My good friend Whittle mentioned QaF today, reminding me of a little incident that occurred seven years ago.
New to uni, two friends and I had just set up house together. It was really liberating, no landlords, parents or other nags around. We could do whatever we liked and we indulged in it: smoking, drinking at all hours, Mary Jane, staying up all night and not going to class. It was a recipe for disaster but it never came knocking on our door.
So one night, us three and another friend were taking bong hits. It must have been a Sunday night because I would, in my old, private room, guiltily sneak a peak at a TV show that intrigued me. It was a series about a group of homosexuals living and loving in the UK: Queer as Folk. It had made major waves over there but it never did much in my country. But it was a bombshell to me.
So we're sitting on the couches and one of my friends gets bored and picks up the remote and starts flipping channels. And of course, he hits QaF on RTL5, at it's most salient. It's impossible to miss.
"So what the hell is this?"
Blood rises to my cheeks. I feel terribly uncomfortable and ashamed, for no good reason, really. It's just television, it has nothing to do to with me or the real world.
"It looks like two guys having sex."
I try to say this in my most neutral, non-judgmental and disinterested voice, and I think I pulled it off.
"Oh yeah", says the friend who doesn't live in my house. "That must be that queer series. I've heard of this thing."
"I know!" I want to proclaim. But of course, I don't. I was dying to watch this episode with a bottle of wine.
And it was a really good scene we dropped in on: Stuart screwing Nathan. Hot stuff, and oh so graphic to my innocent eyes.
I will never forget how long it took to change the channel. There were no derogatory remarks about gay sex, just a stunned silence. All four of us were watching the (hot) grappling on the bed. The lack of explicit homophobia surprised but pleased me.
This has over the years become an iconic moment for me.
Fast forward to 2005.
One drunken night, my suspicions were confirmed: one of my two roommates is definitely gay but severely closeted. Vaulted is probably a better word for his situation. I feel for him, but it is a journey he has to make himself.
The friend who did not live with us, well he came out last year. We've since lost touch but I'm sure I will be meeting him again, somewhere along my journey. He had a tight little body I craved for a while. This wasn't a crush, but rather the desire to have sweaty, hard, pumpin' sex with him. A genuine masculine screwing, not romance, no candlelight cuddling. There were definitely signals I should have picked up on, but come on, the guy had a girlfriend and gaydar was something Bender had.
My other roommate was and is straight and I've never doubted that.
Three out of four. Who would have thought that, that night in 2000?