|I don’t take myself too seriously. Being able to laugh at myself guarantees I’ll have a laugh every day, and that’s a pretty sweet way to live.|
|Last night I went to a Candle Party. Yes, you read that correctly – a Candle Party.
For the sake of those who haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about (and I’m admittedly going to sound terribly sexist by assuming most of you will be male), a Candle Party is like a Tupperware Party, but with candles and scented oils instead of plastic food storage systems (that’s plastic storage systems for food, and not storage systems for plastic food).
…and if you don’t know what a Tupperware Party is, I can’t help you.
So I go to this Candle Party with a few girlfriends of mine (one of whom is the host), and I have a good meal (thanks Vicki, for the yum homemade curry), and I have a few glasses of vino, and I have a laugh. And I get to meet a few new people, all of whom (as if you had to guess) were girls. I was the only boy, or as I liked to put it, “the token boy”.
And I was made to feel welcome; everyone was very pleasant, and I do enjoy the company of my girl-friends very much. But I swear everyone who walked through the front door last night was dumbfounded, confused, bewildered to see me there.
I wondered to myself what each of them must have thought; “Why is there a man here? Are there other men here? Was I supposed to bring my husband? Will this poor guy have no-one to talk to now? …Is he gay?”
Truth be told, this was the second Candle Party I’d been to in recent weeks, with the first being hosted by another from this group of girlfriends of mine. I’ll probably go to more. As I’d said last night, it beats sitting at home on a Saturday night with my dog for company – if it’s a choice between doing vodka shots with the dog, and attending a girly Candle Party, call me Jack B. Nimble. It’s also a really good way to make some more female friends.
That last statement was my attempt at composing a sophisticated way to say “it’s a way to meet women”. How’d I do?
I’m a single, middle-aged, straight man. For a long time though, I was a married man, and before that, a long-term boyfriend (of the girl I eventually married). How does someone my age, in my situation, meet women? At a bar? At a nightclub? Ha ha ha.
Actually, it was in a nightclub that I met my wife. It was 1989 when we first met, and I was all of twenty years old. But now I’m forty-two, and night clubs are still full of twenty-year-olds. Sure, there are people my age too (which is great, ‘cause I still like to shake my ass), but we’re really the minority.
And besides, nightclubs aren’t the best places to engage in conversation. They’re absolutely fabulous places for drinking too much, dancing like no-one can see you, and flicking that little angel off your shoulder for a few hours. But, they’re pretty bad places for trying to meet someone you might want to spend more than those few hours with. So, I went to a couple of candle parties instead.
And don’t get me wrong – I’m not racing out to get a girlfriend; I’m not on a mission. On the contrary, I’m going to take things nice and slow. I’m quite enjoying my single life, for the most part. I’m admittedly a little lonely, but I am happy. And more to the point, I really feel that I need to get my head in a good place before I can be a good partner to someone again. I want to be the best I can be for someone.
Having said all that, I don’t think it hurts to meet new people, to put myself out there. I don’t want to wake up one morning and realise I’ve become a hermit. …again.
Meeting new people, meeting women has never been very easy for me, being a nerd ‘n’ all. But especially now that I’m older. I had a whinge about that over here. I’m not into sport, so that kind of eliminates meeting women at sporting events. I’m not into rock/pop music (generally speaking), so that kind-of eliminates most live music venues (I’d rather sit in a Jazz Club, sipping a martini and not really listening to the jazz, than sit in a beer garden listening to the local covers-band plodding through their renditions of rock standards). It’s not that I don’t do these things with friends, but it’s very rarely, and I never do them on my own, really.
I could rave on about all the reasons why I think it’s difficult, but for sake of this post, I’ll focus on only one of them: that many women, many people think I’m gay.
So, for the sake of setting the record straight (pun intended), and for the sake of having a right ol’ laugh (because this does actually crack me up), here’s some of the reasons why people have thought I might be gay, and my justifications for why I’m not.
