Fun Things To Do On Your Own

(posted by Martin)

martintagSo last night there’s sod all on television, so I watch EastEnders and then go through to the bedroom and fire up the laptop. I look at some racy pictures for a while, and they’re not really doing anything for me. My body is definitely turned on – but it has been all day. However, my mind is a million miles away, thinking about everything from the preparation of audit checklists to wondering why Cal’s working late.

I phone Hari, hoping for a conversation about which organ would be in which orifice if he was here, but he’s out, so I leave a message with his concierge.

I hear Cal coming in about nine, and hastily haul my trousers up before he’s got the door locked behind him.

– I’ve got to tell you something – he says. It’s a secret.

Okay… now I’m not so good with secrets. First off, I like to tell Hari pretty much everything, and I hate keeping secrets from him. And secondly, I don’t see why people tell anyone secrets. That stops them being secrets, doesn’t it? He blurts out his secret before I can ask him not to, though.

– I just had sex with Michael Gregg.

There is his secret. It takes a second for me to realise what he’s just said. Michael Gregg works with us. In particular, he works for me. He goes drinking with me and Hari most weeks. Hari and I have discussed whether or not he’s threesome material. And he most definitely is. Looks like he could play rugby for Scotland. Definitely looks like he’d be great in a scrum, and – being honest – in the showers afterwards. He is definitely shaggable, but – and this is important – he is a mate. So it’s never going to happen.

But now I have to picture him and Cal engaged in various forms of activity at the back of our office car park, which is apparently where they consummated this act. I get a blow by blow account, which is far more than I wanted, particularly as I’m finding the whole thing much more arousing than I want to. Cal is going in to pretty graphic detail, and I realise that I haven’t buttoned my fly and so my interest in his story is kind of obvious. Luckily, he doesn’t notice. He’s reliving the evening in technicolour in his head.

I make a barbed comment doubting how committed he is to getting custody of his children, then I go to the bathroom and lock myself in.

I sit on the toilet for a few minutes, looking down at “Little Martin”, who winks back up at me, reminding me that he has needs too. I try to think about unsexual things, like politicians, or Delia Smith, but I keep imagining what Michael’s face looks like at the moment of triumph, when he’s just scored a try and is about to go for the conversion. All too much. So I tell Cal I’m getting an early night, lock myself in my room, and go online again.

I paste pictures of some private movie star into my profile, pop in to a chat room, and within a few minutes I’m chatting to someone else who’s lying about every statistic in the book. We exchange small talk for a while, we lie to each other for a bit to feed each other’s fantasies, and after a while I get bored with the whole thing, and start playing minesweeper. My new friend seems to be satisfied, I tell him that he’s the best I’ve ever had, and I go to bed, hugging the pillow that smells of Hari.

Little by little, one travels far. -J. R. R. Tolkien

(posted by Venus)

Scottish / Canadian Sex week, is it? Oh, dear. Are you readers ready for it? Is the world ready for what may come out of our dirty little imaginations? On my part, I’m honoured to be here, even if this does feel like the Island Of Misfit Toys. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I guess I’ll start by saying I’m far from a writer. I picture a writer as a man or woman much older that me with disheveled clothing and a bad haircut. But I’m not far off. I’m an accountant. I have horrible eyesite, so sometimes I wear glasses. Although I don’t have a pocket protector, I do have an extensive collection of calculators. If you ever need a calculator, I’m your gal. I’ll hook you up. I got a call not too long ago from a friend of mine. I was just hanging out watching TV and the phone rings.

“Do you have a scientific calculator?”
“Who is this?!?”
“ME. Do you? Hurry up!”

First of all, ME doesn’t help, people. Secondly, the overwhelming need of this person for a calculator was beyond even my understanding. It turned out to be a friend who’s in university, was on a scavenger hunt and needed to know “pi” to six decimal places. And I came through for her. After digging through all my precious babies and their wonderful array of buttons, I found the scientific and saved the day. Yay for me!

Sometimes I do get out of the house and head out on the town. Getting all tarted up to go out dancing is one of my favorite things. Throw off the glasses and tear off the nylons. Here I come baby! I like to accessorize. Once I have chosen the very best makeup, shoes, purse etc. from my vast collection, it’s time to go meet the best accessory a girl can ever have: My harem of gay men.

