Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Whisper

My friend said that if something bothered me, that I should write it down and expand on it, and before I know it I’ll have my article. So here I go – it’s about the lack of communication among gay men. Why do we as individuals seem to have forgotten the lost art in talking to someone? I love to talk, I could chat to someone for a period of time and blab away about history, times that have passed, memories, future – you name it. Most of my friends are the same, we’re communicators.  But observation came to pass the first time a couple a years ago  (about ten years to be exact), when I was thinner and more plucked.

Now, not having grown up in England, I was still learning more and more about the gay man’s segregation. Muscle-bound steroid lovers went to one club, beers hid in woods, leathers flocked to the hoist, sluts went to Hardon, princesses posed at Disco-tec and heaven, queens / newcomers, went to G.A.Y , and Ting Tongs who adored that older white man went to Kudos. The true clubbers went to Trade, and the sexy unforgettable went to Beyond. It was my favourite place; after all, I was the hostess for Beyond when it first opened.

Now to the point – I was standing in the queue waiting to go to the bathroom, when suddenly I was nudged forward. Not thinking anything of it, I continued to talk to my mate, when out of the blue, again I was throttled forward. When I turned around with anger in my eyes, a very large man stood in front of me. Needless to say I asked, “Yesssss, how may I help you?” To my surprise no words came out of him, but a grunt, a moan, a noise. Sifting through my memory banks to what this sound reminded me of, a bright light shone in my head... A grunt of a bear. Now, how did I not know by looking at him that he might actually resort to speaking like one? I started to giggle…

I asked politely again, “Is there something I can help you with?” He looked at me again and from the bottom of his belly (big belly), he moaned again and grunted  Well that was it for me, I looked at my friend and said, “Gee, I think I’m on National Geographic.” He persistently grunted at me, instead of actually using words… “Amazing,” I thought. After I had a good giggle, both at the memory and _ I was shot back to the current position...

Where I found myself in a foam party, surrounded by the happy clubbers. While I just happily danced around shaking what the good Lord gave me, I found myself, again, thrown into a position where words meant nothing. Now I can’t judge others, but I do enjoy a giggle at their expense like the rest of us. When someone stands up next to you, and looks at you in the eye and then down to their crutch, wiggles it around and then looks back at you, with a smile, and does not say one word, you do question yourself. Just when you think gay men can’t hit any lower in becoming more distant from each other, they surprise you.

I appreciate the “talk less” seduction – I’m no stranger to it: cruising around at a bar, your eyes meet, you grin, you smile at a friend so they can see all your white fangs, you look at them in the eye and you grin... before you know it, you're next to them, talking, or (without even a word) you receive one of the most passionate kisses that is forever engraved in your memory banks. This day reminds you that you don’t have to speak to get attention.

But wiggling your bits in front of me is not, a form of seduction. It’s not flattering, it’s not classy, there's just nothing special about it. There wasn't anything pleasant about watching a bunch of gay men run around like hippos on heat. Each to their own I say, but what got to the core of this topic, was the fact that, when I got home, I was messaged by a few guys who saw me out, and had now decided on the virtual web to have a conversation. They were able to discuss what I was wearing, how I held my glass, who I was talking to, what I did throughout the night.

Now, I grew up in a country where, if you saw your friends or someone you knew, you said “hi”, even if it’s for a few minutes. Gay men have lost what it is to actually go up to people and talk. What is it about facing the person you’re attracted to, and saying HI? Even when you’re going to meet someone, they never rather talk on the phone, they rather text you till you're two feet in front of them in the bar, to finally have a conversation. We have lost as a society (a gay society) the art of communication.

And how dare some of you say those who do talk are too talkative, and go on and on? Good on those who like chat, and good on those who sit in the corner with their friends and laugh and giggle about life.

What gets me about people who visit my island, is how friendly we all are, and laid back. We chat to everyone, we introduce you to loads of people, we smile, we communicate, we listen, we talk to strangers. But you’re forgetting that we’re communicators back home. We in the Caribbean aren’t a suppressed bunch; we actually tell you to your face if we like you or can’t stand you. If you like someone you TELL THEM, we don’t send an email to do the job!

My point is: open your gob, and start to use the words the good Lord gave you and you might get someone faster than your stumpy fingers can text.

And don’t look at me like I’m a freak if I say hello… There isn't anything wrong with me, for wanting to say hi in person. It’s everything wrong with you, for thinking there is.

Bone China:
When I started this blog a few days ago, I started off with saying I was ill, and I still am. Now, I'm not going to go on about how ill I am, as that's just not me. Instead, I rather say, “I'm dying” to my best mate each time I see him, just for the dramatic effect (with hand to forehead and the long whiny voice that goes with it).

I haven't enjoyed been ill, I've hated every minute of it. But how many of us have learnt something from our situations, even the smallest of events?

My mother once said to me, “Italo, things in life happen for a reason, and you will see it soon enough.” What I have learnt from those wise words were two things:
1. My mother was right, things do happen for a reason even in the worst of situations,
2. You have to acknowledge that you're in the situation, and that there is a reason for it. Don't look too hard as you will not see it, but just know that the answer will come soon enough – a day, a week, a month later, but the reason will unfold like a spring flower.

Now, what is the point of this picture and all this meaningless wording? Well, chill out, and you will read the answer soon enough.

Being ill from a young age, I developed a little gift of knowing what my tummy wanted, from my head. With this little wonder, I daydream my life away sometimes. It's been a savior as a child, not having had any friends until I was about 16. I was my own friend, my own center of attention.
How many of you, no matter how ill, upset, angry, frustrated, sad, or even bored, will go into the kitchen, and just think of something, anything, and start to cook? How many of you don't say a word while doing it, but are determined to make something that stands out in your head, as crystal clear as as if it were already made?

Well I do. I still want to put on my best outfit, walk down the street and head to my local butcher, not just to see the handsome guy who doesn't realize I notice his smile every time I walk into the room, but to flash my fangs and order his choice of today's best cut (I'd have a slice of him, don't worry.)

But it's the feeling that I'm about to make something; it's knowing I'm choosing all the ingredients to decide if my dish is going to be good or bad, because right now, I'm not feeling good, and no matter what I do, I'm still at the bottom of the pan. But I can change the destiny of this one dish, and at the end it will taste the way I want it to, and at the end of my creation, my rewards, is a smile!

That is why the picture is up there – I'm proud of the little things I do, but I'm also proud to understand why I'm doing them. Whatever your position, go create something – draw, write, read, stack some papers up, but do something you enjoy, whenever you're down. And be proud of whatever it is, because sometimes your own phrase is what you need to hear, not the person next to you. 

Patrick Italo Ettenes 

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