Following bountiful Christmas fare, and with emotions loosened by the Malbec, we plopped onto the sofa and cried our way through Mama Mia, Here We Go Again on DVD and Call the Midwife on the Beeb. Others, meanwhile, took to Google in search of something altogether less wholesome and more carnal. I do hope those dropping into pansyland looking for ‘pussy lovers’, ‘pussy galore’, ‘sticky knickers’ and ‘sex emporium’ weren’t too deflated to read about cats, Bond girls, a heat-wave and two old poofs on holiday.
I don’t mean Olay Total Effects or any of the other magic potions promising to hold back the ravages of time. No, I mean the seven signs as they apply to a middle-aged ex-pretty boy who knows he’s got fewer years ahead than behind. I was reminded of my impending decrepitude when trying to grab a rogue sock evading capture at the back of the washing machine. The sock nearly won. So there it was, my first sign of ageing – stiff in all the wrong places.
But what of the others? Well, in no order of priority…
The only time I get to wear a suit these days is at funerals. This in itself is no bad thing. If only I didn’t have to replace it every year to keep up with my expanding midriff.
I used to sleep like a Brothers Grimm princess. I even slept through an earthquake in Bodrum once. These days I get caught short mid-slumber. And I’d rather sit to pee than stand.
My memory of yesteryear used to be as sharp as a drag queen’s stiletto. Nowadays, I never forget a face but names often defeat me. And sometimes I go into a room and can’t remember why.
As I grow older, my farts get louder (and more frequent). Thankfully, following through is still as rare as a gay bar in Tehran.
I reached puberty sooner than most and my hirsute legs were a source of great adolescent pride. Now I constantly moult. Sweeping up short and curlies from the bathroom floor has become a daily chore. What’s left is rapidly turning silver.
Liberal tolerance was my mantra for decades and accepting (though not always respecting) differing opinions was the price I paid. Now I shout at the box when some ill-informed twat spouts rubbish. I have become a grumpy old man and I rather enjoy it.
Despite stiffness, middle-age spread, nocturnal bladder weakness, fading memory, noisy flatulence, grey pubes and a serious bout of the grumps, I’m content with my lot. Unlike Olay’s fanciful brew, happiness is something you can’t bottle and sell at Boots. But then I’m yet to suffer from the eighth sign of ageing – erectile dysfunction. Now that would burst my bubble.
There’s a tense stand off in the Scott-Brennan household. The air has cleared of gun smoke leaving a wreckage of words scattered round the cutting room floor. It happened last time for my first book and it’s happening again for the sequel. Just when I thought I’d got the bloody thing done and dusted, Liam slashes it with his big red pen. It’s all to the good in the end but the tortuous journey is littered with out-takes that have cut me to the core.
My post before last was about our good fortune with neighbours in recent years. I deliberately left out Clement, our first neighbour in Turkey because, well, we were rather pleased to see the back of him. Now poor Clement has been left out of the book too. Still, nothing gets wasted. It just gets recycled, like most of my rubbish these days. So Ladies and gents, as it’s American Independence Day, here’s the neighbour’s tale, a painful cut from Turkey Street, Chapter 13, Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam.
A cursory glance at my stats shows that Perking the Pansies pops up on the internet in totally unexpected ways. My irreverent ramblings seem to attract the lost, the lustful, the inquisitive and the ignorant – and from the four corners of the world. These are a few of my favourite search terms:
- Pussy lovers (for feline aficionados, obviously)
- Gran Canarian Sex (for a bit of bump and grind in the sun)
- Rent Boys (believe me, my street-walking days are over)
- Hardon All Day (hit it with a stick)
- Is Marti Pellow/Gary Lineker/Kate Adie gay (they seem happy enough to me)
- Gumbet Love Rats (for the ladies who never learn)
- The Turkish Living Forum (keeping my 2012 rant right up there in the rankings)
And then came:
- Doreen Dowdall
Now that one completely threw me. Dowdall was my old girl’s name before her soldier boy popped his ring on her finger. Who was the mysterious surfer? I don’t know, but if s/he ever surfs back, do drop me a line and put me out of my curiosity. And yes, that is me in the picture (the one in shorts, not the fabulous Sixties frock). Bless.
P.S. It’s Doreen Dowdall’s 85th birthday tomorrow. Apart from being a bit mutton with a touch of arthritis and a dodgy hip, the old girl’s in fine fettle. I just hope I’ve inherited her genes.
For as long as I can remember, there’s been idle speculation about how and when someone’s homosexuality is established – nurture or nature, a bit of both? Who knows? Certainly not me. Nor do I much care. To my way of thinking, identifying the ‘cause’ of something tends to suggest there should be a ‘cure’ and I’m not in the business of being cured. Why would I be? I’m not sick. What is blindingly obvious is that, whatever the reason, the sexual and romantic attraction to a member of the same sex is not a choice. If it was, many gay people might choose to be straight. After all, it’s so much safer to run with the pack rather than against it. Of course, this doesn’t stop many (almost exclusively straight) people claiming that sexuality is just a lifestyle choice like nipple piercing or kerb crawling. Or smoking, as Evander Holyfield claimed after being the first to be kicked off Celebrity Big Brother here in the UK. This gives a whole new meaning to giving up the fags. Really, Mr Holyfield, it’s time to shut up, bank the cash and go home. This whole ‘choice’ smokescreen is just an easy and convenient excuse to oppress and eradicate, and is used to hateful and sometimes deadly effect across the world, even in the so-called socially advanced West. It’s just lazy thinking from the pond life, the bigots, the politically hoodwinked and the religiously deceived. No, sexuality is not a choice. The only choice an individual has is whether to express their sexuality in a meaningful way. And that isn’t a walk in the park in far too many communities and societies. Who wants to be cast out onto the street by their families, get terrorised at school, end up with twenty years hard labour or get lynched from the nearest olive tree?
No doubt the sterile navel gazing about alleged lifestyle choices will rumble on across the airwaves, in the press, the pub and from the pulpit, long after I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. Let me leave you with this little video* that debunks the entire myth in a deliciously simple and effective way. Please take note Mr Holyfield.
*Thank you to my old friend Richard who posted the video on Facebook and who is lucky enough to live out his dotage with his partner, John, on the gorgeous Greek island of Kefalonia (the venue for my first late deal with Liam). Lucky sod. The clip was also featured on the liberal social media site Upworthy