Adopting a puppy not a cure for being a prick, warn researchers

Arseholes will continue to be arseholes even after the adoption of a small dog, according to research published today.

A University of Slough paper states that traits such as disloyalty, misogyny and having hair that looks like you’ve just been fucked in a privet hedge by a 300 lb gorilla remain entirely unaffected by pet ownership of any description. The news came as quite the surprise to journalists from the BBC and Sky News, who were apparently labouring under the misapprehension that the presence of a Jack Russell terrier was of greater significance than an individual’s long and unbroken history of dishonesty, racism and arse-gaping incompetence.

The head of the research team, Di Tori, said,

“We’ve looked at this very closely and our findings are conclusive. Even one of the nice breeds that doesn’t look like a wire brush with legs would be incapable of preventing a notoriously self-serving cunt from being all self-servingly cunty. We even tried it with a Labrador and everything, but the effects on characteristics such as toxic white male entitlement, not knowing how many children you have and dressing like a laundry hamper overtrusted a fart in your immediate vicinity were negligible.”

Her colleague, Frank Exchange, went on to say,

“This wide-ranging investigation has left us in no doubt that the addition of a dog to a household inhabited by the kind of abhorrent cockwipe who directs hate at marginalised people for cash is vanishingly unlikely to turn them into an acceptable human being. Furthermore, we have definitively shown that the prominence given to these pet-related shenanigans by national broadcasters demonstrates a dereliction of duty akin to the time that moon-faced pig-fondler recklessly spunked the country’s social and economic future all over the eager, scarlet faces of Sun-reading xenophobes in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the bickering that had been raging for forty years in his atrocious party of minority-hating bastards.”

Rod Purley, a negligent wanker with a senior position at Broadcasting House, responded to this aspect of the findings with scepticism, saying,

“I think we all need to take this with a pinch of salt. I find it difficult to accept that, on a day where the very fabric of our country is being threatened by a megalomaniacal mound of straw-topped shit hell bent on dry-bumming the United Kingdom into a bloody, jizz-splattered pulp, the arrival of this would-be dictator’s canine companion shouldn’t command an absurdly substantial quantity of our airtime. I mean, look at his wickle face.”

Ms Tori, however, remained in no doubt as to the veracity of the paper.

“Look, this is fucking science, you twats,” she said. “You don’t get to dispute months of rigorous, peer-reviewed research based solely on your inexplicable desire to give Emperor Gelatine a reacharound live on News At fucking Ten.”

Don’t like the 14-year-old gay? Then sashay the fuck away.

Everything’s a bit fucking shit right now, isn’t it? On this side of the Atlantic, our government has decided it’s a better idea to buy every packet of plasters in Boots than it is to simply not cut our own fucking legs off, and on the other side, the animated turd of someone who has eaten nothing but Cheesy Wotsits for a year is trying to destroy the entire fucking planet as though it was a thing as insignificant as a woman’s life. It’s nice, therefore - necessary, even - to stumble across something a bit more uplifting from time to time so we don’t all go completely shitting mad. 

Imagine my relief, then, when the first thing I saw on Twitter this morning was a video of a gay teenager who has been invited to perform his drag act at Brighton Pride next week, after his school had decided it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ for their talent show. Now, obviously, it’s a bit depressing that the narrow-minded fuckers running his school have taken this stance in 2018, but it was gratifying to see him being offered the opportunity to perform on a much bigger stage as a result. 

As I watched the video, I shed a few tears. Some were for myself, I won’t lie. I always find myself thinking ‘what if’ when I see something like this, and it always makes me feel a little sad. But a lot of those tears were happy ones that this 14-year-old boy had found the strength to be his most fabulous self, that he refused to hide in the shadows like so many have had to do before him, and that his mother was by his side lifting him up. I felt cheered by the fact that this courageous young man had managed to overcome the short-sightedness of those who are paid to inspire him, and that he would now be looking forward to enjoying what will no doubt be a defining, life-changing moment in a supportive and loving environment.

Then I looked at the replies.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: it was a terribly fucking stupid thing to do. Sadly though, like a turd that’s halfway out, there was no taking it back. The best you can do in such circumstances is to nip it off, and by that stage, it’s probably a futile gesture. 

So I read them all. 

As you might already have guessed, my positive mood was very suddenly, very abruptly, soured, like a previously convivial party to which Michael Gove has just arrived. I feel pretty confident in saying that those of you who know me will probably agree that I’m not a totally stupid man, and of course I wasn’t naive enough to expect that all the comments would be supportive. There’ll always be a few arseholes, right? 

