Month: May 2009

Shall I compare thee to a salesman?

I’m terrible at selling myself…

You may not think so. Generally I come across as pretty confident and ballsy, but deep down I’m shy. I generally assume you don’t remember meeting me and will wait for you to greet me before I greet you even though this may appear aloof. In fact, I’m painfully shy. I’m the guy who sits psyching himself up in the car before a social event, hoping like hell you don’t see the stuff I dislike about myself…

I know I’m not alone, so don’t feel sorry for me… we’re all scared in some way… damn joys of being human…

I think it comes from school… I was never one of the popular kids at school. I could blame it on the fact that I was skinny, but I think it was the fact that I was incredibly geeky. I was in boarding school at a very sporting school…. I’ve posted before about my fabulous sporting skills… so you should know that somehow I just wouldn’t fit in. And I’m gay… so when all the boys were checking out the “chicks”, I was wondering what the appeal was and totally confused by their responses…

So I learnt quickly to retreat, rather than to appear different… and to be confident when necessary…

That’s all fine for school, but when I grew older, it manifested rather differently. I just could never and still can’t sell myself… I tried to freelance as a writer for a while, and realised I needed to change focus after I convinced a potential client that someone else was far better than I was… and promptly lost the job. I also tried to be an actor for a while – at least that way people would know who I was and I would be affirmed by the multitude of Oscars I would win, and the flashes of paparazzi bulbs affirming my existence. And while Charlize and I share the home town, we certainly don’t share the same acting success. Largely due to my lack of belief in myself and the fact that she’s a supermodel and probably the most beautiful woman in the world, and well, I’m not… beautiful or a woman… so I can’t really compete…

I have a cousin named Gerda though, so Charlize and I more similar than she may realise…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnyyyywaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy…

I sucked as an actor because I knew I wasn’t the best one out there… and as a freelance writer… but do we ever think we’re the best one out there? That’s probably when we’re worst at our jobs…

My point and I do have one, is that FJ and I have been together for over a year now (which may seem short to you, but feels like a lifetime to me… longest damn year of my life ….. kiiiiiiiiiiddddddddddddddiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggggggggggg!), and this year has taught me so much about myself.

I know that I’m grumpy in the morning – especially when I get woken up at 4am because he has to leave to make the flowers grow or pick them or something. At that time of the morning, flowers are my enemy and represent something far different to those of you who occassionaly receive them (if this is your first time here, my partner FJ is a flower farmer).

And I also learnt that i sell myself short…

In all my past relationships I have never really allowed myself to be vulnerable. I have never told partners or even friends that I love them unless they have told me first – for fear of over selling where I stand with them, and assuming that they’re feeling the same zeal for having me in their life as I feel for them… except FJ. I decided to risk all and tell him how I felt before he told me. I spoke to my sister about it first and thought for weeks about how I could slip it into the conversation appropriately…

I mean how do you tell someone you love them?

Rambler: Hi FJ

FJ: Hi rambler. How was your day?

Rambler: Fine thanks and yours?

FJ: Fine thanks.. growing flowers all day.. you know how it goes…

Rambler: [LAUGHS] Oh FJ, you’re so funny… love you

Or…

FJ: Hi Rambler

Rambler: Hi FJ

FJ: How are you?

Rambler: In love with you and how are you?

Or

FJ: Hi Rambler… ‘sup with you?

Rambler: Nothing, FJ… but shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

FJ: Okaaaaaaay… if you wanna… but then I have to change the irrigation system in the greenhouses, because it’s winter and we’re totally reliant on the correct temperatures to grow the buds which then get sent out to the Middle East when appropriately budded…

Rambler: Ok, love you…

So I had no idea how to throw this into the conversation without sounding like a turd or someone who had planned it… badly…

I actually have no idea how I first told him… I have no idea what came up before I told him…. but I remember throwing it in… and hoping like hell I never got a ‘thanks’ back…

It went something like this:

FJ: blah blah blah

Rambler: I love you

FJ: [blank]

Rambler: [breathes heavily trying to control panic]

FJ: [eyes widen as he takes in what has been thrown at him]

Rambler: [wipes sweat from brow]

FJ: Um, I think I’m aware of that…

I THINK I’M AWARE OF THAT!

I’m not sure FJ realised just how much I put myself on the line… but that’s the thing… I decided that it wouldn’t sway me… A few weeks later Idecided to remind him of what he was so apparently aware of and this time I got the correct response… and felt totally relieved… and loved…

And I realised that I needn’t feel insecure.. or feel that I don’t make the grade… I need to start being like the rest of the world and go after what I want and make sure I hold onto the good stuff that’s in my life, even though it may simply be aware of my passion and not necessarily equipped to return it.

