The difficulty they all had (apart from the obligatory I’m not a homo you know, or I’m not gay or I have a girlfriend) wasn’t with the sex. It was with the cuddle after sex. I was looking for affection. I was looking for love, though not romance, not ‘in love’. I wanted hugs and kisses. The sex was nice, but not essential. They were to a man profoundly uncomfortable with this. I realised why so many women go on at men: they need the affection which men are brought up (or is it innate?) not to show and perhaps not even to feel. When their bloke forgets their birthday or their anniversary it proves what they deep down suspected: he doesn’t really love them.
Straight men can be as bitchy and cruel as any gay man—after they’ve had their sex. When I lived in shared house, I was forever fielding phone calls from Trisha or Charlotte or Patti asking for Bruce or Jimmy or Kevin. When told who was on the line, the men would shake their heads emphatically and urge me to say they were out, in hospital or had emigrated. This was a day or two after I’d heard the bed squeaking fit to bust through the paper-thin walls when Trisha or Charlotte or Patti came home from the pub with one of the blokes.
It was no different, though, to the way my tricks would treat me. It was obviously a male thing and I was equally obviously the odd man out. My experiences were that I could get sex anywhere, as often as I liked. But I couldn’t get affection from men, straight or gay. Except, oddly enough, from these paragons of masculinity who shared the house with me. Just to complicate matters, I ended up sleeping with each of the guys in the house at least once, and they all told me not to tell the others about it. They all enjoyed it, and were capable of great tenderness and affection towards me even quite long afterwards. Maybe because I was a friend first, before we made love. But even they, fond as they were of me, were uncomfortable with a post-coital cuddle.
I’m going to write a novel based on my experiences in shared houses with straight guys. I will use things that happened to me or which I observed in different houses, and use my author’s prerogative to bring them all together to make a story, about three straight guys and one gay guy and how they all end up having their minds (and their arseholes) broadened (to paraphrase George Melly in his book Rum, Bum and Concertina*) I’m sure there are guys out there who will never feel even the slightest attraction to another guy, and equally, there are some who will never feel that for a woman, but there are far more than I ever realised in the middle.
The hardest thing for so many of them is not to be fond of another man (they can do that) or to fuck another man (they can do that too), but to combine both.
*from the British Navy saying: ashore, it’s wine, women and song; at sea, rum, bum and concertina.
[This piece first appeared in a different form on the author’s blog]