History · Past · Present · Rome · Story · Travels

Those random life experiences

With the prodding of a few friends and my own restlessness, this summer I attended an LGBTQ festival, locally held and small in comparison to others held in cities like Toronto.

When I first entered the park square where the Pride event was being held, an older woman with a bucket in her hand asked me to donate, I believe to some anti-bullying of LGBTQ youth campaign, which I readily did. She then handed me a most amusing rainbow sticker that read, “Quit hitting on me, I gave already.” I suspect this was so that others collecting money would not constantly hound me to donate when I already had, and I applauded their sense of social decency because I do loathe to be bothered when I am trying to think and observe. I like to stay a while in my contemplative bubble, taking in my surroundings and assessing my reactions. I prefer it when my every step is deliberate. Ultimately to decide if I am satisfied to be in a certain place, or satisfied to be in a certain scene. I like to study everything and everyone, and therefore how my mind is able to categorise all experiences.

And this I did. The park is surrounded by water, and every foot or so around the coastline was a rainbow pride flag. I was almost immediately upon entering passed by two young men parading about in only silver hot-pants and angel wings. Then next came a drag queen who was holding her heels and walking barefoot, which seemed understandable considering she was in possession of some very tall red heels that could not have been comfortable in soft grass and dirt. Multi-coloured lights were arranged around the walking path so to give the effect of a rainbow. It was really quite a lovely way to light up the area, and I love colour.

One of the things that surprised me was the number of families there, of men and women with their young children. It was a very pleasant surprise, of course, because barring the presence of a few scantily clad young very self-confident and ambitious men, it was intended to be a family event. At least I imagine that was the intent because, as far as I know, the political climate of gay, bisexual, and transgender pride is moving further away from “sexual liberation” toward “we are normal people, so please stop being insufferable bigots.” It is less about individual sexual freedom for many, and increasingly about how being gay et.al. is not anomalous, but rather a completely normal way of being.

I had the personal fortune to meet a delightful variety of people. I met a very nice table of young men who were handing out information about HIV/AIDS awareness and offering free testing. I was introduced to a wonderfully charming and hilarious drag queen named Rebel who kept trying to give me packets of glitter. I was approached by a rather intoxicated woman and her friend who wanted to tell me in passionate slurs about how the zombie apocalypse will come about, and with all sincerity what I could do to survive (which included beer, zombie support memorabilia, and feminine hygiene products). I was called over by a table of motherly looking older women who were inviting people to a BDSM conference this February, and who told me with a wink “we can always spot one of our own.” I even met someone who wanted to talk to me about installing weatherproofing to my windows.

There was an inclusiveness there that is rarely found in wider communities, a sense that there is something fundamental shared that, no matter what other differences exist, there is still a vital link between you and everyone else that makes friendship with everyone around you possible. It has always stunned me that modern times, with all of its science and logic, can be so backwards in time with certain beliefs, and that people are still wrestling to “secularise” the body. People are absolutely born with their sexual preferences, and this is not a defect or a sin. The idea of sin is absurd anyway, because sins are like taxes: the powerless suffer under the weight of them while the powerful profit from finding loopholes that justify their unethical and immoral behaviour.

In Rome, we had no strictly defined word for homosexual. It was understood that gay relations amongst men would occur, of course, and we did have rules that regulated the behaviour such as that it was acceptable to be the passive partner only until one came of age, became a man, usually determined by the coming of age ceremonies or when facial hair began to sprout. Indeed, it was thought by many that being the passive partner to another older man was one of the ways in which a boy could learn how to be a man, but then there are others who dismiss this as a lingering perversion of the decadent Greeks.

But I digress.

From the time maturity onward, it was only acceptable for a man to take part in same sex relations as long as he was the active partner because that was the “masculine” role and Roman males were very much shaped and regulated by “masculine” and “feminine” behaviour. A Roman man was to display no hint of “femininity” in his activities. The sole act of copulating with another man was not considered “feminine” because active sex with a woman was “masculine,” so it was not the sex of partners that mattered, but the role one played in the act itself.

