My way of letting off steam!



I had a feeling that life was going to be a challenge when I told some boys at school that my favourite singer was Doris Day. Not that she wasn’t good, you understand, but really because I didn’t actually like her. It was just that I preferred Buddy Holly and I thought it was safer to say that I liked a girl singer rather than a man singer. People talk, you know.

There was the same issue with sport. I started to go and see our local, and at that time prominent, soccer team play and I loved to cheer with the rest when we were good, and I booed, with the rest, when some stupid referee gave a decision against us. I was glad that I was numbered with the fans, mostly men, and glad that my friends and parents were glad that I went too, though in reality I was never so pleased than when the game was over and I was back at home in front of a warm fire, reading a book or three, or listening to classical music.

Then there was the pub! You had to go to a pub, didn’t you! For me, however there was a different challenge because I felt I had to study closely how to be like the other men; how to hold my glass; how to stand; how to laugh loudly; and, how to pay for my round, though I regularly let myself down when I didn’t always remember what everyone had ordered, nor had the faintest knowledge about the different beers some asked for. Worse for me was that I couldn’t easily cope with drinking one whole pint of beer, let alone two, three, etc, like my mates. Not for nothing was I called ‘mini belly’ during one session. Oh the shame!

Things were similarly bad for me when we men got round to talking about fixing the car, decorating the living room, and putting up shelves. My input would sadly have been at the level of asking how you changed a light bulb, had I dared to admit it, and I tried hard, not to let myself down, when talking about a friend’s new car and seeming to be content in simply knowing what colour it was.


Well that was then, because there was a breakthrough out of all of this. There was a Damascus Road experience (look that up, if you don’t know what I mean – there might be a book in your house called The Bible, it’s all there), and I heard was a voice inside me which said, “be who you are; don’t worry; you will be far happier being you; they can’t really destroy you; AND take heart, you are not alone”).


So that’s how it’s been, for many years now, and that’s how it’s going to be too, especially from this week onwards, because last Wednesday I discovered I had cancer. Are you ahead of me? Yes it isn’t, lung, or prostate, or bowel or bone, though it could eventually be any or all of those. You’ve guessed, eh? Yes its breast cancer. Just right for me, I guess.

There are about 350 of us men per year who develop it and, I am assured, the number might be growing. All of us learning in an unexpected way that cancer does not discriminate. Many of us probably coping with strange personal issues about gender. All of us, I hope, now proud to be numbered with the majority, and not afraid to be in pink.

So it’s going to be an interesting few months – watch this space; and to those men still struggling with an inner gender conflict, a piece of advice would be to buy yourself a ticket for the musical ‘Kinky Boots’ and leave taller!


Comments on: "Gay and Ageing – Coming to terms with it!" (10)

  1. Robert J Ramsay said:

    I’ve just finished four weeks of radiotherapy for prostate cancer. I now have to wait five weeks to find out how it had gone. I hope all goes well with you.


  2. Marie McWilliams said:

    Hi Roger, really hope your treatment is effective and is underway quickly. Do take care of yourself and if you’d like someone to talk to at any point you know where I am. With very best wishes


    • Hi Marie. So glad to have heard from you. We go away for a week on Saturday and then come back for the mastectomy etc. Hoping that things are better for you X


      • Marie McWilliams said:

        Hope with all my heart you can relax a bit while you’re away. One thing I can say with certainty Roger is that this thing we have called the NHS is amazing. Trust in the wonderful staff and their care.
        Things at our end are much improved but as I’m sure you understand every optimistic word is said with an air of trepidation…
        Do look after yourself and let those that love you also look after you x


  3. Hi Roger

    Ashamed to say I’ve only just caught up with this news. I hope you were able to enjoy your weeks holiday. As Marie said earlier we at OPAAL are here for you whenever you need us. My thoughts and prayers go with you.


    • Hi Kath. Lovely to hear from you. Yes we are back from a lovely cruise and now getting into gear for all the usual pre op stuff. The operation is on Friday. Thanks so much for your good wishes – so appreciated xxx


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