someday I will be kissed in the pouring rain

Sometimes I think I know the spaces of my partner’s body better than I know anything else about him.

I know how to fit myself to his every curve and angle so that every part of me isn’t touching every part of him.

I know where to put my hand so that my little finger aligns with his, close enough that I half-imagine I can feel the heat of his skin mingling with the heat of mine. But not so close it looks gay, you understand.

I know how to make a thousand secret symmetries between us, my shoulder to his shoulder, the angles of our elbows and forearms, the distance between my thigh and his, the turn of a wrist, the brush of a knee.

Sometimes I think this is all gaydar really is: intense awareness of negative space, an ability to read between the lines. If you want to be able to recognise queer couples, all you have to do is watch for the innumerable, significant ways they don’t touch.

Because this is how we live in public. In lacunae. Endlessly calculating these tactile geometries.

And, for the record, I don’t want to dry hump my partner in Trafalgar Square. I, honestly, just want to hold his hand sometimes. Smooth down the collar of his coat in winter. Stand too close when we say goodbye.

I don’t want to live on the brink of some helpless betrayal that transforms these everyday banalities into someone else’s business.

But here’s the thing: I live in a relatively cosmopolitan, relatively liberal town in the industrialised west. I’m not illegal. The likelihood of actual physical violence is incredibly small. The worst I’m probably going to suffer are some jeers and catcalls, a handful of words that have close to lost their edges for me, some tired jokes based on some false assumptions about what it means to be who I am.

So what I am right now—what I have been all my life—is a coward. If I want to hold my partner’s hand, I should damn well hold his hand, and stop whining about it. The way to effect change, after all, is to live it. But, hilarious as it may sound considering I do occasionally—in some very small and unimportant way—make myself a talking point on the internet, I’m private, and taking my partner’s hand is always, inevitably, undeniably, inescapably, a political act. And sometimes I am simply too weary and too small to live my politics.

I just want be quietly, unimportantly, inconspicuously in love.

I don’t want anyone to find it disgusting. I don’t want anyone to find it hot. I don’t want anyone to give a damn, except the broadest, most universal sense that love is a good thing for people to have, and the world is a better place with more love in it.

Back in the early 2000s, I was maybe eighteen or nineteen years old, and I’d fallen in love for the first time in my life. I can’t even remember what this honey-drawling, silk-and-satin, golden lion of an all-American boy was doing in my city. But there he was for the whole summer. Maybe you talk to people differently when you know you might never see them again, trust them more, take more risks, I don’t know. But I remember being caught in a thunderstorm one night and taking shelter in the lea of one of the boathouses as the river rushed by, sitting side-by-side, faces angled close so we could hear each other over the beating of the rain. “If you don’t move, I’m going to kiss you,” I said, and he didn’t move. So we were actively in love for the last two weeks he was in England. Though, of course, we’d been in love all along.

It feels odd, remembering it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so innocent as that summer, which was long after I’d dispensed with such concepts. I’m sure we slept together—I can remember faking being bad at blowjobs so he wouldn’t think I was a slut—but I think maybe only twice. Nowadays I can’t imagine feeling that strongly for someone and not turning it into a bedfest, but for some reason love was in other places then, in the amber haze of an English August, wild flowers and cheap weed, streets of silver and gold, everywhere we shared our secrets and stole our touches.

He left in grey September on a bus that departed at 7am. And I kissed him, because it was the last time, and I couldn’t not.

Nobody called us homophobic names, or threw broken bottles. But there was laughter, and it wasn’t kind. It wasn’t fair.

I didn’t need the romcom ending. I didn’t need the soaring soundtrack and wild applause from a group of strangers. I didn’t even need him to jump back off the National Express and into my arms. I just wanted to say goodbye to my lover the way humans have been saying goodbye to their lovers for as long as there’s been love and humans and goodbyes.

