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Sweet Memories of Balls Dropping

1 Jan

ball-dropI must be quiet as it’s rather late and poor Christopher has, I’m afraid, dropped off to sleep (whereas I was taught to sip rather than “down” champagne and have therefore not felt a single affect). Thanks to the generous young Portuguese man who stopped by last week and offered to work some magic on my box (for a small one-time fee), I was able to watch the festivities in Times Square on the television. Although I normally find it vulgar to be awake at this hour, I suppose I just wanted to relive some fond memories of old times. I imagine it must be similar to the feelings the older generation of Britons must have when they recall watching doodlebugs drop: a nostalgia for a time when we were younger and hope and pulse jet engines filled the air. Excuse my wistfulness: there’s a fine line between melancholy and maudlin, and I am aware of on which side of the line I must stay.

I’ve spent many a New Year’s Eve in Times Square, with some of the most charming friends I’ve ever known. Such shenanigans we got up to! We’d often start celebrating early in the evening at someone’s home (I will never forget the time Digby Whistler and I got locked in the attic of Mickey Rooney’s brownstone for nearly an hour!) and then head out to hop between the watering holes of the City. It seemed that wherever we went, we were greeted by the bars’ patrons as if we were all the oldest of friends. There’s something about New Yorkers that leads to such camaraderie (I think it might have been the bourbon).  We’d then rush out at almost the last minute to grab a taxi to take us to the flagpole and watch the ball drop. One year, we went in our own car (this was at a time when drinking and driving was still safe) and, although we didn’t make it in time, I can remember Stefan tooting the horn at the strike of midnight to all the revelers and smut peddlers in the street. Even though that particular night ended in tears when I misplaced my great aunt’s beaded hair clip, I’ll never forget those frolics.

Oh, why do things have to change? Where has our youth gone? Why do we keep sending soldiers off to war? Whatever happened to Big Paul the Sailor? I can remember everything just like it was yesterday, including the things that happened yesterday, so I just ask why? Can’t we all just love each other? Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. I think of little puppies, they’re so soft and innocent. I never want to see one looking sad.

I’ve suddenly gone dreadfully sleepy. I think I might just rest my head for a moment before I write anymore.

Happy Christmas!

25 Dec

I hope your Christmas day has brought you smiles, good food and drink, and all the presents you wished for. Mine has: Christopher and I have exchanged gifts, played a few games, had an early Christmas dinner, and are just settling in to watch the Queen.


As soon as she has signed off, I’ll be raising a toast to you all, my dears!

Merry Christmas Eve

24 Dec

Thoughtfully, Christopher managed not to get stupid drunk this Christmas Eve, so we enjoyed a quiet evening indoors reflecting on love, joy, and peace. I hope your Christmas Eve was just as lovely.


Happy National Coming Out Day, Homosexuals!

11 Oct

Today is National Coming Out Day. It’s a little reminder that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people deserve some respect and celebration. It’s confusing to me that people still need reminding—surely as long as Stephen Fry and Pam St. Clement walk the earth, it should be blatantly obvious that non-heterosexuals are fabulous. However, there are still enough dumbasses around that it’s important to take a day to remember.

I personally don’t believe in labels: I like to keep all my options open as you never know just when you may feel that spark (Charlize Theron, if you’re reading this, call me). But just as there are those who insist they are heterosexual (despite that little fumbling incident at Boy Scout camp), there are those who feel confident calling themselves homosexual, and what’s wrong with that? As long as they don’t keep broken toys and other rubbish in their gardens (an act that is deserving of criticism), I say live and let live. When it comes to the bedroom department, I am in no position to judge anyone for their preferences (though I have published Agatha’s Annotated Kama Sutra, a text in which I judge various positions and list my preferences). Having a similar layout in their private areas should not restrict two adults who fancy a little sexy sex with each other. If you think it should, perhaps you should take a minute to ask yourself why you are so interested in other people’s sex lives. Are you some kind of pervert or something?

We supposedly live in enlightened times. When we hear about homosexuality being illegal, we see those laws as antiquated. We find ridiculous the anti-homosexual propaganda of the 1950s. We laugh at the coded language of the past that thinly veiled institutional homophobia: the actor forced to hide his true self and instead be labeled a “confirmed bachelor”; the athletic woman dismissed as a “tomboy”; the male hairdresser attacked simply because he “liked cock.” Pshaw! we say.

Yet are things all that different today? It’s sad that we still deny life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all—laws continue to restrict civil rights, hatred continues to breed violence and ignorance continues to thrive. It still takes a kind of bravery to come out publicly as L or G or B or T.

So let us celebrate that bravery. If you’re of the queer persuasion, hoorah for you! If you’re heterosexual but an ally of the gay community, hoorah for you as well! And if you’re Charlize Theron, seriously, consider joining me for dinner this weekend. I can definitely make it worth your while.

