• Jen

Gay Man's Legs

I went to an all-boys school, except it wasn’t really an all-boys school because some of the teachers were grown men & women. Imagine if a school was just run by teenage boys, there’d be spunk everywhere.

As you can imagine, I didn’t have the easiest time there. For one thing, one year they decided to get rid of all the coca cola & replace it with caffeine-free coke, which tasted like rancid pond scum. Oh yeah, also I wanted to be a girl. Still, don’t we all?*

I never wanted to go to that school. I think I was pressured into it, maybe in an attempt to harden me up a bit (not a boner joke). It was pretty shitty. One upside though, was it gave me a great insight into guys & their hobbies - so now on dating apps I can feign a pretty convincing interest in soldering & casual homophobia. Speaking of…

... every morning, the school bus (which was the same as a regular bus, except the drivers were trained in advanced pocket knife self defence & first aid) would park by the motorway and let us all off. From there, we had to go down, through an underpass to get to the school. By this underpass, there was this sign. A road sign sort of thing, with two poles. I can’t remember what the sign said on it, it’s not really pertinent to the story to be honest. Why are you getting so hung up on what the sign said, you absolute sign obsessed freak. So, every morning all the boys would go out of their way to walk around this sign. Literally everyone did. And by literally everyone, I of course mean literally everyone except for me, obviously. I would walk under it because 1) it’s just a sign. 2) it’s fun to walk under things & 3) did I mention it’s just a fucking sign?

I walked under this sign in complete ignorant bliss for weeks, receiving taunts, laughs & the occasional half-full Fanta can to the head**, until one morning some kind soul informed me that I had in fact been walking through “Gay Man’s Legs”. And as I had willfully walked through Gay Man’s Legs for the past 3 weeks, I must therefor be a gay, and enjoy the balls & penises of men - the two poles of the sign being the aforementioned “legs” and the main body of the sign being the “gay man” in question. I was devastated. I had worked so hard to suppress & hide my true self, and assimilate into this spunky, spunk stained environment, and here it was - the painful truth that at a certain point destiny just takes over. You don’t choose Gay Man’s Legs, the legs of the gay man choose you. Our paths are already laid out before us, and we are but passengers.

In the coming weeks, I stopped passing under the Gay Man’s Legs. Eventually, people forgot that I had ever gone between those forbidden poles, and I was able to have a few weeks of relative peace.

Recently, on a drive to the supermarket with my Dad, we passed the Gay Man’s Legs. I realised that I hadn’t seen it for about 15 years. It felt good to see it still standing, tall & proud. A bit like a metaphor for something deep. But then, I remembered that it was just a sign & didn’t mean fuck all. In fact, all road signs mean nothing to me because I can’t even drive.

*I asked a therapist, and they said no.

** Incidentally, Fanta was a drink that Coca Cola designed to sell to Nazi occupied Germany. I’m not saying my school tormentors were Nazis, I’ll just let you think about that piece of factual information.


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