…and yes, I’m well-aware that in publicly-defending my heterosexuality I risk a chorus of “the lady doth protest too much methinks”. Ha ha ha… I can’t even read that back to myself without laughing.
So, in no particular order…
“He must be gay because he doesn’t like sport.”
Here’s why I generally don’t like sport. Also, I didn’t play it a lot as a child, because I was more introverted, and into building things and designing things as opposed to physical activities. Also, until I was about nine, I had terrible asthma, which prevented me from sustaining the same physical activities that other kids my age did.
I dated a girl for a little while who once questioned whether I was gay because I’d explained how I prefer to watch the gymnastic Olympic events over the running. She’d smiled and said “Are you sure you’re not gay?” I laughed it off, having heard it so many times before. But, she grabbed me by the arm, stopped me and said “No, really – are you sure you’re not gay?” She went on to say that she’d never met a guy like me before. I couldn’t believe she was serious. However, she had grown-up in Bundaberg where men are men, and if you’re not, you’d better make damn sure you fake it.
When I was a kid, the national rugby league teams would produce posters of their clubs every year. The photo of the team was that typical old-school scene of the players, in uniform, seated on rows of benches. It was very traditional and plain. They still produce these team posters, but the last one I saw had the team posed in their dressing room, semi-naked, and glistening from sweat, or perhaps water from having just showered together. For a bunch of tough football players, they looked all of two snaps-of-the-camera away from playing with each other’s balls.
I’ve always felt there was something uncomfortably homo-erotic about a bunch of sweaty guys patting each other on the bum after a game of rugby. Shudder. Urgh… I’d much rather watch girls in leotards doing floor exercises in the Olympic stadium.
“He must be gay because he likes to dance.”
When I was very young, my parents sent me to jazz ballet lessons. My parents introduced me to a lot of things that they believed would expand my horizons.
Some of the other kids at school teased me for it – not for being ‘gay’ as such, because that still meant ‘happy’ back then, but they accused me of being girl-like because of it, or that because I did dancing I must want to kiss boys, and all that other evil bullshit that kids say to each other. Aren’t kids just the worst? Some of them treat others so badly.
Anyhow, I hated the dancing – I felt awkward and stupid. But, I loved the girls. I would have been all of five-to-six years old at the time, but I was already very interested in girls by then. My first girlfriend was a Hungarian girl I met at kindergarten. She couldn’t speak a word of English, but we’d sit together in one of the big pipes in the playground, and swap sandwiches and hold hands.
When those guys gave me shit about attending jazz ballet classes, I’d simply remind them that while they were out being ‘real men’ and playing sport, I was dancing with their tutu-wearing girlfriends.
When I started going to nightclubs, I’d go to all the gay clubs. Not exclusively, but they were on my list. I guess I was asking for it, when I was then accused of being gay. Ha ha.
However, I liked going to those clubs, because a) I liked dance-music in preference to ‘rock/pop’, b) I liked dancing, and I really can’t shake my ass to rock/pop, c) I’ve never seen a fight break out in a gay club, and d) gay clubs are full of the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen in your life.
Beautiful women go to gay clubs, because a) they like to dance too, b) they don’t want to go anywhere where a fight is likely to break out either, and c) they don’t want to spend the evening fighting-off drunken Neanderthals – they just want to have a good time. Gay nightclubs are an excellent place for a decent, nice, straight guy to meet beautiful women.
“He must be gay because he watches chick-flicks.”
I like movies. Some of them are ‘chick-flicks’. In other words, some of the movies I like have stories that are told from a woman’s perspective. So fucking what? I like films that I think are good. Some of them are chick-flicks, many aren’t. There are many god-awful chick-flicks, just as there are many god-awful action flicks too.
