4 min


This guy was shameless, practically flaunting his neo-conservative plumage in broad daylight

G’day. I’ve been living in the valley, as they say, digging my truck out of the ever-abundant snow every couple of days to foray east on highway 417 into Ottawa for dim sum or laundry or office hours or sometimes even a plane ride.

I wouldn’t say I’m lonely in my little cottage on the river in the country, but I have noticed that I am even more prone to chatting up strangers than usual these days, and this poor fellow was stuck next to friendly old me for the four-hour flight home.

I try not to make assumptions about people, so I didn’t jump to conclusions just because he was young, handsome, fit, wearing Italian jeans and smelled of Guerlain cologne (I think it was Vetiver).

These were all fine clues, to be sure, but I didn’t become actively suspicious that my row mate was a homosexual until he asked the gentleman in the aisle seat if he would mind switching places so that his friend could come sit next to him. His “friend” turned out to be the even prettier boy waggling his slender fingers at us from a couple of rows back.

Any lingering doubts that the fellow sitting next to me was as gay as a cross-Canada flight is long, dissipated immediately upon takeoff.

As the plane groaned against gravity and left the tarmac behind, he batted his eyelashes in a dramatic panic. Then when the plane bumped and dipped through a bit of turbulence as we rose above the cloudbank blanketing Vancouver, his hands escaped his lap altogether and fluttered around his face like two terrified hummingbirds.

That is when I noticed that his hands were so white and soft and nubile they looked like they would have belonged better on a marble church statue of a cherub. His pretty boyfriend patted his lover’s thigh in sympathy, and then promptly put on his complimentary headphones and dialed up some cartoons.

So of course we get to talking. It is both true and somewhat tragic how much of my human interactions take place in, on my way to, or waiting for an airplane as of late, but there it is. I like to meet people, and find out what they are about, and how life has been treating them.

This guy was a lawyer, and his boyfriend was an art student studying painting, which was cool with the lawyer, who could afford to bring home the bacon for both of them, if they were to need bacon — but from the looks of them, the lawyer was more likely to be bringing home the bacon-flavoured textured vegetable protein-based meat-free bacon substitute, were I to guess, which I try not to do.

I don’t remember how it came up, but in addition to being a young, gay, hip, well-educated and well-to-do urban professional, all of which seemed fairly in character to me, he was also a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party of Canada, a staunch fan of none other than Stephen Harper himself, and a self-identified libertarian.

I had heard of such a creature, and read firsthand accounts by others about their encounters with rightwing gays, but he was the first one I had ever actually come face to face with in the wild.

I guess I have been sheltered for years by life in East Vancouver, what with the west coast being a rather hostile environment for conservatives in general, and the gay ones being especially rare often avoiding danger by camouflaging themselves as young gay liberals.

But this guy was shameless, practically flaunting his neo-conservative plumage in broad daylight.

Now I know a lot of queers that would have just assumed they were sitting with the enemy, brushing thighs with his pink hued designer sheep’s clothing, but I was fascinated.

Descending proudly from a long line of Yukon frontiersmen with heavy survivalist tendencies and plenty of cash and ammunition buried somewhere on their property as I am, I was curious as to how a velvet-palmed lawyer living in a condo boasting its own Second Cup on the ground floor could self-identify as a libertarian.

This fellow was as queer as a tulip in a cornfield, and obviously didn’t even shovel his own driveway, much less own a decent generator in case of natural disaster or war or the eventual collapse of our bloated and ineffective government infrastructures.

At least we could both agree on gun control, but for very different reasons: he believes that all persons are the absolute owners of their lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with their persons or property, provided they allow others the same liberty, and that a limited government is necessary for the maximization of such liberties. I travel a lot and sometimes strangers want to kill me for no other reason other than they think I am in the wrong bathroom and the next time a redneck chases me and my girlfriend with a moustache for over an hour on a logging road in the bush because he doesn’t like the look of us I don’t want to be the only one without a firearm, just in case.

Plus, next spring my neighbour Pete said he’d take me wild turkey hunting. Mmmm. Wild Ontario turkey.

Of course I had to ask the obvious question: didn’t he have trouble aligning his love of Stephen Harper’s politics with his own personal, I don’t know, gayness, for example.

He admitted that he and old Steve didn’t see eye to eye on everything, of course, but probably neither did Jack Layton and I, and I had to concede his point.

He lost me when he started in about global warming being only one theory, and I told him he needed to get his ass out of the Fraser Institute’s archives and up north if he wanted evidence, and then all of a sudden it was time to return our tray tables and seatbacks to their upright position.

I kept his business card, just in case. You never know when you’re going to need a corporate lawyer these days. Especially one with powerful friends.