Here’s a reminder that I’m coming to Paris and I would like some gyms recommended to me. I wrote this at the end of a very long post yesterday so you might have drifted off by then. And here is the message in internet translator French, because I don’t actually speak French:
“Pouvez-vous recommander une salle de gymnastique à Paris ? Quelque part gentil et grand avec une piscine. Peu un gay trop peut-être, mais pas trop gay”
This is actually fun. I put this back into the translator to change it back to English, then back to French, then back to English. And this is what came out:
“Can you recommend a room of the gymnastics in Paris? Some divide nice and large with a swimming pool. Not very merry too perhaps, but not too merry”
Wish me luck then.
Speaking of gyms, today I thought I’d tell the story of my sporting achievement over the years. I am a natural born athlete of course, just like every other short, small-built gay person. As if nature hadn’t been cruel enough with me, I am also lazy and unmotivated. This amazing combination of physical prowess and fierce mental determination has meant that I have been immensely successful in every sport I’ve ever tried.
Not that you have many choices growing up in Greece anyway; there are only two sports known within the confined borders of my home country: basketball (played at every break during school hours in a grey tarmac court with one basket only and no nets on the hoop) and football (played after school on a grey tarmac pitch where the lack of goals is made up for by strategically placed jumpers as goalposts on the ground).
I’ve never been keen or actually half-competent in either of these sports and that’s as far as it went really. I don’t know, if I had more choices I might have found somebody that I’m good at. But let’s keep in mind that Greece is a country where the terms for American football and rugby are interchangeable because nobody knows what either of them is, cricket, hockey and squash are as offbeat as underwater chess in a more civilized country and tennis is something that most people have heard of, but nobody has personal experience with, a bit like the immaculate conception.
So basically until I was 18, my only sporting experience was shooting some hoops every now and then, to avoid people calling me sissy too much.
A few years after I moved to England, and I guess in pursuit of some pre-defined state of masculinity I actually developed an interest in participating in sports. And these are the sports I tried between the ages of 20 and 25:
- Swimming. I don’t know. Does this count? Not really. It’s kinda gay anyway and it’s not like you drown in testosterone competing body to body against other men. Anyway, as my Mummy and Daddy didn’t bother to teach me how to swim in the 18 years that I lived with them (mainly because they can’t swim themselves), I thought I’d give it a go. So when I was doing my Master’s degree and I had lots of time in my hands, I started going to the University swimming pool every day, practicing, reading books to learn how to stay afloat obviously I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to help me – I was 21 for fuck’s sake) and trying to learn new styles. This actually worked and I can now swim pretty well
- American football. This was part of an attempt to socialize, meet some people and make some normal friends. Anyone who knows me in real life must realize how absurd the idea of me playing American football really is, as my size is more suited to being thrown around like a ball, rather than being an actual player. The closest I got to going to American football practice was driving to the club, sitting in the car park with Andrews, listening to the radio for a bit, being too scared to go in and driving back. Obviously it’s the sport’s loss
- Tae kwon do. Again, this was part of the effort to find a group of friends soon after I moved to Manchester. Andrews and I actually kept this up for a couple of years. We got up to our blue belts (you start with a white belt, the black belt is the tenth in order and blue is just halfway through – fifth), but this doesn’t really mean that much to be honest, they’re not that hard to get up to there. They practically hand them out if you keep going to classes and paying. Maybe getting a red or a black belt signifies some merit but up to there it’s kinda easy. We gave up after it became a bit of a drag (the higher you got the more time you had to spend in classes) and our shins had taken enough of a beating from “sparring” in competitions
- Rowing. I took up rowing when I first moved to London. I went every fucking Saturday and Sunday morning before dawn for 4 months (October-January), froze my balls to death, experienced the crystal clear waters of the Thames in to close proximity, realized everyone else was at least 3 times as tall as me and didn’t have a life outside the sport and never went again. I actually liked rowing but my height is a serious handicap for that sport (and life in general) and I just don’t want to be a cox either thank you very much
Is it stupid that I want to take fencing lessons next? Should I just give up?