Now, before you start jumping to conclusion, I must tell you that there are two types of f*g hags. (Is that a naughty word in the UK, too? I’ll asterix just in case. I could be referring to a cigarette I guess).

1. The sweet but unconfident, usually overweight female who constantly needs compliments and the only place she can find them is with her gay friends, with whom she eventually falls in love with, then cries her eyes out but pretends not to care when he ditches her for a pretty boy.

2. The sweet but overconfident, usually pristine female who is just along for a sassy time with a lot of beautiful men in gay-shape.

Please do not mistake me for #1. That said, it always gives me a rush walking down Davie Street in my newest sleek top and black pants, heels clicking on the sidewalk arm in arm with two handsome hotties and a few following. Yes, I’m a star. The price to pay though, is the vast overexposure of Kylie Minogue to my brain.

So, I’m a nerd by day and star by night. What about in between? That is the mystery I’m trying to figure out. A coworker of mine always said that you don’t really understand yourself until the age of 50. For her, it just clicked then and brought her to an greater understanding of life and what’s really important. I guess I’m just halfway there. Until then I’ll keep b*tching (<-rotton word? Maybe I’m being too cautious) about every single curve ball life throws out. It’s more fun that way.

Dealing with the Hydra Headed

(posted by asta)

A part, a large part, of traveling is an engagement of the ego v. the world…. The world is hydra headed, as old as the rocks and as changing as the sea, enmeshed inextricably in its ways. The ego wants to arrive at places safely and on time.”
Sybille Bedford

I never felt that way about traveling until this weekend.

Almost a year ago, I was adopted into the tight social circle of a group of much older women who have known each other for decades. I still don’t know why, since I have next to nothing in common with them. Maybe I’m the fresh blood, or an amusing novelty. I don’t see them that regularly, but I’ve enjoyed the dinners, parties and outings. It was at one of these events, deep in the evening after the number of empty Merlot bottles far exceeded the number of drinkers present that the leader of the group turned to me and said, ” You must come with us to Toronto in October to see ‘The Lion King”.

Right. Count me in. It’s that SARS deal, right? ( Don’t bother with the link if you already know what I’m referring to)

I promptly forgot about it until I started getting the phone calls about the logistics – paying for and getting all the tickets, selecting a hotel (The Royal York), selecting from the list of restaurants( given over to me to arrange since I’m the designated foodie) and getting there.

Ah yes. Well. I love to travel — have since I was three years old and my mother took me to New York and Washington where I danced at the Capitol and later met a famous wife. But that’s another story. Thing is, I’ve never traveled with a large group before, but have traveled enough to know that just because someone makes a wonderful dinner companion doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy schlepping bags and sharing a bathroom with them. Traveling with nine virtual unknowns seemed like a recipe for disaster. But I promised. So I gave myself an out, by informing the group I’d meet them at the hotel on Saturday- I’d be driving up alone on Friday to Oakville to visit with my god-daughters and their parents. If the weekend turned out to be a horrible mistake, at least I wouldn’t have to endure five hours of strained stilted conversations on the return journey.

Soooo here’s what happened.

– forgot that Oakville is west that’s WEST of Toronto, so got stuck in rush hour traffic on the 401 highway Friday evening making me late for dinner, which wouldn’t be so awful except parents had neglected to inform me that wife is barely able to rise from bed having been recently struck with a mysterious possible fatal kidney disease and that newly purchased monster house in undergoing major renovations set to begin at 8am Saturday ( how they got contractors to work on a weekend I’ll never know). They didn’t tell me because they were afraid I’d feel I was imposing and cancel. You think?

– I’m out the door as the builders arrive and headed for the train station. My brilliant plan to avoid the traffic and expense of downtown Toronto is to leave my car at the station, take the train into the city, pick up the car Sunday and speed off into the sunset. But now I’m going to arrive several hours before check-in and I don’t relish lugging the luggage about. Nevermind. It will all work out.

– see? This is going to be fine. They take pity on such a wisp of a thing having to carry such a heavy overnight bag. And good grief what does she have in there, bricks? Early check-in it is.

