Thursday, 27 May 2010

Better late than never

One of the most tiresome aspects of my recent health problems – though pleasingly at a very low ebb at present – is that every test pares down the range of options away from really very immediately serious (e.g. cancer) but also away from the relatively minor (infection, etc).

This leaves us, sadly with a range of less salubrious and unpleasantly permanent possibilities. Multiple sclerosis, for example. And... other things.

On Wednesday I took the somewhat unusual step of having a sexual health check-up; unusual in two ways. Firstly I haven't had one since I met Fella. And secondly I haven't had one since well before I met Fella. The first point is important because we're in a stable, loving monogamous relationship. Why therefore would such a check up be important? Well, ever since the debacle with my erstwhile counsellor I've gone right off visiting what is the nearest and by far the best appointed sexual health clinic to my home. In fact it was months and month of fun and fun between then and my relationship beginning... and whilst always taking care to ensure a crop failure however many wild oats sown, there are no guarantees. Safer sex, not safe sex, no?

And the stupid thing is we've never really talked about it, he and I. On that Wednesday I could not put my hand on heart and say, for instance, my Fella is free of diseases!

"But why now?" I hear you ask gentle reader. Well, this is the thing. My symptoms – and this gives some measure of their unpleasantness, are what one might expect to experience when an HIV infection progresses to 'full blown' AIDS. A card in my increasingly slim deck that the standard range of tests had not eliminated.

So there was my paranoia about that but what really began to worry me was if it was by some chance the emergence of one of my worst nightmares, the risk to my man – exposing him to risk, however unintentionally, was more than I could bear.

On Wednesday my anxiety spilled into action. I cleared my calendar, went into Soho, found a rather well set up and excellent sexual health centre and within minutes the Cheerful Fairy was a big pink pin cushion and within a very short while after that a very friendly, short and Welsh nurse was cheerfully telling me all was well and – pending a short delay for my syphilis screen (!!) – there was no cause for concern.

Amusingly my own attention to safety and her determination to provide some kind of service had led the nurse, whilst we waited for the results, rally magnificently in the face of my inability to put myself at (great) risk. She gave me some excellent tips on avoiding and treating sunburn (moisturiser and hope – not unlike my anti-aging strategy).

Anyway... that night Fella and I sat down and properly, properly talked about That Kind of Thing for the first time and I am so glad we did. It led to a much wider discussion about fidelity, sex vs love, how that might evolve as our relationship does (no stone left unturned in the maintenance of monogamy; no door closed in terms of our relationship) so in so many respects the experience was a positive and productive one. But the moral of the story is, I suppose, twofold – one: I am a bit of an idiot sometimes. Two: however crass it seems some things are better discussed. Fully, early, and honestly.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Anniversary Part 2

This is the story of a Fairy named Frumpella, who lived in the magical land of Strumpetville, and who had been with his wonderful man for exactly one year...

Yes, that is how anniversaries are supposed to be, and dangnamit gentle reader I will not be denied! After all the... unpleasantness... of our weekend we agreed to try, try, try again to have the anniversary that we deserve on the Monday we had handily, presciently even, booked off to celebrate our anniversary.

First things first – the presents. You will recall me getting in a bit of a state trying to find exactly the right presents for my man. Well, what I settled on was: a new very swish MP3 player; a £25 iTunes gift card; and a spa day for him and me with facials and massages and all that jazz. You can see the wrapping paper I used, and the card that really captured my mood, in the picture below:

From my Fella I got a complete Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister; and a picture I've always admired called Polar Sunrise. The image is a photograph that was taken in 2008 and has always arrested me whenever I saw it. When on a recent trip to the Natural History Museum, I happened to see a print of it on sale in the gift shop: fella must have noted my rapture. So he done good. His third gift to me was a wine tasting tour of a vineyard at Bolney, in Sussex. What is remarkable about this is how pink minds think alike; I was giving serious thought to booking a wine tasting event for him instead going for the spa day. Phew!

The Spa-day was booked for that very Monday so out we went after the exchange of gifts to the Park Lane Hilton to get spruced up. The treatments worked and for the rest of the day at least we looked as young and lovely as we felt (even though Fella always looks young and lovely, goshdarn). But that was not the end of it, no not at all.

After Dunpamperin we moved on to a pub I particularly like in the City, called The Fox and Anchor and after that we went to a restaurant near Sptialfields Market called Larder. I have to say, Larder was absolutely fabulous. Simple food but expertly done. I very strongly recommend it; and particularly the organic bread they have which we couldn't get enough of and a loaf of which turned out to be a gift from the staff on the occasion of our magnificence.

