Sunday, 9 December 2007

Do unto others

It’s a Wednesday night. I’m on a date. Bloke. Met him on the Guardian’s dating website. Chose him because he has an 80-foot boat and blue eyes. First meeting.

Things are not going according to plan.

The Plan was to have a drink, determine if he’s a fuckwit or not, and then cut-and-run. Play it cool. Leave him slavering for more.

The reality is he has managed to get two Guinesses down my throat in 20 minutes, which means we have left the exponential curve linking HW’s mental judgement to alcohol units at the point where the line of tangency becomes vertical. If you were to crack open my head now you would see a series of severed cables dangling in the gulf between Rational Thought and Libido Control. And the ruddy Guiness toucan dancing around with a pair of wire cutters in his beak.

So drinks become dinner, which becomes a piano bar. I am now four Guinesses, a bottle of red wine and two vodka tonics down, and am officially In Trouble. The earpiece linking me to The Best Friend Help Desk fell into my seafood soup at dinner and had to be rapidly swallowed as an unconvincing prawn, and I am having trouble differentiating between the straw in my cocktail and the thin scary man at the bar. This is not good.

The Date comes back with more drinks, and as he does so the gentleman-of-darker-persuasion sitting opposite asks him if he knows where the loos are. “Fuck”, I think. “Pissing. Yes. Pissing. This would be good. Yes, yes. I too will now piss.”

I enter the Gents, noting with my Holmesian eye for detail that there are two closely-placed urinals and one cubicle. The gentleman who asked The Date for directions is already relieving himself into one urinal, and is laughing and singing away happily. He attempts to engage me in conversation but I’m more interested in freeing the 243 litres of piss that have suddenly materialised in my bladder than debating Schopenhauer’s notions of free will. Still, it costs nothing to be polite, so I so I mutter some inanities back and dash into the empty cubicle.

“Oh god oh god the buttons they’re stuck oh god why the fuck don’t they put zippers on jeans anymore I mean it must be easier for the little Chinese kids to sew on zippers for 14 hours than buttons but maybe they like the variety oh god I’m going to piss myself on a date the indignity the ignominity is that the right word or does it have fewer letters and yes yes yes the buttons are off and ahhhhhhhh…”

As 243 litres arc to freedom I notice that my friend has decided that the best way to get my attention is to stick his head around the cubicle door and continue his prattle while I piss. When I give his latest joke a polite chuckle he takes this as assent, takes a step closer and peers around my shoulder. Before I can say “excuse me young man may I enquire what you are doing invading my personal space in such an inappropriately intimate manner?” he has reached down and given Mr Dangle a good ol’ grope. While I’m still pissing.

Fuck I hate gay men.

Trapped as I am by the liquid rope that holds me in unholy communion with the lav, the best I can do is splutter “Whoa! Mate! You’ve really got the WRONG BLOODY IDEA!” With a nonchalant shrug and a giggle he departs, leaving me pondering when exactly when in the history of social development it became acceptable to hold a stranger’s genitalia in a public place.

I’m thinking never. And I’m also hoping that my mum has stopped reading my blog. Reaaaally hoping.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Of gods and men

Dear mortals,

As I gaze down upon thee from the formidable heights of Mount Olympus, noting thy pathetic scratchings and scrapings from my throne of gilded buttocks, I place a wearied hand upon my brow and bid thee stop, pause thy pitiful scurrying, look to the heavens and…

Check. Out. My. Life. It’s fucking fantastic.

As you are all well aware, my life wasn’t always like this. No, up until last weekend I was one of You Lot, my days spent gazing at the Navel of Discontent and chewing the Fat of Melancholia (it tastes like liquorice if you want to know). But now? Well, now I neck beers with Dionysus, make little charm bracelets with Hephaestus and perve on Apollo’s buns with Hermes in the Pool of Nubile Youths (just don’t drop the soap).

How did this happen? My ascent up Mount Olympus began last Saturday night, at the 30-something birthday extravaganza of my good friend The Maggirister.

For those of you new to my world, The Maggirister is a freak of human nature: half barrister, half internationally-acclaimed card magician. He flies through the streets of London in a spandex suit emblazoned with diamonds and hearts, resolving commercial litigation with one flick of his mighty Delia Smith kitchen scales, and accepting the cheers of a grateful populous with a nod of his immaculately coiffured wig.

We dated once; briefly, tragically. It ended with moi throwing The Maggirister’s heart into oncoming traffic on the Portishead bypass, where it bounced off the bonnet of a 1972 Skoda before being eaten by pack of rabid Somerset inbreds. Fortunately he has since successfully grown a new one with the aid of a much more loving man and his rather beautiful 8-pack.

So. The Dinner Party. Not one to do things by halves, The Maggirister hosted a catered, four-course event for 16 people in the ‘Oak Room’ of his historic apartment building. You know the one. Next to the Ballroom. Underneath the 17th century fresco of dancing cherubs. I know, I know, not a patch on one’s usual vomit-on-the-half-eaten-kebab Saturday night out but one must struggle on as best one can.

Not surprisingly most of The Maggirister’s friends were from the ‘Magic Industry’. The first fellow I spoke to worked as a Hustler on American TV, which sadly proved not to be a career in the porn-rodeo business. Less pink-tasselled chaps, more ripping-off fat stupid yanks. Delightful conversation, but disappointingly he didn’t fall for my trick of hiding my wallet in my pants and challenging him to ‘hustle [that] out Big Boy.’

Magic guest number two worked as a consultant for film and stage. His last job had been to figure out how the lead in “Desperately Seeking Susan - The Musical” (oh so much material here) could sing the final number whilst being sawn in half. Ah yes, how often I have pondered the same question. Oh, and he’d helped Daniel with his magic tricks in Harry Potter 3. Ahem. Of course your faithful narrator took all this in his stride, snuck off to the bathroom and wrapped the hand that had touched the hand that had touched Harry in a plastic bag, never to be washed again.

And so to Guest 3. Ah, Guest 3. If Guest 3 was a drug, he’d go in your toes or up your nose. If he was real estate, you wouldn’t even be allowed to change the colour of the medieval finials. If he was your primary school maths exam, Mrs Woodley would have stuck a gold star to his forehead. Yes, ladies and gentlemen; Guest 3 was a bona fide, A-grade, Class I celebrity.

Fuck. Me.

Fortunately the initial shock of recognition carried me through the introductions, so that when G3 shook my hand and said “Ah, HW, I’ve heard a lot about you” he misinterpreted my stupefied silence as a cool why-the-fuck-should-I-care attitude to celebritydom. Because I don’t… care that is… well, not much… [must get plastic bag off hand before G3 notices fuck fuck double fuck].

As pre-dinner drinks came to an end G3 and I wended our way over the to dinner venue. En route there was an unfortunate accident with a fast-moving garden trowel which resulted in there being an empty seat next to G3 at the dinner table. The poor fellow was therefore required to talk to the person on his left all night who was, oh!, really?! ME?!

Oh how the honey of our conversation flowed! Politics, architecture, music, classical philosophy; nothing was beyond the scope of our most intimate imaginings. For whole minutes we grappled with the breadth of human experience and the dark imaginings of mankind’s flawed soul. And then we talked about boys. And cocks. And boys some more. Who have nice cocks.

Yes, it turns out G3 is a gayer [whoopee!]… with a boyfriend [boo, hiss]… who he loves deeply [fucking cunt fuck]. This point was in danger of derailing my Master Plan of wooing and winning a celebrity for my collection, when Lady Luck decided to help me out.

G3: “What are you up to for the rest of the weekend?”

HW: [with casual flick of his hair] “Oh, the choir I am in are singing one of Elgar’s lesser known works, The Dream Of Gerontius, at the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow. You probably don’t know it.”

G3: “No way! You’re kidding?! That’s my favourite piece of classical music! I sing it in the shower for god’s sake! HW, do you think, is there ANY chance you might be able to get me two tickets? Any chance at all?”

HW: “Weeeeell, I’m not sure. It’s pretty popular. I’ll try and pull a few strings, see what I can do.”

G3: “Wow, thank you so much. Look, here’s my number, call me tomorrow to let me know how you get on.”

“OK. Like, whatever.”

After dinner, in desperate need of wing-woman advice I rang The Best Friend. Typically, she completely missed the point and asked “HW, do you actually fancy this man?” What on earth has that got to do with the anything? I mean, really. I needed advice on how to eliminate The Competition in a multiple paper-cut tragedy with a Royal Albert Hall program, not some moralistic mumbo jumbo about Right and Wrong.

The next day I got the tickets, sang my little heart out in the concert and afterwards met G3 and his beau outside. A small crowd had gathered around G3 and some chav was asking him to sign her Megabus ticket with an Asda eye-liner, so I chatted to The Competition for a bit. Disappointingly he turned out to be lovely. Intelligent, sincere, fucking lovely. Suddenly I couldn’t imagine pushing him under a bus or setting a host of genetically-engineered squirrels onto him, let alone slowly bleeding him to death with a musical programme. Fuck. The best laid plans of mice and fucking men.

As a consolation prize G3 and Lovely Beau gave me a lift, and after they’d been dropped off their driver took me home. As you do. I may not have ended up dating an A-class celebrity, but hanging out with him and his boyfriend was a nice second best. Drive, take a left here; we're going to Mount Olympus.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

This blog is ruining my life

You out there! Yes you, reader! I have a bone to pick with you. There you sit, slumped in front of your computer with your voyeuristic desires and your wilted pot-plants, casually dipping into my life to satisfy your pathetic need for Thrill. Do you ever stop to thing about me? Huh?! Poor old me, who has to carry the weight of your expectations on his rather shapely and finely formed shoulders? Do you ever think about the effect of your addiction on the Little People?

No, I should think you don’t. Well, here’s a sobering tale to make you think next time before you click.

