Monday, 1 November 2010

Time To Say Goodbye..

As the saying goes; all good things must come to an end. And just like that, it dawns on me that my time in London Town is nearing its very own finishing line.

I remember when I first arrived in the big city. It was in late -97. I recall the excitement as at the age of 17 I stepped off the train at Liverpool Street Station, fresh off the boat from Sweden. I was happy and scared, excited and nervous all rolled into one. I was tingling with butterflies all over. I had left home to come to this metropolitan city and I didn’t know a single soul here. It was a brand new start and one I was looking forward to.

Over the years I had fallen in love with London. I thrived on the fast paced lifestyle, the buzz of the crowded streets, variety of smells in different neighbourhoods and the diversity of people living here. I remember how I’d leave my house to go out on a Thursday night and not come home until late Monday afternoon. There is always something to do in this city. No matter what time of day, be it summer or winter or fall. I think back and smile at how easy it was to make friends.
You could just sit at a cafe and someone would start a conversation with you.
Ah, you’re sending a postcard to Sweden I see? Is that where you’re from?’ was a typical starting line seeing as most weeks I’d found myself sipping a latte in Old Compton Street Cafe, cautiously contemplating what to write home about. It was a line that worked effectively on a naive young boy who’d come to the big city to chase a dream.

In the back of my mind I had Madonna’s success story playing on repeat. How she came to New York with $35, how she asked to be dropped off in the middle of everything, how she worked real hard and how hear dream came true. I was looking to relive that story but in my own words.
Sadly, my fairytale didn’t have the same conclusion. Don’t get me wrong. This is a story with a happy ending only not one that left me rich to my teeth and famous all over the world.

After a couple of years some of my closest friends had come to live in London too. It was an incredibly happy time for me. Finally I could show them all the things I’d been writing home about and I could share the experience with someone I knew and loved. They were surprised to see how I’d grown. Actually, evolved would be a better word to use.

London was a city with lots great opportunity for anyone willing enough to go for it.
I had worked so many different jobs that I am embarrassed to say I can’t even remember some of them. When I first arrived I worked as a barman in the oldest gay pub in the city. It even had the atrocious nickname ‘The Elephants Graveyard’ – because some of the clientele were so ancient they’d been there since day one. Some of them never left, if you catch my drift. During another period I worked as an usher at a cinema in Leicester Square. When I got bored of that I somehow ended up managing a boutique Dry Cleaner in Chelsea. I was a waiter, a store salesman, a receptionist followed by a salon manager at a celebrity hairdressers, to mention just a few.

Each of these roles came with its own unique lifestyle. One I had to adapt to in order to fit in.
Like I said, there are a lot of opportunities here. If you are confident and hungry and not afraid to blag your way to what you want – you’re in. And trust me, there was nothing I was afraid of doing. I wanted it all. And I got most of what I wanted in the process.

But sadly, once I had it, it wasn’t interesting anymore. During one period of time I’d change jobs every three months. I’d get bored. I’d realise that I don’t actually want to do this. I wanted to try something different. So I did.

It wasn’t until I’d reached the age of 26 that I’d actually stuck with a job for a longer period of time. Three years to be exact. I managed a busy reception at a prestigious PR agency in West End. It was a dream job. One that allowed me to lead a pretty fabulous lifestyle. The hours were great, the colleagues were amazing and the salary was more than I could have ever hoped for.
At this point I felt like I was on top of the world. I went on extravagant holidays, partied at the best clubs and brushed shoulders with celebrities on a daily basis. I lived with my best friend Monica in a beautiful apartment overlooking Tower Bridge and I had even met a boy I’d fallen for. Life couldn’t get any better.

Then one day a dark cloud came and placed itself right over my head. That’s how it felt at least. But then again I’m sure that more than half the population of the world felt the same once the credit crunch reared its ugly face. Suddenly, I had lost my job. The company was downsizing. I couldn’t afford the apartment anymore. The lover I’d taken on decided to move on too. I found out the hard way why he was in the relationship to begin with. I had thought I was invincible only to find out just how wrong I’d really been. Everything changed.

I was about to turn 30 and suddenly, whilst struggling to find work in an extremely competitive environment I started to realise just what had changed so much. It wasn’t the city. It was me.

The job market was turning into a battlefield. I watched as bankers fought over bar jobs just to make ends meet and I refused to take such a huge step backwards. I hadn’t worked this hard just to drop all that way down again. But beggars can’t be choosers and I was forced to take a massive pay cut and start all over again. I realise that a lot of people had to do the same and with that I understood that I was slowly but surely getting over London.

I started to plan my next strategic move. Like a game of chess I contemplated where to go next.
The most logical idea that sprung to mind was to move to Serbia. I speak the language fluently, I have loads of friends and family there and I’d be arriving packed with ‘international experience’ that could secure me a job even in the worst job market.

I will always have a place for London in my heart. It has been a home for half my life and it has acted like a step mother in a way. It has taught me some very important lessons in life and it has enriched me with incredible experiences. Some extraordinarily good, some gruesomely bad and some outright unmentionable. But all of which I have learned something valuable from.
I leave this city with a smile on my face and some sadness in my heart. I will miss many great aspects of it but mainly the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.

Once again I find myself on square one. Only this time it feels different.
I am taking a deep breath, closing my eyes and I am taking a giant leap in to the (relatively) unknown. I don’t know what the future holds in store for me. But it’s exciting. And once again I have butterflies in my belly.

I am going home to recharge my batteries. I am going home to spend some time with my family. And I am going home to be with my beautiful man. And life is good!

Bye Bye London. You will be missed - but not forgotten.

Until we meet again.

Dan x

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Path of Fate




Is there such a thing as coincidence? It is a question I have been asking myself quite a lot lately.


A long time ago, on a friends recommendation, I went to see a clairvoyant. Somewhat sceptical, I entered the small and dark room making sure not to reveal too much of myself in my behaviour or conversation. I have heard that sometimes, the not-so-good ones, make guesses based on what the person unknowingly gave away during introduction or even by the clothes or jewellery they wore. I didn’t want to make the same mistake.


‘I will start by telling you about your past’ said the elderly woman as she separated the tarot cards in front of her. I looked at her, quiet but with anticipation. ‘This will be interesting’ I thought to myself.The cards were laid out in a circular shape in front of her as she told me, in great detail, about my troubled childhood, the uprooting at a young age and the ongoing issues with my family. She told me how I was on the run but she couldn’t pin point exactly what it is I am running from. Her accuracy shocked me but I tried hard not to let it show. I wasn’t prepared on giving her the satisfaction of seeing just how right she was. But she wasn’t looking for affirmation. Once my past was out of the way, she cleared her throat and asked if I was ready for my future. ‘As ready as I’ll ever be’ I thought and nodded.


She blended the cards and spread them out on the table and asked me to pick out nine of them. I listened attentively to her as she told me of a long overseas journey that was going to take place. It wasn’t a trip, she clarified, but a journey. As exciting as it sounded to me I wasn’t planning on going anywhere and my concentration started to weaken a bit. She then told me of an extension in my family. A baby was on its way. A child that would change everything. I listened as she went on to interpret my future as she saw it laid on the table, recording the session on a tape.
More events were mentioned but none that grabbed my attention as much as the last thing she said; ‘You will eventually meet someone, a man, and you will fall in love. This meeting is inevitable. It is meant to happen and it will be the love of your life. The only thing I can tell you about this man is that his name begins with the letter M.’


My thought at that moment was; ‘What a load of horse shit!’ I didn’t say it out loud but I nodded towards the lady, acknowledging her statement whilst wondering how many readings she finished with that line. It was a perfect ending to the foretelling of someone’s life; tell them what they really want to hear and make sure they walk out happy about paying an X amount for information that gives them hope for the future. A sigh of disappointment left my body. We were saying goodbye when she took my hand. ‘May I?’ she asked turning my palm towards her. Once again I nodded. ‘Just as I thought’ she said looking into my palm, ‘Your life is pre destined. See this line? It is your path. The path that will lead you to your destiny. It is the journey of fulfilment. You will stray from this path but don’t worry. It doesn’t matter, because you will find your way back in due time. Everything in your life is happening exactly the way that it should. You have a guardian angel watching over you, every step of the way, making sure that you are safe and carry on your journey. Fare well.’


