Think about this

Late last night when Guido and I climbed into bed things started to get heavy almost straight off. I think it was only marginally to do with the very large and thick wedge of home baked raisin and apple pastry plait and the full fat cream which I’d scoffed just before I’d gotten between the sheets. As you will now realise, The Banana Diet is off the menu. Though I’m making a mental note as I type this. Visit pharmacy tomorrow to buy some more Pepto-Bismol.

“It’s times like this it really makes you think, doesn’t it?” said Guido staring at our bedroom ceiling in deep contemplation like he’d gone into some sort of a trance.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the paint is still flaking off it.

“I mean,” said Guido with a thoughtful hmm… sound at the end his sentence, “what’s it really all about?”

Great, I thought, it’s almost midnight and the last thing I wanted to do was start to contemplate life as we know it under a duvet. So I lay there silently next to him waiting for some kind of hidden clue about where this conversation might be going to take us. In the end I just said what I always say to Guido when I can’t figure out what he’s talking about. Which is – why don’t you roll over and I’ll give it a rub? It usually moves things along a bit.

“Who would have thought one man’s life would be defined by what he decided to put in his mouth?” said Guido completely ignoring me. Though if I’m honest I suddenly perked up. I had the feeling this conversation had the potential to turn into something really quite promising after all.

“Think, just for a moment, about some of the special people who have made their mark,” he said.

The air should have been full of Mahatma Gandhis and Winston Churchills but for some strange reason the only person running through my mind was Judge Judy Sheindlin.  But Jim Delligatti, who sadly died aged 98 last week, certainly hadn’t been on my list. If you’ve never heard of Jim, 50 years ago he single handedly invented the Big-Mac. He created the formula of having two lots of everything – beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a special sauce – all in one burger.

“The dude was a legend,” said Guido flicking out the light. “A true hero in the world of beef in a lightly toasted brioche bun. I can only dream of coming up with a recipe which might one day be so iconic.”

I closed my eyes in the darkness. Despite the fact I’d just eaten a luscious slice of sticky dessert merely 15 minutes before, I felt weirdly empty. I opened my eyes. Big-Mac 550 calories, fries 230 calories, milkshake 530 calories. Total 1290 calories. That’s more than half an average Joe’s daily calorie intake in one sitting. I closed my eyes again and tried to think only about bananas but it didn’t seem to work.

I really couldn’t tell you what Guido’s legacy will be to the culinary world but if it has anything to do with what I write and what you read on this blog then I think it’s definitely going to involve a salami sausage. And if he took the lead from big Jim Delligatti, there will probably be two of them. Now, that certainly was something to think about.

 

The big squeeze

There’s an entry currently held in the Guiness Book Of Records for the most number of people who ever squeezed, all at once, into a mini (classic) motor car. It happened in 2014 during the London to Brighton car race. Apparently 28 people got into one.

Don’t say you never learn anything important from this blog.

What it didn’t say was whether they were technically midgets, but I reckon even for 28 midgets it must have felt like a jam. The reason I know this interesting fact is because this evening I looked it up. And the reason I looked it up is because earlier I’d gotten myself into something of a jam. In between Bank and London Bridge stations on the London Underground, the packed tube train I was travelling on got stopped in a dark and drafty tunnel for 45 minutes. My heart went out to those midgets I can tell you. Though at the time it was my husband I was blaming for the tight squeeze I was in.

Guido sent me a text on my way home which read – buy bleach we’ve got another unaviodable blockage – and he’d attached a zoomed in photograph of our toilet with the lid graphically still up. It was followed by another text which read – washing line in cafe courtyard just snapped – followed by a picture of Guido holding a frayed rope end with pegs and our wet laundry still flapping from it. So that’s why I’d gotten off at a Bank Station convenience store and bought an extra large bottle of Domestos, a nylon rope, and two half priced pork chops. Ok, the latter was an impulse buy, but trust me, I know what Guido’s capable of with a dollop of French mustard.

Then I got back on the tube and that’s when there was a loud screeching noise and 300 of us got stuck together in that tunnel. Interestingly I was wedged up against a guy who was a dead ringer for one of the lead guitarists from ZZ Top. I’ve got to admit it’s a very long time since I’ve been that close to any man with a similar amount of ginger hair protruding from his chest as he had from his chin, and not enjoyed it.

“There’s something hard and ridgid in the vicinity of your groin which is sticking firmly into my inner thigh,” he said without blinking or smiling nor hint of enjoyment.

