Thursday, 22 May 2014

Rainbow Connection

Hello all,

If there’s one thing about my mere existence that I continually question, more than any other, it’s the question, am I too gay? Is that even possible?
   As an openly gay man (with a boyfriend now!), there are certain… expectations of what I’m supposed to be. Simply because I would rather have a guy, than a girl, people for some reason expect that I should have a great fashion sense, be remarkably neat, brilliant ideas of how to decorate a room and be literally the campest person ever. Except I have a terrible fashion sense, am incredibly messy and have absolutely no idea what to put as a wallpaper for my computer, let alone for the wall. But on that last point, being the campest person ever? Well, that’s incredibly accurate and something that’s challenged in the gay community.
    Recently, there was a television sitcom called The New Normal which featured a gay couple, half of which was incredibly, ridiculously camp. And this was meted with hatred from the community, which argued that this wasn’t an accurate representation of who they were and was just another example of the Hollywood stereotype of the sissy gay. The problem was that I saw the character as an incredible representation as to who I was. I am camp as a row of mauve tents (that’s not mine, by the way. It comes from one of my favourite shows ever, Beautiful People), so to hear this backlash was painful. For a community that prides itself on individuality and being yourself, the gay community is occasionally savage in what it sees as persecution and a conforming to older views. Except that there are people, like me, who do fit into these stereotypes. I love musicals, Celine Dion, Eurovision, Glee and a whole array of what society says are ‘gay’ interest items, and so when someone attacks these characters for being inaccurate representations of the gay community, I get mildly offended. It feels like a personal insult. Part of what it means to be gay is an understanding and acceptance of difference and diversity, because you’ve been there. You know what it feels like to be attacked simply because you can’t control some aspect of yourself, so it’s always surprising to me when minorities attack others, simply for being different.
   The problem with this line of thinking comes when groups, such as the Church, use this to attack the minority. On the gay news website I follow there is regularly a member of the church attacking the gay community because it’s oppressing the religion by not allowing them to challenge the gay lifestyle. Well, if you just minded your own damn business then I wouldn’t feel the need to point out how hypocritical the church is.
   It’s times like this when I wonder if I am defined by my sexuality, if that is all there is to me. It is certainly true that I search out things that have a perceived ‘gay’ interest, to help me understand what it is I’m supposed to be. This was particularly true during the coming out process. I watched so many gay shows and movies just to see what it was I was supposed to be and act like. And I learnt that I was supposed to be the campest individual ever, and when I’m down, I’ll often attack myself for this. I’m not my own person, just a collection of other people’s perceptions of what I should be. But then I realised that I’ve always been this camp. When I was little, I dressed up as a mermaid and was obsessed with Disney films (particularly The Little Mermaid, Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins). I’ve always loved ABBA and Taylor Swift and Celine Dion even before I knew that I was gay. The gay framework allowed me to show these things and not be ashamed of them. Because if people are going to hate me anyway just because I kiss boys, not girls, then I might as well do whatever the hell I want.
   That’s the problem. People not minding their own business and trying to impose their views on my life and suggesting that just because I hold my boyfriend’s hand in public, I’m making some sort of statement. The amount of filthy looks I get as my boyfriend and I walk in the shopping centre is unbelievable and it makes me very, very angry. Because even though we are often told that gay rights isn’t as much of a ‘thing’ anymore, people still look at me as though I’m deformed and the devil spawn.
   That’s another thing that really frustrates me, the term ‘gay agenda’. That somehow just because a show includes characters diverse in their sexuality, that the show has a ‘gay agenda’. No, it doesn’t. It’s just showing a more accurate representation of this diverse world we live in. And it’s even more frustrating when people (like my brother) suggest that by holding my boyfriend’s hand, I’m shoving my sexuality down their throat. Oh, and when you hold your girlfriend’s hand, of course that’s not trying to force the ‘straight agenda’ down my throat is it.
   Why is it that just because I’m a man every action I do with my boyfriend is a political statement, worthy of people’s scrutiny? Can you imagine that if every time I walked down the straight, I stared down every straight couple just because I wasn’t like that? The frustration and hatred I would get would be unimaginable. And yet, when I get this with my boyfriend, it’s somehow socially acceptable, and I’ve almost grown to expect it and fear it. I shouldn’t have to worry about holding my boyfriend’s hand just because it’s not what’s expected of me.
   And then there’s something my friend, Holmes, asked me the other day. I know it wasn’t meant as an insult or as something mean, but he asked me why all gay writers feel the need to write almost primarily about the gay experience. I was somewhat speechless and it’s something I’ve thought about a lot. I asked my boyfriend the same question and he said, he probably writes about primarily straight characters. And that’s an interesting point. We write about what we know. And I know how to be gay, I know about the specific problems in the gay lifestyle, even more so now I have a boyfriend. There are some things which stress me out and I don’t know how to deal with them simply because no-one discusses these things because they are specifically related to the gay experience. If I can write a book that helps even one gay person realise that they’re not alone, that it’s okay to hold you’re boyfriend’s hand in public and get annoyed at the judgement you may get about this, then I will be a very happy man.
   There’s also the assumption that creative gay people NEED to deliberately address the issue of sexuality. I was reading the other day that some aboriginal writers grow frustrated that all of their work is analysed within the framework of their nationality, as opposed to seeing it as a straight text. The same thing goes for gay writers. Just because we know a writer is gay, we analyse their work in a different way. And when a straight person plays ‘gay’ in a movie, their performance is praised as an example of their versatility and yet when a gay mean plays ‘straight’, there is nowhere near as much hoopla. This annoys me.
   There’s also the whole thing about our desperation to have an openly gay football player. I watched a short film the other day which encouraged them to come out, but to me, it felt more like a pressuring of them to reveal their sexuality. Coming out is a deeply personal and potentially damaging and traumatic experience and should only be done when you are ready. The mere idea of pressuring someone is so wrong as to be almost inconceivable.
   So, that’s my rant for this week. A very angry one it is too. I don’t usually get this frustrated but I think this has been building up for a little while because it annoys me. A lot. I’m not too gay, there is no such thing, because everyone is different and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we all just need to realise that we aren’t all the same and learn how to accept difference. And I’m not saying that I’m perfect. I do this as well, but I think there’s something to be said for at least trying to be more open-minded, because the more people who try, and the more exposure people get to it, then they have to change. If people don’t like seeing me and my boyfriend hold hands, then I need to hold his hand tighter, because I’m not going to hide who I am. And I’m not going to change what I am. And if that’s a super-camp uber-gay guy who gets angry about being unable to hide my boyfriend’s hand, then so be it.
   Anyway, see you all next week. Sorry, if this seems like an attack. It’s not. It’s just more of a vent. Also, sorry this is a little late, but I had a lot of trouble writing this one. Oh, and the title is a reference to this Muppets song. It’s linked here because I was shocked that most of my friends were unaware of it and they need to know.

