Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Boys Chase Boys (Chase Girls?)

Hello all,
So, I’m caving to popular demand and answering the question of as a gay man, do I find girls attractive? The simple answer is not really. The more complicated answer is a little bit. Let me explain. Beware, this is filled with astonishing amounts of awkwardness.
   I attended an all-boys high school for six years where there was no females to be seen. It didn’t take me long to work out that this was a bit of a problem for me as I found some of those present in the school mildly attractive. It’s like if a straight boy was suddenly dropped in the middle of an all-girls school. For six years. I repressed a lot of stuff. I came out in year 10 and my school life didn’t particularly change. My friends still talked about which celebrities were doing it the most for them this week, which caused me to kick my best friend in the shin because he had a girlfriend. Good times.
   Then, I left high school and started Uni. And suddenly there were girls everywhere. At first, it didn’t seem to affect me. I was confident enough in my sexuality to realise that I didn’t find these people attractive. Then, I was waiting for a lecture one day and I saw this girl who looked remarkably like Clara (from Doctor Who, for those not into the best show in the Universe) and I realised that I was finding her attractive. For someone who is (really) gay, I was horrified. I thought I knew myself better than this. The same week I watched the excellent German gay film Summer Storm which had two snoggable male leads as well as this woman named Alicja Bachleda-Curus (pictured above). And as I watched this film, I grew fonder of not the gay couple, but the woman, who was beautiful. I was sincerely hoping that she would get with the gay man (who was having a pointless crush on his best friend) or at least someone. She was so nice.
   After watching that film, my mind was in crisis. Was I no longer gay? What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t find girls attractive? Do I? And I just let this stew for a couple of weeks, growing more and more confused (confounded when one of my best friends said he didn’t actually find her all that attractive). Eventually, I couldn’t cope with it anymore and asked one of the friends who I can really talk openly to about it. She didn’t have a bad reaction to it. She just said that it’s not a problem. I’m still gay, I just find some girls attractive now. It was brilliant.
   Ever since then, I’ve allowed myself to find some girls attractive. Even though it feels like a betrayal to my gay self as I do it.
   There are still a couple of questions, though. As my friend pointed out, do I legitimately find girls attractive or am I just basing my opinion on what people have said to me are attractive qualities in a girl? And the big one, if I ever met a girl who I was attracted to, could I see myself ending up with her?
    That last question is something that keeps me up at night sometimes. Sometimes I think yeah I could do it. Other times I think NO!! But, I think now I’ve sort of settled on the sort of arrangement that was seen in the beautiful British film Carrington. A gay man sees someone gorgeous in the garden and asks, rather wonderfully, who that ravishing boy is. The person turns around and it’s a girl. We’ve all done that. Despite the initial awkwardness, the two find a relationship, which is deeper than sex (which they never have). They eventually move in together and share their lives for seventeen years, remaining friends despite each having their respective relationships, none as satisfying (intellectually or emotionally) as the one which they have created. It was a beautiful film which suggested that love is about more than just sex, it’s a much deeper connection than that. It’s one of the most progressive films I’ve seen in ages, both comforting and revolutionary.
   I can see this happening to me if there ever was a girl I found an attraction to. The thing is that I mean attraction as in personality. While I may see that this girl or that girl has a certain aesthetic beauty, it wouldn’t be something that’s long-lasting. I am physically attracted to men. I can see that a girl is attractive but it just doesn’t attract me in the same way that a guy does.
   Ultimately, though, I think our society is very much gender based. Boys like girls, unless you’re gay. People don’t understand bisexuality, which is horrible. Some of my best friends are bisexual and they have a terrible time of it, simply because they are attracted to both genders (which doesn’t mean they’re attracted to everyone. That stereotype is immensely stupid. I am attracted to men. I am not attracted to all men, but I find that the vast majority of people I’m attracted to happen to be male).
   Sorry, this was a ridiculously awkward post. It was something I wasn’t looking forward to discussing and wasn’t going to. I said to myself that I won’t do it because I can’t find a good title for the post. Unfortunately, Ingrid Michaelson released the awesome (and intensely catchy) song ‘Girls Chase Boys’, which I’ve listened to far too many times in the past week, and the title came to me. I also felt the need to clear up the matter because a few more people have asked me about it. I don’t know why, but I felt this was a much more personal post than last week. Next week’s won’t be. Unless, it is. Which it probably will be.
   What follows are my thoughts on the sad passing of Shirley Temple, before the usual playlist and films list. The playlist this week is a bit shorter, but I just want to say that if you listen to nothing else, please listen to Lindsey Stirling’s new song, Stars Align. It’s excellent! Anyway, see you all next week!
 
Shirley Temple (1928-2014)
Shirley Temple. It’s a name everyone knows, even if you’ve never seen her films. A child star from the 30s, she inspired and brought a smile to your face. Only a few weeks ago, I realised that having never seen a film of hers was a huge and unforgivable gap in my film and life experience. So, I watched Poor Little Rich Girl from 1936. My parents prepared me, stating that it was going to be unbearably sweet. And it the start it was, but then as I watched, she sang, tap-danced and charmed her way into my heart. It was such a sweet and innocent film that I initially gave it a rating of only 5/10. But as I’ve reflected on it ever since, I realised that that was the point. Hers were films to make you feel a million times better. And they do. They lift you up to cloud nine and you can’t help but smile. She was cheerful and almost magical, luminescent in her films. Sadly, she was less popular as she grew older, before becoming a respected diplomat. But now, at the age of just 85, she’s left us. But her smile made you smile and happy even on the very worst of days, and that is something to be (and always will be) cherished. Rest In Peace, Shirley.s

The Playlist Of 5 Feb – 12 Feb
Girls Chase Boys (Ingrid Michaelson)
Stars Align (Lindsey Stirling)
All Of Me (John Legend)
Love Me Again (John Newman)
Let Her Down Easy (George Michael)
Oh Father (Anthony Starble)
Paper Heart (Chloe Howl)
You Are My Sunshine (Bing Crosby)

The Top 10 Films Of 29 Jan – 4 Feb
The Shining
Ordet
Alien
Carrington
Bride Of Frankenstein
The Royal Tenenbaums
Gods And Monsters
Behind The Candelabra
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Thanks,
James

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