I had just turned 20 when I had that reading done. It stayed in my mind for a short while but soon evaporated from my memory. It wasn’t until a few years later that I found the tape in an old shoebox filled with distant memories. Dusting it off I discovered the tape inside. I played it and suddenly the realisation of the clairvoyants accuracy hit me. Hard!


Over the course of the years her ‘predictions’ had come true. I had left London and returned to Sweden when my mother announced she was expecting a baby. My little brother was born and suddenly he was the new focus in my dysfunctional family. It took a lot of the heat of me and I felt liberated. No longer was I burdened to carry on the family name. It was a relief. As time went on I realised for the second time that Sweden wasn’t the place for me and I started looking for other excuses to leave. I found my salvation on a cruise ship, or more accurately; it found me. My godmother, who’d been working on the ship for years, told me that they were hiring and asked if I’d be interested in joining Crystal Cruises. Without batting an eyelid I agreed and I was off on a long journey over several seas. My travels were filled with excitement and even danger, suddenly reminding me of the notion of a guardian angel watching over me. I felt my heart racing in my chest. Everything the woman told me has happened. Pretty much down to the very last point – but there was one I was still waiting for. The letter M.


I have met a few men since then, and in all honesty, each time I met someone who’s name began with the letter M, I started to analyse them and my feelings for them. But never once did it ‘feel right’. After a while I dismissed that particular prediction as nonsense. Until one day..


In 2008 I returned to Serbia after 15 years absence. It was a journey of self discovery and it was also an eye opener. I realised what I had been missing all these years and the need to return there started to grow. I made some great friends and re connected with family members I thought I was never going to see again. I started to plan my return but with hesitation. I had become so westernised that it seemed farfetched having to adapt to a ‘new’ culture again. But still, the feeling at the pit of my stomach kept growing.


Then one day I saw Him.


Unexplainable in every way, I reacted to a picture of him. Mesmerised by his smile I started to fantasize about him. I had lusted over many men’s pictures during my time but there was something different about this guy. He woke up more than just desire inside me. There was something familiar about him that I just couldn’t put my finger on.
We started to chat. It turned out he was seeing someone. I felt like a balloon that had just been popped. ‘BANG!


What devastated me even more was the person he was with. Somebody I vaguely knew. Someone I was supposed to have met when I visited Belgrade last time. Someone who’d randomly found me on Facebook and added me as a friend. And through him I found the man of my dreams. Who wasn’t available.


It didn’t stop a friendship developing. Over time we got to know each other. We shared some of our darkest moments and spontaneously laughed them off as important lessons in life. We connected in a way I never thought possible with someone who’d I never actually met face to face. The correspondence increased to a daily one, although very platonic. We’d actually become friends.
Eight months down the line his relationship ended. Suddenly, these feelings I’d been nurturing inside started to boil. I didn’t want to mention them. I didn’t want to ruin this great friendship we’d built up. But I couldn’t restrain it. The words came out like galloping wild horses. They marched right across the chat box one day and then there was silence as the dust settled. What have I done? Why did I have to say all that? What possessed me to mention anything and risk losing everything?
I think that somewhere deep down I knew what the answer would be but I was too scared too even hope for it. Maybe I had built up all of this in my mind. Imagined it like a fairy tale that can only live in my imagination, but what followed simply took my breath away.


He admitted to feeling the same way. He told me he was fighting the feelings because of the situation he was in and because of the impossibilities that seemed too dominant in our bond.I read on as he kept writing. My heart beating faster for every word that entered the screen. Is this really happening? Or is this yet another fantasy. A figment of my imagination?


In an instant my feelings multiplied, filling my entire being with love. Every molecule in my body was bursting with emotion and like a magnet seeking out it’s opposite, I was drawn to him.
What happened next were an incredible series of events leading me to this very day. A friend of a friend showed up in London and asked to meet for a coffee. We talked about life and everything in it before he asked me about my views on love. It was a random question but one I was happy to answer. I told him I was an incurable romantic and that I believed in True Love. I mentioned liking someone. I explained that we’d never met but that one day, we will. Suddenly he looked at me with a piercing, almost troubled look and told me the name of the man I was thinking of.


I froze.


How did he know? How could he possibly have known? I never mentioned his name! I never even described him or mentioned anything that could possibly have revealed his identity.‘Intuition’ said my new friend. ‘Just a feeling that turned up in my gut.’ I just sat there, staring at him. He went on to tell me that he knew this boy very well because he too had fallen for him some time ago. His feelings were unanswered and he felt that he had to abandon that friendship because it hurt too much. I felt bad. Here I was lusting for his unrequited love and he knew about it.We spent a day together and getting to know each other he told me how I reminded him of the boy we both care for. He was mesmerised by how alike we were, how we share same views, same stories and even same outlook on life. I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about the boy I had fallen in love with but he didn’t want to say too much. He told me that everyone deserves a chance to be portrayed as the person they want to portray themselves as when they meet someone and that his view on the boy wouldn’t necessarily be mine. Then he said something that shook me to my very foundation; ‘The two of you made for each other.’ This came from a man who was so in love with this person. I saw the hurt in his eyes but I also heard the sincerity in his voice. He meant what he said even though it pained him to say it.


We discussed this awkward coincidence. How come, out of all people in the world, he was the one who stepped into my life at this very moment?


I was meant to leave in a few weeks to go on holiday. It was a holiday I had been looking forward to but one I was a little apprehensive about. My ex had invited me down to Portugal for my birthday as he knew how much I loved travelling and I had never been. I was excited but in the back of my mind I was picturing our uncomfortable meeting. My new friend asked me if I loved him. I said I did but not in that way. Suddenly he told me not to go. I looked at him, surprised. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked.‘If you go, it will be a mistake. And I know you feel it too. You told me you believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Well, as hard as it is for me to admit to this, I think I know the reason why we are meeting now. I am here to tell you that you need to go to Belgrade. You have a date with destiny!’


I have been banging my head against a wall, pondering over this strange circumstance, when my thoughts took me to The Celestine Prophecy. Random coincidences that unbeknownst to you secretly show you the path you need to follow. Shivers rushed down my spine. Could this really be true? Was this my path making itself known to me?


Here I was, in love with a man I had never met. Wondering when we’d ever get the opportunity to meet when suddenly the opportunity presented itself like a pearly gate. I made my decision. I had to follow the signs. They were just too many and too real to be ignored and I couldn’t let this opportunity slip me by.


So here I am. The day before I am about to leave. I’m shaking and I’m scared. What if this incredible chemistry doesn’t translate in real life? What if he doesn’t like me? What if.. I don’t know. I don’t have those answers. All I have is my intuition that’s telling me what needs to be done. In the back of my mind the words of the clairvoyant ringing strong. Maybe she was right? She was right about everything else. Maybe this is the person I am meant to be with. The big L with a name beginning with the letter M.


I am embarking on a journey down my path of fate. I am following the signs. I am hoping they will lead me to my destiny. I am frightened but I am happy. And I am hopeful. Maybe my efforts will pay off and the path I follow will lead me to eternal happiness and unconditional love. Maybe I can make this fairy tale come true. And maybe, just maybe we will have our Happy Ever After...


DK

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

2012 - The Truth About The Myth



How much about the Mayan prediction is true? Will the world come to an end like their calendar – or is the calendar an indication of a new beginning? When Nostradamus predicted humanity’s destruction of the planet, was there any truth in his predicament? Or is the increase in natural disasters just our planets way of defending itself against humanity and the way that we treat it? One thing is certain; humanity cannot live without nature, but nature can quite happily live without humanity.

For decades people have been fascinated by Nostradamus’ prophecies. They predicted so many historic events that it’s sometimes frightening to even try to decipher what the future may hold. His visions were depicted in great detail and accuracy in his published four line poems, called quatrains. The philosopher envisioned both world wars, he saw the 9/11 attack on New York and even predicted his own death. Also mentioned was the invention of motors and machines, the French revolution, Napoleon and even Hitler. For someone who lived in the 16th century even a sceptic must admit that there lies some truth in Nostradamus visions.


