Clive and I know one another from our salad days. In those distant times we were two of the three fey musketeers. Our third partner in camp crime was Paul who jumped the good ship Blighty many decades ago to dwell in a Parisian garret and chain-smoke Gitanes. Birds of a feather flock together. We somehow knew we were different and so did everyone else. We were relentlessly teased from the moment we entered the school gates. Nothing physical, you understand. That would be unseemly at a traditional grammar school with 400 years of history. Besides, beatings were reserved for the teachers to discharge. I suppose we hardly helped our cause by being rubbish at rugby and lip-synching to the backing vocals of Mott the Hoople’s Roll Away the Stone in Clive’s front room. Our sex education consisted of lecturing hormonal adolescents on the evils of masturbation. It nearly caused a riot.
Ian is a more recent acquaintance, a mere 15 years so a young friendship. As saucy singletons he and I trawled the dances halls of Europe and had a ball. Nowadays we are both hitched and respectable members of the elder gay community. Ian exists at the epicentre of gay culture by managing a licenced sex shop in Soho. He won’t tell his mother he’s gay. She knows of course. Mothers always do. But then, being nearly 50 with teeth and hair intact and never marrying is a bit of a clue.