Well we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said dear boy wont you come home with me
Well Im not the worlds most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my lola …
“Lola”, The Kinks
The passage from child to adult can be very traumatic for both sexes. It’s often said that especially for boys you’re at your most horny while at your least attractive to the opposite sex. All I remember is that the girls in my teenage years all looked seriously fit, and I felt like a greasy, spotty, awkward geek most of the time. Maybe it’s the same for girls, but in reverse so to speak, but not being one I can’t comment. LOL
Developing your sexual orientation used to be pretty straightforward. Ok, that last sentence was crap. At one time you were straight, or looked upon as a deviant. Oscar Wilde escaped the death penalty only because earlier in the century the laws pertaining to homosexual acts had been changed to only allow for non-capital sentences. Two years hard labour for refusing to deny your love of a man is still pretty harsh.
Even now with homosexuality no longer a crime in most countries there is a social stigma attached to non-hetero sexual relationships. This is very often mixed up with the idea that being homosexual makes you promiscuous and a pervert, possibly a dangerous predatory pervert.
I know homosexual men who are promiscuous, I also know male couples who have been in long-term monogamous relationships for decades. I’m sure some of the gay men I’ve met were perverts, though whether they were predatory or dangerous is anyone’s guess. Homosexuality is an orientation not something that implies or causes psychological or behavioural problems.
What can cause homosexual individuals to behave in a way that is peculiar, or occasionally bizarre are the same influences that can cause anyone of any orientation to act in an aberrant manner. That is the rest of society and the attitudes it displays and attempts to project on individuals who are trying to be just that, individual.
When I was in my teens it was far more difficult and dangerous than it is today to be openly gay. Which brings me to the original reason for my post.
It’s about a boy in my class who throughout his schooling always seemed a little different. He wasn’t an outcast, because he kept a low profile. He wasn’t picked on because he made sure he wasn’t a target. This was in stark contrast to myself who was relentlessly bullied because I maintained my faith in the stupid notion that I should express myself and not succumb to the mob mentality that seemed to rule so often in the playground.
Sadly I can’t remember this boy’s name. Actually it’s more than sad because I should be ashamed of myself. By the way he conducted himself he was the perfect example of how to slip under the radar and not be persecuted for your sexuality. Not that you should be persecuted if your sexuality involves love and consent with your partner. But in the real world there are times and places when honesty is not the best policy. The schoolyard being one such place.
It was obvious to me within a few days of meeting this boy that he was gay. Nobody else seemed to pick up on it for the four or five years I went to school with him.
He is a bit of a hero to me to this day because he never caved in and conformed, yet never let his mask of ambiguous sexuality slip. He steered a course that kept him safe yet ensured he didn’t have to deny his preference.
The only time I saw him in his true colours was at a reunion party after leaving school. He turned up in a stylish but slightly flamboyant outfit, wearing makeup, noticeable, but not over-the-top. But the big giveaway was the man on his arm as he entered the function room. (I know “Lola” is about something a little different but it’s about a transformation all the same)
I think a lot of people were shocked, though to some it just confirmed their unspoken suspicions.
Wherever he is now, my demi-hero, I hope that he’s still as balanced and well-adjusted as he always seemed to be. Sadly not everyone manages this skilful navigation through life, still coming-out for some is a painful and life-changing trauma.