Let us be honest with history. We cannot excuse the social and political criminalisation of sexual preference based on what our religious forefathers (and foremothers) taught. The Bible says it’s a sin. Saint Augustine said it’s a sin. Saint Augustine was a guilty malcontent. Jerome was a self-loathing misogynist of the worst and most destructive, let us not forget greedy, sort. Martin Luther, who many say “liberated” women, really quite disliked the idea of women unless they were within the context of his spiritual understanding, in other words control. I’m certain there are a number of Luther writings floating about where the word “woman” or “women” was used in the same sentence as “devil.” Just as I am also certain that one of our religious forefathers likened the womb of Mary to a “dirty purse” holding the tinkling gold that is Christ the Saviour.

Around the year 600 we are looking at a society of people whose ideas about the body pretty much favoured a very bizarre construct of even “heterosexual” marriage where the most spiritual form of marriage was the chaste marriage. Men and women would marry, but then go and live in separate convents and live chastely, praying to God and all of his auxiliary tendrils. Nurture the soul, not the body. Also, the food was terrible. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, about sex that Christianity liked. If indeed you cannot put your soul above your body, and you MUST fornicate with your marriage partner, do it but make sure you don’t enjoy it and be sure that your goal is to have an offspring. Did I mention don’t enjoy it? Definitely don’t.

So if we must use outdated religious reasons to excuse the differentiation of rights, let us not pick and choose.

I will step off of my podium now.

Near the end of the night I was handed something by a complete stranger who was passing out roses of rainbow colour along with simple compliments. I was a bit surprised when a cloth rose was shoved in my face, and too startled to say anything but “thank you” when he informed me that I had beautiful eyes. To my friend next to me, he said had great taste in hats, and to my other friend that he liked his shade of hair.

Rainbow rose

I am certain I will keep this rose until all of the colour fades from it and it crumbles into dust. Not because of the compliment, but because of the more sublime intent at the core of it: to remind someone that there is always something that they can be valued for.

38 thoughts on “Those random life experiences

  1. Thank you so very much for sharing all your thoughts and experience with us. (I´m still translating “the Notes on Livy and Humour” post xD Thats so cool.)
    It seems that festival was great. We in germany we have the “Christoph Street Day” in Köln. Köln is the main gay city in germany anyway. ^^ I would love to visit such a festival.

    Thats really funny. In another post for you (where I still working for) I came to the subject of pederasty in old greek. And now you are talking about LGBTQ festival and that topic. More or less. ^^

    BDSM? I don´t think you need exercises, guess YOU can teach them very well. Ha. *rawr* Marius *rawr* And you don´t need weatherproofing to your windows? I´m schocked. 😉 lol.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Is the “Christoph Street Day” celebration in Köln an annual event? If so, I would definitely advise you make all effort to go because such festivals are utterly unique and magnificent fun.

      But of course my windows are weatherproof. I have impressive foresight, and therefore home management talents.

      1. Here check it out.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Street_Day

        Would be cool yes, but you always need a lot of money for such events. Therefore I must set priorities. Example: Do I want to go to Japan or rather visit a concert and festival and buy new clothes? (Japan wins of course XD)

        *laugh* Now you sound a bit like Lestat. You cute, old poser, you! 😀

        [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

        1. Have I ever told you how much I adore drag queens? Your Christopher Street Day looks wonderful. The floats, the drag queens, the scantily clad young men. But yes, we must have our priorities, and I would choose Japan myself. I want to spend a long weekend in some place deep in nature in Kyoto.

          I sound like Lestat? Oh no, no, no. You see, darling, he sounds like me.

  2. The way you described the festival you had a really good time. I don’t know if events like that are held where I’m living. On the one hand side, the legal situation of same sex partnerships has improved a lot during the last years and we have a homosexual foreign minister but on the other hand side the word “gay” still carries a mostly negative connotation and is used as an insult.

    What you were saying about Romans and same sex relations: I think I read that in the medieval age punishment for the submissive partner was more severe than for the active partner. Christian law argued that the first was more “unnatural” than the other. But I’m not sure where I read it and if the source is a reliable one.

    Yet another thing comes to my mind reading your post: Is it true that honourable Romand men were not allowed to play musical instruments because it didn’t fit into the image of the strong and virtuos and very masculine man?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. It is a shame that people still look at homosexuality and bisexuality as non-normative behaviour. It’s silly how insistent some people are to care about what others do in their own homes.

