Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Meme

Ask me no questions…

I got this meme from Nik theGreek’s excellent blog. The answers are honest, sometimes embarrassing and  probably quite average – not unlike myself. I don’t do enough memes, so if you know of any you think I might like to fill in, please let me know…

Here goes.

1. How old were you when you knew you were gay?
I recall first feeling I was gay when I was 14 and I honestly fancied a specific guy rather than just being confused. I know he liked me too, as we fooled around a little, on and off, for about three years – we never fully consummated our mutual adolescent attraction, but I remember him very fondly sometimes wonder where he is now…

2. Have you ever had sex with the opposite sex?
Yes. I have even had a couple of girlfriends, of whom one is still a good friend. But it’s been a while!

3. Who was the first person you came out to?
The person I came out to properly first was one of my closest friends, ‘A’. After I met Darren I got tired of some people knowing I was gay just ‘cos I didn’t pretend and others kinda not knowing. So we went to the pub and told her I had started dating him. The doors infatuation opens!

4. Are you out to your family?
Yes. Everyone, now.

5. Do you want children?
No, but the idea has its attractions. Still, I know the kind of work that’s involved and strongly believe that if you are to have a child, that’s what your life has to be about… and I want my life to be about other things. So. Selfish me; no kids.

6. Do you have more gay friends or straight friends?
I don’t know. Close friends - it’s a good mix. Acquaintances – mostly straight.

7. Were you out in school?
No. I didn’t want to get killed.

8. Is your best friend the same sex as you?
No.

9. If your best friend is the same sex, have you ever had sex with them?
N/A

10. Have you ever done crystal meth?
No; though I did hook up with someone who was on it…. We… haven’t kept in touch. That, and quite coincidentally hooking up with his boyfriend (strangulation fetish!), would make an interesting post one day.

11. Have you ever been in a sling?
No. But that’s not quite the end of that *fond memories*

12. Have you ever done a 3-way?
Yes. I have always enjoyed such things very much, but always was careful to be the ‘guest star’ in such arrangements.

13. Have you ever dressed in drag?
No. I have GREAT legs though… and I’m told there are photos of me at a recent drinks outing wearing a VERY fetching shade of lipstick indeed *blush*

14. Would you date a drag queen?
Yes; and I have. I didn’t know he was a drag queen when we first started dating, but when he told me I thought it was fantastic. That was shorty after I broke up with International – c.f. he took the first opportunity to head for the hills LOL. He, the drag queen, didn’t think I was really over intenrational, so didn’t really take our budding relationship forward which was a shame, because we really liked each other.

15. Are you 'fixed in your ways' as it were?
In some ways. I’m quite – c.f. very – introverted but once I loosen up I like to enjoy myself and I’m quite open minded. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INTJ which I’m told makes me open to whatever the clearest and strategically best frame of mind might be,

Original 15. Are you a top/bottom or truly versatile?
I’m top/versatile.

16. Cher or Bette?
Hmmm. Ask Fella.

17. Have you dated someone of a different ethnicity?
Yes. More than once. Nothing long term.

18. Been to Fire Island? Saugatuck? Key West? Ft. Lauderdale? Palm Springs?
No. Most outrageous destination was a nudist beach in Spain with International. I’d go back; via the gym, mind you.

Original 18. Have you ever barebacked?
Hmmm. Not sure I should answer that. Which, of course, means yes.

19. How many Madonna CDs do you own?
None. Fella has, quote, “five or six”. Enough for both of us.

20. Name of your first love?
Well, the guy I talk about in answer 1; or Darren.

21. Do you still talk to them?
No. Never.

22. Does size matter?
Ah… well, I’ve discussed that before. Bluntly, yes, but not as much as people might think, and actually I’ve had fun with all kinds of people of all shapes and sizes. I’d never reject anyone on those grounds; and have never thought afterward it wasn’t worth hooking up with someone due to that.

23. Biggest turn on?
A good kisser… oh yes. There is also a special area on my neck which, if reached, drives me completely INSANE. Plus I always enjoyed that physical feedback where someone appreciates and responds to your… best efforts.

24. Biggest turn off?
Overly negative people. Glass half full darling!

25. Ever been harassed due to your orientation?
Yes. Fella and I have had a couple of hairy incidents; and sometimes colleagues make comments that are not much appreciated. Not been physically attacked or anything serious; so I think we’re lucky.

26. Worst gay stereotype that applies to you?
Hmm. My response to that would have to be – what’s a gay stereotype? If gay people can be put in a series of pigeonholes than I don’t fit any of them, or better still I fit some of them all the time but to varying degrees depending on a range of factors. Tell you what – show me some living female, black, or Jewish stereotypes and let’s compare notes.

27. Ever been to a pride rally?
Yes. Love them

28. Would you marry if you could?
Yes.

29. Would you rather be rich and smart or young and beautiful?
I’d rather be a younger and more beautiful me. If I could be that young and beautiful forever. Evidently I can’t.

Actually, scrap that superficial answer. I’d rather be ME, but the best me I can be. Including the best looking me of course.

30. Do you sculpt your eyebrows?
We lift and separate from time to time.

31. Do you trim your body hair?
There are certain areas of a gentleman’s garden I find it prudent to keep in check. I don’t shave it.

32. Ever had sex with more than one person in a day?
Yes.

33. Ever been to an orgy?
Yes.

34. Which character in "The Women" best reflects you?
Can’t tell you. In that I don’t know.

35. Favorite gay expression?
Erm… nothing springs to mind.


36. How may 'exes' do you have?
Well, Darren and International make two fairly long term-ish relationships but I’ve dated some other guys who were special enough to be exes. The real number is probably in the region of five or six. It depends on your value of ex I suppose.

37. Do you believe in fairies?
Only cheerful ones.

38. Do you have any tattoos?
No. Fella won’t let me. Though I’d love to…

39. Do you have any piercings?
No. Fella has a few. I don’t like the idea for myself.

40. Would you date a smoker?
I do.

41. If you are male, do you know many lesbians?
Yes, both as good friends and where I work.

42. Do you know anyone who has died from HIV?
No.

43. Are you part of a gay organization?
I’m a member of the LGBT network at work.

44. Is your gym cruisy?
No. Shame.

45. Grinder or Scruff?
Crikey – neither. Those days are behind me.

46. Are your best years behind or in front of you?
In front.

47. Got Porn?
I like a couple of websites and explicit blogs I drop in to from time to time; but nothing stored. People give Fella porn as an in-joke from time to time.

48. Make out music?
Nothing really.

49. Ever been in love with a straight guy?
I’ve fucking fancied loads, starting with my best friend’s brother when at high school right up to a couple of cute guys in my office.  In love? No.

50. Did you ever have sex with him?
I’ve fooled around with a couple of guys while at University. Nothing heavy, and we weren’t in love.

51. Have you ever been to a nude beach?
Yes – see 18

52. Have you ever been to a bath house?
Yes

53. Ever had sex in public?
Yes.

54. What gay gene did you miss out?
Ah, that goes back to the stereotype thing doesn’t it?
Happy New Year ;-)

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas

Fella and I are back from Christmas with his family, and if you’ll forgive me gentle reader, now the in-laws have been done, I’m looking forward to some relaxation and general enjoyment.

We went to the in-laws this year, as last – the disadvantage of having my family being abroad! I actually get on with them very well, and I’ve been welcomed into the family in the most touching way. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes a struggle and this year as much as ever.

Fella’s mother has terminal liver cancer and she is clearly deteriorating very fast. His father reacts to this with extraordinary anger, and certainly 2012 will have to see Fella supporting them a lot more and me supporting him doing that.  

