Big Jet Plane

Written by Mitchell:

I apologise for Jessica and I’s recent absence from our blog. I’m sure you were all becoming quite depressed with the lack of updates.

Quite simply, we have both been extremely busy these last few weeks – as we are about to embark on our first major holiday together.

Late Friday night, our plane jets off to the Gold Coast, before touching down in Sydney and then finally Melbourne.

I will try and post an update while I am away, but I can’t promise anything. I may be having way too much of a good time.

When we return on 3 July 2012, I am sure we will have plenty of fresh stories about our adventure, the gay scene over on the Eastern states, the triumphs and challenges of our friendship under the microscope of being glued together for 17 days – yes it is sure to be interesting.

Take care of yourself, be safe, and check back soon!

Big love xoxox

Flashing Lights, Thumping Music, Pounding Hearts and A Whole Lotta Drugs

Written by Jessica-Lee

It’s a scene I’m sure you’re all too familiar with. Pulsating lights moving to the beat of the music. Blinding strobe lights jumping all over the room. Smoke filling the air. And that smell. Oh that glorious smell. For me, it is the smell of smoke machines, Red Bull and Gucci by Gucci.

Yes I am talking about the good old playground that is your favourite nightclub. Bringing back any memories?

I have been going out to clubs ever since I was eighteen. Yes, I was a good girl who never dared to go out prior to being legal! And, in my seven years of going out, I have used drugs on occasion (gosh I hope my Nanna doesn’t read this!), been witness to people using drugs and have seen first-hand some of the consequences of using drugs.

Whilst drugs are big in all walks of life, I have always believed that they are even more popular within the gay community. According to a certain study, gay people are apparently three times more likely to use illegal drugs than straight people. Now, I don’t know or trust the accuracy of this statistic but in my experience, I believe it to warrant some level of truth. Whether we are talking recreational use or addiction, they are everywhere and I would like to bet that at least 90% of the people I know have tried some form of illegal drug.

Most of the people I know who dabble in drugs only do so recreationally. I have always been terrified of drug addiction. Not personally but for my loved ones. I often see people on the streets – homeless people, junkies, street kids, etc – and instantly feel nauseous and a deep sense of unsettledness. What would I do if this was one of my best friends… I ask myself so many questions but my main one is always ‘how does life get so bad?’

Yes, drugs are fun but they are often used as a way to escape pain and mask insecurities. However they generally only ever push your problems to the side temporarily and I can almost guarantee that they will only worsen.

I know a lot of people that feel as though they can’t go out and have fun without the help of illegal substances. It’s an addictive cycle that is extremely hard to get out of. It can be agony for some people to have the experience of using drugs and then stop next time they go out. The feelings achieved are unrivalled and sometimes you never see the world in the same way again.

I have been feeling a bit helpless lately. I have a very good friend – let’s call him Pearl – who has been hitting some substances a bit too hard. In my opinion. I am unsure whether he thinks it is a problem or not.

I fear this person is on a self-destructive path and I want to help them so much but it’s so hard to get in to some peoples heart without them shutting you off. Do I risk our friendship for the sake of trying to get him help?

Also, I am strongly of the belief that you can only help someone if they are willing to help themself. As a smoker, I know this first hand. No matter how many times someone tells you to give up or that it’s bad for you or that their family member has passed away from lung cancer… You have to want to do it yourself.

I have no issue with the use of drugs. What I do have an issue with is when it starts to ruin ones life.

Feel Good Drag

Written by Mitchell:

I still remember the first time I saw a real life drag queen in the flesh. It was my first time to The Court Hotel, one of the two competing gay venues in Perth. It was a performance of a number from the musical, Wicked, and before me bellowed this larger than life character, with a green painted face and the witch-look down to a tee. I remember being completely blown away, a bit scared, but fascinated at the same time.