      Medieval theologists considered homosexuality a sin against God and nature, though they too lacked a word like “homosexual,” preferring the expressive term “sodomite.” Though this label applied to many different sex acts, both occurring between members of the opposite and same sexes. Really, anything besides vaginal intercourse, with the sole purpose of conception, was considered sodomy. And no other position was allowed but man on top missionary. In the a lot of the documentation is confusing because “anal” sex applied not only to the actual act of anal insertion, but also a form of sex where one man simply rubbed his penis inside the thighs of another. So when theologists rant about the sin of “sodomy,” unless they give details, could be any number of things.

      The Middle Ages was a mess of theological discussion. Every country in Europe seemed to have its own set of rules regarding homosexuality and pederasty. Of course, passive sex meant a man must take the role of a woman, and this in itself was considered a crime against nature. So I suppose if one were to count crimes, an active partner is guilty of a sin against nature in engaging in homosexual activity. But the passive partner is guilty of both homosexual activity and womanly behaviour, and this is a doubt count.

      Playing music was a skill considered too “effeminate” for a Roman man. Women, however, were expected to learn how to play musical instruments, and were taught as girls. The same is said for acting, as no true Roman man became an actor.

      1. Wow…that’s a huge amount of mental energy and creativity used for the sole purpose to prevent people from having fun and enjoying it.
        Did the same apply for homosexual women? No doubt it was a sin, too, but with what a reason? No precious semen wasted in this case, I mean.

        But Nero was a passionate player of the lyra. Was this accepted because he was the emperor and could do whatever he wanted?

        1. You see, the presence of “homosexual women” was something theologians could not understand, and therefore they did not contemplate very much the idea of lesbianism. That is why it is almost invisible in history. There is simply little to account for lesbianism in our historical sources because theologians very rarely discussed sexual relations between women. It is not altogether absent, though. Ambrose, Chrysostom, Bede, and Thomas Aquinas make mention of lesbianism, and these are very notable names in theology. I remember Abelard said that lesbianism was against nature because created a woman’s genitals to be used by men, not other women. It was very much considered a sin against nature by all those who discussed it, and there were both religious and civil laws designed to eliminate and punish lesbianism amongst women. Yet even with the few sources we have, when compared to the amount of information we have about male homosexuality, we see that lesbianism was something discussed very little.

          Firstly, many theologians believed that sex only occurred if there was a penis involved. This says a great deal about the general patriarchy of the time period, to say the least, and certainly phallocentric. That was why two men could have sex–they both had a penis. But with two women, there was the important lack of required anatomical body parts necessary for a sex act to be considered sex. Secondly, many who discussed relations between women felt that they only happened because women wished to emulate men or practise for men, as being a man was considered the more perfect state of being. This sort of logic therefore denies any possibility that lesbianism because it could not separate the idea of a woman’s desire and the male gender. Women existed always to please men.

          In any case, usually lesbian sex was considered less of a crime than male homosexuality because no wasting of precious semen happened. Theodoure of Tarsus, the eight Archbishop of Canterbury, determined that a woman found to have engaged in sexual activity with another woman should pay three years penance. A man who was found to have fornicated with another man was given ten years penance. Borromeo assigned two years for a woman, and as much as fifteen years for a man. Gregory III’s verdict was 160 days for women, and a minimum of one year for men. Make no mistake, some places punished women as severely as they did men, and these were usually the laws that ended in death. Still, overall the trend seems to favour that women received a lesser sentence.

          Nero loved his lyre. It was absolutely and under no condition accepted, and Roman society, especially the wealthy and powerful, scorned him for his “feminine” pleasures. Yet who would say so? Who would speak out against his behaviour? Who would dare call him a woman? He would have had their head on a stick.

  3. Drag queens are adorbale!!! Hey I wonder how you would look like as Drag Queen 😀

    Kyoto must be a wonderful place. Many friends of mine love Kyoto. But they also say it is crowded with tourists. So you like Japan as well?

    *laugh* OMG! Of course he imitates you. Will you forgive me this mistake or I’m going to be punished?

