When we are out and about on the town, I always know when Noom, my bar boy friend and current love of my life, has to pee. It’s often. His urination habits are that of a twelve year old girl with a bladder infection. He pees more often than a dog out on a walk marking its spot. When he feels the need coming on, he starts fidgeting like a little kid. Then takes off his Ganesha ring and hands it to me.
His ring is a massive hunk of silver in the shape of the elephant god that I bought for him a few years back when we were in Chiang Mai. Other jewelry comes and goes (I think it goes to the local pawn shop when times are tight) but that ring is a constant. Ganesha is his personal god and the two of them have a mutually beneficial arrangement. Noom shows proper reverence to Ganesha and Ganesha provides all of the materialistic things Noom wants or needs. I’m evidently Ganesha’s representative on earth.
Part of that proper reverence means keeping Ganesha, or at least his image, away from cock. So as much as Noom would like it to be otherwise, I’ll never be a convert. He wears his ring on his right hand, which I have to assume is also the hand he uses to aim. Ganesha needs a safe harbor when Noom heads off to pee. I’m pretty sure that has more to do with Noom’s religious beliefs than it does his OCD thingy about positioning. But when it comes to the gods and positioning, all Thais sit up and pay attention.
Ganesha is also big among store owners who rely on him to provide the luck they need to bring in big bucks. Ganesha shrines are fairly commonplace at smaller retail establishments throughout Thailand. Usually they are tucked away at the back of the shop. Always they are mounted high up on the wall. That used to seem to me to be a bit off; if the god is so important it would seem he should have a place equally as important. But then I realized that positioning stems from two things, both of which are quintessentially Thai.
First, even the gods are not allowed to get in the way of business. Money trumps any and all other consideration. Second, Thai culture places a high premium on positioning: whether it is the Buddha, Ganesha, or the King, your head must always be lower than theirs. It’s respect and subservience all rolled into one. The gods are left to their own devices to ensure proper reverence is shown. The King, and royal family, have the lese majeste laws to take care of their rep. Dising the royals in Thailand is a major no-no.
Most visitors to Thailand, who aren’t total ingrates, are aware of lese majeste and know better than to make disparaging remarks about the King and/or his family. Doing so will piss off any Thai who hears you. And could land your ass in jail. Thais themselves, from all walks of life, are aware of the laws but I think most are not aware of just how intricate and far reaching those laws are. Compliance, to some degree, is a natural part of their daily lives. They’ve been raised to show respect and most have such a love for their royals they want to show respect. Laws forcing them to do so are not needed. But the rules about positioning go beyond the pale. And are taken very seriously by those who enforce them.
Many, if not most, Thais have a picture of the King in their homes and/or businesses. They are always mounted high on the wall so that the King’s head is always above everyone else. Even, for example, at a local restaurant with newspaper clippings of the King’s visit to that establishment decades before, the framed clippings are mounted so high up you can barely make out who is in them. Thais also make sure their King picture is not mounted in a spot that could be disrespectful, such as where he’d be staring at the bathroom (and god forbid you most certainly would never hang a picture of him in the loo!)
I suspect above the bed is another spot not suitable for a picture of the King. I have no proof, but have to assume if you did not want to have sex with the boy you brought back to your hotel, quickly hanging a photo of the King above the bed would ensure no happy endings would occur. But then I’m not willing to be the one to test that theory.
Noom’s Ganesha ring doesn’t get to participate in our sex life either. Doesn’t matter how horny I am or anxious to get to it, that ring must first come off and be placed in an appropriate spot. Selecting that spot is where Noom’s OCD thingy comes into play. Several are tried and abandoned before the proper spot is found. A quickie, when Noom’s Ganesha need finds its perch, is out of the question. But I digress from my digression . . .
The lese majeste laws are so detailed that they even cover the King and his relative position to others in pictures published in newspapers. There are regulations that dictate how many centimeters above others he must be shown in any photo published. Obviously, any such pictures must be above the fold. And if a newspaper ever mistakenly placed a shoe advertisement above a picture of the King . . . but then that would just be stupid.
