On Wednesday morning, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly spoke to LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Gay fans, he said, should be “respectful of the host country”, where homosexuality is illegal, as he assured us the authorities in Qatar would do in return. He mentioned “a bit of flexibility and compromise on both sides”. Which I suppose means that if gay football fans attend, we won’t end up in jail for who we are, as long as we don’t do anything too gay, like talk effusively about Jack Grealish’s thighs.
I was livid (too gay?) with Mr. Cleverly for five minutes after reading his statements. So I listened to the show, heard his words in context, and oddly stopped being angry (very non-gay). His message to gay football fans was basically to take care of yourself. My advice, if he wants one for future reference, is to be less of a headmaster in the future, to try to address that corner of his electorate as friends, rather than a separate species.
Cleverly’s big mistake was to fall into the classic departmental trap of direct explanation. As homosexuals, we already know this stuff, well. Gay people think about potential barriers to our behavior every time we book a vacation or are sent to an exciting workplace. Mykonos and Sitges did not happen by accident. We sometimes think of it at family celebrations, job interviews, in subway cars. From childhood, we become accustomed to judging the temperature of rooms, developing a sixth sense for potential animosity, the joke that ceases to be funny, the look that turns into opprobrium or censure, legal infraction potential.
The code change is taken into account. Fight or flight mechanisms develop. Eventually, most of us get so sick of it that we stop caring. Adapting behavior to circumstances is a sufficiently recognizable gay trait that in the 2000s it was dubbed “The Velvet Rage” by a California therapist who made a small fortune medicalizing some of our collective misery (über-gay) .
Mr Cleverly was not the only man to clearly explain the World Cup in Qatar. Former England captain Gary Lineker has suggested it would be the perfect backdrop for two gay Premiership closed footballers to come forward, as if the human development of sexuality was nothing more than a publicity opportunity to help people others. Why? Again, you wince and hope this is coming from a good place. But honestly? Try to do the thing before you advocate it.
Gay football isn’t just hot news because of Cleverly, Lineker or FIFA’s dubious Ponzi scheme to whip its championships to the highest bidder, regardless of the harm or potential threat to players and players. fans. It’s because we’ve seen exactly how gay football triumphs at its most effective, in the form of the England women’s team, where lesbians rule. With this new context for judging a World Cup, I suspect most gay fans will show their most intuitive and tough flexibility and compromise. By not going.
Why Keith McNally Is My Cocky, Classy Hero
Until last week, Keith McNally, above, was just the most useful food chart to navigate my way through lower Manhattan. The first fancy restaurant I was taken to in New York was The Odeon, McNally’s cinematic bistro that turned Tribeca into a thing long before Jay-Z and DeNiro arrived. By the time Pastis became one of Carrie Bradshaw & co’s first SATC series locals, I had learned McNally’s name as well as his menu. He had become less restaurateur, more rock star/zip code.
As his now-resolved, very public spat with James Corden moved from Balthazar’s staff diary via Instagram to the news pages, he again confirmed everything I love about his professional life. This Englishman from New York gave the metropolis a new dining culture to reflect his gobby pomp. Arrogant, classy, attention-seeking, elegant, opinionated, with a secondary order of prioritizing staff welfare over fame. Let’s drink to that.