Want the world to know, got to let it show...
You recall that Aron and I had been ... well lets leave it as we just had been. And then one day i was sat at work and he was all excited and jibbering about making new gay friends at work, who were not only in relationships but actually out .... it was unheard of, shocking behaviour. And a little exciting too.
He had started a new job in the warehouse at the local Debenhams dept store in Luton and by all accounts it was a case of spot the straight man. Poofs every where you turned, all kind of inbred (this happens, ask anyone) and they all went out together on a Sunday night on the coach trip to Riviera Lights in Bedford (it was about £2 for coach and entry, pick up at Shirley's Temple in Luton at 10.30). Aron had been the night before and was liberated. He was telling me it was packed with hot guys or all shapes and sizes .... and the music was good and it was amazing to just chill and not worry about looking over at the wrong person and them guessing correctly you were eyeing them up and beating the living shit out of you. You could relax and be you.
i was sat at my desk shaking with fear..... what if somebody could hear what he was saying? They couldn't, we didn't have that kind of phone system ..... what if Jane or Shaun could actually read my mind and hear his every word as I processed it? This conversation needed to be over and fast. I quickly ended it and said Id meet him that night to chat.
My mind was reeling with all kinds of questions...... what if went along and somebody saw me ... would this mean my sex on tap was now over as he would go and find a life? Was I jealous ... no ... but what did this mean? If he came out, would I have to cut all ties with him for fear of somebody figuring out what had been going on all these years? It was hateful.
We met up and for once ... just chatted ..... he said that its silly to wonder what people will say as bottom line, if they are in the club too, they are either ok with it or gay themselves. i wasn't so sure. But he convinced me to go along the next time they were all going out, which was a Sunday night with a bank holiday Monday the following day. I was more comfortable with this as it wasn't a 'school night'.
I said that I would pick him up and drive over as I didn't want to be seen going into the gay bar in Luton and then getting on the coach with all the other gay guys. So I picked him up in my little Skoda (don't laugh, David Tennant drives a Skoda you know) and off we went.
I cant describe the fear and sickness I felt walking into that club the first time. I guess for those of you with abject fear of hospitals, needles, dentists ..... its comparable.
And then the sights I saw! Drag queens, transsexuals ...... Guys with no shirts on and leather trousers .......... I LOVED IT! I nervously bought a diet coke at the bar and stood to one side. Aron was very good and introduced me to all of his mates from work ..... and then their mates from the pub ..... and that was when Gerry asked me if I danced. Do I dance? Does squirrel shit smell of nuts? He took me by the hand and lead me to the dance floor as RuPaul's Supermodel began to play. I hit that dance floor and stayed there all night. There also began my lifelong relationship with RuPaul. Still a fan to this day.
After this, any fear left me.
The following night, I even went straight down to Shirley's Temple and met a few of the guys there. And then at least once a week, I made excuses to my straight friends and snuck out to one of the gay bars in the area.
At the time, i was living with my grandparents and about to move back in with my mum as I was leaving work in August and going back to full time education. And just shy of a month of my first outing, I actually got picked up for the first time.
Now don't get me wrong, there had been offers but I wasn't quite ready for that first off. So one Friday, over in the Barley Mow in Bedford, while a Bananarama medley played out from the DJ, a guy at the bar asked if he could buy me a drink. He was older than me, but quite handsome, so I said yes. We chatted, we swapped numbers, he called the following day, we met up again on Monday and I had my first new male sexual partner and within the same night, my first boyfriend. His name was Lawrence and it lasted a year ... largely as he was a lovely guy but so hung up on me not being stolen away from him, he didn't let me see anyone else. Literally. Not even my friends if they asked us out to the cinema or anything. So I ended it. But that's not the story i am telling here .....
I had been seeing him for about three weeks when I realised that if he was going to be a regular fixture, then friends needed to be told. And of course Mother.
Alex was first. And he just laughed and said that he had known for a long time now but wondered if I would ever actually act on it. I was so relieved I cried all the way back from Hitchin. The rest of my close friends quickly found out .... only poor William had a hard time with the news.
Then Mum. I couldn't lie to her and live under her roof. Had I not had a boyfriend, I think I would gladly have carried on just not telling her. She was never going to take it badly, she had had gay friends my whole life and various other things about the way she lived her life meant she was in no position to judge (no, those stories I wont be telling as they are more her life than mine and its not fair on her to do that). We sat at the table and I told her. "Of course you are, Goat (which was her nickname for me at the time. I know not why) now eat your dinner before it gets cold and we can talk after" was the unlikely reply. After dinner, she grilled me not so much on why but how sure was I. Did I know what a hard life I was letting myself in for? Was I prepared that some people would be unkind to me and had I considered the effect that would have not just on me but people who cared about me.
I hadn't. This was a spanner in the works.
But after a few seconds deliberation, I confirmed that Id be unhappier living as something I'm not and being untruthful. Id seen the pain of split families and divorce time and time again and couldn't risk causing it for any others. That was it discussion over .. apart from one comment.
What is your father going to say?
I will tell him. That was my only thought on the subject.
He called me the next day.
You're a fucking poof then.
Yes dad. Mum told you?
Yes. Well, its your life. Enjoy it. But its a mistake and you ll grow out of it.
And so began five years of strained conversations. I cant remember when it all changed. But somewhere along the line he mellowed and I stopped scowling every time he opened his mouth.
Of course, the greatest part of this was Alex's birthday party that year.
Nobody at the party knew Lawrence was my bf. Until as the party reached its height, he was drunk and threw a punch at a mate of mine who he thought was chatting me up. I dragged him out of the house by the collar and screamed at him all the He couldn't even remember it in the morning ..... but I was certainly the talk of our whole social scene (there were in the region of 40 people crammed into Alex's mums house that night). And that was my big coming out to the public. In the middle of a fight between my actual bf and my mate Gary, whom I had had a crush on for three years who turned out to be straight and now lives in Australia.
So whats your story?