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Contents

WHERE THE HELL IS MY HOO HOO?

HEY YOU! WEE LASSIE!

MRS TAYLOR?

SET SAIL AND SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU SCURVY SEA DOGS!

“I have never done that before, how was it for you?”

Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride”

That poor boy was christened “Queer”

My first kiss

Show-off boy

I FORGIVE ME

THANKS FOR THE OFFER BUT NO THANKS

DOWN TO BUSINESS COLLEGE

MUSICAL THEATRE - “MY GOD, I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GIRL SPEAKING”

“IF NOTHING ELSE, THERE’S APPLAUSE….”

COMING OUT

SUMMER STOCK & BEING WATCHED BY COWS AND SCARECROWS

WORKING A GAY BAR - MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR

LIFE’S A CABARET WITH ELLEN

A GAY BAR AND MY DRAG DEBUT

JIM’S ABUSER AND MY BIG BREAK

A GAY BAR AND A FRIEND FOREVER

TURNING INTO A SWAN

PLEASE WELCOME JOHNNY FANTASY

THE LOVE OF MY LIFE

ANXIETY, AA, AND ME

THE ALL CLASS REVUE

STRIPPER AGENT

“STRAIGHT” MALE STRIPPERS IN A GAY BAR

KATRINAS/CLUB COLBYS

THE GAY CURSE TOOK MY LOVE

BACK TO THE “GAY LIFE”

MOVING ON TILL I DON’T

OPENING NIGHT AT BACHELORS

MY DAD’S DEATH LEADS TO MY BIRTH

“I AM WAITING FOR A BUS, OFFICER.”

“YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A WOMAN, RIGHT?”

MY TRANSGENDER AWAKENING

DOES GOD KNOW YOU WATCH THOSE SHOWS?

MY FAMILY CAN WRITE THEIR OWN DAMN BOOK

OH MY GOD IT MUST BE THE COPS!

MEETING PAUL

WE USED TO BE SHEMALES AND TRANNYS

TODD KLINCK RENEWED MY HOPE IN HUMANKIND

A “TRANNY SEX CLUB” BECOMES A COMMUNITY INSTITUTION

MISS SHEMALE WORLD

SHEMALE STRIPPERS & NUDE GUYS

“MANDY GOODHANDY ENTERPRISES”

FORCED TO BUY A RESTAURANT

MY FEELINGS ABOUT T-GIRLS

TRANNY CHASERS & T-GIRL ADMIRERS

CURRENT RELATIONSHIPS

CLUB120 AND 120 DINER

FIRST TRANS WOMAN STAND-UP COMEDIAN IN CANADA

LIVE MUSIC

FROM BACK THEN TILL NOW

GAY BARS AS A TRANS WOMAN

LEADING THE COMMUNITY 2010

A WOMAN IN FOR A PROSTATE EXAM?

THE BEDPAN SHUFFLE

THIRD TIME HOSPITAL STAY IS A CHARM?

WHY HAS PEEING BECOME SUCH A BIG DEAL?

IN CLOSING

Glossary

For my entire Taylor & Houston families;

they are all an important part of my completion.

Special Thanks

RCSC Corps Haida, Uncle Johnny & Auntie Flo, Sheridan College Oakville/Brampton, Rod Maxwell, Maureen Shone & Ron Graves, Camp Pine Crest, George Pratt Club Colbys/Bachelors/Flash nightclub, Ellen Cameron, Paul Coleman, Andrea Nemeth, Joey Wargachuck, Ori Dagan, Lisa Particelli’s Girl’s night out jazz jam, Mason Byrne & Richard Henry. And all of our local musicians, singers, and comics that inspire me every day.

Tasha Jones (Chris Murphy).

And a big thanks to my best friend and business partner Todd Klinck.

JUST CALL ME LADY:

One person’s work of completion

WHERE THE HELL IS MY HOO HOO?

I remember going to the public swimming pool with my older sister Betty when I was about six years old. I was wearing a cute little one-piece flower number that I had borrowed from her. I was gorgeous with my long brown curls, running and screaming with all the other children.

After a fun time, we went into the shower area to rinse the chlorine off our bodies and swimsuits. I was still so excited and I was standing under the water naked and jumping up and down. The shower area became very quiet, then some of the little girls started pointing at me, some in shock and some giggling. I realized that none of the people in the shower had anything hanging down between their legs except me. As we all know, small children are innocent, they are unabashed and unashamed until they realize they are different from each other in a variety of ways. It became obvious to everyone but me that I was in the wrong shower area. My parents were not big on explaining things in detail in those days, especially when it came to sex and, in this case, my genitalia. My sister and my friends were all girls and had hoo hoos, but I did not notice that fact then and did not even know what a hoo hoo was.

