Wednesday, November 7, 2012
What would you determine to be a “deal breaker”? The man you Love is no longer satisfied with just your caresses. Would denying him these attentions from another be selfish? What if he claims to still love you, with every fibre of his being. He merely craves variety. “We are men after all!” he says with conviction. What do you tell your jealous heart? Is it wrong to want to keep someone so endearing, all to yourself? Is it honorable to attempt to possess another human being? Is it perhaps not even more foolish to give yourself to another person? Can we not Love and hold ourselves fast? Must we lose our footing and as we do, our self-respect? Another scenario: You've been independent and mostly on your own since the age of eleven. You know how to fend for yourself. You are kind and amusing to others but also aloof and keep everyone at arms-length, including friends and family. How are you to open yourself up to another now? How can you make yourself vulnerable after two decades of barricading the soft and fleshy parts of yourself. Would this be wise? When around you are couples carelessly tearing at one another’s heart’s and throwing loyalty and fidelity to the wind alongside caution. “Have another line babe, there’s still a gram left.” Yet another scene: You sleep beside him. You are like well-worn chairs for one another. Passion has been smothered in layers of dusty familiarity and apathy. You stay because you fear the unknown. No fate worse than to be alone. And yet as you lay in the shadow of his back you know he no longer sees you in the waking hours. Romance and breathless excitement is replaced by ritual and echoed sighs falling on deaf ears. What are we doing? Where are our “happily ever after’s”? How do we send this back and make sure they deliver the right Knight in Shining Armour that will “love us until we learn how to love ourselves.” This isn't Disney or Dante’s Cove and I don’t think I like this particular show.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I’m burning up. Not because I have a temperature, nor because I have the flu. I am red-faced and soaking wet because I have been working out. Mostly a series of (apparently) stomach flattening squats and lunges. I am cooking! I’m at my locker and stripping the clingy wet gym gear off me so I can go and sauna and get even hotter and burn more calories. I complete the awkward one leg to another disrobing process, which frees me to drape a towel over my modesty, and make my way to the sauna. This is my ritual. These are the sacrifices I must make to the Gods of flat stomachs, if they are to bestow their gifts upon me. I try and meditate or “come to my senses” in the sauna as I have been taught in my Practical Philosophy classes. All I can think about is how hot I am and how unique each and every naked or semi-naked body that passes the sauna appears to me. Unique blends of hair, flesh, muscle and fat. No two recipes the same. There are so many people in the world. I wonder when I will meet a “special” person again. I meet dozens of people a week but there has been no real spark or connection for a while. I tell myself it’s because I’ve been busy. Am I really that strange or “one-of-a-kind” that suitable partners should be so few and far between? What if I become one of those lonely old gay men in the corner of the club that all the younger queers seem to sneer at? Would that be so terrible? Then one day there is actually someone who gives me that rollercoaster feeling. He’s older than me, late thirties or early forties; he’s almost 2 metres tall and has a big beefy build. He is incredibly well-groomed and has the most perfectly shaped eyebrows I’ve seen. He wears flamboyant striped shirts and must have a tan-can account because he is nut brown. He’s almost too perfect. He is like a clipped hedge of topiary and I am more of a shaggy bush. (I am not referring to pubic grooming; I mean that he is more refined than I am!) The first time I saw him; I couldn’t help but steal glances at him. I assumed I would not qualify for his attentions, because I am significantly smaller than him but I could have sworn he winked at me as he sashayed to the showers. Since then, we have blatantly been scanning and printing one another every time we both happen to be at the gym. Now I need to actually pluck up the courage to speak to him, but this is where my conflict begins. I am enjoying the fantasy and don’t want to burst the bubble. He is my incentive to go to gym. It motivates me to get up at 5am and squat my guts out just on the odd chance that he may be there and I can get those fantastic butterflies in my stomach again. What if he opens his mouth and he has a nasal voice and a noticeable sibilant ‘S’! Why do stupid things like this put me off so badly? And if I no longer feel an attraction towards him, what would I have to look forward to at the gym then? Sometimes the hunt is so much more exciting than actually acquiring what you’ve been hunting. I sure do love a good hunt. Maybe it’s better to take the plunge and strike up a conversation with Mr Handsome Hedges. I guess I could find another crush if he doesn’t fancy my tickle. I’ll just have to find another motivation to do my rituals and pay homage to the deities of killer abs.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
I was about 20 years old, and had to take my banged up baby blue beetle “Betty the Boopmobile”, to a garage in Rondebosch, Cape Town to be fixed. The ultra-straight and greasy (yet not unattractive) mechanic scanned me up and down. He was looking at a camp, skinny, drama student on financial-aid, with cheap highlights. Cliché predicts that he would have hated me, right? Wrong! He gave me two new tyres; panel beat my dented dome hubcaps (by hand) and then sent me on my way assuring me he would send me an invoice. He refused payment and off I drove, never to receive that invoice. I have many stories like this. I’m not sure why they happen to me. A friend of mine believes that the only explanation is that I am in fact, the “straight whisperer”. As a gay guy, it is not unusual that I have a very special bond with my mother. She’s my solace against life’s knocks, like a gum guard when ‘kak-luck” tries to kick me in the teeth. Her love and food fortify me enough to face any battles, providing emotional and physical “padding” (love-handles, Eish!). It’s also pretty much a given that women, in general, play a very significant role in my life. Most of the friendships I have treasured have been with the opposite sex. I could also write a book about all the wonderful gay men I have known, but I want to discuss my gratitude for the extraordinary straight men that have featured in my story thus far. There were: Truck drivers clearing the road, way beyond the yellow line, so I could slowly pass in my meek 1.3 Bantam bakkie; Gorgeous, muscular hetero barmen, dancing in a circle around me, (to protect me from a rabid drunk queen with octopus hands). A handsome and well-known soap star (now married) offering to kiss me as a dare, during a drinking game - causing me to run for my life screaming- (The kiss would have meant nothing to him, but it would have moved the earth for me, so I bolted!) Heterosexual men, have been good friends and confidantes and have even come to my aid when I have needed them. I’ll tell you about two of my favourites: My dad and my brother. I have received nothing but, 1 ton truckloads of love and support, from these two great Little’s, all my life. Even as I have dragged, camped, minced and “poofed” my wares on stages, dance floors and “voorkamer’s” across the country. I know I am beyond blessed to know and love such considerate and masculine gentlemen, who shower me with Love and approval. Seeing your first born son or older brother on stage in drag or naked (or both!) and showing me nothing but pride and good humour afterwards, is not just progressive but exemplary and I am grateful for this. But my good fortune with hetero men goes further than just the familial bond. Despite being bullied at boarding school (whilst in the closet). I have been lucky enough to be accepted and (often) even loved by most of the straight men that have come to know me since coming out at 18. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about seducing straight men or being able to have my way with them (Although, I have fallen for one or two of them over the years.) I am talking about the unique friendships I have enjoyed with certain straight men, men who are comfortable enough in their sexuality to be completely accepting of mine. I concur that attractive straight men are quite irresistible for most of us gay men (we always want what we can’t have.). But they don’t have to be the queer man’s kryptonite. Once you accept that they are not gay and no amount of tequila will change that, then an amazing platonic relationship can flourish. One wild drunken night in Cape Town I found myself being cradled by a beautiful young man on the steps of the club, and as I lay in his arms beyond inebriated, he gently sang Will Young’s “Evergreen” in my ear. He doesn’t have a gay bone in his body and is also married with a child now -not that this makes you a heterosexual! (There are too many wedding rings hiding in rented lockers, in Bathhouses on a Thursday night for that!) But he’s really not gay. I am so grateful for witnesses because I can scarcely believe it happened either! During long runs of bigger productions like “panto” I have been blessed with “straight husbands”. Close straight guy mates to share my failed romances with and a fresh and unique perspective of the “other” side of the male psyche. “Don’t call him back, let him hunt you a bit.” he would suggest, and in return I could dispense my own advice with a more feminine/intuitive flair, like: “If she says you don’t have to buy her a birthday present, she doesn’t really mean it.” and a lot of laughter about the differences between gay and straight men, like their choice of underwear and deodorant, when sharing a dressing room. It was a straight male nurse in a Durban public hospital that caringly and unflinchingly held me over a toilet when I was at my most wretched from a bout of severe food poisoning. And I will never forget a certain buff redheaded actor in SpongeBob the musical reassuring me one melancholy matinee, that if he was gay “he would have been my bitch.” *I died and went to Heaven!* I blow kisses (platonic of course!) to all the straight barmen, DJ’s, Sound technicians, venue owners, managers, mates, boyfriends and husbands of mates, and ‘random straight strangers’, that helped a homo out. Thank you. I know that homophobia, prejudice and ignorance are still rife out there. But to all the straight boys that we love and love us back, I salute you!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
What should one do, if one is beginning to suspect, that one is a loser?
Every January, for the past few years, I find myself in the same situation. Despite working tirelessly and diligently the rest of the year, I am broke, unemployed and desperate to find something to do, that will prove to me that I am not a loser. This recent January was no exception. Despite sweating away half my body weight in the last pantomime for three months, unforeseen expenses lay in ambush and January bared her teeth at me again. January is also “audition” month, and this January was brimming with gruelling auditions, followed by nerve-crippling call backs, and anxiety sprouting elimination rounds. There were auditions for: Films, sitcoms, commercials, theatre and musicals, all of them, providing their own unique brand of self-doubt and requiring a different type of fear-tackling. This year despite a few close calls, I didn’t get ANY of them. “Niks”, “Nada”. I was the “un-chosen” one. And it sucked like a surfaced Kreepy Krauley.
As I approach my 33rd birthday I am getting a bit long in the tooth to play ensemble and let’s face it, I wouldn’t be my first choice for the macho new game ranger in “The Wild” either!
So my house-of-cards-self-esteem comes crashing down and I begin to panic. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have what they want? What could I have done differently? Wait a minute! Why am I still single? Why hasn’t anyone hot, poked me on Facebook recently? Why am I getting fat? Why am I getting older? Why do hangovers last 3 days now when they used to last a morning? Why do I have to do squats and eat NOTHING delicious, if I want a flat stomach? Why Larry? Why?
Then out of the blue I am offered not one but two lecturing jobs. “You want me to teach three bunches of ‘twentysomethings’ for two hours every week for seven weeks?”, I ask in disbelief. “Me?” To which my very pregnant friend Sarah replies: “Yup.”
Then another University offers me the opportunity to teach my very own curriculum (Independent Theatre making self-created from scratch) for twelve weeks. I am flabbergasted and excited and even more petrified than I was, for any of the January auditions. What if the students get bored? What if they don’t listen? What if I suck?
What have I got to lose?
In less than two days it will be Valentine’s Day and I will be giving my first class at Wits. I am still single and broke, and will have to wait for two months before my first pay check. But this is something new. Maybe I can do this? Maybe this is the role I’ve been waiting to be cast in?
Maybe Valentine’s, this year, won’t be so bad, single or not.