Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spandex in the Closet

Dreaming up a suitable alliteration for someone I know isn't all that easy! Such is the case for the Legal Beagle. Obviously very much into law and yes, just a tad nutty - hence the term! But I've been going through Legal Legumes, Nutty Nates and Prancing Peanuts to no avail. Even found myself thinking of Cycling Cashew at one low point.

And I'm a lil afraid that he's gonna sue for defamation if I use the wrong terms of endearment :)

But he still saw fit to send me inspiration by talking about gay heroes today. Made a claim that gay heroes are indeed few in number - a fact that I had to refute. We actually have more. At least more than the days when we had to rely on suitably horrific scenarios of Batman putting the moves on his teenage sidekick Robin.

Or wondering what Clark Kent did with Jimmy Olsen during their break time.

Young Avengers
Love that dare not speak its name? Fear not!

Surprisingly these days we actually do have a handful of gay superheroes in spandex- though a number of them seem to be in dire straits. From the controversial media-whores in the Authority - the inimitable Midnighter and his blonder beau Apollo - who break down the closet door with a bang to the quieter gay boys who slip out of the closet with us barely noticing such as Wiccan and Hulkling in the Young Avengers.

About time the publishers realized that gay fanboys make up quite a number of the readers. Enough of pandering to the drooling adolescent teenboy fan base by introducing nubile lezzies in love ( holy Batwoman! ), it's time to push some of the boys out of the closet as well. After all, who else would empathize with the masked heroes who feel different and alien, having to hide their true faces from the rest of the world? Sound familiar?

But just take a look at what's been happening with Wiccan and Hulkling - these two fledgling spandex heroes who are dating one another. For those who wonder whether their histories would be retconned later in more puritanical times, take heart that it's spelt out real clearly what their relationship is.

No doubt about it. They're in love!

Boyfriend. Now that isn't the comics I was brought up with.

And I'm glad.

Then again now that Robin's all grown up, I wouldn't mind hitting on him as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

At least that's if Fabulous Fiona gets her way.

At the moment, my Lushes are all single for the time being - possibly after holding a secret midnight pact to dump all men - but it seems as if Fiona's not really much into the old-fashioned ways of matchmaking. Forget about trotting over to the friendly village matchmaker to check the astrological charts for a mate. Blind dates, persistent referrals and presumably trustworthy online sites also seem sadly passé to the modern, assertive gal.

Rather than depend on the kindness of strangers, our junior cougar on the prowl Fiona much prefers to search the jungle for her own prey :) And believe me, she still manages to bag quite a few choice meats on her own.

This party s boring. I might as well go take a bus!

Even in the air. Hundreds of miles up in the air to be precise. Time for the Mile High Club to induct an illustrious new member into their ranks - since Fiona can even manage to hook a man while cooped up in an stuffy economy seat for hours looking decidedly unglamorous!

And here I haven't even started on the buses and trains she takes. Well at least I've always imagined that only the Minah Kilangs meet their sweaty blue-collared beaus at the local bus-stops but it seems as if Fiona's gone down that path as well. Taking an express bus down south, our adventurous gal even managed to get hit on by a fellow passenger. She's definitely got a ticket to ride.

So why bother hitting the clubs and bars at night when she can easily board a bus instead. Or a train. Much less competition from the other high-heeled predators as well.

Honestly. I'm envious. How does she do it? Damn, she manages to pick hunks even in an express bus! Makes me wonder what kinda scintillating perfume she wears! Or is it her heels?

I bet it's her joie de vivre though - casts such a glow that others can't help but to draw near :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All About Penelope

I like simple stories.

Boy meets girl. Certain disagreements ensue and are hashed out. Boy gets girl. I don't need wicked villains. I don't need complicated storylines stretching back for centuries. I don't need sophisticated CGI-effects.

And that's what I got with Penelope.

Like all good fairy tales, it comes with a princess trapped in a tower - like a modern-day Rapunzel. But all stories need a witch - and that twist in the tale is added to spice things up - so our princess Penelope has been placed under a family curse that gives her the face of a pig... at least till someone of her own kind falls for her. Reason enough that the family shuts her beastly self in the highest tower.

The prince drops by!

Be that as it isn't the sixteenth century, her rich mama immediately engages the services of a matchmaking agency to find all the blueblood boys in town. Which also comes to the attention of a certain low-rent prince charming played by the adorably scruffy James McAvoy.

If you love modern-dary fairy tales, you'd certainly fall for Penelope.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Boys Under Maintenance

So what did Fabulous Felix, Strapping Shane and I talk about till the wee hours of the morning? While the guys and I were having the heart-to-heart the other day, the subject of maintaining a guy came up. Committing to a relationship can already hard enough without having a partner who's a demanding diva. After all, haven't we all seen that high-maintenance queen throwing a hissy fit in public?

Diva : I've been waiting for a whole 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Simply unforgivable! This is it! I'm calling our entire three day relationship off! And no, I'm not returning that Bvlgari ring you gave me the last time you forgot to ask me to dinner.
Victim : But I got run over -
Diva : Excuses! Talk to the hand, bitch. You are dead to me.

Seriously. And this is over being late a few seconds. Imagine the big stuff.

Wait a minute, they'd never get there at this phenomenal rate of breakup. Short of marrying a virtual saint.

Strike a pose!