Anyone who paid attention would have figured out there was something different about me, even before that day. I was always in one room of the house dressing up in my sister Betty’s clothes and playing with her toys, while my older brother Ian was in another room of the house, probably building another house. The difference was not just that I preferred toys and clothing that were produced for girls; it was that I naturally felt that I was a girl. I will not use the cliché that I was “born the wrong gender.” I was born the right gender on all accounts of what society, the church and science dictates but every fibre of my being screamed out to me that I should naturally be living as a girl.

As far as I recall, it was after that swimming incident that I was urged to dress as a boy and my beautiful curls got cut, just before starting school. My mother basically said nothing about this dilemma, not that she did not care, but what could she say? My father, however, was extremely clear on his message and it had the usual “working class Glaswegian in the ’50s” loving and caring message of “Quit runnin’ roun’ like a wee lassie, you are a wee boy and I will gee ye a skelp if ya keep acting like that.” My dad was actually a big softy compared to some dads in Scotland in those days, so you can imagine just how bad some of the other men were.

HEY YOU! WEE LASSIE!

When I started school, the other kids kept asking if I was a boy or a girl even though I was wearing a boy’s school uniform. I had a hard time adjusting to this outside world experience of other kids deciding what was acceptable and what was not. They proudly presented me with my first nickname: “wee lassie.” It was a name given affectionately to little girls but given maliciously to effeminate little boys.

One day, the teacher stepped out of the classroom leaving us kids alone. A boy in my class pointed in my direction and yelled “Hey you! Wee lassie!” I, along with some other class members, looked behind me to see what “wee lassie” this boy was pointing at. I soon realized that the “wee lassie” was me. I was not sure whether to be scared or flattered that he noticed I was indubitably a girl and a large mistake had been made that had caused me to be dressed inappropriately in school boy attire. He continued with “Meet me outside after class!” In a Scottish public school, that was the bully’s signal for “you are getting a beating.”

I don’t think I had ever said more than one or two words to this person. In fact, I do not remember speaking more than two words to any person at school, out of fear that it would confirm I was, in fact, a “wee lassie.” The entire class was abuzz about this “main event” yet to come. Nowadays the entrepreneur in me would be selling tickets because this was going to be bigger than a Mayweather-McGregor fight…if Mayweather were the king of the ogres and McGregor were Bambi. I only had physical battle experiences with my older brother. And when I say “battle,” I actually mean him sitting on top of me and slapping me repeatedly. Then he would tell me to stop “bawling and greeting like a bairn.” That phrase, which meant to stop crying and complaining like a baby, made absolutely no sense: how could someone endure that type of abuse in a calm and quiet manner? So, I never learned how not to be “bawling and greeting like a bairn.” My brother Ian had a policy that only he was allowed to “give me a hiding” but, as he was two years older, he was at a different school, and would not be standing up for my honour (or his own). So, I had no protection, no bed to hide under, no mother to hide behind and no plan of escape. I left the classroom as the bell rang and started walking casually and praying that the boy had forgotten. Or that he may have decided that he could not hit a defenseless “wee lassie” wearing boys’ clothing. My home was past the school’s playground, across a road, then a short block. But during that walk, the playground became the length of New York’s Central Park and the road I was to cross appeared like Highway 401 at rush hour. I started walking quickly across the playground to reach the road to reach my tenement building and the safety of my flat.

