25 November 2006

Help the aged

Fundraiser for LGB youth group… a good cause, and what better excuse for another night out. It warmed the cockles of my heart to see a room full of young cheerful positive gay, lesbian and bisexual students, dancing and laughing together, with no one standing alone in a corner of the venue feeling uncomfortable, which in my day was a more common way of dealing with coming out. There was even a talent competition, with some of these youngsters performing for the first time in drag as French divas that I’d never heard of and never want to hear of again, although I cheered enthusiastically of course. There was even a little white boy who did Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’, a song that I danced to before he was able to walk. He performed brilliantly, although he rushed his movements unnecessarily, shaking with nervousness and unable to look his audience in the eye. The room applauded wildly, giving him a taste of self-confidence, all that he needs to make his delivery complete.

It was a good night, but I confess that hanging around in a room full of mostly youngsters made me feel quite old. That sense of having been on the scene for too long was accentuated when I got picked up. He looked across the dancefloor; I smiled back; he approached to make small-talk; I replied; he moved a little closer; I mirrored his body language; you know the routine.

He was a short, stocky and sexy Frenchman, name irrelevant. What was I doing later? He planned heading on to a nightclub where they played techno music. To me, that’s like standing in a room where several different anti-theft alarms go off at once. There was a time when I probably would’ve gone along and suffered, but I’m past that, so I suggested that he go and that I’d meet him again another time. He didn’t think that was a good idea and became persistent, wanting me to accompany him, trying to persuade me by promising that if I came for two hours, he’d give me a night of pleasure in return. That made me feel even older still, because I realised that there was a time I would have though ‘oh, night of pleasure, whoopee!’ whereas instead I found myself asking ‘why is this idiot trying to persuade me to do something that I don’t want to do? there’s no reason why a night of pleasure has to happen tonight, if he’d rather go dance his ass off.’

Eventually, he suggested leaving early, inviting me to have a drink in his nearby studio. I wasn’t born yesterday, and I thought… why not. Out of the bar, along the streets, into the building, up the stairs, we’re standing outside his studio and he’s unlocking the door when he mentions casually that he’s got a flatmate- just a flatmate, not a boyfriend or anything, to which I nod believingly.

Behind that door is the smallest studio I’ve ever seen: a giant television and a double bed- no other room, no other bed- and no more furniture: no chairs, no cooking facilities, but CDs and clothes scattered everywhere. It’s no more than a cluttered wardrobe, in which stands another man who is preparing for his night out at the techno club, obviously surprised and clearly less than happy to see me. I find myself accepting a drink and making embarrassed small-talk for a few minutes -yet again, we return to his desire to go out; what has he taken?- before I get up to leave… at which point my short, stocky and sexy Frenchman comes out to the corridor and wants to know why I’m going away so quickly, and why it appears that I’ve no intention of seeing him again.

All I can do is shrug. I don’t believe he’d understand if I tried to explain.

Hormones no longer overwhelm my reason, even when I’m pissed as a newt. I can’t help seeing things for what they are. I can’t help knowing that I’m too fucking old for this.

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