Things I Learnt While Dating #2
Always have a blanket at the ready.*
*Particularly if you and your partner are in a compromising position in a car when a person walks past singing ‘Wrecking Ball’ at the top of their lungs.

Friends’ Blogs
Lola (The Blogging Of An Aspiring Writer)
Holmes (Life, The Universe And Everything According To A Writer)

The Playlist Of 14 May – 20 May
Ending Song (from Orphan Black)
Once Upon A December (from Anastasia)
Wonderwall (Oasis)
Snuff (Slipknot)
Heavy Metal Heart (Sky Ferraira)
Imperial March [Darth Vader’s Theme] (John Williams)

The Top 6 Films Of 14 May – 20 May
Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Don’t Look Now
Boys Don’t Cry
Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope
Godzilla (2014)
*Because of dating and television addictions, I only viewed six films this week

David Gumball-Watson

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Children Of The Eurovision

Hello all,

Most days are boring. They’ve got their good bits and their bad bits, but the overall feeling at the end is yeah, that happened, onto the next one. Then there are the bad days, the days which the mere thought of can bring you down. But then, every so often, ever so rarely, there’s one day which makes all the others seem terrible because it could never be as good as that one. And, while that’s happening more and more often (hey boyfriend Finn!), my Saturday is the best day I can remember ever having.   To be fair, I don’t have a lot that I can compare to. When asked previously, I always used to say the day that I went on my own to see a stage show the school was putting on because it had the guy I had a crush on in it, which is where he talked to me for the first time. And then I got home and watched one of my favourite movies ever, Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, for the first time. I remember going to sleep that night feeling joyous because the two things were somehow connected (even though they weren’t). But ever since I started dating Finn, there have been more and more good days. And then there was Saturday.
    It was Eurovision weekend, the weekend I live for. It’s like Christmas and Birthday and Easter and the Grand Finale (for most other Australians) combined into this one gloriously camp weekend of ridiculous set pieces, wonderfully trashy pop songs and beautiful people. It doesn’t sound like much, but it means everything to me.
   After I came out to my parents, I decided to try and subtly introduce them to gay culture. I wanted something that didn’t particularly scream gay, but said I’m here and I’m queer. And somehow I got into my head that Eurovision was exactly what was needed. So, I got a copy of the 2009 contest and put it on over one weekend. This experience literally changed my life because of one man; a violin player named Alexander Rybak (who would eventually win that year by the highest score in Eurovision history, pictured on the left), who was the most romantic human being I’d ever seen. He was wearing this grey vest (later to become one of my favourite items of clothing) and singing this song about a romance that failed. And I am fairly sure I’ve never felt that attracted to someone before. And my parents noticed, particularly my mum. And this is the weird bit. We started comparing notes. Mum thought he was too young. I was like I don’t care, he’s fricken mine. This was the moment I realised that my parents had accepted my gay identity and it wasn’t going to be as much of a fight as the painful nature of my coming out had suggested (I’ll share that story one day, but not today). Ever since then, I’ve been not only obsessed with Alexander Rybak (I based the love interest in my novel off his appearance and his songs have informed how the character has been shaped when I was struggling to come up with ideas) and his fashion sense (those of you who’ve seen me in a grey vest, well that’s where it comes from. As well as that, there’s a mild obsession with tight-fitting white t-shirts and any violin playing), but Eurovision because it represents something far greater to me.
   Later in the year, we watched the 2011 competition, where I discovered another obsession with the incredibly sexy Eric Saade. And while I don’t remember as much about him with regards to my family, it was he that helped my coming out to one of my closest friends. My friend and I were messaging one another on Facebook, when I said, ‘I do hope I'm not depressing you. It's just I’m looking at these pictures of Eric Saade... He's really good looking.’ Apologies for me being super posh, but this was how I came out to my best friend. I wasn’t able to just say it, I needed something to get him to ask me and so I decided to be honest. Basically, I owe Eurovision A LOT. It has come to signify acceptance and freedom as well as helping me to distinguish who I found sexy.
   As this weekend was Eurovision, I was slightly concerned that if Finn and I were to go on a date then I would miss out on a night (I know that sounds selfish, but Eurovision is THE thing I look forward to every single year). However, my mum sorted this problem out for me. She was annoyed because I hadn’t introduced her to him yet mainly because despite what I earlier mentioned, there are numerous examples where she’s been more than a little homophobic. I put on Please Like Me once and there was this gay kissing scene and she was so disgusted, she had to walk out of the room. She’s also told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to be close to my boyfriend when we were in the house and she was looking. No holding hands, no kissing, no nothing. Which seems fine, but she wouldn’t have any problem with my (straight) brother doing the same things to his girlfriend around her, so I was frustrated. But mum just kept digging and I was like, fine, if you want to meet him, then I’ll arrange it. We can watch the second semi-final of Eurovision together.