For all the legal and social equalities we have fought for and (occasionally) won, the truth is that same-sex love is still widely perceived as being outside that human context: that when we’re talking about love, we’re basically talking about straight people. And don’t get me wrong, it’s undeniable that same-sex love exists within a different cultural framework to heterosexual love. But when you strip it all back to the simplest truths: the pain of loss, the joy in being together, that red hot filthy need to be unashamed and heart-deep naked with another person, that’s just love.

Part of the way teach ourselves to understand what love means is through the stories we tell each other. Maybe when there are more stories about people like me, my love won’t seem so out-of-context any more. Maybe it won’t be funny or unreal or disgusting or otherwise noteworthy. Maybe it will just be love, the same as any other love. And maybe I’ll be able to hold my partner’s hand in public because people will stop caring who we are, and instead they’ll just be annoyed that we’re one of those limpet-glued couples who should really be out of the honeymoon period by now.

But this is why romance is so important, and why queer romance is necessary, not as tangent or sidebar, but simply as part of the genre. To stand as manifesto and reminder that really the only thing that matters about love is that it’s love.

Queer Romance Month is a thing that is happening in October. I hope you will support it. You can also follow them on Twitter at @QueerRomance.

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79 Responses to someday I will be kissed in the pouring rain

  1. Sarah Frantz says:

    Thank you. I will bookmark this to remind myself why I do my job. I mean, I love my job. I get to work with you. ;-) But when it all seems a bit much, when I forget that I actually enjoy it, I sometimes need the reminder that it’s all a little bigger than me. THIS is why I do it.


  2. Audra North says:

    I read this post and think of my four-year-old son, who is free and easy with his affection. If he loves someone…if he even feels friendly toward someone…he holds their hand. He hugs them. He tells them, “I love you soooo much.” It’s such a natural, human thing, to touch and want to be touched–to make a simple connection that bonds us together in a way that other animals who supposedly have less brain power than we do use regularly and effectively.

    It makes me sad that we consider ourselves above other animals, and yet we have managed to overlook the power of touch.

    What I’m getting at is…what are we so afraid of? For observers, it’s just a touch. Just a kiss. It happens all the time, in every place. It saddens me that, in a few short years, my son will have to make the choice as to whether he is going to stop holding hands, stop hugging. Stop sharing love…whether or not his sexuality comes into play in those connections at all. I find this post to be especially poignant because of the simplicity of the demonstrations of affection that you want to be accepted. So simple, yet so fraught.

    So yay for Queer Romance Month! Yay for holding hands in public! Yay for goodbye kisses and always always for “love is love.”

    • willaful says:

      Tangent… My son is both very young for his age and very tall for his age. He’d very affectionate in general, and when we’re out in public and he feels insecure, he tends to drape himself all over me. I’m so torn between not wanting to give him the message that he’s too old to show love to his mom and worrying about how he’ll look to his peers (and how *I’ll* look to other parents who don’t understand.) It was so much easier to embrace nonconformity before I had an autistic child…

      • My son is 10 and I am slowly seeing the fade away of hugs between him and his friends. They used to hug every day, every time they had to be separated. Boys or girls, everybody hugged and didn’t want to let go. But now it’s fading, fastest among the boys, and I know it’s because there are people (parents) who didn’t mind when the kids were in kindergarten, but now say, “Ok, that’s enough,” as soon as a hug between boys starts. Breaks my heart. Life is rough enough. We don’t need to put a time limit on hugs.

        • There is hope. My sons went through the manly no-hug stage and have, at 18, 21, and 23 returned to the hugging. My youngest son, in particular–and I attribute this in part to his coming of age during a time in which American attitudes changed markedly about gay marriage and coupledom–is deeply emotionally and physically affectionate with his friends and with his family.

          • Kaetrin says:

            I feel very lucky. My son is 11 and he’s very tactile and open with his affection. He still gives me a hug and kiss and tells me he loves me each morning when I drop him at class and every night and plenty of times in between. And he’s the same with his dad. One day that might change but for now I am grateful.

        • Julia Broadbooks says:

          I’ve often thought that the reason my teens have so many guy friends is that boys feel free to hug the girls, but not each other. Even among the theater crowd, the crowd that was accepting to the point of indifference of the openly gay kids, the boys don’t hug each other. Those societal expectations become ingrained. It always makes me sad for them.

