It happens in the group-sex area of the sauna. It happens after you’ve made eye contact, gawked intently at each other. It happens after you’ve started to kiss, after you’ve felt his body against yours. You have always been a slut for those tall smooth boys, the Polish-looking ones, with the lean, solid bodies, hairless right down to the crack between their arse-cheeks. The descendants of the men who killed your ancestors in Europe. It always happens with them, with these white boys. It doesn’t happen with the black guys. Later you will forget that moment of dread, you will go past it and you and him will make love. He’ll even compliment you on your body, the way you cock fits so well into the mouth.
“And the arse?” you’ll say. Lovingly.
“Yes,” he’ll say, rolling his eyes back as if forced to admit something. “And the arse.”
There is that moment when his arms are behind your back, or over your shoulders, hugging you, holding you, and you sense strange movements with his hands, as if he is opening something. You hear the crackling of the paper razor blades are wrapped in. He is about to cut you. But you tell yourself not to be silly, so you keep kissing and touching and whatever else you are doing. The dread heightens. You are still not out of the woods. The coast is not yet clear. He would cut your neck. He’s done this before, so he wouldn’t just slice the blade down your back. He knows what he’s doing. Or he’ll just slash at you, over and over, and if you’re in a cubicle, he’ll leave you in the cubicle to bleed to death, because it’ll be a while before someone finds you. The way his body moves, its urgency and uptightness, the way he’s breathing. Controlled, but deep. There is something desperate to everything he does. He must be a self-loathing faggot, here in London, escaped from the claws of his oppressive family and society, but the self-recrimintaion is so deep that it has driven him to kill, to kill you as a way of hushing the voices inside him.
“I’m David,” he says. “What’s your name?”
You tell him, and he moves his head way from your shoulder to see your face and to bring the bottle of poppers he’s holding in his hand to his nose and snort deeply. He offers you the bottle but your refuse. You don’t like poppers.
You’re relieved to have come to a clearing in the woods.
“Do you want to find a cubicle?” you say.
“Sure,” he says.
I want to talk about the threat of violence and how it never goes away, but also, how it seems that everything is becoming more violent in how we behave towards each other. And I don’t think it’s unconnected to politics, to what the West is doing in the Middle East and North Africa, to what a large chunk of Americans are trying to do to President Obama, and to what the likes of David Cameron and his school buddies are doing to us. We are using the internet to hide behind our rage, to act out, to treat each other as things, as avatars and icons. Two of the sites Manhunt links to – Bound in Public and Baitbus – are a blatant acting out of our rage as gay men towards the straight world, a rage that, if we were animals, would make us rip their hearts out and eat them. It’s an insurmountable rage, an anger that we suppress and land up being mean to each other.
Not unrelated, but a slight digression, I recently came across Cath Elliott’s blog, Too Much to Say for Myself, and was astounded by some of the hate directed at her, mainly, I’m assuming, by men. And I thought: If that kind of loathing and rage is happening on the internet, where is it when we step out the house? Is the internet something that happens in the realm of our imagination when we are alone in our rooms, a kind of dream space, or do we take all those negative feelings and thoughts out into the world and behave accordingly. Where does all the hatred come from? Is hatred a game? Have we turned the web into a space to act-out fear and loathing? When we’ve stopped killing the Other – at the moment it’s the Arabs – will we go back to killing each other; ie. our selves.
The thing is, though, that we’re all in this together. Gay men are not free and equal – gay marriage means fuck-all – until all gay men are free and equal everywhere in the world. Pockets of New York, London, Stockholm, Paris are free, but so what? Young men are being hanged in Tehran. We’re in this together.
He is tender when we are alone in the cubicle, and his smile, when you smile first, is generous and bashful. You step in and close the door behind you and the world stays outside. You are free. You open your mouth to say something, but instead you kiss, his mouth soft and warm against your lips, his tongue a reassurance, like food being put into your mouth, more and more and more. You suck on his tongue and stroke his hair with your fingers and feel his arms around you, his palms flat against your back, drawing you into him, pressing your chest to his, your cock to his. You nudge him gently until he his against the wall, your body so close to his.
“Let me look at you,” you say.
He is beautiful. His nipples slightly raised from his chest, the flesh of his stomach thick but not flabby, his arms at his side. You notice how long and elegant his fingers are, the soft mound of hair at the base of his cock, which is hanging between his legs, thick and long. You tell him not to move, you whisper as you touch your lips to his, like this, gently, and put your hand against his throat and apply pressure, and look into his eyes, and keep kissing him, his Adam’s apple bobbing against your thumb.
“Yes,” he says.
“I’m going to kill you,” you say.
“Yes,” he smiles. “Kill me.”