   So, I met him and told him that my parents wanted to meet him. He was fine with it and said we’d be back at my house by 8 that night. That left several hours for us to just enjoy a date. And enjoy we did.
   First, we had a chocolate fondue at this place, where we did the typical couply thing of feeding each other chocolate covered strawberries. As usual, I failed. So badly. So, so badly. Still, we laughed so it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was glorious. We finished eating and drove to the park. After he showed me some more of his music (he’s into metal and I’m into pop music. I have the worst taste in music. Have you seen my playlists?!), we decided to walk around, despite it being fairly cold. In order to fight this, we held hands.
    And this could just be my internalised homophobia, but I felt nervous. Not because he was holding my hand, but because what if someone saw us. I’ve read these horrible stories of people being attacked and it worries me. But it shouldn’t. I should be able to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public without the fear of harm. So, here we are walking together, when we see someone coming in the distance, someone walking their dog. And we go to separate hands, but then he just turns to me and says f*ck it, you’re my gorgeous boyfriend and I don’t care who knows. I held his hand tighter and we continued walking. Truly amazing.
   We went to the playground and played on the equipment, because two grown men swinging around on a flying fox is surprisingly romantic. Other stuff happened, but that’s mine. So we’ll skip ahead a little bit.
   About an hour later, we arrived at my parents’ house. We were running a little late, coming in shortly into the first act of Eurovision. My parents didn’t really say anything and I could tell he was nervous. But there’s a magic to Eurovision and as we watched, I saw my parents warming to him and he to my parents. There are two moments that spring to mind. The first came when my boyfriend and my mother compared notes as to who was the cuter boy in the Finnish entry. So surreal (not as surreal as actually having my boyfriend in my house, but still) and it brought to my mind the whole Rybak thing.
   However, a more interesting moment came when Conchita Wurst walked on stage. Now, my parents are fine (to a certain extent) with gay people. They can deal with that. But gender? Well, it’s an uphill battle. Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race with them is an unwise decision unless you want to hear derogatory things. So, then this bearded drag queen walks onto the stage and she’s beautiful and glorious and an immensely powerful singer. And I knew this wasn’t going to end well. My mum and dad were convinced she was a man, and kept referring to her as he (or it, in one particularly painful experience). I tried to correct them, but it didn’t really work. And I was growing ever more frustrated, when my boyfriend turns to my mum and says, ‘it doesn’t matter what she looks like, it’s what she identifies as.’ And from then on, they referred to her as she. Part of me was desperate to turn to him and hug him or kiss him or something to show my appreciation, but I didn’t want my parents to hate my boyfriend, so we just played footsies instead.
    Later, as the competition was finishing, I was growing ever more nervous because I was worried Austria (who Conchita was representing) wasn’t going to get into the grand finale. I get very invested in my favourite contestants and I was having this mini freak-out. And then she got in and I screamed. Loudly. And my boyfriend grabbed my arm, because we were both so happy she’d got in. And my parents didn’t see, because they were looking at the screen. It was this perfect moment, in a day filled with them.
   Later, he saw my messy bedroom but didn’t care and we stayed until 2.30 talking and other things, but again, some things are mine. I like to think of it as my way of keeping my mind on the… pulse.
   And I know it doesn’t sound like much. But that day was magical, because it was time I spent with someone who likes me. A lot. Like how every Monday I spend with Holmes and Lola is magical, because I go completely insane. There’s a lot to be said for treasuring those moments spent with those we hold closest, because those are the moments I truly feel like I’m being myself. There isn’t any other layer that I’m hiding. I’m just being ridiculous and camper than anything and I truly feel… free. And that is glorious.
   So, while most days are boring, there are those that are made magical by our friends and our family, because for once, anything seems possible. Like a bearded drag queen winning Eurovision, showing that it doesn’t matter what you look like, you should be able to express yourself in whatever way makes you feel comfortable, that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It was a victory for those who’ve felt the pain of being different and the frustration of trying to please everybody all the time. Because ultimately, it’s not up to anybody else. It’s your life and you have to live it in a way that you want to, because as Cathy from the life-changing Big C once said, “Life is so precious and it’s way too fucking short. So… Don’t delay the happy.” And that’s what I’ve tried to do. To live in the way that one day, when I look back on my life, I can remember that I was happy in those moments. And those were what made my life worthwhile. That is what being a Child of the Universe means to me and that is why the good days must always be treasured cause they’re diamonds, rare but so, so precious.
   So, in honour of Eurovision’s awesomeness, I’d like to give a few awards of my own, celebrating another year where this ridiculously camp show changed my life for the better.

