Tag Archives: gay blogging

Jeffrey on… Swimming with Sharks in Bora Bora


Swimming with sharks in Bora Bora

Jeffrey takes his vlog to the shark-infested waters of Bora Bora.

Used my new underwater camera. Probably not the best audio so just enjoy the view 🙂

That one shark did come too close for comfort.



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Kiss Me, I’m 37.5% Irish!!

Here is a repost of last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Post (I’m still 3/8 Irish). Enjoy! 

Your humble blogger is 3/8 Irish.

Finding out that I was Irish (even 37.5% Irish) actually came as quite a surprise to me.  It wasn’t until I was well in my 30s that we learned of my Irish background.  It was after my family (being the nosy bunch they are) had sent away for the military records of my maternal grandfather who (as it turns out) was from Dublin, Ireland.

Now it wasn’t that my grandfather was secretive of his county of origin, instead he was a chronic alcoholic who ran off when my mother was only five years old.  So we knew very little about him.  That was until his military records shone some light on the bum.    In fact, what we learned from the military records of both my maternal and paternal grandparents are worth a blog or two themselves.

But I digress.

Learning that I was Irish was actually rather exciting to me.  Being a writer, I felt a greater kinship with all those great Irish writers:  James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift (and the poets) William Butler Yeats and Seamus Heaney.  Suddenly I understood the Circe episode in Joyce’s Ulysses (well, maybe 3/8 of it).

But looking back, I really should have known I was Irish all along.  After all, green is my favourite colour.  And I always liked potatoes, George Clooney and Irish whiskey… and I loved those old Shamrock Shakes they used to have at McDonalds.

However, it turned out that my paternal Irish grandfather was also a member of The Church of England (protestant), or so his enlistment form for the WWII stated.  So the question arises:  Does an atheist like myself who was descended from a protestant Irishman celebrate the Catholic St. Patrick’s Day?

Sure he does!

In fact, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day before I even knew I was Irish.  This may surprise you but before your humble blogger gave up the juice about a decade ago, he drank more green beer than he’d really like mention.

Let’s just say it was more than a couple of pitchers in my day.

Though Guinness always tasted to me like a beer that someone had stuck a cigarette butt in.  Not my thing.  But as I said, I’m only 3/8 Irish.  Perhaps it takes a bit more to appreciate the stuff.

I’m digressing again.

And then The Gay Groom married the Husband who (incidentally) is named Sean Patrick.

And when you are married to someone named Sean Patrick, celebrating St. Patrick’s day is kind of a given.  It is now an annual event to watch to the  parade wind down Yonge Street in Toronto the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day to see the Husband’s ‘clan’ go march by.

I don’t have a clan.

And did you know that (like Santa Claus in a Christmas parade) it is Saint Patrick himself that ends the St. Patrick’s Day parade?  I thought the Husband was joking when he told me that.   They find some poor old guy to dress up in green like an Irish pope to close the parade.  But Saint Patrick isn’t what you’d call jolly like Old Saint Nick.

In fact, he’s sort of creepy.

Maybe it’s his dress.  Or those little white gloves my mother wore in 1962.  Or perhaps it’s the enormous cross on his chest (never a good sign).   It rather looked like Saint Patrick just wanted the parade over with so he could get off his throne and go for a green beer himself.

So whether you are Irish or not (0r some fraction like your humble blogger), have yourself a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  And remember: if you start peeing green, you’ve had enough green beer.

Erin go Bragh!!!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


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The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

The Gay Groom at age three on his backyard rink

This is a Christmas re-post of one of my most read blogs…

Continuing with my “Christmas in the 70s” series, I look back gifts.  Not the gifts I wanted and received like my pogo stick, the soundtrack album to The Sound of Music or my Stretch Armstrong (or even the ones I really wanted but couldn’t mention like an Easy Bake Oven), but the one I received almost every Christmas and never ever wanted.

Hockey skates.

With visions of NHL hockey contracts dancing in his head, each winter my father would stand out back of our house in the freezing cold and flood our lawn with a garden hose to make my older brothers and me a backyard skating rink.

My dear old dad wanted your humble blogger to be a great hockey player.  He had me on ice-skates before I was two years old.  The logic being, I suppose, that the earlier I was on the ice then the better skater I would become.

Sadly, for him, this was not to be the case.