Later on in the night I found out that this was Val Uptuous (now Val Nourished), and it’s fair to say that she is legendary to the world of drag in Western Australia. Over the years, with many nights spent with friends at both The Court and Connections nightclub, I met many a drag queen. My view of them went from being enigmas who performed but remained unapproachable to the general public, to friendly faces who you’d always see out and about and maybe have a chat to. They became a necessity to take a photo with and they have garnered much more support in more recent years, from not just the LGBT community, but the wider public.

Still – I can’t help thinking that part of that fear that I once felt, part of that curiosity, is all part of the appeal in the first place. As someone who has never had the desire to take drag up myself (God I would make an ugly woman), I questioned a drag queen’s motives in the first place. And I think there’s a lot of people who do.

There’s always the common questions like:
– Do they just like to dress up as girls?
– Do they want to “be” girls?
– Is it for attention?

Naively, I partly believed that myself until the day I was told first hand that drag wasn’t just an excuse to wear womens’ clothing. Drag is actually an artform, an artistic form of expression the same way literature, music or fashion is. It incorporates bold fashion statements with dance, music and if you’re particular talented – acting. I began looking more closely at performances and learned to appreciate them as purely artistic performances.

Drag has become very popular with the younger generations, however, I am convinced that there is a lot more to it than just putting on make-up, wearing a wig and giving yourself a catchy name. This is why it pains me to see new “drag queens” popping up all over Facebook, looking like exact replicas of each other. It shouldn’t be about the “in” thing to do amongst recently matured gays. And if you are going to take it up – at least put some effort and creativity into it.

 Pictured above: Feminem – who has incorporated a colourful drag flair with nightclub DJing.

I also think it is concerning the amount of younger gay guys who don’t seem to have any career direction in their lives, and their whole lives seem dominated by drag. When all is said and done, I am not of the opinion that drag is a great career move. Sure, the real breakthrough drag acts (honourable mentions to Val, Feminem, Hannah Conda and Ruby Jewels) will make money from it, and can be successful. But I think you’ll find that they have been smart about it and combined it with other talents. Not to mention, they have persevered and showed a lot more creativity than most.

By all means do it if it makes you happy, but remember the bigger picture. Remember that in ten years time when all your friends have stopped going out (and trust me, they will) you are still going to need somewhere to live and still will have bills to pay. My final gripe is; remember that you are creating a character, but separate that character from your real persona. Many a drag queen can get away with being savagely “bitchy” while in drag, because it’s all part of the act and it keeps things interesting.

But be careful that your drag character doesn’t become your identity.

My Top Ten First Date Tips

Written by Mitchell:

First dates can be fun, scary, insightful and awkward all at the same time. I’m going to be honest here and admit that I have been on more “first dates” with people than I can really care to remember. But I don’t make any apologies for this. I’m not saying that they have all turned into nourishing and fulfilling relationships, but if it wasn’t for taking the time to get to know these people, I wouldn’t have gained my confidence in social skills, I wouldn’t have listened to a diverse range of interesting (and sometimes extremely uninteresting) stories and I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish what I am looking for compared to what I am not looking for.

I still don’t know what I am looking for.

But I know that I have more chance of finding it through establishing a social connection with someone that has a possibility to form into a strong bond, rather than just sleeping with guys before I know anything more than their name.

I also have learnt the skill, no, the art of the first date. Below is a list of the Top 10 tips to help you have a successful first date. As usual, it’s tailor made for gay/lesbian relationships, but mostly transcends to everyone!

 

1. Don’t ever say “sorry if I look like shit.”

I’m sorry – but I just find it hilarious the amount of people that proclaim as soon as they meet you, “Oh sorry I look like crap!” or “I look really shit.” As if it isn’t obvious that you have just spent the last 25 minutes straightening your hair and you still have the tags on the new clothes you bought just for the occasion! Maybe it’s a nervous thing, but I just see it as fishing for compliments and I find it really awkward having to say “no you look fine” or “no you look hot” the moment you properly meet someone.