Top 5 Songs
1.       Rise Like A Phoenix [Austria] (Conchita Wurst)
2.       Children Of The Universe [United Kingdom] (Molly)
3.       Undo [Sweden] (Sanna Nielsen)
4.       Silent Storm [Norway] (Carl Espen)
5.       Calm After The Storm [The Netherlands] (The Common Linnets)
Saddest Song
Silent Storm [Norway] (Carl Espen)
Happiest Song
Dancing In The Rain [Spain] (Ruth Lorenzo)
Catchiest Song
Cliché Love Song [Denmark] (Basim)
Most Serious Song
Running [Hungary] (Andras Kallay-Saunders)
Sexiest Act
The polish girls. Cause even as a gay man, that was seriously sexy.
Most Impressive Set Piece
Ukraine’s Man Hamster Wheel
Best Interval Act
Emmelie De Forrest’s performs the ridiculously good song ‘Rainmaker’. Which I’ve listened to 45 times since Sunday (compare that to Conchita’s song which I’ve heard 20 times)
Best Moment
Conchita Wurst’s acceptance speech
Most Frustrating Moment
The reaction to Conchita’s victory from Russia (those make me so angry)
Most Attractive Man
My boyfriend. But out of the contestants, the whistling lead singer from Switzerland performing ‘Hunter Of Stars’. Like Rybak, he wore a vest and played a string instrument (a fiddle in this case). Told you he was influential.