Unlike my older brothers, I hated hockey. I hated the cold. I hated the big heavy uniform.  I hated the big smelly bag you carried the hockey accouterments in.  And I especially hated how hockey skates hurt my feet.  I told my dad that skating for long periods hurt my chest (my asthma not yet being diagnosed) but any protestations I made were dismissed by my father with a shake of his head as he would put those damned skates on my feet at the kitchen table each evening and then have me skate in circles around that backyard ice rink.

“You just need more practice,” he would say as he shoved me out into the cold.

On Saturday nights, he would have me sit in front of our huge Zenith color television and watch “Hockey Night in Canada.”  The little Gay Groom did not like watching hockey anymore than I liked playing it.  The games seemed to go on forever and I never really cared who won or lost.  To pass the time as they skated up and down and up and down and up… I would critique the colors of their uniforms:  loved the purple and gold Kings, hated the brown, yellow and orange Canucks, and decided that the Whalers needed a splash of crimson.

I would wait patiently for the end of the game when the camera would move into the locker-room and someone would put a microphone in the face of a half-naked husky hockey player with a bare chests and long sweaty hair.

In those days your humble blogger really dug those Montreal Canadians with their French accents.  Actually, your humble blogger still does.

When I was seven, the time came for me to join the city boy’s hockey league, just as my brothers had, where I played on a team called the Cardinals.

“Shouldn’t cardinals be in red?” I asked my dad when I saw my green uniform for the first time.

“Stop worrying so much about color,” he said.

And I was hopeless on the ice.  I tripped.  I fell over.  I slid on my face.  And at times I simply gave up and lay on my back staring up at the lights on the ceiling as others skated around me.  The lights are pretty from down here, I thought.

“Get up!” my father yelled from the stands. “For Christ’s sake, skate!”

I didn’t feel like it.

After a few games, I was not put on the ice much and spent most of the game sitting on the bench with Tommy Young who was also a terrible skater (and who, incidentally, I would run into at a gay bar a few years later) and discuss important things like Tiger Beat magazine.  Warming the bench with Tommy was fine by me.

(I should mention at this point that many gay men are great athletes and, particularly, great hockey players… and the Gay Groom’s own rottenness at hockey should be in no way seen as stereotypical of all gay boys.  There are excellent gay hockey players out there – I am just not one of them.)

On the drive home from the neighborhood hockey rink after a Cardinal’s game my dad was always quiet.  He was never one to mask his disappointment well and would look shell shocked as he drove (rather like he did years later when I told him why my roommate and I had rented an apartment with only one bedroom).

“But he was on skates before he was two,” he would say quietly say to himself.

When we got home he would make me put my skates back on and skate circles around the backyard rink in the dark.

“You need more practice,” he said.

One night after he made me go out in the backyard to skate circles I waited until I saw him looking out the kitchen window at me.   Then I stretched out my arms wide at my sides and, in the best Dorothy Hamill imitation my lousy skating skills could muster, I started to do big flamboyant figure eights on the ice.  As my father’s eyes narrowed I even managed to throw in a few tiny little jumps without falling.  The final spin never materialized properly but I still finished with a defiant “TA DA!”

It worked.  He flew outside in a rage running over the ice in his stocking feet and pulling me by the shoulder, threw me through the back door.

My dad never made another backyard ice rink.

And as for your humble blogger’s first and only year playing hockey with The Cardinals?  Now the only reminder I have of that unhappy winter is my team photo.


Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

Worst Hockey Player Ever?


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My novel, Shirts and Skins, Gets a Halloween Makeover

IMG_8870-2 copy

Jeffrey Zombie-ized


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Happy Birthday Alice B. Toklas! Pass the Hashish Brownies

Alice B. Toklas (left) with Gertrude Stein

Today is the birthday of Alice B. Toklas (1877 – 1967).

Toklas was the longtime companion (read lesbian lover) of American writer Gertrude Stein and writer of a cookbook (first published in 1954) that included one famous (nay, notorious) recipe for brownies (or as Alice called it, “hashish fudge”).

I included the recipe below.

But first a little bit about Alice B.  Toklas.

Apparently Toklas met Gertrude Stein in Paris on September 8, 1907 on the first day that she arrived.  Together they hosted a salon at 27, rue de Fleures in the 6th Arrondissement (on the left bank) that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse and Braque.

Your humble blogger made his way to 27, rue de Fleurus recently.  Sadly I was 80 years too late for the salon.

Your humble blogger at 27, rue de Fleurus, Paris.

