Saturday, 15 May 2010

I'm Pretty Damn Sure Neither George Clooney or Sean Connery are Israeli.

On my second day at work experience I got sent out to do some vox pops. Usually a job I would somewhat dread but when surveying the gay public, it’s a little more fun. The question I was sent out to ask was “Who is your embarrassing celebrity crush?”.
You would think it was a straight forward question but the amount of people who replied “Brad Pitt”, “I don’t understand” or “I don’t easily embarrass” was ridiculous. I hopped on the tube to Leicester Square and headed over to Soho, once there I paraded up and down Old Crompton street. I approached every other person I came across with my notepad and pen, nipped into a few gays bars, pubs and coffee shops and questioned everyone I could find. Almost everyone I spoke to was friendly, nice and genuine, however there were a few who weren’t that friendly. One person shouted back to me “Hell to the no girlfriend” when I politely asked him if he would mind answering a few questions. He minced away infuriated.

I found it extremely favourable to be overly flirtatious with everyone, and feign extreme shock when I asked for their age and they revealed it. “37? You!? No! 25 at the most. Are you pulling my leg?”. They would respond with a giggle and thank me, and then were more than happy to let me ask them as many questions as my heart desired. I got complimented many times myself too, half a dozen wolf whistles, hundreds of compliments of my ‘cute tie’ and just a few just in ear shot. “Ooh, he’s hot.” As flattering as it was, apart from the odd one or two men, they were all rather scary, ugly, or old. If one of them asked for my number I would have to quote my rude stranger friend and say. “Hell to the no girlfriend.” Luckily that didn’t come up… Well it did… once…

After about an hour and a half of walking up and down the road, an incredibly flamboyant 6’5 black transsexual minced out of a coffee shop and shouted from behind me, in the campest voice I have heard since my short lived trip to NG1. “Cute boy, oh cute boy!” I didn’t turn around, he could have been shouting to anyone. “Cute boy, cute boy in the shirt and tie.” I still didn’t turn around, there were a few boys in shirts and ties floating about. “Cute boy in the shirt and tie, Cute boy with the notepad.” Okay, I thought. He must mean me. I turned around with a smile. He charged over to me, “What are you doing my sweet, me and my friends have been watching your fine ass parading up and down this street for the past hour. Can I help you at all?”
“Oh” I began to explain. “I’m just doing a survey, if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions that’d be great.”
“Okay” he smiled widely. “What kind of questions?”
“Well embarrassing celebrity crushes. Somebody a bit old, a bit young, someone who you know is ugly but you fancy anyway.”
“Oh lord no darling! Only prime meat for me. I only like the top of the range men. I tell you though, my friend Lorne is a sauce pot.” – he closed the garage door with both hands and threw back his head laughing. I smiled awkwardly. “She has a disgusting taste in men! Disgusting!”
“Oh but I can only survey men you see.” I told him.
“Lorne is a man” he laughed.
“But you said she… oh I see.” He rolled his eyes and grabbed me by the hand.
“Come with me”. He guided me into the coffee shop and dragged me over to a table full of raging queens. “Oh hi cute boy.” They all chorused together as if rehearsed. “Hi guys.” I said in an American accent for some reason.
“This is Lorne.” My new found friend from the street told me pointing to a smiling fellow with an insane diva hair cut. “Hi. Darrrling. Now what can I do for you?”
“Well I’m doing a survey; I need to know your embarrassing celebrity crush, if you have one.” Lorne smiled wickedly.
“Johnny Depp!” he exclaimed slamming his hands down on the table.
“Good, yeah, but a lot of people like Johnny Depp do you have anyone a bit more embarrassing?”
“Waiter, waiter!” he cried out unexpectedly, to which a group of waiters crowded around. “What can we do for you Lorne?”
“Help this boy! Help him!” So they did, they each gave me their embarrassing celebrity crushes and then went back to work. I thanked each of them and then turned back to Lorne. “Thanks for your help, nice to meet all of you.” I said to the whole table. They all smiled. Lorne then asked me for my number. I told him I was taken, not that I would be interested, just no. Seriously. No. He pretended to cry. I put my hand on his back and thanked him again and went to leave. As I opened the coffee shop door he cried out. “Stephen Hawking darling. Stephan Hawking.”
“That’s your crush?”
“Yes! Stephen Hawking!”
“Okay, thanks.” That’s the weirdest one I got. He then got up and dragged me back to their table and offered me a seat. I chatted to them for a few minutes and then Lorne announced his second name to me. “Brreel” he said. B, double R, double E, L.
“Right” I pretended to scribble it down.
“You don’t know what it means do you?”
“No?” I asked puzzled. The whole table laughed.
“Google it honey.” When I got home I did google it, and was really confused. I expected it to be some sort of twisted, disturbing sexual act, or something of that nature, but no, it was a data processing company. – Weird.