Over the last 20 years there has been a surge of natural catastrophes. Among them the Indian Ocean earthquake that caused the Sumatran tsunami, costing an estimated 230 000 human lives, not to mention the destruction of land and property in 14 countries. There’s also been an increased number of hurricanes in the Atlantic, including Katrina that completely demolished large parts of New Orleans and now lately the devastating Haitian earthquake that might have killed up towards 300 000 people. Nostradamus described such occurrences in his visions for our time. There are specific predictions about global warming, freak weather and natural disasters. Mentioned are scenes of devastation, upheaval and turmoil followed by disaster, disease and famine. However, they all come with a glimmer of hope and an open ending – giving humanity a chance to take note of the warnings and act accordingly.
Over the course of earths existence our planet has gone through constant changes and adaptations. Humanoids only entered the picture some 200 000 years ago while our world is close to 4.5 billion years old. During this time the look of our planet has changed drastically time and time again, adapting to its surroundings and ever evolving climate. From a free flowing lava lump to a frozen ball of ice to vast dry deserts and back again. The only difference being; humans weren’t there to witness these changes.

Around 3000 B.C. a mathematical clan began to prosper on the Yucatan peninsula of Mesoamerica. The Mayans created a complex calendar based on planetary cycles around earth. When the Spanish invaded during the 16th century they destroyed most of the Mayan literature in an attempt to convert them to Catholicism. A few written scripts remained and it was with their help that the Mayan calendar could finally be understood. In the 19th century it took German scientist Ernst Forstemann over 20 years to decipher. According to their count the calendar ends on 13.0.0.0.0. which was translated into 21.12.2012, modern day. It was also discovered that the calendar began on 13.08.3114 B.C. – making it a full cycle of roughly 5126 years.


There has been a lot of speculation as to why the calendar seems to be so exact. Combined with Nostradamus prophecies of an ever changing environment many fear the worst possible outcome. There are guesses that Earth’s core will heat up due to extensive and increased solar flares and eventually cause major volcanoes to erupt and possibly shift the magnetic field causing the poles to switch place. Some say that a black hole, probably man made in the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, will devour our planet and send us into oblivion. Others believe that we might collide with another planet known as Nibiru or Planet X. Terrifyingly all these possibilities inevitably end with the virtual extinction of mankind.

The Maya were expert sky watchers’ says Dr John M. Jenkins, astrophysicist from San Francisco, who has been studying the Mayan culture and their incredible astrological accuracy. ‘After researching the dates in the ancient calendar and comparing it with studies of the sky for the approximate date around December 2012, we have discovered what we believe to be the reason the Maya chose this particular date for their calendar to end.' Dr Jenkins goes on to say ‘Winter Solstice falls on this date, but what’s different to previous ones is that a Galactic Alignment takes place. Galactic Alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. This alignment occurs as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. Precession is caused by the earth wobbling very slowly on its axis and shifts the position of the equinoxes and solstices one degree every 71.5 years which in turn causes this Galactic Alignment to occur only once every 26,000 years, and this was what the Maya were pointing to with the 2012 end-date of their Long Count calendar.’

Looking into the Maya culture as well as deciphering the prophecies of Nostradamus that leave an open ending to the future of our world, instead of waiting for the world to end, perhaps we should look at it as a New Beginning. In his book The Celestine Prophecy author James Redfield describes nine insights based on ancient scrolls found in Peru. Each insight leads to greater awareness, evolving the human mind. It is thought, that the Maya believed when the new cycle begins mankind will reach a higher state of consciousness, progressing to the next evolutionary step. The ideology is to connect to the planet that feeds and nurtures us. To connect to people we encounter and share the energy instead of conflictingly strive for greatness and power, thus repressing a fellow man. It’s simple yet effective. But the transition is much more complicated than that. In the last couple of centuries modern civilization has evolved at such rapidity that we have been spoiled with technology and lost touch with our own spirituality – especially our connection with mother earth. Instead of nurturing the planet we inhabit, we are set on stripping it of all natural resources and polluting it with all the unnatural ones. The human race is growing at an alarming pace and as a result we are in danger of outgrowing earth’s sustenance. Does it then really come as such a surprise when our planet fights back? If somebody repeatedly kept punching you, unprovoked, would you just sit there and take it or would you fight back and defend yourself?

Natural disasters, illnesses and epidemics almost seem like a necessary evil in order to somehow maintain a natural balance and give us hope for the future of mankind. We need to listen and take note of the messages our planet is sending us. We need to interpret them and act accordingly. Ignoring them will serve no greater good. We need to collectively put our minds together and act as one. After all, we are only one race. We need to connect and help each other instead of only helping ourselves. We need to realise that a new age is coming. There is hope for us still but we need to act now as time is slowly running out. 2012 is literally just around the corner. It is up to us to decide whether it will represent The End or as the Maya believed; a New Beginning.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Hag Fag



A few years ago I received a parcel from one of my closest friends who’d just relocated from London to San Francisco. I’ve received many gifts over the years from dear friends but never one that stood out in this particular way. Basically it sums up the sender so uncannily and upon receiving it I was instantly reminded of why I love her so much.

A soft largish brown envelope arrived in the post and I immediately recognised the handwriting. I couldn’t wait to go home and open it but I was somewhat alarmed by the rustle inside the package. It was squishing and squalping inside. I was curious as to what was in there and rushed home to tear it open. It was sealed well, taped up real good into an inch of its life and I had to dig up a pair of scissors to gain access. Once I cut a corner I yelped in shock as water came pouring out of the bubble padded envelope.
Oh. My. God! What the hell???’ I exclaimed as I tore into the parcel and dug out a book that was soaked through and through. The title read; "Girls who like boys who like boys – True tales of friendship between straight women and gay men". I looked further into the envelope and nearly cut myself trying to fish out a barely readable handwritten note; ‘I found *smudge* and thought *smudge* you! Love *smudge* eternally, *smudge*’. There was actual glass at the bottom. And water. And … glitter??
“Schhhlonkkkk! “
A snow globe base fell to the floor in my room, the Golden Gate Bridge rolling off to one side. I couldn’t stop laughing. ‘Typically Mon’ I thought.

And it was. Throughout our incredible friendship I have laughed many times at Mon’s entertaining ways of doing things and solving problems. But sending a snow globe in a bubble wrapped soft envelope from America to Europe and expect it to arrive in one piece was just delightful to me. It surely brightened up my otherwise gloomy day.
I remember putting the book somewhere to dry and that was the last I saw of it, until a few weeks ago when I was clearing out an old cupboard and suddenly it reappeared. It was a little bent out of shape but still in a readable condition. That morning, instead of trying to combat my daily issue of Metro on an overcrowded District Line, I decided to bring this book. It was a hilarious read but one that reminded me that my favourite hag was on the other side of the globe. The stories brought back memories I’d somehow misplaced somewhere in my mind. Perhaps all those years dedicated to my dear friend Mary Jane took their toll, but being clearheaded and out of the smoke cloud for a few months suddenly it was all coming back to me.

In my life I’ve been fag to many a hag. It all started just before secondary school back home in Sweden. My first real friends were all girls. Even before I knew I was gay I found I didn’t have very much in common with other boys. They wanted to get dirty (no, not in that way) and play football or wrestle or any other boyish type of stuff. Gosh, I was so bad at it I can’t even think of a single thing boys do when they are kids. Instead I much preferred to hang with the girls and do girly stuff like play with dolls and talk about boys. Being a sensitive child I found girls so much easier to relate to.

In the early years there were the two polish sisters from my block, Monika and Patricia Rodziewitcz, the good catholic girls who I corrupted with my obscure interest in pagan rituals and the occult. Then there were Linda, Tina and Annie. Three neighbouring girls that found my dressing up and impersonating Madonna hilarious. Annie and I became really close. I didn’t understand it back then but both our families struggled with the presence of alcohol. I guess that created a sort of bond between us and we could comfort each other when we need it most.
And then there was my first ‘straight’ crush; a pretty girl called Nina. I used to obsess over her and not really knowing how to be a boy’s boy I tried to woo her by stripping off outside her window and shouting obscenities through her letter box. Pretty scary stuff in retrospect. Not to mention embarrassing. How she never throttled me with a bottle or maced my face is beyond me.