My life started unravelling last Friday night when, after a gruelling week of mincing around the office designing pretty things I decided to reward myself by watching the DVD box-set of Queer As Folk. I’d been meaning to do this for a while, as being a gay man who has not seen Queer As Folk is a bit like being the only member of the 12 disciples still sporting a foreskin.

I settled myself into the sofa with a bottle of red and a cuddly toy, and delved headfirst into the lives of those three loveable lads from Manchester. I laughed when they laughed, held their hands when they were sad, and cheered when the Evil Homophobe Texan Robot King had his biblical energy core ripped out with the pulsing pink power of gay love. Heady stuff.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the product safety guidelines that advised against watching this material alone, and so it was that my flatmate came home to find me sobbing into my claret, rocking Booboo the stuffed penguin in my arms, and blubbering about wanting to find a boyfriend.

Now, I have many charming personality traits, ranging from a need to pass judgment on other people’s morals through to an ability to drool my own body mass while sleeping on public transport. However, the most useful off all is the cold metal core of Practicality that our mother has given to all three of her children. Not for us the pathetic self-indulgent pity of the lower classes. No, if you’ve got a problem you make a list of potential solutions in your neatest handwriting, with a numerically weighted list of pros and cons beside each, and you eliminate the weakest options until you are left with a gilded, glittering path forwards.

Here was my list:

1. Stay at home and cry some more. PROS: inexpensive. CONS: no available homosexuals in house.

2. Lure homosexuals into house using a trail of sequins and pink candy. PROS: inexpensive. CONS: likely to attract camp man wearing grandma’s clothing and/or red hood.

3. Answer Guardian classifieds ad for 'Men Seeking Men. PROS: high-likelihood of meeting intelligent, witty tofu-muncher. CONS: see ‘pros’.

4. Go out to gay bars with friends. PROS: guaranteed great night as can poke fun at freakshow gays. CONS: wing-woman lives in Bath; technique tried on many previous occasions without success; high risk of going home with freakshow.

5. Go out to gay bars alone. PROS: social awkwardness guaranteed to force HW to talk to freakshows; no matter how bad it is will be able to write a blog about it.

And there it is. Point 5 sub-clause 2 pushed me over the edge. It’d been a slow week and I was feeling the pinch, so if I didn’t go out you’d all be hearing about the lint shaped like the face of Mother Teresa I'd found while clipping my toenails.

Saturday November 3rd. 8pm. I arrive at stop number one on my Night Of Gay Horrors. I order myself a vodka tonic, saunter casually around the bar to establish by sexually-charged presence, and come to rest nonchanlantly in a well-lit corner where there is plenty of space for a queue to form.

It takes me about 32 seconds to realise that maintaining a sense of cool approachability while drinking by yourself is about as easy as doing the Timewarp in a wheelchair. My desperation builds as I realise my drink is nearly done and I am looking less like a desirable catch and more like a lonely alcoholic. There’s only one thing for it; I receive an imaginary text.

Ha ha ha ha! I chortle. Oh! How amusing all my friends are who are not currently present! I smile knowingly. Oh look! One of said friends is ringing me. Yes, yes, I’m waiting for you all to join me. No! Not at all! Take your time! I’m having a ball here by myself. I LOVE being out alone! Really?! He did what!? Oh, what silliness, what crazy times we have! You guys! I hang up and put my phone away. But OH! No sooner have I done so than someone else is texting me. Gosh, so popular tonight despite the external appearances of a pathetic loser.

Time to move on.

Stop number two. En route I call the Aussie Hairdresser – who goes out by himself a lot – for tips. “Stand near the bar,” he advises. “If you’re in a corner men will think you unapproachable. And try to look like you’re having a good time.” Can do.

I prop myself up on the bar and cast my wicked eye about. It sees that the man in the thong and boots dancing on the bar top has a cold, so has to alternate rubbing his lathered groin up a pole with blowing into a Kleenex. It also sees that the dress code appears to be “your sister’s wardrobe” while I have in error gone for collar and skinny tie, and that the only people by themselves look like they are a few nucleotides short of a double-helix.

Time to move on.

Stop number three. Described by the Aussie Hairdresser as being ‘non-scene’. I wander up to the bar, and as I’m waiting for my v+t to arrive I feel the gentle pressure of a pair of hands on my shoulders and waist as someone squeezes past. Hooray! I think, turning slowly. The inappropriate touching of a gay introduction…

...only to find he is 55 years old. Wearing a hopeful leer. I retch on his hideousness and stumble away.

However, this encounter has galvanised me into action. Clearly the key is to approach, not be approached. In this way you ensure quality control. I identify my target as a gentleman wearing quirky spectacles at the bar, as 1) gay men are usually so vain as to not wear glasses, and 2) he looks like he’s having fun. Oh look! He’s checking his text messages.

He turns out to be an Yankee Banker over from D.C. for a holiday, sporting a refined sense of fashion and an interest in design and architecture. We chat, head outside for some air, and get accosted by a Hen Party for a photo of the bride hoisted between two burly gentlemen. The Old Compton Street usual.

Disturbingly, we have such a good time that we spend all day Sunday together as well, going to an exhibition at the Barbican and walking the city in autumnal sunshine. It’s disgusting; I feel like we’re living an ABBA song. We have dinner, enjoy some censored activities and a few drinks into the wee hours. Two days later he flies out to Barcelona. Cue ABBA track two.

So you, Reader, have completely fucked up my life. It’s been a long time since I’ve met anyone interesting, funny, intelligent, and with a stomach to crack nuts on (yes, very funny). Thanks to you I now have, but he lives 3661 miles away. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?

We are officially not talking.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Life lesson no. 2933

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

Those intrepid adventurers amongst you have already glimpsed this story’s beginning when they travelled with me last month to Brighton, Den Of Homosexual Sin And Lascivious Debauchery. At the time I forgot to mention the bit about the *NUDITY* so it’s time to correct that glaring oversight. Also, the bits about SEX and DOGGING… And DWARFS IN LATEX… with PARIS HILTON. Brilliant. That should get viewer numbers up.

I was in Brighton for the pirate-themed Hen Weekend of a very good friend, with a party that consisted of The Bride-To-Be, her Gay Best Man, and four penis-free individuals. I know, what are the chances. Only 28.6% of those present were men who liked men. In Brighton. I must be losing my allure.

After a day of drinking and dancing we stumbled out of [deleted in interest of author dignity] onto the 2am streets, moustaches as monobrows, eye-patches as crotch guards, and hooped earrings as inappropriate piercings. The Bride-To-Be took one look at her motley crew of mutineers and announced her desire to get naked in the ocean. Obviously I was appalled at the Health and Safety implications of swimming whilst inebriated, but decided the only responsible course of action was to take my kit off and splash around with the lasses. That way if there were an aquatic emergency I would be on hand to sweep the ladies into my arms, battle through the Death Surf to shore and breath new life into their mortal form. And hopefully a few Hotties might see me do it.

In the end only myself, The Bride-To-Be and Cameron Diaz’s Twin went in. My sexually charged strip-before-entry was somewhat marred by an inability to remove my red pirate’s sash, which had somehow managed to retie itself into an impossible knot between pre- and post-drinking timeframes. Still, it created a dashing flash of colour that framed both my rippling pirate’s torso and fine buccaneer thighs, so it came with me into the water…

….which was fucking cold, I might add. Stupid, British, fucking cold. My thin Aussie blood rushed from the extremities back to protect the vital organs, taking with it any loosely attached items of flesh. “Out! Get out!” cried the Primal Instincts. “Let the drunken wenches drown! Fuck them all and get warm!” Primal Instinct had a convincing case, and besides; no one likes to see a man in a sash squeal like a girl. I got out.

Back on dry land, I was faced with the difficult question of how one puts on trousers with a clammy piece of fabric snaking around one’s person. It turned out not to be possible at all, so I stood there for several minutes working away at the now-wet-and-full-of-sand knot until it came free. I had no fears for my contracted dignity however, as the beach was as dark as the inside of a subterranean cow.

Trousers now on, I sat down to watch the show as The Bride-To-Be emerged from the waves. Not exactly Aphrodite riding on an alabaster shell she rather crawled her way out, mewing for assistance from her Gay Best Man. It seemed she was incapable of hoisting her trousers up over her wet legs, so he grabbed her waistband from behind and proceeded to pull them up in a series of jerking movements. Unfortunately The Bride-To-Be’s balance was not what it should be, so she toppled forwards and placed two hands upon the sand to steady herself during this dressing process. It was all a bit arousing for your poor author.

Fast-forward now to last week and we find it is the occasion of the nuptials we were in Brighton to celebrate. It’s Friday night and I’ve just travelled by public transport to darkest Wiltshire, managing to haul my ass to the restaurant for The Bride-To-Be’s last dinner as a single woman. All her family and the pirates are there, and I find myself seated next to The Gay Best Man.

Gay Best Man: “Now HW, we need to talk about the length of your pubic hair.”


HW: “I’m sorry?”

Pirates 1 and 2: “What’s this?”

Gay Best Man: “I was just saying to HW that he needed to seriously reconsider the length of his pubic hair.”

HW: [having unnerving flashbacks to Bridget Jones’ Diary] “What on earth is wrong with my public hair?”

Pirate 3 and Bride’s brother: “Yes, what IS wrong with it?”

Gay Best Man: “It’s faaaaar to long.”

HW: [indignantly] “I’m sorry, I’m very happy with the trimming standards of my pubes. And besides, how would you know anyway?”

Gay Best Man’s boyfriend: “Yes, how WOULD you know?”

Gay Best Man: “Why from Brighton of course. You may not have been able to see anything looking up the beach, but with the lights of Brighton behind us we could see eeeeeeverthing, couldn’t we ladies?”

Pirates 1-4: “Sure could.”

Pirate 3: “I rang my boyfriend immediately to tell him all about it. Like a bramble bush it was.”

Pirate 1: “More like a scouring pad I thought.”

