Tag Archives: Dublin

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.

He who shall remain “…”

I was dropping some pretty dodgy shapes on the dance floor on Friday night in the Dragon, when a a guy approached me from nowhere. He was about five eight or so and dark in complexion. He wore a red t-shirt with faded denim jeans, also indicative of origins from a foreign shore. I guessed he was Brazilian. So determined was his approach, I felt obliged to cease my dancing and engage him in chat.

He leaned in close.”Hi.” He said no more.

It was clearly my turn to respond. “Hello,” I replied.

“What is your name?”

I wasn’t interested in him and felt peeved by his bold interruption of my boogie. “My name? I am Nameless.”

He leaned in closer, claiming even more of my personal space. His face was strained. He spoke louder. “You are Nomless?” This name was exotic; strange to his foreign tongue.

“Nameless!” He failed to comprehend. “I have no name! I am nameless!”

It clicked. He wasn’t amused. “Ah, Nomless. Well enjoy your night, Nomless.”  He placed emphasis on my new name. He turned and was gone, consumed by the darkness, flashing lights and gyrating bodies of the  dance floor. I resumed my dancing.

Later that night, I stood with my coat on, chatting to Niall before I made for home. The Brazilian approached us in the same steely manner I had earlier witnessed. He ignored me and talked with Niall. It was obvious their exchange was lost in translation, since the Brazilian appeared frustrated  having to repeat himself. I failed to overhear. The Brazilian, satisfied with saying his piece, abruptly left our side. Niall appeared confused.

“Well, that was random …” Niall threw his eyes to heaven.

“What did he say to you?” I half expected he had insulted me.

“He said, ‘I see you are friends with Nomless’. I didn’t understand. “Who the Hell is Nomless?”

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.”

Hey Mumble, Mumble Italiano

Two Fridays ago, I felt the need for a good night out; a few drinks, laughs and a dance. A few texts later, it transpired my friends, Shane and Brian, intended doing the same. I agreed to join them later that night. To offset the calorie value of a night on the beer, I decided to hit the gym before joining my friends. One must watch those sneaky beer-calories, y’know.

Following a brisk workout, I marched home to shower and change. Brian and Shane, already in town, instructed me to join them at my leisure. I showered, shaved and rifled through my wardrobe. I had few clean clothes. I threw on a shirt – too tight for my liking – that I had acquired in a sale for €7. I pulled on my jeans, tucking in the shirt, and fastened my ensemble with a brown studded belt. I ran for the door in untied brown shoes, intending to tie my laces in the lift.

Hogan’s was busy, filled with its usual mish mash of well dressed and funky characters. Shane and Brian were, as usual, in good form. We chatted, howling with laughter regularly. Two “swiftys” later, I crossed the road to the Dragon, to boogie until the wee hours.

Shane and I performed our usual ritual of flamboyant dance moves on a sparsely occupied dance floor. Brian watched and giggled. Now and again, I left the company of Shane and Brian to scope out the talent on offer. While standing on my own near the dance floor, a guy approached from my right and tapped my shoulder. He was average looking. His wrinkled shirt, which he had nicely paired with bad shoes, hung loose over his jeans.

“Hi,” I said in expectation.

“Hi,” he replied loudly, to compensate for the loud music. He moved in front of me, obviously determined to have a deep and meaningful. Despite his close proximity, he continued to shout. He bellowed “where are you from?”

“Ireland,” I replied shyly.

“Ireland?” he responded with obvious surprise. “You look Italian. Your clothes and dark hair make you look Italian.”

“Oh right.”

He attempted to quash my obvious confusion with a compliment. “It’s a good thing.”

I side stepped to the left. Fighting the urge to sprint, I maintained eye contact and smiled. “Grazie mille,” I called as I moved away from him.

I shared the details of this interaction with Shane and Brian. “Why would he think I’m Italian?” I asked.

“It’s the hair,” answered Shane.

Within an hour of my awkward deflection, another man approached me. This fellow was much younger than the last guy. He was tall and gangly, demonstrating a slight stoop as he leaned in to talk. He seemed inebriated. He blasted words into my ear as we made tedious conversation.

“Your English is really good.” He leaned back, smiling, in expectation of some appreciation for his kind words.

“I told you I’m Irish,” I said in an unfriendly tone. “I’m from Dublin.”

“I know, but I don’t believe you.”