So, that was what I thought of Eurovision this year. Brilliant as always, and proving that society is changing for the better. Conchita’s victory means so much and that it came in the same weekend that I shared the most perfect day with my beautiful boyfriend, just means everything to me. Absolutely magical.
   Oh, and the picture of Conchita at the top is my own photo-manipulation. It’s just her imposed onto some flames and the Eurovision 2014 symbol. The text is something Finn sent me. The. Best. Boyfriend. Ever.

Things I Learnt While Dating #2
The simple act of breathing can be really frickin’ hot.*
*That is if you don’t forget and have to have your boyfriend remind you to cause he doesn’t want you dying on him.

Friends’ Blogs
Lola (The Blogging Of An Aspiring Writer)
Holmes (Life, The Universe And Everything According To A Writer)

The Playlist Of 7 May – 13 May
Wanted (Hunter Hayes)
She’s Like Heroine (System Of A Down)
Dangerous (Within Temptation)
Lonely Day (System Of A Down)
Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves)

The Top 2 Films Of 7 May – 13 May
Foxy Brown
*Because of dating, Eurovision and evil essays, I only viewed two films this week

David Gumball-Watson

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Boyfriend Be Childlike

Hello all,

Dating is a weird experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best thing ever but it’s weird you start thinking deeply about things you’d only barely considered before. You begin to analyse everything you do, trying to figure out the reasons for it, just in case he were to ask. It’s an incredibly self-reflective experience but one that’s also very rewarding because you gain a deeper understanding of yourself than you had previously. Ever since I started dating Finn, I feel like I’m closer to knowing who I am than ever before. And I’ve come to some mildly concerning conclusions. In short, I have realised I may be incredibly childlike.
   I have had this thought before, particularly when I do my list of favourite films and TV shows. Despite seeing some of the best films ever made, I always list Elmo In Grouchland as one of my top ten favourite movies (to be fair, it is a good movie with awesome songs and a strong sense of pathos. The ending always makes me cry, even if it is just Elmo saying thank you for watching). And all of my clothes are branded with Doctor Who (that’s not exactly childish, despite some people branding it as a kids’ show), Adventure Time (again, a kids’ show with an adult audience), Regular Show (same as Adventure Time), Sesame Street and Disney. I have the wardrobe of a child, but it’s deeper than that, because I don’t just dress like a child, I act like one.
   This is not to say I’m immature, because that’s different from being childlike (which is more about keeping a sense of being young at heart), but I am definitely not a mature person. I am incredibly emotional. I’ll cry at every sad movie and get happy by Taylor Swift’s more uplifting songs, but I’ve noticed more now that I’ve started dating someone. It’s an intense experience, which takes all your emotions and throws them into a blender and you’re left trying to piece together the mess. Particularly for me where most of my life has been a constant battle with depression and low self-esteem (as detailed in the Depressing Post) to be now greeted with these intense feelings of complete happiness is really difficult. It now feels more like a greater battle between the two intense feelings than ever before. But, as with the rest of the world, it is not the battle that is the problem or the cause, but the two sides themselves. I shouldn’t have this intensity of emotion within me, I shouldn’t be as emotional as I am, but I can’t change that and I used to spend forever trying a way to but it was pointless, because, as Finn has pointed out to me (numerous times), there’s nothing wrong with being emotional, it’s just who I am.
  Except there is a problem in that because if you’re a very emotional person, then you don’t really have a whole lot of defences. It would be so easy for someone to hurt me, because I take everything to heart and am super sensitive about everything. I’m getting better at this, but there’s a question there. I was bullied badly during my primary school years and felt out of place in my high school years, so why am I so (as someone once called me) delicate? You’d think it would be the opposite. I’d harden up, not let anyone in for fear of the pain, until someone came along and broke through that shell. But that’s not me. I’m a delicate china doll that gets incredibly emotional and whose pop-culture interests mirror that of a primary school student. It doesn’t make sense, but maybe this helps to explain why my friends are so protective of me.
   Holmes, a close friend of mine, from Uni once told me that when he first saw me there was a need to protect me, that the world was too cruel for me, that I had to be taken under his wing, as it were. I really don’t know why but I seem to radiate that quality. I know your friends are supposed to look out for you, but their concern for me is almost maternal. It’s wonderful, but it makes me wonder why I’m like that and I get attached. Very easily. That’s the worst thing about being overly emotional and somewhat childlike, because you get attached really quickly. Some guy will say one nice thing to you and he’s the person you’ve got a crush on for a year. You have to tell this one person that you’re dating that you don’t want to see them anymore and it breaks your heart more than theirs (this isn’t with Finn, by the way. Another experience). You cling to your friends because they’re the people who keep you safe. But the worst thing is that when you get really attached to someone it’s really easy to be hurt by them. And I’ve been hurt by people before, people I trusted and that’s broken my heart, because I am overly emotional. And that’s what I fear with Finn. Not that he’s going to hurt me, cause he never would, but that I’m going to get too attached and scare him off.
   This happened a lot towards when I first started dating him until one of my friends (Holmes again) pointed out what I was doing, and that helped a lot, but still now I fear that I’m growing too close too quickly. And I can’t see a way out of it.