Pirate 4: “Or a miniaturised sheep.”

HW: “Look. It was dark. I was very wet. There was some unavoidable shrinkage. I’ve seen lots of pubic hair in my time and there is nothing abnormal about mine.”

Grandma: “What’s everyone talking about?”

Mother-of-the-bride: “The length of HW’s public hair mum.”

Grandma: “Oooh, nothing worse than being a bit too long down there.”

Gay Best Man: “Gets caught in the teeth, doesn’t it?”

HW: “It is NOT too long.”

Gay Best Man’s boyfriend: “So how long IS it? If you were to pull a pube straight what length would it be? In millimetres.”

Pirate 2: “Or are we talking centimetres here?”

Pirate 4: “I’ll get the yardstick.”

HW: “Look. I’m not ashamed of my length. I’ll show you now if you…”

All: “Nooooo! Noooo! It’s OK, we believe you.”

Gay Best Man: “Freak.”

So readers, let this be a lesson to you all; keep it trim or keep it in. Or at the very least, if you find yourself dressed in your birthday suit avec sash, be sure to keep that sash slung low. You never know which perverts are looking.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Will be mine

Thank you to all those concerned readers who contacted me after my last, emotional entry. You cards, bouquets of flowers and love-affirming prayers of faith to God Almighty have sustained me through this difficult time. Also, whoever sent me an inscribed dildo of chocolate that reads “My love waits for you in the dark places” I salute your instability.

I can, however, report that all your concerns are unnecessary. The pain of rejection cannot touch me as I have, for many years now, carried the talisman of a secret love. Also, I am a bitter bastard whose heart resembles the prune you lost behind the couch in ’87, but we’ll go with the glass-is-half-full for now.

I first met Secret Love back in the bitter winter of 2002. The frosts burnt the ground with fire that year, forging iron from the sweet soils of autumn. The winds ran their hungry fingers around the faces of babies, searching for death in thin scarves and hastily buttoned bonnets. And the cloak of night! Oh! How it sought out the hidden shames of the soul and scattered them like fetid meats upon the land for all to pick over.

With the rest of Great Britain I sought solace in the warm glow of television and the tragedy of other people’s lives. Nothing lifts the spirits like watching total strangers indulge their misguided fantasies on a national stage, and it was thus that we all discovered Pop Idol.

I wasn’t that taken with Secret Love at first. He looked like what you’d get if you bred your uncle with your cousin, then with your brother and finally with your uncle again for good measure. Like the kind of man who'd lock the Princes in the Tower.

But that was before he looked out of the telebox, straight into my eyes, and begin to sing;

“Eyes, like a sunrise…”
[Oh my god, MY eyes are looking a bit bloodshot tonight. What a coincidence!].

“…Like a rainfall down my soul.”

[Well I never! People often tell me I make their insides feel a bit moist.]

“And I wonder, I wonder why you look at me like that…”
[You can SEE me?! You really can, can’t you?!]

“What you're thinking…”
[I’m thinking that I… I…]

“What's behind…”
[Can’t you tell?]

“Don’t tell me but it feels…”




[Oh my god! I love you too! I love you Will Young!]

And that was that. He announced our love for each other on national television. Now THAT’S commitment.

Our relationship pottered along nicely until Christmas the following year when The Best Friend passed on a beautiful photo album that Will had made for me. Cleverly, not only did it contain 12 images of him at his sultry best, it also doubled as a calender! Like all the best home-made gifts it was personal AND practical.

In 2004 I took the photo album with me on an eight-month work posting to Malaysia. Malaysia was quite a difficult time for me. I felt overworked, socially isolated, and had a parasite living in my crotch.

Will was my rock at this time. I nailed him to the wall beside my bed and his hilarious stories about hi-jinks on tour provided a breath of fresh air in my life. “What do you want to hear about?” he’d ask as I came home at the end of the day. “Anything that doesn’t involve calculating air vortex velocities through fluted hosing“ I’d joke. Oh how we laughed and laughed until we cried. They were good times. Good times.

My return to the UK took us from strength to strength. Two more photo albums were delivered via The Best Friend in 2004 and 05. They were a bittersweet gift for me; whilst smiling on the outside Will’s receding hairline belied the stress he felt at keeping our love secret from an adoring fan-base. I never resented his secrecy, and was comforted to think I must be a wonderful muse for his Art.

And so to now. There were no personalised albums gifted last year, but they were unnecessary. I found the messages Will had hiddien in “Love is a Matter of Distance” and “Keep On”, cleverly only able to be heard when the songs are played backwards in an inverted audio wave-pattern. They tell me to wait for the No. 1 hit entitled “Engineer Of My Heart” which will be the signal that he is ready to declare our glorious union from the rooftops. I have my Special Underwear vacuum-sealed in anticipation.


Newton could never have calculated
The force of our attraction,
Nor could Edison have predicted
The wattage of our illumination.

The second law of thermodynamics
Proves our love will grow through time
While the conservation of momentum shows
Our trajectory’s sublime.

Build our love on foundations of reinforced bubble concrete,
Broadcast it on all electromagnetic frequencies through the street,
Write it in the stars using a planispherical chart,
So all may know you are the Engineer of my Heart.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Love and war

There’s nothing that we Gays like better than a bit of melodrama, so you’re in for a treat tonight because your delightful narrator has just been Dumped. That’s right, cast adrift with the unwanted flotsam and jetsam of life. Ditched in the back alley with the rotting detritus of unrequited love. Flushed down the toilet with the discarded tampon of emotional dependency.

I know, I know, we’re missing a whole lot of background information here; you weren’t even aware that he existed. I restrain myself from writing about current beaus whilst dating them in the vain attempt to keep some things sacred. I don’t mind parading my other dirty linen before the beady eyes and scrabbling claws of the Online Masses, but some things should remain anonymous.

That said, you’ve actually already met him; he had a cameo in the last entry as The Hot Aussie. Tall, intelligent and bloody good at his job, he was quite the catch for little HW.

Now normally in relationships I don’t let them get close enough to do any damage. There are the peripheral defences to get through; trenches with wooden spikes, improvised pits with biblical serpents, and the odd mad lady wielding a cat-o-nine tails. Once through those you need to bridge the Moat of Doom and tiptoe through the Minefield of Broken Dreams before you’re even close enough to piss on the castle’s outer wall. I know I know; too much Sci-Fi as a kid.

Usually I date “Type A” (Mr Emotional Honesty). He’s great fun because I know I’m in charge. Brilliant. No one’s getting near the citadel here. The poor bastard doesn’t wear any armour, carries a bunch of dandelions in his quiver and treats me like a princess. I usually watch him flounder against the obsidian walls for a few months, wait until he is weak from exhaustion and then tip pitch on his head.

If I’m dating “Type B” (Mr Too-Cool-For-School) then it’s a whole different ballgame. Instead of an invading army attacking the defences we’ve now got two impenetrable fortresses with two blokes sitting in their towers looking at each other through binoculars. While pretending they’re not actually looking at each other. Or answering the phone. I mean carrier pigeon.

In the 7 years since I last had a decent relationship I have never dated a Type B. Well, actually there was one, but he was a weird mutant strain Type B237 whose castle had been under siege for so long it’s human inhabitants had eaten each other and then eventually died of starvation. The sex was fucking great.

The Hot Aussie was a Type B. Incredibly busy, in high demand socially, we managed to see each other about once a week. It was great fun for a while but eventually I got a bit sick of not know where I stood and decided to take action. I climbed down from my tower, asked my hunchbacked gatekeeper to drive me across town in the family cart, and knocked on The Hot Aussie’s portcullis. The result? A lavender-scented leaflet was dropped from the parapets with the immortal inscription “I’m sorry – you tick all the boxes but the magic’s not there”. I think I’d prefer the pitch.

Now I’m back safe in my citadel, nursing a nasty lavender paper-cut and knocking back the pink martinis. The great irony of this situation is that I used exactly the same line on The Maggirister back in June, and now Fate – the fat-arsed psycho that She is – has decided to teach me a lesson. I suspect that it’s something to do with relationships and warfare, or perhaps Glenn Close in the bathtub accompanying John Lennon at the piano, or about wearing stripes with dots. She’s a cryptic bitch.

Either way I refuse to learn anything, so it’s back to the little map with the flags and pewter soldiers in the War Room. Mr Right doesn’t stand a chance.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Schmooze with booze

Warning: this blog entry contains gratuitous name-dropping and an obsession with celebrity. Tofu-munching anti-consumerist liberals are advised to look away now.

Strange things have been happening in my life since I moved to London. I appear to be slipping up the social ladder rather than down (as is my usual wont), moving out of my BBQ-in-fancy-dress comfort zone and into a world where people talk about the best places to get renal surgery.

The most recent example of this was an invitation for my Boss, his Lovely Fiance, The Sister and myself to attend the after-party of the GQ Men of the Year Awards. It’s held every year at the Royal Opera House and attracts some impressive names; last year Justin Timberlake and Paul McCartney attended. How we got an invite is unimportant. What is important is that God wanted us to be there.

The evening begins with the four of us have dinner beforehand to discuss tactics. I reassure the hearing-impaired sibling that I will be by her side all night to provide support and drinks… unless of course we see Will Young. At which point I will dump her in the nearest lav with the lines of discarded coke while I win over that freakishly-chinned pop millionaire. She understands the score.

Our invites give us entry after 10.30pm, so we leave it to a stylishly late 10.32pm before approaching the crowds of people milling around the main entrance. I take The Sister in arm, puff my chest out, and imagine how my arse will look on the cover of Heat. She totters along beautifully beside me, her dress sparkling like the sun on morning dew, her cleavage a cantilevered architectural triumph.

We follow The Boss and The Lovely Fiance up the red carpet, pausing to soak up the adoring cries of our fans and to let the paparazzi feel the full power of my three-quarter profile. As we approach the glass doors the big bouncer whips them open in anticipation. Ah yes, this is how life should be. I’ve made it.

