I had already polished off The Yiddish Policemen's Union (dirty?), so last night as I was getting ready for bed I was casting around for another book to read. (You know about my 'must read before falling asleep' ritual, right?)
Last week my flatmate lent me a copy of a book he really enjoyed, Vanity Fierce by Graeme Aitken. "Vanity Fierce" is a novel of unrequited love, jealousy, schemes and secrets and is set in the Sydney gay scene. That sounds kind of trashy, which is selling the book short because it is actually quite an engrossing read. I had planned on having an early night, but I was still turning the pages well after midnight.
I had quite a visceral reaction to the book. It was published in 1998, which is just after the time that I met a tall, handsome man with dirty blonde hair and a movie star jaw in a bar on Oxford St, in the heart of what was a thriving gay bar scene, fell madly in love, convinced myself he was The One, and hightailed it out of Sydney to live with him in my old home town of Adelaide. If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that that was an unmitigated disaster of Cecil B DeMille proportions. My role was played by Mary Pickford, or someone equally doe eyed.
Reading Aitken's tale of the Sydney bar scene at that time, of living around the area not far from where I once lived, of bar hopping and bed hopping, brought back lots of memories of that time in my life. Nostalgia always wears rose coloured glasses, I know. But, well I couldn't help but think about life then and life now, who I was in my early thirties and who I am in my early forties.
I'm not sure the me then would recognise the me now. And by that I mean both positive and negative, but some of the comparisons were a bit sobering. Eh, that's ageing I guess. I couldn't do the endless rounds of partying I did then now, even if I had the desire to.
Still, it would be nice to meet a tall, handsome man and have him pursue me with the same eagerness that the me then experienced. I wouldn't make the same mistake, but that's what I've learned in the years since, I guess.