Friday, 27 August 2010

Julian Clary: The Flesh Is Willing

Gay men getting older - it's one of those articles you read all the time but are normally puffed up as though talking about this subject is The Great Gay Taboo.
Yes, yet another one.
Usually they lapse into clapped out cliches; you're only as young as you feel, I've never been happier, I'm going to grow old - hey! - disgracefully etc etc. Zzzz...
Or else you get a fit of barely concealed envy at young gay men, shagging and dancing and drinking and drugging and partying and having fun.
The bastards!
A revival of Manchester's legendary gay rave night Flesh this Sunday prompts Julian Clary to ponder 'Is 51 Too Old For Clubbing?' "What does it mean to be gay and middle-aged?"
It's a lovely liitle piece, big-hearted but unsentimental.
"My own experience is that life has sorted itself out with no particular effort on my part: just when it would be unseemly for me to skulk in the dark corners of nightclubs, I no longer felt the urge to go. It all dovetailed rather neatly. I couldn't put my finger on when exactly this happened – but I remember speaking to my mother one morning after the night before and she commented: "Aren't you a bit old for that sort of thing?"
And what does Julian say about other older gay men who keep on dancing? "Good for them."
Good for him.
"The difference, I conclude, between gays and straights when it comes to mid-life is that gays don't feel bound to fulfil certain roles. Why should we? Having lived our lives on the boundaries of society's norms we feel able to negotiate our way through the experience of ageing. And most of us do not have children to distract us from our self-absorption..."
"The consensus is that middle-aged gays are happier than they were in their youth. And if they're not? I think that on his 40th birthday every gay man should get a letter from his local dog's home inviting him to come and choose the life companion of his choice. It would make a change from crabs."

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