Once we started secondary school Annie and I sort of drifted apart. We were placed in different classes and Nina ended up in mine, so naturally we became closer. I was lucky cos Nina was one of the popular girls in school and although at times she made fun of my eccentric ways she also protected me from the perils of the popular boys. As long as I was friends with her they wouldn’t touch me, apart from the occasional slander across the school yard which I didn’t pay much attention to. I even remember one of the jocks asking me if I was a faggot in front of all his mates on my way home from school one day. To which I replied; ‘Why? You wanna piece of my ass?’ A very risqué thing to say but I saw Nina on the other side of the football field and that gave me enough confidence to be bold. In the long run it paid off. Once they realised I wasn’t bothered they stopped. Coincidentally Nina was the first person I ever came out to. It turned out her uncle was gay and once I found out, it was easy to confide in her. After all, she would never judge me. Later on, when I came out to my parents and my mother “nearly died” in an over dramaticised heart attack simulation, Nina and her mom took me in while social services tried to find me a suitable home.

A year later my close circle had also come to include Lindsay, Danielle and Marie. The three Mouseketeers. They were called that cos they always wore the same outfits, just different colours and they all had Mickey Mouse bags. Lindsay was another girl I’d developed a crush on in my confused teen age. Something that in latter days developed into a much deeper friendship. Then of course there was Diane. Diane was a girl with the same background as me. Our parents were from former Yugoslavia and although naturally we should have bonded we actually despised each other to begin with. At least I think she despised me. Personally I found her hilarious. She was outspoken and confident and most of all she was insanely funny. As time progressed we eventually accepted each other and to this day we are still good friends. She inspired me to take up acting in college. We always used to go a bit crazy during class, especially when we had a substitute teacher. We’d pretend we were other people and I vividly remember one time when we actually ‘gave birth’ to a football in the middle of the classroom while the substitute teacher ran off terrified, screaming in tears. Ahhh, hose were the days..

The college years were not that much different. By this time I was fully aware of my sexual orientation but even though there were quite a few gays in college I still stuck to the girls. The thing in our college was that there wasn’t much segregation between popular and unpopular students. It was more about who was the most visible. Everyone was trying to outshine the other, me with fire engine red hair and green eyebrows. Don’t judge. I was still trying to find my inner artiste. After all, it was drama school and that’s what we were there for.
My immediate attention went to a tough but beautiful looking rocker chick named Cat. She donned the Pulp Fiction Uma Thurman look and being a massive Tarantino fan I was automatically drawn to her. It turned out she too had the same heritage as me and we bonded over coffee and cigarettes, skipping only the boring classes. Cat was a year older than everyone else in class. She’d repeated a year and as such seemingly had more authority amongst her peers. Hanging out with her I sought that status too.
By this time I was placed in an open juvenile home. I was too young to live on my own and too old to be placed in a foster home. Maybe not the smartest of moves considering that up until this point I’d been a ‘good girl’ and suddenly I was sharing a home with troubled kids of which some even had drug related problems. Here I befriended Becky, a street smart pretty girl with a tough exterior. I openly confessed my status during our first meeting and she looked me in the eye, deep and serious, and said; ‘One day I’ll fuck your brains out!’ A year later, she did. It was a drunken summer night while we were out camping. We were both lying by the log fire, missing our respective boyfriends when suddenly one thing led to another. It was my first time with a girl, but not my last.
Needless to say our relationship was never the same after that moment even though we tried to pretend it was. I cared deeply for her but she spiralled out of control and after a few months moved away to a more secure institution.

Her replacement, Johnny, happened to become my closest and best friend, ‘sister’ and partner in many of the crimes our lives would influence us to commit. We entered a life shaping period together and shared a few hags between us. Enter Michaela, Jessie and Jen. These girls were fun loving and up for ANYTHING. Although harbouring, what we thought at the time, unhealthy feelings towards my ex boyfriend Jessie was the ‘mother’ of the group. Easily persuaded to partake in the most ludicrous of things she still maintained a sense of right and wrong and at times acted as our collective conscience. Like having a guardian angel on your shoulder. The devil in this instance would have to be Jen. She always came up with the craziest ideas and wasn’t afraid of anything. The ironic thing is that her overconfidence made sure she also got away with just about everything.

These relationships proved vital for my future survival and taught me how to get what I want simply by batting my eye lashes. Essentially it worked a hell of a lot better for the girls, but whoever was on the receiving end of my batting lashes was generally so freaked out that they gave in without much of a fight.

At the age of 17 I was hungry for more. I decided to leave Gothenburg and, with Madonna as my inspiration, try my luck in a metropolitan city. I ended up in London. On the way here I met Chanelle, a girl I recognised from college, and we instantly clicked. My first 3 months was spent with her and her five sisters in a one bedroom apartment. Although it was somewhat cramped it was also a lot of fun. It was like living in a doll house. Being Caribbean Chanelle, Meeryam, Neemah, L’Wonda, LaKesha and Star taught me everything I ever wanted to know about hair extensions, fake nails and black men. It was an important chapter in my life. One that would have huge significance when I finally met my No 1 fag hag; Mon.

:)

To be continued...


Dan K.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Oh damn..









..I didn't have a chance to post anything all of february!!?

How the hell did that happen?

OK, I better get my act together and make sure to be more productive in March!


Bare with me..


Dan

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Red Brick - a short story by DK




As he walked up the narrow footpath leading to the red brick building where she lived, he felt a knot forming in the pit of his stomach. It’s been four years since he saw her face and he wasn’t sure what to expect. The fact she wasn’t expecting him didn’t make matters any easier and suddenly the palms of his hands became moist.

Would she invite him in or would she not even bother to open the door?

Last time they met things didn’t go very well. She was six months with child and she had just discovered that her abusive husband of 10 years was cheating on her with a woman young enough to be his daughter. She was devastated and lost and she turned to him for help. He wasted no time and did everything he could. He’d called a halfway house that specialises in helping abused pregnant women. They had been full and kept referring him to other places but he begged and pleaded for hours until they finally gave in and agreed to see her. He called her to tell her what she needed to do next. When her husband went to work she should pack only what’s necessary, leave no clues as to where she’d gone and meet him by the corner shop at the bottom of her street. He would wait for her and take her to the halfway house and make sure that she was safe.

When the day came, he stood there waiting for her. He waited for over an hour. She never showed up. He started to fear that maybe she’d been caught trying to escape. The fear in him grew the more he thought about it. He decided to go and check on her. Slowly, he walked up the narrow footpath leading up to the red brick building where she lived. He envisioned her on the floor, beaten, holding her swollen stomach, protecting it from her husbands’ punches. The fear in him turned to rage. He started running. Faster. He reached the house where she lived. The light was on. He rang the door bell.

Nothing.

He rang it again. This time he heard movement. The sound of a key turning. The door opened. He saw her face. She had been crying.

I’m sorry’ she said ‘I can’t do it.’
He looked at her, puzzled. ‘What do you mean?’
She shook her head.
‘I need to get you to a safe place. I’ve made all the arrangements for you and they are expecting you. But we have to leave now’ he said.
She looked at him once again with teary eyes. She shook her head.
‘I can’t do it’
He gazed at her. His eyes welling up.
‘Please’ he asked ‘think of the baby.’
Her hands were shaking. Tears streaming down her tired face as she continued to shake her head. ‘I love him’ she cried. ‘I’m sorry’

Before he had a chance to say anything else she’d closed the door and he heard the key turn in the lock. With the red brick building behind him he slowly started walking away. With a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes he couldn’t help but wonder what kind of hold her husband had over her. Then at the end of the day, the choice was hers. It always has been. But why then did she come to him and ask for his help?
He hated her for it. Every time something went wrong in her life she would turn to him and ask for help. She’d expect him to always be there. Never once wondering how he felt in the intricate web of heartache she’d snared him in.

