Carrying a watermelon

I’m my own worst enemy. I decide something won’t be good and then I just don’t do it and end up retreating into my shell. Luckily, there are other people who won’t always leave me alone in my shell. One such was a visitor I had this weekend.

He booked tickets for us to go to a gig on Saturday night. I was dreading it. I don’t do “gigs”. I go to “shows”. I go to “spectaculars”. I go to “An Evening With…” I don’t go to gigs. I don’t want to meet serious men who smell of Guinness and wear leather jackets and get their heterosexual juice all over me. One of my mottos is that I only go to concerts where there are multiple costume changes otherwise what’s the point.

There would be no costume changes at this show. I asked my friend what kind of music it would be. I wanted to prepare myself. I shouldn’t have asked. He told me that the singer we were going to see was “really great, similar to Bob Dylan”.

Jesus.

I’m not saying Bob Dylan is the singer I’d least like to see live. But he’s definitely in my bottom 10. The croaking. The humourlessness. The aversion to beauty and glamour. The guitar. Oh god. I was going to have to watch a man singing and playing a guitar for a whole gig. I’m really not a guitar fan.

I think it all started with my big brother sitting on my chest or locking me in his bedroom so I couldn’t escape while he practised House of The Rising Sun over and over on the guitar and I was forced to listen. Or maybe it’s the way the guitar is so closely associated with the religious community I grew up in and the hymns of my childhood. Or maybe it’s the irredeemable heterosexuality of the guitar. Or maybe it’s the numerous house parties I’ve been to where all conversation has been blighted by some unwashed guy who we all have to listen to playing the guitar. Whatever the case, I’m not a fan of a man with a guitar.

I told myself it would be fine. I’m London Connor now. I say yes now. I don’t say no to life any more. Even if life is a man with a guitar.

And do you know what? The “gig” was great. The singer was really good.

He’d been in an accident with a snow blower and had hurt his fingers and couldn’t play the guitar. For a few songs, he had another guy playing guitar for him, but he turned it into a real variety show to accommodate his injury. There were readings and jokes. He played the piano instead of guitar. He had his little daughter come up and sing a song from a cartoon. Some friends of his (who were also my friend’s friends) and are West End musicians got on stage and he did a few numbers with him. Including a show tune!

It was a great night! There weren’t any costume changes, but nonetheless, it was a super concert.

Afterwards, it was decided we were going for drinks. I was a bit hesitant. I only knew one of the people there properly and I’ve got a lot worse at social events over the last few years. We tried a few pubs, but they were all either full or closed.

The two West End performers in the group rang their club to see if we could get in there if they signed for us. That’s right. Their club. A private members’ club. Not one of the awful ones for executives and bankers and Tories. A private members’ club for West End players! For show folk!

If I’d told Little Connor, who learned all the words to songs from musicals that no one else has heard of like Salad Days or They’re Playing Our Song that one day I’d be in a private club exclusively for those appearing in shows on London’s Glittering West End, he wouldn’t have believed me.

It was plush and swanky and there were twinkly lights and waiters who chilled your glasses and cocktails themed after big shows. Even a Stomp cocktail.

It was quite quiet there when we arrived. But soon after we sat down, the staff cleared a space on the dance floor for some newly arrived customers/members/superstars. They took to the dance floor. Real West End Stars! Dancing right in front of me! Close enough to touch! They were mainly just doing regular night club dancing, but I didn’t care. There were real showfolk and they weren’t afraid to twirl or to grind or to let their hips do the talking.

I sat and chatted to one of our group, a composer, who just happens to be working on a West End show. Imagine! Me!

In one of the most famous scenes in Dirty Dancing, Baby, played by Jennifer Grey, carries a watermelon for one of the holiday camp staff and sees all the staff in their free time doing their dirty filthy dance moves far away from the rich people and is enchanted and terrified and excited and rendered speechless, so that the only thing she knows how to say is “I carried a watermelon”.

That was me. I was Baby. And on Saturday, I carried my own watermelon.

