I am what one would call in the gay world, vanilla…like the ice cream. In fact, I have often joked that inside me lives an Afrikaans woman called Elsabé Kritzinger, who is very old school to the point where she can’t even utter the word “sex” and uses words like “shenanigans” a la Miranda Hart. Elsabé dreams of white picket fences and violin music and bakes. A lot. While Elsabé is as straight-laced as they come, she does love a glass of vodka (a bottle is glass, right?) and then she giggles and dreams of a world where there are flavours outside of vanilla. She dreams of Rocky Road and Macadamia Nut Brittle. But she will always choose the vanilla. It never really satisfies her, but she understands vanilla and is comfortable with vanilla. It’s just who she is.
My circle of friends, however, all have Rizzo from Grease living inside of them and are comfortable exploring many different avenues of life, ones that would make Elsabé tear a tissue in half out of angst. Perhaps it’s the old principle of “opposites attract” at work. And chances are, if someone catches my eye they are either straight, involved or married, strictly bottom or a vibrant tub of Neapolitan with which I am not familiar. But I love my friends as they are and live vicariously through their wild stories and crazy adventures.
I recently discovered, however, that one of my friends is living a life of chocolate and chilli but thinks like vanilla. It was a conversation that has haunted me for weeks now, and it was the following words that shook my foundation:
“I am a person who achieves physical gratification through inserting large objects and people’s hands in his rectum. I sometimes want to scream when I am surrounded by people because I feel so lonely and unworthy. I don’t get why people talk to me.”
I went ice cold. This is really how someone feels? Because of what turns them on? I was instantly transported to growing up in North West Province where homosexuality itself was treated with the almighty Afrikaans “SIES”, and it was either not discussed or “moered” out of you.
We live in a society that tells us how to think, what to wear, where to eat and how to exercise. Our society tells us which hairstyles look best and which celebrity is relevant and trendy and now society wants to tell us what we may do behind closed doors and how we should feel about that? No, my darlings. Not today.
Here is the most important thing to remember. If you are into Kink or anything left of centre in the bedroom, does that make you different? Sure. Does it make you vile or unworthy? Not even slightly. We have lived with enough judgment from outside sources and fought too hard to get to where we are without ripping ourselves to shreds.
To my dear friend, if you read this. You are worthy, you shine like a million stars, and there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, perhaps you need to sit down and educate my inner Elsabé. Who knows, perhaps she is due for a flavour change.
Craig Stadler is a contributing writer for Anova Health Institute. These are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.