Category Archives: Friendship

Loud(er) & Proud(er)

With each year, I get more and more excited about Pride.

I once disapproved of Pride; I felt the colourful parade an affront on wider society. Was it really necessary? Why did hundreds of men and women desire to dress garishly, blow whistles and flaunt their assets, when there were allocated places – such as designated bars – where they could do this in peace. I felt Gay Pride was crude. My views at the time clearly reflected I once did not accept my own sexuality.

With my increasing years and diplomas from the School of Life, I’ve done a U-turn on my views. This notably happened three years ago, when the Pride celebration was used as a platform for pushing Civil Union/Gay Marriage. At the rally, after the Pride Parade, holding my boyfriend’s hand, I realised, some day I too might want to get married or “unioned”, which at that time was not available to me. If my presence and participation in a parade, donated volume to a voice that called for equality, I was proud to take part.

The main day, of the week long Pride festival, involves a parade and rally. The bright parade starts from the Garden of Remembrance and makes its way down O’Connell Street to the Civic Offices via Dame Street. The usual suspects: Senator Norris, Panti and various political figures take prominent position. The promoters state the purpose of the Pride Festival is to celebrate diversity, promote inclusiveness and increase visibility and mutual respect. To my delight, in recent years, the reach of the parade is ever expanding. Families, involving same sex couples and relatives of gay individuals, are present in growing numbers every year. Very often, children take part. The sight of young teenage couples walking among the crowds leaves me emotional. These beautiful sights signify a gradual evolution of a society that decriminalised homosexuality as recent as 1993. And, every year, Dublin Pride gets bigger, bolder and more beautiful.

This year, I am going to go all out for the day. I’d say I am dressing up, but I am going scantily clad. I attribute every item of my costume to people I encountered during my life. For the guy that once gave me the sack, when he learned I was gay, I will wear a pair of demin hot pants. For the men in work, who are continually standoffish with me, I shall don a tight, shocking pink T-shirt. For the boyfriend of my close friend, who has yet to speak to me directly, I will carry a Pride flag. I will happily lend my outfit, presence and voice to Pride, which seeks to challenge every perception, opinion, boundary, piece of legislation and unequal treatment that resides in society.

All Signs Point to …

I have been talking about relocating to a new city for a while.

Over pints, with a red, flushed face, did I all too often, dramatically announce, “I’m leaving! Remember this face! I am gone! I am sick of Dublin. Sick of it. There are too many ghosts in this city.”

Eyes were often thrown to heaven. “Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard this before”. Sometimes I even received, “what do you expect to get from London that you can’t get in Dublin?”

A month ago, Best Friend proposed he and I spend some time looking for jobs in London using the internet. We did an in-depth, intricate search on Google, using scant terms such as “London VAT jobs”. We received a few matches.

Best Friend  perused one particular job spec. “I think this job would suit you.”

I read the detail on the screen. I shook my head. “Oh, no, this sounds very technical. No, no, this is not for me at all.”

We came across similar jobs. I shooed the notion of them away.

A day or so later, I pondered the job spec. The more I thought on it, the more I realised this job was for me. I could do this. I could be good at this. This is my job! I called the recruitment agent. We chatted about my experience and interest in the role. He forwarded my CV to the recruiters, who instantly expressed interest in my profile.

Faraway, in another land, removed from flights of fancy of living the London Life, Best Friend and I addressed our living situation. The duration of the lease on the apartment, slowly wasted away; to extend the lease or not.

“I could just quit my job – for the first time in my life, throw caution to the wind and leave! Oh wait, no, I have no savings. This won’t work.”

Best Friend disagreed. “You need a job before you move. We’ll look at the matter of the lease, when the need arises.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere, away from employment opportunities and living arrangements, did I happen to meet a handsome, English man – London Bloke – in Dublin for a business trip. We arranged a date. The date went well. In fact, it went very well. I like him very much. I am lazy in romance and for what is a rare occasion, I made the first move on our date.

Roughly one week later, events progressed nicely. Before I knew it, I was required to go to London for a second interview.  London Bloke and I had been in contact prior to the interview. We arranged a second date, deciding to meet in Soho.

I arrived late, having spent fifteen minutes wandering around Soho in search of Compton Street. I walked into the darkness of the bar and looked around for London Bloke. I spotted him within seconds. He looked good. I awkwardly greeted him. I was nervous. Do I shake his hand or kiss him on the mouth?  What is the etiquette for a second date? I opted for a kiss on the cheek.

“It’s really nice to see you again,” he said.

My head spun. Wow, Irish men never say stuff like that. Well, the Irish men I’ve known never would. “It’s nice to see you too,” I replied somewhat coyly, looking to the floor.