2. Always offer to pay, but don’t fight about it if they insist on paying.

Be careful with this one, because it just might set a precedent for the duration of a relationship. Society tells us that the one who pays is usually the one who takes the lead in a relationship. But it is 2012 after all. I like to take the lead and be the “man,” but I also don’t want to be strapped for cash because of always paying for two. For gay and lesbian relationships (and modern day straight relationships for that matter), I don’t feel that there needs to be one who pays for everything and makes the money, while the other is the cleaning and cooking 1950’s housewife. I believe in equality on every level, and I think this stance is a good one to have. Sometimes you pay, sometimes they pay.

My rule of thumb is to always get my bank card out and assume the role of the payer. It’s the sweet and gentlemanly thing to do after all. However, if your date also has the same idea and gets their bank card out, that’s when you say “oh don’t be silly, I’ll pay.” If they insist on paying – LET THEM! There is nothing more unattractive than bickering about who is going to pay for the dinner. And as good as your intentions may be, you could end up genuinely insulting your date, who may want to treat you. In this situation, where they insist on paying, be graceful, put your little bank card away, smile sweetly, and say “thanks very much, that’s really sweet of you.” If you’re feeling extra confident, you could also add “I’ll have to treat you next time.” At least this way there is more chance of there actually being a “next time.”

3. Avoid alcohol if it has any unwanted side effects on you.

We all know the side effects of alcohol. Most of us live with them on a weekly basis. But some of us get a few more unwanted side-effects than others.

In the winter time, the skin on my face becomes very dry.  Last year it was particularly bad, and it was before I had identified a suitable moisturiser for my skin. One day, I experimented with this moisturiser that has built-in SPF protection, ie it was part sunscreen.

That night, I also went on a first date to a little Italian restaurant. Out comes a lovely bottle of white wine, and me, thinking it would be classy, begins to drink a few glasses with dinner.  Wine has a tendency to make my face flush, and within a few minutes my cheeks were rosy. What I failed to realise however, was that the heat from my flushed cheeks had caused the sunscreen moisturiser on my face to lose its transparency. It looked like I had just put zinc on my face, or I was just initiated into some Aboriginal tribe.

My white face came to my attention when I popped into the rest room and, horrified, saw myself in the mirror. I panicked, grabbed toilet paper and used it to try and remove the white residue off my face. This only made matters worse, and I returned to the table with white moisturiser and little tiny bits of toilet paper stuck to my face. So embarrassing, and definitely something you should take into consideration when deciding on whether to drink or not.

4. Avoid alcohol if you don’t know your limits.

Isn’t alcohol great? It tastes great, loosens you up, enables you to lose your inhibitions and really let out the real you.  But – if the real you is a booze hag who gets stupidly drunk off two cruisers, then maybe this isn’t something you should be revealing on a first date.

5. It’s alright to talk about your ex, as long as it is in the right tone.

In the straight world, bringing up your ex is a big no no. And it usually sounds alarm bells that you are not over your ex. However, in the gay world, where you often cannot just instantly remove any trace of your ex from your life – because of say, mutual friends, or mutual watering holes etc, talking about your ex isn’t the deal breaker it is portrayed to be. It is more common for gay guys to remain friends with their ex’s. I for one, have my ex as my housemate, which hasn’t been smooth sailing. We have remained partial friends and he is still part of my life, so I occasionally do bring him up. But am I still in love with him? Not in the slightest. Of course, common sense must prevail, and if you spend more time talking about your ex than yourself, well….frankly you don’t deserve a second date.

6. Never do anything sexual on a first date.

This is a hard and fast rule for the following reason:  Going further than a hug and kissing on a first date makes you a whore. And even if you are just “in the moment,” you’ll leave a first impression that you are easy and you’ll take away all the excitement and apprehension of the dating game, easily defusing even the strongest of sparks between you. Keep it in the pants people!

