alan bennett ilagan

At around 5:30 PM on April 30, 1999, David Copeland (24) walked into the Admiral Duncan Pub on Old Compton Street and told one of the patrons he was waiting for a gay friend. At 6:05 PM he departed. No one paid any attention to the bag he left at the bar ...

This is where vanity rules the day.
This is where the surface is all that matters.
This is where glamour and fame and fabulousness
reach dizzying heights of delight.
This is where the shallow and the superficial
collide in phantasmagoric majesty.
This is The Divine Diva Tour - A Fairy's Tale.

Everyone loves a bit of drama—admitted or not. From the emotional extremes of break-ups and break-downs to the giddy heights of frenzied happiness and fairy tale weddings, we all seek out excitement now and then. Such fantasy is fine fodder for fleeting flights of fancy, but far too often we are groomed to expect that excitement on a regular basis, particularly in our romantic relationships.

writing_construction (2K)CONSTRUCTION
Caution: Men At Work. Hard hats. Sweaty, shirtless muscle-bound bodies. Tight jeans framed with bulky tool-belts. During the day I work in a construction office. Okay, to be honest I am just the administrative assistant, and the guys in my office deal mainly with paperwork and rarely venture into the field, but you get the idea. I work in a place where gay people are not the norm. While it's tempting to say that most places fit that bill, there are some that go out of their way in appearing decidedly-unfriendly to our folks. I thought that a construction office would be that way.

first and worstFIRST & WORST
He strode by me with a smile and a nod, and he had the most intense blue-gray eyes I had seen in my life. They sparkled in the autumn sun and awakened something deep within me. Mesmerized and captivated, I turned around and saw him looking back at me. He slowed and I looked away as my heart started a mad sprint. Sitting down on a nearby bench beneath a canopy of trees and filtered sunlight, I fumbled around in my backpack trying to look especially occupied.

how I lost my gay virginityHOW I LOST MY GAY VIRGINITY
New Orleans, May 1997. My parents invited me to accompany them to a convention in New Orleans. Having always wanted to visit the Big Easy ~ Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, all that great music and food ~ I jumped at the chance to go. The Jazz Festival was taking place that same week, so it looked to be a relaxing trip South with the folks.

heart of winterHEART OF WINTER
It crept up on me so stealthily, so slowly and silently, that when I finally surrendered, it was as if I had been that way always ~ in a state of surrender from the beginning. Perhaps that is what love is ~ a lovely surrender ~ and I have truly experienced it and felt it, and the proof is in the pain. Not a searing, shocking slap of pain across the face, but rather an ache, a gentle ache in my stomach and in my heart. There was no big showdown, no dramatic end to our duet...

We were never supposed to have been friends. By high school he was a popular jock and I was a dorky honors student. He played basketball while I played the oboe. We didn't exactly travel in the same circles. In the end we both gave in a little, distancing ourselves from one another and pretending the past had never happened. But I can't forget. It's been almost ten years since this city lost Jeffrey Johnson, and still I can't forget.

I sit at my desk and do away with all pretense. I have just taken a shower. It is 10:40 PM, Monday night. My nose is bleeding. I scrubbed my face so hard my nose started to bleed. I squeezed my nostrils together and felt the familiar hot blood spurt out onto my hands, watching the drops drip to the shower floor, the red sticking to the white even through the water.

I AM AT A PARTY. The voices of the guests have merged into one monotonous roar. Not one stands out above the rest and Andy is nowhere to be seen. Someone pours me another drink. I smile and laugh. I think I laugh. And suddenly everything turns dark and slow. It feels like I am falling ~ or maybe floating, because it seems so hard to stand up and yet I do not crash down. I finish the drink. I taste nothing ~ no sharpness of alcohol, no sting of proof ~ just liquid pouring down my numb throat.