Category Archives: Gay Interest

Gay History: The Hon. Percy Jocelyn (1764-1843); Bishop of Ferns, Ireland.


The Right Rev. and Hon. Percy Jocelyn was Bishop of the Diocese of Ferns from 1809-1820. Percy’s mother, Lady Anne Hamilton, was a member of the Clanbrassil Hamiltons, on whose land the Battle of Ballinahinch was fought in 1798, and her distant kin included the United Irish leader, Archibald Hamilton Rowan. In 1752, Lady Anne Hamilton married Robert Jocelyn, son of the Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. Through his father’s political success and his wife’s aristocratic connections, Robert Jocelyn attained high honours and became Earl of Roden. A year before the Rising, in 1797, Lord Roden’s eldest son, Robert Jocelyn (1756-1820), succeeded as the second Earl of Roden. The second son, George Jocelyn (1764-1798), was the father-in-law of both Walter Hore and James Boyd. But it was the third and youngest son, Percy Jocelyn (1764-1843), who proved to be the most interesting character in that generation of the family.

He graduated with a BA from Trinity College Dublin. At Trinity, he was regarded as something of a bookworm, spending much of his time in his rooms on Library Square. He was later described as “a tall thin young man with a pale, meagre and melancholy countenance, and so reserved in his manners and recluse in his habits that he was considered by every body to be both proud and unsociable”. Percy Jocelyn was born on 29 November 1764. Immediately after graduating, he was ordained deacon at the age of 23 and then priest. He quickly acquired a number of ecclesiastical positions, not because he was able and capable, but due to the cunning ambition that had made him a corrupt pluralist who amassed many posts, enriching himself with the income from accumulated tithes and endowments.
For all the offices he held from a young age, Jocelyn gave very little back in return to the parishes that sustained his lifestyle. He failed constantly to provide for the pastoral care of his parishioners or to take services in the churches and cathedrals to which he had been appointed. Between 1787 and 1809, he was Treasurer of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork (1787-1795); Rector of Creggan, near Dundalk, Co Louth, and Rector of Tamlaght, Co Derry, two parishes at opposite ends of the Diocese of Armagh (1788-1790); Archdeacon of Ross, Co Cork (1788-1790); Treasurer of Armagh Cathedral (1790-1809); and Rector of Disert, Co Waterford, in the Diocese of Lismore (1796-1809). Not even the holiest and most energetic of men could give due attention to these posts in four dioceses spread across five counties and three provinces while maintaining a city residence in Dublin at the same time.
Jocelyn’s contemporaries realised that he was incapable of giving due attention to his pastoral responsibilities and that he was idle to the point of negligence, seldom taking services and never preaching. Rev Thomas Hore said Jocelyn that he was the “most idle of all reverend idlers” and asked him rhetorically: “Do you ever write a sermon? Most worthy Rector of Creggan – not you.”

As a consequence of the events in 1798, Percy Jocelyn was elevated to the bench of bishops in the Church of Ireland. During the Rising, the Bishop of Killala, Joseph Stock, had suffered bitterly at the hands of the rebels, the French invading force, and the British authorities in Co Mayo. Once the Rising was over, Stock was naturally disillusioned with his see and was soon pursuing every vacant episcopal appointment. However, Stock was disappointed as he was passed over for preferment when the mad Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, Euseby Cleaver, became Archbishop of Dublin in 1808. Stock had hoped to become Archbishop of Dublin, but now resigned himself to moving to Co Wexford, writing to his son: “If I cannot be Dublin, I shall be content with Ferns.” He must have been convinced of his chances of moving to Co Wexford, for four days later he wrote in similar terms: “I think I must have a chance of Ferns.” Despite his expectations, all Stock received was a polite note from the Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Richmond. Instead, he was transferred to the Waterford and Lismore, and eventually, in 1809, the See of Ferns, vacated by Cleaver, passed to Percy Jocelyn. When he became Bishop of Ferns, Percy Jocelyn found himself in good company alongside the scandalous Chancellor of Ferns, Sir Henry Bate Dudley. But Jocelyn, for his part, spent very little time in his dioceses, seldom visiting those parishes in counties Wexford, Wicklow and Carlow that formed his diocese.

In 1811, Jocelyn’s brother John’s coachman, James Byrne, accused him of “taking indecent familiarities” (possibly buggery) and of “using indecent or obscene conversations with him”. Byrne was sued for criminal libel by Jocelyn and on conviction was sentenced to two years in jail and also to public flogging. In court, the bishop’s counsel was Charles Kendal Bushe (1767-1843), Solicitor General of Ireland and later Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, who was a clergyman’s son. Bushe confounded Byrne’s allegations by claiming the sexual practice the Bishop of Ferns was alleged to have indulged in was a “contagion” that had never reached Ireland. “There is no instance of its existence in the memory of any professional man,” Bushe told the court. Therefore, by deduction, the bishop must be innocent. At the trial, Byrne hardly bothered to defend himself for making what the judge called “so wicked a calumny that no idea is too horrible to be informed of you.” Jocelyn was described as “an exalted and venerable character, who, though raised to one of the highest dignities of the Church, is still less exalted by his rank than he is by the uniform piety of his life.” The bishop was virtuous, pious and devout, Mr Justice Fox agreed. Regretting that he could not pass harsher sentence, he jailed Byrne for two years and ordered that he should be whipped three times through the streets of Dublin. Byrne was whipped to within an inch of his life, and also spent the full two years and an extra 85 days in jail Recanting his allegations at the prompting of the bishop’s agent, the floggings were stopped. A public subscription was raised in 1822 to raise money for Byrne to try to make up for this miscarriage of justice.

Soon poor Percy put all these sordid events and Byrne’s allegations behind him. Others appeared to have had short memories too, including family members, and when the bishop’s nephew, also Robert Jocelyn, succeeded as third Earl of Roden in 1820, he actively sought the promotion of Percy from the Diocese of Ferns to the See of Clogher. Despite the image that had been bolstered by his family and in court, by the time Jocelyn moved from Ferns to Clogher there were rumours that the bishop was mentally imbalanced. Within weeks there were reports that he was selling off the furnishings of his new palace, a four-storey Classical mansion built only a year earlier by his predecessor, Lord John George Beresford. Worse was to come.

On 19 July 1822, at the age of 58, Percy Jocelyn was caught in a compromising position with a Grenadier Guardsman, John Moverley, in the back room of The White Lion public house, St Albans Place, off The Haymarket, Westminster. Jocelyn tried to escape, but his trousers were still down around his ankles, and he was arrested. Although dressed as a clergyman, he refused to reveal his identity. However, once in custody his name was soon discovered and the news of his arrest caused an immediate sensation in London’s clubs and coffee houses. He and Moverley were released on bail, provided by the Earl of Roden and others. The 22-year-old John Moverley was eventually committed to jail. The sordid details surrounding Jocelyn’s arrest were conveyed to the newly-appointed Archbishop of Armagh, Lord John George Beresford, by George Dawson, private secretary to the Home Secretary, Robert Peel. Only after lively correspondence involving the viceroy, the prime minister, the chief secretary, and Archbishop Beresford, was an ecclesiastical court summoned. The court, consisting of four bishops, George Beresford of Kilmore, William Knox of Derry, James Saurin of Dromore and William Bissett of Raphoe, met in Armagh in October 1822. Citations demanding Jocelyn’s appearance were posted on the doors of Clogher Palace and Cathedral, and on the doors of his townhouse in Dublin, but when he failed to appear in court, the process was begun to deprive the bishop of his ecclesiastical office.

But, even while the trial was proceeding, Jocelyn’s capacity for corruption remained unbounded. When he should have been appearing before the four bishops in Armagh, he was auctioning off the last remaining contents of his palace, so that the court ruefully recorded: “That splendid appendage of his dignity has been left as naked as a ruin.” Jocelyn was declared deposed by the Metropolitan Court of Armagh in October 1822. He was deprived of his bishopric, his holy orders and his authority “on account of divers crimes and excesses and more especially for the crimes of immorality, incontinence, sodomitical practices, habits, and propensities, and neglect of his spiritual, judicial, and ministerial duties.” It is, perhaps, the only example ever of a bishop in the Church of Ireland being reduced to the lay state. James Byrne, once flogged and jailed for his allegations against the bishop, now felt vindicated. The Times of London demanded he should receive public indemnity, a great dinner was organised in his honour in London, and a public subscription raised £300 for him.

Moverely had disappeared by now, and there were rumours that Jocelyn’s nephew had him bought off or even had him murdered; other reports said he had been executed. However, the records show that Moverly deserted on 7 August 1822. There is reason to believe that the government, rather than to have a bishop found guilty of the crime of sodomy, was willing to let him escape. There appear to be no documents in the regimental archive relating to a courts martial so possibly he was never caught. Meanwhile, Jocelyn had broken bail. The fugitive bishop first fled to Scotland and from there to Paris with the money he had extracted from his Episcopal Palace, and perhaps with the help of his nephew, Lord Roden. Two years later, in December 1824, the disgraced bishop was formally declared an outlaw. 

The last days of Percy Jocelyn were spent as a character who, by some standards, might be more pitied than despised. It is generally accepted that he ended his days in Scotland, working as a butler under the assumed name of Thomas Wilson. He died in Edinburgh in December 1843, and was buried there in the New Cemetery, with only five mourners present. The Latin inscription on his coffin is very telling: “Here lie the remains of a great sinner, saved by grace, whose hopes rest in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, a contrary end is provided by the English writer, Rictor Norton. After he writing a short sketch of the bishop, Norton was contacted by the Hon James Jocelyn, a brother of the current Lord Roden, who claimed that Percy Jocelyn did not die in Scotland as a disguised butler, but returned to his family in Co Down to live a quiet life. The bishop left most of his fairly large estate to his sisters, but his will also contained a dozen bequests to named individuals ranging from £100 pounds to £2,200, including £300 “to my good friend and relation The Reverend James Hill Poe of Nenagh … as token of Remembrance for all the Kindness and attention which my beloved sisters and myself have uniformly experienced from him for many years past during a period of extreme calamity and misfortune.” The will includes the following clause: “I desire and request that my remains may be committed to the Grave in the most private manner at a very early hour in the morning and that no Publicity whatsoever may attend my funeral, also that no name be inscribed on my Coffin and my age. And I desire no publication of my death to be inserted in any public paper.” Some years ago, the Jocelyn family vault at Kilcoo Parish Church in Bryansford, Co Down, was opened for structural repairs to the church, and when James Jocelyn went inside he found one more coffin than the number of grave markers indicated. This extra coffin was unmarked, and he argued that this belonged to the former Bishop of Ferns.