On the plus side it was great to see my brother- and sister-in-law again – for the first time since their wedding - and when all of us were together we had so much fun. I was given a book on art deco and a lovely top from Fella. I gave him a wine and cheese tasting evening (with a friend) in January and a wash-bag which he can use in his new role as event manager, which takes him all over the country. The others got a book, or for my mother-in-law a kindle voucher as she spends a lot of time in hospital…

There was more food than we could eat – yeah, that’s Christmas – and a lot of the gifts centred on chocolates and biscuits and fine coffees; that was my father-in-law buying on his mother’s behalf, and i am touched she included me on the gift list, canny old bird that she is.

Now we’re back. After a couple of stressful days I practically jumped Fella when we got home... but that’s another story. Now, in the few days we have until we return to work in the new year I’m looking forward to some quiet relaxation, seeing friends and generally taking advantage of the break.

This year really has had its ups and downs and in many ways I’m looking forward to it being over. It hasn’t been bad, not at all; but there are so many things to do that 2012 needs a run up. I’m actually really looking forward to what might just be the (second) most important year ever ;-) and this Christmas is almost a sabbatical from the challenges ahead, no matter how much I relish them.

I’ll post about what needs to be done in 2012 in the New Year , and I will certainly be relaxing until then, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the festive season; my thanks for reading about my middle-classed wittering about my ordinary life; and the hope that your 2012 will be your best year so far; but not your best year ever!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Reading List

By and large, Gentle Reader, I’ve done pretty well as The Cheerful Fairy. I’ve met my man, and am making plans to be the Forever Fairy, with car payment and in-laws and a goldfish Oh my. Getting here I thoroughly enjoyed everything the Strumpetville had to offer. My eyes were opened but luckily my mind wasn’t closed.


I have a lot of gay friends, and as it turns out (a Christmas party themed post for another time) a huge proportion of the colleagues in my team are gay – 30% or so. Naturally being gay is an automatic get out of my bad books card.

A lot of my friends have been active in gay issues for a long time. Some since university. I of course was somewhat hidden away from such things. I don’t think it even occurred to me back then that there would be such a thing as a LGBT student union rep.

So now I read Pink News and Gay Times and sign online petitions. I am a representative on my workplace’s LGBT network and work to advance or advocate gay issues with my employer.

I still don’t get involved as much as I’d like in gay things – I don’t know gay literature, films, etc very much. Part of me shies away from the very pretty people because I ain’t one of them any more. But that’s no excuse.

So, then, I have developed a small – and will expand – reading list, and viewing list.

My first piece of gay literature, and I use the word literature quite wrongly, was The Captain’s Boy. You can well imagine the content – young insanely good looking aristocrat flees family after being caught rogering the young insanely good looking gardener, gets press-ganged onto a ship of fit and well hung sailors; gets captured by a load of fit and well hung pirates. Eventually he gets captured by the native inhabitants of a tropical island who have a remarkable range of highly man-specific rituals… and so on. I remember the book always equated penis size with virtue. The villain of the book was intimately described in punitive terms!

Moving on up, these are the items on my reading list

·         The Velvet Rage – recommended by a date who became a friend, written by a psychologist about growing up gay in the modern world

·         The Swimming Pool Library – a novel by Alan Hollinghurst

·         The Fluffer – a film about a young guy obsessed with a gay-for-pay porn star. It’s Fella’s ;-)

·         A Beautiful Thing – because it’s great and I haven’t seen it for years

The book I’ve just finished is Twenty 6 by Jonathan Kemp, 26 short sections of prose describing the experience of various sexual or erotic or emotional encounters in a unique combination of graphic and somehow touching terms. He captures those most fleeting moments very well. I recommend it.

Do you have any remmendations? I also recommend this:


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Update

I’ve been away for some time gentle reader, and for that I’m sorry. Time has caught me up… but on the plus side that gives me a fair bit to blog about.

And Tuesday night is my quiet night in night so blog I shall!

First – my health. Well, I’ve had lots and lots of hospital appointments. It seems I need to be put on medication, but in the meantime I’ve been enrolled in a medical research project which, before my treatment kicks off proper, will see me being the big pink in cushion for a while longer.

*sigh* I suppose it comes to us all sooner or later but I have to accept that I’m getting a bit too fat and old to be the life of the party – and such parties we have in Strumpetville to be sure – and to demonstrate the fact I went on my work Christmas party on Friday and ended up getting so naughtily drunk as fell over on my way home (oh the shame) and have damaged my knee. No more runs at the gym for the time being…

Well, I can give up on the diet for the Christmas season although I will have to get back on the horse with a vengeance in the New Year. To help, and linked with my healthcare going forward, I plan to go booze free for January (after the first of course!).

Second – work. Busy as always. I’ve decided I really do need to move on but my studies are preventing me from really focussing on it for the time being. The Christmas party was fun though. It turns out a huge proportion of my Directorate are gay too. Surprisingly my boss is – I didn’t really have a clue, but great news. As are the two other people who revealed their orientation as the evening wore on. It means of the 60 of us (up from 19 when I first started!) at least 20% are ‘family’. And I knew plenty of others outside my team who are too.

I’m part of the LGBT network and the number of gay people I know of suggests there are massive under-reporting of sexual orientation. I can understand that; but equality legislation means it’s important for people to be open –the more of us there are the greater the obligation on our employer to recognise our contribution and support our identity.

Third – studies. Well, they do keep me busy but I’m loving it. Well into my second and final year and I look forward to starting on my dissertation. Over the next three months I will be doing a mini project of my own choosing, and as you might expect the topic is gay-themed.

Essentially my hypothesis is that men in civil partnerships (perhaps the theme is personal too?) display less risky sexual behaviours than single gay men; perhaps fewer sexual partners; perhaps me likely to practise safe sex; perhaps more frequent HIV testing. At its core my hypothesis might be said to be: equal rights have positive health benefits.

The data I plan to use is held by Sigma Research, who do the annual gay men’s sexual health survey. They seemed really positive about my proposal and posited some interesting challenges to my hypothesis. Huge caveat – they might not give me the data – but as a fellow academic and massive gay, well, we can hope?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Equality


There is a debate going on in the UK about civil partnership; and whether in particular religious institutions should be allowed to perform them.

Currently there is a legal prescription against civil partnerships being described as marriage; or being associated with religious symbolism. This can cause problems for gay couples, as very strict registrars may veto certain types of behaviour, decoration, or forms of words. Certainly a top tip Fella and I have already had is to get to know our prospective registrar very well.

Some members of the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber that can delay and amend legislation – but not veto it – are opposingthis proposed opening up of options for gay couples. Tories, they are. A reputation for nastiness they have; sometimes they subsume it long enoigh to win power. But they always return to type.

I should make clear that no religious group or building would be forced to undertake civil partnerships. Currently gay people may not be discriminated against on the provision of a good or service; and the point of civil partnerships is to give gay couples the same rights and protections in law as them there proper married types. So it’s not such a radical step forward, but a welcome one.

Still those members of the Lords are opposed. And they are dressing up this opposition as what I have seen described as a victimisation meme. A simple equation; gay equality demeans religious freedom.

Well, gentle reader, time to introduce a new technical term to our rarefied debate. Horseshit.

It’s Horseshit because religious views should not be used as a way of attacking other people. It doesn’t damage anyone’s freedom to be stopped from doing that. Religion is being used as an absolute; but the argument is that it should be a supreme get-out-of-jail-free card.

It’s true that no-one’s freedom should be limited until and unless it impinges on someone else’s or is liable of causing harm. So you hate gays? Well, you get to shout it from the roof-tops, pray for our destruction; you’ll never be denied healthcare or the right to vote. Maybe you need to be careful what you say and do at work, or in public, or to your family – but hey, welcome to our world.

No, it isn’t equality they want. But if they do, let’s give it to them. Time, I think, to get the bishops out of the Lords. Time to disestablish the Church of England and all the subsidies that entails. Time to stop treating your vast portfolio of land as a charity, and get you to pay your taxes. Come on – you want to be like the rest of us – by all means.