“Oh, relax,” I said quick as a flash, “it’s definitely not what you’re hoping for.” I pulled my shopping bag up to eye level and exposed my big bottle of bleach. “My husband has an emergency blockage which I’m on my way home to flush through,”

It’s the sort of thing you can only say to someone with as much joie de vivre enthusiasm as you can and not get punched on the nose. But as you probably know you should never judge a book by it’s cover, and, the longer you talk to a complete stranger about bleach the more you find you actually have in common.

His husband’s name is Simon and apparently he’s always having blockages. After 20 minutes of bonding I inexplicably found myself humming that tune, Gimme All Your Lovin’.

A word of advice. If you ever get stuck in a tunnel, I recommend doing it with a guy who thinks nothing of playing air guitar on a pork chop.

Us

Every evening when I get home from work, after Guido turns the café kitchen lights off and we climb up the fire escape steps to our loft apartment upstairs, he’ll always do this weird silly thing. I’ll use romantic licence here and call it an, “us” thing. He’s done it for years ever since we started living together. He’ll stop right next to our refrigerator. He’ll pull open the freezer compartment door. He’ll peer inside. Then he’ll pause for a moment, slam the door shut again and spin around and say – “Did you eat all the chocolate chip ice-cream?”

Whilst opening your freezer and discoverng a tub of chocolate chip ice-cream in there should not be completely unexpected, we never, ever, have it in our fridge. This is on account of the fact that I’m always on a diet. By the way the only food I’m eating this week is bananas and so far I’ve lost another 3 pounds. At this rate I’ll practically be The Invisible Man by the time we reach Christmas.

“How often do I have to tell you,” Guido will ask me with mock shock, “do not finish the chocolate chip ice-cream, okay?”

No matter how many times he says that, it still always makes me laugh out loud.

Sometimes, if Guido knows I’m going to be home very late because I’m stuck on the midnight train back to London Bridge, he’ll leave a handwritten note taped to the refrigerator door. It’ll usually read something tantalisingly provocative like – “Sorry, but I ate the last of the ice-cream.”

When I find it I’ll smile and take my clothes off and get under the sheets and climb into a warm bed with him and trust me it’s not a chocolate chip that’s the first thing going through my mind.

“But you don’t usually eat dessert, dear” said my mother when she once heard that conversation between us.

“Oh it’s just an “us” thing,” I said dismissively. And poured her another gin. No matter how many men my mother has dated over the years I doubt she and they ever had an “us” thing.

“Why, for the love of God,” said Ted with raised eyebrows when he opened a kitchen cupboard in our loft earlier this week, “would two middle aged gay men have two whole shelves stacked with jars of mayonnaise?”

We buy bulk.

“Oh it’s just an “us” thing,” I said dismissively, “when we have nothing better to do on a wet Sunday evening I usually get out the Hellmann’s, a spatula, and spread Guido’s big hairy feet.”

I often wondered if it was only us who did weird or silly “us” things and I don’t just mean with ice-cream and my husband’s feet. Then, the other day, I found a website devoted to sentimental vintage photographs of gay couples, all captured decades ago. There was one touching photo which particularly caught my attention. At the bottom of it was a single, handwritten, word. And it summed up the image completely. If you click on it below you’ll see exactly what I mean.

I couldn’t possibly begin to guess what these guys might have gotten up to on a wet Sunday evening, but I could tell they were definitively just like “us”. And there was nothing weird or silly about that at all.

us

 

Love and a London foxtrot

Last Friday morning I walked into the café kitchen downstairs. It was like any other start to a regular weekday work morning. But you never quite know who’ll be in there or what’ll be going on or what’ll be sizzling on The Spanish Onion grill. Only the day before I’d found Guido teaching two enthusiastic nuns from South America how to make the best poached egg. He tells me it involves vinegar, apparently.

“L,” said Guido as I passed him stirring a pan of porridge with a big wooden spoon in it, “is for the way you look at me.”

“What?” I said. Well, you would.

“O, is for the only one, I see,” he said holding his hand to his chest where I’m guessing he thinks his heart must beat.

I looked down at the pan of bubbling porridge and then looked back up at Guido. If he’d asked me at the time I’d have told him to pay a bit more attention because the consistency looked a bit on the lumpy side to me.

“V, is very very, extraordinary,” he said.

I blinked a couple of times.

“E, is even more than anyone that you adore.”

I think I’ve got all those song lyrics right. Then Guido kissed me on the cheek and he went back to his pan and I took the Tube to Shepherds Bush. I had a top flight work meeting with a client about the complexities of painting his bathroom pistachio.

On Saturday night in bed I felt Guido twitching under the blanket. Don’t worry folks, I’m not going anywhere near another one of my elaborate stories involving a salami sausage.