    1. I would be a horrendous looking woman, and you don’t want to put a man as tall as me in heels. I don’t imagine I have the legs for it anyway, and my shoulders are much, much too broad.

      I love Japan. It is one of my top five places in the world. I prefer Tokyo, of course, because of how much entertainment there is, but Kyoto is a cultural landmark.

      I will forgive him for it because, naturally, I cannot blame him.

      1. Nonsense! Now I´m sure you would look adorable! Don´t be shy Marius, just give it a try.
        A drag queen can be tall, so there is no need to worries! Oh I would almost everything, to see you in such a cool outfit!

        Really? Wow! So you have been in Japan already. For how long and where? Tell me everything! ^^

        1. I really do not have the body for it. I have large hands and feet, and knees that do not favour dresses. Plus, I have grown accustomed to my body hair, scarce as it is.

          I have been to Tokyo because it is one of those places of the world that everyone must go to at least once. I went into every shop that I could find, a few bars, clubs, electronic stores. Everything they have is so glossy and bright, and there are so many strange pulsing lights. Tokyo is what I imagine life on outer space will be like one day.

  4. Pff oh child,that’s just an excuse. You can shave but once your body hair. We women do it all the time. You get a long dress, gloves and the right make up and tatataaa we have the best vamp drag queen for all eternity. Lestat will be jealous. 😀

    Yes Indeed. I always feel like in the future when I’m in Tokyo, especially in Akihabara. Michelle and I found a young, beautiful Japanese vampire. ^.^ (…ok the fangs was a fake, I checked it). We have a cute photo of him. Ahh I want to return to Japan. XD

    1. I think we should save the female illusion for men who have a little less height and jutting male bone. For the pretty men. Now that you mention Lestat, I do believe he would be an immaculate drag performer.

      A Japanese vampire with fake fangs. But you see even fake fangs are still “his” fangs because he purchased them, and certainly cemented them in with whatever glue or plaster came in the packet. Maybe they are even held strong enough that he could bite without losing one.

  5. True, he would, but I want see you in such a dress. An ancient, powerful vampire as a adorable drag queen. I would pay for that.

    But true fangs are sharp, and the fangs were a fake. I must know it, my finger was not bleeding. 😉

    1. I think you would pay more to unsee it. You’d have the worst nightmares. Of tall vikings in heels that use massive handbags in battle.

      1. *laugh* Now I want see it even more!!!! XD But of course, If you need one to get out of the dress I will be you faithful maid. (Just that once, don´t have strange dreams now.)

  6. Really???? XDDD Cool!! I love her so very much and when she laughs I’m happy! Paul said once I would look lovely in a maid dress….but I have my doubts if´s that true. And he would like to have me in his (dream) Vampire hotel…as a mistress O.O That don’t fits me!

      1. Yes! Indeed he have this wonderful dream 😀 Should this dream ever come true, I hope that you will visit the hotel. At least for one night I will be a maid and when Paul wishes it so very much I will be for one night a mistress too.

        1. You would be a wonderful maid, I am sure, but yes, I think also a wonderful mistress. You have a charming personality that would make you an excellent hostess, and guests would flock to you. But of course I would be one of them, though I would expect you to guess who I am by first glance.

  7. Then call your choice. You can not have both sides of Laertis. Wanna have the maid or the mistress?

    Thank you, you flatter me.

    No worries my dear, I would see you, I would always see you. And should the impossible happen and I don´t know you immediately, so I would recognize it after some time. I would recognize you not only on appearance, but on behavior, your way you would talk to me. And should I be really unsure, you would feel my finger in your mouth. 😉

    1. Mistress, I should think, because you would be a wonderful hostess and delightful company. Plus I need no maid to bring me tea. Maybe a newspaper.

      I would suggest that you give me some warning before you push a finger into my mouth. I don’t think that I would react badly or with offence to you, but it would be startling no matter who it was, even if it were my closest friend or lover. And take care that you do not prick your finger as a taste of blood might be much too tempting.

  8. Mistress, I should think, because you would be a wonderful hostess and delightful company. Plus I need no maid to bring me tea. Maybe a newspaper.

    My dear friend, I will do my best to please you and make sure that your evening more is as just delightful.