We continued to talk for a minute more, before I used a well-practised dismissal. I touched his forearm and smiled warmly. “It was nice talking to you. Have a good evening.”

“Same to you.” He turned and rejoined his friends in the corner.

I remained near the dance floor. What the fuck? I asked myself. Am I giving off some Italiano vibe or wha? I ventured to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t subconsciously painted the Italian flag to my face. I checked myself in the mirror. My hair, which I had earlier spent seconds spiking, sagged and appeared slicked back. This particular hair product has a habit of making my hair look darker. The ill-fitting, tight shirt, tucked into my jeans compounded my Italian appearance. I shrugged. Meh, what of it? I thought. I returned to my standing place near the dance floor.

Within minutes, another potential suitor, a man in his early thirties, greeted me. I checked him out. His cheeks were flushed and rosy. His hair had no particular style. I knew he was in the club alone. He resembled someone separated from his friends, during a night out in the “Big Shhmoke”, who happened to stumble upon a gay bar. I looked down at his feet, expecting to find wellies.

“Hello,” I said in return of  his greeting.

He leaned in. He shaped his mouth into an “O”, as he over-pronounced his words, loudly, and slowly, in that unmistakeable manner only used by English speakers when addressing foreigners. “Where are you from?” I sighed and thought for a second.

“I am-a frrrrom Rrrroma” I cried enthusiastically in my best Italian accent, ensuring I used stereotyped hand gestures.

“Really?” he asked with raised eye brows.

I rounded my answer with a higher pitch. “Yesss-a.”

“Why are you in Dublin?”

“I am-a ‘ere for learrrrning my English-a.”

“Your English is very good.”

If I genuinely were foreign, I would definitely be insulted by this condescending fucker. I smiled proudly. “Grazie,” I said. “I learn-a my English-a in schooool-a forrrr five-a yearrrs-a”. I held five fingers in front of his face.

“It’s really very good. How long have you been in Dublin for? Are you in college?”

“I ‘ave-a been in Dublino forrrr two months-a. I am-a working ‘ere.”

“Do you work in a restaurant?”

“Yesss-a!” I exclaimed loudly, to stifle a laugh. “I work-a in-a restaurrrrant-a.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I nodded. “Yesss-a, I ‘ave-a an Boyfrrrriend at home-a in Rrrroma.”

“Do you? And do you like Irish men?”

I held myself for a moment to give the impression of a pensive stance. I flicked my hand in front of me with an extended finger. “I like-a Irish men not-a-so-much-a.”

My new friend looked curious. He came closer. “Why is that?”

With my arms stretched both sides of me, as if delivering an operatic finalé,  I proclaimed “they drrrink-a toooo-much-a”.

My companion, with no good bye or parting words, turned and left my side.

Nice Guys Come Last in Line

The airport on Saturday morning was busy. The queue for security snaked in a visually deceptive manner. On my last visit to Dublin airport, when I flew to Brussels, the queue was longer, but only took twenty minutes to get through. I remained calm. After all, I had more than forty-five minutes until boarding.

Five minutes later the line had barely moved. I stressed. Others in the queue panicked. Numerous queuers made telephone calls to vent frustration. One such person tried to engage a DAA staff member, to receive a courteous reply that he should have allowed ninety minutes to pass through airport security.

I continually monitored the front of the queue to assess the pace at which it moved. I recognised a few people who had been near me only minutes ago. Somehow, they had managed to navigate to the front of the line. Minutes later, after crawling a few feet, I witnessed a group of girls duck under the partition and scramble towards the security check. I watched. No one protested at their brazen disrespect for the queuers behind them. Even the security guard said nothing.

I have never been a skipper since I greatly disapprove of cutting in line. Depending on my mood, I will object if someone tries to cut in front of me. Perhaps, it was the tiredness or the stress, but there and then I decided I too would skip the queue since so many others had done it with ease. I slipped under the guide rope, pulled my suit case and stood up tall.

My rule-breaking-induced adrenaline rush was rudely interrupted by a shrill, annoyingly nasal, American accented, female voice. “Get back! Get back!” I heard. I turned to observe a small lady, maybe five foot or so, with curly hair, fanny-pack and woeful, white sneakers. Her hand gestures were as if she were shooing away a misbehaved puppy. “Get Back!”.  I made an assessment; she was short, no threat at all, and her husband took no interest in the situation.  I could take her no problem, should it come to blows, I thought.