I like Bridget Jones’s Diary, and even the sequel’s not too bad – It’s funny. I watched The Devil Wears Prada the other night, for the third time. lol. Anne Hathaway is in it, it’s a good little story, it’s amusing, Anne Hathaway is in it, Meryl Streep is great at being a total bitch. Did I mention that Anne Hathaway is in it? Wow.
I think a lot of guys miss out on a lot of good movies, because they’re afraid of being flamed for watching chick-flicks. In fact, I think a lot of guys miss out on a lot of cultural enlightenment overall, because of some weird homosexual connection they make with it.
“He must be gay because he’s neat.”
I like nice clothes. I hope to look nice every time I walk out the front door, even if I’m only wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I want people to be comfortable with approaching me and talking to me. People in general are very judgemental. So, I’d prefer they didn’t assume I was a slob. I can be a slob at home on the lounge, and once they get to know me, they won’t care. But at first, I think it’s important that I make a good impression. If anything, that makes me a snob, but it doesn’t make me gay.
None of theses things I’ve written about make me gay. Ok, so I don’t like sport, I do like to dance, I don’t like action flicks where the story has no substance and the acting portrays little more than clichéd male posturing crap, I have feelings and am happy to talk about them, and blah blah blah. None of these things mean that I like penises.
I’m gay-friendly, but I’m not gay. I’ve had lots of gay friends over the years. I don’t have any now (that I’m aware of). I’ve had gay colleagues and gay flat-mates too. And not once have I had any inclination myself. And believe me, as a metro-sexual, who likes ‘the arts’ and dancing his butt off until they switch the ugly-lights on, I’ve had every opportunity in the world to find out if I was – I’ve had more proposals than I care to remember.
But, at the end of the day, despite my acceptance of homosexuality (I really don’t care what people get up to under the covers; whatever turns you on, provided you’re happy, it’s all the same to me), men simply don’t do anything for me, whatsoever.
And it’s not that I don’t appreciate the male physical form, but I appreciate it like I appreciate a machine – some machines are built well, others are not. Regardless, they’re all machines. I appreciate the build quality of my car, but I’m not sexually-attracted to it.
Women on the other hand, are sublime. The female form is delicious, beautiful. They smell good too. All men smell awful – we have to mask it with deodorant and cologne. But a woman naturally smells, well… edible. A woman can even work up a sweat at the gym, and some chemical in my brain will trigger a desire to see her naked, regardless. It’s just the way I was made, I guess.
Anyhow, there you have it; I’m a straight man, trapped in a gay man’s body. lol. I just thought I’d put it out there.
I really could write lots more about this, but it’s late and I need to get some Zzzzz.
Here’s another I’ve thought of:
“He must be gay because he likes shopping”
I like shopping. I like getting a bargain. I hate paying full price for anything. This makes me thrifty, not gay.
You want to go on a weekend away, shopping? Count me in. You want an opinion on which shoes look good, which dress looks good, whether or not your “bum looks big in this”? I’ll tell you. And if I get bored, I’ll just go find an electronics retailer, or toy shop.
…and it would be nice if you came and gave me your opinion on which new gadget to take home with me. …or which shoes to buy, or which jacket to buy, or whether my “bum looks big in these jeans”, ’cause I wouldn’t mind looking good too.
I’m sure there’s more…
|I believe in the Big Bang theory that suggests that all life (the substance of the universe) came from a single ‘explosion’, for want of a better description. I’m not going to spend time here explaining it – head for Google.
Having said that, I’m open to suggestions for other causes for this existence – the ‘Big Bang Theory’ is just the most probable-sounding of the theories flying around. …and perhaps I’m a little swayed by a masculine, instinctive attraction to explosions, with itbeing the biggest of them all.
If it were referred to as the Subtle Substance Expansion Theory, or the Flowers, Bunnies and Unicorns Theory, I’d be Googling madly for ways to disprove it.
Hell, as it happens I’m not entirely sure that all this stuff around me isn’t some elaborate facade and not ‘real’ at all. Perhaps this is a reality within another; this is the alternate reality? Countless science fiction stories have covered these possibilities.