    Of course, a Mistress wouldn´t bring you a newspaper but I will personally ensure that you are well informed. Is the master satisfied?

    I would suggest that you give me some warning before you push a finger into my mouth. I don’t think that I would react badly or with offence to you, but it would be startling no matter who it was, even if it were my closest friend or lover.

    Shall I compose an official letter, let it autheticate and send it to you in advance? Where’s the surprise-factor? Where’s the excitement? The Shock? The tingling feeling? The amusement? Or what other emotions you will feel. Yes, exactely, where are the emotions? No, my dear, that’s not what you really want. But before my finger would caress your fangs they would elegantly stroke your lips. Anything else would be unpolite and boring.

    I wonder what look you will give me…

    And take care that you do not prick your finger as a taste of blood might be much too tempting.

    Then of course I will not be careful. *rawr* Let´s see what happen.

    1. Shall I compose an official letter, let it autheticate and send it to you in advance? Where’s the surprise-factor? Where’s the excitement? The Shock? The tingling feeling? The amusement? Or what other emotions you will feel. Yes, exactely, where are the emotions? No, my dear, that’s not what you really want. But before my finger would caress your fangs they would elegantly stroke your lips. Anything else would be unpolite and boring.

      I wonder what look you will give me…

      Ah well, you see I didn’t want to presume that you would wish to elicit that manner of response from me. I thought perhaps I would serve to satisfy a curiosity, a safe vessel from which to touch a fang without harm. I think I would feel unabashed amazement should your finger begin to caress my lip, and I don’t mean in a manner of dumbfounded surprise. Rather I think some of those “other emotions” you mention would dominate. Yes, impolite to simply intrude. I think a soft enough finger would find my mouth quite welcome to it.

      The look? Now let me imagine. I do not have the benefit of seeing my expression, only feeling it form on my face. Though you see I have mastered control to a certain degree, so you would have to read everything in my eyes and perhaps even by a slight opening of my mouth.

      1. My dear friend, how delicious you can describe scenes. Should I lower my gaze and smile? Do you think I would do that?

        You can get those “other emotions” often with such simple but sensual things. This is always fascinating for me. Who from us both,I wonder, get more of those “other emotions”.

        Ah, your blue eyes, and I´m sure I will see a twinkle in your eyes, hmn? In any case, you would see a soft and satisfied smile on my lips when you open your mouth.

        And because you don´t want that I watch my finger, of course you don´t want it, it wouldn´t take long until my finger would be bloody. And you can be sure that my finger will not remain on you fang. I wonder how warm or hot your tongue is. Well mighty Marius, we are in a room full of people, what next, hmn? Ha. Oh I love those games, especially if I want to win.

        1. My dear friend, how delicious you can describe scenes. Should I lower my gaze and smile? Do you think I would do that?

          Hm, a question worth consideration, with an answer that does not come easily. Do I think you would do that? After a few moments of thought, I have reached the conclusion that no, no you would not lower your gaze. Though I imagine you would smile. Am I wrong?

          I wonder how warm or hot your tongue is.

          I assure you, my tongue is as cold as ice.

          Well mighty Marius, we are in a room full of people, what next, hmn? Ha. Oh I love those games, especially if I want to win.

          It would be beneficial to heal any wound intentionally or unintentionally caused because I believe to have someone in a large crowd suddenly bleeding profusely would cause alarm. And then I would ask if it was everything you ever dreamed of.

  9. Hm, a question worth consideration, with an answer that does not come easily. Do I think you would do that? After a few moments of thought, I have reached the conclusion that no, no you would not lower your gaze. Though I imagine you would smile. Am I wrong?

    This was a very mean question and the better that your quess is right. Even I wouldn´t lower my gaze, so my smile will be yours forever.

    I assure you, my tongue is as cold as ice.

    Then my blood will warm your tongue gladly.

    It would be beneficial to heal any wound intentionally or unintentionally caused because I believe to have someone in a large crowd suddenly bleeding profusely would cause alarm.

    You are an expert when it comes to blood. I don´t think someone would noticed it when my bloody finger in your mouth is teasing you. Especially if you do not want that someone notices it. Am I right? 😀 So I wonder why you should be that careful… Ha.

    However, you would close my wounds with your blood?

