Wednesday, 29 September 2010

What is sexiness?

What is it that makes people sexy? I know what I like. Generally slimmer guys, bookish types... yes, I could do nasty things to the Hot Gay Nerd. Or even a Hot Straight One. I wouldn’t say Fella is nerdy, not t all, but he fits the type generally well. Somewhat ironic that Hogzilla’s Goldicocks is a virtual mirror image. Slim, musical, personable, family oriented vs “athletic”, scientific, introverted, distant.

One of the things about coming out was the desire to explore what I wanted from a man, relationship, etc – rather than frustratedly fantasising about cock (and occasionally holding my nose and indulging myself). After all coming out was precipitated by the start and abrupt end of my first proper relationship. Who and what was I looking for?

Desirability is a combination of things, isn’t it? Looks, dress, income, lifestyle, social graces, sexual behaviour, communication style... comment not, gentle reader, on how easy it was for me to get into a relationship but how difficult it was to sustain it. No, that’s not for today!
I suppose the clearest way of setting out what I’m thinking is to reflect on the three relatively long relationships I have been in over the last few years.

Darren, International and Fella are all remarkably different, and my thinking or feelings for them were and are different too. I don’t feel for Fella more strongly what I felt for International; I feel other things – better things.

For Darren, well I was in thrall. He was the first person I was with and really I was mostly pathetically grateful. I look back on that with a certain measure of world-weary embarrassment. Adolescent infatuation, blind to reality – just about ten or more years too late! Still, it was a necessary step – I thought he was delightful then but now I couldn’t honestly say that he is sexy to me. A bit muscle bound for my now more mature tastes. Good but not exceptional as a lover. Apart from being my first relationship, there is little remarkable about him.

International, now he was and remains a different story. Gorgeous, charming, incredibly sexy. When I was with him the mere thought of him, his body, being with him filled me with passion. The kind of sexiness you ascribe to being with someone who definitely isn’t good for you. Breaking it off with him was sad but not heart breaking – the connection there was largely physical. He gets in touch from time to time, but without the physical connection there is not much there... with him there was and remains a real physical attraction. But that, sadly, was all.

And what about Fella? He is beautiful, and kind, and loving, and generous. Every aspect of our relationship has its positive points to help reinforce our bond. Of course there are the down sides; that’s a relationship involving two imperfect human beings. His physical attributes are balanced by other parts of who he is. Perhaps his sexiest aspect is that he makes me happy.

I suppose it isn’t really fair – possibly even callous – to compare them in this way. I suppose sexiness is defined in different ways for different people at different times. But overall, it’s safe to say, in terms of desirability what I have now is by far the best!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Is it ‘cos I is...?

Poof. Queer. Fruit. Homo. Arsebandit. Shirtlifter. Bender. Fag, fag, faggot. Batty boy. Ponce. Cock Jockey. Chutney ferret (!). Fudge packer. Pansy. Queen. Ring raider. Shit stabber. Uphill gardener. He goes shopping with his mum...

The list is virtually endless gentle reader, the names there are for us fairies be we never so cheerful as me. There always has to be a victim, somewhere, of course. By and large the old ways are still our favourite; Lord help you if you are brown. anti-Semitism is still close to the hearts of many. And do we really believe there's no such thing as women's work?

Nevertheless it seems that after reiterating the arguments for equality for a very long time it almost seems like gay men and women are the last ones left. It's difficult to come up with another group of people who face, in many countries, the death penalty for being who they are – either via the courts or extra-judicially; or who are faced with deliberate legal impediments (can't get married, can't have kids, differing ages of consent); or who are viewed with suspicion often by members of their own family.

Currently there is a bit of controversy smouldering away about the use of "gay" as a derogatory term – something "gay" is a bit crap, rubbish, shoddy. I had to pull up a friend the other day for using it quite thoughtlessly in the office. It is something that annoys me purely because it is such a throw-away term. People seem genuinely surprised that it can cause offence. I sometimes feel like saying to them: take out the world gay, put in the word black, and if you'd think twice about using that sentence then you need to be more careful generally.

Of course there are limits. "Gay" is used quite a bit by gay people or to gay people by their friends in a humorous, familiar context. A word reclaimed in that way can be an effective way of drawing its teeth; and anyway in this as in all things context is king. Also, the genuine and dangerous discrimination and harm gay people suffer around the world shouldn't get obscured in an argument about semantics. Fella and I have had our fair share of unpleasant experiences and we're not exactly winning prizes in the homophobia stakes. Still, the casual indifference, the idea that civil partnership will do gets to me.

Coming out was, and still is, for me the expression of realising it's OK to be gay – more than that, it's no reason to feel less than who I am: not second class so much as some kind of failure. Fortunately for me, for us, the world is slowly changing and compared to what it was like when I was a teenager it's much much better. And it will continue to improve. More gay politicians, more countries recognising relationships and dismantling the hurdles toward full and open participation in society, more (non-stereotyped) gay characters in soap operas and main stream movies. We're here, we're queer (ahem), and... we have quite a lot of money. Need I say more??

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Voyager II was launched within a few days of my birth. I have felt an affinity to that lonely spacecraft, the farthest man-made object in existence, for many years.

When my family and I first came to Britain in the 1980s I started, as one does, at a new school with new people, speaking a strange language and observing peculiar customs. The very first thing we did after I started in my class was a project on that spaceship. I was hooked; the beautiful pictures of worlds I had never dreamed of; the idea of travelling so far into uncharted territory, and being so utterly alone. And the promise of the future;, discoveries and revelations beyond the wildest fantasy of science fiction.

At that point I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. Well, what boy doesn't? But the chances of being an astrofairy were very slim, not least because we did not go into space then. Nevertheless, my dream persisted and it eventually drew me down the path of science. I eventually began to read physic, moving to Strumpetville almost 15 years ago (15 years, gentle reader: already!!). and studying the stars myself. That time, too, was an exciting time for we began to discover worlds around other stars as well as take a vigorous and new interest in our neighbour worlds too. I was very lucky to be involved in a small way in both, and for a time Voyager was forgotten.

Now Voyager has left near space and for the next 15 years – as long as its systems are expected to keep functioning – it will feedback data on interstellar space; or as near to it as we are likely to get in the near future. And eventually its power cells will die and it will drift ever on until... well, perhaps forever.

That little craft out there has been, in a sense, almost an intrepid representation of my own little life. It was launched when I was born; it passed the last of the worlds it was to survey as my childhood began to end, and it left the Solar System about the time that I came out. I hope my power cells last beyond 2025, of course, but it is amazing to think how much that craft has not only had similar milestones – in a sense - but inspired me to follow my own.

Reading this who would wonder, whether gay or straight, that my obsession with space and science found me single for so long? But still, gentle reader, nothing has been quite so inspiring to me as that tiny piece of our world out there among the stars.