7. Pick an activity that you are comfortable with.

I once had a guy who asked me on a first date to go “rock climbing.” While I was fascinated by the guy’s originality and creativity, the thought of me getting a wedgie on one of those hoistie thingys that you get harnessed into, or falling in front of someone I had just met, was enough to put me off.

For a lot of people, first dates are nerve-racking enough as it is, with the awkwardness and suspense of meeting an entirely new person, let alone being in a strange or unfamiliar environment.

My top recommendation is movies or coffee. Movies – because it is a classic choice, and if your date turns out to be a freak who collects human skin, you can just sit there and watch the movie. Coffee – because it’s easier to chat and get to know someone, it’s inexpensive and low-key.  Personally, I don’t like to do dinners, because I find it really hard to balance eating and conversing simultaneously. I am also paranoid about the sounds I make when I chew and the way I hold my fork, and if my eating habits aren’t up to scratch (even though I’m the kind of guy who would eat pizza with a knife and fork).

8. Don’t try too hard or set unrealistic standards.

Let’s face it, if you over-exaggerate your job, your income, your social status or your cooking ability, eventually, if the date is successful and leads to more, they are going to be really let down and disappointed when they eat your modestly bland frittata or find out you’re a shit-kicker and not in middle management. You also run the risk of sounding like a jerk with an over-inflated ego.

9. Wait for them to contact you.

As much as you might want to text your date while you are still parked in your car relating One Direction lyrics to your newly discovered love life, you should always wait for them to contact you first. You don’t want to appear desperate and even if you really had a great time, or are desperate, give them the chance to let you know their thoughts first. Of course, if they haven’t texted you and it’s a day later, then it probably didn’t go as well as you thought. Or if he or she is waiting for you to text first too, then it’s obviously not meant to be. Relationships are seldom equal, and there is always one person with more power than the other. You should always attempt to gain the power in a relationship (and retain it) through any means possible. Letting your date come to you is an absolutely crucial part of power-play. And if you can’t even grasp an ounce of power from a first date, then there is no further help I can offer you.

10. Avoid awkward subjects.

Some people do have really messed up lives. Some people have had bad things happen to them. But telling your date about your brother’s heroin addiction while welling up with tears is probably not the best ice-breaker. In the same vein, showing your date 100 photos of your cat or going on about your nut allergies can be just as tediously detrimental. Believe it or not, many people do make the mistake of sharing too many personal and sometimes emotional stories about their life. The best approach is focusing on the positive, and in fact, focusing on getting to know your date rather than talking about you the whole time.

So those are my top ten dating tips. Now, you are free to go out into the world, armed with these ground-breaking dating do’s and don’ts, and immerse yourself into the fun world of slowly realising your chances are diminishing as fast as you are aging! Haha

Ten Things I Love About Jessica-Lee

Written by Mitchell
Since we are in the spirit of revealing a little more about ourselves today (even adding a photo or two), I thought I would share with you ten of my favourite things about my co-blogger, Jessica-Lee.

1)      Jessica is funny as hell! She has a sense of humour that I gel with really easily. It mostly centres on her hilarious observations of people and human nature.  She is also not afraid to laugh at herself and not take life too seriously.

2)      Jessica is protective, and to those close to her, she will defend you until the ends of the Earth. She will always have your back and her loyalty is something I know I can always count on.

3)      Jessica is one of those most forgiving people I have ever met. She can be easily hurt because she wears her heart on her sleeve, but if you give her time, she is more than likely to forgive you multiple times over. Forgiveness shows her grace and maturity.

4)      One thing Jessica and I uniquely share is our ability to reference extremely weathered D-grade celebrities and pop culture icons from the past. People who most people wouldn’t know or would have long forgotten about. One mention of Rowena Wallace, Prue McSween or Monica Trapaga has us in stitches!

5)      I love the little care packages Jess makes for me when I am feeling sad or grumpy.  Whether it’s a box of cupcakes or a little note, or even a bottle of Sealy’s Sugar Soap, she is the first to always be there to cheer me up with her little gifts. Of course, my favourite gifts from her are the hugs and genuine concern she shows me.