Truth be told I got some interesting results, but I could tell a lot of people were lying to me. If I took everything as truth then the result would be that 50% of the gay population of London are 18 year old gay porn stars who fancy Kylie.

One guy when I mentioned the magazine quickly got his card out and handed it to me as if I were important. I considered telling him I was just doing work experience but it was more fun to let him go on and on about his fashion designer career and how he could help me out with my shoots. My shoots? All those photo shoots I do. Tons!

Managed to get myself in a bit of a predicament too, we needed to photograph a few good looking young lads to go in the magazine with the results of the survey. Getting anyone to have there picture taken was a nightmare. One boy protested that his agent would fire him – which made no sense, the agent works for you. He got on the phone to his agent and asked permission. To be honest I think he just pretended to dial a number. He was an actor you see, actors are dramatic, gays are dramatic, what do you expect when you mix the two?

I found another good looking boy to photograph too, but he was sat with an extremely ugly friend. I couldn’t exclude his friend, that’d be incredibly rude. I devised the plan that I would photograph both of them, and delete the ugly person’s photo later. Shallow and a little bit nasty I know, but hey, what else could I do. I approached and my plan quickly back fired. “Hi, I’m looking to photograph a few good looking gay guys, would you be up for that? I also need to ask you a quick question.” The attractive one declined with apologies and told me his boyfriend would be none to happy, however the ugly one shouted up “I’ll do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it.” To which I pretended to take photos of him. “The flash didn’t go off.”
“Oh sorry I’ll turn it on.” I took a picture of him and then deleted it.
“Can I see?” Oh for God sake. I pretended my phone rang, apologised and left with haste.

I approached one gentleman in a pub and when I asked his age he replied guess. The word I was dreading anyone said. “48?” I said. Clearly lying through my teeth. He chuckled heavily and said “No dear boy. I’m 70!”. To which I used my aforementioned feigned shock. I then went onto ask him the question. He seemed confused. “I don’t really follow celebrity culture. Can it be somebody from my country?”
“Yeah sure.” I answered. “Where are you from?”
“Okay.” He thought for a moment and then announced. “George Clooney. No, Sean Connery!”. I wrote it down and didn’t question it, but I’m pretty damn sure neither George Clooney or Sean Connery are Israeli.

When I asked one guy if he would have his photo taken he replied. “Naked?”
“No” I answered, just as you are.
“Oh, no thanks then” he declined and walked away.
“Could you answer a quick question for me then?” I asked politely.
“Fuck you darling. Fuck you.” He replied and stormed away. As I said, the gays can be over dramatic.

At first I didn’t make any assumptions and after asking for names, I asked if they were straight or gay. They all answered gay, as if it was a stupid question, so I stopped asking. The first person I approached after I stopped asking was straight. “Who’s your secret celebrity crush?” I asked.
“Cilla black.” He answered. I laughed. He remained straight faced. I dropped my laughter quickly at which point his girlfriend approached and kissed him.
“Thanks very much then” I said with a smile, as he walked away I put a big line through his name and wrote STRAIGHT next to it. I’m not discriminating, it’s just, well I suppose I am really. Sorry guys.

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