Here I thought I got away from all this pretentious rubbish when I turned gay. Seen my high school friends squabble over the teensiest matters - from missed dates to forgotten phone calls - with the boys desperately trying to placate the disdainful tween queens. Sad to say, I think ( most! ) women have been unfairly tagged with the high-maintenance diva label. These days, it seems as if the gay boys can certainly give them a run for their money.

Must be exhausting dating an emo fella who gets easily offended by the smallest slight! Having to watch each and every move, censor each and every word so as not to ignite a bitch fest. It would drive me insane.

But why? Are gay boys born with a sequinned neon-lit pink passport that automatically gives us the right to be patently unreasonable and throw hysterical fits when things don't go our way? Have we all been periodically bullied in school till our self esteem rates so low that we bristle and rile over every perceived slight?

I think we all gotta chill a little.

At least I've tried to. Perhaps it's age but I've learned to put a filter on my thoughts - and acerbic tongue. Counting to ten works. Eschewing that diva image, I try not to fly off the handle at every turn. Wouldn't do to lose my temper on a sensitive soul such as Charming Calvin after all!

I guess I'd consider myself pretty easy. Low-maintenance. Just give me some sex, a lil understanding and the occasional uproarious laughter over my lame jokes and I'm yours.

And I'll try not to be a bitch.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bon Anniversaire

Woke up this morning after noon ( rare for me! ) to find a slew of messages beeping on my cellphone. Unlike so many others, I actually cut my line off when i sleep at night. Bleary-eyed I stared at it with a half-smile. It's my birthday and I'm entitled to sleep late if I want to after all. :)

Though I think poor Charming Calvin went frantic calling since he needed validation during his last-minute shopping for souvenirs on the way back.

Reading my previous posts, you'd be thinking that I'd gone for an all-nighter pub-crawl boozing till I was sloshed out of my mind. But you - and the police who waved me down early this morning - would have been wrong. Honestly I didn't touch a drop of alcohol all day long :) All pure wholesome living.

And maybe some wild partying, shoplifting and blatant gossip.

Looking for a dive
Coffee only I swear!

What I did have was a karaoke birthday in the afternoon. Meant to be a surprise bash I'm sure but in my close-knit group of bros ( and hos? ), it's become something close to a mandatory celebration! Or else someone's gonna get hurt.

And possibly throw a hissy fit.

And I'm not talking about myself. :)

So to the karaoke joint we went to dig up various psychedelic hip-hop / club-mix hits for Jaunty Jared, weepy sentimental Mando-pop for the sops and a curious mixture of Kylie / Madonna / Abba hits for the rest of the gay boys. Not to mention the prerequisite Downtown by Petula Clark for Lanky Lex. A peculiar choice - think retro black-and-white images as she sashays across a 1950s stage - but I'm starting to think he might be the long awaited reincarnation of that old-time crooner.

Then it was off for several hours of coffee and drinks at Jaya One with Genial Graham and Janvier. At the end of which we managed to talk a certain someone into making off with a coffee cup. Nothing like petty thievery on a birthday to celebrate :)

Looking for a dive
Coffee yum.

And then after ruling out another drunken night with gyrating boys at the Marketplace, surprisingly had an all-nighter chat with Fabulous Felix and Strapping Shane where we covered topics ranging from random adultery to groping foreplay. An Oprah heart-to-heart fortunately spiced up with my acerbic tongue ( and Felix's scandalous bedtime stories! ). Rehashed several events that had occurred in the past year with multiple flashback scenes while I learnt a couple of stories I hadn't been privy to before.

So I wasn't too surprised to be stopped by the police on the way back at 5 in the morning. Just a civil hello and a nod sufficed to allay the cop's suspicions though. Enough to finally have my birthday wish to have a McBreakfast at 5. Always been curious to see who else had hash browns at such an ungodly hour. Turns out itinerant students, drunken pubcrawlers and factory girls drop by for a bite.

Hence my late morning today.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Just one lunch with Jaunty Jared is enough to make me feel like the Whore of Babylon.

Imagine this scenario in a club : after getting to know you for a few minutes, a really cute guy leans forward and suggests a night of illicit sex with no strings attached.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

Evidently such a lewd proposition only leaves our conservative fellow cold. The boy needs some sweet talk, several dates and a lil foreplay before he really goes down. Obviously that makes me a whore. Trust me - if I were single, I'd already have my sweaty palm planted against the passionately steamed-up windshield.

Looking for a dive

Always been able to differentiate sex from love. Sex is just sex. Heart pumping, adrenaline rushing, calories burning - and that's just about it. All just to get some semen gushing.

Reason ehough that I have had a handful of... casual encounters. Though none particularly sordid - though I came pretty close to accidental prostitution that one time on a train to Brighton. Fresh-faced college kid on an evening train backpacking to Brighton seated right across from a retired country squire. Normal conversation to be had about the weather and the reason for travel. Then the squire asked whether I had need of any kind of lodging.

A particular innocuous question that I had no problems replying but then I started getting a particularly weird vibe from the conversation. The start of my buzzing gay-dar no doubt.

And then he popped the question offering a bed in his rustic manor. No doubt a kindly country gentleman seeking to expand his horizons by indulging in some exotic Oriental cuisine - ordering a bit of Peking Duck to take home. There's only so much bangers and mash that one can take.

My awfully conservative upbringing coupled with mission school brainwashing should have made me recoil in abject horror ( like a disgusted victorian virgin no doubt ) but somehow I found myself intrigued. I seriously contemplated the obvious proposition, just to save the cost of renting a squalid room in some dingy students' hostel. Why not put out a little instead? Burn some calories. Get off a little.

