Archive for September, 2010

Ah, machismo. It is such a pretty word, for such an ugly thing. Imagine it, spoken softly in a lilting Italian brogue, with a sigh, by a devestatingly beautiful, pensive woman. Look at her sat, frowning on the steps of her villa, surrounded by the most picturesque countryside in the world, pondering the sadness of her life. Consider all the men that have come and gone through her body, that have looked in her eyes and not seen her, that have fucked her, over and over and over, but never fucked her, not really. That have drunk all her wine, talked and talked and talked at her, sometimes rasing their hands to her perfect porcelain face. And then fucked off into the Tuscan night. Ah, machismo mi amore.

I have been seduced by macho men before. Not the stereotypical ones, the giveaways with builders bums and stella burps. The ones that call me ‘darlin’ and shout about ‘that bitch’ the wife. And not the suave ones either, the ones that know how to make their moves on women, that wear thick silver watches and talk about business in loud voices. Who spend their evenings on the prowl looking for whores. Or worse. They are too obvious. But I have been seduced all the same.

And I never realise till it is too late.

Once he said it was like ‘fucking a corpse’.

Once or more than once, the ego of a man nearly toppled me over flat onto my face.

Once, once when his foot was in my back and I was on the floor, that’s when I got it, finally.

Once, once I was sucking his cock and he was calling me his whore and for a moment I didn’t know if it was real or a game.

Once, or more than once, a man has looked at me with such contempt that I have wanted  to kill him.

Once, sat in my parents’ living room, the policeman taking the statement asked, ‘how do you spell misogyny?’

Once, or more than once, a man has groped me right in the cunt, hard. And laughed.

Once, the room went black. I had to go to hospital.

And I never realise till it is too late.

So maybe I have turned to gay men as a way of escaping machismo. Especially those aesthetic, philosophical, sensitive gay types.   Think of a gay intellectual and what kind of picture springs to mind? Even now, knowing what I know, I imagine  a beautiful, slightly effete man, tall and svelte, well dressed, a relaxed but fragile air. I think of Isherwood, strolling round Berlin, or E.M. Forster sat in his study. Or Foucault, gesticulating frantically that electric wildness lighting up his eyes. (Though sometimes I can’t help but imagine someone like this) There are some beautiful, bright, sensitive queer thinkers, still, hiding in the shadows. But there are also macho fags. You don’t think of gay men as macho do you, not even the big, butch, hunks of manlove. Especially not them really, for butch is nearly always drag, or an over-compensation for a lack. Macho fags exist. I have felt their hatred.

Academia is full of machismo (and, in some corridors, gay men). The peer review process is a form of  macho posturing, the cockerels, the bulls  in the ring, fighting for glory. Have you ever been to an academic conference? It’s not unlike a boxing match. But without the sex and violence, just the stale smell of alcohol, tired cliches and heavyweight egos, fighting it out in front of a dozing crowd. Deleuze calls his appropriation and interpretation of other philosophers’ work ‘buggery: enculage’. He fucks his heroes up the arse. Just to make a point, to overpower them. Poor Derrida, Poor Baudrillard, they don’t look like they want to be taken from behind so mercilessly by this young upstart. He’s sat there in his ivory tower, waving his French, rhizomatic gay cock in our faces.

And I never realise till it is too late.

That bastard, that fucker who buggered my boy and his friends, he was an academic and an intellectual. He wouldn’t let anyone call him ‘fag’ (or turn him into one, you know how). He didn’t identify as gay. But he made sure he was surrounded by young, handsome, adoring acolytes, that he could impress with his archaeology of knowledge, as he dug and dug and plundered their arses for his pleasure and his power.

I used to look up to Mr Fuck Theory. He is another gay man of letters. Why do I always fall for them? An American college lecturer, he uses a blog to deconstruct philosophy with a wave of his magic wand, producing post-modern aphorisms on sex and gender: a Foucault for the internet generation. History of Sexuality, Dude. I couldn’t get enough. But he was just one more macho fag, waving his cock around, ‘philosophising with a hammer’ as he calls it, hammering home the metaphor. He took every opportunity to remind everyone he was a ‘top’, and he didn’t enjoy being challenged by a little woman.  He likes to fuck theory, you see, not to get fucked intellectually (is it, according to these gay thinkers, physiologically impossible to be a bottom (or a girl) and to have a brain?). It’s his way of dominating, a form of control.

And I never realise till it is too late.