“You’re in my city this time. Let me buy you a pint.”

We moved to a nook of the bar. Conversation and laughter radiated from that corner.

London Bloke supped his pint of ale. “So, how did the interview go?”

“It went OK. My head was completely fried afterwards. It was two hours long. I spoke for two hours! I am naturally talkative, but even I found that challenging.”

“When will you know the results?”

I hesitated. “Thing is … I already know the results …”

He raised his eyebrows in expectation. “Oh?”

“I got the job.”

A sexy smile crept across his face. “I am so happy for you. And, I am happy for me too.”

I was stunned. I’m sure my smile beamed. “Thanks.” I felt very strange right then, unaccustomed to the sensation of shyness.

I returned to Dublin the next day, slowly and gradually communicating my news to friends. Events were slowly settling in my own head. Since then, I have handed in my notice at work. I am due to finish my job 15th July; the same day the lease ends on the apartment.

I fancy the arse off London Bloke. As sad – or hopeful – as it sounds, I have not felt like this about anyone in years. I no longer feel dead from the waist down.

I never subscribed to the “whatever is meant for you won’t pass you by” train of thought. In my opinion, our lives are what we make them. Recent events have caused me to wonder if sometimes, now and again, things just go right and fall tidily into place.

It’s really quite nice when this happens.

How to Give a Good Nose Job

My favourite gay club night was Spice, when it was held in SPY night club, South William Street. The plush interior of SPY, three rooms of amazing music and the crème de la crème of the gay scene made these nights memorable. The hay day of Spice coincided with the time I broke up with my boyfriend of three years. I spent many a night at Spice, dancing energetically to nostalgic tunes, attempting to convince myself I was happy as a singleton. Denial aside, I did have fun. Spice will forever be my Studio 54.

Later the same year, Boyfriend and I reconciled. We made another go of it on the basis we attempt remedy the issues that caused us to break up. Both of us felt we needed to socialise more as a couple. We injected a healthy dose of “coupley” outings into our relationship. One such outing was a visit to my favourite club night. On this particular evening, we encountered some of Boyfriend’s friends he made during our six months apart. One friend, Mike, was what you might term a ‘celebrity’ gay; a Eurovision song writer with an on-off-even-more-celebrity-gay boyfriend. He was – and always is – groomed and well dressed. He sported an air of self-importance and a tight t-shirt, showing his fine arms and pecs. I should chat with him and make an effort, I thought. He and I stood side by side in the nightclub. Dance music pounded from the massive speakers under the DJ’s decks. Strobes flashed in time with the music. I leaned in to deliver some small talk. I spoke loudly over the music.

“I love Spice. I’ve had more fun here than I have in any other night club.”

“The music makes it. I love it,” he agreed, nodding energetically.

I withdrew from his ear. What could we talk about next? Still thinking, I turned to survey the room, checking out the eye candy. I can only say I intended to talk to him again; I turned my head right, while looking to my left, absorbing the visuals on offer. As my head pivoted, my peripheral vision detected my companion’s head was much closer to me than expected. He was clearly doing the same as I, turning his head towards me, with no knowledge of where I was. It’s hard to describe the exact dynamics, but our heads collided at such a warped angle, just as I was about to speak, that Mike’s nose entered my mouth. It did not just graze or slightly poke my mouth; it went right in, withdrawing a coating of saliva as it exited. I was mortified.

“Eh, I am so sorry.”

He wiped his nose dry. “Don’t worry about it.”

The small talk continued, Meanwhile, I awkwardly remained next to him, praying we would leave his company. My face was red with embarrassment. I just sucked this guy’s nose, was all I could think. I just sucked this guy’s nose!

Weeks later, Boyfriend invited me to attend dinner with his friends one Saturday night. He noted my hesitance to respond.

“You really don’t like them, do you?” His tone was accusatory.

“No, they’re OK,” I said. I looked down at the floor. “I am a little embarrassed about seeing Mike.”

“Why on Earth would you be embarrassed about seeing him? Mike specifically asked me to bring you.”

I told Boyfriend the story of sucking off Mike’s nose. I can’t recall him ever laughing so hard as he did.

I never made the dinner in the end but I did provide a topic for conversation; Boyfriend repeated the Nose Story to the ten or so people in attendance. Apparently, the gathering, including Mike who had no memory of the incident, burst into convulsions at the tale.

The Fooleries of Fairview

When anyone asks how long I’ve lived in Dublin, I automatically respond, “six years”. I forget it’s actually ten.

I’ve lived mostly on the Northside of Dublin except in third year of college, when I lived in Crumlin, which let’s face it, may as well be the Northside.