Seemed like a fine idea. Probably would have embarked on such a shamelessly immoral activity if I hadn't found out that his lil manor actually lay miles away from the city center itself. Seemed reason enough to decline his felicitous offer.

But if it had been situated a block closer... who knows I might indeed be telling bedtime stories for real.

Yeah, my morals are definitely in the gutter.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rose by Any Other Name

Really. Would a rose smell as sweet with any other name?

The news of a name change for an infamous street in the city hit the headlines as far north as Beijing - well at least online! Our own famous food haunt Jalan Alor being renamed as Jalan Kejora? Supposedly the City Road Naming Committee ( we have a road naming committee!? ) concluded that the name of Jalan Alor should be changed to Jalan Kejora to match the other roads in the vicinity named after the stars.

For those who need a sociocultural touchstone, it's like arbitrarily changing the name of Carnaby Street or Oxford Street. Or perhaps Fifth Avenue. To something perfectly innocuous but generic such as Road A or B. Isn't that reason enough to have the cityfolk up in arms?

Looking for a dive
Looks like I have the right dive but why is it called Kejora?

Look I'm not a great fan of the place myself. Always have this sinking feeling that a muscled tattooed brawler would stomp by, pick me on impulse and toss me into an unmarked cesspool drain close by. Just for fun. Or perhaps an impromptu rival gang war would start with guns ablazing - just as I'm about to start munching on some beef balls.

But that certainly doesn't mean it isn't the seedy place to find cheap, good eats at the ungodly hours of morning. Especially after a drunken all-nighter with the bros and the hos in the bars round the corner.

Keep the name. Whether good or bad, it already has made a reputation for itself. A brand of its own, you could say.

But then conservation certainly isn't our strong point. Ever eager to stamp their indelible mark on the city during their brief tenure, overzealous city officials run amuck changing road signs, building hideous monuments and demolishing old shophouses. No doubt trying to erase anything even vaguely colonial ( supposedly unMalaysian! ) in a sadly desperate bid to find their own national identity.

Foolish. If these pen-pushing bureaucrats could only look beyond their small-minded prejudices to acknowledge the good colonialism has done for the country. It wasn't all bad.

Coming back from an ancient capital that's fervently trying to cherish its glorious past by refurbishing the old quarters of the city, it is sad to return only to see that we haven't actually learnt our lesson on conservation. No doubt if our city officials had been in charge of Beijing, there wouldn't be a Forbidden Palace left since it would have been demolished for a parking lot.

And renamed Tiananmen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beijing XIII : Farewell My Concubine

As autumn sets in bringing the crisp chill of October, the falling leaves are already fading into brilliant reds and yellows in the streets of Beijing. I'm walking down the broad ( newly restored ) thoroughfares of Qianmen hand in hand with Charming Calvin. Today we decided to do things old style - probably much as they did a century ago.

And yes, I did manage to wear my ankle-length woollen coat :)

Perhaps Love
Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Not only did I shop again at Dazhalan, filling my bags full of discounted silk products from Qian Xiang Yi and sweet dumplings from the persistent vendors but we also made time for a teahouse for a sample.

Spent almost an hour trying out a dozen kinds of tea while the server patiently explained the various qualities associated with the different kinds from oolong to green tea. Since Calvin continuously filled his shopping basket with sweet tea cakes while she chattered on about jasmine tea, I assume her sales spiel worked like a charm.

Salesgirl : And pu-erh tea does help in calming the mind. Very good for insomniacs.
Calvin : Ooh, will buy a packet.
Salesgirl : The tea also goes wonderfully well with this particular tea cake. Try it. Melts in your mouth.
Calvin : Ooh, will buy a box.
Salesgirl : Mix the pu-erh with chrysanthemum to add sweetness to the taste.
Calvin : Ooh, will buy a packet.

Seriously. You could only wish to have such a compliant ( susceptible? ) customer.

Then again even I contemplated buying embroidered shoes from Neiliansheng - though I didn't even know what to do with them. The curse of a shopaholic.

Then it was just a walk round the corner to the Quanjude to have a fabulous roast duck dinner. During my brief stay here, I might have taken my fill of an entire generation of ducks. Can I say that I have a weakness for braised duck tongues? Trust me, it's at least not as unappetizing as the fried scorpions and locusts that I had the last time.

With our bags full and our bellies filled, we made our way down the street in search of some culture - catching an evening opera show at the Laoshe Teahouse. Watched painted masks and acrobats dancing across the stage while I sat on a bench munching on kuaci and aiwowo.

A perfect day to end my stay in Beijing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beijing XII : Outlaws of the Marsh


That's my mission here in Beijing. And shopping's what the discerning locals have been doing in Dazhalan ever since the early Qing Dynasty. Home to over 30 century-old firms and stores -such as Tongrentang, Neiliansheng, Duyichu, Ruifuxiang, and Liubiju - Dazhalan has long been the traditional commercial district in Beijing. So obviously I had to follow the trendsetters - despite being several centuries late.

Unfortunately - just like the rest of downtown Beijing, the wrecking ball reached that hutong before me. Fortunately it's only on renovation so it's all good.

And hey, at least the new refurbished buildings are clear of grime and cobwebs.

Come shop at Dazhalan!