          How much sadder not to feel comfortable to hold hands with the person you love.

          • Alexis Hall says:

            I definitely don’t hug my male friends except in, y’know, extremis and then we Never Speak Of It Again. But it seems quite cultural now I think about it – the non-Brits among them are noticeably more tactile. But there are also a rare handful of straight, British friends I’ve known about a decade with whom I have developed hug-safe relationships. I mean, we slap each others back during the event, of course, in the prescribed manly fashion but … hey … hug is hug, right ;)

      • Alexis Hall says:

        Yes, I can see that. I think it’s because when it’s a choice, nonconformity is A Statement. And the rest of the time it’s just your life, dammit, so it becomes intensely frustrating and alienating when statementness is read out of it regardless.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Yay for Queer Romance Month indeed :)

      I find it really … odd … the peaks and troughs we go through as we learn and re-learn how to show love. Or, maybe it’s just me, but something I’ve found as I’ve, err, got older and got over myself … is the way I’ve essentially had to re-discover a lot of the impulses of affection that get lost somewhere in adolescence. I mean, I think adolescence in general could be called “the stage of life where you get made excruciatingly aware of your social context” but it feels really sad and wrong for something pretty simple – experiencing and giving love – to become so charged and conflicted.

      I mean, obviously, there’s some grounds to it – can’t go around lovesaulting people we hardly know. But there’s definitely been moments in life when I’ve been horrified to realise that I have somehow become incapable of making someone I love feel, well, loved. I think I’m doing better in my mellow thirties though, if you take into account gender, repression and Englishness ;)

      I think … more specifically, when it comes to queerness … part of what we’re scared of (or I’m scared of) is connected to the rhetoric of flaunting it. Such a lot of so-called acceptance is qualified by this: oh, it’s fine, I’d be fine, if only they’d stop flaunting it. And it seems semi-reasonable, you know, so it’s easily internalised – a sort of social DADT. Until you realise that “flaunting it” is basically … being queer. It’s kind of physical equivalent of tone-policing: I’d accept the right of women/queers/non-white people to be equal if only they’d *be nice* about it :)

      • Audra North says:

        Yes. Very yes. This particular thread turned into something that is making me want to say more about motherhood and acceptance and the joys and sorrows and surprises that we have with our kids, but to keep it relevant, I will say: despite that I do think it’s getting better (more accepting) to be affectionate with members of the same sex, no matter one’s age, I have heard appalling things from the mouths of my children’s classmates’ parents. Like, “Son, don’t be gay” and [derogatory remark about son’s lack of sports prowess coupled with homophobic slur]. ABOUT ONE’S OWN CHILD. And so I will also say that I am especially proud of and grateful to parents who think it’s super cool for our two boys to lie next to each other on a bed and who don’t think it’s just oddly funny, but rather truly beautiful, to see our boys wearing skirts. But there’s a part of me that thinks, I can’t believe I am actively praising someone for being human. Because that’s what it boils down to…that I am a cheering section for love and appreciation of one’s own child.

        Anyway. I also have noticed this is much more pronounced with my boys and their male friends than with my girl and her peers. Or other girls I know. Somehow, it’s not as “threatening” to parents when their girls do stereotypically male things. I get high-fives from everyone for letting my daughter dress like a boy and weird looks from others for letting my boy wear fairy wings.

        *and some more stuff that could take years to digest*

        • KJ Charles says:

          This *is* really relevant, though. Recently my son’s friend kissed his mother goodbye at the school gate, and the father of another boy started mocking and sneering at him for it. ‘Eeew, you kiss girls, yucky! Kissy-kissy!’ The kid was FIVE, and kissing his mother. If boys are taught that showing affection for your *mother* is unmanly and worthy of ridicule, you can see how they’d struggle to accept two guys holding hands.

          It’s a deep social sickness. How damaged and frightened does a person have to be, that they look at two people holding hands and feel compelled to sneer and laugh and comment?