– I’ve got hours to kill, since the rest of the party doesn’t arrive until mid-afternoon. I’ve never had much desire to visit Toronto ( I’m sorry if you’re offended but I refer you to that mention of New York at age 3. That was followed by London, most of France, Switzerland and Italy at 13. Toronto? sorry) but I had heard some buzz about the recently opened Distillery District and I’ve wanted to visit the St. Lawrence Market for years. In fact I even make a habit of visiting grocery stores in every new place I visit to get a feel for the place. No really. I spend the next several hours having a marvelous time wandering the galleries at the Distillery. The market is heaven. Since I know there are plans for drinks in one of the rooms at 3 with the ladies I have a grand ol’ time picking up cheeses, sampling and selecting pates ( I’d put in the accent but I don’t know how) and chatting with the vendors.

– you see the problem developing? no? bear with me.

– I’m not so interested in the Lion King even though I have a long history with musicals (maybe I’ll explain sometime this week). For me, the highlight will be getting to the show at the ROM. I’ve promised to wait and go with one of the nine. No problem. Plenty of time before leaving Sunday.

– drinks at 3 goes well. They’ve just arrived. They’re excited – away from spouses and children and work. Who wouldn’t be feeling a tad euphoric? Some of the party is still missing, my roommate among them. Dinner reservation is for 5:30 so we can make the 8pm curtain. At 4:30 I excuse myself to shower and change. ” We’re ready”.

– 5:30 waiting in the lobby. Roommate has arrived but getting these women in the same place at the same time is a chore. Not my job, but I make a stab. “I’ll just head over to the restaurant to save our reservation, shall I?” “P will be here in just a sec. Let’s wait and go together” And this is where it starts. I hate being late for anything. I am going to spend the rest of the weekend being late or rushing so I won’t.

– lovely dinner, gobbled down mostly because “some” people can’t decide from a table d’hote that only has three entree choices to begin with.

– make it into theatre seat two minutes before show begins. Never got the Playbill so I can’t tell you who’s in the cast now, but the only one worth watching or listening to was Rafiki, the baboon witch doctor, who I think is still Phinda Mtya– can’t be sure since all my internet searching hasn’t turned up a current cast list. I’m not going to say much more about the show other than it is visually spectacular- the pieces by Lebo M and Mark Mancini far outstrip anything else Misters John and Rice contributed- in fact they should have not answered the phone when that call was made. But then we’re talking Disney.

– retired to hotel where a nightcap was definitely in order. Just for the h*ll of it I ordered a Dorothy Parker. Raspberry vodka, lime and soda. Entire group asks me “Who is Dorothy Parker?” They’re older than I am, for the love of *#@ on a bike. So I feel like a pretentious bit of fluff explaining and end with “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think”. Blank stares. I give up. All give up. We all retire. But it has been decided we will all meet for breakfast at 10. It was? Where was I? Well that’s the end of the ROM.

– due to time change I’m up at 7:30 and ravenous. I find a couple of places to breakfast for the group. I suspect they have no plan. I’m right. Locate yet another Starbucks, and spend about an hour exploring and window shopping. Nothing, aside from a few restaurants, is open before noon. World class mhfff.

– By the time everyone is up and fed, it’s time to check out. Noon. So I won’t get to the ROM, but I’ll get home at a decent hour.

– a tanker truck of hydrogen gas or some other nasty soup jack-knifes on the 401 Sunday morning, prompting a day-long highway closure east, just the way I’m headed. None of the radio stations mentions this. I know, since I started banging away on the scan button as soon as several thousand cars made an instant parking lot. This particularly detestable mass of pavement’s claim to fame is hosting more traffic than the Santa Monica Freeway. Do I need to mention I got home late. very late. ABOUT SIX $#@# HOURS LATE, if you really want to know. So that’s why I’m late posting today. It’s taken me this long to recover and I won’t begin to burden you with what I went through to get this much posted.

– Did you spot it? Okay here it is. I had the most fun all by myself. This comes as a bit of a shock since I’m usually quite social. Moral for me. Don’t travel with a group. Which is going to be a problem because they want me to guide them around New York next year.


(Posted by Gordon)

OK, seems like the polite thing to do is a quick introduction (I thought I was famous enough to not bother but it seems I am sadly mistaken, a common occurrence).

My name is Gordon McLean, and I’ve been online since 1996. In internet terms that makes me very very old, almost an antique. In reality I’m a typical 30 year old, who’s still not really sure what he is doing.

I must admit to being a tad nervous. Over the past three weeks there has been some wonderful writing, thought provoking posts and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m guessing I can’t resort to my usual get out of linking to ‘silly things’ or laughing at items from my referrer logs (the fall back of every good blogger).

