[fawny.org: Le «blog personnel» de Joe Clark]


And I quote for posterity (because the Web is not “an archive”):

I went to see a local Milwaukee “new wave” band called Blake 7 with a Burger King manager named Mike when I was 14. I helped him cuff his white baggies and slipped on his checkerboard Vans™ for him. He was 6′4″ and had an enormous tongue and the sweetest, dumbest face.

Anyway, during the “golf” segment of Physical Education in my senior year of high school, I almost got a kid mad enough to hit me with a golf club. He was tall and thin and grotesquely hairy, even by my standards.

He called me a “fairy.” I called him a “fucking low-class half-wit.” The substitute gym coach (stubby, blond, red-faced) barked, “Okay, Kusch! Gimme twenty push-ups! Now!”

“You are absolutely out of your mind,” I replied dryly, and went home.

This one brings me back to my biketrials days. So an interregnum first.

Circa 1998 or 1999, I, an aged homosexualist with two left feet, who only learned to ride a bike at age 28 and still cannot hop a curb (which Jeff can do in his wheelchair), started a biketrials club, Rock & a Hard Place. We got on TV, I met a few lads (two of them queer), it worked well for a while, then ceased to. Nothing has an unlimited lifespan, and anyway, I was ahead of my time: Now, even in cold weather (though not winter per se), I see trialz-h00dlumz riding around town several times a month. I recognize none of them, except for Ryan Senechal and his pals outside of Hart House a month or so ago. I still read MTB-Trials, though I do not post.

I miss some of my lads, even one of the queers. I do not, however, miss that era.

Trials will always – always – be the most-underground, least-practiced, highest-skilled cycling discipline. Over here, anyway: In Eastern Europe, Spain, and Japan it’s actually quite popular. It’s a perpetual minority taste, but the minority is growing. I get all wistful when the h00dlumz ride by (partly because I cannot do the shit: the typical Joe duality), but I also carry a small sliver of pride that I was part of trials history.

I knew it was over for sure, though, when I saw Ryan and his pals. A pal launched off the steps and landed to a stop (a neologism that accurately explains what happens in trials) on a brand-new full-suspension bike, the worst kind for trials. (You need reliable resistance.) In a flash, I knew that even if I could learn to do the shit, I could never learn to maintain a bike in 99% shipshape. I’m not mechanical; I thus bailed from engineering.

Now. Ultramundane:

I’ve been secretly seeing a strange man late at night. He’s 6′2″, 230 lbs., muscular, tattooed, with a little soul patch. He appears before me dressed in nothing but Spandex shorts, short boots, and kneepads. I lay on the futon and let him do wild, crazy things with his body, and after I’ve played with him and scored, he’s left bleeding and sweaty but ready for more.

His biggest turn-on is the Start button.

Basically, I’ve created a gay male version of BMXXX out of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. Call it “Chicken Hawk Pr0n Skater.” Is it bad that I’m motivated to play because he’s pleasant to look at, or is that any worse than straight guys watching Lara Croft? Is it narcissistic of me that I’ve given this sexpot character my own name, or can I claim that’s a practical matter, like writing your name on the memory card?

Homosexualist former Amerikanski MTV “VJ” Dave Holmes (quoted in Out, October 2002):

He says perceptive viewers have always been able to pick up on his sexuality. [Straight people don’t have a sexuality, right? “When I started I got E-mails from kids who were able to pick up on the fact that I’m gay.”] ...“But so often, if you don't fit people's perceptions of what a gay man is, people just don't get it. I was literally getting on top of furniture shouting, ‘God, Justin Timberlake is a piece of ass!’ And there’d be nothing.”

The strange power of Ixuxsxtxixn Limbertake persists. It embarrasses me to recognize it, but I’m not the only one who does.

Another of those delightful You Are There!–style entries:

En route to the metro via eetcarstray, at Victoria I spot a 6′1½″ redhead in Dockers® and a blue shirt. “Stop the press,” I channel the Joker saying. “Who is that?”

By coincidence, the eetcarstray lets us off before he strides manfully into the subway. He's top-fifth-percentile in appearance, but could use some work at the gym. (A good body for Tantek-style hooping, just not a good body for Tantek, presumably.)