Disappointingly, the moment is marred somewhat by some hussy coming out of my door at the same time. She looks at me like I am the shit on her shoe. I look at her like I just coughed her up in my East London toilet. The crowd goes wild; “Jamelia! Over here! Jamelia!” they cry. Like. Whatever. Just get out of my doorway bitch.

The Jamelia Slut moves on and I pass my gold-on-black ticket to the bouncer. It is accompanied by my best look of withering condescension, and I try not to touch him. These people are below me now.

Bouncer: “You're here for the after-party?” Apparently it can read.

HW: [sigh] “Clearly.”

Bouncer: “Well then, you need to join that queue over there.” Indicates a queue for a side entrance that snakes around the block.

HW: “I’m sorry, I think there’s been some mistake.”

Bouncer: “No mistake buddy, you’re with them. Now, you gonna get off my red carpet or what?”

HW: [whimper].

It takes us like a billion hours to get inside but when we do it’s all worth it; Lily Allen is there to greet us. Well, it’s more she’s there to glance over us blankly, but you can see behind the glaze she’s pleased that I’ve arrived. I put her attentions on ice while I go to the bar where – you’re shitting me! – all the booze is free?! I order 11 martinis and 8 sambuca shots and hide them in a corner behind Elle just in case the bar tab runs out, and go back to find the others.

They’re outside on the verandah overlooking Covent Garden. The Lovely Fiance has done the rounds and updates me on who’s who.

Jamie Cullum is standing directly behind me. I limbo back discretely and overhear him say to his mates “…and then I came on her tits! It was awesome!” I’m assuming that the other consenting adult in this debauchery was not Sophie Dahl, given the logistics of wee Jamie actually being able to reach her tits let alone project onto them. Still, illuminating.

Next we pass Orlando Bloom, who has some hideous caterpillar attached to his upper lip. The Sister is deeply obsessed with this man, and toys with the idea of smashing a beer bottle over his head and raping him in a corner. Ha ha! Such hi-jinks! Such hilarity! A sideways glance catches her calculating the distance to the bar and Orlando’s projected velocity through the throng, so I move her on.

And so it happens. The crowd parts, I glance through the suddenly electrified air and see Him standing there, His ocean-deep eyes looking to my very soul. He has an air of hot sexuality about Him, a charismatic glow that says “yes, you ARE the one I have been waiting for”. As a sub-text, He is also fucking fit.

“Oh my GOD! Did you see?! Did you see?!” It’s The Lovely Fiance. “Jude Law just looked right AT me!” Ummm, hello? Is she blind? Steamy heterosexual men in tuxedos do not look at women like that. “Actually, I think he was looking at me.” What! Is The Boss similarly mentally deficient? And now The Sister. “Really? I definitely made eye contact with him.”

A rather unpleasant scene follows, which we shan’t go into. Needless to say the surgery has done wonders, and I’m very pleased with my new nose and bionic arm.

Now the problem with fame and celebrity is that once you’ve had a taster, you want more. A few days after GQ I overheard the head of our PR Agency discussing the launch of London Design Week. Pinning him in a corner I used my Powers Of Gay Attraction (normally reserved for Good deeds, not Evil) to extract a +1 invite from about his person, guaranteeing me unfettered access to the crème-de-la-crème of London’s design society. As my companion for the evening I chose The Hot Aussie, an old friend who endows the wearer with the illusory glow of wealth and power on account of his being a Hottie. Perfect for a bit of schmoozing.

We arrive at the Royal Festival Hall bang on time and are instantly descended upon by minions carrying champagne. About 5127 litres of the stuff. A quick check establishes that none of the staff are famous ala Prince And The Pauper, so I take their dirty champagne and swan on.

There are no famous people next to the Swarovski crystal display, nor are there any on the balcony. There is, however, a boy with champagne. I relieve him of it. Next, I check around the stage – none there – and then in a Crocodile Hunter-esque moment of inspiration I check at the watering hole. Nope, no celebs here, just more fucking Laurent Perrier. To calm my mounting sense of panic I take one for me now, and one for later. And a spare for The Hot Aussie. And another for me. Just in case they run out.

By the time the official proceedings get underway I am near-hysterical with panic; it is only by grabbing on to The Hot Aussie's rather beautifully sculpted arm that I am able to keep from screaming “You fucking frauds! Where are you hiding all the fucking celebs, you pathetic wannabes!” The Hot Aussie politely points out that both Ken Livingstone and indeed internationally-recognised architect Zaha Hadid are pretty famous, but his argument is undone when I point out that ‘celeb’ does not include the old, ugly or intelligent. Does he know nothing?

Eventually I have to admit defeat, and we turn to leave. We begin the descent to the cloakroom, and as we do so pass a familiar white-bearded face rising past us on the stairs. I gasp in astonishment; could it really be?

HW: “Holy shit! It’s Ross Lovegrove! It’s fucking Ross Lovegrove. Look look look look look!!”

The Hot Aussie: “Who?”

What I want to impart to The Hot Aussie is that this man is my design pin-up boy, the person I had most aspired to be as a struggling product design student. That his work is both sensuously beautiful, environmentally focused and fundamentally human. That he represents a key shift in late twentieth century design dogma away from the designer-as-superstar to a celebration of the Work. What I manage is:

HW: “Ross Lovegrove; he designed the lava lamp in my room!”

It is at this point that Ross chooses to turn around to identify which hysterical 13-year-old girl has been proclaiming him to the room. Instead his eyes lock on mine as I announce that his greatest design achievement is a trippy light with molten wax inside. I am the shit on his shoe.


Sunday, 2 September 2007

When Men Were Men

Welcome back folks; hope you’ve enjoyed the break. Today we are going to explore the late twentieth century Metrosexual movement, discussing whether it liberated or destroyed the social mores of the time. We shall end with a case study that I hope illuminates some of the points of debate.

It may come as a surprise to you all, but there was a time when you knew who the straight men were. You could identify them by their over-sized Metallica t-shirts, uncontrolled facial hair and the unique smell you get when you follow a 4-day pattern of wearing underpants forwards/backwards/inside-out forwards/inside-out backwards before washing them.

In this world the gay male moved as a beacon of style, emotional intelligence, wit and charisma. Women wanted to date them and steal their skin products, straight men wanted their rakishly bouffanted hair, and the elderly thought that anyone who looks that good couldn’t possibly do those awful things to each other. They were golden times.

Then came the Metrosexual, and suddenly the gay man was nothing special any more. Thorpedo wore a white Valentino suit and designed his own pearl jewellery while telling the world he liked the ladies. Goldenballs grew his hair long and announced that all men were allowed to cry at small kittens and eat haloumi. The universe was undone overnight.

In its place a new world of social anarchy emerged where no one was ever quite sure of the rules. To illustrate this point I have brought along a video captured in the late-Noughties. You’ll find the transcript in your lecture notes.

The video shows a gay male out with friends on a Hen’s Night in Brighton. He is able to flout the traditional male-female Stag-Hen division thanks to Metrosexuality, and also to enter a predominantly heterosexual environment unchallenged. As the video begins the subject is approached by a large man with a shaven head; you can identify the gay male by his elaborately detailed pirate costume and ravishing good looks.

Start of video

Rugby Thug: “Hey mate! Wow, cool pirate costume!”

HW: [Oh god, is this how it ends? Beaten to a pulp and left to die in a Walkabout, my precious life-blood mixing with the sheen of spilt lager, vomit and discarded dreams that lacquer its foul floorboards? Fie on't, ah fie, fie!]. “Ummmm, thanks.”

RT: “Where did you get it?”

[Recalling that – outside of London – conversations with strangers don’t necessarily precursor to a knife in the ribs]. “Ah, mostly I made it myself.”

RT: “Cool.” Pointing to the other clientele of the Walkabout dressed as pirates; “And are these your mates?”

HW: [No idiot, they’re my backing singers. What do you think?] “Yep.”

RT: “Nice. These are my mates here.” Indicates cast of Romper Stomper milling behind him.

HW: [Brilliant. GAY MAN DIES IN NAUTICAL HATE-CRIME. My mum is going to be so proud].

RT: “We’re out celebrating too. So, when’s your big day?”

HW: “Pardon?”

RT: “Mine’s in two weeks. I can’t wait. So, what’s the lucky lady up to while you’re out having one last go at it?”

End of video.

Yes, you’ll notice that the rugby thug thinks that the man dressed as a pirate, who is wearing a gold hooped earring, a pearl bracelet and mascara, who’s friends are 5 women and a gay man, and who’s pirate neighbour is wearing a 12-inch badge which says “Look out! Hen Night About”, is about to marry a WOMAN.

Social anarchy in its purest form.

And that’s all we’ve go time for. Leave your homework at the door on your way out, and tomorrow I want 500 words on Johnny Depp: how one man made seamen hot again.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Ask Uncle: August 2007

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Ask Uncle! Since we first advertised Uncle's services he has been inundated with cries of help from girls with eating disorders, young men with emotionally-retarded boyfriends, and lots of oldies having really bad oral sex. We've scoured this goldmine of discomfort and social awkwardness and chosen two letters which we feel best reflect the wide views of our readership. Enjoy!

Dear Uncle,

I am fond of wondrous words and winsome witticisms, and so thought you would be a good person to help me with my problem, viz.: I am addicted to 19th Century novels, and for the most part they seem to indicate that reason, fortitude, honour and all manner of calmness make for a good marriage. They all say one should control one’s passion. But, dear Uncle, I confess to liking Heathcliff a great deal. I should quite like to marry a Heathcliff. I am not fond of his tendency to dig up dead Catherines, but he seems to be the sort who wouldn’t have scruples about tearing off one’s bodice on the moors, and I rather like that. So my question is: can one marry a Heathcliff, and be happy?