Dazhalan dates back to 1488 during the Ming Dynasty when a curfew was imposed on the entire city of Beijing. In order to ward off thieves, many fence rails were set up at entrances to streets and lanes under the Imperial Court's edict. The area was originally known as Langfang Sitiao but was changed to Dazhalan meaning 'great fence' due to the specially made and well-preserved fence rails.

Instead of fence rails of course, these days they have shiny metal counters and garish neon lights in abundance. Even their age-old pharmacy Tongrentang has abandoned musty medicine cabinets and wizened medicine men in a desperate bid to modernize.

Though I wonder why.

Instead of just going for what's shiny and new, what their homegrown stores need is serious rebranding. And that certainly doesn't mean tossing aside cherished traditions for tacky white coats and tracklighting.

Well maybe throw in some spellcheck and grammar editing for their brochures.

And please. No more flashing neon lights.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beijing XI : Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Amongst all the different varied races on earth, I think no one appreciates food as much as the Chinese do. Reason enough that the Chinese have proverbs based purely on food such as breaking the rice bowl and even the way you cut your meat reflects the way you live. And of course the ever famous greeting of 你吃饱了吗 - which actually means have you eaten?

With such a boundless appreciation for food - and millions within the city environs, you can expect endless queues when it comes to dining in Beijing. Of course the restaurants here are used to such milling crowds, they even provide seats with kuaci and tea while you wait. The outdoor waiting area's practically like a park with diners busy chattering away while keeping their eye out for the next number to be called.

But what I didn't expect were the bouncers. Seriously. A couple of burly brawlers the size of mountains standing guard at the gates of the restaurant, much like the door gods of yore.

Not sure what they're expected to do. Perhaps toss the non-paying customers out the balcony as they do in kungfu movies? Slam the dieting diners into the dim sum if they don't finish them?

Time to start selling the family heirlooms?

And then after breakfast it was off to my favourite spot in Beijing. The antique market known as Panjiayuan of course. Supposedly a courtyard where persecuted households gathered to pawn whatever valuable stuff they had smuggled in their attics. Well at least that's what they used to do. These days of course travelling con artists hock their wares at extortionate prices at the exact same spot.

Just bargain at 10% of the price offered and that should be close to the actual amount.

So what's the damage? Lacquered Tibetan stool ( to match the one I got last year ) and cabinet, blocks of camphor wood, traditional paper cut-outs and dozens of embroidered slippers. Even intricate dough sculptures based on the legendary Madam White Snake and Zhu Maichen.

Had my eye on a pair of wooden lions. Wonder whether Charming Calvin would cart it back.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beijing X : Journey to the West

No worries, I haven't decided on a perilous trek through demons, deities and deserts to retrieve obscure Buddhist scriptures for the grateful masses. Certainly wouldn't risk such a trip without the wily Monkey God around.

And though Charming Calvin might be born in the year of the monkey, I doubt he'd have that many tricks up his sleeve :)

So that's actually heading west figuratively since I'm in the Chaoyang District. Journey west and I hit the city proper where I take a long, long march down to the Temple of Heaven. Ancient twisting cypresses, shaded park trails and the arresting monument known to all as an eternal symbol of Beijing. Reason enough that we had endless hordes of tourists eager to share in the appreciation of the park. Hardly any echoes to be heard in the Echo Wall with the throngs milling about obstructing the sound waves.

Noise didn't seem to be the problem in the rest of the park though. In the Long Corridor ( once used to ferry sacrificial offerings for religious ceremonies of the past ), locals sing, dance and gamble away to the amusement of the milling tourists. Taichi chuan, western opera and even chinese shuttlecock.

Even watched a particularly intriguing game of Chinese Chess where both masters stared each other down for ten minutes before making a move.

Don't they ever go home?

As the day turned to dusk and the light started fading, the Beijingers continued to participate in their recreation activities without fear of the petty crime usually associated with parks at night. Me, I'd be sprinting home - while keeping a suspicious eye out for muggers - to relative safety but it seems that such crimes are rare in the city itself.

A fact that puzzled me till I figured out the answer.

i) The pragmatic Chinese wouldn't be caught dead doing something as petty as street muggings. Why steal a handbag for a few bucks ( probably shaming family name and ancestors forever ) when you can rob a bank for a million?

ii) Inevitably captured by the all-seeing omnipotent Chinese police... after beating the perp to a pulp, the government would probably toss him in front of a firing squad - with the rest of his family members.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beijing IX : The Peony Pavilion

Since I had a breathless sprint through the Forbidden Palace the last time trying to cover all the bases, I figured I'd better take it slower this time. Take in the sights, sip some coffee, smell the peonies along the way. Possibly at a dawdling stroll - which for me still outpaces half the geriatrics tottering along.

Even took the time to sit under the shady old trees in the ancient courtyard sipping hot green tea while I watched the endless streams of tourists being herded from place to place by their overeager guides. Listened to the locals chatter ( loudly! ) with each other in their native lingo slurring their heavily accented rrrs in the familiar Beijing lilt.

Lost in Translation?

As usual it took me a while to get used to the language - since I can barely understand our normal Mandarin, you can imagine how hard it is with the added complexity of the local accent to confuse my poor taxed ear. This particular speechless Chinaman had to struggle through mumbling commonplaces to get himself understood. No doubt they thought I was a babbling simpleton.