I stood and waited. A chick finished smoking her fag by the entrance. Majestically did he pass by. In he went, then in we went. On the escalator, hoping for a better view, I peered slightly around the chick, who turned her head and gave me a giggle-smile that totally busted what I was doing. And she topped herself by turning straight ahead again and giving no other acknowledgement!

This, friends, is how to get ginger-busted by chicks.

On the subway, by coincidence we shared a car, but by incredible coincidence he stayed half a car away.

The gingers and their self-loathing.

I am actually and truly upset to be missing the auction for an Betamax SL-HF1200, the absolute bestest Betamax ever, two orders of magnitude superior to my HF900, itself a gem of a machine.

It’s twelve years old and will exceed eleven hundred U.S. dollars on eBay. You find this model at auction about three times every two years, and never in pristine condition like this.

I stare into the middle distance and shake my head with a frown. Retro-tech is a mistress who will break your heart.

Ian Roberts – about whom the question was posed “No longer interesting?” – may have elicited a tad more interest. Like every other homosexualist man with a net connection, it appears he has his own personal ad. The details seem too credible to be a hoax, and where else could the bf photos have come from?

Possibly the Australian egalitarianism at work.

Now, what’s his userID on instant messaging?


I gave a presentation on accessibility and the digital library to New York Public Library staff on April 25. I’ve had basic notes up for a while, but now, thanks to the red-haired Eric Meyer, I got pictures.

A stage fit for a king.    The impossibly luxe and haut-design South Court Auditorium of the New York Public Library, buried amid the living rock, made us all feel more alive with its echt-Modern grandeur and attention to detail
Me at podium, with screen
Stage presence.    I’ve long since lost any stagefright. Here’s the first-ever photo that suggests my command and fluency onstage. It does not, however, impart my humour. I provided a Top 5 list of actions to take for an accessible library, and topping the list was a policy: Deciding to do it. “I don't mean to be lesbian about this,” I told the audience, “emphasizing process over everything else, but...”
Me at podium, gesturing confidently at audience

Later, I’ll show you the incredible ADA-compliant design spectacle of the auditorium’s permanent signage. It was nothing short of a religious experience.

Ten Years Ago in Spy now illustrated. It’s a distributed process: I write it, this guy in Washington State scans illos, I eventually post them.

One emphasizes “eventually.”

Laura Ashley MacIsaac in current Outlooks entrevue (hideous PDF version):

MacIsaac says being gay is “the most important thing that there is for me. It’s the Shift key, it’s the Enter key, it’s the Delete key. It’s all of the above.”

I did one of my occasional searches for the keyword redhead on the various mash sites and found a BigMuscleBears page from a lad who linked to his own Weblog. (He’s an aficionado.) The fellow’s ad on the site clearly stated the kinds of guys who interest him, plus the activities he’d like to engage in. (Can we get those illustrated?)

Now, how is this unusual? So far, it isn’t: Fags post their ads online all the time. (Mine are still up!) And with almost no such thing as a closet anymore, of course you’re gonna link to your personal site. Why not?

How about this for why not? You’re in the U.S. Air Force.

So here we go:

It is not widely known that the don’t-ask/don’t-tell policy has been expanded – in fact, so many times it’s becoming ridiculous. You can be queer in the U.S. armed forces, but you cannot manifest it in any way and, on paper, nobody can inquire. Isn’t there a word for this? “Purgatory”?

At any rate, “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” is the true extent of the policy. In principle, Air Force investigators would be forbidden from going on a fishing expedition (à la the Navy officer famously ratted out by AOL).

But that isn’t the reality. SLDN’s annual report states (PDF):

– Questions asked of Airman Judson Smith by Captain Craig Dumos in violation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass”

Airman Judson Smith, an Air Force firefighter/paramedic for more than two years and assigned to Patrick AFB, was inappropriately investigated for being gay after his command received an allegation about his sexual orientation from a civilian unknown to the command.... [O]nce the inappropriate investigation began, Airman Smith was subjected to very intrusive questions, some of which are listed above, designed to elicit details about his personal life. The questions violated the “Don’t Pursue” element of the policy in that they went far beyond what the civilian is said to have alleged.