‘Not any more’ he said to himself as he walked away ‘I can’t do this any more. Not again.’

That was four years ago now. After that last meeting he decided to disappear for a while. It was clear to him that he had nothing left to fight for and as such the world was his oyster. At 25 he had so many prospects for a good life. But he had no ambitions. He never learned how to develop one. He only ever focused on making sure she was ok. That was his ambition. That was what gave him the strength to carry on. His love for her and his constant worry for her well being.

His hand was shaking as he lifted it up to press her buzzer. He hesitated.
What if he opened the door? He was about to turn around but stopped himself.
It would be a chance he’d have to take. He’d travelled far to be here and he wasn’t about to turn around now. Not like this. Not yet. He had to see her. Even if it was the last time he ever did. He just needed to know that she was ok.

‘BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’ went the doorbell.

Mommy, mommy, there’s someone at the door’ he heard a child shout inside.
He hadn’t even thought about the child. He didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl. Suddenly he felt ashamed. He wanted to run. He wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole.

Then he heard the key turn and the door opened, slowly.
He could hear his heart beat like a drum inside his chest. He was positive the whole world could hear it. His eyes wandered towards the opening and were met by her surprised gaze. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She was searching for the right words to say but none came out. He looked at her tenderly. She had grown old. Her long auburn hair was now conquered by strands of grey. He held his breath as his hand touched her face. He traced the lines with his finger as she closed her eyes and tears started flowing. She took his hand, looked him deep in the eyes and pulled him in to her embrace. He felt his heart explode and he broke down in tears. He held her tight in his arms, unwilling to ever let go.

‘Mommy, mommy, who’s that’ a child’s voice asked.

He felt her embrace loosen a little and he suddenly saw a beautiful little girl standing behind her. The girl looked at him suspiciously with large almond shaped eyes.

‘This’ she said ‘is your brother..

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Fog City - on a budget!



In the current financial situation, despite things looking up, good deals are hard to come by.I nearly cancelled my San Francisco trip because my finances wouldn’t allow but instead I saw it as an opportunity to experiment and see just how far $200 dollars would take me. I was given a round trip ticket for my 30th birthday and all I had to do was find a place to stay. Researching the web I answered an ad on Craig’s List and this was the result.

I arrived at SFO airport on a sunny Friday afternoon in September and my fabulous host Melissa picked me up on her lunch break and drove me to their charming apartment on 24th and Mission. After giving me a swift tour and realising I was jet lagged she told me to have a nap and she’d show me some of the town once she’d finished work. Needless to say I was out like a light for the rest of the night.

The next day Melissa and her boyfriend Eric sat me down and we talked through what was expected of me. Melissa was turning 30 on Wednesday and they wanted to have a few friends over for dinner but neither of them was confident enough to cook for a group of people. That’s where I came in. The menu was relatively simple but it involved cooking live lobsters, something Mel and Eric were reluctant to doing themselves. It was going to be a small and intimate gathering of around 10 people and I found the task at hand quite exciting. But I was curious as to why they’d placed an advert on Craig’s List offering room and board in exchange for a chef and party planner? The explanation was simple. They are both open and friendly people who happen to live on a budget themselves. Having just returned from a week at The Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert (something I wish I’d been able to experience) they had met so many cool and random people and had themselves received plenty of invitations to strangers homes. I couldn’t help but ask why they picked me and the answer was ‘We liked the look of you. You have kindness in your eyes!’ I wasn’t going to argue with that.

Suddenly the room went dark and looking outside I realised that it’s not always sunny in California. Grey thunder clouds gathered in the sky and with a BANG the sky opened up to let down what seemed like torrential rain. I gawped at the sight as lightning struck a couple of miles away. Melissa and Eric were just as shocked. They said it hadn’t rained like that in at least four years and gave me a sideways look as if to ask ‘Did you bring the UK weather with you?’I couldn’t help but feel somewhat guilty thinking of how it rained in London just as I took off.

My lovely hosts felt sorry for me coming all that way and not get any sun, the ONE thing I had been longing for for months, so they offered to take me on a guided tour of San Fran in the comfort of their pimped up 97 Chevrolet Convertible – but with the roof top up, obviously. Before we headed out they took me for brunch at Boogaloo’s on 22nd & Valencia (www.boogaloossf.com ). A very busy but quaint Latino inspired diner where people write their name on a waiting list outside and wait for a table to become free. It was a nice experience and the food was delicious and reasonably priced with my scrambled eggs and chorizo brunch with a Coke and coffee adding up to $8.

After the meal I was taken through the streets of San Francisco for a couple of hours. We drove through the famous slithering Lombard Street which was a thrill in its own right. It was very picturesque, as is most of San Francisco, and driving through it I particularly enjoyed seeing Alcatraz in the far distance. Next stop was the famous Castro district where the hit movie ‘Milk’ was filmed. It felt incredible to be at that particular spot where history had been made and everywhere you look there are little reminders of Harvey Milk, with even a plaza named after him. As we kept driving and talking and slowly reaching late afternoon the sun finally decided to come out, only for a couple of hours, but still it was just what I needed. Melissa stepped on the gas exclaiming; ‘No time to lose’ and drove me to Ocean Beach. It would have been a good effort had the beach itself not been completely covered in thick fog. Second attempt to actually see the ocean led us to Baker Beach where the fog wasn’t as dense but still thick enough to obstruct The Golden Gate Bridge from being seen.

Despite failing to live up to my expectations I wasn’t going to let the flaws of the first day ruin my holiday. The following day I was offered to come along on a road trip to Santa Cruz, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. But not before I attended a Sunday service in church. Melissa insisted I come along and check it out.

‘I’m not religious’ she said ‘but I was invited to one of Glide’s services and after attending for the first time I was hooked. They are like no other church I’ve ever seen before. They don’t discriminate against ethnic origin, background or sexual orientation. If anything, there’s a more spiritual feel to it and there is a real connection between the people attending. They don’t even have a cross. The reverend once said that the cross represents death and that this church celebrates life.’ I must admit that I was slightly curious. I always knew people were big on religion in America and while I was here I was prepared to give it a go and see what it was all about. Once we entered the Glide Memorial Methodist Church (www.glide.org ) in Downtown I realised what all the fuss was about. There were people from all walks of life here; homeless and middle class as well as wealthy. The main part of their Sunday celebrations was music and the Glide Ensemble did a great job providing soulful gospel entertainment. I learned that the church has been praised by the likes of Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton and Oprah for its outstanding contribution to society. I also learned that it provides services such as programmes for abused women, HIV testing, mental and primary health care as well as literacy programmes. There are also drug and alcohol recovery programmes, crisis intervention and free legal services for the homeless, to name just a few. The atmosphere amongst the congregation was intense but in a wonderful way. There was a real sense of belonging. Even for me, a complete stranger and outsider. At one point the reverend, Cecil Williams, told us to share the love with the person next to us. At this point everybody turned around and started hugging whoever stood next to them. It was a truly liberating experience. One I will have to repeat some day. Although my funds were limited, once the collection basket passed through our row I was more than happy to part with whatever change I had in my pockets. $10 seemed like a drop in the ocean in exchange for all the goodness that was being done here. I left feeling uplifted and enriched by this humbling experience.
We drove to pick up Eric and Melissas friend Emma before setting course for Santa Cruz. Although the weather stayed gray and wet the journey there and back was plenty to satisfy my vagabond hunger. We drove along coastal California and I was enjoying the sights of rocky formations and sandy beaches, surfers busy with tempestuous waves and every once in a while I spotted a sea lion in the stormy sea. We spent a few hours at Santa Cruz Boardwalk (www.beachboardwalk.com ), a small free admission amusement park with rides, food stalls and candy floss, before making the three hour trip back just as another torrential rain started to attack the windshield. The whole trip came to $18 and that included 3 rides and a food stop at McDonalds on the way.