    See, since I started dating someone, I get reflective. I analyse every single bit of the three dates I’ve been on. Not during them, but later, when I can’t go to sleep when I think why? Why did I do that? Why didn’t I do that? What was I thinking? And those are the moments when I feel myself spiralling but, and I don’t know how he does it, but just as it’s about to get really bad, I think of Finn and he’s standing there, reminding me that I am special and I am wanted and I stop myself from falling and start flying. And while that’s wonderful, that’s also attached. I’ve never had someone care for me as much as he does (it’s different with friends, cause he can say it with his hands) and that’s the most wonderfully terrifying thing in the world.
   I didn’t want this to be a boyfriend post, but it’s sort of mutated into that. Oh, and we are boyfriends now, had that discussion earlier in the week. Amazing.
   Anyway, back to the topic at hand. What’s weird about me is that I’m a mess of contradictions. I think I’m childish, yet I was always told (and have always believed) that I was an old guy trapped in a 19 year old’s body. I am incredibly self-reflective and often think far too deeply about whatever it is I’m doing. This manifests itself in the films I watch. One moment I’ll be watching a film like Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom (which is incredibly disturbing and very adult. You have to be fairly mature and philosophical to look past the numerous horrible scenes of sexual torture, degradation and horror and see the deeper meaning behind them) and then, as soon as that’s finished, I’ll sit down to something like Alice In Wonderland (which while having something of a deeper literary significance, is not really a piece of high entertainment, particularly the one from the 30s which I viewed in this example). It’s weird and I’m sure most people don’t do it, where you’ll be incredibly philosophical and think deeply about the meaning of life, the Universe and everything, while you’re sitting there in an Elmo onesie, listening to One Direction. In fact, I’m fairly sure that’s the most telling description I’ve ever given about myself. It gives you everything you need to know about me.
   Also, it’s not childlike, there’s another element to this. I am not a childlike boy, I’m a childlike girl. Elmo and One Direction which, despite some boys liking it, the majority of people who would go around dressed in their apparel would be a woman. That’s what society has taught us to believe. Certain interests are gendered and must be marketed as such. That’s why I have to go to the female section of Jay Jays because the men’s clothes are boring and don’t reflect my interests. But to look in the other gendered section takes guts and a lot of them. Because, after one bad experience, you’re terrified to do it again. Only yesterday, I was in Jay Jays again and I saw these Sesame Street tank tops, two for $5 and I was like wow, that’s really cheap. I’d been wanting to get more armless tops as on Monday, Finn said I would look good in them. It was like a sign, that these were a good choice for me. And yet, as soon as I started looking I felt this deep fear within me. What if that woman behind the counter says something like the other one did? Because, despite my frustration over the jumper fiasco, it had hurt me, deeply. So I walked out of the store.
    Half-an-hour later, I returned. I refused to allow that woman at Jay Jays to ruin my chance at happiness when I see the look on my boyfriend’s face when he sees me in an Elmo tank top. So, I began looking around for a size. The woman at this store was actually really helpful, helping me find a size that would’ve fitted me and it was a good experience. Then, she left and was replaced by this sour looking woman who stood at the counter and stared. When I placed the tank tops down, she ignored me. I literally had to say, excuse me, but I’m buying these, before she even processed them. It’s frustrating because the experience had been a good one, only to be soured by annoying people stuck up on clothes designed for each gender. I’ll never understand it.
  However, the question is, why the hell is an Elmo or Mickey t-shirt gendered towards female? What is about them that makes them for a female? Elmo and Mickey are both boys, but that doesn’t matter. These are pop-culture icons which I somehow relate to. Elmo taught me the meaning of friendship and I associate him with some of the better times in my life. Mickey is a fun character who has an almost universal fan base. What about that is gendered? I understand it more, to a certain extent, with Disney Princesses and The Wizard Of Oz pyjamas that sometimes are in Peter Alexander, because they are explicitly aimed at a female fanbase (although, you could argue the latter) but there their attitude seems more relaxed. If I were to buy the long pyjama top with Dorothy in the field of poppies I doubt I’d get a second look. There’s a gender focus which is the problem here. And here’s the crunch of this post, the meaning.
   If I was a girl, I would be considered cute and lovable if I was wearing a branded t-shirt with Elmo on it. Because I am a boy, I’m immature and childlike. That’s the crux of it. There’s a gender bias that says that girls remain interested in childlike things for longer and if you’re a boy, you should’ve grown out of it, you’re weird for liking it. There’s so much wrong with this line of thinking, mainly because it becomes internalised. I truly believe that I am immature and childlike simply because of that gender binary. I’ve absorbed it within myself and had come to see myself as somehow wrong because I would much rather wear an Elmo jumper than a plain black one. But there is nothing wrong with it. And if I am childlike, then so what? Those were some of the best years of my life, why not embrace them? Why not love Sesame Street or The Lion King or Frozen or Disney Princesses or Pokemon? We’re only here once and should live our lives the way we wish to lead them. And if I want to live my life, fully embracing my emotions, my interests and my attachments to people, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Cause who isn’t young at heart, really?
   So, yes that’s my soapbox for the week. To keep you updated, Finn and I have been on two further dates which was amazing, the details of which I shall keep to myself. Got to have some secrets. I will just say that Finn said the title of my blog is grossly inaccurate, and leave it at that. But yes, we’re boyfriends now, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
   Also, two of my Uni friends also write blogs and the three of us have decided to link our blogs together to create a story of three students studying writing. So, without further ado, these are their blogs;

