Robert McLiam Wilson, an Irish writer for Charlie Hebdo, guest posts on the forthcoming referendum in Ireland on equal marriage next week. and the curious change that this law is having on him. Robert may yet escape his “depressingly heterosexual” life. The No campaign’s worst nightmare come true – gay marriage might appeal to straight men wanting to flee the crushing sanctity of heterosexual union.
As you get older, you get more conservative, more fearful, mortal and reactionary. We’ve always known this. It’s not news. The ancient Greeks complained about it.
It could be argued that the median age for this little rightward lurch is coming down. What used to happen at sixty then happened at fifty and forty is no longer safely the hopeful, permissive time it used to be. It doesn’t matter. It’s a law. As you get older, you get more right wing. It’s nature. It’s trees in leaf, snow on the hills and fucking spiders everywhere. Like I say, nature.
We fear it, we feel it and we watch for it, terrified that we are going start complaining that music is now just shouting, that famous people are scruffy and immigrants are…well, you know. But there is another, related, phenomenon with which we are less familiar. The terrible moment when you come upon a subject or issue, and despite summoning all your liberalism and good faith, you suddenly see with blinding clarity that the Right are, after all, perfectly correct.
For this, dear readers, is what has recently happened to me. It has been very personal and very intense. I have come to understand that those wonderful people campaigning for a No vote in the Irish gay marriage referendum (including, of course, the superbly homophobic Jim Wells and his ilk) are right. They may seem dreadful or stupid or strangely badly dressed. You might find them intolerant and bizarrely old-fashioned. But their sincerity is absolute and they genuinely hope to protect us from a terrible danger.
My Damascene conversion came when I realised that since the prospect of gay marriage in Ireland is about to be realised, I simply have not been able to stop thinking about sucking cocks. Seriously, I’m out of control. Sucking cocks. I think about it in bed, at my desk, under the shower, on the street. My heart pounds and my skin tingles, I sweat and tremble with a kind of gay madness. Cocks, hundreds of them, nay thousands of them. And me. Doing that thing to them.
Now, I have an almost embarrassing absence of homosexual incident, major or minor, in my sexual history (it used to make me feel unsophisticated in polite society). I am a working class, intellectual, romantic, fatherly type. I’ve been depressingly heterosexual. I’ve lived a life ruled and ruined by women. And now, at the advent of this evil law, I simply can’t stop thinking about cocks, about drowning myself in a gotterdammerung of gymnastic homoerotic excess, losing myself in a forest of phallus.
I am dismayed to find that I want the rough touch of manly stubble on my inner thigh. I want to lick the ears of footballers and rock stars. I want to dance in cemeteries with a hundred oiled and naked youths. I want to put on lipstick and wear a polka dot dress. I want to build my muscles and wax my chest. I wanna be roughly taken by bearish Belgians with beards and birkenstocks. I want to ruin studious bespectacled artist boys and to corrupt young priests with surprisingly pert buttocks. I want to fuck sturdy hobbledehoys and effete sons of the bourgeoisie. I want it all and I want it now.
Sometimes in the street, when I walk past building sites, I worry what I might do. At home alone, I cackle and roar with delighted and savage laughter. So delighted am I to escape the dreary shackles of heterosexual misery that my blood sings and my head swims. No more a prisoner of the feminine. I can finally relinquish the shame of pretending that I liked Penelope Cruz for her acting, of showing fake interest in cushion covers or curtain colours. I can escape the menstrual tempests and child-rearing horror.
Not only all this but I feel compelled to broadcast to diffuse and sow my epiphany, to sway and persuade others to my view. I want to rush into schools and tell the kids to forget geography and start listening to Judy Garland. It is not enough that I sense this new truth. You must all join me. You and your children’s children (well, if they have any, that is, after I make them all incredibly gay).
All this because of the mere possibility of a change in the law! I daren’t even imagine the vile madness that would befall me where this to become the law of the land. It’s nightmarish. Here I am, a man of a certain age, mild-mannered and stable. And the only thing between me and phallic abyss is one last legal safeguard.
I need to be protected from myself. I feel like I am in some tortured nineteenth century Russian novella. An explicitly gay one. I don’t want to want to suck cocks. Someone has to help me. Are the socialists going to save me from myself? No, I don’t think so. I am left with those who fight the good fight, The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM) are my personal favourites (Being gay causes cancer is their schtick) or the Catholic church (hey, I’m Irish – I trust the sexual probity of the Catholic church with an absolutist faith).
So guys, girls, please, help me. Please save me from myself.