Well, on this occasion, it was like a room in which the floor was carpeted entirely in arseholes, there were numerous, quite unpleasant arseholes covering the walls and every piece of furniture was constructed using only dried out, hardened arseholes, which were no less shitty for all their desiccation.

 “The parents want locking up. It’s child abuse.”

“Get up them fucking stairs and don’t come down until you’re normal.”

“Where’s his dad? Probably hanging in the garage after watching that.”

“I’m sure the perverts at Brighton Pride will enjoy having a minor performing at their event.”

That’s just a small selection of the nasty, malicious rhetoric spewed forth by grown adults, who were so enraged by the fact that a young gay boy wanted to sing and dance while wearing a dress that they simply had to take to Twitter to shit out their most pointedly vitriolic abuse. Just imagine the mindset for a second. You have attained the age of legal majority, you have a job, a car, maybe a mortgage, perhaps a wife and children of your own, and yet you choose to spend your Sunday mornings telling a 14-year-old boy, whose only crime is wearing clothes of which you don’t approve, that who he is makes his dad want to kill himself. What sort of desperately fucking worthless piece of shit would do something like that?

This is a drum I bang pretty frequently, so bear with me if you’ve heard it before, but I’m sick to my fucking back teeth of seeing and hearing comments that go something like this:

“Why are you always going on about LGBT equality? We’re fed up of hearing about it. You can get married now, so in what way are you not equal?”

In this way, you unremittingly fucking hateful bastards. 

In the way that a gay schoolboy can’t take part in a branch of the performing arts that gay guys have occupied for decades without being told he’s a freak. In the way that a mother supporting her son to be open about who he is is labelled a child abuser and told she should be in prison. In the way that some vicious, cowardly fucking cunt with an obscured avatar thinks it’s acceptable to imply that a father would feel compelled to hang himself rather than see his son feeling happy and fulfilled as a flamboyant, proud gay. And in the way that gay men are labelled paedophiles again and again, day after day, with no regard for the damage it might cause to the young people who are struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.

All the time unedifying shit like this unfolds in response to a perfectly innocent video highlighting a positive aspect of gay culture, we’re not equal. All the time we have to think twice about whether it’s safe to hold hands in public, we’re not equal. All the time we’re yelled at, or spat at, or beaten up because we happen to be attracted to other guys or other girls, we’re not fucking equal.

But one day we will be. And it’s because of boys like Lewis Bailey and all the other Lewis Baileys who have gone before him and all the other Lewis Baileys who have yet to come. Those brave souls who refuse to be cowed by tragic, impotent little trolls whose existence offers nothing to the world but prejudice and hatred. Those who have the courage to say, “This is me. Either love me as I am or stay the fuck out of my life.” Those who stand up to the haters no matter what, and in doing so, give others the strength to do likewise.

These people are truly the best of us, and it is they who will change the world for the better. And if you’re not on board with that, you can fuck off to the edge of the observable universe and spend the rest of your miserable fucking existence eating a never-ending banquet of dicks. 

Not the nice ones, though. We’re keeping those for ourselves.

Pigs, Chickens and Pride 2018

As Pride Month rolls around, it is my wont to write something a little more serious and considered than the usual ranting, expletive-laden frivolity you’re likely to encounter on my Twitter account. I appreciate I’ve left it a little late this year, but I reckon not dealing with things until you absolutely have to is 2018’s jam, so I should still be ok.

I’m not even sure what this piece will be about, I just felt as though I should write…something. I think, though, I’d like to talk about myself for a while. I know that’s probably going to elicit a few groans, but fuck it: I’m in charge here, not you.

For those of you who don’t know, my situation is a little unusual. It started off fairly typically, I guess: closeted guy gets married, has a family, finally comes out…you know how that one ends. Except it didn’t end that way for me. My wife and I are still together, and not just to keep up appearances or because we have a child, but because we actually want to be together.

In many ways, this is the best outcome I could have hoped for. With the odd (quite understandable) wobble aside, she has been unflinchingly understanding and supportive, and, whilst our relationship has unarguably altered substantially over the past two years, that change has been, to an overwhelming degree, positive. So I had the benefit of being able to be honest about who I am, with none of the upheaval of a messy divorce and all the associated unpleasantness. Great.

But that’s not quite the whole story.

You see, I’ve always struggled with my identity, and that struggle continues to this day. I spent 37 years feeling like I didn’t fit, like I didn’t really belong anywhere. Then I came out, and, for obvious reasons, immediately began to identify as bisexual. That was great at first, but after the initial euphoria of being out had started to abate, I realised that I didn’t really feel bisexual. With the exception of the one with whom I’d spent the past decade and a half of my life, I wasn’t really attracted to women at all. 