Yours sincerely,

Dear Afflicted,

I once read that Bronte book, back in the War. Ripping good yarn I thought, took the mind off the rats and bombs, so a good choice for husband-obsession.

That said, it's not going to work with Heathcliff dear. Sure he's good at the bodice ripping, but who's going to sew the buttons back on later? And maybe he'll ravage you on the moors, but will he have a pack of lace tissues ready for afterwards?

I can talk about this with confidence because I am a man of passion myself; the wifey and I have a bit of slap and tickle every Wednesday before bed, even after 62 years of marriage. It was VE Day that we tied the knot, under a beautiful summer sky. We ate bananas for the first time in seven years and they tasted like heaven. Of course kids nowadays don't know how to appreciate the little things in life, least of all food. They just eat and eat and eat the fat bastards. Bloody Americans most of them too. Fat AND stupid.

So Uncle's secret to a happy marriage? Taking out the garbage. Metaphorically of course; that's the wifey's job, every Wednesday night. You need a husband who'll roger you sideways for hours so you can't walk straight and then make you a cup of tea. Who'll multitask by bending you over the kitchen bench while you prepare dinner. Forget Heathcliff and focus on Byron, Rhett and Darcy. They may have seemed like nanny-boys but I bet Darcy liked a good poke. Filthy bugger.

Dear Uncle,

If you look closely at this pic of me on holiday - I have issues. Where the fuck do I start, and where do I end?


Dear Anonymous,

We had a lad like you in our unit back in the War. Nice chap, we called him Fatty-Where's-my-Cock or just Fatty for short. Started him off in the airforce but too much ballast y'see, bad for maneouvering against the Jerries. Tried the parachuting regiment, nearly lost him there. Eventually settled in the cadets, provided great cover for our boys against machine gun fire.

Point is, everyone has a place in this world, especially if they enter it armed with a dual purpose twat-cock. Don't listen to those bastards who tell you you look like sausage skin pulled over God's scrotum, they're just jealous. You just need to find your place.

To answer your question, you must "start" by regaining your self-respect. The quickest way to do this is to get the respect of others. Send a photo of your amazing twat-cock to and they'll give you a job straight away. This is the beginning. You'll know you have reached the "end" when you can look in the mirror and see a beautiful man looking back.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Why exercise is bad for you

OK folks, you're in for a treat because this week's entry is interactive. Push that plate of donuts aside, clench those buttocks and flex your mental biceps 'cos we're gonna get physical.

To start this blog you will need to clear a space about 3 feet by 3 feet, or a metre by a metre for the Aussie readership. Place yourself at one end of this space with your feet shoulder-width apart. See diagram A if this is all a bit much for you.

Diagram A

Next, kneel down as if you are about to receive the Holy Sacrament (diagram B).

Diagram B

Place your hands on the ground, palms down, about a foot and a half in front of your knees (45cm Aussies). You should now be 'on all fours' as if you are about to, errr, ummm, receive the Holy Sacrament (diagram C).

Diagram C

Right, this is the tricky part. You need to slide your right hand to the right by half a foot (15cm), and then do the same with your right foot. Now repeat this process with your left hand and foot but in the opposite direction, i.e. to the left. You should now be 'splayed', like Bambi trying to walk before mummy got a mouthful of lead.

Diagram D

Finally, straighten your arms and legs fully; this should cause your bum to ride up into the air at a sharp angle. Let your head hang vertically so you are looking backwards between your legs. You know you've got it right when you feel like an idiot. Hold this position for 15 seconds.

Diagram E

Now imagine you are male, 75 years of age, completely naked and holding this position in the communal showers at your local gym. Imagine also that a young male who looks a bit like, I dunno, ME!, walks in and finds you there.

Yes, I will never participate in any kind of communal gym activity again. The only saving grace is that I walked in on him from this angle...

... and not from this one.

Still, I have to throw it out there; what the fuck do you think he was doing? Cramps? Lost contact lens? Are we all destined to eventually think it is acceptable to get down on all fours, naked, in a public space?

Friday, 27 July 2007

Ying my Yang

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I’m a terrible blogger. Three weeks since my last entry. Not that any of you bastards seem to care anyway – I haven’t exactly been overwhelmed with emails and comments checking that I’ve not been diced into little cubes by some hot sociopath, made into pickled heure d'oeuvres and fed to his chihuahua at a dolls’ tea party with fucking Barbie. What an indignity.

The thing is, it’s not actually my fault (it never is; just ask The Sister and The Best Friend). Y’see, for the past few weeks this ship has been steered by Dr “Homemaker” Jekyll, and Mr “Bender” Hyde only managed to seize back the reigns of command last night. Word has it he achieved this by beating Jekyll over the head with a bag of mixed metaphors, but that’s just an unsubstantiated rumour mill that catches the worm.

Homemaker began to get some leverage on my brain as early as April. He’s always been there, lurking in the back space I’ve given him between the cerebral aqueduct and the medulla oblongata. Last year he got inspired and decked it out like the fucking elephant from Moulin Rouge; red velvet curtains, shag carpets and a Louis XIV imitation bath-tub. We had a bit of a bust-up over that, with him complaining that the patterned wallpaper wouldn’t stick to the fatty tissue of the walls, and that as his landlord I needed to get someone in to fix the damp. I told him to fuck off and find another brain if he didn’t like this one, and he’s been lying low ever since.

So April trots around, and I start getting emails from mum about the holiday that she and dad are having in July. My parents both have green thumbs, and this year decided to have three weeks in sunny (ha!) England looking at beautiful and historic gardens. As mum explained, she just needed a little bit of help sorting out the finer details… like all of it.

Car hire, booking accommodation, route planning, journey times, visiting friends, train travel and buying a bloody thermos; they all require the use of the practical parts of the brain. These are the areas where Homemaker lives, and suddenly he found himself in demand again.

As July approached he used this new influence to garner support from the other brain residents. First he got Id on side, allowing him to infiltrate my dreams with visions of arcadian landscaped gardens lit by golden sunshine, where naked men wrestled in the box hedges (it seems that not even Homemaker could keep Id fully under control). Next he convinced Ego to get on board, and then in a stunning coup d'état won over Superego with promises of intellectual growth and moral betterment. Poor Bender Hyde was shackled up in the dungeons while Homemaker set himself up in a dictatorship, and as his first proclamation announced to the world “mum, I’d love to join you and dad for two weeks of middle-aged fun fun fun discussing the difference between ginger- and day-lilles in a small rental vehicle. Oh, and let’s bring The Sister along for a laugh.” Homemaker is one nasty piece of work.

The worst part is, I absolutely loved it. Every raspberry-picking, lavender-smelling, topiary-admiring moment of it. We meandered through the Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Michael’s Mount, The Eden Project and even Longleat, where Homemaker made a lot of fuss over the deer that ate from your hand. What a fucking loser; he can be like soooo embarrassing.

The whole experience was made all the better for having mum and dad there, whom I love to bits and who are very clever people. At the end of it all I returned to London feeling relaxed and bucolic; with grass growing on my head and a nasty cough apparently.

Ah London! The throbbing pulse of possibility, the pressing heat of humanity, the grinding pelvis of indecency. I was back! From his darkened cell Bender caught a whiff of a TFL announcement, and knew his time was nigh.

But Homemaker is a cunning weasel in a pink frilly apron, and had foreseen all of this. The first weekend back he directed the HW flesh-mobile to Dorset to stay with family friends and help organise a country fete. More wholesome air, warm bread in the morning and conversations about Kafka over sherry. In a further Machiavellian twist the return to London was organised to coincide with the release of the Potter Bible, guaranteeing the only interaction I had with other human beings was with the pervert whose room overlooks my bedroom window. No pervert, I’m reading a children’s fantasy novel, not “What Little Boys Do When TimTum Has Been Naughty”.

Then last night it finally happened. An Aussie friend – The Amusing Hairdresser – dragged me out to Old Compton Street last night and pickled me in vodka. At the first sighting of an overdeveloped bicep Id was won over, Ego came skulking back at the first sounding of “Umbrella” and Superego simply passed out behind the throne. Without their backing Homemaker was powerless to stop Bender Hyde returning to power in a glorious rainbow-bannered street parade.

The Thoughtful Epilogue

And yet, something is definitely different.

With the tragic inevitability of life The Amusing Hairdresser and I ended up dancing the night away at Moral Cesspits ‘R Us. In a pause between throwing some eggbeater shapes we sat down with a drink and he asked me who, out of everyone in the room, I fancied.

“The man in the suit.”

Sure it was pin-striped (we’ve been here before) but he sat there curled up with a glass of white wine, practically foetal with discomfort. You could see why – he was the only person not showing off the top seven-eighths of their underwear and alternately wearing/removing their tank top (I know boys, it’s so hard to decide; now I’m hot, now I’m cold, now I’m hot, oops cold again).

Choosing him was a 100% Homemaker decision, as he looked like the sort that would be able to carve up a Sunday roast while holding a conversation with my dad about dirty spark plugs. Unfortunately Pinnie replied (yes! I spoke to him) in a voice that only a mother could love, and only if she was deaf in both ears with a tolerance for high frequency vibrations. Imagine Ringo Starr making love to a chipmunk; their devil-spawn would sound like Pinnie.

Extricating myself from this situation required all of Bender’s skills. These mostly consisted of distracting Pinnie by pointing at the wall behind his head, then making a slicing movement across my neck as a signal to The Amusing Hairdresser to come save me. Later on it was Bender who decided that, actually, every single man in this club was a fucking Adonis (in fact, I suspect that if I popped out to the loos I would have found every single man fucking Adonis, the lucky bastard). Yet it was Homemaker who sensibly decided that this was the cue to go home. Amazing.

