LGBT makes me think of sandwiches - bacon, lettuce and tomato, even though the initials are all in the wrong order, and there's that pesky extra G. I've never been good at remembering what acronyms stand for. Honestly, I sat opposite their stall at the Freshers' Fair slumped behind the near-deserted stall for the Student Newspaper, staring at their sign, fantasising about crispy bacon and soft white bread.
Their other acronym, BLOGs (Bisexual, Lesbian Or Gay society) , had me wondering who in the hell was sad enough to form a society about weblogs. To be fair, I was partially led astray by the fact that the two guys behind the desk looked like fully paid up, card carrying members of the 'Emo 'til I die (by slitting my own wrists in a fit of self-pity because my fringe won't stay out of my face and my jeans are so tight they're going to chaff my balls off)' society - the type you'd have to reassess your understanding of life over if they didn't have a blog or two hidden out in cyberspace.
Mind you, I had just pulled an all-nighter and was staking out the coffee pot the event organiser had left in the corner, with the aggression of a pit-bull terrier. I wasn't thinking entirely clearly - I was busy vibrating. I can only hope the essay I'd been working on had sucked up all of my common sense for the day like an academically inclined sponge, but that was probably wishful thinking. I'm not the sharpest tool in the box. I'm not the nicest one either, but I do a good job of pretending. You'd like me if you met me, I promise.
Controversial, but I'm a gay man who doesn't think the LGBT at my university is doing a very good job. I'd rather avoid being segregated out from all those 'normal' people who could never understand me and encouraged to define myself by my sexuality alone. I feel the same way about most groups that feel the need to bond over some unifying feature that excludes others and sets out right and wrong ways of doing things. Religion hacks me right off too. I just want to get on with living my life – screw the Pride Parade. I'm being harsh, I know. LGBT has its place. Some people have had it rough and need a little help climbing out of that closet, but when what started out as semi-political organisation turned into a society for easy hook-ups, it seems to me that something went wrong.
It happened quite recently here, and possibly only here (I'm not up on the national situation) – that unmistakable shift from political annoyance to pimping agency. I can't say I liked it when they were getting all Rainbow in everyone's faces either, but at least that wasn't making every gay man in this city come across as a completely amoral whore. I can't really comment on the lesbian angle. Most of the people in charge are guys, but maybe that proves me right. The girls have been down the stereotype route before – maybe they saw Big Butch Bertha's ghost resurfacing and got out while the going was good. Personally, I think in this day and age we should have gone beyond all of this labelling bull anyway. People like Evan Llewellyn are severely damaging to the acceptance of gays within the community, and as the president of the university LGBT society, he should recognize his duty to be discrete, rather than see it as a post for promoting his love of one-night stands, designer labels (just to enforce that stereotype), 'gay culture' ("Queer as Folk is my favourite show") and 'twinks', crowing his 'single' status from the rooftops (or from the personality pages of our Student Newspaper, should he have his way).
I'm not sanctimonious, I'm just afraid that people will think there's nothing else out there, like I did. This time last year, maybe not to the minute or anything, but at least roughly the same date, I was wrapped up in my own little bubble-land of gay-definitions. I can't blame BLOGs; I wasn't part of it. I might seem clean cut now, in my purposefully boring t-shirt and my normal-as-normal-can-be jeans, but it's a bit of an act really. This time last year, I was in a park cruising for sex. I met a man I've never met again; he let me drag him into the public toilets and shag him up against the wall while he screamed someone else's name, on the understanding that I wore a condom and didn't tell anyone about it afterwards. That's legal here if you're gay. I bet you didn't know that. I've only cruised once or twice, but I've done other things which I think are worse.
It's what I call the underbelly – the nasty bits of pretty, sparkly, sugar-frosted, gay-land that no one ever told you existed. It's easy to slip into when everyone around you is all about sex and it comes so easily if you just ask. Sometimes asking isn't necessary, you just need a bit of careful manipulation. I've been trying to find my way out for a while now – six months and I haven't used a single person – that's good going. I'm nearly clean and home free, back to normal – craving a relationship with someone I don't want to use - but Evan Llewellyn isn't helping. Unless he stops flaunting his perfect body in my face, I swear on my favourite pair of dance shoes that my Clark Kent act is going to disappear so fast he won't know what's hit him. I will drag him to the nearest quiet corner and rape him before he gets the chance to fuck with my head. It's the only way I can see it playing out. If he doesn't stay out of my way, or decide he wants to be anything other than the talented slut he's turning himself into, then there's going to be trouble. I'm going to wreck that boy, but I know that's only if he doesn't wreck me first. God, I want to help him run away.
He's not at the stall at the moment. The other two are sad imitations that don't measure up. I hope he never sleeps with either of them because if he wants to be a narcissist, he could easily find someone better looking. If I looked like him, I'd be a narcissist too.
But, maybe I am, because when I look at him, I see me. I know exactly what his game is, because I've played it longer than he has. Maybe not better, but harder and faster, and closer to the bone.
I know people like him. I do. I was people like him, but I didn't cultivate it like he does. I figured it out and stopped, pulled on this normal act that I'm struggling to maintain. He's lonely – I can see it, even if he hides it well. But I know what it looks like and it's there. Damned if that doesn't just slay me, because how can he be lonely looking the way he does? But I know that buzz he must get when the alcohol is in his blood, making everything hazy. I know what it feels like to curl the Devil's smile onto your face and turn every head in the room. I know what it's like to single out your victim – how easy it is when that someone thinks they want you – when they're tripping over themselves, begging you to, please, let you use them. I know that when the bass is thumping out your heartbeat and the whole room moves like a single mess of gyrating, sweated limbs – everything hot and throbbing, it takes more than I've got to walk away. I know he knows that pull of heat – I see it with every smile he flits at those two minions, dropping them like they're jewels they should be glad to receive. I know how easy people are to play with, just like he does. I know how addictive it is to find yourself over and over again, using someone else's body as the intermediary between you and the Universe, but I stopped.
From the interview spiel, I know the way he says 'no regrets' and probably means it. I believe that too. What's done is done – you can't turn back time. But I also see that catch in his eyes – the little tug of a wounded heart – because maybe once upon a time, someone turned him into what he is today. Someone back home, who left him even though they said they never would – and he's been running from the wound ever since, because he can't face stitching it together. Or maybe the lines between the two of us are blurring there.
His smile – when it's carefree – numbed with the promise of meaningless sex and that little thrill of control – makes me hard on sight. He thinks he's so cool. A well crafted clichéd definition of 'gay' because he couldn't be back home, because maybe the one who turned him into this, called him afraid, and he was. So now he's proving he's not. Just like I did. And I swear to God, he's got to leave me alone.