Tag Archives: Gay

Would I let you in?

25 Oct

Inspired by Oz

 

If you came to my door
Would I let you in?

If you came & said I’m sorry

Would I let you in?

If you lay on my bed

& allowed me to caress your chest

Would I let you in?

If you saw the night sky

& the fireworks burst by

Would I let you in?

If you stayed by my side

& held my hand

Would I let you in?

If you called my name

& cried the same

Would I let you in?

If you fed me more lies

until the day I died

Would I let you in?

If you ran naked down the street

blood running off your feet

Would I let you in?

If you gave me your heart

until death do us part

Would I let you in?

 

If you came knocking at my door

Would I let you in?

Would I?

 

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Fifty Shades of Grey: A Gay Perspective

13 Apr

I decided to read Fifty Shades of Grey not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. And I think that’s what the majority of people have done. They are buying into it because the publicity machine has gone into overdrive and we are intrigued by gossip and juicy details. Just have to look at the bookshelves full of celebrity gossip magazines which pry into people’s homes and lives to know that is what satisfies the general public.
WE are morbidly inquisitive and concern ourselves with things that don’t really bother us. But at the same time, we make feeble attempts to be detached and reserved in our opinions. Such is the nature of the British public anyway.

But I digress. I bought Fifty Shades in a charity shop several months ago. At the time, I seemed to have been in a period of reading a number of trilogies – The Lord Of The Rings, His Dark Materials, The Millennium Trilogy. So I thought, why not read this for a bit of light relief? (pardon the innuendo)

I read the first one. Nothing really happens except Anastasia or “Ana” Steele, a shy, academic 22 year old virgin is attracted to Mr Christian Grey, a 28 year old handsome and incredibly “hot” multimillionaire or billionaire even? who wears sweatpants, jeans or pants “off his hips in that way” whatever that means and they have sex or a mild form of BDSM. He cocks his head, she bites her lips, she says Oh My! Holy Crap! Oh Shit and other such eloquent words a number of times. It’s all very repetitive and TAME. She’s a virgin for goodness sakes and doesn’t know anything different. He’s a control freak and seems to take advantage of her no matter what. Even when she wants “to talk”. HE distracts her with his advances and “her inner goddess” unfurls, purrs and demures. How on earth does she know about her inner goddess when she doesn’t appear to know anything about love, sex, romance or life in general when she is such a bookworm? But then, she also has a more disapproving character in her mind that makes her think twice about what she is doing. However, her “inner goddess” always seems to win and they have the most incredible hot, sexy and amazing sex which always end in mind blowing, earth shattering climaxes. He always makes her come first! Such a gentleman!

Then, it just goes on and on. He buys her expensive gifts, takes her on a helicopter named Charlie Tango, they wine and dine in top restaurants, buys her food and orders her to “Eat” or “Drink” or “Sleep” and she acts like a petulant teenager. He finds it alluring and a massive turn on when she challenges him and in between they declare their undying love for one another in nearly every other paragraph or page.

After Book 1 establishes their great sex life, Book 2 “Fifty Shades of Grey – Darker” provides more insight into the mysterious “Mr Grey” and more one dimensional characters and events. We find out a little bit more about his family and Ana is still trying to come to terms with her rich boyfriends’ lifestyle. For two supposedly intelligent, academic and ambitious young people, their use of language is very simple, they swear a lot and don’t really say much. Oh! And there are numerous emails exchanged that are more annoying to read than allow the reader more insight or excitement. Like two silly teenagers exchanging texts, the emails don’t hold any information of importance or which allow the story to move forward. Just more flirtations between Ana and Mr Grey.

EL James tries to create an enigmatic character in Mr Grey but he fails on all accounts. He’s just boring and we don’t even receive a description of his penis or the size of it. All we know is that he is an arrogant, power crazed, control freak who likes to be Dom with his Subs. He has a mysterious past which does not amount to anything amazing, horrifying or shocking. In this trilogy, cliché after cliché abound and with several “major or traumatic experiences” including the appearance of one of his “ex subs with a gun” scenarios, it just doesn’t flow well at all.

But wait! Book 3 ” Fifty Shades of Grey – Freed” is even worse. Why on earth I bothered with it, god only knows. After a whirlwind romance and three months of out-of-this-world type sex, they discover they really love one another. They even get married and have 2 kids! YES! Really! In between all that, if Ana decides she’s had enough or makes way to leave, Mr ‘I’m so proud me I don’t want to speak to anybody’, breaks down in tears and she does likewise. Oh, she is SOO in love her head is spinning and she doesn’t know what to do. Her former boss who tried to seduce her earlier on ( and she found him creepy) attempts to blackmail her but she shoots him as she attempts to rescue her sister in law. He ends up in hospital, she ends up in hospital, her step dad ends up in hospital. Mr Greys ex is also in hospital but let’s keep all that quiet for now…
Considering how divisive the gun laws are lately, Ana is acquiring a taste for danger and adventure, but she knows how to use a gun and mentions several times to Christian, that she would prefer it if he had a gun. This appears to be a bit of a paradox for Christian, who, who despite his needs and whims for excitement and “kinky fuckery”, is anti-guns.