Salesgirl : Do you need any help, sir?
Paul : Buy. Wanna buy. Buy.
Salesgirl : Sure. Do you want the blue, the red or the yellow one, sir? How about this new edition?
Paul : Buy. Wanna buy. Buy.
Salesgirl : But how about the matching shirts? How about the teacup?
Paul : Buy. Wanna buy. Buy. Cheap. Cheap.

Okay. I admit I know how to say buy in multiple languages. Even Esperanto. So you can imagine that I've already started running up my credit charge.

Of course I'm not the only one lost in translation. Just today I saw such gems during teatime at the peony pavilion. Had me nearly choking on a steamed bun ...

Three Fresh Farking Dumplings
Rice Fry The Vegetables

Seriously. That's some intelligent rice in China. Let's not talk about the lewd dumplings.

BTW a really cute barista ( a Beijing Boy who speaks English! ) serves Starbucks just down the block from the apartment. I could so lick mocha off his luscious 18 yo lips. So guess what I'm drinking now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beijing VIII : Dream of Red Mansions

It's been more than a year since I've come up this far north. Since 8 is apparently an auspicious number for the Chinese, it's fitting that I start off my new post from Beijing with that.

Oh yeah, I'm in Beijing by the way. Since Charming Calvin's finishing his tenure over here in the Northern Capital, I figured I better hit the place while I still can take advantage of the free accomodation :)

Arrived terribly early like I did the last time but fortunately this time I wasn't hit by a horrendous stomach flu that left me floundering. Instead this time I was out bright and early trotting down Wangfujing searching for a bargain. Left too many things unbought the last time.

Of course that only left Calvin wondering why I wasn't lying in bed resting after the flight.

But hello, it's me. Prostrated by one teensy flight? Oh please.

Damn, did I take a wrong turn?

Hilarious thing happened before my shopping expedition though. Opened Charming Calvin's fridge only to find tons of melamine-laced milk. For a bewildered moment, I stood there wondering whether he was stocking up to poison his erstwhile colleagues as a final act of vengeance. Maybe hoping to torture the heinous lot with a coupla kidney stones?

Or did he have some wicked getting-rich-quick scheme of selling foul milk to poor, naive indigents?

I was impressed by the sheer chutzpah. I should have known better.

Paul : Wait. What the fuck are you keeping this melamine-laced milk for? Why don't you just dump the lot?
Calvin : I plan to drain the lot slowly so that no one takes them from the garbage to drink. Don't want anyone to be poisoned.
Paul : WTF.

Seriously. Who'd ever thought of that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Go Franciscans

Perhaps it's mid-life crisis hitting early but I've been delving a bit into sappy teenage dramas these days what with my OC / One Tree Hill / Veronica Mars marathon. Not forgetting Gossip Girl of course. Probably making up for lost time. Always thought that I missed out on a quite a lot back in high school doing the endless paper chase rather than falling drunk while groping the hotties.

I watched my classmates party. I watched them get drunk. I watched them have melodramatic affairs. Since I had no reason to get involved with the gals ( since I wanted to get down and party with the guys ), I stood there and watched. Just like I'm watching the telly now. Then when I finally partied, fell in love and got my heart broken, I was so deep in the closet that I had no one to tell.

Sucks, right?

A vicarious walk down memory lane in someone else's shoes?

See why I'd want that trip back in time? Fortunately I'm not the only one doing that walk down memory lane - at least on telly - since I dragged my ISO into my DVD marathon. But of course he doesn't do sentimental moments. Neither do I.

So when I brought up the issue about living vicariously through these overwrought teenage drama queens, he caught me at it. Guess my ISO knows how to put things in perspective.

Paul : Oh I so wanna go back to high school.
My ISO : Are you kidding me? You couldn't wait to leave. The lousy teachers! The endless homework! The neverending tuition! The crappy curfew!
Paul : Seriously? I wish I'd been more outgoing.
My ISO : Time to cut down on the whining, my uber Seth Cohen. More outgoing? Obviously you were too involved with your gazillion extracurricular activities to remember high school. You were in every club I could think of. Even fencing.
Paul : Well the club president was cute.
My ISO : I bet you'd have run for social chair if you could.
Paul : But then we wouldn't have a reason to crash parties.
My ISO : Don't know why I even bothered. Never got any nookie anyway.
Paul : Weren't you groping some girl by the punch bowl in secondary?
My ISO : You kissed one too as I recall.

Okay. So I wasn't exactly a social recluse.

I'd still have liked to have fallen drunk on the lawn after a high school party though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Building a Relationship

Homophobic naysayers claim that gay relationships can't stand the test of time. Certainly one of the numerous brickbats used to assail the already shaky institution of gay marriage.

As much as I'd love to rail against such a unfair accusation, it's getting pretty hard to deny the evidence. In the space of at least six months, I've seen quite a number of supposedly sturdy relationships crumble and fall under the veriest whiff of a storm. As a statistic in comparison with our breeder brothers, it's starting to look really bad.

Time to raze the building!

So why do we fail?

Maybe it's the fact that most of us can be pretty sophomoric in our search for love. Let's face it, when it comes to relationships, we're still kids. Our straight brethren might have worked through their rampant teenage hormones with furtive high school gropes way before their early twenties but for some of us gay men - in our thirties even - we're just beginning to troll the bars in search of that elusive thing called love. Men just out of the proverbial closet with the dating mores of a horny impatient post-adolescent at a dating buffet.

