The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Polite conversation is so last-century

After trying to resist the lure of social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, I've caved in and acquired several 'friends' on both, but quite what we're supposed to do now, I don't know. I've never liked that initial polite conversation stuff you have to do with new people: 'Nice weather, isnt' it?', 'So, what do you do?'

That one always bugs me - what do I do when and which piece of information is more interesting to you? That I sub-edit and proof pages for various magazines, or spend at least an hour most Sunday mornings imagining slightly kinky fantasies set in downtown New York involving women wearing glitter eyeshadow? I also speak in a strange tongue when addressing my cat, with made-up words of affection such as 'choochy woochy ooboobooboochickitapussicatus'; shuffle my feet from side to side while singing the lyrics to Dr Hook's 'Who the Fuck is Alice?' to myself while waiting at traffic lights; and create my own social message T-shirts proclaiming such things as 'lesbian vegans will save the world' using an inkjet printer, special paper and an iron.

Being defined by your job gives an extremely limited picture of a person. The only time I've been truly interested in or impressed by someone's job and keen to know more is when I met a female Israeli fighter pilot a few years ago at a party in London hosted by a gorgeous old dominatrix called Kate who, at only four-feet five inches in height, somehow got away with manoeuvring a large four-wheel-drive jeep through the city for 30 years while completely shitfaced on marijuana and not crash, even once.

Then there's the whole 'Where are you from?' I know it's customary to reply with your city or country of birth, but aren't you so tempted to come back with 'My mother's vagina' every now and then, just to mix it up a bit and make the conversation less predictable? 'How are you?' has to be the most bland, not to mention dishonest, polite conversation opener since it's guaranteed to elicit a lie. We're like robots programmed with a small selection of acceptable standard answers, namely 'good', 'very well', 'great' or 'fine'. At least the last one as an acronym is more likely to offer some vestige of truth: F**ked-up Insecure Neurotic Emotional. I propose replacing the preposition now and then, again just to mix it up a bit - for example, 'Why are you?' should be enough to induce psychological meltdown in your acquaintance and provide you with a few moments of amusement while they struggle with philosophical paradigms to try and come up with an answer.

I suppose I'd better get the ball rolling with my new Myspace and Facebook 'friends'. You never know, one of them might also enjoy imagining slightly kinky fantasies set in downtown New York involving women wearing glitter eyeshadow, and we can bond.

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Girls kissing girls is a good thing, whatever the reason

According to a survey by internet portal Lycos, most British men aren’t bothered if their female partners indulge in lesbian affairs. While 30 per cent found it “a bit odd”, 61 per cent said it is “not a problem”. It would be nice to think that the 21st century has given rise to a whole new breed of enlightened blokes, who are totally cool and comfortable with women’s sexuality and no longer see lesbianism as a threat to their masculinity. But I suspect it’s more to do with the popularity of online porn involving two or more chicks and with the current trend of straight girls kissing or snogging other straight girls, not for their own pleasure, but to please straight guys.

Young women are more inclined to indulge in these 'faux' Sapphic fumblings, with the trend happening mostly on college campuses and night-clubs. Any touching, sucking or poking of any sexual organs below the mouth, however, is strictly forbidden. “The impulse [to go further than kissing] is there, and some girls do it, but respectable girls who kiss girls don’t,” says ‘Julie’ in an article on the subject on Salon.com in 2006. Whether this trend is a good or bad thing continues to be hotly debated in the media. Some argue it’s an expression of girls’ sexuality and therefore valid and empowering. Others believe it degrades ‘real’ lesbians because of participants’ insistence that they are absolutely not gay, not even bisexual, as if gay or bi is something bad.

All I know is, I wish this trend had been in place when I was in my teens. If my cousin Alan had asked me to snog a cute girl in my class to turn him on, instead of having to suck his face off at the end of our first (and last) date, I’d have been in my element. If Alison Stewart, the gorgeous blonde Debbie Harry lookalike at high school had solicited me for a bit of lip action and dirty dancing in order to help her snare a lad she had her eye on, I would have been most happy to oblige – after all, that’s what sisterhood is all about, right?