Because, although we don’t claim to be special, it doesn’t mean you get to say we are less than what we are. So live. Grow. And marry me.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum

I can hardly believe, gentle reader, that it has been so long since my last post. Well, there’s been lots of stuff going on, not least the Cheerful Fairy becoming a human pin cushion. Half a dozen hospital appointments coming up which will no doubt provide a blog post or two.

However, that's not what I’m here to post about – no it’s weddings!

A few weeks ago Fella and I attended the civil partnership of a couple of ladies, H & P, and I have to write we had a fantastic time. They had clearly gone out of their way to make everyone feel they were part of their day and to ensure everyone enjoyed taking part too.

It was a triumph of organisation and we in the Big Gay Family responded with a willingness to party above and beyond the call. Fella lost his shoes; I lost a coat (that does tend to happen when the Big Kay Family gets together).  We got them back though, and in the process we were able to thank them for letting us be part of their special day. The venue, the ceremony, the reception were all wonderful. As H & P are teachers they had structured the day like a school timetable; the ceremony was Religious Education, the blessing was Assembly. And instead of flowers as the table centrepiece each table had its own type of sweets that people were encouraged to share.

One other thing we learned…

Fella and the Cheerful Fairy are NOWHERE. I mean, we know the date; we have a preferred venue; we’re going to wear clothes… we’ve done a tentative guest list – pleasingly more people than we thought.

But that’s it. We’ve been X years away for some time now but the truth is we need to get all the details done in six months, perhaps less.

Because, of course, we need to start sending out ‘save the date’ cards and then invites. And apparently that alone is a crucible of passion and intrigue that makes Lucretia Borgia’s weddings seem dull and uninteresting by comparison. People genuinely fell out over some being invited to the reception but not the ceremony! We were afraid.

Clearly we’re going to have to Bridezilla this baby up. A lot to think about and a lot to do. I’m glad we’ve had our eyes opened, particularly in such a nice way. I think we can look forward to a lot more posts about registrars and venues and stationery and wedding lists and honeymoons and menus and clothes and hotels and…

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Older

I’m 34, apparently well past an age where I could respectably go out clubbing or on the pull in Soho. That’s fine, I have my Fella and with the diet and exercise regime I get compliments about my figure, my arms, etc - which is, perhaps not surprisingly, nicer than the small shreds of validation that come from sleeping around (and yes that is a large part of why I did it. D’uh!).


Still, 34 is a funny time of life. I love being in my 30s, almost as much but in a different way to which I enjoyed being 16, 17 and 18. But what is it? Less than half-way, but more than a third. I’ve been a child longer than I’ve been an adult, but I’m not quite fully grown up (as my bank manager well knows).

In the last few weeks I’ve been described as an older man, by a guy in his mid-20s! And be flattered that I look like I’m in my mid-20s, by a guy a couple of years older than me. Yes, each hoped flattery would get them everywhere, but still…

It seems in some respects time has caught me up. I’m writing this before telling many of my close friends – some of whom read this, I am pleased to write - or Family (though Fella I told straight away).

Last Tuesday I was an unwell fairy, so got some medical advice from NHS Direct (a telephone based free healthcare advice service) and they recommended, to my surprise, I attend my nearest A&E (emergency room).

Well, speed and efficiency were certainly the order of the day. Although it took eight hours in total I was hooked up to more machines and devices than I expected; and yours truly was turned into a little pink pin cushion…

So here it is.

My brain isn’t working as it should. Blood tests show its receptors are not picking up as many hormones as it should. Its chemistry is unusual. Sometimes people with altered brain chemistry have a mental health problem, apparently sometimes not – or not just that.

My brain tells my body to produce stress hormones like adrenaline but doesn’t mop up the after effects. It seems, to put it bluntly, I suffer a constant stress hangover where different parts of my body go out of hormonal sync… the result; irregular heartbeat for a start. Ouch.

It feels weird that my behaviours and reactions are sometimes not my own – and I didn’t know it. Or maybe that’s just how “I” feel.

How do I manage this? Well apparently I have to give up caffeine, chocolate, salt, reduce (not give up, thank fuck) alcohol and carefully avoid the gym. Fortunately sex wasn’t mentioned.

My consultant gave me a lot of information about some unique stress management techniques; and I’m going to go in further tests in a couple of weeks.

It’s weird; how do you react when confronted by things like this? I immediately went out to a comedy show (Fella and I were planning to celebrate a friend’s birthday anyway) and managed to cheer myself up. And I have been carefully ignoring my consultant’s advice about my diet.

Well, from now on time to be good. Darn. Strumpetville will never be the same again. And I suppose that’s the difference between 17 and 34.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ashes to ashes

It’s October. We’re back from the funeral, and we even managed to squeeze in a couple of days in Bruges before heading back to Blighty. Now college has begun in earnest and I’m back into studying, attending a fairly punishing schedule of classes, and thinking about my dissertation – whilst also continuing my never ending diet of course.


For Fella and I work is pretty hectic, and both of us are trying to find new jobs. Sadly his mother’s condition continues to gently deteriorate so in some ways Fella and I are living like the early days of our relationship, with him spending a few days with her and a few days with me.

What does this add up to? Well, gentle reader, a whole heap of stress. And what is the best cure for stress?

I’ll tell you what it isn’t – family.

I’ve generally been quite pleased with how well my family has reacted to my sexuality in the years since I came out to them. Something that definitely was not on the approved list when I was growing up is, if not embraced, politely accepted. It took some getting used to for some people, but I’ve been quite lucky. They have taken it better than some people’s family, yes indeed.

Nevertheless, and this may be a German thing more than anything else, one thing that has always struck me is a certain backwardness in social attitudes, or a lack of understanding. I mean, it may be my fault for accepting the acceptance without trying to educate or evolve my family.

I don’t want to proselytise about my sexuality and how normal-yet-fabulous it is; and my family are conservative enough about sex (whilst apparently indulging in a ridiculous amount mind) that I was an awful lot older than I should have been when I found out what “balls drop” meant.

Instead what I did when I came out was convince the key players – my mother especially – that my sexuality is irrelevant to my masculinity. Good in the sense that their stereotyped images of homosexuals weren’t true; but bad in the sense that “straight acting” makes being gay somehow OK…

“Straight acting.” I can pretend well enough to be a straight man that hardly anyone can tell… so that’s alright then, right? It’s wrong because I unwittingly participate in the unspoken conspiracy to elevate heterosexual masculinity above all other things.

Oh yes we do… that’s why, I think, a lot of gay fantasy goes into pulling a straight guy; and why women are less likely to forgive a guy who has strayed with another guy – whilst men are twice as likely to forgive a girl whose played away with another girl.

Anyway, the stress of it all got to me a bit and eventually I got tired-and-emotional with it all and lost patience with this “so… which one is the man, and which one the woman?” and the “so will you have a hen do, or a stag do?” and even the “it is going to be, like, two grooms or two brides?”.

Ultimately, without giving a blow by blow account of the Words had, I ultimately suggested that people didn’t really know me perhaps as well as they could, and if they wanted to know anything – rather than assuming – they could perhaps ask?

Well. Certainly I need to mend some fences with my mother, and an uncle, aunt and cousin of mine and I are not quite on speaking terms any more.

You win some, you lose some. I’m not sure yet which side of the line this whole sorry episode falls. But I was there with my family when it mattered; and I’m glad to be home.

Friday, 23 September 2011

1926-2011

It has been a hectic month so far, and it is nearly at an end. I have passed my exams, and am due to start university again at the beginning of October. At work I now provide support to two teams rather than one; but I have decided to take the plunge and look for a new job when am back.

Tomorrow Fella and I are heading out to Germany. We were planning to go on Saturday and drive our little car down to the alpine region of southern Germany to visit my mother.

Regrettably plans are forced to change due to the sad death of my grandfather.