It is not surprising that Bishop Jocelyn never married. His closest family relations were the daughters of his nearest brother, George Jocelyn, and two of them married into prominent Co. Wexford families during Percy’s eleven-year tenure as Bishop of Ferns. In 1812, Harriet Jocelyn married the Rev Walter Hore, Rector of Ferns. Walter Hore, who was the son of Walter Hore of Seafield and grandson of Walter Hore of Harperstown, died on 28 September 1843. In December 1813, Georgiana Jocelyn married Major James Boyd of Rosslare, Co. Wexford. She died in July 1819, and Boyd died forty years later in 1859.

Jocelyn’s arrest sent ripples through both state and church. Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, who was both the Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons at the time, had an audience with King George IV on 9 August 1822 to reveal the fact that he was being blackmailed, and confessed: “I am accused of the same crime as the Bishop of Clogher.” The King is said to have advised Castereagh to “consult a physician.” Instead, he went to his English country seat in Kent, and three days later he slit his throat with a pen-knife. The reputation of the Irish clergy suffered as a result of the case, and Peel wondered whether it was advisable to appoint any of the Irish clergy to a vacant bishopric in the future. Shortly after Jocelyn’s arrest, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners Sutton, claimed “it was not safe for a bishop to shew himself in the streets of London.” The former Bishop of Ferns was the most senior churchman in either Ireland or Britain to be involved in a public homosexual scandal in the 19th century. Initially, there was reluctance to discuss the case in the media, and a writer for The Times of London noted that “[m]ingled feelings of sorrow, humiliation, and disgust” had almost prevented him from writing at all. But Jocelyn was soon being ridiculed as the “Bishop of Sodom” and he became a subject of crude satire and popular ribaldry, resulting in more than a dozen illustrated satirical cartoons and numerous pamphlets and limericks. However, it is agreed generally that the case had many positive consequences, for it strengthened Archbishop Beresford’s hand in enforcing higher standards and instituting reforms of abuses brought about by lax and worldly clerics in the Church of Ireland. Nevertheless, the indiscretions of this former Bishop of Ferns have remained an embarrassment for generations. Percy Jocelyn rates a short and dismissive three-line entry in Leslie’s list of the Bishops of Ferns. Leslie’s separate eleven-line entries for him in the Armagh and Clogher lists of clergy and parishes merely state that he was deprived for by a court without hinting at the nature of his offence. There is no separate entry for him in the Dictionary of National Biography, and he is seldom referred to in the Roden pedigrees in Burke’s and other peerages. 

The Jocelyn case was a sensation at the time, as it would be even now, and researchers might expect to find details of the scandal in church archives. However, the Clogher Diocesan archives in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast, are essentially a record of the day-to-day running of the diocese and are silent about the deposition of Percy Jocelyn. For almost two centuries, the relevant papers in the Armagh Diocesan Registry Archive remained under an interdict imposed in 1822 by Primate Beresford. In the 1920s, Archbishop Charles Frederick D’Arcy, a former Bishop of Clogher, asked for the papers to be burned, although his instructions were never carried out, and the papers were released from closure only recently. An ecumenical but oft-forgotten twist to the tale is that Clogher Palace, which was quickly pillaged by Jocelyn after this move from Ferns in 1820, served as a convent for the Sisters of Saint Louis for most of the 20th century.

Tim Alderman (2017)

References

Rumination of the Day (2nd December 2016)

WORLD AIDS DAY

It’s the day after WAD, and as usual, I’m ruminating! For many years now I have been looking at how I now view HIV/AIDS – through the lense of objectivity. Emotion only muddles the issue, and history has a trail of misinformation, mixed objectives, venom and misunderstanding! 

Even recently I have encountered those who, for reasons known only to themselves, have never been able to move on! The hate is still alive, the dragons still circling. I could be one of these, who still feel that the experiences of the 80s & 90s are still alive, an uncompromising hard line that leaves me stranded in a time that has passed by. Fuck knows there is a lot in my past that I have never fully moved on from – family business that could, at any time in the past, have left me sitting in a gutter, needle dangling…or in a bar, in an alcoholic stupor – and fuck knows I flew very close to the latter at one stage! More so than many, I have reason enough to be bitter, to be a victim. My experience with AIDS has left me close to blind, and there are many who would agree that that is reason enough. But, as in my latter teens, with full knowledge of my families dysfunctionality, living with a solitary knowledge of my younger brothers horrendous death, of violence and unspoken secrets, of my being gay, I made a quiet vow to myself that I was not going to let it get the better of me, to smother me, to stop me being who I would be! So to with AIDS – my survival alone was an unexpected surprise – and blindness! To buckke under, to attribute blame, to become a victim, to allow it to hold me back, swallow me up, would be saying…I do not have the strength for this, the self-empowerment whereby I would become someone who even I didn’t recognise! 

To move on, one has to acknowledge that the past is just that – the past! Yes, what happened was dreadful – the hatred, the discrimination, the accusations, the blame, the misinformation, the segregation, the fear! We need to acknowledge – 40 years along now – that we were all scared shitless. Straight, gay, male, female, religious, non-religious, politicians, doctors, journalists, activists…ad infinitum…were all scared. Perhaps not since the scourges of the Black Death have we encountered something we all knew absolutely nothing about – not even those who, perhaps, should have known! And what does human nature do when it is faced with an unknown that can just kill at will, shows no mercy, is no respecter of life at all – it looks for scapegoats, attributes blame, hands out punishment! It just so happens that the scapegoat was the gay community, and given what was happening at that time, it perhaps should not have been surprising. Minority groups have a long history of misunderstanding, stigma, discrimination, hate and ignominy! I am not defending the direction it took…I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot…but the point is, it was quite a while back now, and as awful and relentless as it was, as a community we not only survived it, but we fought back with the tools to hand – knowledge, facts, patience and dogged determination. 

One can’t deny that some of the negatives from that era live on. There is still prejudice, discrimination, stigma and musunderstanding! But it is also true that we don’t have it on our own – just ask any person with Down Syndrome. To hang onto the hate, and all the other negatives from that period in our history is to hold no one back but yourself! You know, we all walked in the footsteps of those that suffered, those that died! But by walking in their footsteps, when their footsteps stopped…ours continued on! To live with the negativity is to deny that a lot of good, positive, beautiful things were still going on. The community still lived, loved, and laughed. We supported each other, we were staunch in the face of adversity, we celebrated the lives of those who died with a gusto that was ever born of love. If ever there was a time I was proud to be a member of the gay community, it was through the 20 years of that horror!

Okay, it damaged me! As a fanatical reader & writer, it chose to attack perhaps the most important assets I had – my eyes! But it also presented me with new opportunities, new roads to venture down, new challenges to tackle. I can’t carty the hate because, despite everything, my life has not stopped, nor my humour, my inquisitiveness, my talents, nor my ability to just get on with it. I no longer go to candlelight vigils, or other AIDS memorials. It is too raw, too emotion charged, to ready to rip open healed wounds. I don’t forget – those who died are too entrenched in my memories for that – but now I choose to remember in more gentle ways. What every single one of my dead friends would have wanted is for me to get on with my life. Once a year their ghosts are going to waft around, to cajole me to tears, to invoke memories of wonderful times that will stay with me forever. 

But I’ll wake up tomorrow, and the ghosts will be gone. And just as they wanted, my life goes on. Who am I to argue with them!

Tim Alderman (2016)

Daily (Or When The Mood Tales Me) Gripe: Has HIV Inc. Run Out of Steam!

This year marks, for me, 34 years of living with HIV/AIDS…though now it is just HIV. I consider it a landmark, as back in 1996 I was admitted to Prince Henry hospital with chronic CMV retinitis, chronic candida, chronic anaemia, wasting syndrome (48 kg and going down), 10 CD 4 cells, and no immune system, and was not supposed to leave…at least not under my own steam. That  I did was only due to advances in medications at that particular time, very aggressive treatment, some great doctors and nurses –  and a lot of will power. I don’t give a fuck how negative many HIV+ guys are about life with HIV. For me, this was the great singular event of my life, a pivotal point that resulted in life-altering decisions, a mental overhaul, and the knowledge that there was a hell of a lot more to life THAN HIV. It altered the course of my life, and for better or worse I have never looked back. 

I was a speaker for the Positive Speakers Bureau for 12 years before realising that when you continually tell a story you start doing it by rote. Time to get out before it became totally meaningless. I have also written for “Talkabout” magazine (the flag ship publication of Positive Life NSW – formally PLWHA NSW Inc) for 15 years, both as a features writer and a columnist. As a writer I see my role to be not just to inform people, but to provoke debate, at times to be opinionated, to raise questions, to address abuses and unfairness and to be, when required, controversial. Unfortunately, my time with “Talkabout” taught me that to get published in a HIV publication you need to walk the safe road. To be controversial is to be tolling your own death knell. Mind you, this censorship has nothing to do with the editors who, in my experience, have been nothing but supportive. Community Health and a certain AIDS council provide funding to the magazine, so to poke your nose into sensitive areas will ensure your censure and non-publication. As a HIV+ person writing about HIV issues I have always found my hands tied. I have written two extremely controversial articles on HIV issues over the years. One, on Options Employment Services using HIV clients as a free work force, in the guise of “work experience”, was so watered down by the editor after threats of suing PLWHA, the editor and myself (I truly wish they had) that by the time of publication it was a mere shadow of its original fiery tirade…despite the fact that I had evidence of this going on. The manager of “Options”even took me aside and “suggested” that I quieten down my opinions as they were providing a service to the HIV community. Shortly after this fiasco, they went broke and disappeared. The second article was amongst the best pieces I have ever written, and covered the controversial area of bug-chasing (HIV- guys who deliberately have unprotected sex with HIV+ guys in the hope of contracting HIV). The magazines working group deemed that by writing about bug-chasing I may have been promoting it amongst a certain sector of the community. Considering that the practice is well documented, is acknowledged and exists, I failed to see how being informative about it was in any way promoting it…oh shit! I forgot that community health and certain HIV organisations wanted to keep their heads buried in the sand about such unpleasant issues…and they held the purse-strings. Censorship is alive and well within the HIV community and always has been. Want to tell the truth about what is going on or want to expose something? Not on their watch!

But despite this I continue to write, though I keep it to the more nondescript these days, and publish them on my blog. I have around 100 followers – not bad for an unknown.. I do enjoy being published! When I moved to Brisbane I began phasing out my writing for “Talkabout” (which after 15 years of being published in pretty well every issue, has gone unacknowledged by the organisation itself, though not by the editors), and had started writing for QPP “Alive”, the magazine of Queensland Positive People. Same story, different place as far as funding goes, I’m afraid. Nothing controversial would be coming out of there either. Nor did I get paid anymore – one advantage of “Talkabout”.

