Tag Archives: fashion

The first-date shirt

I’ve never believed in “lucky” pants or socks. Underwear is underwear and I have almost never had someone peel off my jeans, running their tongue across their teeth in anticipation, and compliment me on my trunks – or what was inside them, now I come to think of it.

But there are few items of clothing that have ever made me feel as invincible or irresistible as my “first date shirt”, the long-sleeved legend I wore on the majority, well at least half, of my first dates.

I’d admired it in the shop for a while. I’m one of those people who either impulse-buys wildly and is forced to do the “return of shame” within a day or two, or I take hundreds of trips to the clothes rail to convince myself I should buy the object of my affection. The first date shirt took a lot of self-persuasion.

I don’t really know why; it wasn’t remotely expensive or particularly outré. Just a bog-standard Uniqlo cotton number, in burgundy and green (I think; for a gay I’m not very good with colours) in a check or plaid or tartan or whatever you want to call it.

But I had a million shirts just like it – or thought I did – and so would place it back on the hanger every single time, after a good quarter of an hour turning that way and this, looking in the mirror  with it held against my chest.

Then, one day, while I was waiting for a friend to squeeze into some jeans in the fitting room, I tried it on properly for the first time.

We fell in love. Continue reading The first-date shirt


10 reasons being a Gay Best Friend sucks

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. It seems we have reached the end of an era.

According to today’s Sunday Times’ Style magazine barometer of what’s hot and what’s o-v-a-h, the GBF (Gay Best Friend) is done, replaced by the BMF –  Best Man Friend.


I’ll assume they mean that the BMF is a straight man. Straight men are “men” and gay men are “gay”. I think that’s how it works.

Anyway, ignoring that every so slightly acidic twist of the heteronormative knife, here’s why I’m glad my services as a GBF will no longer be required. Quite frankly, it’s been an exhausting couple of decades and I will be glad of the rest.

1. Shopping
I like shopping, don’t get me wrong. But I like shopping for myself. The great thing about being a gay man is that my boyfriend is also a man so we both wear men’s clothes. (If you’re a man and you don’t, that’s cool too – please don’t @ me.) This means we can actually shop properly – assess what looks good, appreciate each other’s sartorial decisions, get true clothes envy etc.

Being a GBF, however, means that you have to go shopping with a woman and I have to confess, I haven’t really enjoyed that since I was dragged around the shops by my mother as a child, clutching a packet of Opal Fruits.

I don’t wear dresses or bras or high heels so while I can tell you you look “nice”, if you insist, I don’t really know what accessories would go with them or what colour you should wear or whether a flesh-coloured bra is appropriate under that T-shirt.

I know Gok Wan has done a sterling job of convincing women that gay men care about your clothes, ladies, but guess what? We don’t. All we care about is when we go out together, we all look good and that you’re not going to moan you bought the wrong top all night. Continue reading 10 reasons being a Gay Best Friend sucks

Give me death by skinny jeans over bootcut misery any day

It has been in the news this week that skinny jeans can kill you. But what a way to go.

Thanks to the sterling efforts of Darwinism, a young woman in Australia almost threw a seven in her spray-ons after she did one too many squats helping someone move house, rendering herself immobile for hours when her calves swelled up.

Before you laugh yourself out of your very own drainpipe slacks, remember she was hospitalised and it was all very serious and that kind of thing. She’s recovering now.

When I was at school, skinny jeans were for the spindly goths only.

Skinny jeans have exerted their deathlike grip on calves up and down the country for a very long time now, decades even. When I was at school, skinny jeans were for the spindly goths only, bridging the gap between massive DM boot and knackered old plastic leather jacket perfectly.

Everybody else in sixth form – which was uniform-free, how modern – wore an array of average jeans, all far too baggy and all far too long. With nobody in that era expecting to be able to grow a nice arse until way past their 25th birthday, fit and form weren’t important – so long as they weren’t what the goths were wearing.

As something of a stick insect during my teenage years and most of my twenties, I feared skinny trousers anyway. These were the days before it was massively fashionable to have a sylph-like frame and look like you had a severe phobia of sandwiches.

Girls wanted to be thin of course, plus ça change, but boys wanted to be athletic – not in the 2015 way, where everyone locks themselves in the gym to look like Popeye mid-transformation, oh no.

Boys weren’t supposed to be thin in the nineties. Being slim was creepy and unattractive.

Athleticism in the nineties was looking vaguely like someone who may or may not – if you squinted in bright sunlight – look at least 25% of the way to having a bit of a ‘chest’.

Boys weren’t supposed to be thin, they were supposed to be stocky, or dead-eyed and sporty like Tommy Hilfiger adverts. Being slim was creepy and unattractive. Continue reading Give me death by skinny jeans over bootcut misery any day