*Fans myself joyously.*

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Poised on the edge of glory

I am unpierced. Unpierced for the first time in 13 years. In summer of 2005, in a rare moment of bravery, I had my left nipple pierced. I loved it! And in the summer of 2014, one piercing became two, when I got my right nipple pierced. They were very much part of me, and having taken them out, I feel like I’m missing a limb. Why did I take them out? Why did I let the holes in my nipples seal up?

It’s because I’ve gained so much weight in the last few months (basically since my last visit to see my dad in September before he died) that my piercings were getting squeezed out. They had both, separately, moved and caused blood and pus to issue. That’s not a good sign. My own fat expelled my piercings. I’m like a character from a horror film. Or possibly a comedy. Or maybe a horror comedy.

I never expected to keep the nipple piercings for life anyway. Although I suppose everyone else thinks of me as fat, I always think of me as someone who is temporarily fat and is going to be thin soon. And therefore I’ll need loose skin surgery after I lose all my weight. And I know that for loose skin surgery, they have to hack off your nipples so they can sew them back on to a less saggy place than your old boobs. And I always presumed the surgeons would insist on me taking the piercings out for that process.

I’ve gained over four stone, so I’m up to 27 stone 4 pounds (173.7 kgs/382 pounds).

Everything is uncomfortable. Even lying down. If I lie on my side, the weight on my hip is too much. If I lie on my front, my lower back hurts. If I lie on my back, my back hurts, and also I can’t lever my weight upright again.

I don’t fit in places. I no longer fit in a Tube seat that has arms, so I just have to stand. I have to walk sideways through Tube turnstiles.

Nobody ever tells you that one day you might be too fat to use a urinal. I am.

So, here we go again. Starting tomorrow, my diet starts again.

I’m throwing everything at it this time! (Again!)

I’m calorie counting, using the My Fitness Pal app. I considered something more restrictive – and read a lot (again) about various low-sugar/low-carb options, but I’ve never lasted long on them before and have always lasted longer on diets where you restrict the amount rather than the type of food you eat.

I’ve also registered with the NHS. I’m going to see a doctor, and maybe a counsellor too. Not that medical professionals have ever helped me before with my weight. In my experience, their main tactic tends to be trying to scare you into losing weight and to give you super basic advice like drink less beer and don’t eat jelly babies. I’ve also been on Groupon and booked a cheap hypnotherapist and I’m going to get the weight hypnotised off me. (I’ve also booked a cheap colonic hydrotherapy session on Groupon – that’s what “Dr” Gillian McKeith used to always make her “clients” do on You Are What You Eat.) (And if you think I’m not going to write a blogpost about getting water pumped up my bum, then you don’t know me at all.)

Also, I’m not just going to be blogging about it. Because I’m a social media whore, I’ve started a new Instagram account. It’s going to be over-the-top – it’s www.instagram.com/theweightlosshomo – follow if you like!

I’m going to get there.

By the way, I was sick for four weeks and gaining weight and stopped running. I’m not going to be able to do the Stockholm Marathon in June like I promised. I already had the flights booked, so I’m just going to have to But fear not, I’ve already registered for the Dublin Marathon in October. Training starts again this week. I think the Dublin Marathon is fitting. I tried it in 2010 and failed, but 2018 Connor is different. London Connor is different. And he’s back.

 

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Impulse purchase

Being sick sucks. I’ve somehow managed to get a four-week cold that got worse every week. I had so many plans that just went by the wayside. I’ve basically spent a month doing nothing but working, coughing and sleeping. I’ve wasted theatre tickets that I’d paid for and just didn’t have the energy to go to see the shows and I’ve refused social invitations and slept and not got better.

On Monday night last week, I woke up in the middle of the night, confused and feverish. And in one of the more over-dramatic events of the last while, I fainted while peeing. Another first for Connor. Then, last weekend, my glands hardened up and one side of my face ballooned to three times the size of the other.