34 years ago at the start of the HIV shit fight, people never questioned anything about treatments, definitions, philosophies, or courses-of-action. We were in crisis mode and anything was better than nothing. We let a lot happen that in more sane, accountable times would never have been allowed to happen. This far down the line it is time to start asking questions, time to demand investigations and redefinition into many aspects of treatment, time to look back at some of the historical record and say “we were wrong”, and set the record straight. I no longer allow my doctor, or the HIV establishment, nor the drug companiesi in particular, to dictate my path to positive health outcomes. I follow my own path, which is dictated to by knowledge and experience. 12 years ago I made a decision to halve my daily medications, and dose myself once a day only. Considering the negative impacts of huge amounts of HIV medication on the body I decided to take a risk. Well, this far down the line my health has never been better (though diet and exercise also contribute to that), my viral load has remained at undetectable, and not only has my CD4 count remained stable, it has in fact risen substantially. Considering the recent emphasis on drug regime “compliance”, and considering my own circumstances, I am forced to ask – controversially, naturally – if the compliance issue is being driven by HIV specialists, or by the drug companies who stand to make a fortune out of HIV drugs. In the same way, I question resistance testing. I will leave that question in the air for you to mull over and answer for yourself. This is a personal opinion, and one I am entitled to.

I started “withdrawing” from the HIV community – in a generalised way – a number of years ago. It was starting to irk me, and was bogged down in academia, and a narrow mind-set. As stated earlier, the fact that something comes from the upper echelons of HIV Inc, doesn’t necessarily mean I believe or accept it. You tend to get a reputation for being obstreperous when you adopt this philosophy, and question everything that is thrown your way. There is little doubt that anyone from HIV Inc…or its sycophants (those who blindly follow and agree with every word from the mouth of) who reads this opinion piece will accuse me of negativity, and not being supportive or a believer in the end of HIV. This is not correct. It is a big step from negativity to a position of voicing reality!

I have written on several occasions about my distrust of drug companies…though it is an area that many are now accepting. These multi-billion dollar corporations are as corrupt as – despite much denial from health practitioners, community groups, and the drug companies themselves. As long as there are stakeholders salivating at the stock price, this will never change. That we are over-dosed – a now acknowledged stand – is all to thebenefit  of the drug companies, who are, at the end of the day, just research, manufacturing & distribution companies, with no stakes in public health other than shoveling their massively over-priced medications down our gullible throats. Now that community pharmacies are handling HIV meds, I went to my local, and was probably the first to get my meds through them. They nearly had conniptions when they saw the price of them! Considering how many years some of these drugs gave been on the market for, the price has never come down. HIV was a regular little money spinner for the drug companies!

Our larger HIV community groups have also been very good at wasting money over the years, and still continue to. I have seen so many ineffective campaigns churned out by them over the years that I’ve lost track. Nothing like churning out the same messages year after year, targeting the converted, and the blasé. When you are given advertising targets, you…well…spend it! The community groups themselves will tell you that no campaign is launched without the blessings of a focus group. What they don’t tell you is that it is pretty well a hard core group of people who attend these focys groups and forums, so in actual fact it is the same people – irrespective of the organisation arranging things – castings their blessings on every campaign that is tested. No wonder they all look the same!

And don’t ever think you can rely on the same groups to be able to assist and support you as needs change, despite however much notice is given of situations changing. By the time they catch up with what is happening, hundreds will have fallen through the cracks, and others will have just given up, and end up fighting their own battles. At the time of the introduction of the then-named combination therapies, there were two major issues raised. One was assisting those who were resurrected from a porential death sentence, being cast back into a world ill-prepared for them, or their needs. The second issue was handling the massive volume of drugs being rammed down the throats of basically every HIV+ people at that time. At the height of new treatment regimes, I was shoveling 358 pills per week down my throat – antivirals, prophylactics,  and pills for side-effects. Wasn’t that fun, with the added value of time & dietary restrictions! The only group committed to the problem of compliance was “Caleo”, which had its funding withdrawn after 2 years – just when it was needed. HIV Inc. prioritising, .as usual. Bet there was plenty of money for yet ANOTHER wasted campaign on condom use! While they were throwing yet more money away, many like ne were negotiating unprotected sex with like-minded – usually other HIV+ – guys. Money would have been better spent advusing guys on this at that time, not years down the line…then treating it like it was a great revelation from the powers that be.

Likewise when I worked for the Positively Working Project. Sonia Lawless & myself spent 12 months putting together a needs assessment for guys returning to the workforce after being returned to reasonable health via HAART. Nothing truly innovative was actioned after this very important report was released. Guys were basically given no assistance at all to help in the transition from DSP to a form of “work” that was beneficial to them in the long run. I was a speaker for the “Reconstruction” program for quite some time, and the most obvious negative from these programs was that many guys got recycled from one program into another. How many times can you be shown how to write a resume, or how to approach an intervuew before it becomes a lost cause? Considering the recycle rate, one would have thought that it clicked with someone that the approach was wrong, that maybe the guys were looking for inspiration and support to direct their lives in new directions – one of the key outcomes of the Positively Working report was that guys did not want to return to their old professions, but wanted to go off in new directions. No one listened!

HIV Inc. has a bad habit of being dogmatic, of only expressing the narrow, popularist view! You only have to go to any HIV web site, or forum to see how prolific this attitude is. If you want help and support, then ensure you walk in the safe zone, looking neither left nor right. Don’t problem solve yourself, don’t question the status quo! Over the 23 years I have been on DSP, I have – perhaps to my detriment – never used many of the services and financial assistance available. I hate the victim mentality, and have always liked my independence and financial freedom, and have always managed to get by. If I truly needed the help, I would have gone for it. I always remember my anger at guys who used to attend the Luncheon Club. They would be given cheap meals, and access to cheap food through the Larder – yet after the lunch, you would see them in yhe pub drinking till all hours, and all smoking! Seems they weren’t willing to sacrifice anything at all – the more you gave, the more they took. I always thought it was wrong, that their priorities were skewed. I still think that. Add in bill assistance from BGF, and housing subsidies…and these guys had it a lot better than many pensioners in the general community.

Anyway, times moved on. Now we have PrEP, and “Ending HIV”! According to HIV Inc, implementing the former will create the latter. According to a comment on a recent post placed on a FB HIV group page, during a discussion on PrEP, “if you have raw sex and take PrEP, no more HIV transmission, so no more HIV”. As simple as that! I was so angry at the naivety of it all Inever  returned to the post. The “Ending HIV” campaign is just ANOTHER example of HIV Inc. wasting precious money. There are several big problems here. One is the emphasis on sexual practice, and the assumption that because testing kits, and PrEP are available, that everyone is going to use them…another assumption being that everyone prepares for sex. Yeah, we all know about that! The only realistic fact I’ve read so far is that guys are sick of using condoms – are, in fact, not using them! I could have told them this 20 years ago!  The general discussion seems to be around eradicating HIV in Australia (no man is an island…) but logic decrees that is never going to happen. We have to account for the tyranny of distance often making both kits and PrEP difficult to obtain, people who are heavy drug users, bisexuality, guys who want to remain anonymous, cultural differences, worldwide travel, religious beliefs – these are just some of the obstacles. And as one guy pointed out, why should we be exposing perfectly healthy guys to the toxic effects of HIV drugs! It’s a good point. Most of us who take the drugs regularly are concerned about the long term side effects of same. I wouldn’t be taking them if I didn’t have to! It was also pointed out that new classes and alternate antibiotics are currently geing tested, and that these, along with PrEP will not only eliminate HIV, but STI’s in general. Evidently we are heading towards the perfect world. My immediate thought was…oh, new antibiotics…so, how long until STI’s make us resistant to these as well! Worth thinking about. This seems to be all HIV is about now – at least that’s all I seem to read about, and encounter through HIV groups. There is a lot of philosophising around both issues – good luck with that!

There was a time about 10 years ago when I thought that a changing of the guard from the older to the younger generation would bring about new thinking and ideas. It may have worked, but the old guard hovered in the background, never really wanting to relinquish their hold. The new guard just became copies of the old guard, and nothing seems to have progressed. There is a certain degree of internalised discrimination towards some sectors of the HIV community, and that hasn’t helped things. Also a certain degreebof self-stigmatisation, and being a victim amongst a group of guys fairly recently converted who will, in all probability, never get ill. A current trend to outing their HIV status to employers – who rarely receive the news gratefully – then leads to a string of posts on what to do. I don’t quite get why there is a need to advertise you status to all and sundry. Even in pre-HIV days, if you contracted an STI, the only people you informed were sexual partners. In my 34 years of living with HIV, I have only ever informed one company of my status – and that was for OH&S reasons. It’s not like the 80s & 90s when people with AIDS looked very obviously ill, and there was no hiding it. That doesn’t happen anymore. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, and don’t believe in making a rod for my own back. I acknowledge that it is their lives to do with as they see fit, but common sense should decree that if you are going to travel that road, you should ask yourself – what can go wrong here! And if the worstcase  scenario presents, are you prepared to deal with the backlash. 

So, right here and now, I’m an ageing HIV+ man. I see a lot of HIV funding been spent on a lot of things – but nothing that is of any use to me! I don’t see the funding assisting with an actual cure, or giving me a place to go should my current pathway be diverted! As someone with a disability brought about by AIDS, no one has ever asked me…what would you really like? What can we do to assist and support you? There was much to-do about a Long-Term Survivors Day earlier this year. I remember thinking at the time – Why? Nothing will come out of it! As usual, we will be left to fight our own battles! It was a nice bit of tokenism, I guess. We like to think that we are thought about occasionally, even as just a passing thought. You see, we are seen as HIV past, not as HIV present. No one really understands us, as few walk in our shoes. It’s a lonely path at times, and frequently alienating. But we have defied the odds, and will probably continue to. HIV Inc. doesn’t have us in their sights any more…but then…

Maybe that’s just how we want it. It’s a no-bullshit world for most of us!

Tim Alderman (C) 2016

Gay History: Bandana Codes


PIt seems like only a brief minute ago that on any night out in a gay nightclub, you would see all manner of guys there sporting bandanas and keys in their rear pockets, advertising to those in-the-know what they were into. Which pocket I used depended on my mood as I raced out the door at home, but there was no guarantee that that was the side it would stay on if the right guy showed some interest! Same applied to keys.

It was sort of one of those things that we took for granted, without stopping yo think that there was a history behind it. In times where being gay, and trying to attract a sexual partner, could not be done blatantly, so things like earrings, bandanas, keys and language played an important role in advertising what we were looking for.

