Some British blokes invited Queerty contributor Daniel Villarreal to walk in the London Pride parade over the weekend. He’s going to share part of his adventure with you for the tax write-off.
Even though the ticketing agent couldn’t upgrade my Dallas to London seat from “World Traveller Plus” to “Club World” like I had hoped, the good people of British Airways still provided a choice seat between a blonde DILF and a tattooed man with a package so large that I could see his bulge by just glancing over. I told the DILF that I wanted to avoid jet lag by getting some sleep on the flight; he agreed and told me his preferred method — getting absolutely shitfaced (or “pissed” as the Brits call it). I decided to follow his lead and drank four bottles of rosé and six nips of vodka in about three hours. As Cabaret began playing on my personal TV, I decided to break the seal and bypassed the peach-fuzzed twink waiting for the throne in the plane’s midsection to pee in the tail section. There I caught my flight attendant stocking alcohol into a stowaway bin of the steward’s galley as two of his coworkers sat nearby.
I commended him for taking such good care of us with the copious amounts of alcohol. “Most American flight attendants won’t do that,” I said “because we Americans will just get air rage and end up attacking them once they decide to cut us off.”
“You don’t seem like that sort,” he said.
“There’s still five hours in the flight,” I said.
He smiled and left to go serve some customers and I lingered in the galley. The two other stewards asked about me and I told them I was a gay journalist coming to cover London Pride and “the seedy underbelly” of queer London. They responded favorably and so I felt bold enough to compliment our steward once again and then ask, “Is he gay?”
“Oh yeah,” the cheeky brunette stewardess* said. “Why? Do you want to take him in the loo for a shag? We can guard the door.”
“Haha, no thanks,” I responded. “He’s cute but not my type.”
When my steward came back, I confirmed his gayness, asked his age (44), whether he had a boyfriend (he did, of seven years), and when he came out (age 14).
“14??!” I said. “Bloody ‘ell. I didn’t come out until 21.”
I asked him about his coming out. He said he recognized his homosexuality early on, got a boyfriend in middle school and had very supportive parents.
“That’s great,” I said. Then I told him that I had dated women until my junior year in college in an attempt to make myself straight and pure in the eyes of the Lord. When I finally came out, my mother freaked out and told me I’d become the next Matthew Shepard — she came around to her senses several years later.
Then I kneeled down next to the brunette stewardess who had been politely listening — legs crossed and nibbling on a salad — and asked her when she came out.
“Come out?” she asked incredulously.
“As a heterosexual,” I said. “I don’t mean to offend or label you, I just assumed that you were.”
“Oh,” she laughed. “Yes, I am. All my life.”
“And your husband…?” I asked, pointing to her ring.
“We’ve been married seven months.”
“Newlyweds!” I exclaimed, “Congratubortions! Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
“Have you ever had a lesbian experience?”
“Yes,” she admitted, “in college.”
The two male stewards raised their eyebrows and traded surprised looks.
“Oh I see… gay ’til graduation,” I said. “How was it?”
“I enjoyed it actually,” she laughed, “but it only happened once.”
“So do you consider yourself bisexual?”
“No,” she said.
“Oh come on,” I teased her, “you don’t have to play straight with me. I kinda have a bisexual streak myself,” I tipped my glass forward, “especially when I’m drunk.”
“No,” she said, “but I think it’s different for girls really. They can have a same-sex encounter without being labelled gay. I don’t think it’s the same for guys.”
My steward said, “That’s only because lesbians turn straight men on.”
“I don’t think that’s true,” I responded. “I know lots of straight guys who’ve gone gay but still consider themselves straight. They’re a bit like you; they don’t call themselves ‘bi’ either, but it’s more common than you might think. For example,” I said turning to the black steward listening on, “have you ever had a gay experience?”
“Yeah, sure I have,” he said.
“What?!” the stewardess said, her mouth agape.
“Are you being serious,” I asked, “or are you just taking the piss?”
“I’m being serious,” he said.
“And how old were you?”
“And do you consider yourself gay or bi?”
“No,” he said.
“See?” I told the stewardess, “the entire British Airways crew is filled with closet bisexuals. The only non-bisexual person here is the gay guy who came out at age 14!”
“Here’s my point though with all these labels,” I said, “Three people in this galley have had bisexual experiences and yet only identify as gay or straight. Straight people tend to think that gays are the only ones who have to come to terms with their sexuality, but that’s not true. All people whether gay or straight are always coming to terms with their own desire at different points throughout their lives. Maybe you like it rough, maybe you like leather, or maybe you want a sensitive man or the occasional girl. Sexuality’s incredibly fluid and I think we’re afraid that embracing or admitting that fluidity makes us weird or queer or gay or a freak or something, when all we want is to accept our desires, share them with someone else, to declare without shame ‘This is how I want to be loved, to have sex and express my desire… as I wish, and not to be shunned for it.’ We all have that in common.”
They considered it silently, either because of its deep philosophical quality or because I had said it much drunker (and less coherently) than I remember. Either way, with that, they gave me some complimentary pear tart and a side salad which I ate right before peeing and returning to my seat to watch the Nazis take over the Kit Kat Klub.
I got the flight upgrade to British Airway’s first class Club World on my way home, and while I enjoyed my own personal cubicle with a selection of eight wines, champagne cocktails, baskets of fresh bread, and a go-go gadget seat that turned into a bed, I didn’t get nearly the same level of conversation or insight into the sex lives of the crew members. Just goes to show, those suckers in first class don’t know what they’re missing.
* “Stewardess” is used instead of “female flight attendant” for the sake of brevity and clarity. And to be sexist.