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© Copyright 2003 Kenneth Mulholland  

'Assume the Position.'

Eroticism and Pornography? (Well not quite pornography. Here we will only use the feather and not the entire chicken.)

A short story involving Observation and Assumption.
By Kenneth Mulholland.


Let us begin with a stick figure. You know, the thing you drew when you were a little kid.

We start with a circle for the head, then we draw a line straight down which is the body and we make two lines coming off the end to be the legs and further up, two more lines that are the arms.

Now let's use our imagination.

Here comes our little stick figure, walking down the street, and in front of him a banana skin, whoops! There he goes, straight up, and lands, almost on a sidewalk chair, except that someone moves it to sit on and instead our stick figure lands flat on his back on...a mattress that two delivery men are pulling out of a truck!

O.K. About as funny as a bag full of snakes. Yet if we take ourselves back eighty-plus years and substitute Charlie Chaplin for our stick figure, we have a hilarious sequence that would have rocked audiences in the days of silent films.

Observation. Humour has come a long way since then.


Now back to our stick figure. If we draw a base-down triangle on his stem we have a dress and he, becomes a she.

But she is not a stick figure. She is a real live woman: a very attractive young women carrying a fishing rod, about to take the same disastrous step.

And there she goes, feet slipping out from under her, blonde hair and skirt whirling, arms and legs flashing as she pitches backward... to be caught up in the strong arms of a man close behind her.

He is wearing a yellow and green, horizontally banded, chest hugging tee-shirt, a red beret perched jauntily upon his brow, and looks a little like the dancer Gene Kelly in his vigorous prime.

Observation. Slight humour, and the possibility of some kind of romantic beginning. We have moved on into the forties and fifties of the last century.


'Speaking of young attractive women, I have to declare that I do have a vested interest in them.

I think it has to do with their skin. Women have such wonderful skin, especially young women; it seems so sensual: smooth, silky soft, pliant, resilient; beautifully coloured through a scale of milky white to peaches and cream to sun ripened gold to deep, rich brown and ebony black. And it covers every contour, every subtle, intriguing mystery of their bodies. And bodies are what I'm about... Well, that can come a little later. I mean there is so much to think and say about women: their hair styles, makeup, nails...Oh yes, I am beginning to ramble. But take a look at that girl! I say "girl" because she keeps herself looking that way: cheap high heels, short skirt, cigarette, gum-chewing, blousy shirt, bottle-blonde hair, and see the guy she's with! Some kind of jumped-up, muscled, French Adonis. Oh dear, I wince at them.

And that's not to say that I don't appreciate men's skin. I do. Especially the kind of skin that's been worked over in the weather, sort of stretched and parched and tanned, rising over lazy muscles in arms and necks, legs and buttocks. Admirable skin, I admit.

Yet women's skin is superior.

Perhaps, because it lacks hair. Yes, that has something to do with it.

I do find male cyclist's legs interesting though. They seem erotic to me, shaved smooth; lots to be said about depilation.

It must be the look, and the feel... If you ever get to feel.

Then there are swimmers, the male variety of course. Their skin is always hair free, sometimes even their heads; must be tricky keeping your head shaved. But some find bald heads sexy. What about you? It certainly must be a different sensation; running your hand through a mass of tousled nothing. With men it seems alright to shave their heads, but female swimmers don't do it.


Now look over there. Here's an example of what I think a women should be all about. Yes her, the one just coming out of the revolving doors of my office block. How well dressed is she? Must be in her mid twenties like the girl on the corner, but oh so much better turned out. It's the suit, such a simple creation: dark blue, with the matching court shoes and my, look at her colouring: hair, hands, bearing, and her skin! Makes my heart sing.

I do love a well designed suit.

I'm into women's clothing.

Not quite literally of course. I am a "Suit". You know, one of Them; "The Suit Brigade", the trendies that wear the greys and blues and, on occasion, browns...Though only on occasion. I'm a Fashion House designer of women's clothes.

I work over there in that very large building you see before you across the street.

Ah! "The Street of Broken Dreams," as my fellow designers and I name it. As of course we should, considering the dramas and the lacerations of the design world: its failed hopes and tragedies of torn and cut and sullied fabrics; its remorseless ongoing regime of ever-rising success and plunging, hopeless disasters. But that's another story. Don't dwell on it Adrian. Move on.


So, as I was saying, I'm a "Suit", and here I suppose I should also mention that I am...gay.

Oh, and now I rub my brow; not too sure of that disclosure, but eventually these things will out. And after all, I'm not coming out of the closet. I never allowed myself to be closeted in the first place. I always did my very best to let my family and friends know how I felt.

My family...well they were, how shall I put it, they were difficult. But, and I say "but" because as it so worked out, my Father, in a conversation strictly between him and me, admitted to a brief same-sex liaison in his early college years and Mother (How can Mothers and Fathers know about these things?) told me recently of her own youthful affair with a winsome undergrad. My older Sister and younger Brother laughed a lot. Gayness doesn't seem to bother them. "Your problem". That was all Tim had to say. He did mutter something about "convertibles" under his breath. But how can you be angry at somebody with such a big grin?

Andrea just patted me on the head and said, "Go with your heart."

Now you know why they were difficult. I had to juggle both my parent's admissions, my siblings reactions and my own yearnings, and make it come out right.