Research seems to suggest that bandana (or hanky) codes originated in San Francisco after the gold rush. With a shortage of women, men danced with each other at square dances, and used coloured bandanas to denote what role they played – blue for the male, red for the female. Their hair would curl if they knew what they stood for now!

These days, they denote fetishes, or preferences. Wearing a bandana (or keys) in one’s left rear pocket denoted an “active” or “top” position for whatever the colour suggested, whereby the right rear pocket denoted the “passive” or “bottom” partner. Despite what many straight men think, these are NOT male or female roles!

There are some regional differences for some of the lesser practiced fetishes, though colours for the basics, or more common practices, are pretty well universal. The following list contains most of the basic codes, including some I wasn’t aware of.


There is also this alternate list of – in my opinion – bizarre and impractical objects used for some very rare fetishes. How true-to-form this list actually is, I’m not sure. I have seen small teddy bears being displayed by guys who are into cuddling…but as for foil, ziplock bags, chamois, cocktail napkins, enema nozzles or doilies, I’ve never seen it – though perhaps because I wasn’t looking for it!

I would have thought a celery stick denoted into vegetarians, so there you go!

I put in this link to Cowboy Frank for those who want to check out some very comprehensive lists of colours and items. http://cowboyfrank.net/archive/hanky.htm

Apart from the odd occasional leatherman – generally older – I haven’t seen people out and using bandana codes for many a year now. Its heyday was the 80s.

I also was not aware that there was a Raver Code, so obviously the tradition is carried on in other areas.


I believe, according to an article on hanky codes in the Village Voice, a twink bandana code exists, but I’ve not to-date been able to track it down. For nostalgia purposes, I include this list from Image Leather, which would seem to be a leather bar.


Back in the day, bandana codes were useful for knowing what you were getting yourself into when you went home with someone, and prevented those “Oh…I’m sorry…I’m not into that!” moments, as the whips come out.

Purely for both interest, and novelty value, I attach several other lists to peruse, at the end of this article.

Tim Alderman (C) 2016
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Steampunk’d

“Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks”, perhaps…”

-K.W. Jeter[1]

Have you ever liked a particular style of jewellery, fashion, or design only to find, further down the line that not only does it have a name, but that it is a trend or movement? That happened for me with Steampunk.

Just prior to leaving Brisbane in early 2014, I was rummaging through the jewellery in a new gift store that had opened over the road from me, and picked up the following piece,  mainly because it was one of the few masculine pieces there, but also because I love things made out of cogs and gears. Unwittingly, I had entered the world of Steampunk! My final conversion was “Liking” a Facebook page called Steampunk Tendencies – the ephemera shown in their FB promotion was too much for me to ignore – I mean – fountain pens with intricate gold skeleton work wrapped around them! How could I NOT be addicted!


So, you are probably asking the same question I did – what the fuck is Steampunk? According to an article in the Huffington Post Style blog “What the hell is Steampunk?” [2] “So what the hell is steampunk? The term itself comes from science fiction novels. It was allegedly coined by author Kevin Jeter as a way of distinguishing him and fellow tetro-tech sci-fi writers from future-loving “cyberpunks” like William Gibson. But it’s grown into a whole visual style, and even a philosophy. It’s all about mixing old and new: fusing the usability of modern technology with the design aesthetic and philosophy of the Victorian age. Or as US young fiction author Caitlin Kittredge put it: “It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans…”

In its glibbest sense, it can be seen as a way of giving your personal technology a goth make-over. Imagine a top of the range computer pimped out to look like an old typewriter, or an iPhone dock that lets you answer your phone using an old brass and wood receiver. But at its deepest, it’s a whole way of looking and living: and a colourful protest against the inexorable advance of technology itself. And it’s a trend that’s sneaking its way into loads of different sectors: from fashion to film, interior design to video games…”

According to an article on Wikipedia “Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk may, therefore, be described as neo-Victorian.

Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.
Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.”

The Steampunk movement flourishes through inventive repurposing: old elements find new uses. ‘Nemo’s Steampunk Clock/Electrostatic Voltmeter’ is the time-telling creation of Roger Wood; see more of his designs at http://www.klockwerks.com. Image courtesy Klockwerks
It is an odd – yet…not so odd – mixing of the technology of the now, the technology of the past, particularly Victorian, and the Victorian era itself. It expresses itself through history, gadgets, gizmo’s, literature, fashion, music, magazines, conventions, lifestyle. It is the true expression of a “movement”, a trend-in-the-making. In a recent documentary I watched titled “Vintage Tomorrows” [3], one interviwee mused that if Steampunk was to invent a WMD, it would be the size of a room, and be covered in levers, buttons, bells and flashing lights…most of which would do absolutely nothing. In a way, that describes Steampunk!

Sam Van Olffen has an abundance of examples of Steampunk design featuring the stereotypical gears and brassy look.
There is a very obvious bias towards romanticising the Victorian era, which is one of its more controversial aspects. Re-enacting and harking to this era is, to many – including Steampunk adherents themselves – is to base yourself in an era where the Industrial Era came to full fruition, along with its coal dust, choking air, its noise, its chimney stacks. It was a period of immense poverty, of workers being paid a pittance for long hours of work, child labour, women being denied the vote, slavery, and unconscionable wars and cultural destruction in places such as Egypt, India and Africa. Yes, it was an era of great inventions, ingenuity and forward thinking, but despite this it is not an era that should hold notions of romance, frivolity and purity. One woman in “Vintage Tomorrows”, discussing the wearing of Victorian clothing, noted that she had stopped wearing her pith helmet, as it brought to mind the savagery the British had inflicted upon both India & Africa as Colonial “masters”!

steampunk iPhone dock
It is for similar reasons that I see myself more an admirer and wearer of the Steampunk aesthetic,  more so than a lifestyle adherent. If one can single out the pure ingenuity and inventiveness of the era, as distinct from reliving the era through clothing and settings, then one can approach it with a clear conscience.

The Movement also harkens back to the authors of the era – Jules Verne & H.G.Wells, who created fantastical machines, and undertook fantasy journeys.  Books such as “Joyrney to the Centre of the Earth”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “The Time Machine”, “Sleepy Hollow”, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Around the World in 80 Days” are steeped in the Steampunk aesthete. For more modern examples we only have to look to “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, modern remakes of the Victorian classics, “Faucalt’s Pendulum” by Umberto Ecco, “Blade Runner”, China Meiville etc to see where the Steampunk Movement draws its inspiration from.

Original illustration of Jules Verne’s Nautilus engine room
I am not even going to attempt to cover the whole field of Steampunk in this brief piece, but I will include a list of some of the links that you can use for further research into this old-but-new Movement. It is, in my opinion, and despite controversy, one of the singularly most intriguing Movements to come along for a long, long time. It caters to history freaks, those into fantasy & science fiction, those into costuming, jewellery, the lovers of gizmo’s, reality escapists, and those like me who just idolise it for its eccentricity, and inventiveness. In a word – Steampunk Rocks!

For the fascinated, Steampunk has sub-genres [5] for those into specific areas:

  • Boilerpunk: The blue-collar answer to aristocratic Steampunk, incorporating the experiences and hardships of actually shoveling coal to gring steam to the upper classes. Vive la Revolution! “Ainsley threw the hot coals at his supervisors protective steam powered mask;the man didn’t even flinch, heing accustomed to it from the proletariat.”
  • Clockpunk: Clockwork technologies replace replace or supercede traditional steam power. “Ainsley got his finger caught in the gear and screamed even as he realised his miscue would throw all,of London off schedule.
  • Dieselpunk: A heresy wherein diesel fuel and nuclear power replace steam power in alternate histories that often have a political component “Ainsley pushed the baroque OFFLINE button, but the diesel fuel continued to feed the reactor, with devastating consequences.”
  •  Gaslight Romance: A mainly British term for the alternative histories that romantisise the Victorian era. Some Brits would argue that all American Steampunk is actually gaslight romance “Ainsley put on his monacle and, bypassing the door leading down into the boiler room and the brutes who worked there, went to the quarterdeck of the airship, there to enjoy a nice cucumber-and-prawn sandwich edged with gold leaf as the servants wiped the floor clean of the blood from the recent encounter with the enemies of the Empire.”
  • Mannerspunk: Fiction that may, or may not, be deemed Steampunk in which elaborate social heirarchies provide the friction, conflict and action of the narrative, usually in the context of endless formal dances. At parties. In Mansions. “Ainsley took the hand of Lady Borregard andswept her across the dance floor, away from that cad Bennington and his steam-powered shoes that never missed a step; ‘Darling’ he said, ‘what rumors do you hear of the Countess Automaton and her piratical sub-siblings in the boiler room; isn’t it scandalous?'”
  • Raygun Gothic: Though not strictly a subgenre, this type of retro-futurism based in part on Art deco and streamlined modern styles has been used for a number of science fiction settings, usually in movies. Coined by William Gibson, the term has become more useful in the context of Steampunk as the fiction has come to feature more and more tinkers and artists. “Ainsley soldered the door to the boiler room shut in an attempt to stall the Revolution a couple of hours more using his ultrachic GSG (Gothic Solder Gun), which he had baroqued-up on the orders of the Queen herself.”
  • Stitchpunk: Fiction influenced by the DIY and crafts element of Steampunk, with a prime example being the animated movie 9, in which cute Frankenstein doll-creatures stitched together by bits of burlap sack try to save the world. In a wider context, Stitchpunk emphasises the role of weavers, tinkers, and darners in Steampunk. “Ainsley was soon accosted by the homeless tinker-weavers living in the shadow if the boiler room. ‘Only through the loom may you ge free, comrade,’ they would say.”

Very shortly, I will have the following two items in my hands. And I don’t think they will be my last!

Steampunk Salvaged Apocalypse Watch
Anatomical Rib Cage Pocket Watch from Steampunk Fans
Tim Alderman (C2016)

The fountain pens that first drew my attention to Steampunk
Steampunk Movement Toad Sunglasses
iRobot Pendant – Jewelled Watch Movement
Steampunk Necklace – Bumble bee pendant with silver watch movement
Steampunk Cufflinks – Steam Designs
Steampunk Gold Filigree Ring Victorian Watch Movement with Clockwork Gears Topaz Blue Swarovski Crystal with Adjustable Band
Steampunk Ying & Yang Pendant
 

ESS Watch Steampunk Skeleton Watch

Further Reading

References
1: Sheidlower, Jesse (March 9, 2005) Science Fiction Citations

2: Huffington Post 17 December 2011

3: July 12 2015 (USA). According to IMdB “Documentary · VINTAGE TOMORROWS examines Steampunk’s origins, explosive growth, and cultural significance. Is the Steampunk movement a homogenized, privileged subculture or a reclamation of technology …”

4: Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

5: The Steampunk Bible

Daily (Or When The Mood Takes Me) Gripe: This Bloody Marriage Equality Plebiscite!

plebiscite

ˈplɛbɪsʌɪt,-sɪt/

noun

noun: plebiscite; plural noun: plebiscites

the direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.