I was trying to be nonchalant about my walk; I was doing everything but putting my hands in my trouser pockets and whistling, as I had seen my dad do so many times when being casual. That was a man thing, obviously, though deep in my heart I knew I would never be able to pull it off. I could hear the sounds of excited children behind me, as I casually looked up at the sky and then tried to kick a pebble as far as I could, in a poor attempt to show strength and skill. But to no avail, first, because I completely missed the pebble, and secondly because it was apparent that no one was falling for my fake casual act or my pretend feats of strength. The voice of my bully behind me made me stop dead in my tracks. “Where do ya think ya are going, ya wee shite?” Though I had graduated from “wee lassie” to “wee shite,” I was not sure it was a step up. My mother and nana would have been appalled. Even though we were typical working-class children, we were always taught to mind our manners. My nana was brought up by her mother in an Irish home that was also a bed and breakfast with lodgers, so she was taught to be polite to people, and she was also taught basic table manners, and this was passed on to my mother, who then passed it on to us. It was in very poor taste to yell in the street, let alone yell out “shite” to a poor girl dressed as a boy who had some semblance of breeding. But it seemed that different rules applied in a schoolyard rumble. Of course, in this case, the only rumble that would be happening would be me rumbling to the ground and being pounced upon by a Goliath wearing a Scottish school uniform. Desperately, I thought about my battles with my brother. I had absolutely no other life experiences to draw from. I knew I had to be brave about this bully situation. I looked up at the boy as he lunged forward and wrapped his arm around my neck. I sensed at that point that he also had no other life experiences to draw from. He was slow and clumsy, it took him a few seconds to calculate my neck region, and a few more seconds to get a grip. As bullies go, he was a disgrace; my big brother was much better than this guy. Ian would have had me tied up in a granny knot in ten seconds while eating a bowl of porridge.

I also would not have made it three feet out of that classroom door, if it had been Ian in pursuit. Suddenly, I had a weird renewed respect for my big brother. This guy was an amateur! But I would still have to be braver than I have ever been and rely on strategy and wits, not brute strength. I was able to slither out of the boy’s poor attempt at a headlock and looked him straight in the eye. And then I ran like hell!

I learned that day that though I might not be stronger than my attackers, I could be more slippery, and faster. This incident was on a Friday, so I had all weekend to wonder what my fate would be at school on Monday. I had important things to keep my mind occupied till then, such as sneaking on my sister’s frocks and running from my brother, my usual pastimes, except for when my Dad was around when I would do what any girl pretending to be a boy would do. Then when my dad left the house, back to playing games with my sister or jumping rope with all the other girls in the neighbourhood. Most of the neighbourhood girls were used to me by now and had stopped asking questions.

Back at school on the Monday, it was like the Friday fiasco had never happened. I was treated just as always and nobody bothered me much, not physically anyway. But I did remain “wee lassie” for the rest of the time I lived in Scotland. I guess “wee shite” was given to someone else more battle-worthy. Maybe I was considered too fast a runner for other bullies in that school, as I was never given a physical challenge again. They probably did not want to be seen being left in the dust by a “wee lassie” wearing boys’ trousers. Or I had proven I had no hidden physical strength that had to be tested by the bully pool. About a month later, I walked past a crowd of children cheering as another boy was giving my bully a pounding. I actually felt sorry for him. But I felt sorrier for the boy pounding my bully, as he would have to always prove himself, and take on all comers. Prove himself to whom? Who the shite knows? I was just glad that even though I had to live as a boy, in my mind I never had to be one. At least not that type of boy.

MRS TAYLOR?

As an adult, I have forgiven myself for always trying to get my father’s approval. I didn’t know I was even trying till puberty set in, though even when it did, it was more like puberty-ish. My voice didn’t lower much and I remained a hairless creature. I prayed for more body hair and kept doing voice exercises to lower my voice. When I answered the telephone at home with “Hello,” people calling would reply, “Mrs. Taylor?” I would practice even more with what my family would call my “phone voice.” It was difficult, like being a character in a play every minute of every day but without the fame, fortune or chance of winning an award.

SET SAIL AND SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU SCURVY SEA DOGS!

My parents decided to move to Canada in 1965 when I was twelve years old. We set sail on the Queen Mary for a week-long journey. My uncle Johnny (my mother’s brother) and aunt Flo lived in Canada with my three cousins Pat, Maureen and Anne Marie. We would be living with them until we got settled. I was going to be leaving my “wee lassie” legacy behind and would try even harder to be a boy to survive in this new country.

When I say the “wee lassie” legacy, I mean it as the nickname only. It turned out that my three cousins, who were all girls, had a big “dress-up trunk” in the basement of their house. They had dresses and wigs (weird plastic ones but wigs just the same) and shoes and everything else. It was paradise down there and I used to play dress-up with my cousin Maureen who was the closest to my age.

My parents had thought that moving to Canada would be a chance for them to have better lives. They went from having exhausting factory and cleaning jobs in Scotland to having slightly nicer factory jobs in Canada. And I discovered you can take the “wee lassie” out of Scotland but she will become “little girl” in Canada.