Monday arrived and I was left to my own devices as my hosts had to work. To my delight the storms had passed and finally the sun was out. Equipped with a map, cigarettes and a bottle of water I set out to explore the city on my own. I opted for a stroll through the winding and hilly streets. They were pretty empty as most people were at work and I was enthusiastically absorbing the picturesque sights. I soon realised just how exhausting it was to walk up and down these waves of streets and once I reached Dolores Park I stopped to catch my breath. But instead the views from the park took my breath away. Entering it from the 20th Street on top of a hill I was confronted by a beautiful sight of San Francisco Downtown and Bay area. Suddenly, I felt like I wanted to stay here forever. There was something mesmerising about this place and I instantly fell in love. Knowing I had limited time I continued my walk down through 18th Street and up along Castro. I decided to give the public transport a go and took the Muni train to Taraval & Sunset where I changed onto a bus going all the way to Baker Beach. The ticket was $2 and was valid for almost 3 hours from the time of first travel. Good value for money, I thought. Once the train emerged from under ground, I was really surprised to see a gray and misty exterior. As we reached the Sunset district I realised that the weather hadn’t changed, the area was just immersed in fog. In some places so thick you could only see a few meters ahead. I’ve never experienced anything like it and there was a drastic contrast just a few blocks down where the sun was shining. I later learned that the western part of Sunset district was often immersed in fog during the summer months where it would only clear in late afternoons, revealing pleasant sunsets which gave the area its name.

I arrived at Baker Beach only to find it too was buried in the fog, once again hiding the Golden Gate Bridge from view. I knew I should have checked the online web cams before setting off, but then again the fog rolls in and out so quickly that it’s quite unreliable considering the hour long journey it takes to get there. Dolores Park kept calling me back so I decided to return there. At least that part was out of fogs reach and I could lap up some sun, guaranteeing a tan before I headed back to Britain. On the way home I stopped by a burrito place and had to try one of those. The cheap dinner came to $6 bringing my total spend for the stay to $44 and I’d already been there 4 days. Not bad considering how much I’d done and seen.

Although I decided to try and stay away from the tourist traps I couldn’t resist visiting one of the most famous landmarks of SF; Fisherman’s Wharf (www.fishermanswharf.org ). I made my way to the very edge of San Francisco and the AT&T Park by the Bay Bridge. There I met Eric on his lunch break for some pointers on what’s worth seeing and places worth visiting and I set off on foot towards the piers. It’s a great area where you could easily spend a lot of money on all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs but my money went on a well deserved In-N-Out Burger Meal that came in at $6.65 and was enough to keep me satisfied for a while. The wharf was teeming tourists and there was so much to see. I contemplated taking a trip out to Alcatraz but I was on my own and at the time it seemed like an overkill at $26 for the boat trip and an additional $7.95 for entry. So I opted for viewing it from the mainland. The highlight for me was Pier 39 and its large amount of sea lions. People flocked to see these magnificent creatures but many didn’t stay for too long as the smell was kind of putrid from all the faeces. Still, well worth a visit.


Later on that evening Melissa, Eric and I went for dinner in the Castro area. Their friend Summer joined us and we all went to a restaurant simply named Home (www.home-sf.com ). With traditional comfort food at affordable prices it was a true delight. The decor was modern but warm and the staff very professional and friendly. My two course meal of Roasted Bay Scallops to start with and Meatloaf and Mash for main with a glass of wine amounted to less than $20. I’d warmly recommend it to anyone. We finished the night on a bar crawl down Market street and by the time we returned I still had a crisp $100 bill in my wallet.

The following day was all about Melissa. It was her birthday and while she was at work Eric and I were planning her surprise – a puppy. We spent the morning checking out different dog adoption centres and there are a few in San Fran (www.sfspca.org ). We shortlisted a couple for Melissa to visit later and then we set off to buy all the groceries we needed for the evenings feast.
Melissa joined us after we’d picked up most of the ingredients and we all drove together to Sun Fat Seafood Shop (
www.sunfatseafood.com ) on Mission Street to get the live lobsters. Starting from $7.99/lb we decided on 8 large ones weighing in at 2.5lb each. The total came in at $159 but I thought there were 10 of us in total? I was told that they couldn’t afford a lobster each as it was a week before payday and they were running out of money. I decided to chip in and get an additional two lobsters reducing my remaining budget by $40. It was the least I could do for the incredible hospitality my amazing hosts had shown me. Either way I only had two more days in the city and judging by how little I’d spent it was obvious I was going to be alright.


Back at the apartment I started to cook the lobsters as the guests began to arrive. I had grown up in a seaside town and seafood was easy for me to prepare. I was introduced to Melissa and Eric’s friends, some of which I had already met and we all had an amazing night. It was a thrill to be part of such a great group of people. Impressed with my culinary skills I was told by some of them that I was more than welcome to come back anytime I liked. I could stay for free as long as I promised to feed them. Now that’s a deal I’d be a fool to turn down. The night was a huge success and my hosts were extremely grateful while I was just happy to be able to help.

The next day proved to be the hottest during my entire stay. One of my new found friends, Emma, asked if I wanted to go to the beach again. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my last day, hoping that today would be the day I would finally see The Golden Gate Bridge. And just as I hoped my wish came true. We arrived to an almost empty Baker Beach with no fog in sight and the bridge viewable in all its glory. I was in heaven. The sun was shining, I had great company and finally I got to do what I came here to do – take a great photograph of The Golden Gate Bridge for my collection (and top up my tan of course). Once she finished work Melissa came to pick us up and drove me across the bridge and back. She said I hadn’t had the full SF experience unless I’d been on it. I took the opportunity to take some great photos and take in some astonishing views from the other side.


On the way back we stopped by Fisherman’s Wharf one last time so I could pick up a few souvenirs and postcards now I had some money left. After that we headed for a ‘surprise’ as the sun was setting over the city. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a long and winding journey before we finally reached our destination; Twin Peaks (www.sftravel.com/twinpeakssanfrancisco.html )It is a hill top in the middle of the city that has got the most amazing views of San Francisco. I was told that in the daytime you can see incredibly far but on this night the views were even more spectacular. The city was lit up with all these fluorescent lights that made it look almost as if it was on fire. We sat down on the hillside overlooking this image that will forever stay etched in my mind. It was my last night. I felt like crying. I have heard many versions of people’s stories where they say that they left their hearts in San Francisco. There are even songs written about that particular phenomenon – but it wasn’t until this very moment I actually realised the meaning of that phrase.

I am thrilled that I never cancelled my trip and set myself out for this challenge. It has certainly taught me the price of true adventures;

A fabulous week of sightseeing in San Francisco = $190

An abundance of memories and friendships for life = PRICELESS!

Dan K.


Monday, 4 January 2010

He-Man's Happy New Year!


Part 2;

On that last night I had asked He-Man if he wanted to come with me and my friends to the notorious XXX-mas party at the SoHo House. He gladly accepted.

During the week I received more ‘cute’ texts and phone calls.
And I started to think about how I felt about the whole thing. I was looking at him and I couldn’t for the life of me understand what a guy looking like that wanted to do with a guy looking like me. And by that I mean body shape. He was incredibly muscular and extremely defined. His body was perfect on so many levels. Then I looked down at my scrawny little self and imagined the two next to eachother and I literally cringed. I know that sounds really bad but I just couldn’t get the image to sit right. After a few conversations with Emelie we came to the conclusion that I had so much more to contribute than just a smoking body and that he was probably looking past all that. That’s a logical conclusion, right?

The weekend came and leading up to Christmas I was a bit stressed out. I had so much stuff to do and sort out before flying to Berlin for 9 days. He-Man had known about my Berlin plans for a couple of months and although he was sad that I was going he seemed excited for me too.

Saturday was my only real day off and Emelie and I had spent most of it working on Johnny and Mikes present as well as last minute Christmas shopping. As you can imagine Oxford Street was a nightmare and we were running late to meet Tom and Neil for a last catch up drink before the holidays.

Earlier in the day He-Man had called to say he might be in Soho later that night and if I was there it would be nice to see each other.
To me it sounded like he was going to be out with friends anyway so I said I’d stop by when we were done with the boys.