Is it any wonder that we find ourselves splitting up and getting back together as often as the fickle schoolgirls in Gossip Girl do? With quite as little permanence?

Just like those teenagers we abandon our relationships far too easily - giving up on the entire structure at the first sign of adversity. Thinking back, I must have done pretty much the same as well. We expect that solid stone castle to appear magically at the snap of our fingers without even putting in a single hard day's work building the proper foundation. Then just one stone out of place, a squeaky door, a broken window - and we're rushing in with sticks of dynamite to demolish the place.

But just like any brick-and-mortar building, a relationship needs daily upkeep, the occasional renovation and lots of TLC to keep from crumbling to dust.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love is Blind?

They say love is blind.

Or at least that's what they tell us. Though I sometimes believe that the besotted lovers prefer to blind themselves rather than face the horrible naked truth. Very often during the aftermath of a bitter separation, we see the wronged victim tearfully claiming they never knew what a two-faced monster their other half had become.

Just the other day, my erstwhile pal Whispery Wilhelmina came to me with the news that she'd finally found the guts to dump her abusive husband and walk away. Certainly found that worthy of a celebration!

Paul : It's about time!
Wilhelmina : Oh but he has changed! He wasn't like this when we got married.
Paul : He isn't Jekyll and Hyde. Unless he suffered severe head injury when he slammed against the door you closed on him, I doubt he has turned into a different person.
Wilhelmina : But he was so nice with his sweet whispering words. He took care of me.
Paul : Are we talking about the same fella here? You seriously telling me you never noticed? Your ex was a fucking bastard.

Unfortunately I have very little patience for such self-pity. That whiny weepy woe is me bit after a breakup? I'm not too great with that. But come afterward when you're ready to shed the detritus of a shitty romance and I'd be ready to help you get your groove back.

But don't ever tell me you never knew the fella.

My Hyde comes to play!

Seriously. Short of a radical brain transplant, no one changes that drastically. Even Dr Jekyll showed probable signs of going all wacko and I bet his wife would have known if she'd been watching closely. The early signs of a bigger problem are already there. Most just choose to ignore it.

Or misinterpret the warning signs through rose-tinted glasses. Choosing to ignore the obvious, they tend to place their paramours on a pedestal deftly twisting their faults into assumed virtues to fit the sainted image.

That fella who waltzes in late all the time. You call it arriving just in time.
That fella who cuts across the queues to get you your tickets and your drinks. You call it romantic.
That fella who abuses the service staff for the smallest mistake. You call it efficient management skills.
That fella who double parks in the middle of the street sticking his middle finger at those who dare to oppose him. You call it confident machismo.

And Mrs Jekyll probably thought her husband was making wrinkle-removing face lotions in his sinister lab.

Seriously. Let's call that fella an unconscionable bastard, shall we? So now who's the fool? You didn't know any better? Please. Keep your eyes wide open next time. The clues are always there.

Friday, October 10, 2008


You've heard of folks doing the stupidest things while drunk as a skunk? From disastrous events such as mindless orgies with completely inappropriate strangers ( only to do the highly embarassing walk of shame the next morning ) to the more mundane such as drunk-dialing an ex. These days of course with the advent of the internet, we've progressed beyond mere calls to emails.

Drunkmailing as it were.

Come on. We've all done it. Incomprehensibly babbled messages spurred on by that final cocktail after the bar closes. Such as telling the monstrous ex-girlfriend that you want to get back together. Or the time you sent a message to that gorgeous colleague you like that you wanna fuck him against a wall. Only to have to avoid him the next morning. And for the rest of the year.

Damn. Now what did I do last night!

Alcohol lends false courage - giving even the cowardly lion the guts to speak. No matter how dumb he may sound.

Which is why Google has made an attempt to keep soused drunks from messing up their lives. Mail Goggles they are calling it. To verify whether you're in the right state of mind to send an email, you're required to answer several math questions in 60 seconds.


Seriously. Mathematical sums and equations! I can't even do them sober. Guess I'll have a hard time sending mails after :)

Fortunately by default, Mail Goggles is only active late night on the weekend as that is the time you're most likely to need it.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Flower Boys

We usually don't associate flowers with men. Sure, the girls get pretty floral names such as Rose and Sage - even if they're conniving back-stabbing Miami society debutantes in reality. Far from the fragile blossoms suggested by their names. As a rule though the boys don't commonly get tagged with names reminiscent of sweet tender blooms - short of a certain hairdresser dubbed Cherry for reasons unbeknownst.

One wonders how he even got such a name.

From the infamous gardener and rose theory in relationships, somehow though the online conversation with my friends veered uncannily towards the topics of names and flowers. Obviously we started thinking about which flower would best suit our distinct personalities.

Jaunty Jared got tagged as a friendly carnation, Lanky Lex as a slender innocent ( dare I say high-maintenance :) ) lily while Charming Calvin was given the sweet, sunshiney shasta daisy. Mr Nipples obviously got the sunflower on account of his lanky height - and his obvious ... protrusions. Of course our multi-personality Janvier was hard to pin down since he would need an entire bouquet of multi-florals to suit.

Me, I got a rose.

Wonder what kinda flower I am!

Now what the fuck is up with that? The prickly yet oh-so-attention-whore rose? So I started googling quizzes on flowers and personalities to disprove their claim. Unfortunately I ran through several only to prove them right. Horrifyingly enough. Four times at last count.