A couple of weeks ago, Johanne collected me from the City Centre to drive me to her place for a chilled out evening. En route to her apartment in Clontarf we passed through Fairview. Fairview might not be the most pleasant place in Dublin, but I retain a fondness for it, having lived there for two years during my college years. I liked Fairview for the fact I could walk into town in twenty minutes. The rent was relatively cheaper than City Centre. As a student it suited me.

Despite the fact Best-Friend and I routinely swore/swear not to live together, we have shared (and continue to share) flats and apartments. Fairview was one such location for our shared home. Our first place in Fairview was miniscule; there wasn’t room to swing a kitten. Despite this, I have great memories of Best-Friend and I sitting up until the wee hours, chatting and watching music channels. We were happy in our hovel. During my car journey with Johanne, as her car took a de tour down memory lane, I experienced a flashback that reminded me of the splendorous flat in Fairview.

The story centres on a bar of chocolate. For some reason any time Best-Friend and I live together there is always an abundance of chocolate. Best-Friend tended to buy large bars of Lindt when he returned from his travels. It was a good relationship we had; he bought chocolate and I ate it.

One evening we happened to meet one another at the door to the flat. I returned from my evening shift at the cinema. He had just finished college. I went straight to my room to throw my coat and excess clothing on the floor in my usual haphazard manner. I entered the living room to find an irked Best-Friend.

“Why did you eat the chocolate? I was going to give that to Johanne.”

His sharpness caught me off guard. “I didn’t eat the chocolate.” Or did I? I thought. With two steps I was half way across the tiny living room, next to the table where he stood.

“Look at the corners of the chocolate,” he said, pointing to the large bar of Lindt.

The chocolate bar sat in the centre of the table, presented in a fashion that made it ready for the filming of an advertisement. However, the scene was not picture perfect. The foil at two corners of the bar was torn. Small chunks were removed. Crumbs were scattered around the crime scene.

I examined the scene. “So …,” I said, “you think if I were to eat your chocolate, I would chew on the corners of your bar and hope you didn’t notice?”

Best-Friend did not respond. He knew I was going somewhere.

“And if I were to chew on the corners of your bar, do you think I would leave small shits on the table too?”

“Shit? What are you talking about? There’s no shit! ” He was most dismissive of me.

“Look!” I pointed to the small black dots that happened not to be chocolate. “That is mouse shit. We have a mouse. That is unless you think I went to an elaborate plan to dupe you out of the corners of your chocolate and sprinkled mouse shit on the table.”

“Oh right. Sorry.”

Dating News ….

I’ve booked myself in for speed dating on 8th September.

Anthony Nolan offers speed dating for the gay community once every six weeks or so. His service goes under the alias of Romeo, Romeo – Juliet, Juliet. The evening promises around twenty dates, each lasting two minutes or so, held in the lovely Brasserie Sixty6.

I’ve heard much about speed dating. I jumped at the chance to book myself a place. Yes, it will be a nerve racking at first, but who knows who I might meet. Knowing me, I’ll get one of those infamous rushes of extrovertism and scare all my potential suitors away.

Got Milk?

If you find a window in your Big Gay Diary for the 14th August, consider buying a ticket to Milk. Milk is Ireland’s first music festival orientated towards the gay community. It’s being held at Ballinlough House, County Meath. The ecclectic line up includes Alexandra Burke and Banarama. Comedy act, Katherine Lynch, is set to perform. Organisers boast chill out zones and cocktail bars, something which  is absent from at Oxegen.

The capacity for the festival is 5,000. It will either be a stunning success or a big, fat failure. Tickets are selling for a steep 107Eur inclusive of booking fee. I’m considering going, but before parting with my hard earned doh, I’m interested to see the level of demand. Admittedly, 107Eur isn’t much for what could potentially be an amazing and very unique day. I should bite the bullet and pay up.

Where else but annual Gay Pride would there be as big as big a gathering of my gay brethren than this?

My mate Paidraic pointed out that “if  you ‘don’t get your hole’ at a venue with 5,000 gays off their tits, then you really don’t have a chance do you?”

The pressure!

Awkwardness is …

your friend dropping into you unannounced to find you in your finest casuals.

“Did you dress properly?” Friend asks this with a curious look.

“Eh, yes. Why do you ask that?” You reply rather cautiously.

“Are you wearing any underwear?” Friend momentarily glances downwards.

“Ehhhh, no. You put the kettle on. I’ll put some underwear on.”

Cleaning Out My Closet

Since Monday, when I decided I was coming home for the weekend, I longed for Friday, the couch and a robust glass of red. I’m back in the Midlands sans le Boyfriend for the first time in a while.

Tonight, on arriving at the house, I walked into my old bedroom. Some random objects were spread on my bed.

“Mum, what is this stuff on my bed?”