I finally went to a doctor yesterday. Going to a doctor for a cold seems a bit excessive to me, but I guess this was an unshakeable monster of a cold. The doctor confirmed that I did indeed have a cold (and was somewhat dehydrated) and had some bronchitis. She gave me some antibiotics (free ones – I love the NHS!) and sent me on my way.

Two weeks ago, I got an ad via the Growlr app, telling me that there was a “Bear Carnival” happening in Gran Canaria. Now, I’m no fan of bear culture, and its obsession with macho, hairy, sweaty sex and its obsession with beards and checked shirts and rugby and Marvel movies. But, in most taxonomies, I am a bear. And I guess I should be putting myself “out there”. I booked flights for a three-day visit to Gran Canaria on a whim, presuming I’d be over my cold by the time I left. As it happens, I’m on the train to the airport now, I’m still coughing and spluttering and my initial vision of me going to “bear pool parties” and “bear sex parties” has basically been replaced with the idea of sleeping in the heat until I stop producing quite so much phlegm.

Whatever I do, I’m sure it’ll be interesting. I’m staying in a “gays-only” development, not one of the official Bear Carnival accommodation blocks, because they were full, so just one for gays in general, regardless of their bearishness. I don’t know what a gay hotel is like. I’m rarely in male spaces. Will it be like secondary school again? Who knows! Watch this space!

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Being Queer

[NSFW, but not in the way my NSFW posts are usually NSFW. And there’s definitely a TMI paragraph towards the end.]

Compassionate straight people say things like “a gay guy is the same as a straight guy except instead of liking girls, he likes lads.”

That definition has never really worked for me. First of all, “lad” is not a word I use. It has a sporty heterosexual feel to it, like “bloke” or “mate”. Secondly, I know it’s important that straight people need to see how we’re similar to them so that they don’t jail us or put us to death or whatever, but that definition doesn’t describe me.

Even as a child and young teenager, I was aware that all books and movies and TV shows and life around me tended towards the same conclusion. The main aim of all humans was to end up getting the girl or getting the guy. And I knew that wasn’t for me. I knew it.

I was speaking to another gay recently and he said that he knew he wasn’t into having a girlfriend long before he started having feelings about other guys. I get that. I felt the same. The choices presented to me as a child didn’t seem realistic for me.

I’ve written before about the culture I used to identify with as a young teenager. I would repeatedly read the passage in Little Women where Jo rejects Laurie and I would make myself cry as he rowed off in a rage. I loved her decision that she didn’t need a man, that she would be alone and she would care for her sisters and she would write books. I found that very appealing. I similarly loved the character of Mrs Anna in The King and I. She was a widow and had no intention of finding a man. I would sing Hello Young Lovers to myself, pretending I was Mrs Anna and all my loves were in the past and it seemed so fitting. The first time I remember crying at the TV was when Selina left Home and Away in the mid-90s. She left a message on Jesse’s answering machine, explaining why she couldn’t be with him.

Do I know why I identified with these women going it alone? No. But I know my identity wasn’t shaped by falling in love with men. That happened too. But it was mainly a matter of knowing that I was apart. I was separate. The life of the majority wasn’t my life.

My mother’s concept of a good life is one where you have children and you love them and you raise them well. And she’s not alone – all culture and society suggested the same to me. She doesn’t know of another way of living a good life. Not being married with children is a wasted life for her. Being queer means having to find a new way to live a good life.

Being gay isn’t simply a matter of being the same as everyone else except preferring penises to vaginas. It’s about being completely lost in your culture and in your family and in your country and in your sense of what it means to be a person and to be a good person. That’s why I think I prefer to be queer than to be gay. Because this identity thing that I’ve somehow found myself with isn’t just a variant of mainstream sexuality. It’s its own thing.

I’ve got better at “being gay” since I came to London. I’ve met up with so many men and I’ve been with more guys in the last year than I was in the entire 35 years before that. I’m getting better at it. I’m no longer unsure of how to kiss. Although I don’t think I’m very good at it. No man has told me that I am anyway, and as a millennial I need constant affirmation and likes to know I’m doing the right thing. But anyway, I no longer feel like breaking off every kiss midway through to ask if I’m doing it right. I’ve got better at the whole being with men thing over the last year since I moved here.