And so we went home, to enjoy the last of what was a perfect day for him and me – for us together – and one last gift, the planting of a seed if you will. In the Fox and Anchor, you see, we decided it was time to think about moving in together.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Anniversary part 1

As you will recall it is a whole year has passed since my gorgeous guy and I first met! Well, the details of how we celebrated – and didn't - are somewhat convoluted... yes, it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride and no mistake.

This all going to come across a bit Jekyll and Hyde I suppose. Forgive me, then, if it makes little sense. I have not planned well what I wish to post. But in no particular order, let us start at the beginning.

On the morning after the night before, as described in my last post, Fella and I Talked about his behaviour and there was marked disagreement about whether he had been a bit extreme. By the time we were due to go to Brighton I was quite prepared to NOT go to Brighton – So There! Still, we held it together long enough to meet our friends and in fact we had a lovely day in the town on the beach, going to the funfair etc. Fella and I snuck off for a great dinner, just the two of us, while our friends went out and about and then we found a bar to pass the last couple of hours until our train home.

So far so good. Sadly, however, Fella got very messily dunk and it proved so difficult for friends and I to navigate him toward the station we missed our train and there was much bad temperedness. It was pretty much at that point I decided something had to change. I talked to our friends while Fella slumped on his seat, and interestingly I discovered they had concerns about his behaviour also. I had assumed – quite wrongly – friends got him drunk, and left him to his own devices, causing no end of disapproval from me, as the piece-picker-upper in chief; not a role the Cheerful Fairy adapts to well. But I was mistaken. And that helped.

Helpfully friends talked to Fella and then he and I talked some more when we finally got home. Essentially, and shocking though it may seem, gentle reader (well, shocking timing if nothing else), I explained to Fella I at that time pretty much considered myself single if only as a way of getting perspective on what was happening and what was best for him. Me and our relationship going forward: even if that meant Not Being Together.

Of course by the end of the next day, Sunday, when we'd both had a chance to think there was much recanting and a reaffirmation of our ongoing relationship. Still a pretty crappy way of celebrating our first anniversary, no? I probably come across as a total dick – and suspect I deserve to. But something has to change, I feel. A lot of things, really – not least how I handle stuff and that. But more of that another time...

What Fella and I agreed was to treat Monday as our proper anniversary and draw a line through the weekend's events rather than under them. And absolutely Monday was as perfect a day as we could have hoped for, both of us coming out of pretty loved up indeed. Very much so in fact!

Well, I think that's probably confused you enough. I do wonder how fucked up our relationship must be for our anniversary to pass in such a way. If this is paper, what's gold – pistols at dawn? I'm not sure it should be quite like this. Answers on a comment-like postcard please.

And in the meantime, I shall post soon about exactly what we did do on our anniversary-part-deux and indeed something that on Monday we decided to do in a few months' time ;-)

Friday, 14 May 2010

One hand clapping

So here I am. Fella is asleep; in a few short hours it will be our anniversary, true and proper. One whole year!

Much as I adore him I find myself wondering sometimes if it wouldn't be easier... to take all those opportunities for an affair, or just a casual fuck or three. I worry sometimes I still skirt that old world, not quite ready, willing or able to divorce myself. Am I just with him to spare his feelings. Whoops! Roll on the next 60 years...

Perhaps I'm being too harsh on both of us. Neither of us is perfect – and I wouldn't want us to be. But right now he's either manically happy, devastatingly sad, zombified or paralytic. None of those four states is overly pleasing. The highs and lows, stops and starts make one hell of a roller-coaster but sometimes the ride gets a bit much.

Tomorrow we're up early; off to Brighton, the first phase of our plans gets put into action. He won't remember tonight's events , he never does the morning after. I do hope the sun is shining, gentle reader: he won't understand if it's gloomy. So I must ensure it never is even though I remember everything.

He gets so unwell my default state is one of fear. Is he OK? Is he alright?? He's asleep now, frowning deeply as if his sadness infects his dreams. I wonder if he dreams what I'm typing? I wonder if I can get the blood out of the carpet. I wonder if the rest of this inferior Chardonnay and a bit of Dr Who will let me get any sleep tonight at all?

I adore my man. I'm so pleased we've got to an anniversary. I'm living a dream I barely dared to dream even three years ago; but can I make him happy? We're becoming co-dependent he and I. He knows instinctively the sun does not always shine in Strumpetville so he lets in the rain... and the clouds above us both get ever deeper.