So the climate is harmful in the Air Force. That’s not gonna help when the author of the BigMuscleBears page clearly states “a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.”

Now, quite self-evidently this is all bullshit, and if the man lived in a constitutional democracy he’d be openly gay in the service and that would be that, but this is all bullshit with serious ramifications because of the discrimination that is officially sanctioned in the U.S. military.

But: I would not necessarily counsel this fellow to do anything differently. He’s got nothing to be ashamed of, and, outside of a few echo chambers among Toronto fags who don’t understand the Internet and never will, self-disclosure online is the norm among homosexualists today.

The problem is that he is setting himself up to become a test case. Perhaps that is the intent: “Welcome. Look around. Leave a comment or two. Let yourselves be known. I mean, it’s only fair that if you get to know so much about me, that I should at least get to know who you are.”

It will be amusing to read the Weblog entries in response to this one. They pretty much write themselves: “That Joe Clark has used his research skills to locate publicly-available documents, most of them linked by an original source itself, to call attention to a man who just wants his privacy.” Because obviously people who want their privacy run Weblogs and post personal ads, right?

Some of us understand what “publishing” really means. And I think this lad is one of them. Now, are you?


I am now, for the first time in four months, completely caught up in my accessible movie reviews, a curiosity that could only be found on the Web. The Matrix Reloaded review details a particularly eventful experience.


Neologist-in-Chief for 2003 Eric Orner nails it: We finally have a convenient term for depilated steroidal circuit-party homunculi. Ladies and gentlemen, drop a K for... dinostroids!


I can’t say that I mind. “Single” is “celibate” with a boyfriend in your past, of course. One or more, actually.

My mental Mr. Right image is not, in fact, one of strapping black negroes of colour or ox-strong stocky redheads with strawberry-blond chest hair, both of whom are real examples from the past. (I have not done all that badly.) Spontaneously months ago, the phrase compact, æsthetically appealing came to mind. One such model was available before, and a second more recently. The duration in each case was a full day, like a fantasy lifespan in science fiction, or that of a gnat. So I actually know what I’m missing. That part I’m somewhat melancholy about, notwithstanding the following exegesis.

Homosexualists belong in cities so we won’t be alone. But nobody signed you a contract. Homosexualist rugger Jimbo:

Today the biggest treasure I possess in D.C. is my friends, not the gay community at large. My friends are probably the only things keeping me here. I can’t envision living anywhere else right now anyway. There’s a gay ghetto in any big city, with different demographics, of course. Here, most of my friends have a degree.... They’re smart and have opinions other than where the place to shop is. Sounds snobby and pretentious, but that’s the kind of person I like to hang out with.

But lately the urban setting has been getting to me. The noise, bad air, crack whores, pushy people and the skyrocketing cost of living. Why am I here? Am I happy here? One of my unmet goals was to find a relationship, or at least try my hand at one. I felt that moving into a big city with a big, educated, well-traveled gay population would increase my chances of finding a relationship. That having been done and failed, I often find myself questioning my need to be in a city at all. If I can’t find a relationship in the city after seven years, it’s obvious my chances never really increased by moving into the city. While gay men in rural settings are desperate, lonely and emotionally underdeveloped, gay men in urban settings are preoccupied with who’s next, and aren’t all that emotionally developed either.

At least you’ve got a selection. Once in a great while, tabs and slots do line up.

I am not looking forward to the 20-year reunion of my engineer class in 2005. My assumption – really a fear, and it is based on no interviews or evidence – is that the engineer d00dz are conformist and conventional and consider their lives fulfilled. Those lives consist of middle-management positions at Lavalin, a girlfriend on the West Island, and quite possibly a child, whom I somehow always imagine as a daughter, a fact that disappoints the engineers. (The two engineertrixen I recall are surely leading full lives.)

My assumption is that engineers would consider my lack of predictable traditional career path a fatal personality flaw. An entire journalistic career (“the accidental journalist”), a published book, and expertise on a number of topics, some of them technical, would not simply count for nothing, they would fail even be counted.