Men have always had trouble accepting homosexuality, especially their own. The  historical perception was that men who buggered other men were free from accusations of being homosexual, whilst those who got buggered were branded as queer, homo, fags. This macho myth is shown to persist, not just among many straight people, but also in ‘other places’, such as within Latino culture  or the Balkan States as depicted in Suck My Nation . But here in the New Gay World where gay men are free to be who they are, to drink in their own bars, to shop at Waitrose, to get hitched, they are all supposed to be equal, no matter whose ass is getting pounded.  But I have a hunch that the hierarchical gendered dichotomy between top and bottom, fucker and sucker, Man and Bitch, is also still alive and well, even in the condos of Canal Street, the bistros of Williamsburgh, the Oyster stalls of Borough Market. Some of my Gay brothers are starting to look worryingly straight round the edges.

We all play power games in sex. Everyone needs something to push against. Sexual inequality is as inevitable and reassuring as Newton’s Third Law.  But standing here, facing forwards, my back to the wall, I want to take these fuckers on. (Are you with me, bitches?) I don’t like these hard men who, no matter how ‘gay’ they may admit to being,  think, deep down, even when their dick is in your mouth,or you are bending over like a good piece of fuckmeat,  that the worst thing a person could be in this world is a cock sucker, an arse-giver, or, even worse than that, a woman.  They are the macho fags of this world.

And I never realise till it is too late.

I am the matador, brandishing the red rag to the bull, and then trying to duck at the last minute; I am the nail that thinks it will be the one clever enough to avoid the hammer’s blow; I am that senorita, sitting, sighing on the steps of her villa.  Ah, machismo, mi amore. I want you dead.

Today, my constant companion, friendly Ghost and bete noir, The Guardian, published this Survey by the ONS.

It makes the shocking statement that the number of people who are, or who identify as gay has plummeted in the UK, to the tiny figure of 1. 5% of the population. Isn’t that a bit queer?

I can’t be bothered to analyse the data.  I did like this finding though:

‘The latest detailed figures show that gay people are much more likely to be in managerial or professional occupations – 49% compared with 30% for straight workers – and better educated, with 38% holding a degree’

which suggests to me that being ‘gay’ could just be another way of being ‘middle class’ and ‘respectable’

I am with Steve Zeeland, and his assertion that ‘sexual identity is a joke’. But I do find it funny, that in a culture where traditional tropes of ‘gayness’ seem to saturate every aspect of our cosmopolitan, latte sipping, condo-owning, Laboutins wearing, air-kissing, slash-fic loving, male-objectifying lives, that the numbers of people apparently actually admitting to being gay has apparently dwindled. Maybe being gay just isn’t risque enough any more, so even the gays don’t want anything to do with the label. Sebastian Horsley said we lie to two people in our lives, our partner and the police. I would add ‘survey researchers’ to that list, especially when it comes to identifying our sexualities.

I also discovered a new category of ‘pervert’ today: girlfags I am not quite sure what a girlfag is, though there is something quite appealing about the concept. I think girlfags are girls who love boys to be girls like their boys, or something. It covers a range of people who identify as women, but also who identify an attraction to and an interest in taking on ‘masculine identities’, including sometimes big phallic strap-ons, and fucking gay and queer men. Well I can identify with that. But to make this into yet another sexuality typology, and in doing so, to stereotype gay men as ‘feminine’ and to end up with an entry in the manual of psychiatry, I give girlfags a big fat FAIL.

Much more valuable, is this poem I read today Diary of a motel receptionist It speaks to me more than any survey or categorisation of people can, about loneliness, alienation, our search for belonging and human connection.

It reminded me of this film, Show Me Love by Lukas Moodysson, about two girls caught in that terrifying country called adolescence, in the Swedish suburbs, who find something they recognise in each other. I related so much to this film I was still sobbing visibly and audibly as I left the cinema, to the slight embarrassment of my polite, uptight, British cinema-going-latte-sipping-condo-owning compatriots.

I also disvovered that today is bisexual pride day. That just made me laugh. Especially as the colour to celebrate bisexuality is purple. I don’t know. The purple pound just doesn’t have the same ring to it as the big, Phallic Pink Pound does it? Bless.

The combination and collision of these findings, brought home to me something sobering. That no matter how ‘liberal’ we may be about sexuality, how ‘proud’ of who we are, how valiant we are in fighting for our ‘rights’ to be accepted as equals with our straight, hetero, respectable brothers and sisters. There is a function for our difference. It serves to show us to be lacking in some way, to be deviant, sick, to underline and emphasise and solidify the ‘normality’ and ‘health’ of everyone else. For me, there is nothing to be proud of, or ashamed of there. And nothing to want to hold onto, either, in a kind of ‘victim’ status. The pathologising of sexuality actually affects us all, however normal we are perceived to be, however many institutions we are allowed to join, or banners we can fly.