And that’s the point the critics of girl-girl make-outs seem to be missing. All the analyses of how ‘degrading’ it might be for queer girls to see straight girls playing bi for male attention omit to point out that it’s the perfect opportunity for said queer girls to have a full-on lesbo make-out session with the straight girl crush of their dreams that they would otherwise have had no chance with and had to spend the summer mooning over their unrequited love and playing maudlin Karen Carpenter songs. Most of us have had and will continue to have to spend even just a little time in the closet in our youth – at least nowadays some of the rewards are a lot more substantial.

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LSD needs a makeover

The problems associated with crystal meth, particularly among the gay community, have been well documented, I thought I’d shift the focus onto mind-expanding substances such as LSD and ‘magic’ mushrooms. The last acid ‘epidemic’ occurred four decades ago in a haze of peace and love, and as far as I’m aware, no gay community in the world has ever been decimated by thousands of our kind shovelling inordinate amounts of special fungi down our gullets.

Various groups are doing their best to combat the crystal ‘problem’, putting forward ideas and strategies, ranging from hard-hitting campaigns with messages such as ‘meth = death’ to advice on how to take the drug safely and where to go for help if and when you need it. I’d like to propose another option: Employ the services of a top marketing firm to launch a multi-million dollar campaign to make acid and shrooms sexy, so they replace crystal as the substances of choice among queers. As has been done with disco, flares and Charlie’s Angels, psychedelics should be repackaged, glamorised and promoted as the ‘in-thing’ of the moment.

Let’s have a very quick look at the history and benefits of these two catalysts to opening the doors of perception, to see why this could work, not only to the advantage of the gay community but society as a whole. First off, psychedelic plants and their use in spiritual pursuits can be traced back to the beginnings of recorded history. In his 1993 book, Food of the Gods, author Terence McKenna offers a plausible hypothesis that homosapiens were in fact descended from psychedelic-using hominids, so we’d basically be going back to our roots. The successful use of LSD in psychotherapy, including overcoming addictions to other drugs, was widespread until the substance was made illegal in the 1960s. Unlike crystal, which turns you into a grumpy arsehole during the comedown, psychedelics offer the opportunity to be at one with the universe – a phenomenon known as ‘cosmic consciousness’ – returning gently to the recognisable dimension usually referred to as ‘reality’ with new insights about life, love and the nature of existence. Oh, and if you put The Wizard of Oz on while peaking, you may get the chance, as I did, to fly over the rainbow with Dorothy.

We need another Summer of Love. Let’s face it, if someone had dropped a tab or two into George W’s morning cuppa and sat him in the garden under a tree to commune with nature and allow his neural pathways to be reprogrammed, global warming would be on its way to being halted and war in Iraq could have been avoided. So, never mind ‘meth = death’, let’s hear ‘LSD = sexy’.

Disclaimer: This article, while calling for revolutionary tactics, is not intended to incite anyone to imbibe illegal substances. However, The Essential Psychedelic Guide by DM Turner is a good starting point on how to do it safely, for those who might have been considering it anyway. Peace ’n love, people.

We're not perfect - even when we're dead

I’m dying. I don’t know when or how I’ll finally kick it, but it’s one of the only guarantees in life; one of the few certainties that you can rely on. Each day, each hour, each second, our bodies decay and we edge another step closer to death. For some it has nothing to do with the ageing process; in fact a natural death from simple old age is rare now. So polluted is our environment, so messed up are our food systems, so excessive are our working hours and 24/7 high-stress society that we are often struck down with illnesses that can prove fatal, at quite young ages. Then there’s sudden death. Accident. Murder.