“Sorry,” I said insincerely and turned my back. I prayed the queue would move quickly.

“He just skipped the queue! Who does he think he is? He just skipped the queue. He can’t do that.” The Yankee dwarf’s volume dial and pitch was on max.

I listened to the loud, attention grabbing, nasal hissy fit emanating behind me. Again, I willed the queue forward. I felt another tap on my back. I turned around and stooped over to look my challenger in the eye. The American pointed towards a security guard and boy did she have a smug look on her face. “He wants to talk to you,” she said with her arms folded.

“Is it true you skipped the queue?” asked the security guard.

“Yes,” I answered like a scolded child.

The greying, middle aged security guard commenced his lecture. “You know you can’t just skip the queue. All these other people are ahead of you so you can’t just pass them. Where were you in the line?”

I raised my arm and pointed to the floor beside me. “There,” I answered, looking down in shame. Much to the amusement of others in the line, he unhitched the guide rope and returned me from whence I came.

A gentleman whom I stood next to minutes earlier smiled in amusement, despite the fact he had by now probably missed his flight.

“Well, it was worth a try.”

Another Slip Up

Yesterday afternoon, I planned to luncheon with a friend in Dún Laoghaire. I readied speedily and left the apartment for Grand Canal DART Station. The weather was miserable. I reminded myself it was only two days ago Dad and I picnicked on the banks of the Dodder with coffee, sandwiches and King Crisps. Autumn certainly knew how to make an entrance.

I was spared any substantial showers, tolerating a light drizzle, until the Heavens opened and emptied its reservoirs. My mack provided little protection from the fierce downpour. Why even bother to get dressed up? I asked myself as rain ran from my sopping hair, down my face and into my mouth. The weather left a bad taste in my mouth in the form of my hair gel, which by then I could taste. I quickened my pace.

I arrived and commenced my ascension of the steps of Grand Canal Station, looking upwards, longingly, towards the shelter of the entrance. Halfway through my incline, I did what I do best; I slipped and fell. The surface of the wet, tiled steps provided insufficient grip – to my already well worn brown shoes – causing my left foot to slide without a hint of friction. I fell forward, extending my arms before me, to catch myself. “Ugh, shit.” I roared aloud. My palms and sleeves of my jacket splashed into a sizeable puddle on the next step. I was momentarily startled.

I picked myself up from the steps., wiping my wet hands on my jacket, noting stiffness in my left arm. “Awwww, bollocks.” I twisted and moved my arm to assess if there was any damage. Only then did it dawn on me to check for an audience. I turned and looked downwards; no one followed me on the slippery staircase. I scanned the greater, surrounding area, feeling relief there wasn’t a soul to be seen. My arm might have been sore, but my pride – for once! – remained intact.

I ran into the train station.

Popcorn for One, Please!

I was on a date a few months ago. It wasn’t so much a date as much as meeting a guy I had been on one or two dates with.

I arranged to meet him on Stephen’s Green on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I sat on the grass in a pair of blue and white, floral, Hawaiian shorts, sipping a coffee. I waited patiently. The weather was glorious. The park was busy with families and tourists. Summer attire was abundant. There was a hubbub about the place. It was one of those days that transforms Dublin; you must regularly remind yourself of your location.

My pseudo-date eventually rolled up. He sat next to me cross-legged on the grass.

“How long have you been sitting here on your own?”

“Around half an hour,” I responded, simultaneously trying to suss the cause of his smirk.

“I’d love to be able to sit out on my own in a park.” He looked ahead, squinting in the sunlight.

This comment was odd. Was it that big a deal to sit in a park alone on a warm afternoon?

“Then, why don’t you sit out in the park alone?” I asked. “I always do things alone. I regularly go to movies. I think little of it.”

He laughed aloud; a laugh that was no doubt of the laugh-at-me variety.

“It’s about having confidence,” I said cuttingly. I decided not to recommend he acquire some.

It won’t come as much of a surprise I didn’t meet this man-child for a follow-up date. This failed interaction was the final nail in his coffin. His comments (and general view on things) bugged me.

Coincidentally, last weekend, a friend reacted similarly when we chatted about Inception.

“Did you go see it with Best-Friend?” He looked towards Best-Friend. “Did you see Inception with Stephen this evening?”