So I started to identify as gay. This felt better to me - more honest at least - but it brought with it its own problems. Primary amongst these is the fact that I’ve never really felt accepted by other gay men. I feel like they view me as an outsider, an imposter. Indeed, some have explicitly stated as much to my face. As a result, I started to feel that way about myself, not least of all because, when you look at it objectively, their argument has some merit. So I’d gone from not really fitting in as a straight guy to not really fitting in as a gay guy. I felt like I’d been cast adrift, back into that ocean of not belonging. 

Then there are the questions. Oh, Jesus, the fucking questions:

“Why are you still married?”

“You’re not really gay then, are you?”

“Do you still have sex?”

“How does THAT work?”

Quite aside from the fact that these things are no one’s fucking business but my own, I wonder how many people would presume to ask a straight person they hardly know (or even one they know quite well) why they bother to stay married, or indeed whether they still have sex with their spouse.

These questions began to take their toll because, whilst I’m very open about who I am online, I still wasn’t totally comfortable in real life situations being a queer guy who’s married to a woman. So I found myself reverting to the old habit of ‘passing’ as straight to avoid the funny looks or the probing questions. And I fucking hated it. I’d spent most of my life pretending to be someone I wasn’t, and it felt like I was still hiding even after risking everything by coming out.

I’ve attempted to explain my situation a thousand different ways to a thousand different people, but I’m not sure any of them really get it. All I know is that I’ve been through an awful lot of shit over the course of my adult life - some soaring highs and some desperate, crashing lows - and the one person I’ve always known I can rely on to be there, without question, without equivocation, is my wife. 

We laugh a lot. Sometimes we cry. We take the piss out of each other mercilessly. We argue, but not very often. We mourn our departed pets like they’re members of our family because that’s exactly what they are. We celebrate each other’s victories as though they were our own, and commiserate on each other’s failures to an equal degree. We lift each other up during times of hardship, and appreciate the good times all the more for it. We drink wine and go for walks, though not usually at the same time. We share common values and work together to instill them in our son, who we’re certain will one day turn out to be a fine young man. So whereas we might not have ended up together had I had the courage to be honest about who I was when I was 20, I feel like it’s an awful lot to throw away now I’m pushing 40.

I realise I’m rambling now, but I wanted to provide a little context to the statement that this last year has been what you might describe as a little bit really fucking awful for me. On top of the stuff I’ve already mentioned, my son was hospitalised in quite a dramatic and somewhat traumatic fashion in February/March, and I also endured the most stressful house purchase/move it’s possible to imagine shortly after that. There have been times over the past 12 months when it’s fair to say I’ve been in a bit of a state.

I’ve suffered some pretty horrible bouts of depression going back several years, and I waited far too long to seek treatment. When I did eventually decide to get help, I had to battle with the gatekeepers of my local NHS trust’s mental health services in order to be allowed access to even a short course of counselling. I know I’ve said it many times before, and I will no doubt say it again a million times in the future, but fuck every single member of this uniquely fucking evil government.

Anyway, after I had finally secured the treatment I needed, I started having some therapy earlier this year. I don’t feel as though I got the best out of the sessions as my anxiety was off the fucking chart with the house stuff, but it definitely helped. I don’t even think my therapist was particularly amazing at dealing with my particular issues, but just being able to talk to someone impartial was a huge positive for me.

If nothing else, I think the sessions helped me to change the way I think about certain problems. I still struggle with my identity, but I’ve learned not to dwell on it too much. One day I suspect such labels as ‘gay’ and ‘bi’ will be redundant and people will just be attracted to whoever they’re attracted to without worrying about which particular box they fit into. Maybe I was just born a few hundred years too early.

I’ve also learned to be less bothered by the inappropriate questions because, ultimately, they’re not a thing I can control. All I can do is be the best version of myself it’s possible to be, to be open and honest about who I am, and to invite those who don’t like it to go eat a big fucking bucketful of Trump dicks. I am what I am, and all that.

Which brings me neatly back onto Pride Month. This year, as with every other, there have been the usual cries of, “Why do you still need Pride?” from people who really shouldn’t be allowed to operate anything more dangerous than a fucking duvet without professional supervision. There are a whole range of very general answers to this eminently fucking ridiculous question, but I hope this article provides a more specific, personal example. I still need Pride, and I suspect I always will because it’s never gonna be easy being who I am. It is getting easier, though.

I guess sometimes, if you’re really lucky, life works out exactly as you had planned and everything just falls perfectly into place. More often than not, however, we have to play an imperfect hand and try not to lose the farm. Well it’s been a monumental fucking struggle, but I still have my farm and the soil is reasonably fertile and there are even some pigs and chickens wandering around somewhere. It’s doing ok.