There are several attempts to inject some tension, drama and tragedy but the threads don’t really flow and we are left bewildered and confused. The two main protagonists tend to contradict themselves. One minute they declare there undying love for one another, consumed with passion, love and lust. But when Mrs Grey declares to Mr Grey that he is pregnant – bearing in mind at that point they are married – he shouts something along the lines of “we’ve known each other for five fucking minutes. I wanted to show you the world and now…Fuck. Diapers and vomit and shit!” Oh My. She doesn’t actually say “Oh My!” at that point but I thought I’d throw it in as she might as well have said it, she says it so often…That’s indicative of the type of language used throughout this tale of poor virgin meeting big shot yet oh-so-sexy Mr Grey.

This trilogy is similar to Dan Browns Da Vinci Code and The Blair Witch Project. It’s not the novel, film or the writing that is great. The stories aren’t even memorable to be honest. What they have behind them is great PR machines. They are in over drive and we have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

Fifty Shades of Grey is as dull as dishwater and I think, a crime against literature. No wonder it’s finding it’s way into the charity shops in the last few months. The fad and fuss is nearly over. I thought is it one of the worst trilogies I’ve ever read or THE worst. I’ve decided it’s the WORST one ever! It just irritated the hell out of me and I can’t wait to get it out of my house and into the charity shop. I may just even give it to my friend who said she would like to read it. I know she wouldn’t but she’ll keep it on her bookshelf to make her seem more “current and topical”. It may make its way into the discount stores or bargain basements and in a few years, we’ll be asking what was all that out!? We’d forget about it because they’d be another Fifty Shades of book out there that’ll be making headways. But next time, I’ll make sure I’m definitely not at that gravy boat to all things Grey in more ways than one!

The Learned Kat

The telephone, the handgun and the pole dancing Muslim Woman

24 Feb

I received a phone call from my cousin several years ago. She informed me that her younger sister had been admitted into the Priory Hospital, a low secure unit for people with Mental Health issues or illnesses such as self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol or drugs misuse, anger management. Could I visit her as I appeared to have a good understanding of her “issues”? I said I would and immediately made my way to the hospital in question.

My cousin appeared to be slightly sedated and did not seem to comprehend the reason behind her being “incarcerated”. All she could say was that she was at work one day, had flared up with anger and frustrations and had an outburst at one of her colleagues, which appeared to be out of character. My cousin, when normally presented to us at the family home, had usually appeared to be very docile, passive and placid with people.

As I had not seen her for several years, all I knew was that she had married an Egyptian man of her choice. A man she had met over the internet. I didn’t know much about him and neither did my family. Nor did her own family, truth be told.
So. My cousin informed me that her “marriage was on the rocks” and she was trying to salvage what she could. She had tried to hold her emotions in check she said and did not wish to disclose her feelings or emotions with anyone. She just realised something was happening to her mindset when she could not concentrate at work and had to repeat requests and tasks several times over. It all became unbearable when her manager asked her to do something and my cousin retaliated in anger. She didn’t mean to hurt or upset anyone. It was an emotional pressure cooker. She had just exploded at the wrong person. She meant to direct her anger at her husband. Her parents, when informed of her “difficulties” were trying to be very supportive but didn’t quite appear to understand her predicament. As always, they tried to protect their young daughter from harm. Everything will be alright, they assured her.

“You don’t understand”, she said. “My marriage is failing, I have failed and I have failed my parents. I’ve lost all hope to live”.

After several weeks or was it months? It’s hard to tell…it was a very stressful time. After treatment, therapy and medication, my cousin was eventually discharged back into the community. She returned home to her husband and everything appeared to be okay. However, all was not as it seemed as her husband decided to go on holiday – back to Egypt – for a week and when he returned, he told her he couldn’t live a lie anymore, packed his bags and walked out.

 “I knew it was going to happen”, she said, “It was just a matter of time, and when, what or how…”

The outcome was two fold: On the one side, it offered her independence and at last, for her, so she said, a sense of freedom.
“Freedom from what?” I asked.