As a confessed hopeless-romantic, I also subscribe to the Big Bang Theory because I like the idea that all things are made of the same cosmic dust that resulted from that initial explosion, and that furthermore, we sentient beings are “the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out“(Babylon 5. ‘A Distant Star’).
I’m open to suggestions for other reasons/causes for all this stuff, but rather than debating which is the true cause, I’ll focus on what I believe is not the true cause, and that’s the belief humans have that all this was created by a ‘higher power’, or God.
One of the problems I face discussing topics such as faith and religion is that most people who have these concepts in their lives were raised with them; these things were as much a part of their upbringing as their table manners, their work ethic, their tolerance (or lack of) other cultures. In other words, for many people, their faith and their religion is such a part of their make-up, that to debate these topics, even in an unbiased, friendly forum, is tantamount to debating the integrity of the people themselves; to criticise their religion is to criticise them. And of course, no-one likes being criticised or scrutinised, so when faced with a debate on one’s faith or religion, humans tend to defend their beliefs beyond reason.
Here’s another take on this concept: there are many languages of the world now lost or becoming extinct as a result of the colonisation (read: conquering) of one people by another. In some cases it was actually forbidden to speak the older language, and newborns were taught the tongue of their conquerors.
How do you think the conquered felt about this, particularly the children who were shunned or even punished for speaking a language their parents had taught them? How do you think they felt being told that what they’d grown up with was wrong; that a fundamental part of their identity was wrong? They could no more control which language they were raised with as what hair colour they were born with. The same goes for religion, and to a lesser extent, faith.
There’s a difference between faith and religion. Faith is an individual’s belief system. It could be faith in a God, faith in another form of deity, faith in the belief that there is no single omnipotent being, or even faith in a concept that combines others, such as faith in the belief that the Big Bang was real, and that it was the mechanism by which God created the universe. Science and faith aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Maybe ‘God’ created science as a set of tools to enable sentient beings to learn about the Universe.
Religion on the other hand, is a system of rules and ceremonies developed by humans, that other humans follow and commit to, because it’s seen as an extension of their faith. In some cases, the mechanics of the religion are designed to test the faith itself. Sometimes it’s the actual following of the mechanics of the religion itself that its followers have faith in; they believe that following the construct of the religion is enough in itself to grant them passage to ‘the utopian afterlife’. Conversely, many religions contain clauses indicating that to waiver from the ‘rules’ or to cease practising them entirely is a guaranteed ticket to the ‘fiery pits of hell’. How convenient.
I respect the faith of others. To be more accurate, I respect one’s right to a faith (whatever that may be), and I respect the strength that others have in their faith and their dedication to it, even if I don’t share it or agree with it.
On the other hand I, in general, don’t respect religion. In fairness, I’m admittedly repelled by most forms of ‘establishment’ in which people are encouraged or manipulated into following or performing rituals, even if it’s as simple as the 9-to-5 construct of the white-collar world.
The very routine of arriving to work at 7:15 every morning, starting at 7:30, lunch at 12, finishing at 4:00, day after day, makes me want to slit my wrists.
Apparently people need it – rituals and rules, that is. I really think most people who go to church, go to practise their faith, not because of it.
I have faith in the belief that there is a scientific way to explain everything in this Universe, including how it got here. In other words, I don’t believe that a deity zapped all this into being. Sure, it’s possible – I like to keep an open mind. I just think it’s improbable. Having said this, I don’t necessarily believe that there is a reason for this existence. I think that’s an important distinction; there may be an explanation as to how we sentient creatures came into being, but there may not be a purpose to our existence.