Acting as Stein’s confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer, Toklas remained a background figure, chiefly living in the shadow of Stein, until Stein published her memoirs in 1933 under the teasing title The Autobiography of Alice. B Toklas. It became Stein’s bestselling book. The two were a couple until Gertrude Stein’s death in 1946.

Apparently Stein’s work was incoherent (even more so) before Toklas’ editing.

Alice and Stein are now buried together inin  Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. They also share a tombstone with Gertrude Stein’s name on the front and Alice B. Toklas’ on the back.

Alice B. Toklas grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Now back to that recipe.

(But first allow me to predicate this by reminding you that The Gay Groom does not advocate the use of hashish or any sort of mind altering drug (except caffeine, of course).  And do remember that your humble blogger is also a teetotaler who doesn’t even partake in alcohol.

I submit the recipe only as a historic curiosity.

But there was that time back in the mid 90s in the red light district of Amsterdam that I saw Alice’s recipe on a menu…  however like all my Amsterdam files, they are now closed.)

And now, as your humble blogger promised, here is an excerpt from The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book and the infamous recipe for Alice’s fudge (“which”, Alice noted, “anyone could whip up on a rainy day”):


Alice B. Toklas Hashish Fudge

This is the food of paradise – of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to the ravished by “un évanouissement reveillé”.

Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole nutmeg
4 average sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
These should all be pulverized in a mortar.

About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together.

A bunch of Cannabis sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together.

About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the Cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as Cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognized, everywhere in Europe, Asia and part of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope.

In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called Cannabis indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.


So there you have it, dear readers.  And please do remember that Alice stresses the point that “two pieces are quite sufficient”.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


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Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II (Remember Me?)


A portrait of Queen Elizabeth by renowned British photographer David Bailey was unveiled today to mark the monarch’s 88th birthday.

Today is Queen Elizabeth II’s 88th birthday.

Now, I’ve never been much of a monarchist.  I mean your humble blogger had always thought the Queen was a nice lady and all, but as Christopher Hitchens (quoting Thomas Paine) wrote in his latest Slate piece:

A hereditary monarch is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician.

But one July a few years ago the Queen flew once again across the pond to The Dominion of Canada (as she does every decade or so) for a few days.  On her trip (which would coincide with the national holiday, Canada Day),  she was scheduled to stay a few days in Toronto and on July 6, 2010, which was her last day in Toronto (before she packed up her purses and hats and the jetted off to Washington DC for a short visit), she did her final walk-about at the Ontario Legislature, (the fittingly named) Queen’s Park.

The video I took of your humble blogger meeting the queen:

And since Liz was (even at that time) a rather ancient 84 years old (and since Queen’s Park is just down the road from my home), I thought that this could possibly be the very last time that I would have the opportunity to see royalty (and who the hell would want to see ‘King’ Charles and his fiend-like queen on their first trip to Canada after Queen Elizabeth heads off to that big fox hunt in the sky).

But even thought your humble blogger thinks the royals are mostly a bunch of inbred morons, he put on his Husband’s Queen’s Law t-shirt (to make Her Majesty feel at home) and headed over to Queen’s Park about an hour before she was scheduled to show up.

By the way, we name a lot of things “Queen’s —–” up here in Canada.

Queen’s Park had been sectioned off when I arrived.  The closest section of lawn was already filled with people and closed off, so I parked myself on the second driveway behind a security fence.  I really didn’t think that the Queen would walk all the over to me (she was 84 years old), but I did think that if I was able to get a photo (with my zoom lens) of her from across the lawn, at least I would be able to say I saw her (and upload it on Facebook).

Finally she emerged from the Legislative building and walked down the first driveway as I expected… but then she turned the corner and approached me…

These are my photos:

I have to say my photos turned out pretty good!

You can see more photos here: Photos: When the Queen met Jeffrey

And the Queen looked lovely in her light green and pink dress (I would be a tad perturbed later when I would see her wearing her ‘Canada dress’ again when meeting some potentate in Africa in the fall).

A couple of these photos I captured from a video that someone standing behind me took (the blurry ones).  In those photo you can see your humble blogger in a gray t-shirt with his hand up in the air holding my camera.

A woman standing beside me had put up a sign on the fence that read “I’m Autumn’s cousin” (Autumn Patricia Phillips (née Kelly; born 3 May 1978) is the Canadian wife of Peter Phillips, the son of the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne).  That is why the Queen came over to chat.

