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About BigBen

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    Forum Fiend

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    Connecticut, USA
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    Science fiction, Gregorian chant, Renaissance and Baroque music, my beautiful pet rats

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  1. BigBen

    The First Christmas

    The reference to the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy put me in mind of the policy it replaced. I was fortunate that the Viet Nam draft ended the year I turned eighteen, shortly before my number would have come up (it was a low one, something like 43). They hadn't classified me yet, so I was thus spared having to confront my draft board and either admit my homosexuality, which would have automatically classified me as 4F (unfit for service), or else lie, serve, and, once discovered, be dishonorably discharged for moral turpitude (i.e., not just for being gay in the first place, but also for lying about it). Once you were classified, your draft card stated the reason you were 4F. Being 4F because of homosexuality meant that no reputable employer would ever hire you for any kind of job. Your discharge papers would also state the reason for your discharge and, while a dishonorable discharge of any kind was not good for one's employment prospects, being dishonorably discharged for homosexuality meant that no reputable employer would ever hire you for any kind of job. Most people my age or younger lived long enough for gay liberation to make a difference, but for the lives of many older men were irreparably ruined by that vindictive policy. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a real boon, when it was finally made the official policy. You could still be discharged for being gay, but at least it meant an end to the homophobic witch hunts. You stood a chance of keeping your head down and getting out with an untarnished reputation. I saw a hilarious scene on television once—I no longer remember whether it was an episode of Dobie Gillis or a sequence in one of the Gidget movies—in which Bob Denver successfully avoids the draft by pretending to be a sissy mama's boy, strongly implying—but never actually stating, of course—that he was gay. They played the scene for laughs, and the laughs would have died aborning if the character had explicitly claimed to be gay. I never did figure out how to resolve the moral quandary posed by the draft laws of that day. Given what they told me in Baptist Sunday school, it seemed unlikely that God would be merciful enough to let my poor eyesight or my bad arches disqualify me from serving before they got around to asking the dreaded question about my moral character. I seriously considered refusing to serve, so that they would have sent me to Leavenworth. I don't know if that would have been a better choice, or not. Fortunately, God was indeed merciful, and the draft came to an end without my having to decide what to do.
  2. BigBen


    I'm glad the lads look to be getting together at last. They need each other, and will be good for each other. One might hurt the other by accident, but never on purpose, I'm sure.
  3. BigBen


    London has changed so much over the past forty years, from what I read these days. Never heard of the City of Quebec, if it even existed back then. The Hard Rock hotel is new, since my day; the franchise was only just getting started, during the year I spent in London. Back then, there was a well-known gay pub in the West End that we would sometimes go to (somewhere between the Coliseum and the Opera House, if memory serves), and the name of which escapes me—but I hear it's long gone, in any case. I'd love to get back to see if any of my favorite places still exist.
  4. BigBen


    "It was murder, I tell you. Mrs. Twain hated herself. She strangled herself in her sleep."—Neil Simon, Murder by Death
  5. BigBen


    I loved living there, and the houses were very spacious. I was very sad when H.M. Immigration would no longer let me stay in Britain when the year was up.
  6. BigBen

    Chapter 11

    I love driving a standard transmission, but your left leg does get tired in stop-and-go traffic! My father was taught by someone who made him put a cup of water on the floor of the car and didn't consider him ready to take his road test until he could shift and go around corners without spilling a drop. A manual shift still gives a bit more control, but the automatic transmissions they have these days are now efficient enough to do away with the gas mileage advantage that a standard used to have. And the engine-braking effect of downshifting has been rendered unnecessary by power brakes. (I saw a couple of restored Model A's the other week, and the owners said that with them, you need to downshift and start braking well in advance, if you want to stop in time!)
  7. BigBen


    When I met him, my ex had a house in Turnham Green, Chiswick. We fixed that one up and looked for another house to do over. One of the most horrible of the houses we looked at had orange and brown carpet (with swirly patterns, of course!) and matching flock wallpaper. It makes you think that heterosexuals should not be allowed to decorate without gay supervision!
  8. BigBen


    Are you sure they can Handel it? There's no telling what might be Haydn in the cupboards. Let's make a Liszt of work that needs to be done. 🤭
  9. BigBen


    Yes. I've never understood why one wouldn't want other gay people to know that one was gay onrself. Although in this case, the history between the two during their school days may be re-echoing here. Leonard may want a bit of revenge. Moreover, Adrian's stinging joke about "Gay Lenny" all those years ago is all the more ironic in retrospect, given that not only is Adrian gay, but he has been assuming all these years that Len is straight. And of course, it's even more ironic that Adrian has no memory of even making the remark that caused Len so much trouble. On second thought, given that coming out is almost universally the focus of stories on this site and others, perhaps acknowledging one's sexual orientation has a peculiar fascination for writers (and readers, too, presumably) that telling of the random vicissitudes of living an openly gay life simply does not. I suspect it's the reason for all those stories about fifteen-year-olds, and why even stories about older gay men usually focus on the revelation of their sexual orientation and not on the story of their lives afterward.
  10. BigBen


    So sad about Luke, though one can perhaps guess his reason, given the site the story is appearing on. The landlady seems very sweet. She is willing to share the gossip, but not in a malicious way. And only after checking Len out, too, which also speaks in her favor.
  11. BigBen

    DA Ch 62 - The End

    Marcus! Yes!! ♥️
  12. BigBen

    Chapter 3

    Oh, yeah, we need more! There are so many stories about high school kids (and site after site containing nothing but stories about young boys) that I am glutted with teenaged angst. Some grownup angst would be just the ticket, or better yet, a story about two adult men learning how to make a life together.
  13. BigBen

    DA Ch 60 - Marcus

    When I saw the chapter title, I was hoping it meant that Jex was going to find love at long last . . . (sigh).
  14. BigBen


    Twin beds were actually designed for married couples who chose not to sleep together. A single will hold only one person, whereas a twin will accommodate two, just barely, especially if they are both awake (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). The idea was that you could congregate at your pleasure, then retire to your own bed to sleep undisturbed. Twin beds were very popular as set decor in American movies and television shows sixty or seventy years ago, so as to shield the delicate sensibilities of audience members who disapproved of the notion of married couples' having sex. I remember that Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz, complained about this particular convention, being a married couple in real life as well as on screen. Even Miss Ball's pregnancy (which was written into the script of the show) and the birth of their son Desi, Jr., failed to budge the network censors, if I recall correctly, though that silly notion was eventually abandoned.
  15. BigBen


    The cottage is where the diamonds are stashed, you mean? 🤣
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