I interjected. “No, I went alone.”

No sooner had I said this when he reached out and squeezed my shoulder (rather affectionately, if I do say so). “Awwwww, poor Stephen”.

“Eh, no poor Stephen,” said I. “I love going on my own. To me the cinema isn’t a social experience.”

Ex-Boyfriend was a massive fan of the cinema; he relished the experience from start to finish. He hated missing the trailers; as if the trailers were as good as the movie itself. During our visits to the Big Screen, he was often impatient with me. He would frown from a distance, as I gleefully skipped through Cineworld’s vast pick ‘n’ mix area, paper bag in my left hand, yellow scoop aloft in my right.

“They have sour lips,” I’d exclaim. “My favourites!”

“Get a move on, Stephen,” he would respond with a sigh and deepening frown. I usually cut my dally short.

I’d return to his side and attempt a wind him up. “Come on! We’re running late! Stop slowing me down. We’ll miss the trailers …”

The furrows of his brow deepened. “How much did you pay for that?” He glowered at the burdensome, bag of pick ‘n’ mix swinging by my side.

“Seven euro.”

“You spent seven euro on pick ‘n’ mix?” I was surprised at his shock.

“Yes, seven euro.”

“That is ridiculous, Stephen. You are such a glutton.”

When I think back on my cinema experiences, is it any surprise that I prefer to go on my own? Negative experiences aside, when I go alone, I can see any movie; there are no compromises. I can plan my movie on my schedule, taking account of no one else. I can spend twelve euro on pick ‘n’ mix and a large vat of coke; there’s no one to judge. I can cry during the emotional parts of movies just as I did during Up; no one will laugh at me.

I go to the cinema alone and I love it. Pop corn for one, please!

 

Small World and Even Smaller Gay Scene

I arrived at Panti Bar last night. I was a little spaced after seeing Inception – was or was this not reality?

Gay bars make me edgy. I wonder if Labrador Man will be here, I thought as I entered the premises. Low and behold there he was, two feet in front of me as I stood in the door way. I felt a little nervous. I managed to shimmy under his line of vision and crawl under one or two tables, thereby avoiding detection.

I met Best-Friend near the entrance and convinced him to join another group of friends further down the bar. Evictor was among this posse. I chatted to him a little despite my awkwardness. He is cute and very fanciable; when I talk at him it sounds a little like “blah blah blah blah … blee blah … blah blah blah”. 

While looking down the bar – to avoid staring at Evictor – I noticed Longford Man ordering a few pints. Things with him are amicable, but I didn’t necessarily want a conversation. I mouthed hello and resigned myself to talking with him later at the bar, while waiting an inordinate time to be served.

I made small talk about Inception with Evictor. I kept note of Labrador Man’s location so I could keep my back turned to him. Within seconds Labrador Man was behind me, trying to get my attention. I stood firm and did not turn around. I even turned when he an approach from alternate angles. He quickly moved on.

Suddenly, Housemate appeared. He looked at me. “Hi,” he said warmly. I returned his greeting. I did not know where to look.

So there I was in a bar surrounded by all these guys with whom I have had various awkward moments.

From reading this you might assume I am very active on the dating and sleeping around scene. This could not be further from the truth. In the last four or five months I have been on dates with three guys and I’ve only kissed one guy (twice).

The Dublin gay scene is so small that on busy nights out you are bound to bump into your entire love life in one evening. If you regularly go on dates it seems awkward moments are just something you have to put up with regularly.

The above extract starred the following:

Longford Man

I got talking to Longford man on George’s Street one morning at around 04.30. He was good looking, funny and chatty. We exchanged numbers. I met him for a date a few weeks later. I declined a second date as politely as I could. I have chatted to him out and about a few times since.

Labrador Man

 This guy was a knob; incredibly pretentious and full of his own worth. He said he was from an island off the coast of Cork; “the island of Cobh”. He said “naturally, I speak two languages; French and German”. I kissed him once.

Best Friend met him out during a drunken, consecutive night. He liked him and convinced me to give Labrador Man another chance. I chatted to him again. The event can be summed up in “kiss me badly once, shame on you. Kiss me badly twice, shame on me”.

The following night, when he invited me out, I texted him to say I was home alone enjoying a can of coke. He got the message.

I’ve called him Labrador man since I figure my black lab, Shelly, may she rest in peace, could probably give a better snog.