As well, you can actually see me taking this video and meeting the Queen in another YouTube video taken by a guy behind me.   Again, I’m the chap in the grey t-shirt with his arm up trying to get a good shot until the Queen strolls by.

You can see me and the Queen (taken from behind) here:  YouTube Video: When the Queen met Jeffrey II.

So a happy 88th birthday to Queen Elizabeth II.   May you have many many more (if only to piss off Charles and his fiend-like queen).

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


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Conception Day

Today is my conception day.

That is the day I was conceived – or the day spermatozoa met ovum and mixed genetically to create the blueprint for your’s truly.   And nine months later (plus a couple of weeks for good measure) your humble blogger was born.  And you know what they say: you can’t make an homelette without breaking an egg  (that’s a bad French pun).

Is it peculiar for one to know their conception day?

The year was 1967 and the world was about to embark on the “Summer of Love”.  Scott McKenzie was telling people to head to San Francisco with flowers in their hair.  But back in my industrial hometown (called ‘Steeltown’ by the locals) I don’t think many folks were wearing flowers.

April 15, 1967 was, of course, a Saturday night and although it would have been exciting to have been conceived in the back of a ’59 Chevy or under a blanket at a Jefferson Airplane concert (my father actually saw Jefferson Airplane once),  I was – simply – conceived in my parents marital bed.  And when I say ‘marital’ I mean in the apartment they were shacked up in at the time.

My parents were not married until 1972 when I was four.  That would make your humble blogger a…

I never really minded being called a ‘bastard’.

This seems like a good spot to quote Edmund’s bastard soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s  King Lear:

…Why brand they us
With base with baseness? bastardy? base base
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,–legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!     (Act I, Scene II)

But what does my legitimacy/illegitimacy matter now?  After all, my parents are still together after almost 40 years of legal marriage.  And The Gay Groom can’t get too self-righteous since I lived in sin with the Husband for nine years before we got around to getting married.  But then again, marriage between the Husband and I didn’t become legal until a number of years into our relationship.

But I digress.

I wonder if a blog can get anymore self absorbed than to discuss one’s own day of conception?   After all, I wasn’t really there.  And since I am a staunchly pro-choice, I don’t view a fertilized egg as anything other than a fertilized egg.  So why bring it up?

Ironically, in addition to being the fateful day that sperm crashed into egg, it is also the fateful day that the Titanic crashed into the iceberg (April 15, 1912).

Titantic Disaster, April 15, 1912

That’s right, 102 years ago today the the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two and a half hours after hitting the iceberg.

1,517 people were killed.

By the way, how many of you knew that your humble blogger once had a affair with someone who was in the film Titanic.  That’s actually a true story.

But only a bastard would kiss and tell.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Gran Canaria Here We Come


In preparation of our trip to Spain in late-summer, I will be doing a six-month series on Spain for Rainbow High Vacations. Here is the first:

Ah, Spain!

The name conjures up images of sangria, paella, old world architecture, and sexy matadors.  But as I write this in Toronto in January, what I am yearning for most are those sunny Spanish beaches. And as luck would have it, Spain is home to one of the most visited winter resorts in Europe – The Canary Islands. And Gran Canaria with its numerous sandy beaches and beautiful dunes is one of the most established LGBT holiday destinations in the world.

To read the rest of my article, click here.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Enough Already with the Christmas Tipping!

Your humble blogger isn’t cheap.

He will gladly add 20% to his bill at a restaurant (even for mediocre service), let his cabbie keep the change of a ten-dollar bill for a seven-dollar ride, and throws his change in the tip jar at Startucks when getting a chai latte.

Now I don’t want to be a Scrooge and I hate to complain, but come December I seem to be tipping everyone and their brother.

Just who am I tipping?  I’m glad you asked…

First there is the Cleaning Lady:  The usual tip (or so I was told years ago) is an extra week’s salary on her last cleaning day before Christmas.  It is not, apparently,  appropriate to give one’s cleaning lady a gift of say, towels or fancy olive oil.  Cold hard cash is what is expected and it’s what I fork over.  Though it is the one day of the year when their work seems to be lacking.  You know you will be re-cleaning the toilet in the guest bathroom before your guests pop by Christmas Eve.  “Ah well”, you say as you dig in your pocket, “it’s Christmas”.