Reason enough the poor neighbours were woken up in the middle of the afternoon to hear a guy yelling quite inexplicably 'I am not a fucking rose!'.

Till I read the explanation.

You Are a Rose

You are a total alpha dog who tends to be a leader.
Your friends depend on you to hold things together and make decisions.
Potential lovers are drawn to your raw power and strength.
While you are the center of attention, you are secretly introverted and a bit shy.

Well. A rose. Kewl. I like it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gay for Pay

You know I do love a recession. Since I'm looking for a relatively cheap but sizeable property you can see how I'd wish for the prices to crash into a crazy freefall. And we all know the suicidal jumpers always leave the best high-rise apartments.

Though the eternal optimists are shaking their heads ( and shutting their eyes ) saying that the end's not coming, I doubt the rest of us can deny that a recession's in the making especially with the shaky state of the economy these days - what with American banks foreclosing and companies laying off workers!

Simply Sam
Will work for food!

Of course, indebted folks are getting desperate enough to lay their hands on ready cash that they'd sell anything. Even themselves. And I'm not talking about peddling their kidneys. Just look at what the legal beagle had me reading. Trust him to know the best bargains on sale this week.

Gay Virginity Wall Street Auction

What I am explictly offering as part of this auction is the following - I will wear the same suit that I wore at my job interview at my ex-firm. I will meet the winner in a 100% LEGAL setting such as either at a licensed brothel in Nevada or Rhode Island, and I will spend some time having a drink with them, hanging out with them, laughing, breaking the ice, and so on.

Afterwards, I will deliver what I would consider to be the ideal blowjob / handjob combination until the winner has an orgasm or 30 minutes passes whichever comes first.

Sorry but no anal activity of any kind is part of this offer!

Seriously. This Adam Brody lookalike bloke is selling his gay virginity ( no ass-play pls! ) to settle his crushing debts to the tune of 32,000.

Surprisingly I have buddies who object to the morally reprehensible fact that he's essentially prostituting himself. Horrified that this fella had sunk to such pitiful levels as to offer his ass ( metaphorically ) to settle his debts. Me, I'm already checking my bank balance wondering how much to bid for the purchase price! Making me blithely wonder whether my morals have already gone slipping down the drain.

THough I don't see the hitch. The fella's just exchanging some man-on-man sexytimes for a roll of dough! I'm just glad he isn't robbing a bank.

Obviously I've never seen prostitution as something to sneer at. Actually think working girls ( and boys! ) should be legitimized and unionized. In fact, if I looked anything like hunky Chris Evans, I would be the friendly neighbourhood moneyboy putting myself up on the auction sites as well. Demeaning though it may be ( surely you have to contend with the occasional slimy Jabba the Hutt clients ) but I think the endless moolah would offer me some solace.

And then I'd go and buy me that dream apartment.

With or without the recession.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shut Up and Drive

Folks wiser than me have told us all to take time to stop and smell the roses.

Really wish I could. But life's short. I say, grab the roses and sniff them running. Reason enough that I can hardly sit still despite having idle time to myself. At any given moment, I'm usually multitasking with dozens of activities at hand. Even then for some reason time always seems to be running out on me.

Brad Pitt
God. Can this jalopy move any faster?!

So you can imagine how irritated I get when someone slows me down - whether deliberately or not. How many times have I spun around to yell move faster at some dawdling sluggard slowing me down? Giving me the chance to use the infamous Miranda Priestly phrase at work.

By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me.

In the traffic especially. Reason enough that I drive at the speed of sound ( an improvement over when I used to move at lightspeed ). Now don't go telling the authorities. Though I seriously wish they'd increase the speed limit to infinity - and seriously penalize the phlegmatic road hogs trudging along on the highways.

Is it any wonder that I met a plodding fella with a slow-as-molasses drawl?

So Charming Calvin - like any good beau - keeps sending reminders to drive slower from up north. Folks such as Lanky Lex and Jaunty Jared get sappy lovelorn messages on the phone. Makes sense that me - I get death and dismemberment. Just the thing to get my day going. Overturned vehicles and exploding cars. Torn limbs and spilt brains anyone? :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Death Takes a Holiday

Short of the one time I impulsively bungee-jumped off a tower Down Under and had my life flashing by as I squeezed my eyes tight shut, I don't think I've ever faced death before. Sure I've seen death come by to visit more than a few of my patients, taking a handful away in his chilly grasp. No doubt a few don't go gently into the night as we prep the defibrillator but most leave with a tranquil smile, the seemingly endless pain and suffering leeched away forever.

Death isn't always something to be afraid of.

Not least when Death comes in the guise of Takeshi Kaneshiro. Our seriously hunky thespian of Sino-Japanese extraction plays Chiba, a grim reaper - otherwise called a Shinigami in Japanese - in the movie Accuracy of Death 死神の精度. Obviously Death ironically comes to appreciate the little joys of life as he ponders over his sonorous judgements starting with a tragic tween right in the prologue. Forget about the similarities with Meet Joe Black! Although the film moves at a snail's pace as it plods through three different lives, it still seems far more sweetly poignant than the glitzy Hollywood vehicle for Brad Pitt.

In turn, our guileless Chiba meets a drab, a dragon and a dame - watch to see how all three vignettes connect! - and makes a choice whether to suspend or proceed with their death sentence after seven days of observation! All the while looking imperturbably handsome and dashing - even while swaying emphatically to the J-pop at a record store.