She divulged the fact that in her opinion, he was very domineering and abusive. She cited recent examples of how he tried to control her life, telling her how to dress , wear the scarf on her head, not cut her hair, not approving of her long term friendships, not picking her up from her support groups or abandoning her alone when she happened to be two minutes late coming out of her meetings. He’d rather she stayed at home, cook decent meals although they seemed to manage to consume a large number of takeaways, visit low graded restaurants or cafes, or eat at her parents as she admitted to being a “hopeless cook”, iron his clothes and carry out all the household duties. This is a role that my cousin knew she could never fulfil and had no inclination to be the obliging Muslim wife. After all, she said, I’m born and bred in the UK, I’m an intelligent, educated British Asian woman and my mind is full of Western cultural beliefs, outlook and opinions. I couldn’t dispute her logic and agreed that a partnership or relationship should strive to of equal balance.

But it did not stop him accepting the fact that she had to work at several different jobs in order to maintain him and pay for his academic courses or degree to train as a pharmacist…

She also admitted that in 5 years of marriage, she could not, or they could not, consummate their marriage. This was an issue that was discussed. Could this have been the reason for the failing or strains within their relationship? This was a question poised many times but hardly drew adequate or satisfying responses.

Needless to say, this did not stop my cousin from exploring her sense of self, her sexuality, sexual orientation or identity. After her husband left, she began to believe that she was either frigid or had lesbian tendencies. No wonder he didn’t fancy me, she said. I didn’t give enough…
So. She started going clubbing on her own, explored the nightlife, frequented gay nighclubs in the hope of being chatted up or finding a female companion, although she found some men “so fit and hot – but GAY!” and attended several pole dancing classes in the City Centre. Although she said the other attendees were of similar age, they were fitter, leaner, more supple, flexible and dedicated to use the pole with skill and determination.

Bearing in mind, my cousin was still, effectively, under the care of a mental health Psychiatrist and on medication. She did not meet anyone nor did she attempt to strike up a friendship or relationship. She was merely reacting to her frustrations, anxieties and belief that she was unwanted, unloved and undesirable. She was looking for her “ideal companion or just wanted someone to love”. She was reacting to major life stressors.
One day, whilst at home, she went upstairs to her bedroom. Before she knew it, she could smell smoke and realised that her kitchen was on fire and smoke was bellowing up the stairs and began to choke her. She managed to climb out the window and stood on the roof of her porch. The fire service and police arrived and she was taken care of. She was temporarily re-housed in a small flat, not too far from her parents. Her coping mechanisms were put to the test.

She was invited to a fancy dress party. She went as a cowgirl. She had bought a cheap, plastic toy gun but did not think it authentic enough. She then went out and bought a BB airgun from a toy warehouse. She had no intention of using it, but as she had experienced two major life changing events in her life – an estranged husband and the marital home almost grazed to the ground – it came as no surprise that when she visited her Psychiatrist, to review or renew her medication/prescription, she was calling out for help when she said she was having negative, vengeful thoughts and produced the bb gun, still sealed in its box, and placed it on the desk of the professional.

The Mental Health Consultant, in his or her capacity or professional assessment or opinion, rather than query to find answers to what was going on, saw a bespectacled, South Asian Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf tightly bound around her head, and clothes that appeared to restrain a plump body, pressed the alarm, called in two security men and had my cousin, who would not, could not hurt a fly, had her sectioned for “being a risk to self, being in possession of a handgun to use for criminal intent and harming others”.

Now, tell me. What would you do?

 

The Learned Kat

Leave out the camp and bring home the changes

8 Feb

What is it about Television and their obsession with a certain type of gay people/person?

In the early years of television, being gay or just to portray a gay character was taboo. In 1961, Dirk Bogarde starred in a film called ‘Victim’, which was the first English language film that used the word ‘homosexual’. At the time, it caused a great deal of controversy.

Then, in the 1970’s, British audiences tittered and laughed at the antics of John Inman as flambouyant and camp character Mr Humphries in comedy series ‘Are you being served?’ with his innuendos and catchphrase “I’m free!”

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At the same time, Larry Grayson was entertaining his audiences with his tongue in cheek humour and his catchphrase “Shut that door!”

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Openly gay men were few and far between on television. And if there were gay men present, we hardly knew…

Fast forward about 20 years and we have Graham Norton. Alan Carr, Gok Wan, Brian Dowling, Julian Clary, Simon Amstell, Antony Cotton and other not so famous tv personalities. What do they have in common? They all claim to play down their sexual orientation on television, but their on screen personas are very similar to what we saw many moons ago albeit in a slightly different manner.

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Simon Cowell, he of the sharp tongue, pop svengali and mega rich tv personality, was criticised by a very popular gay magazine. In an article , it was suggested that although his tv shows  such as Pop Idol, X Factor and the Idol series had many gay followers since their inception and increasing over the years, there appeared to be a distinct lack of openly gay singers auditioning or successfully moving into the final stages. The same magazine said it appeared to be a form of discrimination and mentioned Elton John, Freddie Mercury and George Michael as prime examples of openly gay, succesful artists. It went onto suggest Simon open his doors and embrace the very people that seemed to make the show so popular.