He has had heart problems since I was a small child, and last weekend he had a massive heart attack. After a short spell in intensive care he was moved to a side ward, made comfortable, sand with the agreement of the family nature was allowed to take its course.

Fella and I will be driving through the night to get there in time. For Fella it will be quite a challenge, I suppose, being that he will meet an awful lot of my family at one time, and in a difficult setting. Funny, really, as I met his family for the first time on the occasion of his grandfather’s funeral.

What strikes me is the efficient German timing of it all. We were going to be together anyway, more or less, so if you’re gonna go…

That really doesn’t do him justice! Born on the cusp of the Great Depression, raised under the Nazis, then had to raise his children under East German communism before they smuggled their young family over the border and started a new life in the West with absolutely nothing.

85 years of hard living, hard drinking, hard smoking and a lard chase took its toll of course and last weekend the music stopped.

To go off on a slight tangent, we went to see Adele in concert for Fella’s birthday, at around the time my grandfather was slipping away. This song in particular I really liked – though she is an awesome performer and a lovely person to boot – and since my grandfather passed away it has been running through my mind during the more personal moments I have taken to adjust to this loss.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Invisible Boyfriend Redux

A short while ago I ran into the Invisible Boyfriend, for the first time in a long while. He was ever so nice; quite flattering really, telling me how lovely I was and how I was nicer to know than some other guys who wasted his time etc. In the end we agreed to meet again and the other weekend I went round to his place for a coffee.


It was exactly as I remembered it, from three or so years ago. Exactly. Unchanged. He’d just bought the place then and had big plans for the garden, and redecorating. I was keen to help as I recall, a Way of bonding and growing our relationship. Today; the swatches of colour are still on the walls and the project has moved forward not a jot.

I have no doubt he has been busy and he’s had his holidays and family dramas. It will be nice in many ways to develop a friendship (if it happens) with an ex (of sorts). He’s one of the few that has kept in at least intermittent contact, and being part of his life in some way has a pleasing element to it; I can be a good friend and more rounded person.

Still, gentle reader, there was a slight melancholy air to out chat. A ghost of an opportunity lost in the air, just tangibly putting a slight pall over things. I couldn’t help thinking about how my life has changed in the last few years; how many times I’ve changed jobs, relationships, house, and of course where I’ve ended up. Except of course it’s not an end – there is so much more going forward to look forward to.

What I sensed from the Invisible Ex was none of the forward look that I see in others. And of course that I hope I embody for us. I had been out of sorts most recently but have been feeling much better and more energised, mainly due to some changes at work that have presented some real new challenges but partly because it’s Fella’s birthday coming up and we have our holiday/visit to family planned.

I’m being a bit disparaging of the Invisible Ex, I think. After all one of the main issues was that he was too busy and self involved to really be who I needed those three-plus-years ago. It will be interesting to see how much we have both changed as we try to be friends. I certainly look forward to seeing who his real Mr Right is!!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Glass half...

This weekend Fella and I went to Brighton to celebrate the hen-hen do of two of our friends who will have their civil partnership in October. Fella and I drove down there on Friday afternoon, checked in, met our friends and spent the next 36 hours partying.


There is nothing quite like seeing a lesbian flail about in a giant floating hamster ball, going on a 12 pub crawl, or spending an afternoon dressed as a flapper girl to put a smile on the cheerful fairy’s face, gentle reader. We had a great time.

There were 30 of us in total, a fair number I had met, but naturally a great proportion I had not. A few gay men, a fair number of straight women – I met some nice new people and I look forward to seeing them all again in October for the actual ceremony.

Some of our friends were there too. Always good to catch up with some old favourites, including of course the hens. I was quite touched that each of them in their own way did for me a spontaneous act of kindness, from a great big hug to just checking I’m OK.

You see, although I had a great time I did realise, reflected perhaps in the concerns of my friends, that my mood has of late been very dark. You see, from time to time, despite my efforts to see things in a positive light, I will suffer from a period of mild depression.

A fellow blogger recently had his aura photographed; and I find myself wondering what my aura would look like right now. I have to confront the fact I haven’t been very happy for a while now.

Part of it is self-denial. Not having freedom of action will bring me down. I am very restricted in what I can do, job wise, money wise, even where I live for the next two years but all in a worthy cause of course.

Nevertheless, I have a nagging feeling that nothing is quite as it should be in my life; and that applies to my relationship with Fella too. There’s nothing specifically wrong, but I have a strange desire just to get away from it all by myself for a while. I suspect that’s my strong introversion reasserting itself as part of my mood. If I could change one part of myself (that I can’t change, I mean) then I would make myself more of a people person. There is a reason most of my friends are former schoolmates and current or former colleagues.

But I digress.

There is so much to be positive about; that’s what I need to remember. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight; I’ve passed my exams (hurrah); we’re going on a trip to Germany at the end of September. And of course the wonderful friends I do have.

I think a couple of days off, just here, to reboot my silly head and just have some quiet time is in order. In the meantime, you can look forward to some photos and YouTube gold of our trip!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hidden Depths

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? Well, these days we know a lot of what goes on behind closed doors as people insist on telling us. I refer not just to yours truly and his fellow blogging ilk. I’m writing about the internet and the weird and wonderful ways we get to explore sex and sexuality.


And sometimes… we can get a bit of a shock.

Well, gentle reader, as you know I am on something of a diet and am a bit pleased with my progress. In order to motivate myself and ensure it really is possible for a 34 year old cheerful fairy to overcome his need to inhale vast quantities of liquid and solid calories, and buff up. However, I wanted to compare myself to something other than the airbrushed and tweaked male models in fitness magazines or Attitude.

‘Aha’ I thought ‘I still have gaydar account – I can do a search for white guys, 34, defined/muscled etc and see what I should be aiming for’.

Search duly performed I have a look at the guys this throws up, not so many to make me feel bad, but not so few as to make me wonder if anything other than Hogzilla is asking the impossible.

And then…

Well, my colleague is somewhat older than 34, but it turns out his boyfriend isn’t and their – joint – profile and their – joint – photos were one of the profiles I clicked on. Whoops.

I was actually quite shocked. I felt like I’d been caught doing something naughty – or worse; stalking him. Awkward!! I mean, I wasn’t cruising, there was a perfectly innocent reason for my search. Does he know I saw his profile? I am torn between hoping he does and hoping he doesn’t… I won't be bringing it up, that’s for sure.

He and his boyfriend can do what they like of course – it’s none of my business and I’m actually not even entitled to the opinion. The only gossip here is that I’ve embarrassed myself, perhaps a little, perhaps a lot – and definitely not for the first time.

What is perhaps a tad more salacious is another one of my colleagues who turns out to be quite a prolific porn star. Quite by chance a gay friend of mine was discussing a porn star he’s a big fan of, and he Googled the guy to guy to show me what he was going on about. Well, very impressive in some ways but what caught my eye was the guy he was with. My colleague. Well, I couldn’t be 100% sure at first, and he wasn’t using his real name! But it is him.

In many ways I’m actually quite pleased I know someone who is living that kind of life. My life is taken up by domestic bliss – this post displaces me going on about our marvellous tomatoes, lettuces and pumpkin Fella and I are growing on our balcony. I am torn, I must admit, sometimes between the times that I was being naughty. Nostalgia. Well, their secrets are safe with me, though they may wonder at the smile on my face from time to time.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Strumpetvill en-flambe

Wow, when things kick off here they really go for it! Never do things by halves in this town.

Fella and I live in sunny Woolwich, and on 8th of August the three days of rioting finally reached our district. First it was reported on the news and we nervously watched events unfold. Then they began to unfold outside our window. Flames leapt up into the sky and there was smoke everywhere. I wasn’t sure we could stay where we were. Drama, gentle reader, drama.

I spent much of the evening excitedly texting friends and colleagues to check if they were OK; some close friends offered us a chance to stay with them if need be but we decided to stay put.