My Father: No Cary Grant, But Still

17 Jun

All children look up to their fathers; this is obvious as most men are at least a good two feet taller than your average five-year-old. I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying my father was my hero—by the time I met him, he had been somewhat beaten down by life (read: his wife). However, to this day, I admire his wisdom, patience and the way his hair flicks up over his left ear (but not his right). He’s a man of few words, but I’ve learned a lot from him. Here are a few of my favourite fatherly gems:

1. Keeping a precise scorecard of a baseball game deserves as much respect as hitting a game-winning grand slam.

2. Never use your teeth to do anything but chew.

3. If you can’t be bothered to lace up your shoes, just buy loafers.

4. A good man keeps a tidy garage.

5. Any boy with a spitting habit should never be invited into the house.

6. Animals are better than most people.

7. When it’s your turn to talk, speak up. When it’s someone else’s turn to talk, listen.

8. Always return your library books on time.

9. Be kind.

10. Crime doesn’t pay (I’m not sure this one was originally his).

Of course, no man is perfect. He’s not a great dancer, occasionally wears trousers an inch too short, and married my mother.  But I can only think of one or two other men who would have been preferable as a father figure so overall I feel quite lucky.

Happy Father’s Day.

I Rarely Sleep With Liars

25 May

I’m not one to fall for silly lines. I can’t count the times I’ve been told I was the “first” or the “only true” or the “most bendable” love a man has had, and I have always seen right through his strategy. Men are often confused by what they see as women’s unrelenting commitment to truth. Of course, truth is important to women, as it should be for all right-minded people regardless of the layout of their pubic areas.

But truth is a complicated concept, and a brief explanation of the nuances between the different kinds of truth is warranted.


No one wants this. It’s too ugly. Although witnesses in court cases are threatened with a needle in the eye, neither the prosecuting nor defense table really wants anyone telling the whole truth. The last time you waterboarded someone, you probably asked them to tell you the whole truth. What if their truth was actually “I will say whatever you want me to say to get you to stop doing this”? You’d look a fool. Anyone with a lick of sense can see that this kind of truth isn’t helpful to any situation or military conflict.


Now obviously this route is neither correct nor seemly. We all know this: telling one lie leads to another lie and another and then it’s a pack of them. Not only is it horrible, but it’s also very difficult to keep track of. It’s one of the great lessons of childhood—remember the itsy bitsy spider who weaved the web of lies because she was practicing to deceive the old woman who swallowed the fly? Your grandmother didn’t tell you that story for nothing, you know.


Generally this is the appropriate level of truth for almost all situations. Details do one of two things: hurt another person or make you look like a twat. An appropriate fact would be “Yes, I saw the defendant hanging around the office building”; there’s no reason to add “so I invited him in and gave a passkey to the safe.” It’s a subtle balance, and you’ll often be pressed to give as many details as you can, but resist.

Let’s look at a couple typical scenarios men and women find themselves in where the “truth” often plays a key role.

Do I look fat in this?

Don’t say: “Yes, you look fatter than I’ve ever seen you. Take off the offending item immediately and hide your shame. You shall not be attending the ball with me tonight.”

Don’t say: “What on earth are you talking about? You look thinner than Angelina Jolie” (if she actually does, immediately get her to a medical professional).

Do say: “It shows off the real you, and that’s the you I love.”

Did you cheat on me with that woman?

Don’t say: “I did, and it was the most fantastic shag of my life, partly because of the illicit nature of the encounter and partly because she let me do that thing you said you’d die before letting me do again. Therefore I intend to keep seeing her, but I don’t see any reason to let my cheating change our relationship at all, so would you make me a sandwich, please?”

Don’t say:  “I don’t know what you are talking about. Someone has clearly Photoshopped that picture of me having sex with her in my dental chair afterhours when I claimed I was away at an orthodontist convention.”

Do say: “I did because I am a small man in more ways than one. If you forgive me, I’ll be forever indebted, but I’ll also understand if you change your Facebook relationship status to single and get new locks on the house.”

Of course, the easiest way to deal with the truth is to take a little care in advance. If you’re about to do something that one day you may need to tell a lie about, the most sensible approach is just not to do it. Don’t take the money from the till. Don’t text a photo of your erection. Don’t marry a fat woman. It isn’t too difficult to understand.

But men are fallible creatures and seem to get themselves into troublesome situations at the drop of a hat. You’re welcome for my helpful advice.