It was getting late already and we were dragging all our shopping through the crowded streets, absolutely starving. Tom started to call impatiently asking where we were. He-Man texted asking if he should come in to town or not? I was confused. ‘I thought you were coming anyway?’ I said. ‘No, I just wanted to see you’ came the reply. It was almost half nine and we were over an hour and a half late to meet Tom and Neil. I was already stressed and didn’t know how long we would stay in town. It would take him over an hour to get in and I wanted to go home with all the shopping.
He sounded so disappointed in his reply I had to call and see what was the matter. He thought it would be fun and spontaneous – I thought it was stressful and unplanned. In the end he told me he was going out locally instead.

Emelie and I went for dinner and Tom joined to watch us eat. He was all dressed up and ready for a night out when Neil texted to say his car broke down and he was waiting for the RAC and didn’t think he would make it. We decided to call it a night and I invited them to the SoHo House party the next day instead to do the catch up properly.
Emelie suddenly thought I should invite He-Man over to ours now everything else fell apart and in that one chaotic instant it seemed like the right thing to do – be spontaneous and all.
I sent him a message saying that I was looking forward to seeing him tomorrow and I was sorry about the misunderstanding earlier. Adding that if he wanted to and hadn’t already gone out he was welcome to come over.

Inside Leicester Square tube station I started to realise the implications of the text I’d just sent. It was almost 10.30pm, it would be nearly midnight by the time he gets to mine. ‘Oh my God, he wants to spend the night!?’ was my first immediate thought. ‘Shit!’ came second. The house was a mess. With Emelie staying in the living room, all the Christmas stuff everywhere, dishes, clothes hanging out to dry.. I’d just had a massive Chinese meal, feeling grubby and disgusting after a days elbowing down Oxford Street. Not the best of times to be inviting someone you fancy round.

As we exited Brixton tube my phone instantly rang. It was He-Man, all excited and upbeat asking if he should bring anything when he comes over. I panicked!
I told him that I sent that text by mistake before I had thought everything through. I tried to explain to him all the reasons why he couldn’t come round and I was honest. I told him about the mess and shopping and clothes on dry and dishes but somehow no matter how true my excuses were they sounded incredibly false.

Disapprovingly he said he understood and that it was cool. I reassured him I was looking forward to seeing him the next day at the party and he said he couldn’t wait.

Oh my God, you didn’t just say all that’ Emelie looked at me, horrified. I was paralysed. That sounded SO bad. At least I could make up for it tomorrow, I thought.

I woke up the next day excited about the evening ahead and a little nervous about He-Man meeting my friends for the first time. I’d just gotten out of the shower and was about call him when I receive his text; ‘Dan, I have to be honest. This isn’t going to work. I really like you but you don’t seem to know what you want. We don’t seem to be on the same page. One day you’ll meet a man that steals your heart and I hope you’ll be happy. Me X’

SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAT????????’ Emelie yelled as I showed her the text. ‘But you’ve only been on a few dates!? WTF?’

Uh-uh. Oh no you don’t! That’s not how this game is played’ I thought to myself. I’d spent all that time fighting it and just as I was accepting it he’s ready to pull the plug. What a cheek!?
I got really upset. I didn’t know what to say to that. He wasn’t being fair and if my indecisiveness last night was to blame then I had to explain myself again. So I called him. Told him he was being unfair and that I really wanted him to come tonight.
It was weird. Instead of rebelling against it I actually really wanted him to come. And he did.

The group of us was at Rupert Street when He-Man arrived fashionably late again. Looking incredible. He’d been to the gym. He had a sun bed too. ‘Brownie points for effort’ I thought eyeing him up and down. He walked up to me and kissed and it felt as if the whole room was staring at us. Quite a nice feeling.
After introducing him to Tom, Neil and Isabelle I took him to the side to have a little chat about his dramatic text earlier. For the first time I started to believe that he really, wholeheartedly wanted to try and see where this was going.

We had an awesome night at SoHo House. My friends liked him and vice versa. They had a room with Christmas props where we ended up having a hilarious photo session. However the fun ended just before the stroke of midnight and we went our separate ways. We both had to wake up early but was meeting up the next day.

I invited him over for dinner at mine before I was leaving for Berlin. It was his birthday the day before New Years Eve and I wanted to give him a little Christmas/Birthday present. He’d loved Avatar so much we decided to go see it at the IMAX once I got back. So I made him an Avatar card and gave him the PS3 game as we talked about playing it. He was thrilled and pulled out a little bag himself. I wasn’t expecting anything at all so the surprise was obvious. He got me Lady GaGa’s Fame Monster album, knowing how much I loved it and didn’t have the actual physical album. He also got me Twilight on dvd. He couldn’t believe I’d still not seen it and wanted me to know why he loved it so much. He mentioned something about Edward saying to Bella how he couldn’t stay away from her and how much he needed her. He said if someone told him that, he’d just melt. It was also a follow-up plan for us to go see New Moon later.

He was thoughtful. And really sweet.
And this time it was just us.
Alone.
Finally.

I had outdone myself in the kitchen. My Thai Green curry, his favourite, was cooked to perfection and I was almost half expecting him to start purring. Maybe I put a little too much cream in it? Oh who’s counting calories anyway!?

We ended up in my room. Smoked a joint and listened to music.
It was nice to start to get to know him a bit better. With no interruption. But we still hadn’t had sex. Nor was sex ever mentioned. We made out a lot but that was as far as it went really. It was OK by me. After rushing into it last time I thought why not try a different approach? Plus, moving slowly is good. Getting to know each other and all.

He-Man drove home just after midnight after holding me for what seemed like forever as we were saying good bye.
He said he already missed me and couldn’t wait for me to get back.

I arrived in Berlin and had a great Christmas with Johnny, Mike, Emilio and Elliott. He-Man and I exchanged a few text messages and then spoke on the phone a few times. I called him on his birthday. He sent me sweet messages on Facebook and kept asking for time to hurry so I could come home and we’d go to SuperMartxe together on New Years Day.

Finally New Years Eve arrived and I flew back to London. I was excited about the next day. I texted him pretty late to wish Happy New Year but he never replied. I knew he was out so didn’t think much of it.

Then the next day I get a call from a friend telling me he saw He-Man with someone else last night. Adding that I wasn’t going to believe who he was with – a really good friend of mine!

I was gob smacked. I couldn’t believe the scenario that was described to me. I said it couldn’t have happened like that. It just didn’t seem right. My friend was here visiting from Dubai, with what was thought to be his boyfriend. How did HE, of all people out there end up with the guy I’M dating?

I texted He-Man a few times throughout the day expecting him to call me back. He never did. So I called and he finally answered in a sleepy voice. After the usual chit chat I eventually said ‘So I heard you met my friend from Dubai last night’ and the other side of the phone went all quiet. ‘Ummm… We need to talk’ came the reply.

I could feel the steam rise inside me.

NO WAY! No f*cking way!!!

Was this really happening? Was this for real? I couldn’t believe that the guy I was fighting off for so long, who was so persistent he finally turned me round was now doing a 360 on me. And ended up with one of my closest friends on top of everything. It was a joke, right!!?

I was speechless. He said he was sorry. He said he didn’t know it was my friend. As if that’s supposed to change anything?
I said good bye and hung up the phone. I didn’t know what else to say. I wasn’t sure how to react to this. On one hand I was glad that it happened now and not six months down the line. But on the other hand I felt cheated out of at least a shag, if not a meaningful relationship.

What baffles me the most is the fact that my friend and I look nothing alike. We are on two completely opposite spectrums of the scale. I can’t see how someone who’d go for me would go for him and vice versa. It just doesn’t make any sense. I’m Mediterranean, skinny and dark while my friend is tall, muscly and strawberry blond, as he likes to call it.

It dawned on me that my intuition was right. I mean, lets face it – muscle attracts muscle. Fact!

After I had some time to process the recent events I realised that I should have trusted my instinct. The little voice telling me that this didn’t quite add up. Further dissecting the situation it dawned on me that He-Man wasn’t really He-Man after all. He was a lost little boy who after his life fell apart resorted to buffing up in order to walk away with some dignity. On closer inspection I would have probably done the same. Unfortunately his confidence hadn’t quite caught up with his looks and he was split between what he used to want and what he could actually have.

I just got caught in the cross fire.