My Big Gay Heart will always be breaking. I think that’s what gay hearts do. But it won’t be fooled.

Move over Elle McPherson, there is a new ‘The Body’ in town, and it has got abs to die for.

I was never a massive Ronaldo aficianado. I knew he had a great physique, but there was something about his slightly puggish, prissy  face and lack of anything particularly  unique about his countenance that meant he never really turned me on. Until now. This new ad for Armani Jeans shows the footballer as the adonis he truly is. And he knows it.

The advert is interesting on a number of levels. As Mark  Simpson has pointed out, not only does it  play on the narcissism of the modern, gym-toned, fragrant, man, and our growing acceptance of the objectified male body in contemporary representations, but  it also features, on screen in the form of the watchful chambermaid,  the ‘female gaze’ . I think if Laura Mulvey saw this ad she might have a heart attack.

If the woman was not on-screen, the promo would be a noteworthy and sexy as hell example of the metrosexual revolution in action in contemporary capitalism: Men’s bodies being used to woo customers, male and female and everything else, and ultimately sell product. Top-ranking buffed footballers are products, just as much if not more so than the classic supermodels of the 1980s and 1990s. 

But here in the form of this svelte and foxy maid comes a more subversive addition to the melting-pot of our visual pleasure. At points in the film (can you tell I have watched it a few times? ahem!) she is viewed by us, the audience, mainly in the background,  so as not to distract us from The Body. But then the point of view shifts and we see Ronaldo wandering round the hotel room, as if through her eyes. It is easy to remember countles ads featuring women stopping traffic, and men on building sites whistling at sexy chicks, but it is only recently that women have been shown on-screen to objectify and look at men with desire. The ones that spring to mind for me are the  ones set in offices where women workers enjoy the arrival of a hunky delivery boy. But I can’t think of another advert off-hand where it is a single woman who owns and occupies the ‘gaze’, especially not so surreptitiously.

The maid doesn’t hold the gaze for long though. She is also seen, sometimes via the camera’s gaze, and briefly through Ronaldo’s, as an object herself. The archetypal sexy but disposable maid figure, seen from behind, stretching to reach with a duster, or bending down, searching for that elusive t-shirt the footballer has lost. (Doesn’t he have anything else he can throw over his offending torso??).  It is a competition between the two for the role of the object of desire. A dance, a fight. Ronaldo’s tactic is sheer, physical force. Don’t you dare take your eyes off me, cries his perfect form. The woman is a little more subtle (as women, sometimes can be). She hides his t-shirt when she finds it, prolonging our torment by The Body. But this also gives her more time to become the object of his, of our desire. The fact that Ronaldo acts as if he has not even seen her, and at one point looks right through her, adds a kinky dimension to this scenario. The hardcore perverts amongst us can be forgiven for letting our imaginations wander to the point where he is actually deliberately treating her like an object, like the invisible, low-down, chambermaid that she is. And for finding that very hot.

The advert ends with Ronaldo still t-shirtless, but a blurred figure in the background, with the woman’s face framed in the foreground, as she leans, prone, over the sofa, waiting, looking like the cat that is about to get creamed.

I know I have interpreted this short jeans advert in my own, twisted vision, and have projected my own desires onto it. But in doing so I think I can make a valid point about ‘metrosexuality’ and objectification in our culture. No matter how much men become narcissistic, marketable objects of desire, women will never become ‘un-objectified’. So when an attractive woman and man appear on screen, there will be some kind of tussle for our attention. And in this tussle, something interesting happens, as we all grapple with our own position in relation to them. I was surprised here, to find myself drawn to the woman, even in the face of such a towering inferno as Ronaldo. Does this point to my latent ‘bisexuality’? Or does it relate to my ‘kinky’ side, seeing through her the potential for a ‘scene’?