Condo concierge:  This is the cheerful guy that sits behind the desk in the lobby of the condo.  Tipping him costs me either a very good bottle of scotch or champagne every year.  Keeping the concierge happy at Christmas means that guests to your condo will be sent up quickly and you will know right when the package from Amazon arrives. A happy concierge will also unlock the security door when he sees you arrive with six shopping bags (and getting to your keys is difficult).  Your humble blogger forgot to tip the concierge once and paid for it the entire year with the cold shoulder whenever I arrived with armfuls of groceries.

Condo security:  Not to be confused with the concierge, security needs to be tipped as well.  We have about four full-time guys on staff at our condo (I think I can name one of them) plus a bunch of part-time weekend guys.  We are asked to contribute to a Christmas fund that is distributed in some way that, I suppose, is fair.  The suggested donation is 100 dollars.  If you don’t want to find your belongings gone when you get home from Palm Springs in February, tip security.

The Paperboy:  Though have you noticed delivering newpapers really isn’t done by ‘boys’ anymore?  It is now some guy in his 40s who I never see or hear from until a week before Christmas when I get a Christmas card inside my newspaper telling me his name, how great it was to delivery papers to me all year and that tips can be left at the concierge.

Personal Trainer: The 100 dollars an hour you’re shelling out for this torture isn’t enough during the holiday season.  Biff, Steve or Rocko will be expecting a tip after your last workout before Christmas.  Anything less than a hundred dollars and you will be paying with an extra two hundred crunches at the gym on December 27.

Getting your hair cut for Christmas?  Then many of you know you will be tipping nearly everyone in the salon.  You will have to tip your hairdresser, plus the shampoo girl, the girl behind the counter… and it’s double since it’s Christmas.

Did I forget anybody?  If I did I’m sure I’ll pay for it come January.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


Filed under christmas blog, christmas tipping, gay Christmas, gay groom, gaygroom, how much to tip at christmas, tipping

Alan Alda Made Me Gay?


When I was growing up in the 70s, my parents bought me the touchy-feeling-I’m-OK-you’re-OK record album Free To Be… You and Me for Christmas (remember when all those baby-boomers still cared about things like civil rights, gender equality, liberation and the like?).

Well, this album was produced by liberal, “That Girl,” (and feminist extraordinaire), Marlo Thomas. It had snappy little tunes on it like “It’s All Right To Cry” by NFL footballer, Rosey Grier, “Parents Are People” by Harry Belafonte, “Helping” by Tommy Smothers (I still wonder if I was the only gay boy that had a crush on Tommy Smothers in the early 70s?) and of course, the title song, “Free To Be You And Me” by The New Seekers.

But my favourite song on the album was sung by liberal, “Hawkeye Pierce” (and feminist extraordinaire), Alan Alda. It was called “William’s Doll” and advocated in sing-along, non-gender specific play. That is, the song told the story of William, a young boy whose parents refused to buy him a doll – because it they thought it would make him into a ‘sissy’.

You know, that may have been the first time I heard the word ‘sissy’.

Eventually, through the course of the three-minute ditty of William’s repeated requests and repeated refusals for a doll, finally William’s grandmother dropped by one day and (going behind the father’s back) bought the kid a doll.  After all, she said, William was going to be a father one day so he needed the practice of burping a doll.

Thus, since it was now acceptable for a boy to have a doll  all the children cheered and danced and played having learned the valuable lesson that there was nothing wrong with a boy who desperately wanted to play with dolls.

Wanna bet?

The next year I asked for the Jamie Summers Bionic Woman doll for my birthday.  The answer was a horrified and unequivocal “NO” (OK, maybe I went a tad far by also asking for the Bionic Woman Beauty Salon /Repair Station with the little salon chair, teeny-weeny hair dryer and the set computer cables that connected to circuits in her arm and two legs – which I was going to use to give her a home permanent). Perhaps, my parents did not think I would learn much about being a father by blow drying Jamie’s hair.

But in retrospect, I think that hearing “William’s Doll” way back in the 70s (and knowing that there may be other little kids out there like me and William) did make things a little easier for the little Gay Groom.

And though I know that I my attraction to men cannot be directly attributed to listening to “Free To Be… You and Me” and, specifically, “William’s Doll,” sometimes I like telling people that it was Alan Alda who made me gay – just for fun.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


Filed under alan alda, free to be you and me, gay, gay blog, gay blogging, gay groom, gay men, gaygroom, marlo thomas, william's doll