Being queer – well, “it figures” would be their response. I’m not the only one. It would be neither here nor there. What would be incriminating, though, is showing up alone. Paul Gallant (a good New Brunswick name):

Single people are left to play the defensive. Without the physical evidence of another breathing human being, certain questions loom. Why are you alone? Is it because you’re having so much promiscuous fun or is it because you’re a big loser? Are you merely between relationships or are you staring into a future filled with nothing but canned cat food eaten alone in front of a porn video?

Hardly. I’m a vegetarian, and PrideVision has rather soured me on porn. But to continue:

Being queer in a straight society amplifies these doubts: If I’m a single homo, is there something fundamentally wrong with me and the nature of homosexuality...?

The last time I had something vaguely resembling a relationship, a neologism I never remember having heard when growing up, the result was a set of litanies of deep-seated, immutable character flaws. (The first such litany was 90 minutes long. In an example of forgiveness, I treated him to Lord of the Rings two days after. And took him back when he begged for it three months later.)

Just how much better off am I gonna be, actually? I have, as adduced previously, a straight guy’s sex drive, and become concerned with isolation only if I haven’t been out with my friends recently. In such cases, I can’t get any work done. Like some male cats, I require the Victorian concept of propinquity, not the psychobabble concept of intimacy.

If the theory holds that I, who self-describes as so stiff I make Irshad Manji look like Gumby, would loosen up if I were getting more sex, well, be advised that empirical evidence has disproved the theory. This is, quite simply, the way I am.

Men come and they go.

I don’t have to agree that a vague, nonspecific shame should accrue from being queer, old, and single in order to feel it anyway. I am of two minds about many things. (And it was much worse when I was battling adversity. Some adversity has in fact been battled, in case you didn’t know.) But I know it’s time to call an end to an experiment. I posted two full ads on M4M for, I assured myself, amusement only. It turned out to be slightly more and less than that, but the principle of amusement was actually there.

I gained absolute proof that acolytes exist in high number. I even met a couple of them. (In some cases, only met.) In traditional terms, that’s an ego-boost, but if one does life-cycle analysis of the whole enterprise, it is not more likely to result in friendship or even any kind of warm feelings than any other enterprise. I met more jerks this way than any other way, in fact. It isn’t a net time-saver, either. Quite the opposite.

I got some amusing chat sessions out of it. It was fun while it lasted. But I knew Toronto fags would bail like rats asked to pay a cover charge once the site ceased its free-preview tease. So it has come to pass, and that seemed like a cue to bail myself. Once the M4M staff get their act in gear (like AOL, they are much less interested in cancelling you than signing you up), my ads will disappear from the system.

I will leave the realm of online personals to older, gayer men with higher sex drives. To paraphrase Sinéad O’Connor, I want to just sit here and write it all down and work for a while.

Ask me later if I am still melancholy about compact æsthetic pleasure.

MC May Techno Dance Remix (op. cit.):

The line I see between polemics and flames is that polemics, seen through the lens of time, were
thought through thoroughly enough
to stay valuable in context.

David Sedaris, in “Full House,” plays strip poker with teenage boys:

An hour later, I was missing one shoe, Scott and Brad had lost their shirts, and both Walt and Dale were down to their underwear. If this was what winning felt like, I wondered why I hadn’t tried it before. Confidently in the lead, I invented little reasons for the undressed to get up and move about the room.... His underwear was all bunchy in the back, saggy, like a diaper, but his legs were meaty and satisfying to look at....

He walked toward the curtains, and I ate him alive with my eyes, confident that no one would accuse me of gaping....

In retrospect, I probably went a little far in ordering Scott to sit on my lap. “But I’m naked!”

...I moved onto the easy chair and wearily patted my knee, as if this were a great sacrifice. All my life I had dreamed of this moment, and now that it was within my grasp, I was already imagining the next level.

Whereas when the film actor Colin Farrell walked right past me this week, there was scarcely any galvanic or cardiovascular change at all. I was waiting for the eetcarstray, visible a block away, had noticed a film crew set up in front of the derelict storefront, and watched as a guy with a walkie-talkie went right over to a Dodge minivan parked too far into traffic. The passenger window eased down, words were exchanged, and C. Farrell walked out of nowhere into the front seat, followed immediately by those grizzled, raspy-voiced echt-working-class mid-40s vulgarians who populate film crews. (And they were chicks!)

