Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Defective Gaydar

A roomful of people – mixed, with a clear majority of gay men. Our hostess is partial to a good bit of ‘mo. The evening progresses, and after dessert a new guy arrives, by himself. He is the gayest man in the room: a designer, working on a forthcoming project by some rock group. Tight white t-shirt visible through the open zip of a pleated petrol-blue satin hoody/jacket type-thing (whatever, very fashion-forward). Yards of creative silver bracelets heading up one arm; earrings; sharp, precise haircut. No rings. We are chatting amiably a deux (for a bit) when a woman comes up and links arms with him; glowering at me deadpan. It’s his heavily pregnant wife.

For some reason this reminds me of my first visit to Greece.

Ivan and I were romantically island-hopping (or that was the intention). We were ferrying from Santorini to Amorgos, and had to change at Naxos. There was a two-hour wait, and I insisted we use this time to travel to the centre of the island to look at an abandoned kouros in some ancient Greek quarry. This turned out to be an adventure, and we got back to the harbour just in time to catch the boat - a tiny rust-bucket with a small tarpaulin rigged over the stern for shade. As we were almost the last people on board we were left out on deck in the sun.

I was aware of three well-built German guys – I took them for divers. Amorgos was where ‘The Big Blue’ was filmed. Obviously straight.

We hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We had missed buying food in town, and were now trapped on the rust-bucket which didn’t sell any. Some American back-packers behind us tucked in to their picnic. Ivan wasn’t happy, and it was all my fault. After some discussion we decided on some time-out and he headed off to scour the vessel in search of sustenance.

Tired, hungry, and emotional, I wiped my sunglasses and tried to blank out the Americans. Sudden movement immediately to my right – one of the Germans: now shirtless, leaning languidly against the ship’s funnel, his sun-bleached locks tumbling down across broad shoulders (I do love long hair on a man). The torso of Apollo (and I should know; I’ve just seen the kouros).

My heart leapt into my mouth. I was overcome with confusion. I desperately, helplessly tried to not keep glancing at him – don’t stare, don’t stare, don’t stare’ don’t stare – I didn’t want a face full of straight German fist.

He continued practising his poses for his forthcoming Bruce Webber photoshoot. It was almost – almost as if he was trying to attract my attention.

I only started wondering if he might be gay when I caught sight of his mate trying to hit on Ivan across on the other side of the deck.

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