The next morning I went into the town centre, a few minutes’ walk away, to have a look at the damage. Burned out buildings and police cars; the fire brigade still tackling fires. It was a scene reminiscent of the blitz or a bombing. Even now some of the damage is so severe streets remain closed.

I’ve never experienced a riot before, even at the periphery. It was all quite exciting, in a scary sort of way. I’m a little worried it will all kick off again tonight; we’ll be battening down the hatches and Fella is under strict instructions to come home at the earliest possible time. The last thing I want is for him to be caught up in any disorder. The streets are quiet now, but the sense of menace is palpable; people regarding each other with suspicions, shops still closing early. The whole atmosphere has changed.
For me, the most important thing going forward is finding out why this happened. It’s not race, youth, or any easy label. Although the riots arose out of a peaceful protest about the police shooting a man in another area, there is no single Great Injustice that can be singled out for blame.

I wonder if it’s symbolic of the state of the world right now. With the economic, political and military turmoil going on right now it sometimes feels like we’re in a Weimar-hyperinflation-Poland is lovely this time of year situation. Another part of me wonders if this symbolises the emergence of the underclass; third generation under-parented, under-educated people without material poverty, just poverty of aspiration.

A couple of years ago I was a member of a residents association that covered about 420 families; a mixture of social housing, tenants, owner-occupiers; young professionals, families, retirees; a real ethnic and social mix. That worked. Mixing people together meant the standards of civility or social behaviour were so much higher than estates where so many people have been dumped. Everyone working together brought everyone up. People were incentivised to keep up with their neighbours, and people learned from each other how to do better.

Going forward as a country we need to focus on ensuring our towns and cities are mixed communities of all types of people; ethnically, socially, economically. We need to ensure that schools teach people properly and that will cost money. As will a decent prison system that deters crime but reforms criminals. The benefits system should reward and incentivises (and includes), rather than keeps poor people out of sight and mind.

That will take years. Decades probably. But they manage in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia – we can, frankly, beg borrow and steal ideas from around the world.

In the meantime windows will be replaced, buildings rebuilt, politicians will make their sound-bites and do the bare minimum in order to make this go away. I hope the social scars will be as easily dealt with.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Birthday

The world has turned and the Cheerful Fairy is one year older. My mid 30s approach with increasing speed.


Unfortunately on the day Fella was very unwell so I ended up looking after him; but the day before we had friends round for dinner and I took the day after as leave as well so plenty of time to relax.

Fella gave me a lovely antique art-deco clock c. 1930 – exactly what I had been looking for, for some time. My mother sent me some lovely framed paintings of the area she lives in (I got the hint, and we’ll be visiting toward the end of September). Friends gave me a home-made hamper of European food :-)

When it comes to birthdays I must admit my inner child does come out and I get quite excited to receive cards and presents. The inner child is normally suppressed by my inner teenager; and keeping him under control occupies my outer grown up fairy much of the time.

What wisdom can I offer up, gentle reader, now that I have turned thirty-something plus one? Not so much, really. I’m quite surprised things have turned out as well as they have! My middle-classed life in Strumpetville, ordinary though it may be, is (I think) the product of a few simple elements:

• Dogged determination – never giving up

• A positive attitude – seeing the glass half full

• Not letting innocence, or perhaps naivety, give way to cynicism

• Being open to new experiences

• Having a clear idea of what you want

• Leaving the ‘attitude’ at home.

It’s actually not easy to blog when you have a good job, nice home, great relationship, and caring family – it’s either dull or saccharine-sweet. But we persevere – life always has its ups and downs!

Still, that doesn’t matter because it’s MY birthday – as an aside this makes me a Leo which is double-plus fantastic, and gives me the excuse of partying for a month as well – and as usual I have enjoyed myself immensely.

Roar.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

400

A typically lazy Sunday morning Chez Frumpella… I leave Fella lying in bed (he can sleep for Strumpetville that one) put on the coffee machine and go into the second bedroom/office/my den (what it’s rapidly becoming) to catch up on my reading, and my blogging. It’s a way of being lazy and not lazy. I read, I post, I catch up and slowly drift into the job search, studying, or prep for the week ahead my Sundays are about. When Fella emerges we may spend some time together before lunch. The afternoons he spends catching up with his TV (I’ve got him hooked on Star Trek!), and I get on with my own thing, maybe go out for some shopping. Later we’ll spend more time together, perhaps put on a film or do some gardening and so the chilled day wends into the evening, a nice dinner and back to bed.


That is the life of the domesticated Cheerful Fairy. A thoroughly pleasant life it is too. 400 posts in, and we can safely say our journey is by and large complete.

400 posts. There will be more of course; much remains to be done – civil partnerships and kids/not kids and all manner of future challenges. But no more for finding Mr Right or Mr Right-Now.

No more for coming out either. But then I’m still not fully into gay culture; film, books, etc. Lots to see and read and discuss.

Nevertheless, I can confidently post this: I am, perhaps for the first time, living my own life on my own terms. Not living in a shell of someone else’s devising; not trying to live up the expectations of others; not trying to follow the herd . Nothing to hide behind, but then no longer trying to hide.

Where next then? You see gentle reader, it is difficult to compose scintillating prose when one is resolutely ordinary. But I like diarising out loud if you will, so I’m not done with blogging yet.

I clearly had something quite different in mind when I started this blog; but it quickly became something of far more use and led of itself to meeting some wonderful people. It chronicles my three great affairs, and the lesser passing fancies – too numerous to recall even if I cared to.

A lot of water under the bridge. Thank goodness there is so much more to look forward to…

Monday, 25 July 2011

Des and Troy

Youth and beauty… those are the name of the big gay game, no? Well, that and having a great big… zest for life.


Well, I’ve been working on the youth and beauty thing and notwithstanding my inability to turn back the hands of time I think I’m doing OK.

As always, it is through others I seek my validation… and after quite while of dieting and exercising things have started to happen.

Yes gentle reader – it is true. People have begun the rippling gorgeousness of the Cheerful Fairy. I mean – wow. Who would have thought it? Here I am – being complemented on my hard work by other gay men!!!

I guess it first started when we were in the cottage in Herefordshire and the other gay man, apart from me and Fella (he deserves a greater epithet than gay-man#3 to be fair, but needs must), commented on my nice arms. Me! Putting on a gun show, eh?

Since then I’ve had colleagues comment on how much weight I’ve lost, and friends on how buff I’m becoming. Well, my vanity needs little feeding to grow and grow, so I take it all with a pinch of salt but I must admit it is nice in particular to get noticed by other gayers.

I’ve lost about 7 lbs (3kg) but I’ve been doing lots of weights alongside my running and swimming, and I must admit it is a huge motivator to know it’s paying off.

Alright… maybe it’s a bit wrong of me to subscribe even in part to the more superficial aspects of gay life. But, after many years of just not looking after myself as part of my closeted life; and then to get so ill and to lose so much weight that is regained as, basically, lard… I’m quite proud of myself and – frankly – being an introvert the confidence boost is appreciated.

On Wednesday I’m going, alone, to gay networking event in Soho called Village Drinks and I would never DREAM of going there unless I felt in some way I could hold my own.

I’m going to keep working on my figure until I go back to college in October – only a few short weeks to get as much out of myself as possible. After that I will maintain my improvements, but can’t realistically go to the gym six times a week, attend classes, do my homework and work.

Speaking as someone who likes his carbs and it engaged to a world-class chef getting to this stage has not been easy. And the time limits mean I can’t lose too much weight. But the object is not to be a muscle-mary or try and be the twink I never was. It’s to feel good about myself. And to have everyone in Strumpetville feel good about me too!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Big Day

Aint nothing like a summertime wedding in Strumpetville gentle reader. The big day came and went without a hitch, the weather was perfect and the location divine. For something organised in only four months it was a masterpiece.