6)      The little sayings and catchphrases that Jess and I use make me love her all the more. It’s sometimes like we have our own language. “Very weathered’ and “sadly no” and “Nonnie” may sound very strange, but they are words we use hourly in general conversation.

7)      I love Jessica’s sentimentality. She is the type of person who keeps all her favourite photos pinned up on her wall, who saves favourite text messages and voice recordings in her phone and journals important events in her life. She understands that in the end life is nothing but precious memories, and preserves those memories better than anyone else I know.

8)      I love the fact that Jessica is the only person that I can bare to be on the phone to non-stop for over an hour. Time seems to fly when I’m talking to her.

9)      Jessica’s cartoon features! One of my favourite past-times is taking hilarious photos of Jess. She complains, but I know deep down she loves it! Bad angles, shots by surprise, I have hundreds. Jess’ expressions are absolutely hilarious and I can’t look at photos of her without laughing.

10)   Jessica always has my best interests at heart, and I know that seems like such a basic thing, but it’s also the most important. Too many people in this world are interested in only what they can gain from a situation or what is at stake for them. Jess cares only about her friend’s interest. Sometimes, she cares even a little too much for her friends and puts their happiness before her own. It’s a trait that I adore about her and she inspires me to adopt a much more  selfless attitude myself.

I leave you with one of my favourite pictures of my Nonnie, Jessica-Lee.

“We are lezzzbians”

Written by Mitchell

I never really got lesbians. To be honest, I was always quite afraid of them. I figured that if gay guys could relate to girls more than guys, then lesbians could relate to straight guys more than girls. So if lesbians were more like straight guys than anything else, then I probably wasn’t going to have much in common with them.

Then there is the fact that a lot of lesbians I saw at gay clubs and out and about always dressed ….. scary. A lot of them had short hair, wore a lot of leather and camouflage pants and they just didn’t look like very inviting people.

My ignorance was almost as bad as homophobic heterosexual ignorance towards gay people in general. But then I met two lesbian girls in a committed relationship, Violet and Tulip. I met Violet and Tulip, through my brother, Wattle. Wattle used to work with Violet, and had no idea that Violet was a lesbian until she told him over email.

Violet and Tulip, on first impressions, did not appear to be what my perception of “lesbian” was at all. But I guess that all comes down to the fact that, just like gay guys, there are lots of different types of lesbians and not everyone fits the same stereotype.

Violet and Tulip are both very attractive young women. Violet is impeccably fit and has natural beauty without needing to really even wear make-up. Tulip has more feminine curves and a beautiful warm smile. These two together are a powerhouse. Some may say that their relationship is too intensive and that they don’t spend enough time apart, but whatever they are doing seems to be working, as they have one of the strongest relationships out of anybody I have met.

One thing I envy about Violet and Tulip’s relationship, is that they are able to be very open and public about their feelings without threat of physical or verbal backlash from the public.

One such example happened a month or two ago, when I was with them on the train, travelling back to our homes after a big night out. Violet and Tulip sat together, holding hands. It wasn’t long before a straight guy, obviously drunk, got on the train and struck up a conversation with them.

I’m not sure if he was trying to flirt or just being friendly, but he asked them where they were from.

Tulip proceeded to exclaim to the young man, “Violet and I live together, in our apartment. We are lesbians.” Violet then added, “yes, so stop hassling my girlfriend.”

Now, granted Violet and Tulip did get unwanted attention from a male stranger on the train. But it was the kind of attention that was more light-hearted curiosity and infatuation.

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if it would have been two gay guys in a committed relationship on the train? Two guys holding hands on the train may very well have attracted attention from a drunken straight man. But I highly doubt the mood would have been quite so friendly. Most gay guys who exercise caution and want to be safe in public situations like this one, would not hold hands in the first place. I have been on a train with a boyfriend of mine plenty of times in the past. We don’t hold hands, we don’t even really say much. We just wait until we reach our stop so that we can get home safe. And even with the lack of physical intimacy, sometimes the odd member of the public with a bad attitude will pick up on the fact that we’re gay.