“the administration will hold a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms”

synonyms: vote, referendum, ballot, poll

“a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms”

ROMAN HISTORY

a law enacted by the plebeians’ assembly.

Australia is moving backwards at the speed of light! I have always been proud to be a member of society in a country that used to be progressive, fair-minded, and – to a large extent – liberal (not in the political party sense of the word) in its attitudes! But the current path we are heading down has me throwing my hands in the air.

GLBT members of this society have had to sit on their hands over the last few years as country after country – some leaning towards the conservative sude of things – has passed marriage equality legislation. Even our “other state” over the ditch (New Zealand for our overseas readers), who can be more British than the Brits, have marriage equality. 

There was a time when we would have been at the forefront with this move towards equality for all…but apparently no more. The move to have a plebiscite to change the definition of marriage – how marriage ever became a government defined societal act in the first place is something I’m not going into – was mooted originally by our ultra-conservative, Catholic now-ex-PM Tony Abbott, as a way of avouding the issue from a parliamentary perspective, and seeming to allow the “Australian people” to have a say in things – despite polls over the years showing a steadily increasing percentage of the population being in favour of marriage equality. Go figure!

A vote for marriage equality could be done thus week by a vote in parliament. Yes, they do have that power! Instead, PM Malcolm aTurnbull – who is personally in favour of msrriage equality – has decided to not stick by his guns, nor show the guts needed to tell his party to show some gumption by voting on the issue, but going forward with this plebuscite that is going to cost the aAustralian taxpayers around $160+ million. And this from a government facing the largest budget deficit ever seen in this countries history! To make it even worse, they are oroviding funding to both the Yes and No sides of the argument!

So, what will the plebiscite give us that a vote in parliament won’t? In a word – nothing! It will happen, the conservatives will be left wringing their hands while the najority of us celebrate. It is the process of a plebiscite that is the problem! The government throwing some funding their way must have groups like the Australian Christian Lobby rubbing their hands with glee as they plot and plan their campaign of lies,misinformation, diversions and fear! Society will implode, the hand of god will strike us all down, and life as we know it will never be the same again! What a crock of shit! The proponents of hate-speech – invluding some of our conservative politicians and independents – are going to have a field day! Yeah, sure, the government has said that anti-discrimination legislation will still apply as a condition of the funding…but that does not stop what will be preached from pulpits (under the guide of biblical sermons), or is said in private, or behind the closed doors of meetings (redacted minutes?)! Nor will it stop the crackpots who just don’t care who they hurt pr traumatise! It is a prescription for hate! 

I’m an old hand when it comes to bullying and nane-calling as a nember of the LGBT community. It is like water off a ducks back! But not all are as tough! There are those poised on the sidelines, waiting for that magic moment amongst all their sexual confusion when the light comes on, they have that instant courage, and come out. They will be watching this shit-fight going on around them! They will see the hate, the lies, the true characters of those who think that they have rights that others shouldn’t have! And they will stop, and wonder…is this what I want to find if I come out! I fear – and bleed – for them!

What is it with this country that we always choose – or rather our politicians choose – the wrong way to approach things that can gring about great change in our society! We had it with the Republican referendum in 1999, when nany of us wanted a Republic, but were forced to vote against it due to the question containing the condition that the President would be voted in by parliament, rather than by the people! Needless to say, it failed. Now we have a similar issue with the plebiscite. It has become such a contentious issue that the opposition will more than likely vote against it, and as much as I hate to say this about anything that can bring about change – I hope the plebiscite doesn’t go ahead. It is time for our government to take some responsibility, and be arbiters of change, rather than “throwing blame” back onto the voting punlic, and allowing the advocates of hate, prejudice, intolerance and stigma to have their moment in the spotlight. Their insistence – against all reason – to tow the party line is not only putting them out of touch, but displays a crack within their own party that reeks of intolerance and hate!

I do not want marriage equality for myself. I am more than happy to live in sin. But I do want it for those who want it. Like everything else in society, they have a right to choice, a right to love their partner as they see fit. And no one has the right to deprive them of that. Society will not implode, the planet will not stop turning, lightening will not flow from heaven haling in the apocalypse! NOTHING will change! In 2004, PM John Howard used parliamentary vote to add the common law  definition of marriage (that it is between a man and a woman) to the marriage act. If a vote of this nature can be used to change the definition of the act once, it can be used to change it again!

The plebiscite, I think, will fail! The wait goes on! Change WILL come! Hate will never win out against tolerance and love! EVER!

Tim Alderman (C 2016)

I Do!

Men: The “Cloning” Phenomenon! (Does My Cock Look Big In This?)


Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are based on observation, not personal likes, dislikes or desire.

“clone

n.

A person who imitates or copies another.

Source: [1970’s]

The standardized gay male appearance. In the 70’s the look included a mustache, short hair, muscle shirt/flannel shirt and Levi’s, good muscle definition. The late 80’s -90’s included short hair, long sideburns, white t-shirt, shorts/jeans and Doc boots with gray socks.

Source: [1970’s]”

I hate to diss on my own sex – I reckon they get enough unwarranted stick as it is – but what the fuck is going on with men at the moment! Being male myself, I know what battles have been fought over the last three or four decades to break away from the ingrained social and familial stereotyping that constricted and confined us in regards to behaviour, self-expression, language, grooming, dress,  and emotion. We have, up until more liberating times, been automatons, never being ourselves, nor allowing ourselves to be perceived as weak, or dandified. Now, all that has changed – but have we taken it all too far, and created a deadly trap that will be difficult for many of us to get out of?
In the very early 80s, a trend appeared on the gay scene. Gay men were dressing in uber masculine styles – Levi 501s with white, black or navy Bonds tees; flannelette shirts; leather vests; construction gear; cowboy hats; Bonds navy or white singlets; moustaches and buzz-cut hair. The look became known as the “Clone” look, as all the youngish guys were dressing this way. There was a backlash – largely ignored – from the older gays, who had lived much of their gay life at underground parties, dinner parties, saunas and beats. They were not “out” regarding their sexuality, and found it intimidating that others could be so overt. What they failed to see was that the Clone  movement was driven by LGBT people fighting against the oppression and sublimation of gay culture and lifestyle. They were outrightly saying we are not the portrayed limp-wristed fairies, we are not effete, we don’t all speak with lisps, nor are we all window and hair dressers. We are men; we are sexual beings, and we want to rejoice in it, yet at the same time, we are very much like everyone else. This style of radicalism, this uber masculinity, is happening again at the moment, though sexuality isn’t at the forefront.

Bring on the Clones!

The trend – and it is big – is noticeable on several fronts: overly toned, physique obsessed bodies; the proliferation of tattoos and piercings; fashion, and grooming. It is virtually impossible to look at a movie, a television advertisement, a magazine, go to the beach, or to your local gym to see the body obsession. It is now at a very unhealthy level! It is all about weights, and more weights. Slim the waist, pump up the pecs and biceps, work on that 6 or 8 pack stomach, get to the lowest possible body fat percentage – and spend a lot of time checking out other guys…and checking yourself out in every mirror or store eindow that you encounter. Guys are no longer content to just be fit! It is not all that long ago that we decided to tackle the obesity problem that has become a national disgrace. The trend turned towards fitness – losing excess weight, developing a healthy body through exercise and diet, and maintaining an active lifestyle. The message seems to have gotten mangled somewhere along the way. Now, the problem I personally have with slim, heavily muscled guys covered in tatts is that…I like it – at least to look at. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see the bad side of the trend, and acknowledge that there is going to be – if not already – a negative side to it. The obsessive nature of reaching this goal is already having repercussions. In a recent chat with a mate who, by his own admission, had been obsessed with building the “perfect” body – and boy, he did look really hot when he achieved it – showed the dark side of this obsession. He was attending the gym 2-3 times per DAY -which on its own is very dangerous, as the body has no time to rest up, and repair damage. There was the over-use of supplements, including pre-workout, with no regard as to what they may obtain. His personal and family life were affected, with his partner feeling she was powerless to intervene. It was, in his own words, a deadly obsession.

The dream!

The other real problems associated with the body obsession is that if guys feel that photos don’t show them in the light they want to be seen in – hey…photoshop it! Photoshopped images are very obvious due to their “plastic” look – well, to everyone except those doing the tweaking, anyway! The really concerning aspect though, is the young ages of many men following this trend. You now see 15-18yo guys with bodies that just don’t look right – and at that age, you don’t need heavy workouts, as most are already lean, and just need a small amount of muscle work, as building muscle is easy at that age. Body dysmorphia is becoming an ever increasing problem, along with low self-esteem, setting unrealistic goals, dietary problems due to the cutting out of essential food groups, and setting themselves up for a fall. Sustaining these types of bodies is, for most, improbable in the long term. No one is thinking – what’s going to happen if I get ill, or get into a relationship that doesn’t allow time for heavy workouts, or what if I have kids, or change jobs, or move to areas where regular access to a gym is not possible! Workout from home? Yeah sure – judt look at how much home gym equipment is sitting under beds, is on Ebay, or goes out with the next clean-up! What happens is…all that muscle becomes fat. And what about the guys who go above and beyond with supplements, into the world of testosterone injections, HGH, or steroids! The future health implications are very serious, with heart and renal problems that can – at the very worst – kill you. The price is way too high for just looking like a super-human!
All this has further led onto other strange, uniquely 21st century phenomena. Guys have started removing all body hair (I so want to lick their smooth bodies all over!) by laser, cream depilation (Veet has a depilatory cream out just for men) or body shaving. This often includes either severely cropped genital pubic hair – or its total removal. Personally, I hate body hair, and both shave and depilate regularly. My pet loathing is thick course body hair, especially on the back, shoulders and bum. Many love it…but to each their own. Which leads onto – tattooing.


Tattoos used to be looked down on, but now it seems that they have earned a degree of respectability. But not the simple, single tattoo that I have on my arm – these are full-blown torso, and full sleeve, tattoos! Many of which are quite elaborate, and works of art in the true sense of the word. How guys can afford them is beyond me, let alone find the time to have it done. Guys are even getting their cocks tattooed! It is now very much a case of monkey see, monkey do, as the phenomena is widely spread. Add the proliferation of body piercings, and you have a case of individuality going out the window! I lovetattoos, and find them very erotic, but even I question why so many men are going all-out to cover themselves in body art. Straight men have become the new gay Clones!

