Archive for January 2010
We all wear some sort of mask.
From the woman who can’t let her partner see her without makeup, to the hard-bitten cynic who secretly just wants to be loved.
The life and soul of the party who never feels more alone than when they’re in a room full of people.
The guy who says ‘I’m fine’ when asked how he is — when he’s anything but.
Yes, masks are a fact of everyday life.
I saw my trans friend, Mandi, the other night — a gentle soul with the dictionary definition of a singsong Irish accent. Lovely to talk to, lovelier to listen to.
Mandi has, for some time, wavered between knowing she doesn’t want to appear to the world as the man she was wrongly born, but lacking the confidence to present herself fully as a woman in every day life.
But she turned up that night looking absolutely beautiful.
At some point in the three or so weeks since I last saw her, she has transformed into some sort of red-headed Diana Ross.
Her hair was loose from its usual scraped-back ponytail and was sitting to her shoulders in lovely natural waves, she’d had a fringe cut, a subtle copper colour put in her hair and her eyelashes tinted. In short, she looked utterly gorgeous.
“I’m going to the hospital in a few weeks for my first consultation, hopefully soon after that I can start hormone therapy and get electrolysis on my face.” she said. “I can’t afford to get my boobs done; it’s five grand I haven’t got, so I’m going to wait and do it properly.”
“I know people are going to stare but there comes a point when you just have to think, ‘fuck it’ and do what’s right for you.”
I neither advertise nor conceal the fact that I’m gay. I look relatively masculine and can pull off the straight/butch act if I’m in a rough area, or in unfamiliar company. But I don’t respond well to homophobia and I challenge anyone who’s seen me when I’m pissed off to tell me I can’t handle myself.
What I mean is that I never feel like I’m putting myself out there when I exit my front door. I don’t walk along the street feeling like I’m under the scrutiny of other pedestrians, wondering if anyone’s going to spot what makes me ‘different’ and jump on it.
If you were black in the 1950s and 60s you didn’t have the luxury of concealment. Insults and attacks, segregation, fear and hostility would have been part of your daily life.
Why are people still so scared of anyone different that they have to hide their fear behind a mask of stifled laughter, taunts and sometimes even aggression?
So I say this:
To the freaks and the weirdos, to those that don’t conform, the skinnys, the fatties, the shorties and the lankies. To the men with guyliner and the girls with tuxedos and painted-on stubble. To all those who refuse to go through life with a mask on.
I applaud you. I respect your fearlessness to turn round to the world and say “fuck you, I am who I am”.
And to Mandi — Godspeed on your journey. You inspire me.
As gay men, we’re more likely to sleep with one of our immediate or extended social circle than our straight counterparts – I know I have. Take any group of gay friends and you can guarantee that at least two or three of them will have boffed each other at some point. It’s a bit like that six degrees of separation thing, except stickier.
Let’s face it. We’re homos. We like sex. We are lucky that the people we sleep with are also homos who like sex.
Which brings me nicely to the reason for this post.
I’m sleeping with one of my friends.
I never meant for it to happen. It just sort of…did. We’ve always flirted with each other, but I’m the exact opposite of his type, so I was actually rather knocked for six when we ended up back at his place after rather a few beers one Friday night before Christmas.
I’ll refrain from giving too much away so as to protect his identity, lest the follow up comments turn this blog into some elaborate online version of Guess Who? The likelihood of him reading this post is slim to none, but I’ll still spare him any potential blushes.
So why are we keeping it quiet? I mean, he’s good looking, has a good job (and a mighty fine backside) so it’s not as if I’m having it off with Quasimodo. We’re both single and therefore not hurting anyone so it’s OK, right? And the nice thing is we still have stuff to talk about before and after the sex. Kind of a “friend with benefits”. I actually find him fun to be around.
We simply haven’t told anyone because quite frankly – it’s none of their gosh darn collective business, and putting it out there for everyone to just start pitching in with their comments and judgements, etc…. Gah. Thanks, but no thanks.
So I guess what I’m wondering is this: What happens when feelings start becoming involved?
I’m used to being hit by a bolt of lightning where men are concerned, but perhaps it’s just a fact of life that as you get older and you’ve been hurt a few times, you become more guarded and less prone to rushing in feet first. At least I have, anyway. But am I doing it because it’s ‘safe’ and there’s less of a chance I’ll get hurt, or am I in denial that I do actually care for this guy?
Like it or not, the longer we carry on, the more potential there is that feelings will eventually develop, from one side or both. So someone’s potentially going to get their fingers burnt. Is it worth risking a friendship for that? More to the point – can I stop what I’ve started?
As I woke up a few mornings ago with him snuggled up on my chest, playfully moaning at me to go and make him a cup of tea, I didn’t have a definition for our situation. But I’ll tell you this. It felt bloody nice.