    And then I would ask if it was everything you ever dreamed of.

    Of course not my dear Marius. I may be innocent but I´m not that innocent.

    1. This was a very mean question and the better that your quess is right. Even I wouldn´t lower my gaze, so my smile will be yours forever.

      I know that you would smile, but I confess that I do not quite understand why. So tell me, what about that moment would bring a smile to your face?

      You are an expert when it comes to blood. I don´t think someone would noticed it when my bloody finger in your mouth is teasing you. Especially if you do not want that someone notices it. Am I right? So I wonder why you should be that careful… Ha.

      I imagine that any one who observed would think that we are merely a shameless pair given to very public displays of intimacy.

      However, you would close my wounds with your blood?

      With my own tongue, of course, and just the smallest drop of blood. As I do frequently.

      1. I know that you would smile, but I confess that I do not quite understand why. So tell me, what about that moment would bring a smile to your face?

        I would smile or laugh because of some reasons.

        First, I find the whole Idea pretty amusing. I can´t help that’s my kind of humor. And it could be that I must even laugh.

        No matter which look you would give me, -amused, interested, threatening or shocked,- it would gave me a shiver or a nice feeling, so of course I´m smiling.

        To have a bloody finger in the mouth of a vampire is more as just thrilling, and you should know that I enjoy it. * smilie*

        And of course, I want more. You always smilie when you have a pleasant anticipation.

        I imagine that any one who observed would think that we are merely a shameless pair given to very public displays of intimacy.

        …In any german goth club would nobody think that´s naughty. If someone would notice it, would they smile and nothing more. But perhaps that is different in England?

        However, I enjoy our bloody intimacy more and more.

        With my own tongue, of course, and just the smallest drop of blood. As I do frequently.</blockquote

        How does it feels, when your blood meet my wound? Would I feel tingly? Does it burn like fire? Or does it tickles?

        In any case, I would have fun with that. And your fangs are sharp. So I play the game a second time. But this time I would wet your lips with blood, too.

        1. How does it feels, when your blood meet my wound? Would I feel tingly? Does it burn like fire? Or does it tickles?

          The sensations vary depending on the severity of the wound. Serious wounds can be quite uncomfortable, indeed painful, when being healed by vampire blood. Though of course there is always an accompanying pleasure.

          Minor wounds feel very pleasant when they are healed. As soon as the vampire’s blood drips onto the tiny wound made in mortal flesh, only a small fang mark on the finger or elsewhere, there is the feeling of burning. Not a painful burning, but rather a too short rush of heat in the immediate skin, spreading outward until it fades. For a fraction of a moment, this heat will consume your body, and then too quickly it is over. There will next come a curious tingle, and then a slight itch as the skin rapidly grows and stitches itself together.

          All of this lasts a mere second, if that. So needless to say, it can be a rather intense and confusing experience.

  10. * almost faint*

    Oh Marius…

    You bet my love, should you be so “mean” and close the wounds on my finger a second time I would cut it again! But don´t think your mouth would get my blood that fast again. I would color your pale lips in red. After that I take you on your tie or your shirt and pull you close to me. Perhaps I whisper you something in your ear or perhaps you just feel my lips on your ear. In any case, you would make me more as just curious. *rawr*

    1. Would I find you cut yourself intentionally to taunt me?

      But my, I did not imagine you to be so very forceful. Do you think you would truly possess the boldness to grab me so confidently, and pull me close to you? Or is it that you simply know me too well, and as such know my gentleness?

      1. Would I find you cut yourself intentionally to taunt me?

        More to tease you. To see what happen. Perhaps to turn you on a little, or a little more. Who knows.

        But my, I did not imagine you to be so very forceful.

        I have my moments.

        Do you think you would truly possess the boldness to grab me so confidently, and pull me close to you? Or is it that you simply know me too well, and as such know my gentleness?

        We assumed that I do not I know. So I have only a guess what you are. That means I have no Idea from your gentleness.
        When I have such a man like you in the front of me, and when I have my finger in your mouth already, then of course, I have this courage, this boldness. What a wonderful dare. … Let´s see which side in you wins…

        1. It is in a moment like that when the man and the monster are one in the same. Only in matters of lust do the two become such easy companions.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.