Sadly, it was not MY wedding, no. Rather that of my brother-in-law S to his now wife… Mrs S.

Fella and I suspect the whirlwind wedding of Mr and Mrs S was due in part to our impending nuptials (or at least an impending bun in the oven)… but no matter, I wish them all the very best. Off in sunny Paxos for their honeymoon, now.

The wedding itself was at Kew Gardens, which is a place I adore. We had free entrance to the gardens on the day; the ceremony was in Cambridge Cottage while the reception was in the Princess of Wales gardens – a very nice venue indeed.

Some of the most interesting people I met were Fella’s friends, one of whom is Mr S’s boss, a gay couple who have been together about nine years. It was nice to get to know another established – even more established – gay couple outside our current circle (as it were).

The most important part of the day (apart from the nuptials) was that this was for Fella and by extension me a family affair. One of the things I was a little concerned about was meeting all of the family. As a fiancé one is in and not in the family – and as a GAY fiancé, well one’s status is all the more uncertain.

Nevertheless I was, as always, made to feel totally welcome – even posing in the family only pictures. No pressure then… definitely have to make my relationship work, or those photos are ruined!! Actually, it was very nice to be included and to be so accepted by everyone. Even Fella’s 89 year old grandmother! I hope when it comes to our civil partnership (or any other event), my family will be as accepting of him.

Since Fella has been complaining to his friends about not having an engagement ring – he had one prepared when he proposed – so I have decided it’s time to get him on; well, in time for his birthday in September… so plenty more to blog about in due course…

In the meantime Fella’s mother continues well enough. She did rather dwell on her prognosis at the wedding until Fella gently stopped her and suggested it might not be the day for it. In a rather touching gesture Mr and Mrs S asked, as a wedding gift, for people only to donate to a charity for MS sufferers. The plans for our own marriage will need to revolve in part around her, and that in turn means keeping a totally open mind about timing, venue, honeymoon etc…

Well, that is the way it needs to be. Seeing how well it can be done fills me with confidence. And being included and welcomed by the family fills me with great happiness.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Wedding Plans

We've had a bit of bad luck recently, Fella and I. I mean, in the last week, we've been robbed; my laptop completely packed up, taking with it everything from my holiday photos to my CV (I have a shiny new one now though :-) ); part of the bathroom ceiling fell in for reasons best known to itself...

Sadly the worst thing is Fella's mother has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She has suffered with MS for a while, and has had problems in that area because of that for a while. So no-one took any notice of the jaundice and the weight loss until it was too late. Liver cancers tend to be inoperable and are peculiar in that chemotherapy doesn't work on them. The treatment is a transplant, but you can't give immuno-suppressants to someone with MS so that's out. Recently a range of wonder-drugs have come on the market that will ensure her liver continues to function and may co-incidentally shrink the tumour. But even under ideal circumstances a primary liver tumour has a less than 20% survival rate after a year.

In Fella's mother's case they are talking two years but knowing this illness I wonder if six to nine months is nearer the mark. Dark I know but Fella and his family are dealing with this in perhaps a very English upper middle-classed way. Putting the best possible gloss on it, changing the subject, and having a nice cup of tea.

What I wanted to post about, gentle reader, was how Fella and I are advancing our wedding plans. Perhaps post a picture of the post-it notes covering the back wall of our second-bedroom cum home-office. Perhaps my tentative day dreams on what to put on my our wedding list.

Instead, our plans are in disarray. I do not complaint, of course; the circumstances cannot be helped. But what we really are looking at is getting wed very quickly, perhaps in the next few weeks - or months.

In the separate-but-equal* world of marriage we have in Strumpetville a civil partnership can be entered into without even being in the same room - one fills in a form, the other fills in his at a time convenient to him (or her of course). No ceremony required though the government has helpfully handed down a "form of words" if we really must. The logistics of the thing would be relatively simple. The issue at hand of course is getting CPd for the right reasons, at the right time. Our reasons for going for May 2013 were simply - where we met, when we met, but after my masters is finished (it was tiresomely short-sighted of love to come during exam season). Both of those options would be sacrificed...

Am I reluctant to hurry into a CP? Yes. Especially because of someone else, regardless of the tragedy. Because a long engagement suited me. Because what happens next when you are married - mortgages and pensions and the like - I'm just not prepared for.

But here we are, in a world or turmoil. Once we have a detailed prognosis and we can be sure whatever we do meets Fella's mother's needs and capabilities, we can make our decision. Still, I do want to make sure it is right for us too and that I think - deciding what is for the best for him will really be hard for Fella.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pornocracy

Porn. Well, on that front there’s so much to say and so little. I’ve never bought a jazz mag or a blue movie. On the other hand God knows, the internet saw me through some very tough times in the early naughties before I got the balls to come out.

It taught me a thing or two too. Opened my mind as well as my eyes… some people are very open about their pornographic predilections, but not me. Friends at school always boasted of their collection under-the-bed.  Childish snooping found my father’s secret stash too. When Fella and I moved in I was quite surprised by the volume of material he brought with him – gifts apparently. Popular guy.

I am writing this post because it occurred to me quite by chance that the things I have gravitated to when  I have watched porn are quite different to the things I have gravitated to in real life. I won’t go into details… but I realised there was no particular reason, within reason that is, why that should be so.

Pornography is for gay people an important expression of sexuality. I’ve heard it contended that for gay men a health obsession with pornography is quite essential. Sex is after all… what we do.

I wonder if perhaps sex is how we compete. Well, of course we do in one sense – the evolutionary impulses behind our sex drives are not diminished by the accident of our sexuality. But it is more than them there straight people a yardstick by which we measure ourselves. Sex by any other name… perhaps there is an over emphasis on youth and beauty in the gay world. Still, I’ve been going to the gym a lot more since I came out than before. So, for me it isn’t all bad.

In one sense it isn’t a gay thing – it’s a male thing. Without the brake of the female acting to control us, why would we exercise self control?
The answer must be a zen thing or similar. To win the game, get out of it… God, the hours I’d waste trawling through Gaydar or a similar site. The secret is not to take it all so seriously. There’ll always be someone better looking, more promiscuous, kinkier, bigger… you can run the race, but ask yourself: who set out the course? And what is the prize?

Great sex, learning about yourself, meeting amazing people, exploring your desires… all of these things are important elements (or at least, gentle reader, they were to me ; I might be talking bollocks in more than one way here) to growing into a gay man’s gay identity. But when they’ve helped you become a well rounded tired-but-happy gay man what comes next?

You win the game. You find your Fella. And then you move in together and then… the game begins again. Level 2!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sit-Rep

Where we at Gentle Reader? All in all, not too bad – for me, at least, and I hope for you too... I’ve lost 7lbs (about 3kg) and am running 5k six days a week to keep on that trajectory (and enjoy the odd glass of wine or three). The rest of the family are all well; Fella’s career development scheme, run by his workplace, is doing wonders for him. The fish has proven indestructible – and she’s grown. Soon we’ll have to get her a new home! And Morag (the car, named after the great aunt of a woman we met in the pub, naturally) has managed to assert her personality without any death or destruction (her oh-so-hilarious tendency to slip into reverse when we’re stopped at a junction notwithstanding) so far.


We’re renewing the lease on our apartment, as we are very happy here. The balcony is blooming, literally, and Fella’s lettuces, pumpkins, and tomatoes are doing well (even though we lost some of our crop to black-fly).

Family and friends – all is well, or as well as can be expected.

That leaves my work. Or job.

Admin assistant; complaint handler; case worker; case manager; project manager; business manager. That’s quite a career, over 15 years. I think I’ve done well, and it pleases me roles have come my way based on my merit instead of some kind of career plan on my part.

Now that’s changing. Not my merits – at least I hope not. Now I need to look forward, and plan my career. Things are tighter now than I’ve ever really known in my adult life; and in addition I have responsibilities what with a fiancé and all...

