“Are you two a couple?”
Two women stroll over and sit opposite me and my friend. They were middle-aged and in a nightclub in Stalybridge about five years ago. Needless to say neither of them was Angelina Jolie.
We had just sat down to secure some seats having already secured some drinks from the bar and were now waiting for the rest of our group to join us.
“No we aren’t gay. Well I’m not. He is,” said my friend, looking towards me.
Shocked, I grab my straw and take a sip of my Smirnoff Ice.
“Oh and here’s his boyfriend now.”
The rest of our group wander over and take a seat at the table. My new-found boyfriend perched himself next to me.
“Are you two a couple?” the lager-in-hand lovelies once again question.
“Yehh,” my boyfriend enjoying every second smiles, “Do you think we make a good couple?”
And so, I became a gay man for the evening. The two forty-plus ladies hammered on cheap lager continued to press us on what it’s like to be a young, gay couple in modern day society and eventually conversation turned to what we did for a living.
“I’m a priest,” my gorgeous ginger-haired fox says. I turn and look at him. Where on earth was he going with this?
“Actually I was a priest. I was the youngest priest in Tintwhistle.”
“Can you be a gay priest?” the shorter woman, in a dress which was so last year asks.
“Well that’s the thing. We had to keep it a secret.”
The two women lean forward, part intrigued, part swaying drunkenly.
“But the thing was, the people of Tintwhistle found out. They weren’t happy. In fact I was chased out of the village with pitchforks.”
“That’s awful,” the women, looking genuinely disgusted and concerned protested, “Are you ok?”
“Yes I’m fine. It’s sad, but I’m in love.”
The short woman in the dress Gok Wan would have cringed over if he were already famous, leant over towards me. She swayed, pointed towards me and stuttered, “You must be so proud.”
I turn and look into my partner’s eyes. “I am,” I say, “I really am.”
It was a lovely moment. I was proud of my new gay boyfriend. Not because he was the youngest priest in Tintwhistle. Not because he was a gay man battling to follow the career path he wanted. To follow his faith. But because I had no idea where he had pulled this story from, and it was quite brilliant!
My lover continued to speak, from nowhere, mesmerising these pissed-up women. Of course they would have believed we were the first people to make gay-love on the moon but that was beside the point.
The women, impressed by our openness continued to flatter us and tell us how great we are. That we should be proud of our sexuality. Proud of who we are. Proud of each-other.
“And you know what, I was going to say if people don’t like it, you tell them to shove it up their arse…
“But that’s probably not wise with you two!”