He’s two inches shorter than me, quite slim, not as dark-skinned as he seems in photos, nothing more than cute and in no way charismatic, with upturned duck’s-arse hair that does not work at all and gigantic Magic Marker caterpillar eyebrows that do. Off he went. He’s a physical rather than cerebral actor and wasn’t very physical today – just a lad far away from home being driven through unfamiliar streets.

The next day, a flyer in my box:

Leaving Cleveland Inc. would like to film scenes for the feature film A Home at the End of the World... on Thursday, May 15....

The screenplay, written by Michael Cunningham (The Hours), is based on his best-seller of the same title, tells [sic] the story of the close friendship of Bobby (Colin Farrell) and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts). As boyhood friends growing up in Cleveland in the late Sixties and Seventies, Bobby and Jonathan form a relationship that is both average and far beyond what most kids would consider “normal.” [What, are they queer for each other or something? – Ed.] After high school, Jonathan moves to New York City, where Bobby soon follows. They become involved with Clare (Robin Wright Penn), a slightly older woman [sic] who finds each one appealing in his own way. The film also features Sissy Spacek and is directed by Tony-award-winning Michael Mayer (A View from the Bridge).

When dealing with celebrities, you can’t treat them special. Confirmation of C. Farrell’s foreskin status was, however, unavailable.

A confluence of meta-events this week. I forwent Pinheads & Skunks Night, preferring a grander entrance next month. Instead, there I was at home watching the “series finale” of Dawson’s Creek, which resorted to the rankest form of TV deus ex machina: Unmentioned until now, Jen is suddenly revealed to have a heart defect so aggressively terminal that everybody needs to say goodbye right in this episode. How’s that for meta?

It gets worse. Budding director Dawson finally gets his show on the air, and it’s a simulacrum of his own life, which, we viewers realize, is already a TV show. A Joey manquée crawls through a window and, after the manner of Divine in Hairspray, artlessly declaims song lyrics: “I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over. I want to know right now: What will it be?” Cue end credits, which, in this show-within-a-show, use the same typography as Dawson’s Creek’s.

I could have frigging hurled.

In the same week, further news was delivered of the demise, impending the way Salon’s has been for so very long, of Television Without Pity, né Mighty Big TV, sibling to Hissyfit (Cf.Attitude queens: A success story”; “Un-’fit”). The site that traces its roots to Dawson’s Wrap might finally be falling off the dock at Capeside:

Despite its popularity – and in many ways because of it – the site has run at a deficit for so long that its future is uncertain. People with the site declined to specify its financial situation. [...] [Sarah] Bunting would not disclose how much the site owes, and she described the debt as “big” but “manageable.” “There are nights when I’m sorting a pile of bills and trying to figure out who’s going to get paid and who’s going to have to wait another week,” she said. “That’s depressing at this age.” [...] Bunting said she and her partners will continue the site through the May sweeps, but then will meet to discuss its future.

One does not wish Wing Chun and Glark (or Sarah “Sar[e]s” Bunting) ill. Good sites die; or wither; or cannot be updated anymore because they are too burdensome for the owner; or simply become superseded by events.

I euthanized two Weblogs and a page this week. It was necessary and not very painful. It was good to stanch the denial.

The circumstances are not entirely transferable: I don’t have a payroll or ridiculous ad contracts (or even-more-ridiculous site designs engineered to maximize advertising exposure at the expense of reader comfort). But the necessity is unchanged in either case.

Creatures of the Web have lifespans. Wing Chun and Glark’s sites may have reached the end of theirs.

While I don’t wish them ill, I don’t wish them well, either. But they don’t need me to: David T. Cole has ample expertise to work in online content development and infrastructure, and Tara Ariano is already writing more frequently for the print press. They’ll do all right; Toronto’s own Meg and Jason manqués will think of something else. I would suggest a Burn Rate–style exposé if I didn’t already know that the perceived market for such books among publishers is nil.


There’s body fascism and there’s simply being out of fucking shape. Which one was I guilty of?