          (For the record, when the school gate incident happened, my son punched the offending father in the groin while his friend kicked him in the shins. They then sped off, leaving Mr Masculinity beaten up by two five-year-olds.)

          • Alexis Hall says:

            As you say, it’s a really complicated and toxic situation … I remember having a slightly awkward conversation with an old friend (I saw awkward only because I know bugger all about raising children) because her son (who is, you know, I think about six or seven) likes the colour pink and this was opening to generalised ridicule. Which is obviously a really difficult situtation handle because on the one hand you don’t want to sending your kid into battle every day but on the other you don’t really want to reinforce the idea that liking pink is inherently wrong, and that some things are “for” boys and others are “for girls.”

            And while I think it’s very important for parents to support their children in who they want to be … the whole “be yourself, be strong and proud, and stand up to bullies” is not *simple*, especially when you’re too young really to understand the nuances of what it means.

            But just to get this back on track, the father of boy-who-likes-pink was infinitely more worried about it than his mother. And I think it’s because while you can be very rationally aware of constructions of masculinity (pink is just a goddamn colour) it’s hard to emotionally separate yourself from their expectations – one of which, of course, is that you will Raise Your Son To Be A Man Like You.

          • Audra North says:

            *all the rage*

            And also…your kid rocks. :)

          • willaful says:

            I enjoyed this book:

            It’s a very lone position, that’s for sure.

  3. HJ says:

    Excellent, Alexis. Sometimes I worry that queer romance is merely enjoyable, so I’m glad you think it is more than that.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Um, gosh, that’s a complicated issue for a single sentence :) I mean, plenty of people say that about romance in general – that it’s just pleasure and fantasy and nothing more substantial or meaningful than that.

      And while I absolutely don’t think that’s true about either queer romance or romance in general, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with things (art, books, romance novels whatever) that *are* created and consumed solely for enjoyment – and I actually think that, by itself, that can constitute a genuine moral and social good.

      I mean, yes, the primary purpose of an erotic novel, for example, is titillation but on a deeper level its saying: this is okay, you can like this, you can want to read about it and fantasise it, you have the right to be a sexual being.

      And in the same way, what even the fluffiest, most apparently trivial queer romance is saying on a basic level is “you deserve a happy ending, whatever your sexuality” and, for that matter, “you have a right to read books about people like you that are no different to the books other people get to read about people like then.”

      So there’s an extent to which I feel at least some part of the power and value of queer romance derives precisely from the fact is, y’know, enjoyable and about the importance of things like falling in love.

  4. I love this post so much. This line is like a poem in itself, “I know how to make a thousand secret symmetries between us,” Wow. Just…Yes.

  5. Dahlia Adler says:

    God, this is gorgeous. I hope you find this joy exactly as you describe it someday, and someday soon. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Oh, thank you :) I’m honestly grateful for all the joy I have – which is more than enough to last me a lifetime :) Relationships are what you can have, not what you can’t – and mine absolutely isn’t dominated by what are frankly relatively minor limitations of social context. I guess I was just thinking about romance, and queer romance, and the power it has … and it got me thinking :)

  6. Rj Scott says:

    Beautiful. And something I will save and re read time and time again. Hugs RJ X

  7. Liv Rancourt says:

    I hope the not touching – and the crude laughter – goes away, and that holding hands will no longer be a political act. Lovely post…

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Touch-consciousness might be a generational thing. I was walking home tonight and I saw two young women quite calmly and openly holding hands in the street. People were staring, of course, and I almost wanted to do queer semaphore at them as supportively as I could … but at the same time I didn’t want to intrude. And, I do, in general (especially now that we have same-sex marriage) see more non-straight couples interacting publicly. But they tend to be in their twenties, not their thirties. It’s a good thing, though, overall, because it means they inhabit their world differently to me. That’s how the world changes :)

  8. Make an old reprobate cry why don’t you, Alexis?

    This is why I write queer romance in the genres I love – because I want it everywhere and normal and natural and not a big deal anymore. Because the heart of a hero isn’t dependent on gender or orientation.

