Ah, the countryside. There’s nothing quite like stepping off the train, the horizon open and unmarred by skyscrapers, taking a breath of unadulterated air to have “faggot” shouted at you by a man resembling a gammon. And, to think! AnonyMiss Slay was pretty happy about coming back to see the dysfunctional family. Still, this is a small town and small towns have their own particular pitfall for the queer-about-town, so buckle up for the five lol-based truths about growing up gay outside of the city.
KEEP A SENSE OF PROPORTION
It’s strange what puberty made AnonyMiss feel. Aged 18, I genuinely thought that Christopher Ashley from the year above, whom I never actually spoke to but definitely returned my frantic love, was hotter than all the Bel Ami boys swirled together. Truth is, he wasn’t. Understand this and understand it well: you might think such and such is like a God on earth but that is because we didn’t know that many people when we were young. Move it along – keep a sense of proportion.
GRINDR CAN BE HOT BUT IT CAN ALSO MAKE YOU SAD
Look, we’ve been there. Christ knows we have. Slowly scrolling through that fabulous tableau of faces, torsos, emojis and question marks, trying to find another one-true-love to spend the cold winter months with. The thing is, in a town with a population smaller than the episodes of League of Gentlemen, those faces rarely surprise you. Until the day when there’s some new trade in town and suddenly everyone’s messaging him like he’s Harry Styles, of course. So, don’t be too downhearted, don’t get too low – just jump on a train and a whole new sea with many new fishes awaits.
KNOW YOUR TARGET
You get ready, preened, gently imbibe a jot of your mum’s gin, grab your friend Lucy, and…
Well, here’s the issue. You obviously want to head to your rainbow-trimmed bar… but herein lies your problem: first you must take a ten-minute walk to the train station in a howling gale that’ll make Shania Twain look whispery, then a fifteen-minute train ride filled with beer-bellied lads on the razz, and after that, yet another fifteen-minute walk through a questionable park before you get there.
And when you do get there, it’s less of a bar, more, well, a room, serving hot lager and flat Strongbow and is solely populated by grizzled men of a certain age with faces that have been heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. We have all been here. Gone for the nearest option not the best. It pays to do your research, to know your target. So use Timeout, Outsavvy or ask groups on Facebook instead.
YOUR GAZE IS YOUR OWN – AND YOUR PHONE IS YOUR OWN
Unless your small town is a small bit of a big city, say, Soho, you are probably going to get a funny look at some point. A whispered aside. That is because the world is stupid and homophobia exists. How you respond is up to you. Be brave but be sensible. Remember your phone and a very pressing WhatsApp message can always pop up if you are uncomfortable on the platform/bus stop. And bear in mind, you are probably going to have a better night than them anyway.
A FINAL WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR
I don’t know about you, fans, but AnonyMiss Slay’s local environs are severely lacking in a stamp club for queers. For a year they had a drag night on at the local, but AnonyMiss Slay went undercover as their delightfully plain alter-ego and found that some of the drag acts were actually just, well, people going up and doing karaoke. 7 points for effort though, fans!
Lots of love,
Your effervescent engine of wisdom,
AnonyMiss Slay. PhD.