Committing to a career plan is a little bit like committing to a sexuality; for me anyway. A scary jump I should've done years ago. It isn’t closing doors; it’s identifying the best possible opportunities. So, after a shade over a year in my current role, I’ve decided what I want to ‘do’ – ultimately I want to be a chief of staff or equivalent for a large, high profile, national public sector (or at least charitable) organisation. I want to be there in eight years or so.

It’s not too much to ask; two promotions or so; I’m 33. In eight years I will be 41. Whilst I have not had my 40 therapy yet, I’m due to retire at 67 ½... a long time to coast along. Still, throw a couple of non-executive directorships into the mix and... ;-)

I’m passionate about three key areas of healthcare, the area that has become (for better or worse) my field – mental health, sexual health, and patient engagement. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to contribute to those areas in a real, meaningful way. And where I am now has really opened my eyes to where and what I want to be.

So that’ll be me for a while; trying to make that next step. In the meantime, to balance that out, I will be trying hard to be a better friend (as always, as always) and perhaps I’ll think of something very nice to do for my fiancé.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Curiosity killed the cat

I came across this image on a website I stumbled across recently - Equalitopia (link in my blog list)

It maps the responses given to a dating website to the question "have you ever had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex?". I wonder how much the results represent the social acceptability of homosexuality, rather than truthful responses to the question. Unless they have a great nightlife in Louisiana... one the other hand they clearly know how to make the long winter nights fly by north of the border. O' Canada indeed!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Once apon a time

Where am I at with my life? I’m approaching the end of my exam season, studying in the evenings after work, going to the gym before I start in the office, and generally juggling a hefty workload when I’m there.


The thing is: so what?

Gentle reader, tell me truly: am I... dull?

I watch Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who and the occasional film. We have friends round for dinner, or we visit them. Sometimes we go to art galleries or the theatre. I tend the plants in my little garden. I read, when I have a chance (Matter by Iain M Banks is the current volume).

I work in an office. I go to the gym. My parents are divorced. I am engaged.

Funny how getting everything you worked for sometimes seems a bit... disappointing.

Coming out immeasurably improved my life, and my experiences over the last three years have been fantastic. In many ways it’s a shame they have come to an end. Now the Cheerful Fairy is an ordinary ‘mo, and it’s sometimes a bit sad not to be special.

I’ve never been a people person, nor particularly creative (as maybe perhaps you have noticed??). I get away with it by being OK looking, and reasonably bright. Introvert that I am, I look at the outgoing social types with a mixture of envy and dull incomprehension. The gay stereotype of the flamboyant creative actor type with a large circle of friends and a party lifestyle... well, it’s hardly ever true but it’s still out there, weighing down on my inadequacies so I feel them all the more.

Three of the most important lessons I have learned are:

• keep positive;

• taking a chance is never wrong;

• coming out was a really good thing to do.

But now I need some inspiration. I really have to make some changes.

Fella is fine; I genuinely couldn’t hope for more and I’m not stupid enough to throw away a good thing when I’ve got it – unlike International and those that came before him HA!

I’m thinking about the future, and have a detailed career plan forming in my head; I know I want to be with Fella and I know what’s going to happen by and large in my personal life. But overall I can’t help wondering what’s missing – or perhaps more accurately what I need to replace the excitement I had over the last three years.

I’m not dissatisfied with my life, quite the reverse. But I want to think about a big change. Changing career, moving to the other side of the world (Fella permitting). It’s just – what?? Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration... I’ll let you know when I get it,

Monday, 16 May 2011

Anniversary

This is all written in the future tense as I am late publishing... hope it still makes sense!

Who would have thought it? Two years for me and Fella. Halfway to our civil partnership, in fact.


Well, on Sunday to be fair. To celebrate I have decided we will spend much of the afternoon on the Southbank – along the queen’s walk, attending a food fair, going to a photography exhibit, cocktails at Skylon, and then dinner on the Strand.

As a gift I bought Fella an antique cigarette box, and a fancy Zippo lighter (yes, he is an occasional smoker!). We’re not spending too much money this month as it has been an expensive month, what with the holiday and all.

The day itself will be quite light on activities because we will be attending a Eurovision party on the Saturday night before, and I want to allow for the possibility of overindulgence, plus I am sure we will want to enjoy the day in other ways.

Looking back over the last two years we have had quite a time. Living together, engaged, owning a car, visiting each other’s families. That’s quite a lot, especially compared to my dating days.

Of course we have had our ups and downs, and no doubt will continue to work through various issues, it has occurred to me how relatively smooth things have been for us. Still, it takes a lot of work – as it should – and not least because we hardly have any time, between the work, the studying, his career development and second job etc. One of our big struggles is to find time for each other.

...hence the plan for Sunday.

I suppose it’s positive that we complement each other so well in that we have different strengths and interests, although slowly they are merging. It reminds me a bit of my grandparents who after nearly 65 years of marriage have so refined their roles that each is entirely dependent on the other. One memory in two heads.

To be sure, there is plenty about us both that irritates the other. As it’s my blog, I’ll confine myself to things that irritate me about him (!): his slow driving; his inability to do any kind of DIY; the way he cries at any film. Well, that’s actually quite endearing. But don’t tell him I said so... Then there’s all the positives; he is beautiful, and kind, and generous, and a nice person.

Two years. There was a time when I never thought I would ever be in a LTR; but here we are. I’m quite proud overall. Of myself, and him, and us!

And we had a lovely time :-)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

If I May

“I have only one ambition in life: to achieve my many goals” - Homer Simpson                       

The beginning of May catches me in a despondent mood, gentle reader. It is exam season, plus post holiday poverty is biting, PLUS Fella and I are having home related nightmares in the things-falling-apart (expensively) sense.

Nevertheless, I like to think I’m the kind of person who looks at the positive side of things, light at the end of the tunnel etc.

So.... here we are a third of the way through the year and time to take stock.

Ambition. My first (post graduate) boss – so long ago we were allowed to smoke in the office, that’s how old the Cheerful Fairy is – called me ambitious. She was a scholar of English and she thought I didn’t get she was using the older, pejorative definition.

Well, I am ambitious. And stupid in a clever sort of way, and quite lazy in the sense delayed gratification was never my thing. Hence Hogzilla Hyde to the Cheerful Jekyll!

Why the downer on myself? No-one in all Strumpetville to blame but myself of course. Story of my life.

I really dislike letting myself down but as I’ve grown I recognise the symptoms and react to my own foolishness more speedily than before. As my current boss put it recently, I am “very self aware”.

What to do, then?

I have disparate ambitions indeed and it’s time to remind myself of the need to focus!

• Body I want to be thin and fit! I have a good body, but it’s wrapped in the products of booze and chocolate. Plus a stressful full life with an equally full social life does take its toll on the skin and hair of a mildly frumpy guy approaching his mid 30s. So – time to take care. Be healthy, dress well – no excuse for going out looking or being any less than my best.

• Mind I want to get the best possible degree I can, to show that I can – I mean, I have degrees and qualifications and a career and all sorts of things, but I never had to try before. And (as if that’s not enough) I want the assurance consciously addressing all the flaws I feel I have might being; the self confidence, I-am-right-after-all, beating the dissenting voice in my head...

• Soul I want to be a worthy fiancé! A better friend, bother, son... this is an area of my life of which you will have read little and with good reason. I am an introvert, but more than that I should stop using that as an excuse to take how lucky I am for granted.

So then what does good look like?

In a year’s time

• I will be sailing through my exams
• I will have been promoted
• I will have a toned body, dress better, have better skin and hair
• I will feel worthy of my friends
• I will have saved some (more) money

And this time you get to hold me to it!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Return to Strumpetville

I’m back gentle reader, from my holiday to sunny Herefordshire. Managed to drive all the way there and all the way back without major incident – a definite plus.