Do I like it? Yes. Mostly. Kind of. I was telling a friend of mine about the creepy guy who I met up with because he wanted me to squash him. My friend asked if I’d wanted to meet him and I said no, but that I had a blogpost to write. He was a little shocked I think. I do want to try new things. And there’s definitely doubt. A lot of it.

What do I like? I like men seeing me. As a fat man, I don’t feel like people look at me. They tend to avert their gaze because my body is so unpleasant to look at. So I love when a man really looks at me and appreciates what he sees.

I like to be naked with men and to hug and squeeze. I feel euphoric after I get with guys. Even gross guys. I have two theories to explain this euphoria. One is that I’m starved of affection and touch, that I have “skin hunger” and that these encounters with men allow me to drink up all the affection and body contact that my body has been craving for so long. My other explanation for the euphoria is that I spent twenty years believing I was just too fat to be loved and now that it’s happening I can’t quite believe it.

Do I enjoy the actual sex? It’s ok. I don’t think I like it as much as you’re meant to. There are certainly plenty of times when I just wish he’d hurry up and come so we can cuddle and chat. I find it singularly unpleasant when a man touches my penis and I discourage it, which I know sets me apart from the average man. There are times when I’m lying there and wondering if I’m asexual, or if I’d enjoy it more if I had a vagina and the whole affair was a bit more comfortable. And then there are the men who expect me to come too. Which is awkward but which I can manage if I close my eyes and imagine someone else instead of me being there. As I’ve written before, I was never a character in my own sexual fantasies when growing up. I was just too fat and sexless to be a character in my own fantasies so even now I have to imagine I’m not there in order to come. I know I’m not the only one. My most significant partner since arriving in London, Train Platform Boy, told me about his long-term ex, an obese man who could only ever come when they were together if he was watching porn on his phone at the same time.

So I’m at this intersection of fat and queer and I have all this Catholic guilt to deal with and I’m not even sure I want the non-sex parts. I mean, I do like the idea of softening up and allowing a man into my life. But I romanticise my lonely life too and I pine to be alone when I’ve spent too long with other people. I’ve lived alone for most of the last fifteen years and I would find that very hard to give up. I don’t want someone knowing what time I get up or how often I go to the loo or what I eat for breakfast and I don’t want someone else squeezing my toothpaste in the wrong part of the tube or moving the milk in the fridge.

I do like some of the things couples do though. A lesbian couple I used to work with told me about how they were reading The Hunger Games aloud to each other, taking a chapter each in turn. This sounded like the cosiest, most loving proposition I’d ever heard. And I’m also jealous of a gay colleague of mine, who watches RuPaul’s Drag Race with his boyfriend and the idea of having someone to shriek at drag queens on telly with sounds really lovely to me.

But if I’m honest, I’ve got no idea what I want. I’m confused, which you’re not meant to be at 37, but I am. And I think that’s why I love the life I’m living. I’m open to trying things and being confused and seeing where I’ll end up instead of being closed in fear as I was for so long. I’m having some unpleasant experiences along the way but at least I’m having them. Living is an awful lot better than not living, and I intend to keep it up.

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Pre-Valentine

Like, can I just make a standard NSFW disclaimer? Project Connor has morphed into Project Connor XXX now. Maybe I should give an SFW warning on the non-sexy-time posts. Anyway, this one isn’t awfully NSFW. If you survived the last blogpost, this one should be fine.

After my awful, awful man-who-wanted-to-be-squashed, I knew the next man had to be better. And he was.