“Relax,” said Guido from the darkness, “I’m merely memorising some dance moves.” I felt two slow kicks to the left and then two quick ones to the right. Then he rolled over and went straight to sleep.

In the morning he told me he’d read somewhere that everyone should try to learn to do something new every day. No matter how small. So that explained the memorising modern jazz lyrics bit, but frankly I’d got doubts about the usefulness of ever being in a position to perform a foxtrot. And who would he ever dance it with? If it was down to me I’d much rather he concentrated on perfecting a decent blue cheese soufflé.

“Can you play that song, LOVE?” Guido asked the band at The Hideaway jazz club in South London. We had lunch there yesterday. The food was great and the big band music sounded terrific.  The two of us even got up at one point and danced a few steps and I didn’t trample on Guido’s toes even once.

On the journey home I couldn’t help myself. I started to hum the words to that tune. I think I almost know them off by heart. And, with a foxtrot you start with the left foot and take two walking steps followed by a left side right together. Then you do something called a, rinse and repeat, with your left foot. It’s nice to turn out to be an old dog with a couple of new tricks up my sleeve.

Tomorrow I’ve asked Guido to teach me how to poach an egg. Because if two nuns from Belize can crack it, then so can I.

Great expectations

When I first started writing this blog I had a really terrific idea. I posted my details onto a website which initially appeared to host other gay personal journals just like mine was going to be. I thought it was a great way to reach out to all of those elusive and anonymous new readers just waiting to get to know all about my life. Unfortunately, or indeed fortunately depending on how you feel about where your visitor traffic is sourced from, it turned out to be a porn site. The last time I looked it up, there I was, wedged between two blogs called Hot & Tight Lycra Guys, and, Big Banger in Baku Live! Never before has the use of an exclamation mark in a blog title name seemed so totally irrelevant. But hey, I’ll take all the visitors I can get so whether your clothes stretch when you put them on or you’re otherwise distracted in Azerbaijan, please, read on.

“I know I must be a big disappointment,” I said to Guido last night in bed. “I’m not sure I’m fulfilling expectations.”

Guido was trying hard to finish a crossword just before lights out. He was stuck on 7 across. It had 4 letters and began with the letter D. The clue was esoteric, which I remember thinking was pretty funny at the time.

“What I’m saying is,” I said staring up at our bedroom ceiling, “I’m not living up to the fantasy.”

I heard a sigh.

“Look,” said Guido putting his pen down, “if this is about last week when I told you I thought it would be really hot if we both smothered each other naked all over in sticky chilli sauce – honestly, if you’d prefer mayo, I’d be totally cool with that too.”

Much as I liked, and was momentarily distracted by that idea (I’m perfectly happy with chilli sauce), I realised we were talking about totally different things.

“Yeah, well, no,” I said sitting up, “what I meant was, if you advertise yourself as something you turn out not to be, then people are going to be disappointed. Right?”

He still looked completely baffled.

“Okay. Let’s say you were happily surfing the world wide web looking for a quick and easy recipe for a hummus dip when you inadvertently clicked onto a gay blog on a gay website that just happens to be called, My Husband and I. Imagine there was a picture of a half naked guy on it, laying on a half made bed. Tell me, what would you expect to find there?”

There was a short pause.

“Well,” Guido said, “initially I’d be looking innocently for chick peas blitzed with olive oil and some garlic – followed by two naked dudes with a webcam switched on.” He picked up his pen, “but let’s just say I’m more experienced on the vegetarian dip front.”

I thought about Guido and me in bed with one of us balancing a hand held web cam with lots of jars of condiments exploding open. It was terrifying.

So, to all of those of you reading this right now who are wearing restrictive super tight spandex, or are many miles away getting hot under the collar at the thought of two husbands in South London with an interest in crudities, honestly, thanks for stopping by.

Three o’clock in the morning

Despite the fact I distinctly remembered that Guido and I both got into our bed completely naked at exactly the same time last night, I woke up at three a.m. this morning to discover only one of us was still in it. Me.

I always know when I’m alone in our bed because I can roll across the mattress. I can stretch straight out in the shape of a star. Under normal circumstances a very hairy and athletic Spaniard with big feet gets in the way. Guido tends to twitch a lot in bed at night. If you happened to be sandwiched between us you’d soon get used to it. Only last night, there was no tossing and there was and no turning and no sound of him shouting out indiscriminatly in the dead of night. He often yells kitchen instructions in his sleep like, “there’s a cheese burger and toasted bun going cold on the pass” or “hold the mayo on table 5!”

