There’s a massive supermarket just down the road from the block I live in in Skopje. I have to admit that I usually pop in there both on the way to work and on the way home from work every day. I’ve basically turned into SupermarketMan, a particularly boring superhero.
Last week, as I wandered through the gardening section of “my supermarket”, I saw a shelf of axes. Axes. Actual axes. For four euros each. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an axe before. Like other than a costume-y one for an orc or a dwarf. I was strangely drawn to the axes.
As the week went on, it became inevitable that I would buy an axe.
A plan for a musical number featuring an axe began to form in my mind. I don’t know why, but it seemed obvious. Within 24 hours, I knew that that song would be Wonderful Wonderful Day from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Again, there was no logic here, the idea just jumped into my brain fully formed. It was also clear to me that I would do this number in some form of drag. I never for a second considered doing the song in my normal clothes.
Obviously, I couldn’t do a very polished job. I could use a sheet as a dress. I considered trying to find a wig somewhere in Skopje, but decided that this was insane enough as a plan already. I would fashion a towel into a turban and that could be my “wig”.
On Saturday, I basically dedicated my entire day to the number with the axe. I went to the supermarket and popped an axe into my shopping basket. Also in the gardening section, I got a huge purple plastic flower. And a pair of green washing-up rubber gloves. (In my head they were silk gloves like Marilyn Monroe would wear up to her elbows). I topped off the shopping with a pack of safety pins and went home, having spent about a fiver on my ensemble.
Let me tell you, it takes longer than you might think to fashion a sheet into a dress. Should it go over one shoulder? Both? How much décolletage should be on display? Why wouldn’t the safety pins stay closed? Every time I swung the axe, the dress would come apart and fall to the floor, leaving me naked and disgruntled. Outside it was thirty degrees and I was wearing a towel turban on my head and doing a number on camera. I was sweating like Christy Moore.
Sometimes I missed a cue and was completely out of sync with the song. Sometimes I dropped the axe. Once I couldn’t get the rubber gloves on before the recording started. My towel came undone a number of times. I can’t tell you how often the flower dropped off me. And the dress refused to stay on. It came close to it being me singing naked with an axe. In the end, it wasn’t.
It was wonderful. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I posted the video on YouTube. Every time I see it I crack up laughing.
NOTE: The following is both TMI and NSFW. If you are related to me and/or of a squeamish nature and/or are currently eating, you might want to stop reading here.
When I arrived in Macedonia, I was pleased to notice one feature of life here. It’s one of the first things I notice when I visit a foreign country. Like in Russia and Turkey, overweight Macedonian men tend to walk around proud as peacocks, carrying their orbital bellies before them like a prize. In Ireland, Britain and France, younger fat men tend to hunch over, almost as if slouching and curving their shoulders will hide their shameful tummies. But in some parts of the world, fat men are full members of the masculine elite, and they have the swagger to prove it. Macedonia is one of those places.
This being the case, my body is a more desirable here than in many places and my various apps for meeting men have been going mental since I arrived. I am fresh meat of an attractive variety and I am desired. I love being desired. It doesn’t happen a lot.
I started chatting to a few men, but one was particularly insistent (in a good way). After we’d exchanged 115 messages, it was obvious that he was very keen. We decided to meet on Sunday (I literally kept Saturday free so I could tit around with an axe).
We had agreed on a time and a place to meet when he sent me a message saying he’d shown my photos to his friend and would I be OK if he came too. OMG! That would be a great story. But I decided it would be safer to start one-on-one.
I was very nervous on Sunday morning. I don’t do this often enough. And prepping for anal hijinks is no fun. Fashioning a sheet into a dress and dancing to 1950s musical numbers with garden implements – that’s fun.
I hid my laptop and my iPad, because you hear stories about hook-ups going wrong. For the same reasons I put my newly-purchased axe under my bed, within easy reach if necessary.
At the appointed time (5:00 pm), I went to meet this man. We were to meet at the front door of the supermarket. I was terrified. I haven’t been with a man since last summer in Ljubljana. I got to the car park, panicked and turned around to go home again. I could have sex another time. I’d make another YouTube video instead. Or have some chocolate.
Luckily, my man had decided to cycle around the carpark in circles and he caught me before I left. “Oh! You didn’t know which door I meant.” he said. I agreed that that was exactly what had happened.
We walked the four floors up to my flat. This guy was 21 and enthusiastic. Very enthusiastic. We got down to business quickly, because that is one of the advantages of being a gay. (Another is knowing the lyrics of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers numbers.)
Because he was 21, he told me he loved me, which was adorable, but far too much. Still, being desired is fabulous. And he wanted me because I was fat and not in spite of it. I have a tendency to assume that people only spend time with me while they’re waiting for a thin (and therefore superior) person to come along, so while this kind of attention is weird for me, it does make me feel an awful lot better about myself than I sometimes do.
It wasn’t long before I noticed that he was circumcised. I asked the question. He is a half Bosnian half Albanian Muslim. OMG! My first Muslim. Inside me a teenage boy gave a victory shriek and extended a middle finger to his entire upbringing.
Then he revealed that the friend who he had wanted to bring along for a threesome was Roma. Wow – I briefly imagined bonking my way through various persecuted minorities.
He was interested in cultures and languages, and like everyone in the Balkans, he’s fluent in about nineteen languages. He asked me to talk dirty to him in Irish. I’m sure it’s hypothetically possible to talk dirty in Irish, but I certainly don’t know how, and considering that the dictionary I had in school translated “masturbation” as “féin truailliú” i.e. “self pollution”, I don’t think many others could either. I did what I always do when people ask me to speak Irish, which was to mutter fragments of the Hail Mary prayer in Irish. The list of reasons for me to end up in Hell just grows and grows.
Anyway, he was very kind, but also gruff and growly in all the right ways. And anal is something you should practise, folks, because doing it once a year is like having your back door demolished by Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball.
The sweetest moment was after I’d swallowed and we were catching our breath and he was asking if he tasted salty or sweet. I told him the truth, which was that it was very, very salty. He looked at me sadly, and said with a voice full of disappointment, “But I ate a whole pineapple.”
Younger men are sweet. Even if they taste salty.
I doubt I’ll ever see him again, but Sunday, just like Saturday, was a Wonderful Wonderful Day.