The cottage we stayed in was lovely, and the weather we had was glorious. How towny we all are is shown by the fact we decided to walk to the nearest pub one night – and that walk took three hours. Indeed, a local farmer took pity on us and gave us a lift in the end.

There were seven of us in total, including me and Fella. Four straight women and three gay men. A combination that can have a great deal of fun, and perhaps inevitably watch a fair amount of gay porn.

Alongside the smut there were walks, canoeing, visits to picturesque towns, dinners out, nights in in-front of the fire, being chased out of fields by bulls... and just general relaxation.

Six of the seven of us are long-standing friends and we certainly were on top form – perhaps behaving a tad too disgracefully for the more refined and conservative tastes of the Welsh marches but I think a great time was had by all.

Now we’re back, and for me it is straight into exam season – my first is next Thursday. I was surprisingly good and did some studying each day on holiday but of course I feel as time draws on that I haven’t done enough. Fella will be a research degree widow for a wee while I fear.

What surprised me most was the gay porn thing. I never anticipated that would be a thing to bond over with the straight female ladies of the opposite gender. Certainly they were quite curious and the third gay man in the group – a housemate of one of the ladies, who in turn is a colleague of Fella – was happy to oblige (Fella didn’t really approve bless ‘im). I’m not sure they were prepared for the breadth of material on offer...

All in all, a group of friends disappearing off the grid for a week away together in a remote cottage has the makings of a decent horror film about it, but instead we had riotously good fun and I haven’t laughed like that for ages. I certainly don’t want to go back to work the week after next, and will certainly be thinking about my career options going forward.

Well, back to studying, back to my diet, back to work... back to reality. I am a little sorry for it, though the holiday was about the right length I think. Certainly I am looking forward to my next adventure, and soon!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Holiday!

One down and one to go...


Last weekend Fella and I returned to sunny Cardiff, this time with good friends to visit friend ‘A’ and her fella for a weekend. It was tremendous fun, but my God I am getting a bit old for this kind of thing – we returned absolutely shattered. An excellent time was had by all, and ‘A’ and her man made a huge effort to make us welcome.

Next weekend we are getting into our blue car and driving with some friends back to Wales for a few days of more ethanol fuelled R&R – this time in the countryside where we can enjoy being away from it all and generally forget about the world.

I really need it too. I feel so much that I need a break from my life at the moment. This is just what the doctor ordered... a couple of weeks off work, get my exams out of the way; something like a new start.

Overall I think right now I am truly vile company at the moment. Stress, mainly by the sheer volume of work I have at the moment, but also things that have happened at work, has been overwhelming. In a Protestant-work-ethic/stiff upper lip sort of way I try to keep my head down and do a good job without complaining. I suspect my stress has manifested itself in many ways; and certainly today my boss made me aware of what may be a significant error on my part – a disordered agenda; disordered meeting papers. Drama.

Why do I know I need a holiday? I have made an error and by and large I don’t care. Oh my!

A holiday; a chance to relax; build up my strength for what comes next. A change is as good as a rest, they say – it really is time to get another job.

The friends we are going with are an eclectic bunch, but mostly people I have met through Fella. In Cardiff it was friends he met through me. The seven of us will drive in two cars out from London onto the motorway, then onto the A road, the B road and out to our cottage in the Welsh... Wales (I have no idea what the countryside is like around there – we could be walking into a horror film).

I have high hopes – to be candid, gentle reader, I’m pinning in no small part my (short term) future happiness on having a good time in Welsh Wales. Kayaking! Pub lunches! Badger stamping! All I really want to do is get away.

I really want to get away.

Three days to go...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

I Want

I’ve been writing this blog for three years now (can you believe it?!). In all that time I’ve focussed on meeting guy, looking for that significant other and having my fun along the way.


Actually getting that long term relationship has in many ways presented a more difficult transition than coming out. It means reconciling all the things I was doing with my life before I came out with my well established sexuality, and concentrating on life goals again wider than catching up with who I am.

It is actually a little surprising, in a nice way, that the end result of a fair amount of work, regret, trial and error is a perfectly ordinary life. I’m engaged. I have a car; a goldfish; an office based job.

But... ah yes there it is Gentle Reader, the but that prevents the Cheerful Fairy being truly cheerful.

I have had some real challenges in other areas of my life recently, primarily with work. At the end of March next year the organisation I work for will cease to exist, and as matters stand I will be made redundant. The job is really very challenging; running an office of about 30 people, many of whom are very senior, and supervising directly a significant proportion of the rest. Now, the organisation I work for has moved me from role to role when difficult projects needed someone with my dubious talent. My current role is, though, the first in a long time of business-as-usual. There’s a huge amount of work and I’ve needed to develop skills in a host of new areas... and to cut a long story short it is often unpleasant and difficult, requiring long hours working evenings and weekends just to keep up.

On the positive side I was promoted into the role based on my achievements elsewhere and I have achieved some significant successes, so it’s not all doom-and-gloom. And it has opened up a whole new career avenue, which is invaluable.

The key I think going forward, is to couch things in terms of what I want

Even writing it I hesitate, not wanting to come across as selfish – I have normally defined my career successes in terms of how well I have helped others. But there we are; it’s time to think about what I want.

So what do I want? Well, my inner project manager fairy recognises that have a defined job to do in a defined period with a defined resource is actually a fairly luxurious position to be in. I want, at the end of this financial year, to have achieved a very real cultural change where I work, including much more sophisticated programme management systems. I want to have undertaken range of training and development that positions me very well for future employment, and ideally promotion with it. And I want to have achieved a balance between my work and the other aspects of my life that will allow me to explore non-work related interests supporting my ambitions

Now, I’ve never had a long term relationship before but I know this is a normal juggling act; work and home. Between the demanding job, the studying, our social lives and last but not least supporting Fella’s own career development, there is little Us time. It would be nice to have the time to go on a date too once in a while 

Oh... and I’d like to win the lottery!

I’ve never been the kind of person to have a five year plan but I have tried to keep positive and see opportunities, so having a one-year plan is refreshing and will help me avoid getting bogged down in every-day troubles. And that really is what I want.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Spring

Well, spring has sprung gentle reader. The days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming... all is well.


Yes, all is well. Fella and I have gone some good way to patching things up. For quite a while there I was ambivalent at best about our relationship but right now things are looking much more positive. To help cement this renaissance we did something we’d danced around for some time... we bought a car.

A blue Volkswagen golf, christened Morag, and proudly ensconced in our garage as a symbol of putting the past behind us.

The car will make it a lot easier for us; I have already planned the road-trip to visit my mother in Germany – no more silly baggage restrictions meaning we can’t take home some nice German wines, bring gifts etc. And we can make it scenic and touristy on the way. It also means I can go to the garden centre and get some proper, plants and soil for our large balcony, which will give me a chance to indulge my green fingers.

Plus, we are soon to go on holiday to a cottage in Wales with some friends, and the car will be invaluable for that too.

Yes, having a car is good.

Having a fiancé? Well, that’s OK too!

And spring is in the air...

Actually what I need to do is make some big changes. I think recent events are the culmination of a long slow build up of pressures in a variety of areas, and it’s time for me to address the fact that in some areas I am truly unhappy. Obviously when someone is unhappy in one area then it can impact on other areas of their life.

The two main areas are my work and my health; or more accurately my level of fitness. But the headline has to be Getting What I Want.

Focussing on that will mean less leaning on my relationship for support, or using the fact that I am trying to make a relationship work as an excuse to accept a whole load of crap. Our relationship will always require effort and work, naturally; but it doesn’t mean I should let the other areas slip – or do things by myself.

I’ll bog more over the next few posts about exactly that the problems are and how I want to tackle them. But on the positive side Fella and I continue well enough and that’s a good foundation to tackle the other things.