Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Middle of the Road

I’m normally tolerant of you peasants that wander before me, infesting public transport and getting on your soap boxes while I’m trying to read The Metro, but of late, I’ve been having opinions thrust down my throat from complete strangers that not even a dark look will silence. Tuesday night I had to listen to the conspiracy theories of a Nigerian madman on the way back to Peckham about how the world wasn’t fair because of skin colour, yet when I told him I was a complete mary and we still had segregated pubs, couldn’t hold hands in public and were still seen as the two-dimensional comic relief in sit-coms - like his people 30 years ago - he looked at me like I was the spawn of Satan.

I’d like to think that it was because I’d started to unbalance his argument, not because he was revolted by myself, although the chances are more the latter than the former. I don’t often get on my high horse to talk to people about gay rights, mostly because I can’t ride and you’d be able to see up my lovely dress, but I feel that we’re coming out of the Dark Times in most people’s opinions thanks to some very good PR. Heavens, what’s the worst people have to say about gay men? ‘Oh, they have lovely nails’, ‘They smell so nice’ and ‘Lovely hair on that man!’ - who wouldn’t want one in their office or home - perhaps even a mobile one for your car? There’s just a few who object to our ways: there was a fantastic incident while walking past the ghetto of Old Compton’s Street last night, and an elderly couple were before me. They turned to peer around the edge of the shop, right into the main drag of Compton’s Street. Much to my joy, the woman turned to her husband with a look of horror that suggested that she’d spied directly into Dante’s Inferno, not a couple of poofs drinking and quietly miming to Kylie outside the Admiral Duncan.

It seems that while Mary Whitehouse is dead, her legacy of puritanical life lives on in small pockets. My new favourite thing is the Parents Television Council, a group set up to watch the most ‘hideous’ things on American television and warn others off it if it contains anything racy, or violent. Their website is just wonderful, particularly for their entry for Will & Grace which lists very funny lines and then tells you why they are wrong. This, of course, just makes it ten times more funny.

And what of this Council? They have even gone to the lengths of getting screengrabs of the worst moments, meaning that someone has to tape all these shows. I like the idea that these are stored in one member’s house, in a room insulated from the rest of the house by smiling wholesome pictures of Oprah and Martha Stewart to stop any evil getting out. And imagine the polling meetings - women with blouses buttoned up to their chins tutting and ‘ooh’ing through episodes of Big Brother, rating them by how much steam was on Myrtle’s glasses. Then having to detox with a nice flapjack and a Touched By An Angel marathon.

It’s a difficult issue, for if we start ignoring them, we become as intolerant as they are of us. We can best hope that they come around to some middle-ground of thinking and throw off their twin-sets and come and sit in the sun drinking Baccadi Breezer. But not before they pass on their recipe for flapjack to me – it really was divine...

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