I did toy with the idea of a pastiche or parody of a certain event that took place on this very blog last year… but I don’t have any designer shirts and I’m also guessing that posting about my shoes won’t quite capture the imagination in the same way.

So I’ll do my usual, warble on about this and that, never making much sense, and plagiarising as much as possible. Hell if you are really lucky I’ll spell check before I post!

(Ohh forgot to mention that I’ve been published… in the O’Reilly “Essential Blogging” book… on that self same “spell check” topic. See, I AM famous)

Right I’m off to research that phenomenon that occurs when someone nearby checks their watch. What makes you want to do it too? And why is yawning contagious?


(posted by Martin)

martintagSo I suppose I start with an introduction. When I started my own blog, back about a year ago, I didn’t start with an introduction, and just sort of launched straight in to things, which I figured was okay as I was going to be writing it, like, forever. Although I didn’t, and the reasons why I didn’t are another story, and the reasons why I volunteered to do this are a whole another story again.

So my name is Martin, I live in Edinburgh with my partner Hari. We’ve been together for about 9 months, which is like forever in gay terms, and being with him has made me face up to some crucial facts like how I’m actually far more gay than I ever was straight, and the whole bisexual thing was a phase for me (although I do appreciate that it’s a valid sexuality, I’m not one of those holier-than-thou types). We’ve also got Cal staying with us. Cal’s going through a nasty divorce, which isn’t made any easier by the fact that since he’s discovered how easy it is for him to pull guys, he’s been doing so with a crazy frequency. It helps that he’s a big boy in trouserland, but he’s frankly shite as a kisser. Unless he’s learned something from the guys he brings back.

Anyway, it’s just the two of us here at the moment – me and Cal – as Hari’s gone off to Paris to visit a cousin of his who isn’t well, and as most of the rest of Hari’s family are in India and Singapore, he’s the nearest thing that she has. So he’s taken a couple of weeks off work, and he’s spending it in the city of love, somewhere that has a lot of romantic memories for me, despite the fact that I didn’t sleep for more than half an hour the whole time we were there.

As I say, we’ve been together nine months, which more or less qualifies us for gay pensions and gay partnership rights, and a nice shiny gay badge. But we sat down for the first time on Saturday afternoon and discussed the open-ness or otherwise of our relationship.

You see, since we moved in together, I’ve not been with anyone else. Well, I have, really. But not without Hari being involved at the same time. Which makes a big difference. But at the same time, the longest I can remember going without sex for is forty-eight hours, and Hari knows that. So we discussed ground rules for opening up our relationship.

So technically, for the next two weeks –

  • I’m effectively single
  • I can have sex with anyone I like
  • But I have to tell Hari about it later
  • And I can’t have sex with anyone more than once
  • Although more than once is okay as long as I don’t get dressed between times
  • And I can’t do it in the flat

And he’s much the same. He’s said that he won’t sleep with anyone – he’s happy to have the freedom, but he won’t use it. Me, I’m sorely tempted. Apart from anything else, I’ve had Cal wandering through the flat in very little more than briefs this weekend, and the memory of his – frankly magnificent – organ has had me almost embarrassingly aroused. So far, I’ve had to resort to practicing on my own. It’s not the same.

Back to the introduction. You know pretty much everything now – everything that you need to know, anyway. There’s more detail at my blog, including some downright rude stuff, and a full blow by blow account of everything that went on between Cal and me. Pretty much, what you see is what you get. And in the spirit of honesty, I do like to tell people that I reckon that at least 10% of what I write is fiction – there just to disguise the real facts of who I am, who my employer is, and so on and so forth.

That’s me, for now. I’ll write some more later.

So this is blogging…

(posted by Danny)

That Michael, he’s such a whiner sometimes. “You never read my blog! Why don’t you read my blog?” OK OK, anything to shut you up. Troubled Diva? You don’t know the half of it.

“So what do people write about on these blogs?”

“Oh, anything they feel like…”

(I get the big speech here. How Blogs Are Changing Everything, or something like that. I zoned out a bit, to be honest. Lovely boy, but he does go on a bit. I think he said Empowerment a couple of times. Yeah, whatever.)

“Alright alright, so what DON’T people write about?”

Two things. Work – well yeah, I can see why not – and sex. Huh? Why’s that then?

