Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Village Path

At the gym I go to -- though I haven't been there for 3 months :-( -- there is a mix of blokes. Some are oldish like me, and fighting the good fight against flab and sag. We get on well together. Getting older teaches one tolerance, unless of course you are a right dickhead -- and there are alas plenty of those. So we are nice to each other. We talk about our jobs and children and our lives.

Then there are the youngsters, a mix of perfect physiques and beautiful faces and, well, less perfect physiques and faces. The less beautiful are shy, but mostly likable. The beautiful divide into two groups. Some are polite to me, nodding and wishing me g'day. Others ignore me. They -- o paragons of beauty -- are too far up the golden ladder which reaches to the abode of the gods to talk to mere ugly overweight old mortals like me. They ogle fourteen-year old girls and talk loudly about conquests at parties and recent footy games. Mind you, the footy teams they play for are just the local amateur teams, and encounters with the 14 year old girls seem to my jaundiced -- but experienced eye -- to be sheer fantasy. I was a teen too, you know, once, long ago.

Anyway there are two blokes I'd like to talk about. The one is one of the nicest, least up himself, most likable 18 year olds I've met in a long time. He has a lovely body, all firm muscle and long legs, and a face filled with merriment and kindness. We talk often and I am quite open with him, telling him of the problems in my life and advising and mentoring him about the pitfalls and dangers of growing up. I try not to patronise. He is, I think a sort of friend, and I suspect if I was 10 kilos thinner and 100 times more unscrupulous, I could get him into my bed. He's at the age where one will try anything once.

The other is a startlingly beautiful guy, perhaps a little older, 19 or 20, with a mane of thick straw-gold hair and piercing blue eyes and a body to die for, looking amazingly like Peter Winterbottom in the photo below. And he's an arsehole (not Peter Winterbottam, idiotai, the one who goes to my gym.) Arrogant, indifferent, solipsistic, self-absorbed, he's utterly dislikable. And very sexy. He ignores me completely. He is, I think, incapable of love because he has never got over the love affair with himself. Yet sometimes, as if he senses my nature, I've seen speculative -- interested -- looks, quickly hooded.

One day last summer after I had worked out at the gym, I was walking back up the hill from the village to my house. It was a warm peaceful evening and the late light was dimming in the far western sky over Bullengarook's native forests. The pathway up from the valley where the township lies parallels the road, but is not right next to it. For a fair way it's much higher than the road, and you can look down onto the passing cars and lorries. That evening as I was making my way home, exhausted from the workout and (let's be honest) the steep ascent, Mr Mane drove down the road in a brand-new ute, with one of his friends. He looked up and caught sight of me, and his gaze sharpened. For a moment I was utterly terrified, and thirteen years old again. There was that speculative cast to his look which bullies get. I know it well. Is it worth stopping and beating him up? I was alone. I'm not exactly young. And even when I was young I wasn't very good at fighting off the bullies. I'm blind in one eye because of them.

Yet was my fear irrational? In one sense yes, because it was triggered by a specific look, and I regressed nearly half a century. I'm not a young teenager any more. I'm a man who has lived through much and endured much, and knows how to deal with bank clerks and bank managers as well as feisty teenagers. But in another sense no. We know that old queens routinely get beaten up by young thugs. Especially young thugs who feel the impulse to connect to other men. Young thugs whose hormonal drives are still fierce, who need to burn their more tender gay side out of themselves in order to grow up as 'real' men, with a wife and kids and a mistress on the side. Recently I heard about just such an assault, where a group of teens savagely beat up and injured an older gay man, and the police thought it was funny and wished they had finished the job. So perhaps not that irrational, after all.

The path down to the village is no longer as pleasant as it was.

Peter Winterbottom, England rugby player.
Who I'm quite sure is not a thug.
And is prolly not gay either.
(Pic from here)

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