I could have run… and given my track record, I generally would of, but in this last year and a bit I have learnt that I am worth more than I give myself credit for, that I have more to offer than I realised, that I may not be the best at everything, but someone else’s adequacy doesn’t mean my inadequacy. I learnt that I can be loved, even when I put myself at risk… and that risk often has the best dividends…

And most of all, I realised that my butt looks amazing in skinny jeans…

Advertisements

Queens, presidents and marches

I’ve been sitting racking my brain to try and remember what I did on Friday night and I have no idea. You see, the weekend was so jam-packed, and given that I’m closer to 40 than I am to 20 I only tend to remember the big things. Trying to remember if I locked the car, where I parked it and if I did anything interesting on Friday night just doesn’t have space amongst deadlines for two magazines, friends trying to convince FJ and I to get married sooner than we’ve planned and trying to think of what to wear with skinny jeans.

I think Friday was spent in, watching reality TV but I could be wrong. I also have a head cold, so that should clinch the lack of memory deal…

The rest of the weekend was incredibly interesting! For a change…

Now some of you know that I struggle with the concept of Gay Pride marches… I’ve posted about it before, and a friend of mine, Jeanine (who has just started a fabulous blog which you should read), has been challenging a lot of my thinking on the IDAHO holding hands and pride marches. Her and I have always come from different perspectives on gay politics, and although I think we’ve challenged and influenced each other positively, we still come from different places. Don’t you love friends who challenge you, don’t agree with you, but are still prepared to argue, debate and listen without tension and a threat to friendship? I hold onto people like that in my life, although at times I want to put a pillow over their militant heads… hehehe…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnyyyywaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy…

I’ve read her comments with interest and decided that I would attend the Joburg Gay Pride AGM on Saturday morning to see what pride was really about. I’ve walked on half a march before and slipped out when I spotted some friends at a pub, and mc’ed the Cape Town pride after parties for a couple of years, but never fully understood the concept. Pride seemed dated and unsure of what it was – is it a party? is it a rally? is it a day we ask for respect? is it a day to show the world how flamboyant we are?

After going to the meeting I think I may have run ahead in my judgements. And I will share these thoughts when I’ve formulated them well… but let’s just say, I’m thinking the media don’t get it and that’s why the straight communities don’t – that’s either the fault of pride’s communication (which I’m gathering it’s not) or the media choose to focus on the flamboyance and ignore the message behind the day. Watch this space…

I then went to a drag show on Saturday night and had great fun watching Crystal Carrington lip sync to songs I’d never heard before. I’m not sure if many people have seen real drag queens, who don’t just impersonate women, but actually hold an entire show together with witty (and generally below the very tucked in belt) banter and show that the word artiste in drag artiste is something earned rather than applied… something worth seeing…

On Sunday, I went to a spectacle of a different kind and watched our newly elected President open a mall in Alexandra… I’ve never seen a President in the flesh, so I was rather excited, and let me say he doesn’t disappoint. While he never sang or danced, he came across as very warm, humorous and a President for the people. There was a huge crowd who were so excited to see him, and for a moment I saw outside of the media’s presentation and what could be our “white fear” as he engaged with the crowd. Once again, when you see someone’s humanity you warm to them, and I think a lot has been “lost in translation” by the media the more I work with the ruling party…

So from gay politics, to camp gender benders, to country leaders – all in one weekend…

Oh, and I watched High School Musical 3 in between…

Go Wild Cats!

Closer to 20? Yes I am!

I decided to embrace my young-at-heart attitude and let it reflect in my outer appearance. It was a difficult decision to come to, after all, I am closer to 40 than I am to 20, but then again, I am closer to 20 than I am to 60, and feel the need to embrace it.

Some, when reaching this (shall we call it mid-life crisis) choose to do spectacular things to hide from the reality that the greys are starting to outweigh the browns. Realising that you’re not the spring chicken you used to be does cause anxiety, especially amongst gay men, who have this weird obsession with youth. I can judge it, because I understand it (live, it dream it, breathe it… poor, poor Joseph whatcha gonna do?)

I have no idea how Andre Lloyd-Webber snuck in there… it’s either got to to do with me being in Friday mode, a bit too much champagne last night, or my obsession with finding a new Joseph amongst the feminine men they’re auditioning on the BBC at the moment…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnyyywaaaaaaaaaaay…

Back to my ageing dilemma… yes, let’s keep it about me shall we?

I thought long and hard about the fact that for about three more years I will be closer to 20 than 60… After that, I may not be able to blog with my arthritic fingers, so I decided to take a chance, and do something completely drastic.

Now, you may think, shoo, Rambler went bungee jumping.

No

I do not need to fling myself off a bridge, screaming while my urine sprays into the air behind me to prove that I’m young. I will do that when I’m older to affirm that I am senile.

