Friday, November 26, 2004

Living with a poof

You've had "Living with an Alcoholic" I thought I'd better temper that with "Living with a poof". I'd just left university and got my first job working for the Ministry of agriculture, I had no where to live so someone very sensibly suggested the YMCA. And we all know what that means don't we boys and girls? Yep you guessed it I had to share a room with Dennis the queer hairdresser from Guildford.
Dennis was a very gentle guy. Now you may notice that I said living with a poof not living with a homosexual. There's a subtle difference. OK Dennis was gay but he was a poofter. Our bathroom was full of various types of hair shampoo and conditioners and glass jars full of pastel coloured cotton wool balls. After shave, preshave, body lotion, body cream, face cream, fake tan, hair gel, you name it we had it in our bathroom. I had a bar of soap and my toothbrush.
Dennis had a fascination for maps. he would sit on the floor of our flat and spread maps all around him planning his trips arounbd the world. One night I asked him where he'd been.
"Nowhere." he said.
"What you haven't been anywhere?"
"No. I've lived in Guildford all my life."
"So why look at all these maps?"
"I'm thinking of where I might go. I like to imagine these places."
"So why don't you just pack your bags and go. I would."
"Would you?"
"Of course. I do it all the time."
"OH where have you been?"
"Cyprus, France, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Spain."
Suddenly I was his hero. He started asking me about all sort of places. "Have you been here?"
"What's it like?"
"Go and see."
"But it's so easy for you."
"For chrissakes Dennis just get on the fucking ferry. It's not difficult, just do it."
"But where do you stay? How do you know where to go?"
"you sleep where you fall. You sleep on the trains. You sleep on the beach. It doesn't matter. You just go."
"ooooh I don't think I could do that."
"Shit I need a beer let's go to the pub."
"I don't go to pubs." I'm thinking that Dennis is the wrong name for this boy he should be soppy Walter. But I drag him to the pub and I order a pint of beer.
"Oh I couldn't drink beer. Is it alright if I have a gin and tonic?"he says.
I buy him a gin and tonic, much to my disgust. he sits there sipping it with his little finger sticking out. he may be a poof but he's never had sex with anyone. he confesses as much to me and asks me what he should do.
"How the fuck should I know?"
But he's lost. He's a trainee homosexual. He knows what he wants but doesn't know or have the confidence to get it. he's doing all the poofy things already but it's not enough. Meanwhile I'm pointing out cute girls but he's not impressed with that. Suddenly he nudges me and says "He's nice, what do you think?"
There's a big rugby player type at the bar. I say "I'm not about to scrape you off the pavement."
"So how do I know?" he's almost in tears. I want to hug him and tell him it'll be alright in the end but I don't want to give the wrong signals. So I just say "You'll just know when it's right."
"But how?" he's desperate to know. But I don't know myself. He's looking to me to tell him, to teach him how to score with another man. And I don't know. So I try and equate it with what I know about girls, "Just give them a look."
"What sort of look?"
"I don't know a look. How the hell do I know what sort of look you give someone. You just look."
"Then what?"
"They might look back."
"And then....."
"And then you'll know."
"How will I know?"
"Oh Fuck! You will just know. Alright Dennis? You'll know. I can't explain it more than that."
"But is there a particular look? Something that I can look for?"
"Dennis you are going to do my head in."
"I'm sorry."
"Do you want another drink." I got up to go to the bar.
"Do you think I should have a beer?" he asked, "Do you think I should try to drink beer?"
"I don't fucking care at this point."
He had a beer and spent the rest of the evening sipping it.

The next day at work someone told me that there was a room available to rent with an old man. It had to be better than living with a poof. So I said my farewells to Dennis. He was OK really, I had no problem with him, to be honest most of my problem was living at the YMCA. He stood there, tears in his eyes. He wanted to hug me but instead stood there flapping his arms by his sides. I never saw him ever again. I moved in with the old man.

A week later I found out the old man was a convicted child molester and pervert. But that's another story.

iPod now playing - YMCA by The Village People


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