I have been discussing this advert as if it were a piece of pornography, which, of course it is. This I find funny from a purely personal perspective, because when it comes to moving images, I really generally dislike pornos. The sight of people fucking, over and over and over again, and working out all the different combinations of where to put a dick in a hole, bores the tits off me. But the suggestion, the promise, the hope of a desire being fulfilled, shot in black and white to high production standards with beautiful models…now that turns me on.  Feminists lament this ‘pornification’ of our culture, where sex sells everything, and everything sells sex. But I find it interesting and even exciting to see the tropes and styles of pornography disseminating so successfully  into our mainstream culture. Maybe it is linked to the blurring of identities that the metrosexual inadvertently achieves, a breaking down of that false boundary between ‘porn’ and ‘art’, ‘good sex’ and ‘bad sex’. ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’ sexualities. I know there lies at the heart of  all this fluidity, a bottom line, capitalist intent.  But the side-effects are what interests me. The margins have always been the centre of my world.

Apart from the obvious, commercialised, commidified narcissism being sold to us on a daily basis, there is another downside to this hyper-objectification of advertising and visual culture. Once again it is visible via the wonderfully obvious objections by feminists to our brave new world. Organisations such as OBJECT (Get it??) are ignoring the blatant flaunting of male sexuality by The Body (as stubbornly as Ronaldo refuses to acknowledge the maid) and insist that it is women who remain objectified by male-dominated commercial society.

Feminists talk of a ‘backlash’ against feminism, shown in part via the continued sexualised imagery we see of women in the media. It is possible to look at this situation the complete opposite way, and see contemporary puritanical feminism, as a backlash against the metrosexualising, and ‘democratising’ of sexualities in our fields of vision. The feminists want to keep women as objects, because that is what justifies their project and their cries of male oppression of women. Lobbying for restrictions on lap-dancing clubs, campaigning against the opening of ‘Hooters’ restaurants, attempting to ‘End Demand’ for prostitution, are all campaigns by feminists in the UK, which can be seen in the light of this ‘backlash redux’. I wouldn’t be surprised if feminists claimed the Armani advert was misogynist, and made it into some kind of rape fantasy of the maid by Ronaldo (oh, no, that is just me. Sorry!)

But it is in America that I think neo-conservative ideals and feminists join hands so scarily. Melissa McEwan , an influential  US based feminist activist with tendrils that scale the Atlantic, has written:

‘Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant’ .

This suggests that objectification of women’s bodies is a societal accomplishment that makes any negotiations between individual women and men over sex ‘irrelevant’. Women are already raped by the ‘male gaze’ so they can’t consent to sex. It is a 21st century version of the ‘heterosexual sex is rape’ argument of 1970s radical feminism. Laura Mulvey probably would have a heart attack if she heard that, too.

In America, and increasingly in the UK, there are growing numbers of campaigns against Street Harassment and sexual violence against women. The focus of these campaigns is to admonish men for catcalling women, for touching them in any social situation, and to prioritise and exaggerate the threat of rape by men of women. A friend of mine has linked these campaigns to the ‘social control’ of public space, via things like smoking bans in pubs, restaurants, and some streets in America. It brings to mind a very dystopian picture, whereby, if these anti-objectification feminists get their way, it could become illegal for men to even look at women in public. A policing of our desires taken to Orwellian, or probably Foucauldian extremes.

The irony, already noted a long time ago by Patrick Califia is that this kind of anti-objectification feminism just objectifies women to the point of idiocy. One anti sexual-violence campaign states that in a rape case, ‘the woman’s body is the crime scene’. Possibly one of the most de-humanising phrases I have come across in relation to women. We are presented as perpetual victims, caught in the omnipresent, violating male gaze, with no agency to either resist or enjoy that gaze, let alone to  have one of our own.

The problem Miss Marple is attempting to solve, is just what is the relationship between our opportunity to ogle Ronaldo’s gorgeous body in Armani ads, and this Nazification of attitudes towards the objectifying of women- from feminists, conservatives and the tabloid-driven media. The competition for status as object between Ronaldo and maidie in this piece of representation  is erotic, subtle. But it hints, as advertising tends to do, at a more sinister struggle, over how our desires and our ‘gaze’ can either be liberated or controlled in capitalist post-modernity.

Stiletto Rage

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Feminism, Kink
Tags: ,

Arguing about gender roles is something I love to do. I have realised that I particularly enjoy doing it with dominant men, even when I am within striking distance. Foolish maybe, but I cannot help myself.

A typical argument might go along these lines:

Him:’I would like to see you in stilettos and a tight pencil skirt’.

Me:’That’s such a fucking cliche. Why does the collective imagination of all the male dominants in the world get reduced to a woman in heels and a revealing outfit?’

Him:’Because it looks good. And you would be restricted and exposed at the same time’.

Me: ‘It’s not fucking fair. Women submissives have to fit into this cliched stereotype of femininity in order to fulfil their need to be submissive. And I am a feminist and it makes me angry to be forced into a role I have been resisting all my life’.