The problem is, guys, that if we line you all up…you all look the same!

And what is it with things like top-knots (man-buns) and tiny pony tails! Thankfully, the fashion didn’t last long, but while it did they seemed to be everywhere, including on a lot of men they didn’t suit. Then we had everyone growing beards! It is all just strange!

Double up – beard & man-bun!

Fashion at the  moment is pretty cool, I have to say. Amazing tee-shirts and shirts, great shoe designs, and I love the lean look of slim cut chinos, jeans and shorts. Men have finally got daring with colour and pattern, and are not afraid to show some bare ankle under a roll-cuffed chino. V-neck tees show off defined bodies, and jackets and hoodies have once again become proper fashion accessories. Handbags (I HATE the term “man-bag”) and satchels have given us an excuse to no longer have bulging pockets. And just as you ladies have under garments that “lift this; squeeze that; push that down”, so to has mens underwear moved into narcissism territory! In some cases, as below, it has truly gone overboard! It’s bad enough that there are “fitness” products promoted as taking the work out of exercise, and exercise from the “comfort of your own home” – welcome to the lazy world of those who want to look good, but without the hard yards – but this padding to look like muscles takes it to an even lower level! Add this to the line up of compression tops to pull the fat in, underwear with padded bums, and a host of underwear designed to make your cock look bigger…and you have to wonder if we are living in a world of delusion, one where your true self is made unavailable to other people! Individuality would appear to be well and truly out of fashion. 


I run a Tumblr feed (with 1,200 followers) – yes, like all other men I do look at porn – and the most notable thing about it – apart from all the sucking and fucking photos from blogs I follow – is the obsession with HUGE cocks. I’m sure there is a lot of Photoshopping going on, as some of them are so huge it is actually funny. If their cocks are really that big, I feel sorry for them, as there is nothing you could do with it that could be deemed pleasurable, and it must be very difficult to not only hide, but do anything…including sitting…comfortably! In this boys world, anything over 71/2″-8″ is just wasted. I don’t get the fascination, and frankly I’m bored with it. My blog is very popular, and surprisingly because most of the guys have clothing on – in one form or another. Okay, it is a fetish  blog  for guys into Speedos, aussieBums, jockstraps, tattoos, footy shorts and military, but there is an absence of full on nudity, and little sex. Seems there are a lot of guys bored with basic porn, who like hot guys with clothes on, male couples showing affection, the erotic appeal of swimwear, jockstraps and uniforms. Sometimes, there is a lot to be said for subtlety!  

You would need to be a little bit scared of picking anyone up with this lot on!

So guys, it’s time to reclaim your individuality. Start thinking of working out to get toned and fit, not as a competition against every other guy in the gym. The body you build today will need to be maintained for many, many years to come, so don’t make it a chore. And while you are at it, balance your diet. By all means, get body art, but like your bodybuilding…think to the future. You are not going to have taught skin forever, and will it affect your chances of getting the job of your dreams? And try to follow a theme. Avoid names – divirce happens, you know! As for head & facial hair, don’t look at yourself through rose-coloured glasses. Every fashion that comes along doesn’t necessarily suit everyone! As for bodily enhancements via clothing – just don’t! Be proud of your butt, and your cock. I love ordinary sized cocks, and agree with the adage that it’s not how much length you’ve got, but how you use it! Sex is about pleasure, not a challenge 
False advertising!
 

What happens when you avoid leg day!

Tim Alderman (C 2016)

About Losing…Um…You Know…IT!

This article was prompted by a documentary on SBS by a woman who investigated the rather ridiculous over-emphasis we place on virginity. It set me thinking about my own unique journey, which was, in many ways, influenced by concepts of social “norms”.

“I didn’t lose my virginity – I know exactly who has it!”

If I have a singular regret about my life, it would be not having sex before 25! The sex act is not there to make life for shy, gawky guys like me an easy thing to approach. It can, in fact, be quite frightening.

Sex was NEVER discussed in our household, and going to school through the late 50s and 60s meant that no help was forthcoming from that educational institution. The only sex education I got at school was the smutty gossip and imaginings of other pre-pubescent boys! At one sports afternoon, whilst dodging said sport (thus making it an art form for me) I got into a discussion with another 10 or 11 year old, who informed me, in a whispered conversation – and fuck only knows how the subject even came up – that women got pregnant by hoys sticking their pee pees into womans woo woos! I was horrified at the prospect – after all, pee pees were for wee wees, and nothing else – told him, after a flustered “liar liar pants on fire” that it was a big fat fib, clutched my head with my hands, and ran screaming home. I wasn’t silly! I watched enough movies to know that kissing was the culprit (the man and woman in the movie would kiss, then things would fade out, then she’d be telling him she was preggers), though nature only allowed strangers you kissed to get pregnant – you were safe if you kissed family. I thought that boy was disgusting, and an idiot! 

I was an early bloomer, and by the age of 9 I had not only started to get pubic hair – diligently pulled out by me, as I thought that seeing as no one else had it, I must have been a bit of a freak – but nightly emissions had started, both natural and induced. The mechanics of wanking off with my hand hadn’t occured to me at this stage, but the friction method on the newly starched sheets worked a treat. My poor mother must have been in quite a quandry as to what to do, as she must have known, being the one doing the laundry. After my nocturnal shenanigans had been going on for some time, I awoke one morning to find that Jesus had visited during the night, and had left me some nice Christian literature on sex and procreation! I read it, but all the biblical language of vaginas, vulvas, uteruses, urethras, penis & testicles – without a practical re-enacting of it – left me confounded, and I ended up none the wiser. So much for my sexual education. Is it any wonder I chose virginity for the next 14 years! 

It was around this time that my brothe Kevin and I discovered that girls had different bits. Even at this tender age, I already knew that mens bits were much more interesting to me than girls bits, but I decided that the differences warranted further investigation, if nothing else. Diane Cliffe lived two doors up, and wasn’t adverse to a game of Doctors and Nurses, though we could have done without her telling her mother about it. It didn’t go down well, and Diane was banned from visiting (just as we were planning an appendectomy!), though, to give them their due, my parents just viewed it as kids indulging in kids natural curiosity. The subject was never raised, and I knew nothing of the outrage until many years later.

I do remember my first orgasm -which progressed to the nocturnal emissions stage (see above) – as it happened so unexpectedly during a 5th class lesson period. I don’t actually know what I was doing to bring it on, but I was gazing out the window when this wonderful feeling overcame me, and despite not knowing what it was, I knew it felt really good, if not a little messy. I was on my way! From 1967-1969 I was at a Catholic boarding school, and a life of guilt-ridden wanking continued (confession was an easy way to alleviate the gult – “I touched myself, Father”; “How many times, my son”; “A lot, Father!”; “For your penance 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Mary’s”, and we were ready for our next run of sinful pleasure). All the boys in the dorm must have been as frantically pulling-the-pud as I was, but I can’t recollect catching out one single person in my three years there. I did get groped in the pool on one occasion, and never let on about it – I sort of think I enjoyed it – as probably did the boy who grabbed it! Unfortunately, there were no circle jerks or sly assignations! My education was at a stand-still! However,mit did encourage my fetish for Speedos – the swimwear of chouce in that period.

Things really didn’t improve a lot after I left school at the end of ’69, and started work.The only thing I knew for sure was that I was gay (a poof, to use the vernacular of the times), but this wasn’t a good period for coming out, which was an unlikely thing for me to do anyway considering my upbringing and naive innocence. I’m pretty sure many suspected, but no one tackled me about it. In hindsight, having a couple of the Grace Brothers rather non-discreet, effeminate window dressers in our social group, who were totally accepted,  should have hinted to me that nobody would probably have raised an eyebrow if I had outed myself. So, I put up a front, and dated girls. I never was good at the dating game, which probably explains why they never went past the first date. I felt awkward on dates, was never sure of what was expected of me, so it was a pretty well hands-off situation, and if the girls expected to get to first or second base with me…it never happened. I didn’t have a car, so all dating was done via public transport and cabs, which  probably didn’t help. But it wasn’t a one way street – I was a fairly good looking boy, and a fashionable dresser, so I had my fair share of girls pursuing me, but I managed to avoid most advances, and they usually gave up eventually. I did have girls as friends, and despite two awkward situations – Lynne Broome professed undying love for me, and Jo Conway…who was to out herself as a lesbian a couple of years later…tried to seduce me in my apartment after I left home, and was the first to see through my facade – I enjoyed their company, and I think that in many respects, they enjoyed a male interaction that was – pethaps oddly – non-sexual. 

Jo and I often went out together – my father thought we were dating – and she introduced me…passively…to the sin and temptation of Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. I had at that time (the mid-70s) little idea of just what a huge part of my life was to be played out on this strip in years to come. She was someone I felt safe with, and I have often regretted how our lives grew apart. 

By this time, I was living on my own in Allowah. Now, if you think that my apartment was a hot bed of sin and debauchery, with neverending sex parties and orgies, let me assure you – it wasn’t! The only person having sex there was me – with me! I hung out with a large group of straight people- at least, to my knowledge they were – and it had to have been obviius to them that I wasn’t quite on the same wave length as they were. I never turned up at any parties or restaurant meals with a girl/girlfriend in tow, nor did I join in any of the slap and tickle conversations amongst the boys. It was a life of quiet desperation! 

There was one notable event around 1972…I would have been 18. It could have been a turning point, but if anything, it slammed the closet door tightly closed. It was a very daring act for me, and I gyess what should have been an eye-opener for me in being accepted for who I am, and that my work colleagues at E.L.Downes at aRoselands didn’t judge, but encouraged the action, so it wasn’t as though it was unacceptable. A much older man – though quite handsome – called Leigh worked downstairs in the Clarke Rubber store. We always smiled and waved to each other whenever I walked past the store, we’d chat, and usually caught the same bus to Kogarah after work. He was obviiusly gay. During one of our chats, he invited me out for dinner, and I accepred. I thought later that it may have been a rash decision on my part, a spur-of-the-moment thing that I may live to regret, but I went ahead with it anyway. On the night of the date, we got a cab into Kings Cross, and he took me to a very exclusive restaurant called Mrs Beeton’s Tent. My expectation was that I may have to put out, but part of the expectation was that he’d take me home for whatever dalliances were expected as payment. On the cab ride back to Kogarah he held my hand – the first time I had ever had an intimate touch with another man. But arriving back at Kogarah, we got out at a local park, where he informed me that he lived with his mother. The expectation on his part was – sex in the public toilet in the park. I was horrified! I mumbled something about my father expecting me home, and fled! For some reason, he never spoke to me again. Ah, lost opportunities! I may have become  a beat queen…

And so it went on until 1978. By this time, it was starting to cross my mind that perhaps – just perhaps – I was destined to never have sex with anyone…of any sex! My habitual reticence and almost obsessive shyness were personality traits that were proving my own worst enemy. By the time 1978 rolled around, I was living in a share house in Granville with friends. I knew Bede from the group I hung out with, and through him I met Sue. She in turn introduced me to Ronnie (Veronica) who was to have a more profiund influence on my life than she could have ever believed possible. She was an attractive woman, well dressed, and a single mother. Her daughter Ann was just gorgeous, so it is perhaps not surprising that we hit it off. This was a bad period for me, as I was pretty sure I was gay, but had no idea what to do about it. It was doing my head in! And I was battling it on my own, with no one I could discuss it with, or get advice in regards to my options. So, I dated Ronnie, though only for two dates. I took her out for dinner one night, and getting back home some heavy petting ensued. She was the first person to give me a head job, but sex had to wait, as she wasn’t on the pill. As she was leaving, she asked me if I was a virgin! Fuck…is it stamped across my forehead! I admitted as much – like DUR – and pretty well screamed at her CAN I JUST GET RID OF IT!

