Coming up, coming out and coming to Titania By Malayka Al-Abdullah

There are many things I love about working at Bar Titania, the social aspects of working in a bar and being surrounded in a female oriented environment (or just the pretty faces). As fabulous as these things are, none of them are as likely to distract me from my work than a good story. Sadly this does even count the pretty faces. Ask all the girls at Bar Titania, it’s a known thing about me. I am rarely seen with the same book twice and own an offensively large number of books. Fact. I love stories and I love hearing other people’s stories, and I love to tell my own (we’ll get to that later).
Here I believe us gays have an advantage over ‘straight’ people, because we all have a story and something to pass around over the Amstel. The devil on my shoulder at this point wishes me to point out the inequity of the ‘coming out’ story. Straight people don’t have one, true but they too have stories of budding desire. But it is made less of a story or interest because ‘straight’ is a matter of course. Personally I feel sad for them because like I said I love stories.
So without further ado here is a random assortment of my favourites;

  • My mother came out to me.
  • Mum, I’m not gay I like guys too (my sister)
  • Mum, dad I have to go to the hospital for my prolapsed anus. Oh son, what caused this? Too much man on man sex!

As much as I don’t recommend the latter, it did have me in a fit laughter when I was told.
So here is mine. I first kissed a girl at the age of 8, her name is Claire. She was in my year in a different class but we use to sneak off to kiss in the loos at lunch break. After a while things cooled off and we didn’t hang around each other as much and thus stopped the kissing. We went to the same secondary school and yet again in different classes and I had a variety of different boyfriends that don’t really count as real relationships in comparison to adult relationships. This is where the story gets a little sad because I may of come to terms with my bi-sexuality a little quicker if it wasn’t for an incident at the age of 13.
My class and Claire’s class had been put together for P.E. and as the lower building had only one changing room for the girls we had to change together. Her class in the main body of the changing room, mine near the showers (behind a wall) but Claire freaked out the moment I walked passed her. She started screaming that she wouldn’t change with me there, even though a wall divided us. Soon after she came round to my class’s side and punched me in the face.
It always amazed me in retrospect why people never questioned her reactions. So, secondary school and the fear of their reactions kept me swimming up the big African river of de Nile (la la la, go away gay thoughts) and being a bi-sexual it was easier to ignore because I still liked guys.
But then along came Buffy…no not Buffy herself but Willow. I was in college and away from the judgement of people who think they had known me forever, when one of my favourite TV characters also went kinda gay. I stuck up a post card of Willow and Tara up in my bed room not realising my interest was in fact fascination which was in fact…kinda gay.
I told my mother at 17, she fish eyed me and shrugged. My mother would never ‘mind’ as such, she has two lesbian sisters who have been out and proud before it was ‘accepted’ like it is today.
The end as such for my story, I do realise I have had it easier than some.
I do also realise that until gay becomes a matter of course, people are still going to ask the intrusive questions for which the ‘ coming out story’ is one of the lesser offensive and whether or not u are comfortable with that should dictate your answers.
But, I will end it with this should you find you and your girlfriends dying for inexpensive vodka in Soho and you end up at the beauty of bar Titania. There is a bar maid there short, glasses, with black and blond hair. Who wants to hear your story, who wants you to listen to other peoples stories and share in the difference and sameness of the human experience. Yes even the ‘straighties’.