Him: ‘Oh good. So you might find it humiliating as well. Excellent’.

Me: ‘GGGrrr. That’s not the point. Why can’t men think of other ways to objectify women apart from the ways they are already objectified in society?’

Him: ‘Shut up and put those shoes on, bitch’.

Is Lady Gaga A Feminist Icon?  screeches Kira Cochrane* in The Guardian (sorry but I imagine she is a screecher).

I sincerely hope not. Feminism does not deserve such an exciting and imaginative diva to represent her dowdy and puritanical aims and objectives. Especially when Ms Cochrane* splutters and stumbles her way through an attempt to deconstruct Gaga that is more pedestrian and much-less heartfelt and delightfully deranged than Ms Paglia’s ‘She is no Madonna’ rant a few days previously. ‘Femininity is a sham’ announces Cochrane. Oh. Thanks for telling us. Here was I thinking we were all ‘natural’ women, expressing our inner goddesses via Mary Janes and Harem pants every day.  Maybe if she had said ‘gender is a sham’ I would have sat up and taken notice of her mumblings. But she didn’t. Feminism relies on essentialist notions of gender, on the ‘male’ v ‘female’ dichotomy, on women as victims and men as oppressors.  This sham is the bread-and-butter of feminist journalists like Cochrane. 

Before I start screeching myself, here to calm me down is another Cochrane, a Mister this time, writing about Quentin Crisp, a man of great beauty who showed us what a sham gender is. And one who could outwit and outcamp both Kira and, for my money, the Lady of Gaga herself.

*N.B. On re-reading this and the article, I realise I am suffering from a severe case of post-feminist-itis which has rendered me incapable of reasoned analysis of writings by feminists, particularly those who write for the Guardian. I hope I am recovered of my faculties in due course.

I am currently reading  Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida , his collection of photographs and essays that examines the personal impact and semiotics of photography. It was inspired by a photograph of Barthes’ mother as a child, which affected him deeply, looking at it after she died. It is Barthes’ final and most personal work, in which he places himself very firmly in the centre of the frame. The book has led me to think about how we tell our own stories, and why it is so important, particularly in relation to sexual identity.

I have read many personal accounts from women about  sexual identity, and I have written my own. But I think there is still a lot more to learn about how men perceive themselves and others, particularly those they have sex with.  I am not for example convinced our  ‘modern homosexual’ exists as universally as we may think.  Telling personal stories and conducting personal research, I believe, is one important way we can uncover the complexities of how sexuality and identity functions, and is also a way of breaking down (hetero) normative structures and assumptions.

So, I have been searching for a long time, for writing about men’s sexual identities, where the authors, like Barthes in Camera Lucida,  also place themselves in the centre of the frame. Suddenly, almost spookily, I have found a few amazing examples almost all at once. Like a group of rent boys standing in the main square, huddled over cigarettes, that could be mistaken for lads out on the town, they were there all along.  I just didn’t see the signs.

In Suck My Nation , S A Lambevski, a researcher based in Australia, goes back to  Macedonia in the late 1990s. There he conducts an insightful and moving ‘queer ethnography’ of men’s (homo)sexual identities and how they intersect with ethnicity and class, in a place of great upheaval and (gendered) conflict. His research is triggered by a painful memory of returning home, and visiting a ‘marginal, dark place’ on the edge of town, the centre for ‘gay’ cruising, where Macedonian and Albanian men would brush shoulders uncomfortably and cast instant damning judgement on each other, based on the badges of identity they wear on their skin, their clothes, their demeanours.  Canal Street it is not. (Though I’d like to read an ethnography of Canal Street!)

Queer Ethnography does not have to be academic. American writer  Steven Zeeland has been putting himself in the centre of the frame for years, in his writings about the sexual habits and identities of military men.  I can’t wait to read his work in full, in which he combines interviews with soldiers, sailors and marines (many of whom he has had sex with and known intimately), with observations and other research. Zeeland says that ‘sexual identity is a joke’. I am inclined to agree with him, but, as his work seems to show (from the little I have read so far), it is a joke that needs unpacking, because of how deeply it permeates how we define who we are, based on who we have sex with and how we have sex.

Queer ethnography can also be historical, reminding us that the ‘pre-modern’ versions of homosexuality did not just suddenly transform overnight into the modern gay man we see strutting down The Mission in his Moschinos. Change is messy and boundaries between eras are blurred. Justin Spring in a new book, tells the incredible story of Samuel Steward , the ‘secret historian’ and 20th century  ‘sexual renegade’ who lived a creative life full of homosexual adventures, before the modern ‘gay’ had come into being.  ‘He paid the price for being himself’ Spring said, ‘but at least he got to be himself’.