Not an easy task. I mean, being gay isn't something you choose. It's not just a life style. It's what you are, what turns you on, what you find fascinating about another like human being; I should correct that, about other like human beings, until you find 'the one' that will become your soul mate. Oh sure, there are plenty of people who are only looking for the quick one night stand, but there are many more of us who want a full time commitment.

Noel Coward is a favourite of mine. Such a brilliant mind in times that were difficult for gay people, you know, times when they couldn't go 'public'. How he and others must have stressed. Discretion would have been the "watch-word" way back then.

Does it surprise you that I recall Coward? Yes, he is long before my time. I'm only hitting thirty now, and still wondering about children. "Fine", I hear you say, "same sex couples and children. Why should they be interested in kids? They've chosen their way to go" And perhaps you're right. What right have we to want to bring up a child? Yet there you are, some of us do.

Of course it's much more difficult than any heterosexual situation and fraught with all kinds of pitfalls.

And, if you are pursuing a professional life, there are many sacrifices to be endured.

My companion sees it as being all too difficult. And one must consider the long lasting effects on a child brought up in such a situation. Though I would hope it to be a loving environment. But how can you ever be certain of any long lasting situation?


Here I draw a long breath.

Expelling it, I guess I can continue. Being a "Fashion Suit" I get to see and feel the blood of the industry and the stench of it too. It's a cut-throat, ruthless business. But perhaps we shouldn't go there. Not relevant.

Better, I think, to stay where we are; here on the street corner, watching...


So, after a rather animated, lengthy conversation, the guy in the striped tee-shirt picks up the blonde "skirt's" fishing rod and cradling it in the crook of his arm, walks her toward an alley. She blows a bubble with her chewing-gum and they vanish around the corner.


And they vanish! Get that?

What? Why? Well...To do the thing that people do, most times in private, sometimes in public...Or almost in public.

I can't cope with that. I mean, being sexually open in public...Then again I do remember a few times, a long time ago you understand, when we were in our teens and it seemed a challenge to exhibit ourselves... But that was for the fun of it.

Nowadays, people simply do It in public toilets. I... don't like that.

One must consider hygiene, decorum even.


Now, about clothing: suits in particular. They drape the body and, if very well cut, can assume the look and even govern the shape of the figure they cover.

That's what I'm about, being a part of the Fashion World. I adore choosing and designing the fabrics and shapes that adorn the female form. Pardon the pun, but I'm cut out for it. It's my gift to women. And they seem to respond to my ideas. So fulfilling, even though being gay, as you might understand, has certain drawbacks. It's not easy to remain reserved when people become aware of your sexual preferences. Still, there is the adrenaline rush of being a part of a big design company, and I do have several like-minded colleagues: both in ambition and sexual inclination. So, all in all, my situation is better than I should ever have hoped.


The ballet?

Oh, of course I know you didn't mention it. It's simply something that just popped into my mind unbidden. Probably because my friend and I have seats reserved for tonight. "Swan Lake." How eloquent, how delightful: the women, powdered white, their tights so tight and touchable, those delicious ballet shoes lashed to their tortured feet, their arms flailing, wilting, beckoning.

The males? Oh the male ballet dancers of course, my favourites: so masculine, so very High Camp, so appealing to the voyeurs of ballet; those beautifully finished, sequined jackets, all that bulging maleness, skin-gripping tights and leotards oozing with testosterone and libido...

What can I say?

I suppose it's why heterosexual men like to watch women's netball or especially, beach volley ball.


Anyway... Oh there's my friend now. So sorry but you'll have to excuse me... Good grief, look at the time!

Lucky I finished early and booked a table for us at Baxter's. Such an intimate little restaurant, very private, great seafood. You see a lot of gay couples there; men and women, but it also attracts straights. Food is a wonderful leveller. Straight or gay, we all have to eat, and where better than a place with thoughtful service and fine food? Besides, Arnold Baxter is a friend of Dads. They've known each other since college days. And the chef there, Roald, is Arnold's companion and friend of many years. They have a very comfortable home on the west side, and let me tell you it's quite some residence. My friend and I have been there for dinner on several occasions, you know: food, wine, music, dancing. And as it turns out, we have a mutual favourite in Johnny Mathis. Tony Bennet and K.D Lang too. Some singers! And an interesting combination of people. I suppose if we threw in, oh, I don't know, you pick a straight female singer, we would have a composite of all genders and preferences... But anyway, I really do have to go. Dinner and the ballet, and a long weekend to come. I once knew a singer who spent a weekend in bed with a sailor. I was told that their feet never touched the floor! Can you believe? Bye now.


"Hello Lover, here comes a cab. Who was that? Oh just someone I was speaking with to pass the time. Nobody to be of concern. How did your 'french' design-pattern succeed? Wow! Breathtaking response!

You can show me all in the back seat..."


The Feather.

Now, was that a gay man, a homosexual; or a gay woman, a lesbian?

I think that's best left up to you.


The Chicken?

So we have this little girl stick-figure brandishing a fishing rod.

Ah yes, the fishing rod.

There she is: blonde, blowsy, chewing gum; concentrating on the line, where it dangles into a bucket of brine.

The cool Dude on the wharf sidles up to her and says, 'Hey Cuteness, how many you caught this morning?'

She blows a bubble. 'Honey, you're the twenty-third.'


Something about, 'Hook, Line, and Stick Figure.'

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