THE BODY POLITIC
A recent reunion with an old boyfriend has Barry Lowe contemplating the politics of gay sex.
“You know that same-sex marriage will kill gay sex, don’t you?”
That was the sort of statement that killed my relationship with Mike all those decades ago. That, and the fact I was going through my ‘top’ phase where I nailed his butt every spare moment we had in every conceivable position until, in a fit of pique after I’d discovered his two best mates were still double dipping him while he was in a relationship with me, I picked up a stranger who fucked me senseless over the Laminex table in my small Glebe apartment and told me my arse was “born to be fucked”.
I let go of any pretence of being a major top and split up with Mike the next day. I guess we both saw it coming. He had been born to the privilege of the upper middle class and I was from a working class background. He was cultured, I was uncouth. He was closeted, I was out. He thought legalising gay male sex “would take the fun out of it”.
He was unable to recognise the element of self-loathing involved in his beliefs. To him ‘gay’ was naughty, forbidden, something you do in the dark. It added a frisson that sex would otherwise lack. Legalising it took away that secret ingredient.
We drifted apart over the years, he to his conservative enclave on the North Shore, me to my ‘Chardonnay Socialist’ backwater in the inner city. He was quick to pick up the pithy putdowns of his political class including the priceless Alan Jones Ju-liar and Sydney Morning Pravda. When it comes to politics, Mike prefers to let others do his thinking for him. He reads and listens to only those pundits who reinforce his world view and is quick to take up their sound-bite simplistic arguments.
I’m not sure if cultural appreciation can honestly be split along left/right lines although Hitler and Stalin and their ilk would have you believe so. However, he was a traditionalist who gloried in the Renaissance and art up to the early twentieth century while I found inspiration in the Dadaists and Francis Bacon. He loves classical music pre-1914 while I prefer it post Britten. He loves Penny Wong because she knows how to play the system whereas I wonder how she will explain to her child that she belonged to a political party that treated her as a second-class citizen.
Mike turned up his nose when I began to write for gay publications such as Campaign and Michael Glynn’s ground-breaking Star and, although he attended most of my early stage plays and enjoyed them, he wondered aloud why I bothered while hoping that they would remain in the ghetto because he usually went home with another audience member on the night. “That won’t happen if you ever become respectable and play the Opera House,” he said.
So it was more of the same when we met up again recently. “Why do you always write about sex?” he complained. “And such nasty sex sometimes, too.”
This from the man who pisses in men’s mouths and regularly allows a sports team of cocks up his anal passage when he gets the itch. That’s okay. He doesn’t write about it and only discusses it in the privacy of someone’s home. It’s not like he’s been photographed coming out of a gay sauna by a television current affairs program.
There’s no point in discussing any of this while he regurgitates platitudes learned by rote from radio shock jocks. “What are Alan Jones’s views on gay marriage?” I asked him. “Surely not that it will take the fun out of sex?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard him mention the subject,” he replied.
I gasped theatrically. “So you’ve come up with your own ideas without any help from the pulpit?” I asked sarcastically.
“Let’s not talk about politics. It’s so divisive,” he said with that twinkle in his eye I remember all-to-well from all those years ago. “You know I always did like your dick in my arse.”
“If I remember rightly, your hole was hot as hell,” I grinned as my cock began to fill with blood.
“Cocks and arses have no politics,” he said as he removed his shirt and flung it on the lounge.
I picked it up reluctantly, handing it back to him. “They do in this house.”