I’d worked my way through “The Joy of Sex”, so knew all the mechanics of sex, all the ins and outs, all the do’s and don’t do’s. So, a week later, I went in with eyes open. I can’t recollect being all that nervous, and to my benefit I think I put on a pretty confident and impressive show. It was no Karma Sutra performance, but there was foreplay, I went down on her – which I don’t think she was expecting – and it was a substantial fuck session before I blew. But there was one very big problem, and that problem was to direct the way my life was to play out from that point! To achieve an orgasm with Ronnie…I had to fantasise that I was having sex with a man! If I had been unsure before, by the time she left that night I knew that I was definitely gay. I am still a bit ashamed of myself how I avoided her after the popping-the-cherry night, but there was no way I could have explained to her what was going on without her feeling used and demeaned, so I took the easy way out via avoidance! 

In 1978, my father committed suicide, which on its own was a providential event. I was sent to Melbourne by my company in late 1979 to troubleshoot their retail businesses there. No further instances of sexual dalliances had occured over that time, but I went to Melbourne knowing that my path was set. It was just a matter of time, and circumstances. I am not going into my coming out here, as there is an article about it here on my blog, but suffice it to say that with my father dead, in a strange city, away from the prying eyes of family and friends, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to come out, and my desire to do something about it was set in stone. Within 6-months of hitting that city, I finally made my move. Now to lose my gay virginity! 

But even that intention proved to be a very bumpy road! Naturally – well, to me, antway – my follow-on reading from “The Joy of Sex” was “The Joy of Gay Sex”, so once again I went into the arena fully prepared…and totally clueless! As noted in my coming out story, I joined Acceptance Melbourne, a group for gay Catholics, as a catalyst to smooth my way into the gay community, That I was no longer a practising Catholic didn’t come into the equation. Any port in a storm, you might say! So, I met Frank at a social, at the University Club (a gay venue on Friday & Saturday nights, in Swanson Street) after a First Friday Mass. He made the move on me, which was perhaps not surprising, being new to the group. He was older than me, and not my choice as far as looks went, buy hey…I was a virgin on several fronts, not the least being that ability to say thanks-but-no-thanks to people you don’t fancy trying to pick you up! It was a lesson I learnt quickly. 

So, the end of the night found me in Frank’s car – much to the consternation of a couple of younger members of the group who thought they may have had a crack at me – being driven to some far-flung…literally…suburb of Melbourne. Frank had my cock out of my fly before we even got out of the car park, and proceeded to give me head at every set of lights – many – along the way! Being my first sexual encounter with a man, I think I would have been excited under any circumstances. And I should point out – no one knew I wasn’t a sexually experienced gay man! This was sort of stupid, as it came with the expectation that I knew what I was doing. Nothing was further from the truth! So the blow jobs on the way to Franks were to be pretyy well the highlight of the night. It was all down hill from there! Being a newcomer to the scene I wasn’t familiar with the concepts of a “top” (the active partner, or fucker), and “bottom” (the passive partner, or fuckee), and Frank evidently ex pected me to be the top. For my part, I expected him to guide the proceedings, but it didn’t pan out that way. The night finished with a mutual wank session, before he shuffled me onto the train back to Melbourne city. My first encounter with gay sex left me very disillusioned! Was this all it was about! 

My subsequent next encounter with Fred wasn’t a hell of a lot more successful, but it taught me the necessity of taking opposing sexualities into account when interacting with other men on a sexual level. Fred was into light S & M…fuck, I was battling to lose my virginity, let alone take on a fetish…and was heavily into the beat scene. Our relationship was destined not to last. I starred hanging out at “Mandate” nightclub in St Kilda, and that started opening doors for me. I had my first encounter with public sex when I was given a blow job on the edge of the dance floor – yes, the guy was attractive – and I did start picking guys up. I adopted the clone look, and being relatively good looking I had no trouble getting regular sex. My sexual expertise improved, but I was always the one going top! However, all that changed at a First Friday Mass at my flat in West Brunswick. Kevin, a close friend of mine, bought a friend with him…a very attractive friend! I was smitten! He stayed to help clean up…then right royally fucked me! I was so turned on by having such a hot guy topping me for the first time that I put on a performance that any porn actor would have been proud of. And it converted me from top…to bottom. My cherry was well and truly popped! I took to it like a duck to water.  From that point, I never looked back.

Despite coming out late in life, I’ve had a very interesting and diverse sex life. Despite jokingly calling myself a slut, I have slept with nowhere near the number of men most others I know have. Not being into beats, backrooms (I’ve done that 2-3 times), or saunas (I’ve done that once) my pick-up life has always relied on the pubs and nightclubs, which keeps it a bit under control. You learn to pick that fine line whereby a potential root has had enough to drink to get him interested, but not so much that they pass out. I’ve made a fool of myself a few times, had a lot of laughs, and a lot of great – and memorable – sex. Some of this time has been tinged with sadness, and there have been several “fireworks” encounters. I was flattered to find out that I was considered a good root. I’ve had five serious relationships – one of which lasted for 16 years. I’ve had 3 really beautiful fuck buddies; Paul – who I’ve always been in love with, but careers got in our way – for 10 years; Graham, who I met through a threesome (and who was in an abusive relationship) for 5 years; and Gregg – a married guy with two kids from Forbes, for 3 years. I’m comfortable with my fetishes – jockstraps and Speedo’s – and have met nothing but nutters through the sex apps. If this is the future of sex, it’s very sad! 

In a way, I’m back to square one. I’ve even gone back to being a top.Except for the good old-fashioned hand jobs, I haven’t had sex with another guy for about 2 years. Being 63 and single, I’m really not expecting them to line up at the door. And if I have to be honest, I don’t really care. I like it that I do things just for myself now. If I slip into a jockstrap, it’s for my own pleasure; when I go to the gym, it’s done to impress me; I no longer have to ply myself with alcohol in a bar to get the Dutch courage to pick someone up; and I can sit in a cafe on my own and not feel lonely. It may have taken me a long time to finally lose my virginity, and there may have been some odd diversions along the way, but it’s been a great, fun journey. And though I may wish that I had started the fucking journey a lot earlier, it may not have been as interesting if I had. I look back on the abstinence years with humour now. 

“We live in a world where losing your phone is more dramatic than losing your virginity!”

And that is as it should be!

Tim Alderman (C 2016)

Peter Pan Syndrome – I Don’t Ever Want To Grow Up!

“Puer aeternus

is  for eternal boy, used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically, it is an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level. The puer typically leads a provisional life, due to the fear of being caught in a situation from which it might not be possible to escape. He covets independence and freedom, chafes at boundaries and limits, and tends to find any restriction intolerable.

Peter Pan syndrome

See also: Boomerang Generation

Peter Pan syndrome is the pop-psychology concept of an adult (usually male) who is socially immature. The category is an informal one invoked by laypeople and some psychology professionals in popular psychology. It is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a specific mental disorder.”

We’ve all seen them, on our odd, occasional visit to a nightc lub. Guys we saw on the scene 20 years ago. As in the old days, shirts off, steroid-enhanced musculature, obviously on “something”, dancing around with a  botoxed, permanent I’m-having-the-time-of-my-life semi assinine grin on their spray tanned faces, making sure everyone is watching them, amyl bottle STILL being screwed into one nostril or the other. They know everyone, from the doorman, to the bartender, to the DJs, and every other individual who lives their life in this nighttime world. Our first reaction is “That’s a bit sad at their age!”, followed by a twinge of guilt that you may, perhaps, be envious of them. But the question lingers…is it just that they can’t let their youth pass them by, and settle into a time of their life that is easier to msintain!

As gay men, we have seen these guys around for what seems like forever, and wondered – just when are they going to grow up! These are not – as many inaccurately define them – gay guys who at 45, or 55, or 65, or older, throw som drugs down their throat and have a big night out at the pubs and nightclubs on an impulsive urge. That is just going out for a good time. For these guys, this is serious lifestyle, and one that they can’t give up. Like the recreational drugs that they need to prolong and enhance these nightly nightclubbing rituals…they are addicted to the life. It is not so much living life, as having to compulsively  go through the actions, and strive to maintain it, irrespective of the cost.

Life does have its stages, and how we live and interact with the world is driven very much by our attitudes, perspectives, and personality.  I have an inate fear of turning into what I call “a beige elder” whereby I suddenly throw all dress sense overboard and adopt a singular colour – usually beige- as my uniform of choice. To counteract this, I don’t go out and buy outfits that an 18 year-old would wear. That would be just stupid, and the old “mutton dressed as lamb” commentaries would follow me wherever I went. So, you choose the middle road, whereby you dress well, and fashionably, but keep it appropriate to age.

That’s the lesson the Peter Pan brigade haven’t learnt. The need to be seen, to be liked, to be seen as “younger than their years” is a driving force in their lives. It is a psychological need to be seen as young and vibrant, irrespective of anything. It is even a recognised anomalynin other countries – in Japan, for example, Pītā Pan Shindorōmu (ピーターパン♠症候群?, lit. Peter Pan Syndrome).

According to a 3007 article in “Science Daily” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070501112023.htm overproctective parenting can lead to children developing “Peter Pan Syndrome”. The syndrome is not currently considered a psychopathology, given the World Health Organization has not recognized it as a psychological disorder. However, an increasingly larger number of adults are presenting emotionally immature behaviors in Western society. They are unable to grow up and take on adult responsibilities, and even dress up and enjoy themselves as teenagers when they are over 30 years old.

