Gay for pay January 28, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
“Darling, do you think my haircut makes me look like Hitler?”
“Absolyut not,” answered the Russian with conviction bordering on the complimentary. Odd for him to miss the chance for a bit of an insult. Telling me I looked like Hitler would have been a forfeit-free chance to say I was a bit of a wanker. “You don’t look heterosexual at all.”
“Not gitera (hetero), Gitlera (Hitler), you silly billy (if memory serves me rightly).”
“Oh, yes, yes, you look like Gitler.”
I went to a gay bar once. Alone. I’ve mostly stumbled from one long-term relationship to another but I think I managed to squeeze in ten seconds of singleness when I was about 9. Not that I haven’t gone to bars alone as a married man. No-one thinks you’re a prostitute in the gay world if you go to a bar alone. Unless you go to a bar alone when you’re 17, that is, and everyone else in the bar is 80. Then the punters would be justified in suspecting rent. But I’ve always been perfectly sanguine at going to a bar alone to drown my indifferences.
So I went to a bar. Drowned my indifferences. As ever, in the gay world, the bar was strewn with other indifference-drowning solos. Bars are our churches and I happened, on this one occasion, to have pride of place with our high priest, the barman. It’s a rather public confessional but we gays are as promiscuous with our words as we are with our affections and there’s no room for prudishness where the gay soul is concerned. Except our churches blaze trails and our confessionals can easily see the high priest confessing to one of his flock.
“Oh, go on then… A bit quiet tonight, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, they won’ all arrive for anuvva while yet, will they.” He polished a glass with disdain. “Tend to come ‘ere a bit later, dun’t they.” Glanced over it and hung it up on the sticky-out rack. “Why, ya bored? You can get up on the bar and do a dance f’rus if ya like, can’tcha?” He chuckled and went off to serve anuvva punter.
“Is this your bar then?” I went on unimaginatively as he reappeared with a dishcloth flung nonchalantly over his left shoulder.
“Yeah, had it for years now, inni. Was in Spain before, wunni, wiv Brian,” I quickly played back the conversation thus far in my head – I’d forgotten my dictaphone – and was sure Brian hadn’t come up, “but come back ‘ere now, inni. Anuvva cuppla years and then I’ll give it up.” He shooed away the bar with his hand. “Do summink else then, wunni.” I nodded along consistently without proffering any suggestions of my own. “‘s all right doin’ this when you’re young, innit, but I don’t still wanna be doin’ this when I’m owld.” His brows and mouth made one complete revolution at the mention of the profanity. “And Brian died, didnee. Car crash. Just like that. Can ‘appen that quickly.” He polished some more. I contorted my face as the occasion demanded. “Naa, ‘s OK when you’re young, this, but not when you’re owld… Oh ‘ere’s a few more come in, look. Ya wun’t be so bored now as ya was, will ya?”
A few more punters had indeed trickled in. Amongst them a dish of cosmic proportions. A huge, great lumbering thing. A hint of shyness. He only looked up from his beer out of the corner of his glassy eyes. He examined his finger-nails with undeserved thoroughness. I changed my order to the beer he was drinking to increase my attractiveness. Needn’t have bothered as the late Brian’s other half was soon leaping to my assistance. “‘ere, whassyer name?” If beer hadn’t been taken I’d have minded where this was going. “Broke,” I said, unmindingly. “‘n whass yours?” he asked the cosmic dish, predictably. “Mmwike,” said Mike, combining shyness and aggression, his eyes darting left to right and lips stretched to breaking point.
The introductions done, Mmwike and I bumbled through conversation. Nice enough, it turned out, though his beauty meant any judgment I made couldn’t possibly be objective. I’m a pathetic flirt and invariably turn into a helpless himbo. “Um, Mmwike, sorry, I mean, Mike, so what’s a nice boy like you… [internally, “No, bugger, bugger, you can’t ask that. That’s Christmas-cracker-level chat-up. Um, pay him a compliment.”] Um, Mmwike, sorry, Mike, um… [internally, “Oh, for god’s sake, just carry on bumbling along.”] Um, Mmwike, sorry, Mike, um, er… you don’t seem gay, really, not that gays seem anything and, erm, of course it’s all just stereo…”
“Naa, I ain’t.”
“Oh [internally, “fuck”].”
“Well, I am a bit.”
“Oh [internally, “yippety doo-da”].”
“I mean, only in the way all men are.”
“Oh [internally, “oh, he’s insane. What a pity. Most men aren’t a bit gay, are they?”].”
“You don’t seem speshly gay yerself.”
“Oh [internally, “oh, he actually is insane].”
We chatted on. He told me about his girlfriend. His ex-girlfriend. His daughter. His ex-girlfriend’s gay uncle whom they’d discovered the gay bar with. He liked it and came back (presumably when he was in one of his a-bit-gay moods). We drank. He told me about his drinking problem. Said he was a social worker. Then offered to drive me home.
Was this a prelude to one of his a-bit-gay moments?
I accepted heroically. “Sure it’s no trouble?”
“Naa, ‘s on me way.”
We drew up at my front door. For tradition’s sake, I thought I’d better check where on the hetero-scale he was currently positioning himself. “Um, would you like to come in?”
“Naa, gotta get back. Workin’ in the mornin’. But it was nice talkin’ to ya.” True. It had been perfectly nice. “Gotta pen? I’ll give ya my e-mail.” (E-mail must have pre-dated mobiles.) We fumbled around and between us managed to exchange e-mail addresses. I probably hadn’t removed my coat before firing off an e-mail saying how nice it had been to meet.
A few days later, an e-mail appeared from Mmwike. I was secretly thrilled. Then berated myself for being so pathetic. “Broke, get a grip. He’s straight. He’s got a girlfriend and daughter.” But his beauty overrode all that.
“Thanks for your e-mail,” began his e-mail. “You met me on a bad day.” Oh, I hadn’t realised. Maybe he’d been there to drown real sorrows, though he hadn’t alluded to them in our chat. “I won’t have a chance to go out for a beer again soon.” Oh, that sounds final enough. Never mind. “But if you ever want to book me, one-on-one, for a couple of hours, let me know. To put it in plain English, I’m a male whore. Hope you don’t mind. See ya.”
Heterosexuals. Honestly. No morals.