That set him off again. Waffle waffle. I think he might have said Boundaries a few times, but I was too busy sniggering at the club photos in the back of Midlands Zone. (Rule One of the Birmingham scene: don’t get papped when you’re mashed. Snigger snigger. State of ‘er!)

So I started reading the blog, and before I knew it I was hooked. Archives, the 40 Days thing, the works. Even spotted Paul and myself in there a couple of times. Christ, he doesn’t use one word where ten will do, does he? As in life, so in blog. Oh, it’s all coming out now. The stories I could tell! What price my silence, Michael?

8:30 Monday morning, and already I’m sounding like one of the bitches in the bogs at The ‘Gale on a Saturday night. Can’t help it, Mister! I was stood by the dryer, fag in hand, dissing the Toilet Terrors (they mean well, but such easy prey), and then the wind changed and I stayed that way. Don’t end up like me, kids! Sour old hag of the parish! Step into the light while there’s still time!

Anyway, like the Diva says, I’m gonna be talking about ESS-EE-EX this week. Boundaries, schmoundaries! And no, of COURSE I’m not really called Danny, and of COURSE Paul’s not really called Paul, and I’ll be changing names and places and odd little details along the way, just in case. Because I may be new to blogging, but I’m not completely STUPID either.

Who’s this Martin then? Is he fit?

Danny x



Bee-doo bee-dee-doo!







Bee-doo bee-dee-doo, bee-dee-doo, bee-dee-doo,
bee-deebee-deebee doo doo doodoo doo!

That’s the only way to summarise the embarrassment of riches which constituted Guest Week Three. A week in which – as a flurry of occasionally quite anxious e-mails and phone calls confirmed – my esteemed contributors collectively pulled out all the stops, pushed themselves to the limits, and devoted extraordinary amounts of time, energy and commitment into producing some quite magnificent pieces of writing.

(Can I say that about content on my own site without sounding bumptious? Yes, I think I just about can.)

Buni spoke of being raised by Bunny Girls, of unrequited longings, and of new directions in his life. Fiona wondered what the world would be like if we all had tails, cruised strangers in traffic jams, and slavered over her shoe collection. Melodrama dicussed jute production with taxi drivers, met a dodgy guru on a train, and did the whole dutiful daughter bit for Diwali. Zena took us on a nightmarish white-knuckle ride of dope-induced paranoia, and yet was still able to draw positive and life-changing conclusions from her experience.

And then there was Mark, with his jaw-droppingly superb “Science Of…” series: elegant, droll and profound in equal measure, an utter delight to read, and (as Peter intimated) clearly of publishable quality. Respect, dude!

My heartiest congratulations and warmest gratitude to all concerned, for delivering a truly classic week.

On to Week Four, then. Our guests for the next seven days are:

Asta, a regular reader/commenter of well over a year’s standing, and the proud winner of last year’s epic Shirt Off My Back Project. Asta lives in Canada, in a city, by a lake, which may or may not be Toronto. (If my old PC was still working, then I’d be able to tell you exactly where she lived. How perfectly blush-making of me to have forgotten.)

Danny, an old mate of – what is it now? – some fifteen years’ standing, who lives in Birmingham with his partner Paul. Having finally submitted to my repeated cajolings to “read my bloody blog for once in my life, why don’t you?”, Danny now proposes to break something of a major blogging taboo. Yes, readers – he’s going to be talking about sex. Eek! Brace yourselves for some Adult Content…

Gordon McLean of Something, one of Scotland’s most popular weblogs. Gordon works in Technical Communications, and his no doubt honey-drenched tones have regularly soothed the sick and the suffering on his local hospital radio service.

Martin Gale, formerly of Embra Nights. Martin is 25; he lives in Edinburgh with his boyfriend; he has recently retired from blogging; and he works in the Internal Audit department of a financial company. And he writes a lot about sex. Martin – meet Danny. Danny – meet Martin. Hands on the top of the table where I can see them please, boys…

Venus Kensington of Something Sparkles – a blog which has only been running since the middle of last month. Venus lives with her husband in Vancouver, and we look forward to making her acquaintance.

So, to recap: that’s two Canadians, two Scots, and two filthy fruity sexpots. Yes, it’s Scottish-Canadian Sex Week on Troubled Diva! Guest Week Four starts…NOW.