After we settled in Streetsville, the small town where my uncle and aunt lived, I joined the Sea Cadets. I was just about to turn 14. My big brother had joined them a year or so before, at the suggestion of my uncle Johnny, an ex-navy officer. I thought I could learn more “girl pretending to be a boy becoming a woman pretending to be a man” things. I was surprised how much I loved being part of this sea cadet group. At this time, girls weren’t permitted to be Sea Cadets, so it was even more of a surprise that I not only survived being with all boys and but even was accepted.

I had not been doing well regarding making friends in school, I had no athletic skills that I was aware of, and even my grades were bad. I hated school so much. I hated the way I was looked at and was always made to feel inferior by some of the other boys. It is not unusual to say “I was bullied,” many kids were and still are. My bullying was verbal and emotional, but just as tormenting as if it were physical. Though it was only a handful of boys doing the verbal bullying, those are the ones you remember. When you are bullied you always remember, and it does not matter if only a few kids took part, when it’s happening, you feel like the whole school hates you. There were actually a lot of great kids in my school and a lot who were just going through the paces like I was, till this part of our lives was over. The only time I did well in class was when I liked the teacher and was in class with kids who did not make me feel weird. In gym class, I was useless in every team sport, probably because I never felt like a part of any team. I was ruled by fear and anxiety and would not even try to excel out of fear of being laughed at. But I was laughed at because I did not excel, so there was no winning in the situation. As I mentioned, they nicknamed me “little girl” here in Canada, which was weird since my nickname in Scotland was “wee lassie,” Scotland’s version of “little girl.” I wondered if the bullies of each country had a worldwide chapter and would contact each other if one of their victims tried moving to another country, town or village. “Hey John in Streetsville, this is John from Glasgow. “Little Girl” has tried to escape over there to Canada. Do us a favour and give her a nickname, so she knows she is missed.” Maybe they held jamborees with representatives from all over and workshops on new bullying techniques. I just wanted to survive each day without being picked on or beaten up. Luckily, there were usually teachers around, and I was able to get out of school and reach my home quickly before anyone had a chance to pounce on me.

Being part of Sea Cadets was the opposite experience from school. I learned so much more about life and social skills. I came to discover that I was not hated by everyone in the world. The Sea Cadets had many activities that I did not even think I would enjoy. As we all now know, sports are not just for boys, they are enjoyed by girls as well. I was bad at so many things because I let boys make me feel bad, and I was too scared and uncomfortable to join in with them. All this was different when I was very young, I played all sorts of games as long as it was with the other girls. I was skipping rope and having so much fun till I was told that doing what comes natural is not always right. I was so much better in those environments away from the “male bonding” pressure. It was like forcing a girl to play a contact sport with all boys. Not that the girl would not be capable or skilled at the sport or strong enough to play the sport: It would be the lack of camaraderie, the feeling of not being part of that all-male team and the ultimate rejection by those who otherwise should be your peers. Most girls/women, no matter how strong or skilled, would be affected mentally by that experience, and I was no different.

Sea Cadets met one evening a week and we went to different places and events as a corp on the weekends. We went to sailing regattas or marched in parades, visited armed forces bases such as Camp Borden in Ontario or Camp Cornwallis in Nova Scotia. We could take different cadet courses in the summer to improve and climb up in rank. That was one of the great things I found about Sea Cadets; the opportunity to get higher in rank made me feel I accomplished something. The other boys in my corp were mostly from surrounding small towns, so they did not know my reputation of being “little girl” or being fairly useless at being a man. During these times, I was still wishing my voice would deepen and I would mature more as a man. One experience that stood out for me, among many in my quest to be a boy, occurred at a Sea Cadet function.