Surprisingly I found the middle story heart-warming as it tells the tale of a tough yakuza dragon whose time has finally arrived. And yet Death is held back by the piteous pleas of the brash orphaned kid he adopts.

Takeshi Kaneshiro
Wonder what song he listens to?
Die Another Day?

I scoffed in disbelief during the first story though when the drab bit of a girl he meets in the beginning actually refuses to be picked up by him! Depressing dab of a girl who has had death come into her life far too often only to have him come again one last time. Trying to get close to her, he deliberately sprays her clothes wet with rainwater and then clumsily proceeds to ask her out only to be rebuffed.

She rebuffs Takeshi Kaneshiro. Like seriously.

Takeshi : I'm so sorry. So sorry I splashed your coat.
Paul : It's alright. You can splash me anytime.
Takeshi : It's my fault. I'll pay for the dry-cleaning right now.
Paul : Only if you let me handwash your wet pants right now.

Come on! It's Takeshi Kaneshiro. I could dip that delicious fella in wasabi and lick him.

A sweet original movie to watch on a lazy afternoon away from work. Just surprised to find myself the only local amongst an entire cinema full of Japanese students chattering away excitedly! Felt like I'd been plopped down in the Ginza. Certainly completed my Nippon experience when I met Fabulous Fiona later for a sushi lunch.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Meet The Parents

Forget about the I am sorrys and the I love yous! Could there be any more forbidding words than these three?

Meet the parents.

Look, falling in love is the easy part. Staying together is something else entirely since it usually involves more than the original couple. Short of being handfasted straight out of an orphanage, entire families on both sides are invariably thrown into the already volatile mix lending itself to the occasional marital blow-ups.

In my case - since Charming Calvin's hermit of a dad lives in relative seclusion, it's actually meet the parent. His mother. Otherwise known as the infamous Lady Borgia. Prepared to face the inevitable, I steeled myself with several sacred mantras, hid poison antidotes up my sleeve and made sure to wear the Kevlar vest under my morning coat.

Never hurts to be prepared. From what I've heard of her formidable reputation, I wondered whether I'd be facing down the vengeful wrath of a mother-goddess eager to rid her innocent child of the demonic plague called homosexuality. My nemesis indeed.

There was even a brief crazy moment where I half-intended to appear all fey and fabulous to freak her out.

Paul : Oh my darlings! You look fabulous! Come in to my amazingly fab pad, bitches!

Of course I abandoned any such plan after Charming Calvin vetoed it. Reason enough I downed a cuppa this morning before meeting her. Liquid courage I call it.

Interrogation by the Borgias!

No doubt it helped since Lady Borgia turned out to be far less than the forbidding dragon I imagined her to be! Certainly no poisoned cups or hidden daggers in sight. More simple earth mother than scheming Machiavellian matriarch! In fact Charming Calvin actually bore a startling - and discomfiting - resemblance to Madame Borgia.

I wasn't fooled by her placid demeanour though. Despite the fact that Lady Borgia played the oblivious country mama card, I didn't miss the suspicious glances she gave me over the morning titbits.

She had reason enough to be doubtful of course! As usual when I meet perfect strangers, I turn stiff, standoffish and unbending with an accent creeping into my increasingly curt sentences. To put it plainly, nervousness turns me into a snotty bitch. Any colder and she'd have required a winter jacket! So you can imagine that his mother must have thought!

Then again, Lady Borgia should be used to such antisocial behaviour - especially since her icy daughter-in-law certainly lived up to her reputation.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Germ of a Rumour

Spotted. J having a cosy lunch with F at a certain chic spot in the city centre sharing a dumpling and more. Tell me, does our little L know?

You know when a soap opera hits a particularly dull plateau with a stable long-time couple and they just have to drag in that deliciously dangerous distraction to spice up the new season? Whether an ex-flame or the post-adolescent gardener?

Well we literally had to make one up for Jaunty Jared and Lanky Lex. Seriously, two of my favourite fellows in the world - but honestly a tad nauseatingly sweet when together. Fetch me a bucket really!

You see, Lex has had his paranoid doubts about Fox for sometime ( a particularly intimate buddy of Jared for eons ) though we repeatedly assured him that his suspicions were utterly unfounded. According to his homosexual-till-proven-otherwise theory, our hitherto closeted Fox has carried a torch for Jared since forever. Ever the charming disbeliever, Lex started expounding on his endless conspiracy theories - that in the end we happily ( wickedly! ) corroborated since we knew no harm could come of it.

Jared of course is far too much of a sweetie to ever play the conniving adulterer.

But we're just hanging out. Really!

And he knows I'm watching. Always. Two-time my friends and your car might just skid off the road without brakes one of these days.

I'm just saying.

But after cooking up increasingly impossible hypothetical situations involving our poor innocent Jared ( even one involving the interference of his hipster mother! ), we got sudden breaking news. Speak of the devil and he doth show up? Well, we heard from our oblivious Jared that he'd skipped lunch with the gang to hang out with Fox in a private tete-a-tete.

At least that's what we inferred from the measly bits of information he provided.

I had lunch with a friend.
I just finished lunch.
Oh, F just finished lunch.
F just left this building.

Scandalous. So the plot thickens. And you can well imagine Lex's chagrin.

XOXO darlings. Tune in next week to find out what happens next. An affair totally fabricated of course but hell, it'll still boost the ratings! Little Lex does love his conspiracy theories after all.