In the light of this evidence I now suspect that Homemaker and Bender are power-sharing my brain, and that this is the way it should be. Between the two of them they seem to know what they’re doing, and as long as they keep me out of it I'll remain a happy man.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Adventures in the underbelly

As a clean-cut farm boy from outback OZ, I usually steer well clear of the seedy underbelly of gay life. The polished six-pack that is its public face quickly becomes an unwashed, vermin-ridden potbelly if you wander into the wrong bars, and frankly it’s a world that I find rather embarrassing. Unless of course that bar contains an Amateur Strip Night, and then my moral stance gets thrown out the porthole with my sailor’s cap. He doesn’t need it anyway.

For this little sojourn I gathered a veritable mince of gay friends, flatmates and sisters (literal, not metaphorical). Unfortunately we suffered our first casualties at the door; anyone wielding a clitoris was denied admittance, so we entered the pub a diminished party. This was probably fortunate as there are some things you don’t want your sister to see, especially when she has a tendency to de-knob any man who offends her feminine sensibilities.

Inside, murky figures loitered in the corners waiting for newcomers to wander too far from the pack. We made as much noise as possible to scare them off and gathered near the stage. After an hour or two a sizable crowd had gathered, and on the stroke of midnight - like some blow-up Fairy Godmother - a Drag Queen appeared to announce the beginning of festivities. Members of the audience were invited to participate in the public removal of their clothing for the enjoyment of others; just your usual Wednesday night down at the local.

Act One was pretty special, and I mean special as in Special. No one seemed to have explained to him that stripping is an Art, one that requires timing, enthusiasm and a basic level of personal hygiene. He didn’t so much tempt us with the sensual suggestion of hidden flesh and forbidden desires, as get up there and undress for bed.

Shirt off… then belt… trousers… hmmm, stained white undies next... bit baggy those, must go to Primark tomorrow… wait, I’m forgetting something… hang on… oh yes, my shoes… just bennnnnnnd over to unlace those… tum tee tum.

I was left with the distinctly unsettling impression that Act One entered every week in the desperate hope that he would be the only entrant, win by default, and thereby double his dole cheque. He certainly didn’t do it for a love of showbiz.

Act Two seemed more promising, despite the shadowed form of man-boobs lurking ominously beneath his white T-shirt. Fortunately these proved to be massively over-developed pecs instead, a slippery distinction that is best illustrated by photos of Arnie in consecutive issues of Hello! magazine. Next came the trousers, revealing a rather startling red jockstrap. And then... Oh my god my eye! Oww oww owww! What the fuck was that!? Fuck me! Get out of the fucking way, I need to wash the fucker out before go blind!

Yes, it seems that Act Two had had to grapple with a decision that had never even crossed my mind, but that shits all over Hamlet’s To Be Or Not malarkey for moral complexity; to go soft, or to go hard? The former lends a more Renaissance feel to the performance; think Adam in Cappella Brancacci’s Explusion From The Garden of Eden. However, if one is going for a more robust and virile performance, nothing says it better than a white-meat bratwurst standing at attention. As an additional bonus, every dance moved is emphasised with a nodding, metronomic beat, a kind of visual interpretation of Hard House. Very Hard House.

Now gentlemen, I can sense you all reaching for The Best of Kylie: 1993-94 in an attempt to try this at home, but first a word of warning. Firstly, Act Two was obviously a professional. He had prepared himself beforehand, and sealed the deal with a constrictive mechanical device. No attempt should be made to recreate these conditions at home with any form of rubberband, rusty wire from the garden shed, or dental floss. Stripping is not a game.

Secondly, once the act is completed there is the difficulty of deflation, or rather lack thereof. One finds it rather demanding to communicate the complex metaphysical inspiration of that Flashdance-esque backflip at the best of times, let alone when one’s boner keeps snagging on the interviewer’s cocktail dress. No really. Sequins are like velcro to cock.

A hard act to follow (as it were) but some gentle alcoholic persuasion convinced two fourteen-year olds to give it a go. Yes, Act Three was prepubescent and preputial, but sadly not prepared. As their performance crashed and burned, the Drag Queen intervened to suggest some romantic snogging may save the day. Instead it gave it the air of 3am at a Eurovision afterparty; not what one needs to see on a Wednesday night.

Despite a flagrant breach of Health and Safety regulations, Act Two achieved a comfortable victory. For his efforts in personal moral degradation he was awarded one hundred English pounds and a peck on the cheek from the Drag Queen. If you wish, you may play Hunt The Euphemism.

Sadly no Mr Right came forward that evening, but it was not an entirely fruitless adventure; I left with a useful list of everything I wasn’t looking for in a man, from Abnormal Areola to Zoonosis.

Or just grey Primark undies.

Monday, 2 July 2007

A helping hand

The things I do for Love.

I’d not been having too much luck of late finding Mr Right. After trying the Singles Night, Speed Dating and writing “Will Do Anything To Form Meaningful Relationship With Man Preferably Resulting In Stable Family Unit Of Two Or Three Children Not Particularly Fussy” on my forehead in Soho, I was all out of ideas. (Yes, I have a big forehead. Let’s move on).

Fortunately, just when my need was greatest, I happened to bump into an Old Flame near work. This was obviously the Hand of God, and had nothing to do with the modified GPS prison microchip I sew under the skin of all my exes. Nothing at all.

Over lunch I mentioned where I now live, and he asked if I’d been to the “White Swan” yet. Turns out that this is the pub at the end of my street with the rainbow flag hanging limply out the front that is NEVER open. This didn’t ever particularly surprise me, as our part of east London has a preeeeetty strong Muslim community. Gay pub. Muslim community. Men holding hands. Men without hands. Men kissing men. Big burning hole where the pub was.

What did surprise me, however, is that it opens every night of the week. As The Old Flame explained, it opens at 9pm and closes at 3am, thereby cleverly avoiding any social unpleasantness and also ensuring the very highest calibre of clientele. And best of all [pause for dramatic effect], every Wednesday [hold eye contact], without fail [tremble with anticipation], they hold an Amateur Gay Strip Night.

The Hand of God had thrown me a lifeline. I knew where Mr Right was hiding.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

My Favourite Things

This week I met a rather strange fellow at a party. He was introduced to me by a friend who fell for Gay Misconception No.1; all gay people will get along swimmingly and instantly want to sleep with each other. While there may be some circumstantial evidence to support this point of view, it is most certainly not the case when one of them is a depressive psychotic with a habit of spitting his sibilants. Please note, not me.

For all his difficulties with bodily fluid retention, the Depressive was an interesting case study. There’s a reason we’re referred to as ‘gay’; it fits. “Ooh, did you know, our Kenny’s come out?! Y’know, the dramatic prancing one who wears the frilly pink panties? Yes, who’d’ve guessed; he’s a Morose!” Doesn't quite work does it?

By contrast, the Depressive was pretty pissed off about his lot. If he could’ve believed in some higher power without also being given a one-way taxi ride to Hell, I’m sure he would’ve given God an earful. Or Buddha. Or... And I’m stopping now.

The negative energy of the experience grated, so to redress the cosmic balance I’ve decided to spread some positive love. And you, my lucky readers, are the conduit through which my love flows. Savour that image, and then read on to learn why…

It’s Great To Be Gay

1. Relationships: With two men, these are a piece of piss. There's none of this ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ bollocks. No sireeee, it's just two Martians getting down and jiggy with some green-slimed, one-eyed, E.T. lurvin'.

“You like sci-fi action movies where Hugh Grant is ripped to pieces by marauding zombies and then fed to the Giant Ant Queen? Hey! So do I!”
“You'd like to do some destructive DIY this weekend involving big drills, lots of noise and dust throughout the house? What, instead of shopping for strappy shoes? Awww, sweetheart.”
“You fall asleep 17 seconds after sex? Fourteen for me.”

2. Lifestyle: The genetic quirk that causes men to like men seems to lie next to the triggers for good fashion sense, conversational eloquence, intelligence and tight buns. Read ‘em and weep ladies.

3. Toilets: We’ve all been here. You’re out with your partner at a musical/play/concert/Star Trek Convention, it’s time to go home but it’s a long journey so you both decide to pop into the loo before you leave. Unfortunately, by the time the XX-chromosomers among us are done, the queue for the carpark has snaked its way to Helsinki and back and you’re truly fucked. Oh look! Guess who’s at the front of that queue? Go XY!

4. Male changing rooms: My favourite. At some point in the history of sexual repression, some ugly monk decided that it was indecent for men and women to see each other's nudey bits in public, and voila! the same-sex changing room was born.

This system works wonderfully for stopping dirty fat Victorians from leering at the exposed ankles of young ladies, but rather comes unstuck for gay men. In fact, it has rather the opposite effect, creating the kind of show one would normally pay good money for… ahem, theoretically. For the women out there, it's a bit like donning a fake beard and being allowed to run around hugging the English rugby team at full time. For the fellas, well, it's a bit like being let into the Ladies changing room.

And before I sign off, I just need to slag off Julie Andrews. All this talk of ‘My Favourite Things’ has reminded me of how disgustingly saccharine that song is. Bright copper kettles? Schnitzel with noodles? Please. The girl wasn’t aiming nearly high enough. If we’d had a bit more focus and a little less Goody Two-Shoes action she might’ve got the Captain’s money and ditched the kids at boarding school. Feel free to sing along.

Twenty-four billion in Microsoft assets,
Daniel Craig’s torso in glistening wet spandex,
Flying to New York for breakfast with Sting,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cheating at poker and stealing from babies,
Imagining Paris in jail with the ladies,
Angolese diamonds and hip-hoppa bling,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Pool boys and firemen and Chippendale waiters,
Darcy and Heathcliff in nothing but gaiters,
Craig in brown paper all tied up with string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When my hair’s flat,
When my bum’s fat,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Feeling the love

Today I am angry. Angry angry HW. Specifically I am so sick of the assumption that as a gay man all you need to do to meet Mr Right is wander down to the nearest club, dip into the communal gene pool (watch out!; the edge is slippery) and drag him back to your cave. The reality is that gay clubs are freakish abominations where the best you can hope to take home is an obscure Amazonian rash.