We were in Toronto preparing for an upcoming naval regatta and parade. There were Sea Cadets and naval reservists all packed in Toronto’s Moss Park Armory. The Sea Cadet corps were from many different cities and towns all over Ontario. Our corp had about 30 of us, and all the divisions were being taken through drills in preparation of the upcoming parade march. This involved marching maneuvers, including drills with rifles. We needed to be precise and move as one. The petty officer and lieutenant for our division had been called to get instructions in another part of the armory, and I was told that I was in charge of the division till our petty officer and Navy lieutenant returned, as I was the next highest in rank. I had never been put in charge before so this was fairly sudden. I knew about division drills and how to give out orders, but only through observation. All the other divisions of cadets were going through their paces, and senior cadets were barking out orders to their divisions. My division was a mess, however. All the cadets started talking amongst themselves and getting out of military formation. I was in a panic. I had never given orders to these guys before, we were friends and there was no hierarchy between us at that point. But I could not let my petty officer and lieutenant come back to an uncontrolled rabble. The leaders of the other divisions were looking at us with disgust and disrespect. I was incensed, I could not allow this. All of a sudden, a loud deep voice yelled across the whole armory, “Pipe down!” which was the naval term for “shut the hell up, you scurvy sea dogs!” Everyone in the hall went quiet. The shocking thing was that that loud commanding voice came from me. I had reached down deep and found what would become my leader-of-men voice and “I am in charge here” demeanour. Even I stood there stunned for a couple of seconds, but I quickly composed myself in a very military fashion. I continued to give a series of drill commands like I had been doing it forever. There was a new respect bestowed upon me by my cadet corp. It was then that I discovered that a woman, who was born a man and for survival reasons has to live uncomfortably as a man, can be as much of a man, as a man born a man, who is comfortable living as a man.

More than the activities and things I was learning, cadets gave me the experience of having friendships. I spent a lot of time on weekends visiting my cadet friends. A particular group of four of them lived in Erindale, a small nearby town (also now part of Mississauga). Sometimes I would ride my bike or walk there, it was about an hour each way on foot. I would visit on a Friday night and sometimes not come back until Sunday night. I remember hitchhiking late on a Sunday to get back home, something that would be unheard of now, for even a teenage boy.

I was happy being away from my home town and finally feeling like I belonged. It was worth the risk of travelling alone at night and counting on the kindness of strangers.

“I have never done that before, how was it for you?”

It would be dishonest for me not to talk about the sexual distractions I had to deal with at times. I never experienced sex with a boy or a man until four years of college were almost done, but that does not mean there was no desire hidden way back in my mind. Many times, I was in visually stimulating situations, but never dared to react to, never mind pursue, those thrills. I had attended Sea Cadet events and stayed in armed forces barracks that at times held hundreds of male cadets. Shower areas and armed forces barracks filled with double bunks, with tons of half-dressed or fully naked young men showering and participating in naked or near naked roughhousing. I was constantly averting my eyes from the unabashed nudity of all the other young men around me. Most boys and men do not think twice about dressing, undressing or walking around naked in the presence of other men, especially back then. After all, there was no such thing as gays or homos or queers, certainly not in the military. All gays were hairdressers or performed in theatre. At least that was the general consensus in the ’70s and the ’80s. The challenge was to keep from thinking about anything sexual, as sprouting an obvious erection would have been the end of my Sea Cadet life and the death of the only time I had found happiness while pretending to be the gender I was not. I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy the visuals because of the danger involved in being discovered. The situations weren’t anything like the scenes from a really bad gay porn film, in which a group of boys are showering and one says, “Why do you have a hard-on man?” The other replies, “I was just thinking about my girlfriend,” to which the first responds, “That is disgusting, but let me help you.” Then, the rest of the guys play with themselves, and with each other while watching. When they are all done, the first guy says, “I have never done that before, how was it for you?” and the second guy replies, “It was not as good as my girlfriend does it, but it was okay.” Then the scene fades out and fades back in on the commanding officer just finishing off his own orgasm from watching the hidden camera in the shower room. And he says, “Well, those Sea Cadets are not bad, but they still have a lot to learn about swallowing seamen.”

But none of that would ever have happened. And I learned a lot about self-control. It is a difficult thing to describe, being in that all-male world while having to live as a man and knowing you should be living as a woman. It is not even the same as a gay man living in an all-male setting and having to learn control. Being a person who should have been born a woman living in these surroundings is something only a woman could imagine. She would have to hide everything that is feminine and natural about being herself and hide any sexual or emotional feelings she may have. It was not just the nudity factor that was difficult, it was becoming friends with people that I was attracted to and wished could be more than friends. I avoided becoming close to boys that I found desirable. They intimidated me and it was difficult being around someone I desired, to stay over at their house, sometimes in the same bed, or dressing and undressing around them. I did have a couple of those friends as I went through life, but I was particularly careful. Any potentially sexual shenanigans were certainly not instigated by me, but by the other boy.

Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride”

This incident was certainly not what I would consider a fun or interesting shenanigan, but it stuck with me as my first near-encounter with a male.