She shouted from the kitchen. “I was clearing out some things from your room.”

I get a little defensive when Mum rifles through my belongings. There isn’t much. She has a four bedroom house. I ask if it is too much to expect a few boxes of my personal effects to remain untouched. I refrained from protesting. Instead I examined the contents of some unopened boxes.

The cardboard containers, similar to archive boxes, were full of college notes – marketing, statistical analysis and business policy. They were old and dog-eared. Some notes dated back to eight years ago. Those days are long gone. I emptied the box to the floor.

“I can’t believe I still have these,” I exclaimed.

Mum joined me in my room. She watched with satisfaction.

I opened the wardrobe. In the bottom of my wardrobe were more notes, magazines, bank statements and official documents. Stacks of paper, plastic folders and A4 pads formed a mound in my bedroom. I discovered some gay magazines; Attitude, Gay Times and the now out of print Gay Ireland. The covers were raunchy. I didn’t recall leaving these at home.

I felt around inside the wardrobe and came across yet another magazine. This one was different.

“What the fuck is this?”

“What is what?” asked Mum in supervisory mode.

“This magazine, Irish Wives. It’s a porn magazine. Look at it. Disgusting! Who left that in my room?”

I’m a big fan of porn, but this magazine was just nasty. The images were authentic; these women could only be Irish housewives. A selection of mature ladies posed next to ironing boards. One wife spread her legs akimbo on a kitchen counter. The magazine was creased, giving it a much used look and feel.

“Ewwww!” I threw it to the floor.

“Are you sure it’s not yours?” Mum asked.

“It’s not really my preferred type.”

“It’s not mine either!”

“I should hope it’s not, Mum. That would make for a major lifestyle choice. Do you think it was Dad’s?”

“I don’t know,” she said, leaving the bedroom.

I thought on how the rag mag ended up in my wardrobe. Guests that stay in our house tend to sleep in my room. The magazine could belong to anyone. I speculate my brother once stashed it in my room, thinking Mum would never ransack the room of her then most favoured son.

My brother paid a visit yesterday. When we confronted him, he denied ever seeing the magazine. He was so entertained by the tale of discovering the magazine that I believe him. The mystery on who in our household possessed a penchant for real, household women will forever remain unsolved.

Truth from the Mouth of Babes

Boyfriend spent some time at his family home over Christmas. His brother Conor was home from Bermuda for a few weeks. Conor has longish hair. The Bermudian humidity has caused it to curl into ringlets.  His friends think it resembles a perm.

One day over Christmas Boyfriend’s family were gathered at the dinner table. Boyfriend’s niece Aoife was in attendance. Aoife is four years old. Being the first grandchild in the family, she is a little spoilt and outspoken. She craves attention and generally receives it.

Everyone at the table sat awaiting the food to be dished up.

“Conor,” Aoife exclaimed in her high-pitched voice.

Conor responded obediently. “Yes, Aoife?”

“I like your curls Conor. They are very pretty”.

By now Aoife had the full attention of the family. Aoife looked towards Boyfriend, whose hair is considerably longer than he usually keeps it. It’s a bit of a mess.

“You have hair like a clown,” she said.

The congregation laughed loudly.

“Truth from the mouth of babes,” retorted Boyfriend’s father.

Some Just Can’t Say “Good Bye”

I can be dreadfully intolerant of other people’s differences. However, time has taught me tolerance and lessons. There was a moment in canteen last week, when I was able to impart wisdom to a colleague. Colleague complained that a co-worker left our work place for the last time, without giving a proper good bye. I regaled her with a story:

“I once moved in with a friend. We lived together for almost a year. We weren’t the best of mates, but we were close. Circumstances changed for her and she moved to London, intending to rent her house to me and other tenants.”

“I remember the day she was due to move out. It was a week day and she was up earlier than I. I was about to leave for work and remember noticing how little of her belongings were packed. She complained about how much work she had to do. ‘You’ll be fine,’ I comforted her. She said she would see me later that evening. I did not say good bye.”

“I purposely came home straight after work to catch her before she left. Approaching the house from the driveway, it was obvious there was no one home. I turned on the lights and realised how stark the house was with my housemate’s belongings. All her personal effects were gone.”

“It was a little upsetting. I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t make the time to give a proper good bye. Everywhere I looked, I noticed absent items; photos, paintings, books and ornaments. I did my best not to get upset.”

“Weeks later, I told my friend  Angela of the events. ‘Why could she not even make the time to say goodbye?’ I asked her. ‘We lived together for a year. I find it upsetting’.”

“’Sweetie,’ said Angela. ‘Some people just can’t say good bye’”

“My friend left Ireland a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been in situations when this experience has proven valuable.”

“Some people just can’t say ‘good bye’.”