  9. Alexis, you’ve made me all misty-eyed. Beautifully said. xoxo

  10. Alexis,

    This is so gorgeous, so true, and so moving it took my breath away. I want to share it with everyone I know. Thank you.

  11. Venecia says:

    Beautiful post.

  12. I’ve got my lips pressed together because they are a little wobbly and my tissues close by because I’m not sure this rapid blinking thing is going to hold back the tears. Beautiful. Thank you.

  13. Elin Gregory says:

    Amazing, poetic and touching post. Also just a little heartbreaking. We pretend that we’re civilised but the het, cisgendered community has so far to go. I hope that one day your dream comes true.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      We’ve come along way, and we’ve a long way to go, and that deserves both reflection and celebration. And I do think it’s changing – perhaps younger people feel conscious, or the world is kinder to them, but I’ve definitely seen an increase queer couples of – to use a romancelandia term – the new adult variety being publicly affectionate with each other. (And I don’t just mean snogging at bus-stops on the way back from a club :) ).

  14. Karen says:

    What a beautiful post, as always. Made me cry, of course

  15. I’ve already said my piece on twitter, but I wanted to thank you for this post. It hit home so, so hard.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you :) I really appreciated your comments on Twitter as well – I think, err, just to quote you to you (okay that’s weird) but … this “So much of the acceptance of LGBT people rests on sexuality. Sometimes I want to it rest on normality, even banality” is such an important statement.

  16. Pingback: “a thousand secret symmetries” | A Willful Woman...

  17. Pam/Peejakers says:

    Oh my God. Alexis. This is so heart-felt & heart breaking & beautiful & beautifully written. And you’re amazing. And you made me cry. It’s not fair you have to pay for your love by hearing laughter & derision. It’s not fair for anyone. Someday it won’t be that way. I hope it’s soon. Wish I could snap my fingers & make it so today.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      *hugs* Thank you, you’re so kind. And, honestly, I do think it’s changing – I mean, scary to think of, but this was a decade ago. Maybe two boys kissing goodbye at bus stop would get the full romcom treatment nowdays ;) I like to think so.

  18. Delphine Dryden says:

    Doing it and *not* having it feel like a political act any more…takes practice. You have to work through that part, in order to get to the part where that set of behaviors can become automatic in a new setting.

    It’s easier for women, though, in some respects. I think people are more willing to conjure alternate narratives when they see two women (especially if they’re relatively femme) holding hands, other explanations than gayness for why they might be doing that. The “allowable” range of body language for us is much more permissive in general when it comes to touching, certain kinds of eye contact, etc. (at least here in the US and–or so I recall from the few months I lived there–in the UK).

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Yes, I’m sure it can be done … but I might be too old, and God, that’s a depressing though. I mean, for me, it might always be a nervy act of defiance instead of what it’s supposed to be, which is an act of simple togetherness. But, again, that might just be over-reaction to conditioning that no longer applies since, as I mentioned above, I definitely think things are changing, and I’ve seen quite a lot of a younger queer couples expression affection publicly without *too much* hostility or undue attention. I guess it’s that “too much” that grinds you down – the fact that all it takes is one person to be a dick, and suddenly you’re right back to square one.That always feels really fragile to me, and ‘fragile’ isn’t really what I want to be feeling when I’m, y’know, buying milk or going to the library.

      But then there’s complexities and levels to all this stuff – I might get the occasional jeer if I’m looking a bit gay today, but mostly I walk around safely without threat of violence or abuse or public commentary on my wardrobe, weight or physical appearance like the other 50% of the population.

      While I definitely agree there’s more social leeway for women to be openly affectionate with each other, without necessarily triggering random homophobia, I’ve generally noticed that a lot of this apparent permissiveness is based … well … not to put fine a point on it, the widely accepted idea that two women together are hot. Which is just a different flavour of objectification.

      And wow … depressing reply is depressing. My happiest ever homophobic slur moment was, gosh, far too long ago, but I was dating a woman at the time, and perhaps because I have longish hair, as we were walking along one day, an enthusiastic young gentleman called out “leeeeeeesbiiiiiians” in the standard leering sing-song. So I turned round and was like “dude” and he looked very, very confused.