I was a member of the Y since at least 1991, if not 1989. I think I no longer have my first membership card, though I remember my hairstyle. I lived through the Y’s interrogation-like Membership Assistance Program, whose guidelines I later rewrote for them. (Eighty percent of my suggestions were implemented.) And by coincidence, in a later OL session, I edited their system-wide manual on the topic.

But I have endured a four-year interregnum of not having enough money even for a subsidized membership. (Impossible? No. Certainly not under the guidelines.) For that period, the only exercise I had was riding my bike to the Beach for a double espresso. A long-term health issue, I knew. And the term was becoming long enough to matter.

Since I am now old and heart disease is known in my family, I could not live in denial that I was somehow exempt. Articles on the body-mass index published in the popular press, which I would not adjudge as accurate, still list calculations that are probably correct in order of magnitude. I was not in trouble today, but I had reason to believe I’d be in trouble tomorrow.

Now, keeping up with fags: As with so very much else, I am of two minds at once. I have no interest in keeping up with the depilated dissolute homunculi who throng interchangeably at circuit parties. I am not even particularly attracted to that type, never having been keen on cross-addicted Aryan Nations–style conformist HIV-propagating masochists. Nonetheless, while I know I’m not in their league, a part of me would have liked to be. It’s never gonna happen, if only because these fags have fewer hairs on their head than I do on my left shoulder, but the little voice continued to squeak in the background.

(There’s the related issue that I have never had anything resembling adequate back muscles. I got threatened with physio when I was 15 and was examined by a muscular-dystrophy specialist ten years ago under the hypothesis that I had a benign and minor case, which do in fact exist. I don’t. I am simply at the extreme left of that bell curve. The predicament results in a thin and ill-padded rear half of my torso while the front half looks like a hirsute 38-year-old’s. Sometimes I look a month and a half pregnant. Related issue: Weak shoulders.)

But back in the day, I attended the Y some 200 times a year, and Hart House before that. I did weights; I biked in position (supremely painful on the stock saddle) even when I biked to and from the gym; I used the occasional other cardio machine. For several periods, I was not unfit, but I was also not æsthetic, unless you’re an hair fetishist.

I tell myself I could have done more (look at all the other guys!), yet, consistent with the duality mentioned before, I’m also aware that I was working at the redline. Exercise is allegedly proven to relieve depression, but not really for me. Exercise was simply not me, and I hit many brick walls mid-workout that I attribute to simply being ill. I eventually learned to bring food to eat post-workout (and in some cases also pre-), which kept me from enduring a protein crash on top of things. (“You have such a weird metabolism,” I was told once. Gee, thanks. You think I signed up for it?)

We are not, however, even remotely finished with the ironies. During my gym period, I also wrote about sport(s), mostly for the Voice (Cf. Jeff-Z-Klein). While I did not hang out with the hot lads (unless watching Troy Aikman pull his underwear on counts – ask me about that sometime), I learned much about sport psychology.

Separately, through observation, I learned that athletes are one species and I’m another. (I am probably of the intellectual species.) They think with their bodies and take up space: Watch a team, any kind of team, male or female, waiting at an airport gate. Whereas we think with our minds, and our bodies are... what... vessels?

The pencil-necked geek’s pencil neck and matching pigeon chest and Kermit the Frog legs are consequences of a life confined to thought and speech. The athlete types add, or at least have, action.

(The scholar-athlete, now being promoted in the U.S., is an interesting hybrid I know next to nothing about.)

Gay overcompensations at the gym are well documented, and all the conventional theories are true, at least for my generation. We didn’t do anything physical when we were kids, or we stopped when we realized we were queer. (Playing on teams? Where, when, how?) Then the globalized market economy of the muscular physique exerted its forces and we started going back to the gym, teaching long-sedentary muscles a limited range of new tricks, ten reps at a time.

The result was an army of fit, muscular, suspiciously hairless fags who still walked and acted like fags. In essence, the result was a legion of trannies (“male impersonators”): Starting out gay, they attempt to graft straight activity onto a body long dissociated from the mind.