They’re both such talented writers and I cannot recommend their blogs enough. They’re also really awesome people.
   Apologies for last week’s blog. It was going to be about a very touchy subject and I was tossing up whether to write or not, but ultimately I decided it should be censored. Maybe one day I’ll talk about that, but not yet. Also, I’m going to start a new thing where I end this blog with the Things I Learnt While Dating. Because I can. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And I have a boyfriend now. And he’s awesome.
   See you all next week! Oh, almost forgot, this weekend is my biggest of the year. It’s Eurovision, people. Get excited.
Things I Learnt While Dating #1
The simple act of breathing can be really frickin’ hot.

The Playlist Of 23 Apr – 6 May
Silicone (Detox, William Belli & Vicky)
Already Home (A Great Big World)
RuPaulogise (William Belli)
Aerials (System Of A Down)
Chandelier (Sia)
Fancy (Iggy Azaela, Charli XCX)
Begin Again (Taylor Swift)
Life For Me (Lily Allen)
Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves)
URL Badman (Lily Allen)
Waking The Demon (Bullet For My Valentine)
Headlights (Eminem, Nate Reuss)
Sexy Boy (Air)
Treacherous (Taylor Swift)
She Looks So Perfect (5 Seconds Of Summer)
Innocent (Taylor Swift)
Return To Innocence (Enigma)

The Top 12 Films Of 23 Apr – 6 May
Witness For The Prosecution
Eyes Without A Face
Blood Of The Beasts
A Letter To Three Wives
Paragraph 175
Sid & Nancy
Man Of Steel
*Because of dating, I only viewed six films each week

David Gumball-Watson

PS. David, because it’s what I called myself in a version of my life, Gumball, because he’s called Finn and that’s what he calls me (Prince Gumball from Adventure Time) and Watson, because of my friendship with Holmes.