Humbelina Robles Ortega, professor of the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the University of Granada and an expert in emotional disorders, warns that the overprotection of parents can lead children to develop the Peter Pan Syndrome, given “it usually affects dependent people who have been overprotected by their families and haven’t developed the necessary skills to confront life.” The ‘Peter Pans’ of present society “see the adult world as very problematic and glorify adolescence, which is why they want to stay in that state of privilege.”
More men than women affected
Peter Pan Syndrome can affect both sexes, but it appears more often among men. Some characteristics of the disorder are the inability of individuals to take on responsibilities, to commit themselves or to keep promises, excessive care about the way they look and personal well-being and their lack of self-confidence, even though they don’t seem to show it and actually come across as exactly the opposite.
The UGR professor declares that these people are usually scared of loneliness, which is why they try to surround themselves with people who can meet their needs. “They become anxious when they are evaluated by their work colleagues or their superiors, given they are completely intolerant towards any criticism. Sometimes they can have serious adaptation problems at work or in personal relationships.”
Another characteristic of people suffering from the ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ is that they are constantly changing partners and looking for younger ones. “Whenever the relationship starts to ask for a high level of commitment and responsibility, they become afraid and break it up. Relationships with younger women have the advantage of being able to live by the day without any worries, and they also involve less future plans, therefore less responsibilities.”
Other causes are:!Link with Narcissism. Peter Pan Syndrome is related to narcissism, but not in the egotistical sense. They tend to be absorbed with imaginative comfort in their minds which attractes them to introspection. This leads them to be imprisoned by childhood fantasy, not the realities and difficulties of life that they need to overcome.

Genetics. Peter Pan Syndrome is not a genetically inherited syndrome. It is acquired by: Environmental influences, in which an individual may inhibit it by how they were raised by their parents.

Factors such as the so-called “Wendy Syndrome”.(female Peter Pans).

To put a gay perspective on it, this article appeared in Gyguts.commin August 2014 http://www.gayguys.com/2014/08/gay-men-curse-peter-pan-syndrome/ and titled “Gay Guys and the Curse of the Peter Pan Syndrome – Gay Men are Great at Everything Except Growing Up” by Dalton Heinrich. “The gay community is great at a lot of things. We are experts at fashion, we are brilliant at design, we are flawless in social networking, and we are professionals when it comes to throwing a party. As a community we thrive under pressure. As a whole we have beaten the odds with almost everything thrown our way. But one thing I have realized in my social note taking is that we are absolutely horrible when it comes to growing up.

Since the beginning of my social existence a large portion of my friends had been older than myself. I had always just assumed that I was mature for my age when in actuality I think most of the gay men I associated with had never mentally passed the age of 25. From boyfriends, to just friends, to acquaintances, to people I would repeatedly bump into at gay bars; a large portion of them were at a dead end when it came to maturing.
Why is it a social norm of ours to be in our late forties and going clubbing and bar hopping multiple times a week? Of the hundreds of grown men I know, why are so few of them actually grown up? Was I doomed to a life of bottle service and boyfriends half my age because I couldn’t settle down and start a family at an appropriate time? Of all the scary turns my life could take, ending up as one of the middle aged party men cruising the night clubs for a one night stand that concluded with me having breakfast alone and hung-over the next morning, was by far one of the worst.
Is it a personal choice each one of us makes or do the majority of us just have no role model to push us in the right direction? As a young gay man whom does not have a single parental figure to aspire to be, I only have the wisdom of the adults around me to sway my decisions. Why are there so few gay men in my life that look at the next generation as someone to mentor and coach rather than a new addition to their dating pool?
Are Gay Men Cursed with the Peter Pan Syndrome?
It is as if all gay men are terrified to grow up. The abundance of thirty and forty something’s that attend nightclubs persistently and dress like they are going to a college frat party is astounding. Instead of the Botox, barhopping and H&M wardrobes; why as a culture, are the majority of us not having children and planning our futures.
This portion of grown men clinging to the wild nights and serial dating of their twenties seem to live in a secret Neverland. It is this category of men that I have personally diagnosed with Peter Pan Syndrome. These Lost Boys that are terrified of actually looking their age and are always fighting off time instead of aging gracefully and being something helpful for the young gay man to idolize?
Is it because so many gay men were robbed of a gay adolescence that they seem to never leave it once they are able to experience the youth they missed out on?
The sad, thirsty man haunting the shadows of 18 and up clubs is slowly killing our culture. When my generation of gays gets older are we going to think that is the normal thing to do with our nights? Are we all destined to be ghosts of our youth, dramatically hunting down a thrill rather than being man enough and brave enough to go toward the light and move on to actually being an adult?
I think it is time to fight off this trend of a permanent youth. We all need to realize how to act our age and how to play our part in our community. It is time to be a role model for the next group of young men. It is time to tell Peter Pan that you want to go home and as much as it may not be the funniest thing to do, it is time to grow up.
Young, lost, and cynical but still yours,” 
It all sounds very familiar, doesn’t it! Frighteningly so!

In a follow on article “Peter Pan: Deconstructed – Clearing Up the Confusion” http://www.gayguys.com/2014/08/peter-pan-deconstructed/ he goes on to say – after evidently received a mixed bag of comments on his original (and very good) article “I 

I would like to start this article off by thanking everyone who took the time to read my last piece Gay Guys and the Curse of the Peter Pan Syndrome, whether you agreed or disagreed. Knowing that so many people have seen my work is a huge and unexpected experience. I now would like to address the reactions I have gotten to my writing. Queerty and Instinct magazine are a couple of the main sites that have posted articles calling me ageist and telling everyone that I believe ‘Men over 30/Men over 40, should not be allowed in gay bars’.

When I read that I was fairly disappointed that such established and respected websites would have to resort to name calling and lying to create controversy. I never once in my entire article suggest that men of any age should refrain from going to bars or clubs; the focus of my article was how the men out at clubs acted. If I am to be expected to respect my elders, than I expect my elders to stop acting like my peers. My article was an opinion piece on lack of role models in the nightlife scene that I personally am a part of, not the entire gay world. Granted, the clubbing and bar setting is not the best place to seek out a role model, but my piece was based off the point that for a lot of younger guys it is their only outing to see older gay men before going back home to a very limited gay environment. It was an opinion piece based off personal experience. I understand if my harsh opinion hit close to home or if my few admittedly general statements pissed people off but both the articles that were about me only seemed to copy and paste my article and throw a few unimaginative lies in for color.
The definition of ageist is a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment. The closest characteristic I have to being deemed an ageist is my belief that men and women over the age of 70 should not be allowed to drive during rush hour for obvious traffic and safety reasons.
As a young gay man I absolutely respect and pay homage to my elders. I know the struggles and strength they have had to endure to make it possible for my generation of gays to be proudly gay and part of a community at all. The point of my article was not to alienate, attack, or insult men over any age and I honestly don’t think it came off that way. My opinion was merely focused on addressing the lack of social responsibility and good examples that I personally am subjected to along with other gay men my age in my community. I know that whom I surround myself with is my choice and not a representative of the entire worlds gay population. My article was not attacking any age of person; my article was displaying my disdain for the attitude of a portion of them.
Agree to Disagree
I stand by my opinion that in the nightlife scene the way a large amount of gay ‘adults’ act is a sad reflection of a culture. I know there are people who make a living off of the nightlife scene and there are successful and mature people who frequent it. There are bar owners, promoters, drag performers, bartenders, event hosts, and much more and I will absolutely admit that my post was NOT referring to them. It was referring to the men who make partying a priority in a desperate attempt to cling to a fraction of their youth and the men that portray immature social attitudes.
I have received an abundance of hate messages and personal insults via twitter and comments on my article from men all over the world. So many of these men were calling me stupid, ugly, badly dressed, and a handful of other petty insults. One of my personal favorites was a guy attacking the color of my roots. Ooh, you sure showed me buddy, kudos to you.
Of all the people who disagreed with me, not a single one of them reached out to me trying to show I was wrong with valid points, a calm reaction, an educated lecture, or even a rational attempt to clarify that I was mistaken. Instead, insecure grown men called me names, harassed me, and wished bad things upon me as if they were 13-year-old girls starring in a Lifetime original. If anything, this onslaught of middle aged cyber bullies only proved my point. There is no better way to judge someone’s maturity than to see the reaction they have to being called immature.
I find it sad that these men more than twice my age who no doubt are extremely well educated and hold wisdom that I could definitely benefit from chose to attack my appearance and throw insults my way rather than guide me back from the mistake they clearly think I have made. I have no problem with men of any age going to bars or clubs whenever they feel like it. I have no problem with large age gaps in gay relationships, since the majority of men I have dated were well over 30 I think my opinion on that is obvious. I don’t see any issue with men of any age group dancing on tables and enjoying life however they want. I not only support older men in bars, I endorse it. Most of you have had to fight like hell to be free enough to do any of that. My issue only lies with the fact that the younger generations of gay men who will one day be the adults in our community are watching you. We are looking at you and we are seeing your behavior toward one another and toward us.
You are in a sense our teachers and parents. Some of you may have not wanted the responsibility of having kids but it’s too late for that. Congratulations, it’s a boy! You are our teachers, you are our coaches, and you are our fathers. How you react to conflict is recognized, how you deal with issues is important, and what you do with your life is valuable.
The widespread, international reaction I have gotten shows that I have blatantly offended a large amount of people with my observations. If this many people are upset by the opinion of one person then doesn’t that suggest that there is something deeply wrong on a larger scale? If my article were just some bogus trash thrown onto the Internet by an uneducated kid, would so many people be offended by my words? If I am so off base, why are so many people retaliating on a personal level and if it did not ring even slightly true would it warrant a response at all?
Regardless of my opinion and personal beliefs every single one of you is blazing a trail that men my age will follow one day. Every single one of you is holding the steering wheel of our community. I understand you getting upset with me for saying that some of you can’t drive but for Christ’s sake, pay attention to the road. You have kids in the car.
Even when you don’t want me, I’m still yours,”
Gay men also like to run around with their heads in the sand, and any attemots to create humour, or to point out anomalous aspects of the community are always met with cries of internalised homophobia, or discrimination,mor misinformation. It’s time to face facts guys – we are not a unique species who are exempted from the problems and foibles of the general community. As a small enclaved community, there can be a tendency for conditions such as Peter Pan Syndrome to be more blatant and obvious. Like Dalton, I am not suggesting that guts of any age shouldn’t go out and enjoy themselves and party on in the bars and nightclubs. That us just having fun – it is not the addiction and personality disorder that this article is about. As a gay community, we need to recognise that these conditions exist, and that our very lifestyle actually encourages and exaggerates same. In a community of vibrant, colourful, creative people…the Peter Paners still stick out.

Perhaps we need to create a Neverland!

Tim Alderman (C) 2016