You may think I bought a Ferrari…

No

I do not need a car that costs more than my house to prove that I don’t have a small, um, bank balance… or that I can pull youngsters by standing outside the gym revving and smiling… yes you know who you are, you spandex freak! And we can still see your hair plugs even though the car’s roof is so low…

Annnnnnnyyyywaaaaaaaaaaayyyy…

You may think I decided to resign from my goodie-bag filled job and see the world with a backpack on…

No

I have a job with goodie bags, remember. My life is complete.

Except for my youth – I still need to hold onto that….

You may think I dyed my hair blonde, or waxed off all my body hair…

No

I could never be blonde, not because I don’t want more fun (as apparently blondes do) but I have an olive skin and will seriously look jaundiced if I ever went blonde… and now that I have a muscle, people may think I’m trying to audition for the Rocky Horror show (the skinny Africa-famine version).

You may think I left FJ for a far younger model to prove my virility and charm to younger folk…

No

Let me remind you that FJ is younger than I am, so I proved that ages ago…

Ahem

No… I did something far more radical than that. I did the most daring thing I could think of. I went where no person my age has yet dared to go… and proved that I too can be young, virile and totally with the in-crowd…

That’s right folks…

I bought skinny jeans

Pretty, black and tight…

*bows*

Holding hands continued and a bit of gambling

After my post about holding hands I thought I would investigate a bit more about why so much attention is being paid to 17 May as a day to remember gay rights and protest for acceptance. I didn’t have to go to far – I was sent a mail which explained it all and made me think a bit further than my possibly glib response to the hand holding protest being planned for that day.

You see, I think gay couples holding hands publicly as a form of protest in South Africa is unnecessary because it doesn’t make sense. We have a constitution that protects our relationships and are allowed to enjoy legal protection of those relationships in a union recognised in the same category as marriage under the law. So we don’t need to protest for formal acceptance of our relationships thanks to a constitution considered to be the most forward thinking in the world.

But, in thinking further, I think the hand holding protest in the context of the USA is a good one. There they have had their rights stripped away after Prop 8. Relationships that were once recognised by law (like Ellen de Generes’s marriage to Portia) is now under threat, and legal action is being taken to have those marriages annulled. All this quite reminiscent of Prop 6 and Anita Bryant (is she still alive by the way?). If you don’t know what I’m tlking about then get yourself to a cinema to see Milk.

So, in that context, a protest to affirm their unions is appropriate. I know that I would be hacked if FJ and I were married and then forced to divorce through no choice of our own. It denies someone their humanity after affording it to them… even more offensive. I know some claim it on religious grounds, but imagine if I, on religious grounds, demanded that all people who had been married and divorced and were now remarried were to have their marriages annulled because the Bible equates divorce and remarriage to adultery.

On 17 May 1990 the World Health Organisation took homosexuality off the list of mental disorders. 1990 feels like just the other day, but it’s almost 20 years ago. So it’s a day that gay people should celebrate. The big guys decided we weren’t freaks… and that our attractions were normal (in our contexts) and could not successfully be reversed.

17 May will be the International Day against Homapphobia (IDAHO) and so I think it’s appropriate that South Africa celebrates it. How I have no idea. And we need to protest communities that rape gay women to change them (relatively common in South Africa) or even murdered for their sexuality. And we need to stand up to the witch hunts in places like Uganda. Once again, how? Lord knows we don’t need another pride march… I really think the gay community needs to rethink those… anyone have thoughts on gay pride marches?

But I do understand the need to protest. So please don’t think my previous post was dissuading militance. I just think it needs to be thought out, appropriately communicated and executed as effectively as possible.

Okay, I know I lost some of you along the way there… hehe… but this is my space to ramble…

On a lighter note, my blackberry and I are in love. Especially since it has Texas Hold’Em poker on it. I’ve never really been a keen fan of card games and thought I’d check it out when I saw it was on my phone. And let’s just say I’m a terrible poker player, but I can’t stop trying to get better. I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars (virtual) by now, but can’t stop. FJ is tolerating it for now, but I knew it was bad when I woke up early so I could play, and when I looked again, I was running late for work.. I was even tempted to play in the car while I was driving but decided against that (thank goodness).

I can easily see how people get sucked into casino’s and spend their days throwing notes onto tables or into machines. This is a side of me I never expected… and will have to watch…

Okay, who wants to bet on Adam Lambert winning Idols???

Pretty little black things

Things have been pretty manic round here. I edit two magazines that are needing attention and the one is really turning out to be a tad more difficult than anticipated. It’s a political slant magazine and can not go into the details, but just to say that other than being incredibly frustrating (for all), it’s also one of the most interesting projects I have worked on. That all said… I’m still managing to get to the gym and starting to feel more confident about myself daily.

