Nottingham Vignettes – Part 2

(posted by Alan)

We all reach a stage of our lives, often every few months or years, when we suddenly discover that we’re in a rut and that life has to change in some way or other if we are not to become too set in our ways, letting life’s unexplored possibilities slip us by. A number of things have happened to me in the past couple of weeks leading me to think that I’ve got stuck in something I call, for want of a better term, a ‘gay rut’. Don’t confuse this with ‘gay rutting’, something altogether different, but, conceivably, a symptom of a specific type of ‘gay rut’ for those that live their lives as one long series of one-night stands!      *innocent look*

However, the term does have very close links with ‘gay ghetto’, a term that could be defined as a place inhabited and frequented by those stuck in a gay rut.

Episode 1:
I was out with 3 colleagues, all straight men, for a night out on the town. We started out at The Trip – I suggested we go as I’d been introduced to the place the night before by Mike (Buni was there too) and had liked it, especially the great selection of real ales. When they closed, we moved on to Chino Latino so that we could explore their cocktail menu. One of my colleagues seemed to feel that the cost of the drinks could be borne by his expense account so no holds were barred when it came to the quantities drunk. Uncharacteristically, I left early as a friend had rung me and asked if he could come round. I stood up to leave, made a few wise-cracks and then, to my dawning horror, leant forward to kiss my one colleague on the mouth. I stopped just before I had crossed a boundary of no return and conceived to make my movement a symptom of my inebriated state.

Now, I often go out with straight colleagues but we’re usually quite a large group. This was a small group and, in recent months, I’ve not been out with a small group of straight people but am often out with small groups of gay people. Going into autopilot mode, my brain instructed me that a kiss was required as a farewell gesture.

Episode 2:
This time I was out with a large group from the office. We’d started at Fellows Morton and Clayton and then landed up at The Irish. This particular group of colleagues tends to enjoy going to Reflex or Flares, rather dire places even though I’ve had a good time at both before. The Irish is a much better place for the end of a drunken night out. I think that it serves as an Irish social centre but it’s very popular with a wide section of Nottingham although the crowd tends to be quite young, many of whom are students. Basically, it’s a very large hall, much like a church or school hall, off which there is a room with a long bar that serves cheap drinks.

The vital point of this episode only came back to me at 4pm the following day when another colleague who was not with us asked me if we had had a good evening. At that point, a dreadful memory came flashing back: I suddenly remembered how I’d been dancing with a female colleague of mine and that we’d been locked in a deep snog. Oh, the embarrassment of it all!!

Fortunately, I’ve not seen her since then – although she is on the same project, she works in an entirely different part of the building. One of my colleagues who was with us has since spoken to her and told her that I’m gay to which she said, ‘Oh, perhaps he thought I’m a bloke?’ No, not at all, there was no way I could mistake her for a man!

Anyway, the reason why this is yet another symptom of my ‘gay rut’ is the fact that I seldom go out dancing with straight friends and, when I do, I very seldom land up dancing up really close with a woman. Again, autopilot came into play and my brain instructed me to do as I usually do when I’m dancing up really close with a person: kiss them.

Episode 3:
This episode is more a symptom of living alone or spending too much time in the company of men, ie it’s not strictly a symptom of a ‘gay rut’. As those of you who read my epistle on my mother-in-law will know, I spent last weekend in the company of my sister-in-law and her husband, and my mother-in-law. On two occasions, once after having got up in the morning, the other after having had a shower, I found that I had been walking around with my flies undone. Not only that, I was also wearing no underwear! Each time, my brother-in-law kindly pointed out that I needed to zip up.

So, there you have it, the more obvious symptoms of my ‘gay rut’. I think that I need to spend a bit more socialising time with straight people!

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