But here I am going to come back up to date, and  feature another homo-ethnographic piece I have just discovered, taken from a longer post called The Business Of Sex about an American man working mainly as a Pimp  in Europe in the 21st century. The author,  Homo Superior hasn’t blogged for a while now, which is regrettable. This is ‘queer ethnography’ at its most visceral, its most honest.  I think that in Camera Lucida, Barthes is saying that for us to improve our understanding of ourselves and the world, the writer, like the beautiful young man in the photo at the top of the page,  needs to stare straight into the lens. Homo Superior and all these queer ethnographers, certainly do just that.

I Wanna Hold Your…

I woke up this morning with Jirka next to me holding my hand; well, actually he had one finger hooked around one of mine and as we both drifted in and out of sleep, he alternately massaged my neck or laid his hand on my side or my leg. As the light got brighter coming in through the open windows he turned toward me, curled his body inward tilting his head toward mine; so I turned toward him and we laid there hands lightly clasped until he got up and made coffee 20 minutes later. He never said a word nor opened his eyes. We both acted embarrassed and were quiet until after the first cup.


I’ve had my dick in his ass, both with and without a condom, in his mouth, and his in mine; we’ve made out for a half hour or more (at least we used to), in public and at home; we’ve danced drunkenly to slow Czech dance music in U Rudolfa and Chameleon, held hands chatting and drinking Gambrinus in Club Stella while the gay boys all around talked about us, I’m sure thinking he was bought and paid for; and yet that tentative expression of intimacy this morning blushed my cheeks and subdued his usual early morning chatter.

I don’t know whether we’ve reached some turning point or what. He’s told me more than once that he considers me his family now that he’s estranged from his freeloading brother — his other brother’s in jail and he has no other family, according to him. He’s Romany so I never know when he’s telling stories. Regardless, we share expenses and distribute money when the other one needs it. I accompany him to Pinocchio’s (perhaps the best known hustler bar in Prague) because he says he feels more confident when I’m there. To people observing our developing friendship, not just to me, it appears that we are committed to one another.

On the other hand, he has a girlfriend now and it has curtailed our sex play. I’ve enjoyed up to now the very easy-going way he approaches sex. When he wants a blow job he just states: “Riki, please, go oral!” When he’s feeling like getting fucked him he asks: “Go sex?” and then giggles. I just have to say: “Jiři, I’m horny” and his response is usually to grin and head for the shower for a douche. The straightforward nature of our sex seems to be just another reinforcement of the friendship, as well as a very convenient way of relieving tension and getting affection, but it’s not at the top of his needs hierarchy. That is, he likes it but can live without it, especially now with consistent pussy in the picture. I don’t blame him. When your job is to have sex with strange men it has to have some effect on your other sexual relationships. For me, however… I’ve been telling myself for the last several months it was purely physical (he fulfills about 90% of the qualities in a lover I find attractive); however, that little hand-holding interlude this morning made me realize I’m in love with him.

I should have known already by the surprising jealousy that arose in me the other day at Rudolfa when a preening blond Czech boy at another table caught his eye. “Ty vole, Riki, looking this boy I have big penis,” and here he put his palm on his crotch and moved it up 20 cm. “Stoh percent I am bee-sexual.”

“I know that already, Jirka.”

And sure enough when I reached over to check out his bulge he had a hard-on. He then borrowed 5 crowns to go stand by the boy at the jukebox and chat him up; but not before readjusting his package. I wasn’t livid but it irrationally made me sad. I knew then exactly what his type was: younger feminine gay boys, transvestites and transsexuals, all of whom he’s said on numerous occasions he’s wanted to fuck; and I am anything but that type. I guess I should be grateful though because with me he’s an exclusive bottom.

A couple weeks back he asked me if he thought that the sex biznis could make him gay. I said no, that I knew plenty of hetero rent boys that didn’t enjoy the sex per se and for whom it was just business. I named a couple of guys he knew.

“Ano, ano,” he nodded his head. “But I like the sex.”

“Yes, I know,” I replied.

“Občas,” he quickly added, meaning sometimes.

“Well, I’m gay and sometimes I don’t like it either. Depends on the boy.”

“Pravda (Truth),” he concluded.