One night, during an interval at the theatre, I was having had a good day, and feeling totally head-over-heels in love with London again. I opened Growlr to see who was online. I got chatting to a few men, and started arranging to meet one of them. He didn’t say much, but he politely asked me what show I was seeing and whether I was enjoying it. Sometimes, while all the other men are asking you for photos of your bottomhole, a man asking you about your life is just lovely. We didn’t have a long conversation or anything, but we established that he was from Sweden and would be up for “kissing and naked cuddling and nothing too kinky” the first time. Phew. That was exactly what I needed.

On Sunday afternoon, we were due to have our naked cuddle. I sent him my address and changed my bedclothes. It is wonderful to have a man over from time to time, as it forces you to wash the sheets.

He arrived. He was a rarity. Someone who was better-looking in real life than in his photo. I gave him a glass of water and asked him his name. (It is at moments like these, when we’ve already agreed to get naked together and he’s in my house and I find myself not sure of what his name is, that I really realise that my life is different from that of the straights.)

We kissed on the couch and I took him to my bedroom. He was of East Asian heritage and Oh My God, the break from the monotony of sweaty, hairy, white lads was a delight. It was really lovely. Initially, while he needed to get off, it was a bit more than cuddling. In fact, I nearly dislocated my jaw because hashtag-not-all-Asians.

But after he was done, I was determined. I told him he was going to lie under the duvet and we were going to cuddle for a while before he left. And he obeyed. My needs are few.

I love a cuddle. I love body contact. The rest is fun, but the cuddle is the pinnacle. The safety, the anchor, the comfort. I was cuddle-deprived for far too long in my life. More of this in a minute.

Did I like my Asian Swede? Sure. He had lovely skin. He was attentive and kind. He stayed for the cuddle without objecting.

But we have no future. In the ninety minutes we spent together, he said almost nothing. All I remember him saying is “Yes”, “No”, “OK”, “I’m close”, “Do you want it?” and “I can’t wear contact lenses. They just fall out of my eyes.”

I need a man who says more than that. So the hunt goes on.

But I’m in the game. For so long, I wasn’t. I’m turning 37 next week. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. For the first time in my 36 years, I could actually spend Valentine’s with someone. I won’t, because I don’t want to. But I could. I really could. It’s really unbelievable how much my life has changed and is changing.

I’m a simple creature and small things make a difference. And sometimes it boils down to the fact that the security I get from the availability of man-cuddles makes me feel safer and makes me feel braver. ❤

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Squashing

NSFW and TMI warnings. This is a post that you mightn’t want to read if you have to look me in the eyes very often.

I’ve already written about this man. He’d been texting me about meeting up. He wanted me to squash him and the idea of taking on a more dominant role in the bedroom seemed like a fun experiment to me. We’d been due to meet up one Sunday afternoon and he’d cancelled on me because he thought four hours wouldn’t be enough time because he wanted to meet in a pub first and get to know me a bit so we’d both be at ease.

In between the cancellation and the actually meet-up, he drove me half-mad with texts. He’d whatsapp every day, four or five times a day. And we’d have the same conversation every time. Every time, he’d describe what he wanted me to do to him, what I should wear and how he wanted to come. It was fine the first time, but after 20 of the same conversations, I was already pissed off with him. He’d panic if I didn’t answer. Pestering me with more and more texts until I would answer and promise to wear a tight t-shirt that my belly would hang out under.

So I got the Tube to finally meet him. I live in Zone 3 in South London. He lives in Zone 4 in North London. It’s a long journey. As instructed, I was wearing my smallest and tightest underpants, which dug into me horribly. I was also wearing a t-shirt that was too small for me. I had my jeans hiked up high, but his plan was for us to go to a pub together and let my belly hang out from under my t-shirt while we had a pint and got to know each other, so I could “tease him with my fat” until we went back to his for the squashing session.

All the way to the station, I kept thinking “what have I agreed to?” But London Connor is open to new experiences and this was certainly that.

I arrived at the station. I’d seen one photo of this man. He looked fine. A little older than me, slim with a squarish face. This photo wasn’t exactly a lie, but he didn’t look as good as that in reality. As he approached, he did the single unsexiest thing a man can do while walking up to you before a sexual encounter. He took out a tissue and blew his nose.