Your Honour, I present the Prosecution's case.

Exhibit A: a diminished sense of self-worth

One this occasion H – my ever-faithful wingwoman – has got so sick of me moaning about being single she has forcibly dragged me to ‘Bristol’s Premiere Gay Nightclub’, for which you may read ‘Bristol’s Only Gay Nightclub’. She is convinced that Mr Right is lurking in the stinking damp corners of its dancefloor, and that if we can’t find him we may at least thank ABBA for the music and show those dirty homos some moves. I’ve washed my jumpsuit and everything.

You find us soon after arrival, perched at the bar, knocking back a few G+Ts. I’m trying to build up some Dutch Courage, and I suspect H is trying to ignore the small crowd of women in bomber jackets that is sniffing around her. To get the ball rolling she asks:

H: “So, c’mon, who do you fancy?”
HW: “Ummmm, the barman?”
H: “Oh please, HW, he’ll be some Bristol University dropout who thinks George Eliot was a man. Try harder.”
HW: [George Eliot wasn’t a man? Fuck, what was he then; some kind of hermaphrodite?] “Ummm, the guy at the end of the bar?” I point at a chap wearing a pinstripe suit and loosened tie sitting calmly by himself.
H: “Well, off you go then.”
HW: [Poor bastard, those Victorians must have really given him a rough time] “Oh, I can’t. Please don’t make me”.
H: “Go ON!”
HW: “Please don’t…” [Am sure no one picked on poor George like this].

H makes me.

As I approach Mr Pinstripe I have the horrible realisation that I have never, ever, had to use a chat-up line in my life. This is not a nice feeling. A quick ransack of my brain confirms it is a hollow darkness with a few off-cuts from Woody Allen movies resting in the bottom. I’m fucked.

HW: “Soooo…… Ummmm……Ahemm, yes ah……Do you, ummm, mind… if I join you?”
Mr Pinstripe: [Looking at me like I’m shit on his shoe] “Yes.”
HW: [Momentarily stunned] “……Right. OK. I’ll, ummm, I’ll be off then.”

I skulk back to H, having to admire Mr Pinstripe’s total disregard for my feelings. He is aware of some greater Hierarchy Of Visual Compatibility which grades gay men into strata of beauty, the kind of thing that completely passes me by. I have ventured out of my stratum and been justly punished.

Fuck them all.

Exhibit B: second degree burning to the lips and chin. Medical report confirms symptoms consistent with Pash Rash.

After that little experience you’d have though I’d have learnt my lesson, but no. On this occasion I have not only managed to enter a gay club by myself but have successfully initiated a conversation with a man. I can only assume I thought I was in a hardware store and that my request for plumbing services has been misinterpreted, but so be it. I’m going with the flow.

Things appear to be going well. He works for the BBC World Service writing political stories about Albania, and so far I’ve managed to avoid letting on that I have no fucking idea where Albania is, although I have a suspicion it may be a spoke on Dubya’s Axis of Evil. He also has a head, all his limbs and no outward signs of fuckwittism, so I’m doing better than the apode I got stuck with in the last bar.

Despite all this I’m bloody nervous, so cue Involuntary Fidgety Gesture No. 236; taking off my glasses and cleaning them with my shirt. Possibly because this causes a spooky resemblance to Clark Kent, or possibly because he’s looking for any excuse, The Albanian chooses this moment to stick his face onto mine. One minute we’re talking some rubbish about the privations of the poor in Algeria or Alberta or some place, the next he’s trying to chew off my epidermis.

Minutes pass, during which I mostly ponder whether it’s salmon or atlantic cod he had for lunch. Eventually the respiratory system comes to my aid and The Albanian has to surface for air. I use this opportunity to push him gently away and say, “I’m sorry, this isn’t really what I wanted.” To which he replies “No, it’s not really what I wanted either. I just thought it was kinda expected.”

I’m sorry? What? Expected? Expected? In the way that one expects the use of sugar tongs because fingers are vulgar? Or that you expect a gentleman to avoid the use of spirits, tobacco and onions in the presence of a lady? How about we try this one; I expect to be able to hold a conversation with another human being without my uvula being treated like a smurf-sized punching bag. Good god, gay etiquette is truly fucked.

The Prosecution rests. I don’t give a fuck about the Defence’s argument. It’ll just be some twat in a pin-striped suit anyway.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

The winner takes it all

I’m not a fan of loose ends, so it’s time to tie a big fat knot in the speed dating story. Here’s a summary of the situation as we left it.

Option 1: The Barrister: tall, funny, sexy, leaves me with a winning smile.
Option 2: The Speed Date Organiser: blonde, cute, hot, leaves me with his phone number.

It’s clear before the race has even begun that the Barrister has a heavy no-phone handicap, and as the gun goes off The Organiser leaves the stalls with a clear head start. Exploiting his advantage he texts me within half and hour of leaving the venue to tell me that I have a hot arse (ohhh, bless), thereby increasing his lead to a body-length.

A week of dinner and drinks follows, and I am completely smitten. On the bus I find myself wondering how The Organiser would look in lavender tails with a carmine trim, or if open shirts would better suit an April wedding. At work I take the down pantone swatches and try different colour combinations for the walls of the childrens’ nursery. And at night I get the big pot out from under the sink and warm some water for his pet rabbit.

Around this time I get an email from The Barrister, whose horse has stopped for a snooze in the clover near the starting line. His real name is actually Justice Hordinger*, and the email comes from

“Wow!” I think. “Justice must be veeery important at his Barrister-thingy place to have his own name as an email address. Interesting. I’ll just see what google has to say about it”. Within seconds later I’m at The website is dominated by a stylish black and white photo of a man in a tux whose suave expression says “Oh Moneypenny! Let’s do it now! Yes, on the exploding pens and the typewriter because you drive me mad with passion!”

“Odd,” I think, “he looks a bit like The Barrister.”

Digging a little further I discover that is a website for an internationally recognised magician who has done shows in Europe and Vegas. He has his own book and has appeared on an American TV programme called “The Greatest Magicians in the Universe”. And there are more photos.

“Fuck me,” I think, “it IS The Barrister!” Barrister. Magician. Magician. Barrister. He defends the rights of the Innocent while sawing beautiful women in half. He pursues Truth by day and makes you dance like a chicken by night. He steals your wallet, swallows your kitchen knives and pulls a rabbit from your trousers, all while wearing a powdered wig.

Suddenly this is a two-man race again.

The problem is, I am not a player. I’m a one-man kinda guy, and finding myself having to juggle two potential Mr Rights causes my brain to go into catatonic shock. Fortunately the thumb of my right hand is ready to take over the reins, and it sets about busily texting The Organiser with wilful abandon. With no SuperEgo in charge it soon breaks the three golden rules of 21st century dating; thou shalt not be the text initiator, thou shalt not text when thou hast nothing to say, and thou shalt not text ANYTHING at 3am.

Meanwhile, I'm going on dinner dates with The Magirrister and finding him deeply fascinating and infinitely kissable. He gets us into private clubs with hidden entrances, lives in an impeccable Bauhaus apartment, performs amazing léger de main (the dirty bastard) and is generally perfect. Abso-bloody-lutely perfect. But – oh, here it comes – I don’t feel the magic. Yes, Fate is fucking with me.

About 100 yards from the finish line The Organiser’s horse stumbles on a mound of unanswered texts, falls, and breaks its neck next to a very pink rabbit. The Magirrister’s horse struggles on valiantly for another month, but is eventually disqualified for being a ‘friend’ rather than a racehorse. Appropriately there are no winners, only some idiot holding a golden cup who thought that two was better than one, and that a race was better than a stroll.

Bugger. Back to square one.

* no, really.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Through a glass, darkly

OK, time for some honesty.

In my previous entries I may have given the impression that all I am looking for in Mr Right is intellectual synchronicity, spiritual alignment and a planetary conjunction of humour. Or at the very least a whopping fat chequebook. While all these things are true, we need to flesh out this list because like all gay men I am, at heart, a dirty great pervert.

The difference with me lies in the manifestation of this vice. While most of my brethren have no qualms taking happy snaps of sweaty toned torsos as they writhe in serpentine ecstasy on the dancefloor (oh yes ladies, get thee to a gay club), the very sight of a toned ankle leaves me feeling faint. And dirty. HW is a dirty dirty boy.

Fortunately I work in a temptation-free environment. It’s a discreet product design company hidden behind mirrored windows in a back alley of Farringdon. You can find it if you search amongst the garbage bins and discarded electric cars that clutter up the rear entrance to the Guardian Newspaper; our loving neighbour who blocks out all our natural light. In such a location we get very few Dangerous Hotties passing by, and I can hide in the loo if any Fit Engineering Suppliers come to visit. What a tragic oxymoron.

So it is that you find me a few weeks past, working on some fascinating computer modelling of a bevelled-gear drive system, and generally being very non-purvey. There’d been a close shave that morning where I’d nearly looked at the Coffee Boy’s tight buns as he leaned down to get the milk (hey, I’ve always drunk lattes) but I’d made up for it by putting on my hairshirt once I got to the office.

Imagine my surprise then, when in the midst of a very tricky bit of structural analysis, I get some divine intervention. The Big Man In The Sky leans down and suddenly booms in my ear:

“Yo! HW! Enough with the hairshirt already! Chestnut is NOT your colour, and goat’s hair is sooooo last season. Give yourself a break, cash in some of your points from the Karma Bank, and induuuuulge your filthiness!” At which point He leans down and trips the Guardian’s fire alarm.

Right on queue a veritable mince of beautiful young things wafts from the Guardian’s doors. They congregate loosely in the alley; Swarthy Intellectuals here, Rugged Polemists there, Dashing Copyists sprinkled in between. Breathless I stagger to the window for a better look, my face pressed in wild abandon against those wonderful tinted and yes, one-way windows. I am in Perverts Paradise.