So I know what I mean when I say I love him and when I hold his hand or kiss him good night or gasp in worship when I’m sucking on his soft brown foreskin; but, what does he mean and what was he trying to tell me today?

h/t Matt Lodder

The Notebook Diaries #12 Analogue

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Writing

‘Romance is analogue, and so very last century’ -Mark Simpson

This notebook* was intended to bring an ‘analogue’, ‘romantic’ element to an otherwise internet-based project.  For me, it has become much more moving and romantic than I thought it would. Partly due to the distance the notebook has travelled (London-Paris-Canada-Manchester), but also the sheer honesty of the writers involved. I genuinely believe some of these entries are things we have not told another soul. Your secrets are safe with me. Almost.

But for all this journal is anachronistic, it is also quite a radical, new and daring thing to do. Writing about sex is everywhere these days; to find an actually original format for doing it seems pretty ace to me.

I am trying to pluck up courage to ask Mr Simpson himself to contribute to this notebook**. Inspite of, or maybe because of his statement that  ‘romance is analogue and so very last century’.  I have read his writing and I think he may be the most romantic of all of us in some ways. I know for sure that he values aspects of our past that seem to be lost. Will he help us resurrect one of them?

* For anyone who doesn’t know, The notebook is an actual notebook that is a sister companion to Some of the writers from GPP have contributed to the notebook. I send it to the writers and they read the other pieces, write in it and then return it to me.  It is filling up fast and is full of wonderful stories. I am going to post this on Mark S’s blog. If any of his other regular readers see it and would be interested in contributing, please let me know. I am terrified of overseas mail services, but they have not let me down yet!

** Of course, Mark is already in the notebook, albeit indirectly:

Wayne Rooney has had reason to cry like a baby recently. I don’t want to regurgitate the stories that have been churning out of the media machine. We know they have been drawing on that age-old presentation of women as either the pure, procreating Madonna or as no-good low-down whores.

But I am interested to note that, in reactions to the media representation of this ‘story’,  whilst there has been plenty of outrage at this admittedly stereotyped, reductive and moralistic version of women’s sexualities, there has been very little comment on how the media has dealt with Rooney himself, with footballers who get caught with their trousers down, and with mens’ sexuality  in general.

Is the message that the men in these stories are not being judged in the same, negative terms as the women? Is the media treating Rooney and other footballers as  just doing what men do? Or does he deserve any vilification he gets, because after all he is a lying, cheating, adulterer? Is it implied that women don’t have affairs? That it is men who are unable to do anything but follow their cocks with no restraint?

Rooney was only seventeen when he started playing adult League football professionally. He had been on the Everton Youth team since he was ten.  He met Coleen at school and they have been together ever since.  Heterosexual monogamy is quite difficult for anyone to achieve, so for a young professional footballer, with access to so much disposable income, so much testosterone, so many nightclubs, so many ‘temptations’, I am not surprised he has had sexual experiences outside his marriage. If I was Coleen, I might have been tempted to experiment a little myself rather than only ever enjoying coital relations with babyface FOR MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.

In my view, the implicit message of both the media presentation of this story, and its critiques, has been that ‘men cheat on their wives’ and this is a ‘bad thing’ but by its very commonplace and immoral nature, something not really worth questioning or trying to understand.

I think if we are going to find a villain of this piece, it is not Babyface at all. It is not even the myth of the man as adulterer and the woman as victim of adultery, or the madonna/whore dichotomy,  though both are very tiresome. The Big Bad Wolf in this story for me, is Normative Heterosexual Monogamy and the ridiculous, gendered, impossible expectations it places on us all.

‘Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said, by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed’  - Morrissey ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’

I woke up this morning, in half a mind to storm down to the Guardian HQ with a match and some petrol, as I would quite like to set fire to the house of the Liberal Moralistic Intelligentsia and watch it burn to the ground. ONLY JOKING!

Or am I?

The Grauniad seems to be a bit confused about what constitutes a joke, and how jokes are employed within discourse, and who are the jokers and who are the Kings and Queens of our language.

Last week, Morrissey received a veritable telling off from the school ma’ams of St Trinians, for saying the Chinese are a ‘sub-species’ for how they treat animals. He made this remark in a Guardian  interview with the poet Simon Armitage, ‘wittily’ entitled ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. It was immediately followed up with two more articles in the paper, explaining why Moz was yet again being unacceptably racist and should really grow up and shut up. I expect the irony was not lost on the chief captain of SS irony, as they were the ones that interviewed the controversial singer. They were the ones desperate for some juicy, offensive copy for their readers to drool over as they tutted their way through their M and S finest croissants on a Saturday.