FJ and I bought Polar watches which monitor our progress weekly by monitoring the heart rate and how long you spend in certain zones based on the speed of your beating heart. FJ breathes on his and it wracks up 600 kilocalories and awards him with a trophy (yes, if you hit your target you get a trophy symbol on the watch). I have tried to keep my jealousy below the surface, but I’m sure he’s realised as he stops showing his little animated reward for being fabulously fit to me. I think it was me spitting on the watch, but who can tell?

You see, try as I may I can never get that damn watch to clock up the calories. I worked my butt off the two week ago – I ran and cycled as if I was a teenager (more than I did as a teenager in fact) and got a little star as the watch proclaimed… ‘Nice’.

NICE!

I could hardly walk up stairs and it says nice!

Then last week I worked even harder. I ran like Forrest Gump spotting chocolate on the opposite side of the gym, sweating like a sow giving birth to an elephant, and finally… managed to get my trophy.

I glowed in the delight… but have yet to regain feeling in my legs.

On Monday morning, my pretty little watch informed me that this week I would need to train like last week if I wanted to retain my trophy, so it now has a lovely little home in the back of my cupboard until it changes its attitude. Cheeky little pretty black things…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanywwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy…

One last update… I am the proud owner of a Blackberry Bold which will change the way I connect with the world. The Bold and the Shoes are planning to hit the town this weekend to see if they can make the social pages once again…

Ah, I do love having pretty black things in my life…

Gosh..

I never though my has-been status would create so much interest. I have considered revealing my secret – but Clark Kent didn’t just come out and admit he was Superman to everyone now did he? It’s all part of my allure – not telling you when I was a fat c-status celebrity who advised women on how to decorate their homes and bake cakes with sweetener…

Seriously…

You wouldn’t remember it anyway.

It was a lot of fun, but being recognised in the middle of the grocery store wasn’t my idea of fun, so I’m not sure how real celebrities (with talent) handle it.

So let’s change the subject shall we… and move onto more interesting things than my has-been status.

The 17th of May is National Hand Holding Day – or something like that. It’s part of a campaign to promote equal rights for gays and lesbians (GLBT) and they’ve asked that all gay couples hold hands in public so as to highlight the awareness of our plight for equal rights.

I cringe…

I’m not anti-public affection. I’m very aware of it though. In all of my relationships I have never encouraged public affection and never walked through the mall holding hands with my boyfriend. FJ and I hold hands a lot. He’s what you might call a “digit clasper” – he holds my hand whenever he can. We’ll hold hands in a cinema, but never stroll through the foyer clasping each others paws though.

You see, holding hands in public – if you’re gay – is more than a statement of being together. It becomes a political statement, and generally gets a response. Some people point at you, talk behind your back and some friends I know have even been insulted by people as they walk past. Two men holding hands (out of a cultural context i.e. some cultures allow men holding hands as a symbol of friendship) is seen as disgusting to some, and an offence to them.

Two women seem to get away with it. The assumption is that it could be a friendship gesture and the natural response of the viewer isn’t to associate it with a homosexual relationship.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaannnnyywwaaayyy…

My point, and I have one, is that I’m not ready to hold hands in public. I don’t want to make political statements. I don’t want to rub another person’s nose into the fact that I’m gay. I don’t think holding hands should ever become a political statement and why I won’t be a part of it.

Gay liberation has moved on since “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” – a popular gay pride slogan chanted for years. They know we’re here. They had to sit through eight seasons of Will & Grace. People don’t need to see us as hand holding couples walking through malls to understand that we deserve a chance to be seen as viable couples.

I agree with Harvey Milk’s stance – I think gay men and women should come out and live responsible, mature and productive lives – actively adding to the lives of others and the communities in which they live – that generates acceptance.

I remember sitting with a friend, who I met though this blog (and hope she won’t mind me using this as an illustration). We were having a very pleasant lunch and had spoken before about her struggle with homosexuality in a church and biblical context. She sat looking at FJ and I and commented that she really felt the Bible wasn’t speaking about what FJ and I had. Because, well, we were pretty normal (my thinking – not hers). We are a regular couple who integrate well with others as a couple. We just happen to be two men.

But seeing our humanity, and not us as “type”, changes the idea of what a gay person is in many people’s minds. Two men walking in a street through a mall represent “type”. A gay man or woman adding to your life is humanity. That’s gay pride for me.

Gay men and women need to stop demanding for it all now by trying to make radical statements to force people, especially more conservative folk, who have a strong belief in the perceived biblical view of homosexuality to accept them (us). We need to ease people into accepting us. As couples, as friends, as people. By showing them that we’re just like them.