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I don’t know if Simon and his team read that article, but since then, there appears to be a number of young gay men, drag acts and artists auditioning on his show. Most notably and recently, Rylan Clarke, who really annoys and irritates me for his outrageous, flambouyant behaviour and diva like antics even before he has established himself as a bona fide tv personality or ‘star’. Some heterosexual women say they like him as he is “so funny, unique and individual”. But I say, go down to Hurst Street, Birmingham or Canal Street Manchester and you’ll see thousands all behaving and looking the same.

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Back in the 70’s and 80’s, some men who identified as gay would attempt to grow or support various forms of handlebar moustaches, beards or goatees, checked shirts and tight jeans as a cultural outfit or an homage to the very”straight”, butch and masculine cowboys. These were identified in the gay community as “Clones”. With cultural changes, social pressure and legislation, that particular image has changed and we have replaced the qualities associated with a “somewhat closeted or straight acting gay man”, who appeared quite discreet and transformed it into a well plucked, groomed, fey, effeminate, camp or “theatrical” , larger-than-life personalities, most notable for their slight or slim builds, feminine hairstyles and crossing their arms across the chest and mincing down the High Street.

This is good for someone who wants to embrace and understand gay culture, make it more open and acceptable to be part of the lgbt community. But on national television, being “camp and gay” seems to perpetuate a myth in the real world. When people find out or I tell them that I am gay, they either accept me or say “You’re not like so and so off the telly, are you?” as if it’s a revelation. Or they might say “We know about gay men because we see Julian/ Rylan/ or insert name of whichever gay person you see on the box or popular gay celebrity at the time” .

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We’re not all the same. Some of us have pretty “normal” lives. We put the bins out, feed the cats, pay the bills or mortgage, have highs and lows, arguments and good times, and can be quite quiet and private individuals. We can be sensitive, compassionate and hold decent, articulate  and intelligent conversations without innuendo and deal with life events or experiences without breaking out into a song and dance/over reacting.

What was a slight on gay men, “You’re one of those!?” with certain individuals facing  conflict, backlash, bullying, dilemmas and the feeling of being ostracised and disowned to a more acceptable ” You’re gay!? Wow! You can be my best friend and treat me  because I feel safe in your company”. I know it’s a generalisation but that is what I have personally heard, glean from others when they are expressing views about their own social circles and how they accept or treat gay men.

It all sounds as if being gay today has become fashionable and another commodity for the “heterosexual’ community to hold onto. Like celebrities having babies, poodles or dogs, having a new Gay Best Friend and being gay is very much “on trend” in some circles. That’s fine by me. I accept it. But don’t make the gay people/characters on tv yet another stereotype. “Gayness” and being gay  comes in all different shapes, sizes and all manner of personalities. It would be more beneficial to the nation if television people could choose, select or present other types of people from the lgbt community and other aspects of gay culture.  Just don’t feed the nation too much of the “camp”. Thank you!

The Learned Kat

Death by Text

10 Jan

Last Sunday, I received a text from an ex-girl friend. She apologised for bothering me but had to inform me that S,the daughter of another former friend, was killed in a car crash. It was a shock and images of S flashed through my mind. I remembered the first time we met, and how she asked immediately if I was “out” or not? She was a lesbian who was merely being inquisitive but not in an intrusive manner. I liked her frank and open nature. We hit it off immediately. She struck me as a kind, thoughful and considerate person. I only met her about three times after that, but I got to know bits of her personal history and professional background. A young woman in her prime, she seemed a private person about her affairs, conscientious and hard working. She had settled down with her long-term partner, had been ordained as a Chaplain and was looking forward to conducting Civil Ceremonies.

I don’t know how her mother is coping. All I know is that it is another sad chapter in her life. Several years ago, she moved to be closer to her sister, who was intending to become her Carer, but her sister died shortly afterwards. Over a decade ago, she had lost her husband and mother-in-law in a car crash. To have four deaths, 3 in similar circumstances, in one family, is a tragedy.
The mother is left with her gambling addiction either in the Amusement Arcades or Bingo, her cigarettes, shots of brandy and one gay son.

I would like to offer my sympathy, but the friendship that once was, ended under a very strained situation. Some people are meant to come into your life and connect for either a short or long time. There is a reason for this. Call it Fate, Karma, Kismet or what you will…S came into my life albeit short term, but for whatever reason, her passing away has made me think of her more often. Since receiving the news of her demise, I keep going back to the moment we met and I can’t shake it off.

I don’t know if it would be wise to contact her mother, post a card or allow the condolences I sent via the initial Messenger as the last form of sensitive communication.

All I know that S is on my mind and in my waking hours, I think of her often and pray she is in a better place.

R.I.P x

The Learned Kat