Friday, September 12, 2008

Ranting Homo

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way home one evening with my Lovely Husband™. We were sitting next to each other on a Central Line train, as we are wont to do. At one of the stations, another gay couple got on and sat opposite and down a little from us. I was busy playing my Nintendo DS, my man was listening to some music. And on we trundled. I was vaguely aware that the other couple were chatting away, and it was pretty obvious that they were a couple.

As we approached Mile End, my Lovely Husband™ suddenly shouted to someone opposite and down the carriage a bit "What the fuck is your problem?"

I was a bit taken aback. I think one half of the other gay couple had the same thought as me - that he was aiming his anger at them. It quickly became apparent that the other gay guy was not the target of my Lovely Husband™'s anger. Rather it was aimed at the man sitting beyond him.

It seemed that this fellow had been making gestures to the chap sitting opposite him suggesting that gay people should all be strung up, or kicked down. We had a homophobe on our hands.

Here's a photo of one, so you'll have an idea of what they can look like. I must point out, though, that the one we encountered wasn't as good looking, and probably doesn't have a talented, if somewhat misguided, wife. Then again, they might both be in the same boat in that regard within a few weeks.

While I've got his mug grinning at you, I read an interview in that gospel in newsprint form that is Metro (or perhaps it was London Lite or The London Paper - but I'll pretend it's Metro because I like the fact that the editor has the same name as me). When Guy Ritchie was asked about Christopher Ciccone's claims that he is homophobic, he trotted out the standard homophobic defense: "I'm not scared of them, it's not a phobia."


However, he betrayed his arrogance when he then went on to claim that his discomfort around The Gays is entirely normal, and shared by 90% of straight men. What a pig-ignorant, self-satisfied, omphallocentric tosser. If he "thinks" something, then he arrogantly assumes that everyone "thinks" the same. Really, the man should get out more. No wonder he's only enjoyed success with one film (and a couple of variations on the same theme). Narrow-minded prick.

But back to the tube.

So, my Lovely Husband™ completely has a go at this guy, who was initially a bit blustery and clearly embarrassed at being called out on his behaviour. There was no stopping my man. He tore strips of the guy - verbally - and when the guy started trying to have a go back, he tore some more. Despite the obvious tension, he said what he said with sufficient aplomb to get most of the people in the carriage on his side, and the other guy was on a ticket to nowhere. As it happens, the phobe was getting off at the next stop (Mile End), as were the gay guys that he had been making his gestures about. One of the couple shook hands with both of us on the way out, the other was enthusing about how awesome the whole thing was, and dashed back onto the train again for another handshake and a "That has made my entire year!"

I think the best line that came out in the heat of the moment went something like this:

"If you've got so little self respect that you have to try and feel superior to people because you happen to be straight and they happen to be gay, maybe if you got you fat arse down to the gym and lost a bit of weight you could get some self respect without having to do it at anyone else's expense."

Of course, having lost the target for his ire because the guy had gotten off the train, along with his victims (who were no longer feeling like victims, since the bully had - like all bullies - caved when confronted), my Lovely Husband™ was now all fired up with nowhere to go. Exactly the wrong moment for the other guilty party - the guy at whom the phobe had been making the gestures - to decide do anything other than sit quietly and let everything settle down.

"And you're no better - you were encouraging him!"

Now, this other guy did a better job of defending himself, and did seem, initially at least, more prepared to have a go. The realisation seemed to dawn, however, that he didn't have the sympahy of his fellow-travellers on his side; and that by now he was one, and we were two. Eventually, the guy sitting next to me got both sides to pipe down, and the rest of the journey passed in relative peace. But oh my - my man did a big bit of flying the flag for gay rights that night. And even though I'm far too British to have actually savoured the confrontation, I was very proud of him standing up to unacceptable behaviour and actually being prepared to tackle someone's public wrong-doing. Inspiring.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The O.C.

The last year has been a bit tough on the job front, with a few chunks of time spent on the bench desperately scrabbling around for something new, and mournfully watching as our once-proud savings account started to detumesce. However, I've been gainfully employed for a few weeks
now. The rate isn't great, but it's a decent length of time, and I'm making the most of it by getting experience in an area that I expect will grow over the next few years, and it's never a bad thing to be able to claim lots of experience in something that everyone wants. Also, they promoted me after the first couple of weeks. Yay! No extra money, but it will look great on the CV. I'll make sure it does.

I have worked in the same profession for 16 years, and spent a significant proportion of that time in the offices of large corporations. Consequently, I can say with my hand on my hard that I have a good handle on what counts as normal within such an environment. It also means that when I see abnormal, it stands out like a Christian in a porn shop.

I'm working in Docklands again. I quite like it there. It's an easy commute for me, not especially long, and it's handy for a branch of my gym. Being in Docklands, everything is a bit science fiction, new and shiny, modern and a little bit sinister. Too clean, too perfect, too calm. Much like Singapore, I'm told.

And on the subject of too clean, here's where the abnormal thing happens. It took a few days for me to notice it, but once I had, I can't stop noticing. Every day, at least four times a day, but it could easily be six, someone comes around to dust all the communal cupboard areas. Now, it's true that folks are in the habit of leaving team biscuits on here so that anyone can help themselves. (When I say team biscuits, I don't mean that in a rugby team sense; although the white chocolate chip cookies did make me wonder.)

Keeping the place clean and tidy is one thing, but four to six (or more) times a day? That's just madness. I wonder whether someone on the board of directors has an obsessive compulsive disorder, and has mandated that their obsessive cleanliness should become a way of life for everyone who works here. It truly is bizarre. How much dusting does a corporate stationary cupboard need in a day?