Where the latter two are concerned, chances are reports of your death may appear in state or national media - like the learner-driver who ploughs into a group of people at a bus-stop and kills them. It’s times like these that can turn your thoughts to how you might be remembered once you slip off the physical plane of existence. “She was the kindest, nicest little girl - the sweetest thing”, said the coach of the 14-year-old skating champion from Queensland who was killed in a ferry crash. “Beautiful”, "positive" and "talented" was how the fashion student victim of a bus crash in Kogarah was described. Without meaning any disrespect to these young people who lost their lives in such horrible ways, it does beg the question: Why do the sudden deaths of ugly, grumpy, miserable, bitchy people never get reported? How come it’s only the pretty, good-natured, happy and kind ones?

Why is it that when we die, we suddenly achieve a kind of saintliness? Admittedly I’d like to think if I was extinguished via some kind of public catastrophe that my girlfriend would tell journalists what a loving, flamboyant, intelligent and caring person I was. It’s not far off the truth, but in all honesty, it would be equally fair of her to tell them that I’m also a moody, emotionally volatile harridan who bears a striking resemblance to Mad Bertha in the attic in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. In grief and shock we want to remember the best qualities of a loved one wrenched unexpectedly from our lives. But I don’t want to be a hypocrite, or not practise what I preach. So for the record, should I end my days in a way deemed worthy of reporting and a newspaper rings any of you up and asks what you thought of me, you have my permission to say that I was a crazy-arse lesbian with militant vegan ideologies that I never failed to impose on others at any given opportunity.

Just remember to add that I was also very pretty and had lovely hair.

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Designer babies - yes please!

So a couple of gay men from Melbourne, Australia travelled to the US and allegedly spent around $130,000 to buy “designer twin boys”, according to various reports from News Limited publications. Apparently the couple are one of several gay couples taking advantage of California’s liberal IVF laws.

Prospective parents with enough cash can choose the sex of their baby, as well as specify a number of physical characteristics and the education level of egg donors. The Australian Family Association has complained that the move is nothing short of ‘trafficking in children’ while the gay dads have defended their right to start a family.

So, should queer couples have the right to buy made-to-order babies? Well, hell yeah – provided they adhere to strict guidelines. Only egg donors with the fashion sense of Björk, musical inclinations of Liza Minnelli and politics of Peter Tatchell should be considered. It goes without saying that they should be vegan (or at the very least, vegetarian), outspoken, passionate, no-nonsense sort of chicks, preferably with some kind of creative body art. A penchant for mind-expanding recreational drugs without the addictive personality is an optional but definite bonus. Radical free-thinkers who believe conformity is one of the roots of all evil get a big tick, while any donor exhibiting even the slightest sign of mediocrity or normalcy should be avoided at all costs.Well someone has to start a revolution, so it might as well be the queers.

Forget all this ‘we’re just like everyone else’ crap. They don’t want us to get married and have babies, so if you’re intent on doing it, do it with style. Stand out, be different, be defiant. Refuse to bring another boring brat into the world who’ll end up as a ‘suit’ in middle-management for some pharmaceutical giant or oil company, afraid to speak out against the destruction of the planet or the oppression of minority groups in case it compromises their career or cosy suburban lifestyle. Aim higher – do your utmost to produce a little Leigh Bowery or Emma Goldman. The world needs more Lydia Lunches and Boy Georges. It’s time for GLBTIQs who want kids to step up and turn the concept of family and child-rearing on its head. We need an army of freaks – proud, individual, ethical and of course totally fabulous human beings to hand this crazy world over to in the hope they’ll rediscover and implement the concepts of democracy and equality for all.

All well and good, you may say, but not everyone can afford $130,000 on high-tech reproductive systems. Fear not, a solution is at hand for the financially challenged: Ebaby. Visit www.discountbabies.com to bid for a kid online. Choose from a large range of bubs including Smelly Babies, Automotive Babies, Sporty Babies or Babies That Sew. Celebrity Clone Babies are available for the shallower among us, while Satanic Babies are suited to those drawn to the dark. My personal favourite is the Bio-Engineered Government Destruction Machine Babies. Now that’s what I call progress.

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