Life, that thing constantly getting in the way of our rampant egos, has just dealt me one of its severest blows. I wonder if it's really worth going on. It's that bad.
What on earth could it be that has made me sink to such a low ebb, you may ask. I mean, we gay men have always had a somewhat delusional relationship with our relevance to society - that's what makes us so cranky by cocktail hour. How could things look so fabulous, but yet get any worse? We've just found out large swathes of France hate us, for God's sake. That's right. France. Without us, what does France have, apart from a reputation for unclean foreskin and racial hatred? Rien de rien, bébé.
Well here it is. I've got bad news, people, and it's all about me, because frankly I'm the center of the universe and you scour for crumbs in my shadow. As I contemplated my contours in the mirror this morning, I realised I'm going to hit my physical peak when I'm about 62.
It's so unfair.
When I was twenty, I was a skinny bitch. I recently found photos of my ungainly youth (luckily for some, the computer has replaced the Polaroid - to spare most of us from stumbling across images of our spotty foreheads thirty years later and thus awakening us to the entire, ugly sadness of our lives and hairstyles). I was burned to a Costa del Sol cinder - eyes glowing like canned lychees in their sockets - and I carried myself as would a praying mantis. I'm amazed I ever got laid - I did, with girls and then, somehow, boys - but clearly these people were even more self-hating than moi. I gave off an air of having taken a spa in Dachau.
You see, when I lumbered into my twenties, men started going to the gym in ever-increasing numbers. It's difficult to say why this happened, other than it's clearly the gays' fault. In my neck of the woods, bodybuilding was the preserve of the criminal underworld and of actors who wore monkey suits in bad sci-fi movies. And Roger Daltrey of The Who. (I for a brief while went to his Brighton gym, until I was sucked down the extractor fan of the hot tub and it took the local fire brigade three days to get me out).
Nowadays, I see these youngsters pumping iron, cheerfully gulping down protein shakes and adding workout routines to their limited range of conversation (soccer, and now, workout routines). In their hairless magnificence, they are perfect. Their puppy fat taut, their tushes breathtaking and juicy as ripe melons in a farmers market. It's so cute, because the young rarely look ahead. It's all about the moment. It's about staring in rapture at your reflection in the mirror, whether you're gay or straight. Channing Tatums everywhere, pouring onto the streets. And then behind them, struggling to catch up and slightly out of breath, follow their elders, that once looked like Channing Tatum. Except they've hit thirty, and look like John Travolta at forty.
I'm forty-five and luckily I've filled out a bit. I feel I've got the body I could have done with when I was thirty-five, about the time I got to New York. Then maybe I could have slept with a few gym gods, just to say I'd done it, except they only wanted to sleep with other gym gods. It was amazing how identical these dudes were. The same facial hair, the same nipples. Yes, somehow it became possible, among certain privileged sectors of gay society, to physically will your nipples into another size and shape. I don't know if you know this, but it became hot in some circles to have women's nipples. I don't know also if women will be pleased to hear that, because it probably means straight men will want this in ten years' time.
Now at forty-five, some of these men who wouldn't look down at me at thirty-five, have started to look up at me. I'm flattered, but unfortunately, they are no longer gym gods. Their ass fat has migrated to their stomachs (it's always the first to go) and now, if I was pushed for an aphorism, I'd say they look rather like Norway, very ragged at the edges, on spindly legs and aching joints from all those hours, all those years, spent in the gym.
Incredibly, I'm still growing. Body fat is a new world of possibility for me. As I say, at 62, I quite possibly will be a silver fox; a collossus striding the planet in my cowboy boots like Ted Turner. Heads will turn, nether regions will moisten. It would be nice if I were also rich and famous, but I'm hoping my silver fox looks will get me by if all else fails. You will wish you were dangling on my arm, and running fingers over my taut abdominals. Oh, the unfairness and cruelty of life! The loneliness! I'd despair, if I cared to remember the misery of that twenty-year old in the photograph, rejected and unloved by all but the rejected and unloved. But like all those who are sixty-two years young, I'll just live in the moment. And frankly my dear, next to me you'll look like shit.
(Apologies to my long-suffering handsome and ageless husband for the lies perpetrated in this article).