I have to assume it is the ‘money trumps all’ custom that then allows for the seemingly disrespect shown daily with the King’s picture on baht. If you consider the respect, reverence, and intricate lese majeste laws about the King’s picture and then watch Thais’ use of baht you’d be confused. Baht collected from the first sale of the day is often used as a fan, brushed quickly along all the other vendor’s merchandise to impart good luck. If you fanned out a photo of the King and did the same you’d be shot. And if it’s rude to have a picture of the King looking at your bathroom, how is it that it’s okay to have his picture on baht watch a bunch of naked Thai guys have sex on stage at the gogo bars?
Needless to say, Noom has the requisite picture of the King in his room, perfectly positioned high on a wall. Not that you’d notice it with all of the Ganesha statues and imagery filling the place. He just needs a few more pieces and he’ll have the premier Ganesha shrine in the city, his room soon to make it to the Top Ten list of things to do and see in Bangkok. Whenever we get a new one we have to stop by his place and introduce it to its new home before heading back to the hotel. That usually means rearranging all of the others until the new tableau is just right. Which can take hours. I borrow a page out of Noom’s book and settle down for a nap while he moves everything around a few dozen times. The ring though, doesn’t have a place at home. It stays firmly planted on his finger. Until he has to pee.
That ring was one of the best travel investments I’ve ever made. The combination of Noom’s tiny bladder and my duty as ring bearer have been responsible for numerous travel experiences in several countries that I would have not otherwise enjoyed. Thanks to that ring I got to experience the Thai version of porta-potties at large events, the bathroom bus (and thanks to the dictates of ring bearing responsibilities did not have to actually go inside the rank interior, some experiences are better enjoyed from a distance). In Luang Prabang Noom’s need to mark his spot allowed me the time to meet, and conspire with, an old lady version of the little engine that could. And a photo op of a local celebration with the cutest little Lao guy dressed up in traditional costume opened up while Noom was busy trying to find a suitable spot to empty his bladder the next morning too.
Three weeks into a trip and suffering Sprite Zero withdrawal, I managed to find a stray bottle at a roadside rest stop on the outskirts of Chiang Mai thanks to Noom’s need to pee. And in Phuket we avoided being drawn in the middle of a bloody brawl between a handful of drunk Aussies (oxymoron?) because it was Noom’s time to go. Visiting Disneyland in Hong Kong, his need to pee meant we couldn’t take yet another spin on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride. And in Saigon, after watching him try to figure out how to get across the street I nearly peed myself from laughter when he finally took off running, suddenly more concerned about a private accident than the potential one he might face from the hordes of cars and motorcycles that seemingly would not give way.
If you ever stop by Noom’s bar and catch him busy at work strutting his stuff in the big cock show, you will not see his Ganesha ring on his hand. Ganesha does not approve of exposed dick regardless of its position. But then his hand would not be what you were looking at anyway. And there’s a good chance you won’t see him either, his cue to get on stage may have sounded, but it’s more than likely he’ll be in the bathroom taking yet another piss instead.
What too soon? Sorry, but if retail establishments can start selling Christmas merchandise in August, there’s no reason I can’t begin hyping the Olympics some six months in advance. And since my coverage is going to be all about guys with incredibly hot bodies, you shouldn’t complain.
I’d warn you that if you are not into sports, it’s gonna be a difficult six months for you because I’ll be covering the important stories up to and through the games. But then like most gay men, I focus on the really hot guys more than the sports, and gravitate toward men’s gymnastics and men’s aquatic events. So it’s not so much about athletics but rather mastabatory fantasies. I’m sure you’ll be able to bear with me.
With 98 male gymnasts alone, there are plenty of studs to cover. Throw in the divers, swimming events (damn I wish they’d go back to Speedos!), water polo, boxing, wrestling, volleyball, rugby, and even track and field events for those who like their men wiry, and there is a smorgasbord overflowing with hotness just waiting to be devoured. And don’t forget the Equestrian events: not much male flesh to see but it turns out those guys are even gayer than ice skaters.
The regular news media covers the games and top athletes, and once the events start taking place it’ll be Olympics everywhere you look. But other than an occasional color story, they shy away from out athletes and gay issues at the games. I’ll be featuring posts about both. Along with the hunks who don’t get the TV coverage they should. In the U.S. by the way, NBC will be offering 200 hours of coverage of the games during its prime-time schedule, though due to the time difference most coverage will not be live. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies, gymnastics, diving, and swimming will all be offered in 3D this year. Which should provide some pretty amazing bulges.