He looked like a dad. Not in a good way. Imagine one of your friends’ dads from when you were a teenager. Your most boring dad of a friend. That’s what he looked like. But blowing his nose. Sigh. I’d come all this way. I may as well sleep with him.

He’d picked a pub. We went in. It was a family pub and everyone was having Sunday lunch with their kids and their mothers-in-law. No. This was not somewhere where I could sit with my belly dangling out for him to admire. It was far too well lit for that. And also there was a general smell of chicken nuggets in the air. Was this the least sexy day of my life? Possibly.

He agreed that this pub wasn’t a good choice. I suggested we go straight back to his. The bit I didn’t say was “and get this over with”.

He led me out of the pub and up to a large, expensive, black car. Oh my god. I had to let him drive me to his house. So many alarm bells went off in my head. Seriously. What was I up to, sitting into a car with a strange man like this?

I got in. We had some idle chat as he drove. He told me he worked in “credit management”. Does that mean he’s a debt collector? Gross. Not only does he look like a dad, but he talks like one. He kind of mutters every word as if talking is for womenfolk and not for the likes of us.

I decided to tuck my jeans under my belly and let it hang out under my t-shirt while he drove. I didn’t wear this bloody tiny t-shirt for no reason. He was delighted. He complimented my belly. He swerved once or twice because he couldn’t keep his eyes on the road with my belly hanging out like that. I asked if he’d been squashed before. He’d had three other guys do it apparently. I asked if he had much other experience. He said he’d had a serious boyfriend for years but they broke up last year. The last boyfriend hadn’t been fat. I wanted to ask so many questions. Was he unhappy because his previous boyfriend couldn’t squash him and “tease him with his fat”? I didn’t ask any of them.

He pulled up at a nice-looking 1970s block of flats. I got out, and while he parked the car, I considered making a run for it, but decided that would be unkind.

We got up to his flat. He had me take my shoes off. The flat was very clean. Very, very clean. He’d clearly hoovered the cream-coloured carpets that morning. While it was sweet to think that he’d cleaned up for me, there was something very American Psycho about the apartment. All the furniture and fittings were modern and they were spotless. And the place had no personality. None. No pictures or posters or wall-hangings. No books, or DVDs, or magazines, or anything with any personality anywhere in the house. Terrifying. He gave me a glass of water in the kitchen and led me into the bedroom, another personality-free room. He walked over to the bed, folded the duvet in four and lifted up, saying, “Well we won’t be needing this” and put it to one side on the floor. I don’t know why, but this was by far the most terrifying thing so far.

We undressed. He undressed fully, folding his clothes carefully before putting them aside. I left on my tiny uncomfortable underpants, as he’d told me to. His eyes lit up and he invited me to sit on his chest.

Have you ever climbed on a skinny man’s chest and sat with legs astride his head? It’s not comfortable. We alternated positions. I kept sitting on his chest. Sometimes I was to lean back and tickle his balls. Other times I was to lean forward and pin his arms down over his head while my belly battered his face. He wanted my weight to make him struggle to breathe.

The position was so weird that I strained my left hip and could barely walk for the next two days. I guess this counts as my first sex injury. Yay?

When we took breaks to let him breathe, I could see the imprint of my uncomfortably tiny underpants on his chest. Within ten minutes of starting, he was telling me how great it was and asking if we could make this a regular thing. I smiled and said yes, worried about what would happen if I said no.

He also “worshipped my fat”, by grabbing my belly and squeezing it between his fingers. This wasn’t worship. This was pinching. I had a ring of bruises round my belly when I woke up the next morning. Sex is dangerous.

The only bit I enjoyed was “belly slapping”. While leaning over his face, I would lift my belly and let it slap his face. I didn’t derive any sexual pleasure from this, but it was kind of like finding a new toy. I didn’t know my belly could do that.

Eventually I got him to come, with his face between my thighs. He’d threatened to come a few times but I asked if it was ok if we left it at one orgasm. Thankfully it was. I got dressed and left.