Evictor

This guy is friends with some of my friends. I think he is gorgeous. He has beautiful brown eyes and a radiant smile. Any time I talk to him, I just babble.

I met him for the first time one Sunday night. I was taking it easy; everyone else was drunk. We went back to Evictor’s apartment where we had more drinks. Evictor’s housemate was there with some other people. The crowd dwindled until Evictor and I remained alone. He gave signals. I made a move.

We entered the boudoire where he went a little weird. He told me, “This doesn’t feel right? I think you should leave”. He said more, but little made sense.

He walked me to the hall door and waited impatiently while I got my coat. I turned to thank him for making my birthday so special. I did not get the chance. He slammed the door on my face.

Housemate

One night while on a very well known dating site for gay men, I got talking to a guy. He seemed nice. For some reason he seemed vaguely familiar.

We messaged back and forth over a few days. I struggled to recall his face. One day, while out for a jog, it dawned on me. This guy – whose name eludes me – was the housemate of Evictor. He had gone to bed while I and the group remained in his and Evictor’s living room.

I eventually revealed myself to him, explaining I had met him before in his apartment. He did not recall. I pursued nothing with him. The whole thing was just too weird.

Going Stag

Dad’s stag turned out to be a modest affair. The attendance peaked at four persons, including me. His fiancé collected him from Mulligan’s pub at 23.30. The man I knew growing up has most certainly ceased to exist. His friends advised, “age changes people, Stephen” when I observed this.

Dad’s friends are nice guys. They – like Dad – grew up in the City Centre around Pearse Street and Bath Avenue. Between the three of them they could fill a book with the most entertaining stories from an Older Dublin. On this particular evening they talked about the old night clubs that were scattered around the City. They reminisced on the Lansdowne Tennis Club in its hay day. They also described the predecessor to Howl at the Moon. “That was an amazing club in its time,” said Dave.

The conversation continued after Dad’s departure. Dad’s friends discussed the various pubs around Dublin that were “unofficial gay bars”; certain pubs became affiliated with the gay community during the 60s, 70s and 80s. The unofficial gay bars frequently appeared and reappeared with the opening and closing of establishments. “Ah sure, your dad worked in a good few of them,” John said.

“Excuse me!” I almost spat out my cider. “Are you telling me Dad worked in gay bars as a waiter?”

“He did.” John took a mouthful of his beer.

My dad is a good looking man. He still is to this day. I can hazard a guess he found work easily in these places. He must have told me he worked in a gay bar when he was younger. He certainly did not admit to working in a number of them.

I thought for a second. “I recall him telling a story from when he waited tables in some pub in Dublin. Some auld fella grabbed his arse. Did that happen in a gay bar?”

Dad’s two friends burst into loud laughter, laughing long and hard. Tears filled John’s eyes.

“Jaysis,” said John. “Your Dad was always getting his arse grabbed by lads”.

I leaned back on my stool, letting the information settle. I examined them both. They seemed genuine.

The rest of the conversation is a hazy. I’d had a good few pints at that stage. I said how surprising I found it since he didn’t take my coming out very well. Dad is a tough both emotionally and physically. I figure he found my homosexuality to be an attack on his masculinity. I never would have guessed he had predisposition towards a gay scene (albeit “official” or not).

Dad did not accept my sexuality for many years. I came out at the age of seventeen to my parents long before any of my friends. Memories of that day still make me nauseous. When I delivered the news, it quickly became evident Dad assumed it was a phase. One night in the Hodson Bay Hotel, following our usual father-son trip to the gym, he asked me if I still thought I was gay. He admitted he thought he was once gay while in his teens “because he preferred the company of men over women”.

I remember pondering this comment. “Dad, you might have thought you were gay because you preferred the company of other men. This is natural during adolescence. The difference is I don’t just want to be in their company. I want to do a whole lot more than just be in their company.”

Naturally, he did not receive this well. I was harsh, inconsiderate and perhaps, a little crude. I had grown impatient. I wanted him to accept this as part of who I was. He clearly struggled.

This new information of him working in gay bars both angers and intrigues me. How did he work on the gay scene and not open his mind that he could have been a little easier on me? On the flip side, if he was being mauled at to the extent his friends describe, it is no wonder he does not have positive associations with the gay scene.

I always thought Dad was an interesting guy. Turns out he’s that and considerably more.