Postcard from New York: Princess for a night

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Indy Lifestyle Online
IT'S OFFICIAL: I live in Chelsea, NYC, having signed a lease on the apartment. I've sublet here since January. It's nothing special, but it has a bedroom and I happen to be the kind of person who needs a wall between my stove and my bed, otherwise I end up with dirty dishes under the duvet. So after weeks of looking at studios the size of my mother's airing cupboard ("It's a steal at $1700, buddy, you'd be CRAZY not to take it!"), I'm suddenly very fond of Apt1R.

The only real downside of sticking around is that Chelsea is the epicentre of gay life in New York and the avenue where I live, just off Eighth, is popularly referred to as the Runway. And whenever I pop out for a carton of milk or whatever, I encounter hundreds, nay thousands, of happy homosexuals walking, jogging, cruising and rollerblading along it, all tans, tits, and T-shirts, as if every day is Gay Pride Day. I have nothing against gay men - heck, I am one - but it sometimes seems to me, as I walk along Eighth Avenue, that maybe you can have too much of a good thing.

The one place where there aren't a load of gay men right now is in my bed. In a cruel irony, surrounded all this plenty, I live the chaste life of a Carmelite nun, only perhaps with rather more Chardonnay and a busier schedule. True, my evenings can be hectic; cocktails for a gay homeless charity at the lovely apartment of Mr Rich-and-Talented A-gay; an awards night at the UN building (I confess, I stole the logo-ed napkins); or even glammer, dinner at Nobu - Ah Nobu! Wave after wave of perfect food arrived, culminating in some fancy kind of beef which costs about a million dollars a gram, made from rare Japanese cows which are fed nothing but designer beer and get massages three times a day. And as if that wasn't chi chi enough, I met a princess - a real one -who was charming, just as princesses should be, and who is married into one of my favourite royal houses (for the benefit of other Hello readers and royal trainspotters out there, this lot are exiled, attractive and a piquant mix of Oldenberg, Battenberg and Hollenzollern, with loads of Romanoff thrown in. Love 'em!) I was so excited I phoned up my ex in London, at 5am your time. Although very happy for me, he was maybe a little less excited than I was.

But the truth is that neither meeting a genuine princess or having a good phone conversation with one's ex could really be said to amount to much of an interior life, could it? I am often asked, "Are you dating anyone?" - a question which never ceases to surprise me. For a start, the word sounds archaic to English ears, sepia-tinted and romantic, like spooning, necking, or courting. In London no-one I knew ever had a "date". Boyfriends or girlfriends yes, and husbands and wives, but dates? Yet here people date all the time.

So one begins to feel quite odd, not having dates, like, I don't know, some freaky girl no-one will take to the high school prom. Don't I owe it at least to the magazine I work for, if not for myself, to be more of a paradigm gay man? Shouldn't I be out there, rollerblading with my "date" down Eighth Avenue, the two of us all smiling and tanned in matching white tanktops and crisply ironed khaki Bermudas, instead of skulking along the sidewalk thinking rollerbladers suck?

There are things I will do for love, but Bermudas, please! I'd rather be a nun. Except nuns, especially silent ones, can turn bitter. I am hoping, however, that there may be a third option: that somewhere out there, there's a gay man who doesn't iron casual clothes, wear Bermudas or go rollerblading, and who is single. If he exists, believe me, I'm gonna find him. Watch this space.

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