I’m not upset. Nor am I angry with my friend. In all fairness he didn’t know who I was dating at the time and he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I’m not even angry with He-Man anymore. He f*cked up and now he is dealing with the consequences. At the end of the day it’s his loss, not mine. I’m the one walking away with my head held high while he’s left wondering what might have been. At the end of the day he'll never know.

Right, I’m off to the gym.

Laters ;)

Dan

Sunday, 3 January 2010

He-Man and the Masters of his Universe




I guess in order to fully enter 2010 and get into the spirit of a new decade I have to shed some of 2009.

Despite promising to deliver a cracking ending to the year something went terribly wrong during the final week. In order to paint a clearer picture I have to rewind back to October when my beautiful friend Emelie decided to move to London. Wanting to introduce her to London life I took her on a night out with my friends. We ended up in Soho when Emelie spotted a handsome hunk on the arm of a cute girl. A mad haired, funky dressed, incredibly built He-Man of a man. She made her appreciation known and we thought nothing of it until we later on in the evening ended up in Lo Profile. The hunk was there and agreeing with Emelie’s taste in men I could barely keep my eyes off him.

In a drunken state I approached him, coyly ‘pretending’ to be there for my Swedish bombshell of a friend. I asked if he by any chance was straight, as a beautiful girl really fancied him. He couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing and cracked a huge smile shaking his head.
Yes!’ I thought. Or ‘Sorry Emelie, but looks like I’m gonna have to take over from here’ was more along the actual lines in my mind. To be honest, if it wasn’t for her I would never have had the courage to walk up to this beautifully shaped prime example. And with the added alcohol consumed my inhabitations were virtually non existent.

At the time, I wasn’t really thinking beyond the night itself. We were all dancing, enjoying ourselves and having a great time to D’Johnny’s pumping beats. It was a great night. During a couple of cigarette breaks I learned that he was South African, a Capricorn, worked for the NHS and sadly, recently came out of a 7 year relationship. He lived just outside of London but didn’t really know the city very well.
He seemed an incredibly nice guy but as far as flirting went I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret the signs. Usually, those kind of signs are easy to read but with him I felt dyslexic. After a few more drinks and another couple of smoke fuelled conversations later I decided to call it a night and headed home, still quite satisfied with how the night went.

I never really expected to hear from He-Man after that night so imagine my surprise when two weeks later I receive a text message. He explained once again about just coming out of a long term relationship and how he was new to the scene and was looking for new friends. I told him I completely understood and that I wasn’t expecting anything of him. We added each other on Facebook and left it at ‘Let’s meet up for a drink soon’ with me knowing fully well I was entering dangerous territory. The thought of being friends with this seemingly perfect man appeared unobtainable. How could I possibly be a good friend and secretly lust for this man? It seemed so impossible in fact, I was prepared to stall it. Whatever it was.

I wanted to get to know him but was afraid I’d like him a little too much if I did. After my last couple of romantic encounters (or disasters, if we should be more specific) I wasn’t prepared to let my guard down just yet. Letting He-Man in would have completely obliterated any of that power shield I’d built up around me. ‘Pfffzzzzzzzzzzum’ Shield down. Any advances bounce right off. ‘Pieeeew.’ ‘ Pieeeeew.’ It is improbable. And safe! (Only $99.99 at specific local retailers.)

But suddenly, instead of dying out the invitations to drinks became more frequent and flirty. And almost demanded an acceptance. I was running out of excuses and finally I gave in.
We decided to meet at Profile bar. It should be easy enough for him to find as that’s where we first met.
I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. In my mind I was questioning whether this was just two mates having a drink or if it was an actual date. I arrived at the bar early and had a chat with my friend Lexy who works there. He-Man arrived fashionably late. He looked good and flashed that Colgate smile again as he walked up to embrace me. ‘Hello’ he said and gave me a kiss on the lips.

From there on the evening progressed incredibly well. Talking was easy with him. We had a lot of things in common so we never ran out of topics for conversation. My jaw was hurting from laughing so much and along with the drinks the flirting started ever so subtly. But in my mind I was still questioning what was really going on here. He told me he needed friends. But he was flirting with me. Or was I making it all up in my head? The looks. The lip licking. His rested hand on my thigh was probably just a friendly gesture, right?? Even though it stayed there a little longer than it really should.
We realised how time had flown and with both of us having an early start the next day we walked to the tube station, still laughing. When it came to saying goodbye he just stopped, looked at me and said ‘See you soon’ before giving me a quick kiss on the cheek and headed down the escalator.

The whole tube ride home I went over the entire evening with a smile on my face. I had managed to control any urges I may have had and prevented making a fool of myself. It was a nice ‘date’. Only I had decided that it WASN’T a date. Then just as I got out of the tube my phone beeped. A message from He-Man; ‘On the train home. I had a great time with you. My jaw hurts from all the laughing. Mmmmh… I should of kissed you! X’

WHOOOOOA! Say what?
So, what? It WAS a date? Ummm… Ok. Damn. Err. Now what?

We decided to meet up a few days later. We were both fantasy movie fans and I had wanted to see Avatar ever since it was announced. After some detective work I managed to find one cinema that still had tickets left for the pre release in 3D.

We met in Angel after work and went for a drink before the movie. Once again we had a great time. Almost didn’t want to go into the cinema and not be able to talk but Avatar was about to start and we were both super excited about it. The movie was absolutely amazing but somewhere half way through (its almost 3hrs long) He-Man grabbed my hand and held on to it for a while. I froze at first. Didn’t quite know how to react. I turned to the side and looked at him as he leaned in and kissed me.

Ummm. Ok. Tastes nice.
Nice kiss, I thought.

We turned back and continued watching the movie. Smiling. My hand still in his. For the duration of the movie.

It was late by the time we got out of the cinema and the last tube had left the station. He-Man offered to drive me home. With him not knowing the streets of London well I had to navigate with his iPhone SatNav. He seemed shocked when I told him I don’t know how to drive. He decided he was going to teach me himself one day. It was a fun journey resulting in the kiss that he wished took place during our first ‘date’.

I came home and I was still smiling. I really had a great night. I thoroughly enjoyed his company. And more importantly I felt like I could really be myself around him. Especially after he’d discovered my blog and had read all my previous entries. Admittedly I wasn’t quite ready for that kind of exposure just yet but I guess when airing my dirty laundry in my blogs the way I do, I only have myself to blame. He didn’t seem to mind any of it though. Said it was endearing and that he loves the way I write. Then he said he couldn’t wait to read the blog about him, suggesting it would be one with a happy ending.

Life can be so ironic sometimes it’s not even funny. But all you can do is laugh..

The next few days should have been more of a warning to me than I wanted to realise. It started kind of sweet with some cute text messages about wanting more kisses. Then came the ‘miss you’ texts, which had we been on more than the two dates could have seemed OK, but in this instance felt a little uncomfortable. I decided to ignore it and put it down to him being in a reeeeally long relationship recently and probably blurred his boundaries somewhat.
Even Emelie got a little alarmed when I told her but I didn’t think much of it. That’s just in his nature I thought.

Next day, on my way to work my iPod got stuck on one song on repeat and I couldn’t get it to play anything else. That alone should have been a sign or more like the writing on the wall. It was Lady GaGa’s ‘Dirty Ice Cream’;

"It's too much a mess and a stress to figure out
And too much pressure on us, babe
Last night you took me to the mall
And then it started to get physical
But we’ve only been a one day, baby
Yeah, and it was fun til you start acting crazy
I don't really find it very cute or sexy
When you call or incessantly, t-t-text me
I can't live with you, yes it's true or live without
The kinda guy that I'm about
You kiss me like a rockstar and
You always wanna hold my hand
Don't be dirty ice cream, baby
We could fall in love but it's too
Early to be calling me like that
Stop calling just stop calling
It's not indecision, just my female intuition
Tellin me you can't be calling me like that
Stop calling please, stop calling"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XwJntHNfYQ


I mean; C’MON!
How easy it is to be wise in reverse!

On that last night I had asked He-Man if he wanted to come with me and my friends to a Christmas party at the notorious SoHo House. He gladly accepted.

To be continued…

Dan