As these Lovely Lefties chatter innocently about who ate the last freetrade-soy-curd-vegan-nut-delight biscuit, my gaze lingers desperately on every pair of black spectacles and each typewriter-toned forearm. I am in a heady state of euphoric freedom, released from guilt by the knowledge that they have no idea that I am watching. I also realise there is nothing sexier than a man in a fitted floral shirt passionately espousing the combined evils of global warming and rampant capitalist consumption. Well, apart from the same man minus the floral shirt. Tied to a bedhead. With gaffa tape over his mouth.

But I digress.

Far too soon the all-clear is given and the crowd returns inside. However, I am not unchanged by the experience. I am left feeling strangely liberated, and at peace with my inner pervert (his name is Hornblower Jackson by the way). He and I ponder the fire drill procedure at the neighbouring art college, and I express a certain concern for the employment criteria at the Guardian. Surely the UK’s anti-discrimination laws require a certain percentage of mingers and freaks to be employed? But Hornblower has the answer; they must have been left inside to burn. How very right wing.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

From (nowhere near) Russia with Love

Time: 7pm
Place: Deep in the Gay Heartland of Soho
Agent: Federal Working Operative HW a.k.a. FWOHW
Mission: To seek, identify and capture Mr Right from amongst 51 decoy models
Window of Opportunity: 3 minutes

1856 hours: Enter the de-militarised zone between homo and hetero territories. Pink-shirt-with-chest-hair camouflage accepted by locals and queue successfully infiltrated. While awaiting entry potential Target A identified and analysed for suitability.

Darcy factor? [Check] 6’4” tall. Straight gay-man quotient? [Good] Sequin scan is clear. Mental stability? Uncertain at this point, but high borrowability of leather jacket a strong mediating factor. Request permission to engage with target. Granted.

1906 hours: Target A [Codename: The Barrister] leaves queue and moves into position at back of bar. Interrogation suggests close match. Target tagged for later tracking.

1907 hours: Arrive at front of queue and encounter first obstacle; The Gatekeeper. Mission Control has done its homework; The Gatekeeper identifies FWOHW from clipboard and sticks tag to chest. Lingering application of sticker and repetitive patting of shirt suggests Gatekeeper as Target B. Logical analysis overwhelmed by whoa!-helloooooo… effect. Unauthorised flirtation ensues.

1915 hours: Misson guidelines announced by The[yesplease!]Gatekeeper. Fifty-one targets are identified through a numerical tagging system. Odds sit, evens rotate every three minutes. Sexually-suggestive banter required between rotations. Targets must secretly classify each other on a scorecard as ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Friend’. Classifications may be annotated with helpful descriptions such as “Cute But Dumb”, “The Fat Bald One” and “Oh My God As IF” for later reference.

1921 hours: Speed dating begins in earnest.

1924 hours: “Hiya! I work in the Weights and Measures Department for the Government. We control Time by counting the vibrations of helium atoms. It’s fantastic!” Negative.

1927 hours: “So you’re walking into the ocean and you’re allowed to take one oversized inflatable with you. What’s it gonna be?” Logic suggests your head.

1930 hours: “So buddy [wink], you’ve got a minute. Impress me.” Mission Control, request authorisation to kill.

2043 hours: Scorecard reads: Irish [tick] big nose [x]. Pretty boy [tick] camptastic [x]. Funny funny [bonus points] one earlobe longer than other [x]. Banker [tick tick] dickhead twat toss-pot [x]. Kurdish [xx] dental PhD [xxx].

2045 hours: Interrogation break. Infiltrate bar area to consider options. Options include triple G+T and vodka cranberry shots.

2056 hours: Mission Control authorise deployment of Tactile Response Unit. Approach Target B with faulty numerical sticker. Target B concurs on unacceptability of bent corner. Removes sticker [brush of skin: tick] and replaces with handwritten version [leaning on chest: tick]. Unnecessary eye contact indicates a hit.

2120 hours: Speed dating resumes.

2233 hours:Scorecard reads: Welsh [tick] sewerage worker [tick]. Skinny arms [tick] ginger [yesplease]. Self-absorbed egotistical wanker [tick]. Stripes with spots [genius]. Romanian peasant hunny [tick tick]. Kurdish [fascinating] dental PhD [perfect match].

2250 hours: Mission Control recall FWOHW on suspicion of poisoning. Symptoms include loss of auxiliary control and diminished analytical reasoning.

2253 hours: Target A departs with a nod and a smile. Target B’s telephonic communicator digits captured.

2300 hours: Return to civilian territory. Scorecard microfilm safe. Mission reported as a success.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Welcome to my world

As first seen on Kind thanks to H for her support and instant access to her far-from-stable fan base.

Right, here are the rules. While I am in charge nothing of significance will be discussed. There will be no considering the Greatest Moments in Post-Colonial Australian Art. No debating the merits of Trotsky VS Rowling. No swapping recipes for eggnog. No, here we will be interested in one question, and one question only; how do you meet Mr Right when you're, well, a Mr Right too?

My particular problem is that I've been given a shining pewter set of 19th century morals by my parents, which doesn't sit well with the quick-handjob-in-a-public-toilet lifestyle you inherit when you come out. It leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth, as it were. No, rather than date someone who is attempting to channel Kylie I want to be with a man who is simple, honest, and has a jaw to cut rocks on. Think Darcy having a quick snog with Bingley out the back of the stables.

This poses a few problems. The options for meeting gay Mr Right are limited, and can be summarised as follows:

1. "Ooh, you're A Gay! I know a Gay! You'll be perfect for one another." Yes, and I know another hysterical horse-faced twat - happy to introduce you.
2. Having someone rip your shirt off on the dance floor: this is the homo equivalent of telling someone they have nice eyes.
3. The Internet, where one can meet lots of men who are 9-12 inches tall.
4. Gay Day at London Zoo: to be fair I didn't actually meet any men at this one but there was some very suggestive eye contact going on at the penguin enclosure.

Over the years I've exhausted items 1-4, so on New Year's Eve this year I decided that 2007 is The Year When Things Will Happen ("2006: The Year of Change" and "2005: The Time Is Now" don't count). I decided to seize life by the balls and throw myself into a room full of men looking for love, lifelong commitment and long walks on the beach. That's right, I decided to attend a Gay Singles Night.

I arrive at the bar a tasteful 15 mins late, and am met by a man so immaculate he looks like an animated Ken doll. I am vaguely attracted to him until I recall that a naked Ken is the anatomical equal of Barbie. No fun there. Ken escorts me in and introduces me to the first man we cross paths with, who, while no great beauty, is Visually Acceptable.

HW: "Sooo, tell me a bit about yourself." [HW that was pitiful. We should just leave now].
VA: "Well, I'm a Kurd." [Kurd. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. C'mon HW you know this. You read the bloody Guardian every day you liberal tosser. Where are Kurds from?]
HW: "Sooo, how long ago did you leave... ummm.... Kurd...ish...tan?"
VA: "I think you mean Iraq." [Fuck]. "When I was ten."
HW: "Oh. And what do you do now?".
VA: "I'm a dentist doing my doctorate in diseases of the mouth." [Wow. This guy really knows how to sell himself].
HW: "How fascinating. So what does that entail?" [Why why why do I even need to ask?]
VA: "Mostly the removal of rotten or decomposing tissue for analysis." [And I suddenly have no desire to kiss you. Abort. Abort].
HW: "Great. So I'm going to bar. Want anything? No? Okay."

Emboldened by a double G+T I return to the battlefield, determined this time to choose my own destiny. Ah, they look nice, I'll sit with them.

HW: "Mind if I join you?"
Annoying Fag Hag: "Sure." [Why are you talking to me? Why are you here? Shoo vile woman. I am clearly interested in your Hot Mediterranean friend].
HM: "Hi."
HW: "Hi. You've got a great shirt. Where'd you get it?" [Nice. Complimentary. Opens the conversation. Keep this up boy and you'll be getting some sweet lurvin' tonight].
HM: "My mother give to me before I leave Greece. Everything too expensive in London. Shirts too expensive. I work in bakery. I save money, come here tonight."
[Oh god, I've exposed the terrible shame of his extreme poverty. How awkward... and disappointing. No romantic weekend getaways to National Trust castles on the back of a few baguettes. Still, focus on the positive HW. Lovely eyes. Lovely arms. Move the topic on].
HW: "Sooo, what do like most about Greece?" [Am conversational god].
HM: "The Olympics."
Annoying Fag Hag: "Me too." [Be gone annoying fly].
HW: "That 's interesting. They're a great Greek achievement."
HM: "But better in old days, when men would run nude." [I'm sorry?] "I would like see you run nude. I bet you really swing, yes?" [Oh god, let the image go away].
HW: "So I'm going to the bar. Want anything? No? Okay."

After several more G+Ts and a conversation with a Polish labourer and an Albanian journalist, I am left wondering why I paid five English pounds to attend the AGM of the Eastern Bloc Nostalgia Club. Where the fuck are all the white, middle class wankers with foppish hair who I can talk to about Keats and Constable? What happened to Our Green and Pleasant Land? And how many G+Ts does it take to turn a gay lefty into a Daily Mail bigot?

I depart, and immediately call H for assistance. As always, she sees straight to the heart of the matter. Apparently my fatal flaw was in not paying enough money to meet other men. I explain that my mother would not approve of such behaviour, and besides, gross. But she clarifies: if I pay more it acts as a natural genetic filter, like cream rising to the top of milk. I need to go to a more expensive event. I like her logic.

One lonely internet session and £25 later I am booked in to go Speed Dating. Speed Dating, the love-divining tool of the time-poor-cash-rich, where I hope to meet another gay man who only thinks of Speed Dating when love tools are mentioned. Mark Darcy would understand.