Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Emotionally Illuminating But Ultimately Dissatisfying Tale of One Sore Foot

Today I feel like a bit of a dick. A dick with a sore foot, in fact (if that is anthropologically possible). I find that rattling around inside the shrunken, flaccid cartilage of my soul are the rather unpleasant emotions of a bruised pride, an undirected disappointment and something that might be self-criticism. Or maybe that last one is just indigestion... it's a new one to me.

Now, I am vaguely aware that most people relieve their feelings of dickdom through self-flagellating introspection or – worse – conversations with other humans. Pah! Fools. The clever man leaves his hairshirt in the dirty laundry and splashes his self-loathing in glorious CMYK 72pdi technicolour all over the internet. Cheaper, and there’s none of that annoying feedback.

So let me begin by introducing the characters in my saga. First and foremost; me! Et voila! I will be played by a dashing fellow with the body of Daniel Craig, the brains of da Vinci and – with a nod to my many Christian fundamentalist fans – the Faith of Our Brother Jesus. Mind you, I’ve been thinking about this and Our Brother Jesus probably didn’t need to have much Faith, seeing as the fellow who decided if He got into the Big Pink Palace in the Sky was in fact Himself. Or at least, one Trinital third of Himself. Probably the third with his appendix and gall bladder, seeing as they are so much more mysterious than the other organs.

But I digress.

We have two other protagonists in this narrative, who for legal purposes we will henceforth refer to as Identity Protected Obsession 1 (IPO1) and Identity Protected Obsession 2 (IPO2). IPO1 will be played by a Spanish pirate working undercover for the court of Isabella and Ferdinand V, while IPO2 will be played by a space alien extra escaped from the set of Doctor Who.

I have known IPO1 for many years, ever since we worked together at university making confectionery for the unappreciative masses. We lost touch when I moved to the UK and didn’t reconnect until last year when he came to London... and came out. In hindsight it should have been obvious; his penchant for fitted boots, eleventh-hour rescues and parrots that squawked “Oh darling you are too much!” were all put down to the strain of living for years amongst toughened men upon the high seas. Who’d have guessed that in reality he just fancied a bit of seaman on the side (oh come on; I bet you couldn’t have resisted that gag either).

Once I realised that IPO1 was a homo I was faced with the terrible decision of whether or not to stick my tongue down his throat. Given that said tongue was attached to Daniel Craig, powered by a Renaissance brain and guided by 2000 years of patriarchal myopia from the Catholic Church I felt sure its incursion would be welcome. However I was still plagued with doubts. Would I ruin a friendship? Did I truly feel that way about him? And could I keep a straight face if asked to walk his plank?

It will come as no surprise to my readership that I managed to maintain this level of indecision for almost a year. Every time I met IPO1 I would experience a resurgence of tongue-to-tonsil intent, only to have my resolve chipped away at by over-analysis inbetween. As per usual, Superego was shitting on poor old Id.

Then – completely out of the blue – IPO2 landed his Warp 9 Hyperspace UFO in the middle of a pub in Shoreditch, emerging into our gathering amid a blaze of dry ice and cheap laser effects. With his faux antimatter pistol swinging provocatively from his hips he swung into a chair at the end of the table, ordered a pint of Galactic-strength Zooton juice and smiled as only a man wearing aluminium foil underpants can. I was smitten.

While other conversations came and went we whiled away the evening discussing his travels to the moons of Jupiter, civil unrest in the planetary systems of Cassiopeia and the impossibility of buying real estate in London. I found myself gazing fondly into IPO2’s three lidless eyes, breathing deeply of the ammonia gas that rose from his skin and thinking how wonderful it was to meet a normal, non-fuckwit homo in England.

Sadly it seems IPO2 didn’t feel the same way. As we stood at the pimped-up, blue LED ramp of his UFO he opted for a traditional handshake over a Klingon mindmeld, and my confidence evaporated faster than sodium metal in atmosphere. I attempted communication over the coming months but eventually had to admit that this spaceman was not interested in Earth lovin’.

It was a galvanising experience. I resolved then and there to stop being such a fucking limp-wristed, yellow-bellied, procrastinating fly larvae of a man and settle things with IPO1 once and for all! The consequences be damned. Hoorah!

My first opportunity was at a farewell drinks held for a friend a few weeks later. As luck would have it I arrived to find a seat available next to IPO1 so I bought him a pint of rum, suggestively brushed his cutlass off my seat, and proceeded to regale him with stories of my nautical derring-do.

I was halfway through a winner about falling into a stagnant lock when a flash of green fluorescence indicated that IPO2 had landed. Egads! I thought. Here’s an unpredictable narrative twist! IPO2 hovered over and slipped into the chair on my other side, thereby causing a characteristic HW mental meltdown. I managed to stumble through to the dramatic end of my nautical narrative (it’s a good one; I narrowly avoid a fatal crushing in the wake of a slow-moving, Martha Stewart-inspired wedding cake of a canal barge) before scuttling away to the bathroom to consider my position.

What I decided to do is of no import. Upon my return I found that IPO1 and IPO2 had shuffled around to be seated beside each other and were now deep in conversation. Yes, in my stupidity I had forgotten the first rule of Homo Loco; the time taken for two gays to get in each other’s pants is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them when they are first released from their cages. In disbelieving horror I watched from the other side of the table as the pirate stroked the alien’s antennae and the spaceman fingered the Spaniard’s moustache.

And worse was yet to come. Snow had begun to fall outside, and it was into this “Bridget Jones’ Diary” inspired finale that IPO1 decided to leave. As he slipped out through the revolving doors IPO2 dashed after him, returning ten minutes later for his coat. A romantic tryst in the gentle snow of a London winter? Why why why hadn’t HW thought of that? Too incapacitated by thought, as per usual.

As I walked home I considered how my inaction and vanity had ruined me once again; truly, the best laid plans of mice and men had been eaten by the rodents and used as bog-roll by the men. To vent a little I gave a passing lamppost a good kick and – pleased a little by my own masculine emotional impotence – hurried home to nurse my foot and my pride.