Spending time with my old schoolmate Colin led, inevitably, to him sharing with Dave stories of our time spent together from age about 9 upwards. He had long since confided to me that he had figured out I was gay when we were in school in Oxford – at least a year before I met Dave and then figured it out for myself.
What I had not realised before was just how defensive of me Colin had been when my rather obvious ‘roving eye’ in the gym changing room had been noted by other lads. I had thought that I was just innocently comparing their bodies with mine – who had the best abs, or the most developed biceps – and so on…
…but I must have been eyeing them up so obviously, in the changing area and the gym itself, that it was exciting too much attention. Thinking back on it, there were odd remarks, some strange looks, and some giggling… but I don’t remember ever being challenged that I was ‘a poof’ or ‘a queer’ and so on… maybe I was beefy enough and respected enough as a sportsman for anyone to risk it.
But Colin told Dave that he had often been challenged with being gay too, because he and I spent lots of time together. And he’d come on so strongly in my defence that none of it had ever reached me:
“Yeah, he’s probably gay. And he’s my mate, so deal with it!”
A true friend, Colin: someone else I have to thank for being caring. I’m still very close to him and his family – Dave too, now.
Colin features once or twice in the books. During my first return to Oxford (with Dave… Vol 2 [left]) after leaving UK for Oak Ridge, when we set up gym sessions at my old school and also a wrestle fest with him, another school mate Roger, and their (then) girlfriends. And again later (Vol 3, right) when he joined us for a brief foray into modelling swimwear in wintry Glasgow.
OK, why don’t we let our eyes ‘rove’ over a few swimwear hunks?
…go on, let him in!!
OK, where we are, it’s nearly time for bed. Don’t forget your toothbrush, if you’re coming…