“We hope that Gay News will never be so completely serious that no-one could smile, laugh, or maybe happily cringe at parts of it. News is not only the bad things that can happen to us all, but knowing about what others are doing, sharing, achieving.” Thus your first editorial.
I find myself rather in agreement with the Lords Beaumont and Arran who expressed their views on Gay News in your first correspondence column. And yet I have subscribed, blindly, to your paper; further I am now writing for it. I’d like to think I subscribed through generosity and a desire to help but the basic reason was selfish curiosity. What would the paper be like? What would it do for me. a forty year old homosexual (unlike the person who accosted Alan Brien, I dislike the description “gay people”)? Would it not be too alien in taste to a reader of the Observer, the Sunday Times, New Statesman, an admirer of the B.B.C.?
Wait and see is my verdict after issue one and that I will do after sending my best respects to Julian Denys Grinspoon, whose piece on the Biograph I found not entirely to my taste. None the less, I have some fellow feeling with the old boy (he surely must be old if I’m any judge of prose style). Anyway. Jule, if you’re under 35 pop round any time and we’ll pull the curtains, switch on the telly, and pretend we’re at the Biograph) because I get randy too. And that’s one of the reasons I joined the CHE correspondence list – I thought something might come of it. There must be many of your readers who are on it or who are contemplating having their names included. Your paper could assist a great number of us by providing a forum for an initial general discussion on what we hope to gain from corresponding with each other.
My main modest ambition was to land up with one or more in a similar age group to me and with some like interests. If, somewhere along the line, a somewhat younger man or woman chose to write to me, and then to meet me, I would have no objection; similarly I would have no objection to hearing from the elderly, although I resolved to discourage the elderly and the effeminate (insofar as I can judge from prose style). Largely, I’m sure, because I live in an agreeable part of the country. I had several letters. Because of this, I felt it cowardly myself not to initiate at least one piece of correspondence and so I selected a man who appeared from the list to be very similar to myself; I gave him the option of not replying. He didn’t, which was one in the eye for me, since I thought giving him that option would clinch it. Next time I shall write to a twenty-one year old and then I can blame the age barrier if there is no reply.
The following briefly sums up the situation with those who wrote to me.
“A” was about my age and he came to see me for the day. We turned out to have little in common. We went to bed, but not with too much enthusiasm, simply because for my part I was feeling like Jules sometimes feels. I wasn’t happy after he’d gone until I’d flung open all the windows and washed all the things his body had touched.
“B” was also about my age but sounded to me (and to ”C” – see below) terribly camp. I have decided to shun those who introduce the words “active” and “passive” too early in the correspondence. I decided the best way of disposing of him was to “outcamp” him in a letter of my own. It was effective, but on reflection, it was also cruel and I shan’t do it again. Also, it would have been awkward for me if it had encouraged him.
“C” is a very lovely memory. About fifteen years younger than me and beautiful. We fucked when we met and while not wishing to intorduce any “Which?” best buy element into this serious subject, I can only say that it was the best I’ve had for years. He’s now moved house and job but I never deluded myself into thinking he would be a permanency in my life.
“D” is my current white hope. I haven’t met him yet; he’s a tardy corresponder but likes my letters. He’s my age though I don’t think our interests altogether chime in. But I like the sound of him and. as I have told him, I think he may turn out to be more like myself than any of my other corresponders.
“E” and “F” are both elderly; “E” clearly wants not to be his age and sounds very effeminate. Unfortunately, he lives very near me. I don’t want to meet him. “F” said in his letter that our interests were similar. When I looked down the list, I could find little that we had in common.
So there are my six. At present, I’m still searching for the ideal one and shall go again on the next list. What does “the ideal one” constitute? Very simply, a friend with whom sex will come (slowly perhaps) to be a simple and natural part of the friendship, not a matter of convenience (sic) as it was with “A” or a once and for all experience like it was with “C” A walk on the downs or a visit to the cinema and then home to bed. I wonder if that’s too much to hope.
Well, it shouldn’t be because it’s something surely, that a lot of people want. It’s just a matter of pairing off correctly. I would be very interested, meanwhile, to hear and read, in your columns (your columns, Neville), the experiences of others with the Che correspondence list. We might all be able to learn something. Is the age barrier important? Do we place too much hope on a happy sexual outcome? (Combining the two, I realise I’ve never had, or wanted, sex with a man considerably older than myself, yet “C” never turned a hair). Does the meeting, after sometimes lengthy correspondence, more often than not result in dissapointment? At least the method allows us to warn the other parties of our defects and I’ve taken full advantage of doing that when writing.
I have insisted to the collective, among whom I suspect the nice people outnumber the nasty ones quite substantially, that if this is published it must be done so under a pseudonym. Nonetheless, if anyone wishes to write to me through Gay News, I’m sure the collective will see to it that any letters are sent to me, and whether You think I can help you or you think you can help me. I’ll do my best to reply. But we can best help each other by giving our views on these pages.
I don’t know whether I’ve made you smile laugh or cringe I only know I want the paper to be a success on as many levels as possible. And if those classified ads on the issue no. 1 were put in by collective or by anyone else, the advertisers should not necessarily assume, because I have not replied, that I don’t want my sporran fondled or that I don’t want to meet someone who’s slim, slightly hairy, and who thinks that sexuality is beautiful. It’s just that I (and I suspect many like me) have some trepidation in replying to such adverts. Anyway, I have turned the tables on them so that they can reply to me through Gay News, having read this article, which should perhaps be Sub-Titled “How to get a free, respectable small ad in Gay News”.