The old man stared at the mirror in disbelief
As he dabbed on a little of his favourite fragrance:
‘Le Male’ by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Was that really him, that saggy-faced creature?
He plucked out an intruding grey hair,
An intruder in his masculine, black, bushy eyebrows;
He had hoped his boyish good looks were still there,
Although a little frayed, a little worn by time.
In his mind's eye he sees himself as rugged,
Slim yet quietly butch; manly, masculine,
Handsome, outwardly something of a ladies’ man;
Surely no one would guess he had certain desires
(Not that he thinks of himself as perverted).
What a pity no one told him not to sport a clone moustache.
Nor can he resist those sporty Harris Tweed jackets
And masculine lumberjack shirts, so straight.
Provincial England was a hard place to grow up
With condemnation pouring out of every mouth
For perverts and poofters and prancing pansies;
Best to suppress the thoughts crowding in
And be normal, just like everyone else.
Life in the armed forces was a challenge…
All those handsome young men in the showers…
Get thee behind me Satan, to coin an unfortunate phrase.
So he had to force himself to go chasing girls,
But he always showed respect for the ladies;
What a gentleman he had always been in that respect.
Maybe a failed marriage or two
Should have told him the cold hard truth,
But the need to conform to the norms of society
Kept his real desires at bay,
Most of the time, anyway.
How he had longed in his heart of hearts
To be someone, a poet perhaps, a creative artist,
But it was not to be, and eventually he was reduced
To trolling the world wide web under pathetic pseudonyms.
How sad it was he had never lived up
To his poor old Daddy’s dreams,
And how shocked his Mummy would be now
To see her pensioner son staring at the mirror
With only a half-empty tube of KY Jelly for company every night.