One baby boy, one wife and a modestly happy life, but you gotta wonder though, haven’t you…..
To the best of my knowledge, my first gay admirer was the late John Balance or as he was known to me, Geoff Rushton. His enthusiasm for Throbbing Gristle pins and such was lost on me, but his kindness and respect for me is not forgotten. Now I understand the confused and slightly pained look on his face. I think at the time I was rather too absorbed in my own struggles to really grasp what was going on.
I became chaperone to the first (and probably only) lesbian pool team to play in a male dominated league in the UK. We made the local rag and I made some good friends. Ali, Fran and Angie were heroes in their own right being long standing protestors at Greenham Common. I learned a lot from them all, not least about the lottery created by not knowing who the nasty homophobes were. Looking back, one of my mother’s finer achievements was running a pub with an ambiance and attitude that allowed everyone to feel comfortable having a drink.
Meanwhile more admirers made themselves known to me. Poor old Peter used to call me Hero, he never laid a hand on me but in a moment of exasperation he all but begged me to undress for him. Later he apologised to me, it was a struggle to explain that I was flattered, not offended, but still not really up for it.
The bravest of the lot I think, was Ray who followed me home after an evening in the Pub. I remember the footsteps behind me on a deserted street in Oxford; I sped up the feet behind me sped up, I slowed down the feet behind me slowed down. I thought I was going to get mugged. Beneath a streetlight I turned quickly to confront my assailant and there was Ray with his hands in front of his face expecting to be punched. He stood his ground and blurted “are you gay ? andodyouwanttogoforadrink ?“ pause…. I laughed out loud and said I wasn’t gay, he looked so disappointed that I agreed to go for a drink with him anyway – just for a giggle. I’m not sure if that was the smartest thing that I have ever done, and it was a poor reward for what I feel was quite a courageous act. After all, I was a fit and quite capable of beating the shit out of him.
And the list goes on…
Gareth expanded beyond measure, my understanding of non-contact sport, he also loaned me some really useful books.
The guy on the train who had such a broad Yorkshire accent he shouted his proposal at me three times across a train before I got it.
The two guys who so openly flirted with me while they were on the checkouts at my local supermarket…….in front of my then fiancée.
The pair in Sheffield who had me biting a pillow with laughter one Sunday morning – the floors are thin around here too y’know.
My admirers at the pool; “are you gay ?”, “no”, “do you want to be ?” left me speechless as did “I’m married, but I’d give it up for you”.
I remain flattered.
To the couple who have befriended and cared for my Mother in the UK, I am truly grateful.
Right now I’m looking forwards to the birth of a work colleague’s baby – she and her partner are lovely and I am damn proud that they have chosen to confide in me.
This is not just some self aggrandising way of screaming “I’m down with teh gayz”. The bigger point is this. I have never felt the urge to harm anyone in the course of these encounters. It may be argued for various reasons that I should be deeply homophobic. I’m not and when shit like this happens I get very upset indeed. Which I guess is why when stuff like this comes out I am almost crying with mischief and happiness.
All together now….”Fuck you, Fuck you very very muuuuch”……