I have had smirks and girls pointing and laughing. I have had mixed groups of teenage men and woman walk past me, and a guy in the group coughing “faggot” as he walks past, which is followed by giggles and laughter even from the girls.  Fortunately, I have never had any physical threats against me, and I attribute this to the fact that I am so careful not to act flamboyant or draw attention to myself in any way when I feel I am in a place that could be considered dangerous; areas such as backstreets on the way to a car park or trains and buses full of drunk people on the way home from nightclubs.

Not to say that there aren’t a lot of straight people who are supportive and completely respectful, but as it always happens in life, it’s the small minority that tend to be the ones that go out of their way to give people a hard time. And unfortunately, a lot of people who aren’t bullies in this regard still stand or sit by and watch this kind of behaviour take place. I’ve always thought it to be so cowardly, especially when I’ll be walking down a street and somebody will yell out “fag” or “homo” as they drive past. So utterly gutless. But I’m grateful they don’t stop and get out of their cars.

Until you have ever experienced this personally, it’s hard to imagine the sense of being a second class citizen that you get, the sense of being completely ridiculed for the person that you are.

I am sure that being a lesbian comes with its own set of stuggles and obstacles. But to me, it seems to be a lot easier for lesbians to express their sexuality in public. You rarely, if ever, hear of lesbian bashings. Is it the fact that lesbians are still women, and it’s not okay to harass women in this way? Or is it the fact that lesbians are actually a lot more accepted in the wider community, at least more by straight men?

Until the time comes when I will feel completely comfortable walking down a street holding my male partner’s hands, I will envy Violet and Tulip as much as I adore them.

“They are soooo affected”

Written by Mitchell

My last post was very much a downer, and rest assured in future posts I will write about how my mum and dad grew through the experience of having a gay son, and how difficult it was for them (their words not mine, because I stand by the fact that it was a hell of a lot more difficult for me).

I think a big part of my parents’ initial shock came from the stereotypes that they had been exposed to, and didn’t think that I fitted into.

Sure, the signs were there (I grew up idolising Tina Turner and singing Spice Girls..hello?), but in high school I had a wide variety of straight male friends, I didn’t speak “camp” or have the overly feminine mannerisms that they thought all gay people had.

I certainly didn’t dress “gay” (or remotely fashionable back then) and I wasn’t into hairdressing or dancing or make-up.

I need to stress now that there is nothing wrong with matching the description above AT ALL. All I am saying is that, like everyone else in this world, there are different types of people and gay people do not all match stereotypes produced by media, literature and the many that stem from homophobia.

My parents couldn’t understand this. My mum and dad painted us all with the same brush, and since I wasn’t camp acting, that apparently means that I wasn’t gay.

“Gay people are so affected though! You’re not affected?!”

Yes, that was one of my Mum’s signature catchphrases…and the inspiration for the title of this blog.

I don’t have a clue what it means or where she got it from. So if anyone has heard this before then please let me know!

According to her, it is just a semi-derogatory way of saying that we are usually “so camp/feminine acting.” I just burst into laughter at how ridiculous it is. And I think it shows the extent of narrow-mindedness and attitudes that are still alive in the world today, mostly from older generations such as my mothers (who was born in the 60’s).

Affected sounds all too similar to infected to me. To the point where I think it may have even derived from this word and through Chinese whispers it had just become affected to my mum. It is like being yourself or being camp is some kind of disease, something to be ashamed of.

Despite its derogatory nature, we chose So Affected as our title as a big “up-yours” and a big middle finger to anyone that thinks this way. I say, take these negative attitudes, twist them on their sides and do not take offense to them. Embrace them even. And all the while, continue to prove that we are so NOT affected by any weak attempt to bring us down. We are stronger than that, we are stronger than them.