Do a side-by-side comparison: Find any straight guy who’s played sports since his teenage years, and still plays, and has kept up with weight training. (There are a lot of those guys. Even at gay gyms, they’re abundant.) Check all the tiny muscles that are difficult to build using regimented weight training, like the infraspinatus, rhomboids, dorsiflexors, front delts, and the many components of the legs.

You see any of that on a gym fag?

I don’t think so.

Now watch the two of them move. No contest, right? And if you think we dance better than they do and that counts for something, forget it: Gay bars are built around dancing, while straight bars are not. We have simply had more experience.

Perhaps there’s an evolution. Kids today, not bothering with the closet, also don’t bother to drop out of sport if that’s what interests them. I am simply conjecturing here, because succeeding Olympiads have not really borne this theory out. (Yes, more out gay athletes. No, not as many as expected.) The first openly-gay professional athletes in the Big Four American sports will never have been in the closet in the first place. (And the very first will be a hockey player from Europe or Canada, probably Quebec.)

Thus: I know I’m fighting against my essential nature, and that the goal of working out, as accepted by nine-tenths of the gay world, is unattainable and a fraud anyway. But I can’t keep on like this: I don’t want to end up as a fat bastard with angina. I’m willing to work out purely for maintenance.

I have put my money where my mouth is. I have re-upped at the Y at full fare, a costly process. (I got paid. I snapped out of denial.) I am acting as though I am rehabilitating myself from a debilitating injury; I am going impossibly, even laughably, slow. Shoulders, abs, legs, and that’s it. (The leg part I’ve always been lucky with. I will build on one strength.) But I am weaker than I had ever imagined. I can’t do fifteen reps of some exercises – with eight-pound dumbbells. I haven’t exceeded 30 situps yet. The legs are weaker than they used to, but they are my relative strength: I can do all the exercises.

I am working out. I’ll never look like musclefags and now I know for a fact I truly do not care.

And while I’m shaping up, none of these guys will have ever written a book, I’m staying straightedge, and I’m not gonna catch the big H. I think I’m doing all right.

An accurate transcription – I’m a journo and I’ve learned a few things from captioning – of a conversation between a young, masculine, blond streetcar driver (more and more of those on the job these days, what with the retirements) and his old-fart colleague. It was the blond guy’s four year anniversary on May 3.

– Oh, yeah? You got what, your five-three?

– Five-two. You’re what, five-six?

– Five-six.

– 16 down, 14 to go.

– Where are you now, on Wheel-Trans?

– No, subway.

– You like it?

– Ehh, it’s all right, if you like using bodies as speed bumps.

– Oh, you got one of those, did you?

– Yeah, just this month. Southbound at St. Patrick station.

– Did you take time off?

– Naw.

– I would have taken six weeks.

– They say it’s worse if you linger on it. And I was all right. You would’ve taken it off and gotten looked after?

– No, I would’ve just used the six weeks!

– The counsellor came down to the site. I don’t know if that’s procedure or not. I’ve never been in this before. He gave me his card and said, “It’s not your fault. You were a means to their end.”

– If it didn’t happen to you, it would’ve happened to somebody else’s subway.

– But I was ready to do a 111. I wanted to go home – after I wrote up my reports. And they were like, “There. You’re in denial”.... I don’t know how to say this. You think excrement smells bad when it’s outside the body? Well, when it’s still inside the body, it’s much worse. All the bile and the other substances and that, ewww.

– So the guy was still alive?

– Yeah, he held on for a while there. When they brought him up, the smell, I mean, I heaved. I lost it. They were all like “See?”... I could hear him under the truck.

– Oh, yeah? Was he talking or moaning or –?

– Yeah. “Please, God, help me.”

– Did he last long?

– He lasted a short while.

– Because some guys, they hang on and on and on.

– Well, this guy expired soon after.

– Maybe he got what he wanted!

– Yeah. Be careful what you ask for; you might get it.

I am not making this shit up. And I’m not even writing down what had happened with the tweeked-out schizophrenic five minutes before.


“Who does that dame think she is?” exclaims Nancy Reagan in an article I do not actually properly recap in this month’s instalment of Ten Years Ago in Spy.

But a lot of advertising. Who the hell is Tommy Tang, and why can’t I take him seriously?

Next time I’m in New York, Trump Tower, I’ve got your number.

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