Sunday, 19 March 2017

Prostitutes, kidnap and homophobes on holiday (Asia pt.2)

"Are you sure you're gay?" a prostitute recently quizzed my friend and I after squeezing herself between us on a dark street step in Kuta. The brief break we'd taken from the club to get some fresh air ruined by one woman's quest to fill both her purse and pussy.

After finally accepting our sexuality she then pointed to a small Indonesian man lurking in the shadows across the street. "He gay too," she exclaimed, as her friend waved us over. Somewhat amused, slightly intoxicated and definitely intrigued we decided to see what the chap had to say for himself.

"I have the best boys in Bali," he boasted, while clutching multiple mobile phones: "Do you want young or old?" In a matter of minutes we'd gone from dancing to Little Mix to haggling the price of a homosexual threesome that neither of us particularly wanted.

"We don't need anyone else," my friend, who is actually straight, joked, after a dark debate on how young his youngest worker actually was. "We love each other too much to sleep with anyone new." And on that, off we laughed ourselves back to the club.

Sadly though, this wasn't the most surprising moment of our night out... just hours before we'd been temporarily kidnapped by a dodgy taxi driver who'd locked us in his car.

Despite our destination being in close proximity and being tracked on my iPhone's Google Map from the back seat, he still decided to take a four mile detour to run the meter up. "Do you trust Google or do you trust a local?" he growled, upon politely asking why we were driving the wrong way. Too terrified to speak up again, he later refused to open the door until we'd handed over more money.

Then once in the gay club, we watched in horror as the barely legal local rent boys were happily grabbed, groped and dry humped by the middle aged holiday makers that had splashed the most cash on them for the evening. A disturbing sight to see.

That opening question ("are you gay?") has become an interesting topic since I've started travelling, though.

I'm constantly meeting so many people and making so many new friends that it sort of becomes the big pink elephant in the room.

To me, it's irrelevant, but to many it's apparently integral? I'd never announce it yet I'd never hide it. Time and time again, usually after several days hanging out with a new crowd, it creeps into conversation when asked about a girlfriend or something equally as passive.

"Oh, well I'm actually gay," I respond. Most rarely care, some think I'm joking and sadly some then distance themselves from you. I remember once I felt a twinge of guilt for not declaring it upon first making someone's acquaintance. As if I should wear my sexuality on a badge to prevent the homophobes hiding their hate from accidentally hanging with the apparent enemy.

"Are you normal or are you a gay?" a very odd German man asked me in a hostel in Cairns before Christmas, after we'd been on the same tour of Queensland for ten days. Thankfully I'm not easily offended, will happily hold my own and these experiences are rare and few - but is my sexuality something I should be announcing upon first making a friend?

It appears that unless you're slightly 'fem' or fit the stereotypes that give the game away, then there's a small percentage of people that feel you're deceiving them unless you do state it?

It's not all bad though.

I'm currently writing this from a hotel room in Bali where I've extended my trip after making two new friends who I'm now staying with. Despite them being binge drinking, vagina loving, chain smoking, heterosexual lads from Norway - they could not care less what I am or what I like. Which is how it should be, right?

We're sharing a hotel room, sharing constant laughs and quite often sharing cute little candle lit date nights and dinners. The intimacy of our freshly formed, sexuality clashing, friendship would cause concern for many straight people due to fear of ridicule and childish taunts. I state this as a fact based on previous experience. Yet to these two 19-year-old guys my preference in the bedroom is quite literally as irrelevant as my favourite band or sports team.

I'm comfortable enough with who I am to never go out seeking acceptance or approval, but in cases like this, it is nice to be reminded that not everyone is as close minded as I've come to experience since I set off on this journey. 

Shout out to Simen and Thomas for the top banter and just being top lads in general. And also Ashley, Tyler, Alicia and the rest of Balintro for making the Asian adventure all the more memorable.