Bugger I'm a miserable fairy tonight; maudlin perhaps. Onwards and upwards is the only way forward; and damn it all I shan't go back. Time to make things that little bit tougher... a bit of gay meets Zen. I don't quite know what it is that binds me to him but it is not severed yet.

I'll let you know how the anniversary goes. And how we go about planning for number two!

Monday, 10 May 2010

3, 2, 1...

I'm writing this post by way of an update; a catch-up meant as an apology – or even an excuse – for my ever diminishing blog post output.

Do you recall, gentle reader, that I applied to do a master's degree? Well I got accepted on the course so should start that, all the detail in the meantime notwithstanding, in October. I am really pleased, of course, and very much looking forward to the challenge. On carefully questioning colleagues who have forged this path ahead of me, I have been advised to apply a measure of ruthlessness to my working hours and ensure that don't do more than I should over the two years of the course.

That really will be a challenge, particularly as I have ascended to yet another new role within my faceless bureaucracy (they do seem to come around rather quickly, do they not??). This is my third week as Business Planning Manager for my employer's strategy arm. Deputy Chief of Staff, if I might be permitted to flatter myself, for the branch of my employer tasked with devising what healthcare in London will look like in three, four, five years' time given the needs of an increasingly diverse population, challenging resources over the foreseeable future, and – right now - no Government. One might have thought the lack of a Government might mean less work for a public sector employee but sadly not, sadly not.

Clearly the most exciting electoral map in a generation; the most difficult economic circumstances in three; and the Cheerful Fairy are an unusual combination and it is a fairly safe bet that we shall be living in interesting times for a little while yet.

What I find most peculiar is being in a position where I am considered to be good at what I do. I am somewhat perplexed by it all really, especially since I am not used to being offered roles and responsibilities based on my reputation. I can only work (and hope) to meet the expectations made of me.

In the meantime my colleagues and I ran the 5km run that we had been training for; I was surprised by how smoothly it had gone. And of course we are not yet done; there is a 10km run that we have signed up for in August to support the Gay And Lesbian Switchboard. It's a very worthwhile cause I'm glad we will still be training together and the exercise will be useful. My gym-going is going good; I'm even getting complimented quite spontaneously on my buffness, which is rather pleasing I will confess.

This really only leaves the obligatory update on my gorgeous Fella. It is best to leave that till last because much of what has come before is done for his benefit – or more accurately mine in that it helps me keep him. Helps me be worthwhile for him, in my mind, that is. Hard work, as relationships should be, but in five days we shall be celebrating our first anniversary so clearly it is work that has paid off thusfar – even if it does mean I can't post as often as I used to!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Normal Service

Well, first of all I would like to write a big Thank You to all the people who sent me such nice and supportive comments on my last post.

The Good News is Fella and I are still very much together and looking forward to our first anniversary in just over a week's time. Fella has started his medicine and whilst I was somewhat trepidatious (if that's a word) about the impact it would have on him it has had a very positive and immediate effect that I for one am delighted with. He's a lot happier and not coincidentally so are we.

We spent the long weekend in Cardiff because Fella had a family engagement. Cardiff really is a great town and I strongly strongly recommend it to anyone in the UK looking for a short break. I hope it marks the start of a much better phase for us. Interestingly half his family – including his 87 year old grandmother – trekked back to the hotel with Fella to meet me once his family (no partners, see?) do was over which was nice in a torturous sort of way. However, we have an invite to return and as I have friends down that way too it seems likely we shall be making further trips to sunny Wales at some point.

In the meantime, for our upcoming anniversary, I have booked him and me on a spa day at the London Hilton. After that I'm taking us out for dinner. In the morning of the day of course I think it time for the exchanging of the gifts. I have a vague idea of what Fella has got me (I turned up at his office unannounced not long ago and I think I saw my present then but didn't twig for a little while). However, I am still casting about for the perfect present for him. My tentative exploration of things he might like tend to have been pooh-pooh'd by him... so while I have the BIG gift and lots of little gifts, I still need that TA-DAA present.

I do have the perfect card. I saw it in a shop and to my horror began to cry! So much for the stiff upper lip!!

So there we have it; things continue apace. I'm so glad that Fella is much happier and the amazing change that occurred so quickly has caused me to think how lucky I have been. I have been a bit disappointed, with myself, when things got a bit bumpy back there. I still need to remind myself that my relationship experience is still very small.