January 26, 2011


Andrew, age 9
Portadown, Northern Ireland (1979)

I always loved the stage – singing, dancing, performing, and fancy costumes. Unable to go to the local Dance School (boys in Ireland didn't dance way back then), I joined my Primary School's "Glee Club." Yes, we had one in Northern Ireland, decades before it became a 21st century phenomenon.

"A 70's Billy Elliott story, except I never became a famous dancer!"
This pic is from out Hans Christian Anderson performance for the school, and I was chosen to play The King from The King's New Clothes  - 'Look at the king, look at the king, the king is in his altogether, now altogether'. Which meant wearing a white vest top, white underpants, and white tights. I couldn't believe my luck!!! I was being allowed to wear all this in front of about 400 children and 30 teachers. Talk about pure bliss and heaven, and being in my element.

Years later, I met up with a teacher who said he'd 'never forget me until the day he died.'  When I asked him why, he replied: 'Me and the staff members witnessed what was probably your first and last erection in public that day! You were so engrossed in your character, you didn't notice a tiny little bulge downstairs'.

Needless to say, I was mortified! But in retrospect, even that couldn't detract from that moment of glory.

Years before this, my grandfather came to my defense by warning my dad to not suppress my "inappropriate" behavior. Which back then included playing with irons and vacuum cleaners, wearing my mum's heels, and pretending to be a majorette. My grandfather assured him that I'd probably outgrow that little "phase".  If only I still wanted to play with real irons and vacuum cleaners now – I wish I hadn't grown out of that. As for the other part? I guess he was wrong!

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