I was coming home from the Streetsville arena with my ice skates. I don’t even know why I had ice skates or why I went to the ice skating arena, to begin with. I had roller skating experience in Scotland and was pretty good in short spurts, but ice skating was foreign to me. My ice skates were second hand and a bit too big, I had to wrap the laces around my ankles really tight and wear at least two pairs of heavy socks. I had learned the basics on the nearby frozen Credit River by watching a couple of other kids. They were so good on those ice skates that I began to think that Canadian boys learned to ice skate right after they learned to walk. But I would just mess around on the frozen lake, learning to keep in a straight line and not do an impersonation of Bambi. But I could not master slowing down or the important act of stopping. I would slide into the snow banks with just enough grace to make it look like I meant to do it. I went to the rink very occasionally to try to fit in but, as usual, failed miserably. I liked it fine when gliding around the arena to the music. It felt like dancing. Sometimes I watched the girls performing figure skating moves, captivated by the beauty and grace. But, like everything else that I was naturally attracted to, figure skating was considered unacceptable for boys, in small-town 1970s. While my body was skating around (in the limited way that I could), in my head was a full-scale musical on the ice, with me in the leading role. I was becoming a bit of an expert in “pretending” to be someone else entirely and therefore do things that brought me absolutely no joy.

That night as I was walking back home and picturing myself in a lovely skating outfit, twirling and leaping into the air with grace, I became aware of a boy on a bike nearby. He had been behind me since leaving the arena. I didn’t know him personally but this was a small town and I knew he was in high school with my older brother or sister. I was a little worried that he was right behind me on the sidewalk, but sometimes I could hear him turn off into a side street. But he kept coming back and it started to scare me a little. I could hear my own breathing but tried to be casual. It was the evening in a small town, there were little traffic and very few people walking the street. I was still about two blocks from home and started thinking back to the bully experience in the Scottish schoolyard. For sure I was in for another headlock if I didn’t start running now. What if this Canadian bully was more skilled at headlocks than his Scottish counterpart?

Then I heard him say those dreaded words, “Hey you?” I didn’t answer, hoping he wouldn’t see me if I didn’t speak back. He didn’t fall for that and zipped off the sidewalk, curved around and jumped his bike onto the sidewalk in front of me. His bike riding was actually impressive, and under less ominous circumstances I may have swooned. Also, if it had been a horse he was riding and he was wearing white armour, with me in flowing chiffon, it may have played out differently. He sidled his bike up to me so that the front tire was almost between my legs, forcing me to a stop. I had escaped a whole other country and avoided a thumping, but maybe this guy was my Scottish bully’s Canadian cousin and was going to finish me off. I hoped that he would have to lay the bike down and as he was doing that, I could make a run for it. He didn’t lay the bike down. He said, “Could you not hear me back there? I was saying hi.” I wanted to correct him and say that he was not saying “hi,” he was saying, “hey you?” and saying “hi” may have gotten a response, it being a much friendlier and welcoming greeting at night time in a small town. I thought of saying, “Oh, I didn’t know you were speaking to me.” But there was not a single other soul on the street, so obviously he was speaking to me. And I certainly wasn’t going to say, “I’m sorry, I was busy skating around in my head wearing a sequin-trimmed skating skirt.” Instead, I said nothing, in case he heard how feminine I sounded and then wanted to thump me.

He said, “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride.” What did that mean? Other kids were offered candy and a van ride, and all I was being offered was a hard bicycle seat and no sweets whatsoever. But I knew better than to take rides from strangers and did not even wish to imagine where he would be hiding sweets if he had any. I had a choice of going with him and being beaten up in some side street or parkette or being beaten up right here, where I hopefully had a chance to swing my skates at his head. On the plus side, my skates would do a much better job on his face that I could ever make them do on the skating rink.

In my lowest voice, which was still a work in progress, I said. “I just live across from the lights, and my parents are expecting me, but thank you.” Please note the reference to my parents, showing that protection awaited me, and the use of good manners by saying, “thank you.” Surprisingly, he became quite nice and even polite, turning his bike around to present the bike seat to me in an inviting gentlemanly way. He said, “We could go for a quick bike ride and it’ll be fun.” My still young and still innocent mind was not falling for this. I had already experienced every bully tactic in the book. Did I mention my brother was a professional? Ian was renowned for luring my sister Betty and I with promises of wonderful childhood games that usually turned out to be his games of torture and atrocities.