Morrissey did not respond to his dressing down by apologising, or saying ‘sweetness, I was only joking’. He has already told us, as clearly as any man can, that he uses humour to express the violence and frustration we all feel in life. Or, that he uses violent  language in a humourous way*. ‘And if a ten ton truck, killed the both of us….’

So where was the humour in his comment about the Chinese? Where was the irony? One way of interpreting it could be to suggest that Morrissey values the lives of animals. He may believe that most people do not, and that we treat them as a ‘sub-species’, inferior to humans. In using the term ‘sub-species’ to describe a culture where some particularly barbaric treatment of animals takes place, he drew attention to our own superior and barbaric attitude to the animal kingdom as a whole. I think, my friends, he may have been using the ‘Chinese’ as a way of talking about all humans, and our hypocritical attitudes to animal welfare. But he knew it would piss off (and therefore satisfy) the Guardian editors more if he gave them a chance to call him a racist.  Again. He’d already kindly written the moralistic headmistress headline for their response: ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’….

Bigmouth has a big brain and he knows how to use language to its full effect.

Bidisha on the other hand could do with a few lessons from Morrissey on how humour works. In an absolutely mind-blowingly stupid Guardian diatribe this week, she told us  that basically, every time a man opens his Bigmouth, or even doesn’t but just looks in a certain way at a woman, he is being a misogynist bastard. She provided us with a handy tool for documenting this misogyny, called, snappily and accessibly, The Pyramid Of Egregiousness.

Apart from ignoring  global complexities and cultural context when it comes to violence against women, Bidisha conflated structural gender inequality in our society,  with sexist language, gender and sexuality cultures, and actual gendered violence.  In an article packed full of stupid, this was the stupidest remark I could find:

‘The cleverest, most belittling insult I ever heard against a woman was a posh man at the Tate Modern, talking about Rachel Whiteread’s Turbine Hall installation: “Yeah,” he said. “She’s fun.” Delivered with an infuriating, mocking grin.’

It sent a shiver down my spine. But not for the reasons Bidisha intended.

So far, so bilious. Men are misogynists if they even speak to or about women; everyone is  a misogynist if they challenge this idiotic position.

At the end of the article Bidisha makes what could be called ‘a joke’:

‘I want a 3D glow-in-the-dark dodecahedron, a planet-sized Matrix of Misogyny, a Trillion-Faceted Dynamo of Jet Black Turbo Hate. Then I’d heave it aloft and hurl it into the sun, where it would set off a massive chain reaction and shoot out sky-scraping beams of feminist rage which kill anyone, male or female, who’s ever used those words, wiping out (I’d say) 90% of human society, but leaving the non-woman-haters behind.’


But the failure of this joke is also its twisted ‘success’. It is not funny. It is not short. It is not quotable. It is not clever. It does not contain irony.  It is not made by a famous  whipping boy of the liberal elite. It cannot be interpreted any way other than: Bidisha is full of hate and she wants to live in a separatist ghetto of ‘non-woman-haters’ as defined by her.

So there was no furore in the liberal press,  no wittily-titled retort articles in The Guardian, challenging her misanthropy and ‘hate-speak’. But then the girlfriend is on the payroll. And there is one thing we know about The Guardian; it stands guard over its Jacks, Kings and Queens, and defends them against the culturally unacceptable enemies at its gates.

Here I am, standing on the other side of the moat. Here is my molotov cocktail. Here is my machete. Here is my nail-bomb. Here is my pistol.

You have your arsenal, and I have mine.


Fag End

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I would love to be cast in an old musical, as

One of Marlene Dietrich’s cigarettes

Shivering with pleasure as her slim, handsome fingers

Reached in slowly, pulling me from the packet.

I would linger languidly on that brief, exquisite moment

Of anticipation, before she put me to her glistening lips,

Picked up her lighter (shining, phallic, silver)

And breathed me in, setting fire to my tip.

I long to find myself inside that luscious mouth

Of hers,  while she sucked on my shaft-  the  perfect drag.

How special I would feel, the glowing appendage,

Forgetting for a while I was just a plain old fag.

But oh my ecstasy would be  deliciously short-lived-

My passion consumed by her need for a fix

I’d be sucked dry, burned down, stubbed out-

Extinguished by the glare of the dazzling Dietrich.

The next stick in line would be ready, and taught

Marlene inhaling, and blowing again

I’d watch from the ashtray as the smoke wafted by-

Back to my role as a used-up fag end.