Can you count it as sex if you didn’t kiss and you didn’t take off your underwear?

I got on the Tube, relief washing over me. Never again. Because I’m a nice person, I texted him to say “thanks” for hosting and didn’t dump him immediately. This was mistake.

The next day, I sent him what I hoped was a kind message, telling him thanks but it wasn’t my thing and I wouldn’t be visiting again.

He didn’t believe me.

He texted me every day for a week asking, “Didn’t you enjoy me worshipping your fat and making me cum?” He also told me we could do other things. He was up for “anything apart from anal”. He texted me so often that I had to firmly answer again that I just wasn’t interested.

He answered that I must have other reasons that I wasn’t telling him.

I ignored him again. What was I meant to do? Text him and say that I just didn’t find him attractive and the whole meet-up kind of squicked me out?

Eventually, after ten days, he stopped texting me.

The next man will be different. The next man will be better.

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Baby’s first harness

Not NSFW or anything, but maybe a bit TMI.

Connor’s journey of queer self-discovery continues.

I went shopping in Soho today. To a leather/fetish/sex shop. I wanted to buy a leather harness.

Why?

Well, for a number of reasons:

  1. As I mentioned above, London Connor is on a journey of queer self-discovery and a bit of bondage gear seems basically compulsory to achieve that.
  2. Men on the kind of sites and apps I frequent, seem to really like when men who look like me wear leather straps and chains and collars and the like.
  3. I like stripes. I know that in this context this sounds nuts, but I do. I love stripes. I find a man wearing a stripey t-shirt automatically sexier than a man in a not stripey t-shirt. I love striped clothes, striped carpets, striped tablecloths. I just like stripes. It’s one of the reasons I like braces and ties. They add stripes to the man. And a leather harness adds stripes to a man’s torso.
  4. London Connor is all about being brave and doing things I’ve never done before.

So here I was, standing outside the shop. It only took me about seven minutes to work up the courage to go in. I’d been in sex shops before, but only to buy jokey presents for other people, never to buy anything that would require me to try it on and to interact with a shop assistant. Oh Brave New Connor!

I walked in. There was a man chatting to the shop assistant. They were talking about their masturbation habits. Out loud. As if they were just exchanging gardening tips or something. There was also a young male/female couple in the shop, maybe 22 or 23, from Japan or Korea. I’m not sure they realised it was a shop mainly directed at the gay man.

I went to look at the rack of leather harnesses. I was completely bewildered by the choices available.

I walked up to the counter and interrupted the masturbation chat. Oh my god. The shop assistant had a t-shirt with a slogan about fisting. That’s right. Fisting. He was also wearing leather trousers. He spoke with a Northern Irish accent. I wonder if his mother knows where he works. Or if he wears his fisting t-shirt when he’s at home in Northern Ireland.

I told him I was interested in a harness but I couldn’t figure out the sizing.

“Let’s try a few on ye,” he said, leading me back to the rack of harnesses.

He told me about H-front harnesses and Y-front harnesses and X-front harnesses. He showed me where the various straps and buckles went. We brought two different types of harness to the changing room.

“You can try them on over your shirt or take your shirt off. And I can put them on you or you can put them on yourself.”

I took off my shirt and said, “It’s probably easier if you put them on me.” Because those are the kinds of choices I make now.

Well, if this isn’t a London Connor moment, then I don’t know what is. There I am, in a bondage-wear shop in Soho, topless, while a man from County Antrim wearing a shirt celebrating fisting, straps me into a variety of leather harnesses, being careful not to catch any of my hairs.

The harnesses didn’t all fit, but I didn’t expect them to. And the strap that’s meant to sit across the middle of your pecs is actually way above mine, because my moobs are fairly pendulous so my nipples are surprisingly low, but nonetheless, I love my new harness. It’s black leather with red edges and I look like the bomb in it. I’m sure I’ll post a photo to Instagram before too long.

Now I just need to find the right occasion to premiere it at.

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