Over the last year I’ve already brought several gay Olympic hottie hopefuls to your attention, and there will be lots more eye candy headed your way. Of course the real media outlets don’t get away with speculative rumors (much) but since this is the internet I can. And am almost required to do so; it’s a tradition on the web. So while everyone will be covering out Olympic diver Matt Mitcham, I’ll also be cluing you in to which athletes might be sneaking into his room at night.
So we’re just a mere six months away from the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London and it looks like this time around they will be downright pink. And not just because they are being held in the land of ‘The English Disease” but the IOCC is going out of its way to be gay inclusive to boot.
The London 2012 Olympics Committee (LOCOG) issued, and began selling at London’s Pride, an official Olympic pin honoring the LGBT community. The pin, featuring a rainbow, the London Olympic logo and the Olympic symbol, is a sure sign that the committee aims to include the gay community in the upcoming games.
“Our diversity badge range, starting with the LGBT pin, is a way of showing our support for a sporting environment built upon equality and inclusion,” said London 2012 CEO Paul Deighton.
The first pin was presented to out gay rugby player Gareth Thomas who said, “ I hope that everyone will buy and wear their pin badge with pride and help us achieve greater inclusion in sport.”
The LOCOG hopes their small step toward recognizing the gay community will help combat homophobia and ward off the idea that LGBT athletes must stay closeted. And they also hope to reach the public – the millions of men and woman who watch the Olympic games.
“If we can reach a young gay guy in Doncaster who is in the closet or a young gay woman in Wales who is in the closet and they can see the biggest event in the world with LGBT people at the heart of that, then the whole thing is about inclusion,” says Stephen Frost, who is in charge of the LOCOG’s diversity efforts for this year’s Olympic Games.
Our community is also getting support during the games through the Pride House London, the second Pride House to join the line-up of Olympic houses and the first to be present at a summer games. Olympic houses are hospitality centres that showcase music, performances, food, demonstrations, art exhibits, culture, game viewing opportunities, and appearances by athletes. Many nations sponsor houses, as do numerous special interests groups and communities. They serve as refuges and hang-out spots for athletes and fans but also venues for countries and groups to showcase themselves. They are also great places to party your ass off. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Holland House alone sold more than 21,000 gallons of Heineken.
Pride House London, a base for LGBT competitors and officials during the Games and a place to break down barriers of homophobia in the sports arena, will be one of the largest houses in London next summer, and is expecting more than 250,000 visitors over seventeen days. The gay community’s hospitality house will hold several special events during the Olympics, including appearances by gay athletes, out Olympic competitors, and friends of the LGBT community from the sports world. Former NBA star John Amaechi, human rights activist Peter Tatchell, film producer David Furnish (Elton John’s husband) and actor/author Stephen Fry have been named as ambassadors of Pride House London.
Closer to home and taking a different tack, protests over the selection of Peter Vidmar, a gold medal winning athlete (I think his event was bigotry), as Chief of Mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team resulted in his resignation from the post earlier this year, less than two weeks after being awarded the position. Vidmar’s selection caused outrage within the LGBT community due to his outspoken support of Prop. 8, a California initiative that bans same-sex marriage. In his resignation address Vidmar stated he was stepping down so that his presence would not “become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family.” He said that he hoped that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories would rightly take center stage. At the same time he noted that it was unfair that his “personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States.”
Nice Petey, but I don’t think it was the god you pray to that upset so many people. It was your bigoted attempt to support a political agenda that prevents other Americans from exercising the same rights as you enjoy. Well, okay, and maybe the magic underwear thingy, too.
The last Summer Olympic Games, held in Beijing, fielded only one openly gay male athlete, Matthew Mitcham, the Aussie gold medalist in diving (there were also nine lesbians and one bisexual, but ya know fish and confused so who cares?) There were five at the games in Athens (with five more fish rounding out the LGBT field). Though there have been nineteen gay medalists throughout the history of the Olympic Games, our community has been vastly under-represented. Things may be looking up for the 2012 Games. Many national teams have yet to be determined and not all qualification events have taken place, but there are quite a few potential competitors who are out, proud, and may be part of the pink team in London.
The Games of the XXX Olympiad will be held from July 27 to August 12, 2012 in and around London, England.
[‘The XXX Games’ are a series of posts about hot Olympians, gay competitors – both present and past – and general articles about the 2012 London Olympics of interest to gay men. So, yeah, lots of hot male eye candy. Click the XXX Games graphic below for additional news, stories, and pictures.]