Mother Needs Something Today

13 May

Love·ly [ˈləv-lē]: Adjective

5 Feb

Scrooge I Am Not

25 Dec

As expected, the excitement of this special day has softened all anger I felt about Christopher’s alcohol-fueled shenanigans of evening last. For, as Charles Dickens wrote in the immortal The Muppet Christmas Carol, “He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

My Relationship with The Lesser Species

16 Aug

I am an animal lover. From the time I was but a wee one, I have almost always had an animal companion by my side. My first pet was a traditional one; he was a stray dog whom we originally met when we discovered he was operating a betting shop from inside our garage. While we admired both his creativity and resourcefulness, this was no life for a dog and we set out to reform him. I loved little Brown Leonard (as we named him) and still recall fondly our walks around the esplanades of Trenton, NJ. He was always up for an adventure or a game of cards. Our relationship was based upon mutual respect, unconditional love and a substantial amount of gambling debt.

Of course, while I was still a child, my parents, or rather my father, selected our pets. In our household, my parents shared responsibility: my mother controlled everything and my father did what he was told. As my mother felt our reputation in the neighbourhood had suffered as a result of Brown Leonard’s nefarious former livelihood, she assigned all future pet duties to my father. Throughout my tenure there, we shared our home with quite a menagerie. My father was particularly fond of fish, though his aquarium was positioned in his private study which no one but he could enter. Over the years, that collection of fish became a tropical smorgasbord of exotic varieties, recognised state-wide as a perfect mini eco-system and the only real friends my father has.

The story I shall now recount involves the first pet I chose on my own. I say chose but, of course, the philotherians amongst you will know that a pet actually chooses you. Before I began travelling the world, I was based in a darling flat in Camden, NJ where I was known as “the Lovely Lady” to the locals I refused to meet eyes with on the street. It’s lonely when you leave a house full of love, liquor and noise, so I deduced that a pet might ease that pain. Unfortunately, most of the animals at the local shelter had backgrounds which I felt were too dissimilar from my own. But one afternoon I returned home to see find a small, rather trampish looking dog asleep on my doorstep. As I unlocked the door, he rushed in, climbed upon my settee and went back to sleep. Although this type of behaviour would be abhorrent from a human (yes, I am referring to Captain Snezley during his troubled years), I found it almost endearing from this pup. Through research, I discovered that his breed was most likely Telomian and I felt that he and I understood that a better life was deserved by both of us. I named him Sebastian and felt satisfied I had found my new best friend.

Sebastian slept soundly for the first three days post-arrival while I purchased a large array of items to make his new home comfortable. When he first began to investigate his new surroundings, though, he showed little interest in the toys, chews and reading materials I had selected for him. He instead preferred to stay crouched in the corner, occasionally peeping through the net curtains of the dining room window, watching closely the street. Having never been a dog myself, I was reticent to suggest alternative activities for him. I still considered him a friend but was beginning to doubt that he felt the same way towards me.

One afternoon (I remember it was a Tuesday, the day that unemployment checks were handed out so thankfully few of my neighbours were congregating on my street corner as they otherwise so charmingly did), a young policeman arrived at my door. As soon as the bell went, Sebastian ran upstairs in a way that made me feel he did not want to be seen. I permitted the officer to enter my house and, after pouring him a cup of tea, I asked him to sit with me in the sitting room. He looked tired, and I inquired about the case which was clearly exhausting him so.

Here he began a tale of such criminality that I shall spare you the details (which I don’t remember). But suffice it say, I felt victimized just hearing them. Before I could offer my advice on the best course of action in solving this conundrum, the young officer produced from his pocket a photograph (shoddily taken but clear enough to recognise) of Sebastian. I immediately put on a brave face. He asked if I had seen this creature, lurking. Although I normally try to keep my responses to police officers’ questions as close to the truth as possible, I confess in this circumstance I told a falsehood. He then bid me adieu, leaving his calling card in the basket near the door, put there for that very purpose.

Needless to say, I instantly confronted Sebastian about his involvement with illegal activities. He denied everything. I wanted to believe him and I told him I did, but I still had my suspicions. We lived together for another week but by then had become strangers. Although it broke my heart to pieces, I spoke to the boy next door and arranged for Sebastian to be shot and removed from the premises while I was at the market. The house no longer seemed the same. It was now free of his masterful criminal mind but it also lacked that love which can only exist between man and beast. Despite what had passed between us, I never grassed up Sebastian to the police. The guilt clearly had made him suffer enough. I missed him, but as I was by then planning my first trip to Europe and a pet would have complicated my itinerary, I believe the situation’s resolution was probably the best for both of us.

Relationships with animals are magical and in many ways more rewarding than many interactions I’ve had with fellow humans. I suppose the lesson here is that, no matter how good you are, how loving you are, you cannot trust anyone with a blue tongue. Keep this in mind, young ones, particularly when out and about on the dating scene.