  19. This was supremely beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.

    “what even the fluffiest, most apparently trivial queer romance is saying on a basic level is “you deserve a happy ending, whatever your sexuality”

    And you do, we all do, the best and most sappy if we want it.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Oh, thank you :)

      I blame romance, actually, for my degeneration into unabashed sappiness. Or rather, I think it was probably always there, but I feel more comfortable in expressing it ;)

  20. Jules Lovestoread says:

    Unbelievably moving and beautiful. And, honest and true. *sigh* Big hugs to you, Alexis!! <3

  21. Michele Mills says:

    Oh Alexis, you’re making me cry…thank you for sharing that beautiful story.

  22. That was really touchingly human. Thank you for writing it.

  23. darla says:

    This is the most beautiful piece of writing on love and humanity I’ve read in…ever? Ages? Spot on perfect. Thank you for making me totally stop and…tears.

  24. Fiona McGier says:

    I read years ago that to be emotionally healthy, humans need about 17 hugs per day. I had 4 kids, so I did a whole lotta huggin’! Even now I have friends I’ve known for years who tell me I’m the only person they feel comfortable hugging when we see each other and when we part…and we’re all women! But I hug people I care about. We all should.

    I sub in high schools a lot, and most kids are accepting of 2 girls holding hands in the hall, and even kissing each other before classes. No one makes a deal, big or otherwise about it. But even though I know most of the gay boys who are “out”, I’ve never seen any of them being public with their crushes. How sad!

    As you said, love is love. It knows no color or boundaries. It just is. I raised my kids to know that. Change is happening, but at a glacial pace, as all social changes do. I sure hope you do someday get that “kiss in the rain.” And know that if I’m there, I’ll have your back and deck the first person who even looks at you funny!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      *laughs* I’m not sure a fistfight was the ideal romantic setting I was looking for ;)

      As people have said above, I think it connected to a wider perception of way we perceive and construct gender, and the expectations around it – particularly about how we express and experience affection. Straight or non-straight, boys are definitely discouraged from demonstrating affection,I think.

  25. Kaetrin says:

    This. Everything this.

  26. Karen says:

    About a month ago I went to V+A museum late night opening. I was standing in the queue waiting for my friend reading a book, and in front of me was a solo man doing the same. He dropped something, I picked it up and we started chatting, when his friend arrived they smiled at each other, we did intro’s and then they hugged each other, kissed and held hands while waiting. No one gave them a second glance.
    Living in London you can convince yourself that ‘this is how it is’ everywhere else, so thank you for the reminder.

    Keep reminding us, so that we can remind others

    • Alexis Hall says:

      If I was going to hold hands with anyone anywhere it would be a late-night opening for the V+A ;) I think that’s a self-selectingly liberal crowd – or else everybody would be too tired to notice ;) It honestly does depend where you are and what you’re doing.

  27. Antonella says:

    I usually get upset at the unfairness of the situation for GLBT people, and I try to do something (like collecting signatures, signing petitions, rebuking homophobic comments), but I can’t really put myself in your shoes. This touching post is a healthy reminder of what we have not achieved yet. Thank you for sharing!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      As I said in the post, we’ve come a long way and things are still changing. I’m very fortunate, really, in all the ways, and very happpy. And change of this granulated nature intersects with so many broader social issues, like expectations and construction of gender, I think time will make all the difference :)

  28. Mia West says:

    Your post sat with me overnight, Alexis, prodding me occasionally. “Remember this part?” it said. “Oh, and this part?” I want a lot of things for you, and for any who just wants to express undeniable parts of himself, quiet ones and loud ones, everyday bits and extraordinary bits. So I hope those things happen for you, and if they’re slow coming that you say, “F* it, I’m making this happen.”