I know, if I was God and I set a Universe into motion, I’d give it free will, freedom, absolute independence – the will of the creatures within to pursue their own destinies, even if that leads to extinction. But also, the ‘will’ of the Universe to evolve of its own volition, without my influence, ever. I mean, after all, absolute independence comes with the responsibility of absolute accountability, doesn’t it? As God, once you step in and flap the butterfly’s wings, you risk a tidal wave in the course of evolution. I’d build it, set it in motion, and sick back with a pint of Murphy’s Irish Stout and a double-pepperoni pizza (which, being My creations, would be the best beer and pizza in existence), and watch the chaos unfold. Now that’s reality TV.
…in case you’re wondering, Murphy’s Irish Stout tastes as if it were actually made by God.
Truthfully, if I were God and I’d created the Universe, I’d wipe all knowledge of my true form, and plant myself into existence as a sentient creature to be born, to live, and to die; to experience ‘life on Earth as a Human Being’ (or other form of existence). What video game programmer doesn’t fantasise about ‘playing’ their creation for real?
Then I’d go back again and try it as a wealthy person, a film star, a pro athlete, a soldier, a slave, a psychopath. Only then, only after I’d been all forms of humanity, and experienced all the highs and horrors of it, could I say I truly understood and appreciated this life I’d created. Doesn’t the Bible say something about humans having been created in His ‘image’? Hmm…’image‘.
And afterwards I might look back and wonder where I fucked-up.
Is that why the Big Bang Theory includes an ending in which the Universe eventually reaches a point where it can no longer expand, only to then collapse upon itself, ultimately resulting in ‘Big Bang – The Sequel’? Create, defeat, rinse-and-repeat.
I’ve always thought that the old debate of ‘creation vs. evolution’ was utterly ridiculous. It reminds me of other stupid debates, such as the Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument, where the only thing those two science fiction franchises have in common is that they both begin with the word ‘Star’.
I don’t understand why the creationists insist on having blind faith in the concept that the whole universe was zapped into being in an instant, by an omnipotent deity. I’ve already said that I don’t believe in a ‘god’, but I respect the right of others to – I really do. But I can’t get my head around why people don’t consider that evolution is real, and that maybe God created it. Why can’t creation and evolution walk hand-in-hand?
Why do humans insist evolution isn’t real, when it’s happening all around them every day? They only have to look at themselves to see the proof; only in the last hundred years they’ve started living longer, and growing taller. These are just biological facts. They’re changing; they’re evolving.
Humans perceive evolution to be something that happened in ancient history (they forget that it’s ongoing) and because some believe that God created everything in an instant (only a few thousand years ago), their logic dictates that evolution must not have happened.
Also, some people think to believe in evolution is to believe that their heritage stems back to apes; that humans evolved from ape-like creatures from ancient history, and they find this concept repugnant. After all, are we not men?
I mean, if modern man evolved from those original tribes in Africa (as the theory goes), and they’d evolved from apes, does that mean that in the evolutionary timeline, Caucasians are more-evolved than Negroes? Let’s see Oprah do a show on that.
It’s preposterous. It’s another example of how humans personify things – animals and objects. It’s why humans cuddle bunnies and not spiders – because bunnies look more like them. Bashing a seal to death is horrifying, but who hasn’t done the same to a spider? You can train a dog to fly a rocket, but that doesn’t make it your cousin. Stupid humans.
I believe in evolution because I see it happening all around me, every day. I don’t believe however, that humans evolved from apes. Certainly they may be related to them in some form, just as they are related to all living things that sprung from that original cosmic dust. But to say they’re closely related to apes, parallels the theory that margarine is akin to plastic because there is only one molecule of difference between them.
As it is, that’s an urban myth; there is no similarity between margarine and plastic. But even if they were different by only one molecule, that’s the same as them being worlds apart; one molecule of difference isn’t a tiny difference – it’s a vast difference. Similarly I don’t see how sharing a similar gene structure to apes is enough evidence to conclude that humans evolved from them.
…and then I’m reminded of rugby, and have to wonder if perhaps there’s some truth in it after all.
God made man
- ‘Jocko Homo’ – DEVO