“I need to go home or my mom will be mad and come look for me,” I said. Note again the reference to my mother, making her sound like Maleficent, who would swoop down on him breathing fire. At that point, I did not know or care if the traffic light was green, red or yellow with polka dots; I did what I always did best and ran like hell. I ran diagonally across the street, thinking that if he chased me he would have to wait for the appropriate light since he was riding a wheeled vehicle. Don’t ask me why I thought that way, but it was all I had and certainly had no time for logical thoughts. I was sure he would give chase. But I was on a mission and in a crisis and just wanted to reach my house, and I did. And he obviously did not follow me, at least not any further than my driveway. I ran through the door to safety.

My big brother Ian was sitting in the kitchen when I came panting through the door. Being the weekend, my parents were out dancing at the local legion. My brother could smell fear, being someone who specialized in providing it all the time, and he knew immediately something was wrong. In his usual kind and sweet big brother voice, he asked, “Wit the hell’s the matter wi yu!?”

I answered in my usual cool and collected manner, like any animal that has nearly fallen prey to a predator, “Some shite on a bike was going to beat me up!” I described the guy to him and told him I had seen him around before. Ian said he knew exactly who that was.

It was a couple of months later when Ian told me he had beat the guy up. And that Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride” would not be coming near me again. I asked Ian why the guy wanted to beat me up but he would only say, “Believe me, he was not planning to beat you up. And he will not be saying things like ‘Climb on, I’ll give you a ride’ to any other kids any time soon.” I asked my brother about the guy a few years later, and he explained to me in more detail Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride”’s real intentions.

I was certainly attracted to other boys back then, and even Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride” was good looking. But I am sure if I had gone with him it would not have been a good experience. But I will never forget Mr. “Climb on, I’ll give you a ride”, and hope that no kids get in, or on, strange vehicles. Even young boys can inappropriately prey on younger boys or girls. We always think of sex offenders as being just dirty old men, and never consider they can be any age.

That poor boy was christened “Queer”

The three cadets I hung with from Erindale had a mutual friend named Steve in their hometown. We went to visit him once and hung out in his bedroom in the basement of his parents’ house. Everything was quite normal as we spoke about cadets and sports and stuff. Then he brought up the topic of girls and asked each of us what type of girls we liked. I was 15, for God’s sake, I would have been happy with any girl that just acknowledged my existence. Then Steve started undressing and told us that he was tired and horny. One of my friends exclaimed, “What the fuck are you doing, man?” But I was only half listening to my friend’s disgusted response to the free show as I was thinking, “Keep undressing, this is awesome!” Steve got under the covers of his bed completely naked and repeated, “I am tired, man, and this is boring!”

My friend answered, “This is bullshit, we are leaving!”

Steve replied, “Come on, man, why don’t you guys climb in? And we can pretend we are with girls.”

I was thinking, “The hell with pretending we are with girls, let’s just pretend that I am one, then I can finally stop pretending I am a boy!”

I would have had no idea how to continue with the situation, but I was willing to give it a good old Sea Cadet try. Steve lifted up his covers and flashed his very large (for a boy his age) penis. Well, that was the last straw! I took one long last lustful look and stormed out with my other three friends. And I pretended to be as upset and angry as they were. Poor Steve was christened “queer” from then on, whenever I heard about him again. I respected his bravery in that episode though; I would never have had the nerve to suggest such a risky liaison. Again it was almost like one of those bad gay porn scripts that I described earlier. It did make me wonder if Steve was secretly watching gay porn or, more likely at the time, reading gay books or looking at gay magazines. And how wonderful it would be to be able to go back and ask him where to find such books and magazines.

My first kiss

Another group of boys I had met in Sea Cadets were from my own home town of Streetsville. They were no longer in the cadets, but I still hung out with them occasionally. One of the boys, Roy, suggested we see what it was like to kiss because none of us had ever kissed or been kissed. For some reason, none of us objected, though I was prepared to object strongly, of course, if everyone else did. But luckily, and surprisingly, no one objected, so we all tried kissing each other. It was all very clinical and with air left between our bodies, so it was not considered “gay.” I really wanted to get handsy but did not dare. It was decided that I was the best kisser and all three of the other boys wanted to kiss me the most. Obviously, I would be the best, even though it was my first time kissing anyone except my cat (only on her nose though, nothing sick or twisted), and she hated when I kissed her and would run away. I was the best because I was living out fantasies that I was not even aware I had. So my kisses were real and passionate, but still with just enough masculine discomfort to keep up my reputation. Those kisses were still too short but, oh, so sweet.