. I didn’t look back at my flat as I pulled the door shut behind me, I didn’t think twice about the memories that every corner held, and I didn’t think of all the people I was casually leaving behind.

I had one foot out of the door for so long that when it finally came to leaving I barely even realised. As I walked through the city centre a final time, I laughed at the things people were wearing, and gawped at all the gorgeous boys who’d come out to celebrate the British sun, and then as if going nowhere special, I got on the bus to the airport and waved my final goodbyes.

It wasn’t until I pulled the headphones from my pocket and pushed them into my ears that I began to truly realise that I was leaving. As the bus pulled out of the station and began to drive past the skate-park, Lana Del Rey burst through my ear drum and I felt a lump catch in my throat.

I watched the hot skaters flipping through the air, laughing and jostling with one another, drinking cans of cider, and basking under the warm summer sun. I had spent every summer by that skate park at Derby’s annual gay pride- surrounded by friends, drinking questionably neon drinks, collecting endless free condoms, laughing at the sarcastic jokes of sassy drag-queens and willing the hot skater boys to take off their tops.

It was this positive memory that stuck in my mind as the bus drove away and left Derby behind, but then as I passed the homophobic post office, I remembered all the reasons why I was leaving, and smirked. I was leaving behind the homophobes, the liars, and the cheats; I was leaving behind boredom and mediocrity; I was leaving behind a place that’s says no when my body screams yes- I had been living in the past, and my time to leave had come.

The strangest thing about leaving and declaring myself a nomad is not having a set of keys jingling around in my pocket. I keep reaching down and panicking, thinking I’ve lost them, and then I remember- I have nowhere to go back to, nowhere to store my things, no place to call my home.

I gave up a life of security for a life of adventure, but already it’s paying off. Instead of writing this on a collapsed bed in a dark hollow room overlooking the grey streets of Derby, I sit writing on a Spanish balcony overlooking lush green valleys and the beach where topless German boys sunbathe by the sea.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practise my German.

Ich bin ein homosexuelle. Möchten Sie sich nackt?

I Like Your Man Areas

In Gay on May 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Hot guys

‘I like that dirty daddy cuz his chest be kinda hairy, but I also like them chickens cuz those dudes is finger lickin’

– Johnny McGovern

I gawped at the topless twenty-something jogger as he ran along by the side of the road, his tight joggers clinging to his body leaving nothing to the imagination, and his muscles glistening in the blistering sun. Obscene thoughts ran through my mind but as soon as he noticed my staring, he quickly grabbed his t-shirt and pulled it back over his body.

As well as being disappointed at the fact that the peep show was now over, I was initially offended that he would cover himself up just because a gay man was appreciating the view- if a woman were watching it would have been a different story. But then I imagined a woman running down the street in a bikini, and imagined a group of men eyeing her up and making her uncomfortable, and realised that perhaps it was me that was in the wrong- if he wants to cover himself up he has the right, I am not entitled to look at his body.

We’re all guilty of objectifying men and women to some degree, but where do we draw the line? What is appropriate and what is inappropriate? We already have an alarmingly high number of rapes happening every year due to men believing they have entitlement over women.

In pop culture, straight men constantly objectify women, sometimes to an extent that is completely inappropriate- Tip Drill is a prime example of this, both the lyrics of the song and the music itself are massively degrading towards women- be warned before clicking the link, though, although it’s not pornographic it’s pretty x-rated. 

50 Cent, famed for rapping about blowjobs and having scantily clad women gyrating around him, recently declared that he was in support of gay marriage as long as he doesn’t get objectified himself- he’s worried that gay men will grab his buns in an elevator. Although this worry is both absurd and massively homophobic, it would greatly help prove that homosexuality is about love and not sex if men weren’t seen as objects by the gay communities.

I’m not being a prude, my tumblr page is riddled with topless male models and I spend half my life drooling over the Call Me Maybe Guy, but when gay versions of videos like Tip Drill begin to immerge, things have been taken a little bit too far. I stumbled upon this sordid gem a while ago, and despite the fact that it has semi-naked men dancing around in it, it makes me feel sick to the stomach- it’s so seedy and repugnant that I first assumed it must be a parody, but apparantly not.

Although I am partial to a semi-naked man running past me in the street, I do think that the extreme objectification of both men and women is wrong- we have to draw the line somewhere, and if women continue to be seen as sexual objects by the media then it won’t be long until men are too. So, to all those guys out there who talk about pussy instead of women, if you can’t take it then you shouldn’t dish it out- next time you slap a girl on the behind and call her sweet-cheeks, just imagine a 6’5 drag queen doing the same right back to you.

The Mailman Always Delivers

In Gay, Love on May 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

International Day Against Homophobia

‘Please Mr. Postman, look and see, is there a letter in your bag for me?’

The Marvelettes

In recent years, I was made to hate my job at one of the world’s largest mail companies due to the amount of homophobia on the factory floor- after making a formal complaint I was deemed a bitchy little queer, had my uniform literally ripped from my back, and was escorted off the premises and told not to return. Ever since, I’ve been pretty negative about the postal service, I grimace every time one of their vans pass me in the street, and dread the day one of my ex-colleagues delivers my mail.

That was until I met the courier boy.

He’s visited a couple of times now, picking up boxes of old things I’ve been selling off in preparation of my impending move, all the while being cheeky and flirtatious and brightening up my day. This morning, as the doorbell rang, I hurriedly threw on some joggers, picked up the parcel I had waiting by the door, and ran downstairs intentionally topless to greet him.

Alright mate, he winked, taking the box off me and handing me something to sign- I began undressing him with my eyes as I squiggled down my name, wishing I were a dog just so I’d have an excuse to bite him. I’ll see you soon, yeah? he grinned and swaggered off back towards his van.

Maybe he’s gay, I thought to myself as I waved and shut the door, but in reality I knew that he was just being friendly. There are so many straight guys out there who genuinely possess no homophobic beliefs and are 100% comfortable around gay people- even those attracted to them- and I think it’s a shame that they are always the ones first accused of being gay- even Barack Obama was widely accused of being gay after openly backing marriage equality.

We fight and demand tolerance from people and try to stamp out homophobia, yet we sexually pounce on those that aren’t behaving intolerantly. We often naturally jump to the conclusion that a person must be gay just because they’re being nice to us, and we’re then adamant that we can fulfil the gay man’s fantasy of turning a straight guy.

Today is The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), and while the rest of the world is rightly doing their part by speaking out against homophobia, I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to show my appreciation for the courier boy and all the other hetero-men out there who support homosexuality (even when we do answer the door topless in a transparent and pathetic attempt to get your phone number)

Maybe next time I’ll answer wearing nothing but a smile.