There’s so much shit going on in the world it can be hard to stay on top of it all. I am concerned about the shit stuff, like the wars and famines and so on, but I can’t spend all day every day reading about it. I have to find something more light-hearted to drag me through the endless minutes of what can feel like an interminable day at work.
This regularly leads me to stories about animals. I can spend hours looking at pictures of cats and dogs dressed up like cakes, or other animals, or in people-uniforms. I know the animal isn’t complicit in the decision to wear fancy dress, so I do know on some level it’s a bit cruel. It’s a moral conflict I regularly choose to ignore, going in favour of kittens in cardies and dogs in clown outfits over finding out any more about the Islamic State and whether or not Cameron and Obama are going to get all up in their faces or not.
When the animal pictures run out, more often than I care to admit I find myself immersed in stories about the moderately well-known as I traverse the countless pages of crap that are slowly unpicking the very fabric of society: the celebrity gossip pages. I know this is wrong on just about every level. People are being blown up for no good reason, children are dying of hunger, innocent people are suffering day in, day out. The world is going to shit and, instead of reading about it so I can at least make that last sentence sound in some way informed, I’m reading about Paul Ross.
It’s been quite a turnaround for one of daytime TV’s faves; he’s been having a bit of the other behind his wife’s back and getting off his tits on Meow Meow the whole time.
I’m not a drug user. Not in a smug “my body is a temple” way, because I can and do imbibe my weekly allowance of alcohol units several times over, several times a week. I’ve had the occasional flirtation with some chemicals but it has never appealed to me enough to make it a regular thing. It’s expensive and the days of suicidal thoughts that followed my rare indulgences have proven enough of a deterrent to keep me on a straight and narrow, albeit slightly wobbly, binge-drinking path.
Although my experience with drugs is limited, I’m fairly certain of one thing, and this is where I think Paul has got more than a little bit confused; drugs don’t turn you gay.
If I wanted some Meow Meow I would have no idea where to get it from. I would have no idea how to take it (snort it? smoke it? eat it? shove it up my arse?) and I would have no idea what to expect, side-effects wise. However, if street drugs came with labels, I very much doubt they would come with something like this: “Warning: may cause episodes of sodomy and long-term homosexual relationships”.
You cheated on your wife, Paul. And of all the fucking unpleasant things you can do to someone that doesn’t involve causing them actual physical harm, that’s pretty high on the list. The fact you cheated on her with a man really is neither here nor there, so trying to blame the homosexual nature of your infidelity on the drugs is just pointless.
It’s the shaky, pointy finger of blame that comes out every time. I’ve used it myself. Alcohol has been cited as the reason for most of my misdemeanours. Most recently at a wedding when a classic 80s Madonna song came on and a friend and I apparently launched into the kind of synchronised dancing that looked like we’d been practising a routine for weeks. The quantities of white wine we had knocked back had imbued us with such appalling confidence and our uninhibited minds became as one. It was because we were drunk, Paul. Never in a sober moment have we managed or even attempted to recreate a pop video.
But it was done and dusted in a night, Paul. Sure, we’re both embarrassed and wish it hadn’t happened. We don’t want people thinking that as women in our thirties we’re going home and choreographing moves to pop songs and then Skyping each other to practice. But in the end no-one got really hurt.
The clear difference is this: none of my drunken mishaps have lasted for 14 months. Because if you’re doing something for 14 months, there is at least a hint of autonomy going on, whether you’re prepared to admit it or not.
I don’t doubt it would take an enormous amount of bravery to come out. Daytime TV doesn’t strike me as the kind of place to nurture and coddle an individual wrestling with some heavy-duty emotions. The viewing public want their presenters straight and married, and the world remains a homophobic place. I don’t envy you, Paul, but for fuck’s sake take responsibility for what you’ve done.
Being gay isn’t a crime. Well, it is in some repulsively narrow-minded countries, but it’s not here, thank Christ. Be gay or be straight; be whoever you are, which can sometimes be the hardest thing. Just don’t be a cunt to someone who trusts you and then blame it on some party drug.
If only I was as concerned with world affairs as I am with Paul Ross. Ah screw it. I’ll stick with the cats in costumes from now on.