Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gay Geeks

"God, I'm such a geek." (rolls eyes, posts Instagram near pile of comics, starts knowing online row about Captain America continuity before live-tweeting gym visit)

The Gay Geek has become a cliche. Such a cliche that the phrase gets slapped at random into articles about getting jobs in insurance. It makes it sound as though companies are cool by wanting to recruit "gay geeks", when really it just means that employers have cottoned on to the idea that young, single gay men are likely to spend more time at work.

Is this even true? I mean:

  • Less likely to spend 4 months at work planning wedding? I bet the next decade will see the rise of the Gay Bridezilla. Gayzilla?
  • Less likely to have childcare crises? Well, probably. But one knock-on of equality is going to be fussy gay Dads firing the manny for non-organic lunchboxes or finding a Scooch playlist on their iphone.
  • More reliable? Isn't your single gay more likely to ring in sick due to murderous hangovers/unexpected Bralizians?
I do find the whole "gay geek" thing baffling. Where have all these gays who like rubbish telly come from? Where were you when I was in my 20s? Or did they exist all the time, just waiting for Twitter to turn up and give them a chance to say "#OMGBUFFYMARATHON"?

It's tempting to cry fake about Gay Geeks. After all, a few years ago we had the "Fake Nerd Girl" meme:

It seemed a reasonable meme (what does that even mean?), but it fairly soon got quite rightly hijacked:

It was easy to mock "Fake Nerd Girl". I'm sure there were/are Fake Nerd Girls. But... remember when Doctor Who came back in 2005 and suddenly it wasn't "our little thing" but was watched by "normal" people with waistlines and lifestyles and hair? Well, that, really.
We're suspicious of outsiders. Especially outsiders who seem, well, better at living than us. I wonder if the stereotype of gay geeks and my sneering suspicion of them is slightly to do with their ability to love stupid things AND go to the gym?

Gay film festival bingo card

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

My hardworking flat

When I was young, I wanted a time machine so I could save the universe. Now I want a time machine so I can nip back and buy property.

I went to school with Rich People and a few of them are Facebook friends. One of them is a banker. It was fairly inevitable, given the laws of probability. He's also a Tory. Also inevitable. He's also, if you ever meet him, lovely and rather sweet.  And yet... and yet... he's just talked about "hardworking homeowners" on Facebook. As in "Great to see the economic growth we should be proud of in this country delivering profits to hard working homeowners".

He's talking about London's current property boom. Otherwise known as "you think this flat is worth HOW MUCH???". I find the whole thing nuts.

Obviously, Banker is going to have an opposite viewpoint to me. He's. A. Banker. But it's that he used the "hard working" thing. That laughable mantra that David Cameron uses as an excuse-all. I thought we all knew that was silly. I genuinely thought not even Tory voters were fooled by that. The whole idea that the insanity of London's latest property bang is due to "hardworking homeowners" is horrid. Horrid. Horrid.

I live on a housing estate in Camden. My flat is nearly worth half-a-million (don't burgle it, it's mostly cat hair and lego). The point is, I'm delighted that that's the value, but it's not worth half a million. It's a flat on a social housing estate in Camden. When I had a proper career with a rather nice salary, it was worth a fraction of that, and still all that I could afford.

If you want to buy my flat, you're now going to need to be earning over a 100 grand a year. I try and imagine the kind of person who earns a 100 grand. Then I try and imagine them living in my slightly shabby shoebox full of cat hair. And I laugh.

I think we can roughly agree that someone who earns 100 grand thinks they're pretty hardworking. I think, at the end of a hardworking day, they want to come back to something nicer than my flat. I think there's a difference between the Tory idea of hardworking (Daddy gives you a hand up to get you started to your first mill) and the social housing tenants on this estate. The ones with jobs are hardworking. So hardworking they have at least one job. I see them leaving for it at about 5am when I'm walking the cat.

Those who aren't holding down three jobs to pay their rent, have, in the government's eyes, won the poverty lottery and been given a free flat on housing benefit. Well done them, I say. They get to share their postcode with all us fake demi-millionaires in our plush mansions.

The idea that this property boom is somehow all because the Tories have decided to reward people who work hard is silly. A lot of the people who work do so for the minimum wage. They don't get rewarded. They get ground into the dirt. That's the Tory motto and I refuse to believe they've changed it.