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.