    What really drove me back here to comment was that the scene you shared between you and your summer lover was *so* accessible. I felt I was tasting it with every sense I have. I was surprised to finish your post and *not* have rain dripping down my face. If you haven’t already, I hope you write it into a longer work for a wider audience than this one.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you. I try to be a “fuck it” person, and I think I usually manage to live that way to some extent – at least within in the boundaries of not being unbearable to everyone who cares about you – and when I was younger I was much more that way about expressing my sexuality. Obviously context orientates how you behave within your perceived cultural and social context … but most of the queer people I know of my generation have gone through the sexually defiant stage of, you know, handsing all over each other at bus stops, and, err, going for it in fire escapes and club toilets.. And it’s difficult to for me, and was actually difficult for me then, to extricate expression from performance, choice from reaction, although at the time I wasn’t aware enough to uncurl my own unease. So that’s partially why I can’t be as “fuck it” as I’d like to be about what seem to be relatively minor things now, like holding hands, or straightening my partner’s collar.

      And obviously this is me, and my history, and my perceptions, not just Oppressive Social Blah Blah Blah. But it’s all very tangled.

      I think I would just like there to come a point when either I changed, or the world changed, just enough that it all became simple again: love, choice, action, done :)

      And thank you for kind words about my summer American. A lot of my most vivid memories are bound up in sense of place, so that might have something to do with it :)

  29. Beverley Jansen says:

    I’m late to the party again. This post is simply lovely. What stayed with me from this and life in general I suppose, is how wearisome it can become to be a political statement. It is one thing to say I’ll hold his hand and be damned and yes that is good to do, but everyday, everytime? Sometimes all you want from PDA is a sigh from your loved one and an affectionate roll of the eyes maybe from others. Queer romance should be enjoyable or no one would read it, but its existence and increasing prevalence will someday enable lovers like you, Alexis, to simply show love.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      It’s fashionable to be late to parties :)

      And, yes, you’re absolutely right – I think that was the core of the post, really. Although admittedly, being slightly tired is, y’know, a rather pathetic core for anything :)

      But thank you for the kind words, and the understanding :)

  30. Alex Sweeney says:

    Words fail me. And that’s… unusual. Wonderful writing, a very sad subject.
    It’s all part of the whole men don’t thing, isn’t it? Men don’t cry, men don’t feel anything because they’re too tough or if they do, they certainly don’t let anybody know about it.
    Strangely enough, the story I’m writing at the moment has a football manager as protagonist. Now there’s a very dichotomous activity. An awful lot of the fans seem to see it as an extremely macho pursuit but on the pitch it’s a whole different ball game, pun intended.
    You get men hugging, kissing, practically smooching in some cases, throwing each other on the ground and so on – when they get hurt they yell about it and when they lose the match, they cry.
    Just like any people, really.
    So why is it okay for these guys to do all that stuff in public, in front of some of the very people who’d be the ones to mock and jeer and maybe something more physical if they saw two gay men being affectionate on the street?
    Strange, no?
    Thanks again :)

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you for the comment, and the kind words about the post. Menz and their feelz is obviously a complete clusterfuck of gender and sexuality politics – but you’re right that the boundary between homosocial and homosexual is really incredibly blurry.

      Pulling a random theory about my arse based on no evidence at all … my inclination is that it might have to do with approved male activities. Like there are certain things (sport among them, and being in the army) that are so undeniably and demonstrably macho that it sort of moves into this hazy beyond-gay space. I’ve run across a similar mindset in some m/m books, actually, where the principle seems to be that the hero is so utterly alpha and masculine that he can fuck men without it being gay. Which is kind of pretty damn homophobic really.

      Good luck with the book, by the way – it sounds awesome :)

  31. Alex Sweeney says:

    Thank you very much :)

    It’s actually a story I’m writing for Queer Romance Month – to be blogged in parts throughout the month. (The long-term book is having its first two-thirds rewritten just now since it turned out there weren’t enough villains.) :D

    Yeah, I’ve read those kind of books too, even some not labelled as m/m. Very sad and I think they say more about the authors and their issues than anything else. ‘I want to do this but I don’t want to change my image of how I ought to be.’ So limiting!