In the dark I put my pyjama bottoms back on and went from our loft to the cafe downstairs. I found Guido stirring a pan of milk.

“I had a horrible nightmare” he said, “I was being chased by an angry bran muffin with big sultanas for eyes.” All he was wearing was a pair of boxer shorts. “Want something hot?”

I warn you. Guido’s hot chocolate is totally luscious. In a pan of full fat (whole) milk add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt and a quarter teaspoon of vanilla essence. The great thing about this recipe is that once you get back into bed, rather than counting sheep, you spend the rest of the night counting calories.

There was an unexpected knock at the front door.

It was Tony Biscotti. Tony is Bermondsey’s local resident taxi driver. He models himself on that deranged Robert De Niro character and let me tell you he displays all of the same customer service skills.

“I’ve just got back from Watford,” said Tony. It turns out he’s got a customer who’s having a clandestine extramarital affair and the only time the two of them can hook up to have sex is slap bang in the middle of the night. Though, if I’m honest, that didn’t sound particularly clandestine to me.

“God, what a horrible dream I just had whilst waiting outside in my car,” he said, “I dreamt I had Svetlana Stalin in the back of the cab. Then I saw your light on. Any chance of a bacon bap?”

“Come in come in,” said Guido and he grilled some bacon.

Ten minutes later there was an unexpected knock at the back door.

It was Ethel from Toxic Bubbles, the launderette next door.

“I’m washing, drying and starching 1000 cotton napkins for a contract at the Shangri La Hotel up The Shard,” she said.

Now, that really was a nightmare.

“I smelt bacon,” she said.

“Come in come in,” said Guido and he grilled even more bacon.

I have to tell you eating at 3 a.m. is highly civilised. There’s no rush to clear the plates away and it’s amazing what extra skills you’ll pick up. Just so you know, I can now drive the most direct route from here to Brick Lane whilst simultaneously folding the perfect napkin.

 

The Beefcake Appreciation Society

Last night Ted and Gary came round to the cafe and over a bowl of Guido’s creamy spaghetti pesto the four of us had another one of our highly intellectual debates.

No, we weren’t talking the Middle East, the collapse of the £ against the $, nor that terrifying hurricane whipping through the Atlantic. We weren’t even arguing about Hillary Clinton’s next colour choice of trouser suit. Over here at The Spanish Onion we don’t waste time over such trifling issues. We only discuss important and high brow topics like – Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin Del Potro, who has the most squeezable butt?

“If I was going for muscular density then it’s got to be Rafa,” said Ted sucking in a mouthful, “I like to get my hands on something tight and sassy but still with some give to it.”

Poor Gary, I thought. He must spend his entire life trying to avoid bending over.

“Jamie Oliver was such a cutie when he started out on TV as The Naked Chef,” said Guido. He had this really weird glazed expression in his eyes. “I used to fantasise about him massaging me roughly with those big thick fingers of his. Rubbing me, kneading me, in the style of a wet bread dough.”

Whilst this was utterly fascinating to imagine it reminded me that, soon after Guido and I met, he very quickly seduced me with a lamp chop. I’m not sure that says too much about Guido and, if I’m honest, I think it says even less about me.

“Bradley Cooper, said Gary suddenly. “American sniper. Army fatigues. Dark glasses. Inverted baseball cap.” He sat holding his fork with a piece of spaghetti dangling perilously from the end of it. “Just shoot me.”

“I wonder what they’d say if they knew four guys in a South London cafe were drooling over the individual merits of their anatomies?” said Ted pensively, still sucking.

“I have zero problem with that,” I said dismissively, “it’s always been a big ambition of mine to be thought of as a complete sex object.”

Everybody looked at me but nobody said anything.

“What I’m saying,” I said, “is I would be more than happy to be thought of as brawn rather than brains. I mean, if you had the choice of rolling in the hay with one of the greatest minds who ever lived, or say, Chris Pine, which would it be?”

“Chris Pine was once a passenger on one of my flights,” said Gary. He still hadn’t swallowed. “As a professional flight attendant it was a total pleasure to drape a hot steamy towel over his brow on that bumpy flight above the English Channel towards France.”

“And you’ll always have Paris,” I said.

After the fourth bottle of Prosecco we agreed to form a club. A place where serious and unbiased discussion takes place about chest sizes and torsos and abs and the perfect physique.

“But there must be strict rules,” I said, “we will not tolerate anything, or any body, that does not drive us into utter fits of sexual ecstasy.”

So those are our only ground rules. Membership is now open. If you’d like to join please do leave a message to express your interest. Oh, and if David Gandy reads this, we meet monthly. Feel free to drop by.