As an infant, lad, and pubescent, I was inclined to play the simpleton oaf, finding the cover of muscled stupidity an excellent avoidance to unwanted responsibility and a suitable opportunity for the practice of manipulation, an art I am embarrassed to admit I found both easy and well suited to my comportment. My greatest teacher of this distasteful but necessary skill was my beloved belated father, a man whose natural gravitas gave his directions an authority superseded only by those of sovereign or Creator. To disobey one of his always well-articulated requests was nigh impossible, no matter the difficulty or strife such action might involve.
My father was himself a man inclined to understate the many intellectual gifts he possessed, preferring to speak plain when he could have waxed lyrical, to seem almost clumsy when his hands were in fact remarkably skilled at almost any technical task he set his mind to achieving. An astute card player who invariably underplayed his hand, he would consistently reap the benefits of his conservatism.
“The way to get a chap to do what you want, my boy, is never to ask him to extend his neck beyond that which is personally comfortable and convenient.”
Fathers advisements to me ever addressed chaps, fellows, comrades, subordinates, never those sweet, delicious, and mysterious creatures of the opposing gender. The ‘weaker sex’ as he would have categorized the female of the species were to him, as to so many of his generation an utter enigma, beyond comprehension or understanding, to be honored, protected, admired, cherished, and whenever possible politely ignored and avoided. Quite perversely I always much preferred the company of women to men, finding them far more pleasant, personable, deliciously perfumed, and well attired. I was from birth somewhat dandified, by temperament and allowance, a trait barely tolerated by my male relatives but wholly embraced by the females.
Quite naturally I soon learned to perform as my nature was celebrated, a further hint if not warning of my evolving proclivity for conniving self-promotion. During my schooling and physical activities, both entirely male centered, I would foster a somewhat brutish persona suited to those circumstances, but in my leisure time, mainly female orientated, I practiced the physical and phycological torpor of the errant intellectual but well-muscled poet, decidedly Byronesque. My apparent duplicity I simply excused as either convenience or politeness, having been taught from my earliest recollections that some degree of conformity to social expectations was always appropriate. Admittedly I sometimes was inclined to take this melding to extremes, particularly in my approach to sexuality. Flirtation in pubescence works equally well with either gender or indeed both alternately or simultaneously. I took great strides to keep that particular barn door wide open till quite late in my teens, not wishing to choose a particular team till I was fully cognizant with any and every advantage either avenue could present or bar. That my eventual choice was driven by tradition is of no great surprise, I was after all the product of an age and society still at odds with open homosexuality.
Queenliness was quite acceptable, campiness even considered societally advantageous, but the import of siring offspring was still a paramount consideration in adulthood, I was for my pains the male heir and therefore carried the weight of the family escutcheon dangling about my loins.
Having made my choice, sadly waved farewell to the multitude of extremely pretty reincarnations of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ it had ever been my pleasure to keep company with, I took to the straight and comparatively narrow with a surprising degree of both joy and ease. Admittedly the occasional blonde curly haired Adonis might catch my eye and induce a drool, yet I managed to remain quite true to a choice that would eventually gift me two wondrously delightful but probably wholly undeserved children of mine own.
My latter years have been purposefully marked by an almost fanatical crusade to avoid any continuation of my influence, direction, manipulation, purposeful or accidental. I communicate almost solely by the written form, avoiding any opportunity to add oratorial weight to my words. The choice to scrutinize my ideas is now entirely within the control of the reader, which is of course exactly where any such discretion should lay.