Tag Archives: youth

The straight boy in the cowshed

Tallulah Bankhead, a famously hedonistic film star of yore once said, “They say it’s the good girls who keep diaries. The bad girls never have the time”. And she probably had a point.

When I was moving house last summer, I found a hardback A4 notebook I didn’t remember owning. It had rings from many cups of tea that had been rested on its cover and was faded and battered and red. I flicked it open and found most pages empty, save for a few notes from a meeting I went to in summer 1999, and then, after a couple of pages of doodles and a shopping list for a flat move, there was what looked like diary entries.

The first was undated and written entirely in French – I had just graduated the year before and it was one of my subjects and I was hopelessly pretentious – and spoke about the act of coming out, which I was yet to do to family.

It was self-indulgent, dramatic and ridiculous, but my French was pretty good, I have to say. Following it was another diary entry, again in French but abandoned halfway through, with “Somebody needs French lessons, je crois” scrawled across the bottom.

And then, after that, dated diary entries, about a page and a half each, of what was happening in my life from September 2000 to February 2001. I was living in Edinburgh, sharing a flat with a guy I had met at work. He was straight and I, well, wasn’t, but being gay was very new to me indeed. We are still friends, all these years later.

Amid the trivia of having a rubbish job and trying to earn more money by writing – my, how times have changed – there was a piece about an event I had totally forgotten. It was about the time a straight boy asked me to go into a cowshed with him.  Continue reading The straight boy in the cowshed


Hot, ready and legal? You need to cool off

If years of hysterical media coverage have taught us anything, it’s that lusting after children is wrong. Paedophilia – the great cause everyone can get behind and feel safe raising a flaming torch or pitchfork to. It’s immoral, and always will be.

The legal definition of a child can vary from country to country – and even states within countries – but it’s generally agreed you can’t go around dreaming about a teenager in their underwear until they’ve passed that great invisible milestone, the age of consent. Or if you do, you don’t talk about it.

And yet here’s Brooklyn Beckham giving us something else to scratch our heads over, other than his family’s incessant quest for world domination. He’s the latest in a long line of tween-to-teen sex symbols who’ve been finally declared “Hot, ready, and legal” by a load of people who are, at best, pretty cold, desperate and morally bankrupt. This time, it’s Tatler doing the inappropriate salivating:

Screenshot by @RyanJohnNelson

Brooklyn’s been not-so-quietly making his way from cutesy kid to potential object of lust for the last couple of years. He kicked things off with his cover of Man About Town magazine at barely 15, which was largely innocent but had just enough ick that you’d want to see the browser history of anyone who’d bought it. Recently, he cemented his heartthrob status with his ‘Guide to Instagram’ video for Vogue. The media’s been grooming Becks Junior for our bedroom in plain sight.

Nobody’s dared to call him hot before, of course; that’s not the done thing when you’re talking about a 15-year-old, so why the sudden change for Tatler? Why is he “hotter” than before? More trips to the gym? A new haircut? Well, maybe. What is he “ready” for, exactly? Continue reading Hot, ready and legal? You need to cool off

The first crush is the deepest

I once read a brilliant interview with the ever-awkward Simon Amstell, which included him talking about his first celebrity crush.

It is rare for gay celebrities to talk about their crushes. Usually we don’t really like to imagine anyone knocking one out thinking about another, let alone gay men.

Also, for a gay man to admit he may at one time have dreamed of kissing a straight man would mean he were in some way determined to make it happen, right?

As we all know, a straight man left alone in a room with a gay man is bound to feel under threat and oppressed – we can’t keep our hands to ourselves, we love to intimidate.


And then I got to thinking about my first crush and surmised there must have been many, even before I realised what sex actually was, and what went where, and even dreamed of putting anything anywhere. But the first one that stuck in my mind was Harry.

Harry. I remember thinking about Harry.

Even before I knew I was gay, I knew I wanted to see Harry with no shirt on. And thankfully, once a week I did – every single Monday for three years in PE.

Holding in sobs on the rugby pitch, getting my knees battered in hockey, being too short for basketball, watching 130mph serves whistle by me in tennis, trudging dejectedly across the field after one run in cricket, and the endless, infernal hell of football for the remaining millennia – all worth it, in their perverse way, for the 10 minutes either side that I got to furtively look at Harry’s skin in the changing rooms. Continue reading The first crush is the deepest

The Hold-Out

A restaurant. I hate going for food on a first date, but my date suggested it and so here I am.

Leo is a student and 22 – that enchanted age where anything seems possible, but you’re still not old enough to realise none of it will ever happen.

His pictures were, to put it bluntly, deceiving and he is not very good-looking at all, but I’m here now and we can at least have a nice dinner. I can tell he’s not a serial dater, as he’s picked Chinese – nobody wants to spend two hours watching a stranger grapple with chopsticks.

He has been flirting with me outrageously since I got here – he’s all coquettish leans to one side, wry smiles and fluttery eyelashes. I am as responsive as a fridge in a scrapyard.

Halfway through a bowl of noodles that I can’t wait for him and his mouth to finish, he licks his lips and puts down his chopsticks and I know I am in trouble.

“I just want you to know – I never sleep with someone on the first date.”

Here we go. I am nothing if not a sadist, so I ask simply: “Why?”

He goes into a long diatribe about how  relationships can only be brief and meaningless when founded on sex and that he prefers to get to know someone “spiritually rather than carnally”. I wonder which rock of self-help this bizarre statement crawled out from under.

“So how long do you wait?” I ask. “What’s the magic number of dates before you do the deed?”

“About four?”

“Four,” I repeat. “And then what?”

“Whaddya mean?”

“After date five, what happens next?”

There is no response. Just a deep breath. I plough on.

“Well, here you are.” I gesture around the room. “Sitting with me, on date number one. It rather suggests that as magic formulas go, your one for having a long-lasting relationship doesn’t seem to be much good.”

He scratches his head. “Eh?”

I should stop, but I can taste blood and, reader, I like it. “Four dates. Risky strategy.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, you’re giving people an awful lot of opportunities to fall out of love with you.”

He scrunches up his face, puzzled. “What’s wrong with my four-date rule?”

I rest my chin on my hands. “If your formula for starting out on a long relationship is not to have sex with someone until the fourth date, why are you single? Where’s your relationship? Why are you here, now, with me, on a first date, imparting your ‘wisdom’, when in fact it is a load of old pony?”

He laughs nervously. “I don’t know.”

“Well, no. Holding out on sex on a first date is your choice, and totally up to you, but don’t think it makes you any deeper or less superficial to keep your Aussiebums on. It just means you are missing out on a shag. If you’re happy with it, that’s great.”

He puts his hand on my arm and smiles at me in a way I imagine someone once told him was sexy. There is a bit of chive in his teeth. He looks very pleased with himself – like a bank manager cancelling an overdraft. “Are you asking me to make an exception just this once?” he says.

My gaze slides glacially to his hand.

“I do sleep with people on the first date,” I smile. “If I fancy them.” Cue dramatic pause. “You’re safe tonight, Leo.”

He moves his hand back. We spend the rest of the date talking about the weather and ask for the bill as quickly as politeness will allow.

Stats: 22, 5’7″, mousey/blue, Norfolk
Where: London E1
Pre-date rating: 8/10
Post-date rating: 3/10
Date in one sentence: Bait is not taken.

Image: Zebble on Flickr