Tag Archives: gay groom

Jeffrey on… Swimming with Sharks in Bora Bora

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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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Happy Valentine’s Day From Jeffrey

Your humble blogger had to put down his heart-shaped box of chocolates long enough to write his blog.

Valentine’s Day has gotten a bit of a bum rap lately.  People seemed to have turned on arrowed Cupid faster than Justin Beiber (Bieber? I don’t care, actually).

Yes, I get that Valentine’s Day is a pseudo-holiday made up by the greeting card, flower and chocolate industries.  Yes, I get we are being duped into spending money for trinkets we don’t need to express our feelings of affection.  Yes, I know Saint Valentine was, according to legend, imprisoned, beaten with clubs, stoned and ultimately had his head chopped off.

Not very romantic, I must say.

But that’s far too unpleasant and I like to keep my blogs positive.  So I choose not to dwell on the real and instead pretend to fall for all the sentimental nonsense, if just to get my aforementioned heart-shaped box of chocolates.

And your humble blogger has been blessed with the ability to view almost everything ironically (for example, the use of the word ‘blessed’ above was ironic).

This morning the Husband and I exchanged Valentine’s Day cards.

Luckily, we live in a city where it’s easy to pick up gay greeting cards.  I’m sure if we lived in Wyoming or Idaho (where Walmart is considered a distinguished luxury retailer) it could be a tad more difficult to get a gay-themed greeting card.  Though even then, I suppose with a little planning one could purchase a card on the internet for delivery from the many gay-positive greeting card companies out there.  It should be noted that these are often more expensive than straight themed cards.  I was told this was due to smaller print runs and not because these “gay-owned” or “gay-friendly” companies are just gouging us.… and since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m willing to buy that (more irony).

Many straight men see Valentine’s Day as a day specifically for women (where the man must fork out for flowers, chocolate, cards etc. to women – or else) and I recently have heard of men creating a, dare I say, “tongue-in-cheek” movement to have March 14 (one month after Valentine’s Day) be a declared a day for women giving back to the men.   The proposed name of this day?  Steak and Blowjob Day.

Straight people can be amusing.

So tonight the husband and I will be headed to a restaurant in the gay village in Toronto for an overpriced romantic meal (I’m hoping they have Ontario lamb on the menu… or maybe the duck).  Not that we limit ourselves only to restaurants in the gay village, most of the time we don’t (as most of the food is terrible in the village).  But it was the Husband’s year to choose.

And after dinner, we’ll share a dessert at home.

Where, ironically, we don’t have to wait until March 14.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Je suis Paris

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Jeffrey at the Eiffel Tower

My heart goes out to the people of Paris, my favourite city in the world.

Allow me to simply post this video of German pianist, Davide Martello, playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” outside the city’s Bataclan theatre today.

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do;

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too.

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace.

#NotAfraid

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Palm Springs, Halloween 2015 (Photo Blog)

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Jeffrey on… a Liberal Government, a New Gold iPhone, and an Apology

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The New Prime Minister of Canada (and me).

Jeffrey talks about the new Liberal Government in Canada, his upcoming Palms Springs vacation and his new gold iPhone 6s Plus.

And an apology.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Pondering New Years With Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

In Within a Budding Grove (À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs), the second volume of Marcel Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, the young narrator describes his disillusionment with New Years Day and the moment he discovers that “New Years Day was not a day different from the rest… it’s not the first day of a new world.”

Here Proust’s narrator begins to see that time passes indifferently.  The future does not magically open up on New Years Day; there is no break in the calendar.  There is only the unheeding fluidity of the old days and years that, unknown to the Years themselves, we choose to invest with a different name each January in our attempt to shape and modify them to suit us.  Proust writes:

“I returned home. I had just spent the New Year’s Day of old men, who differ on that day from their juniors, not because people have ceased to give them presents but because they themselves have ceased to believe in the New Year.”

For Proust, loss in the belief in New Years is a loss of hope.

So, as the year come to a close (a random demarcation in the fluidity of days or not) the Gay Groom is spending some time looking back over the past 364.25 days and pondering his successes and (shall we say) non-successes of 2014.

There were many grand moments.

My novel, Shirts and Skins, continues to do well. I did a number of readings and signings which went quite well.  I also met a lot of great people who connected with the novel (including a naked book club that asked me attend). I also made great strides with my second novel I hope to have complete in the spring  and (hopefully) be out sometime in 2015.  I was also thrilled to have been asked to be a guest on Hamilton Life TV-show to discuss my novel in Hamilton, which was a lot of fun and was top of the list of a CBC article on books set in Hamilton.  Shirts and Skins was also voted one of the “Hottest Reads” for the summer.  As far as travel went this year, I went on yet another cruise in February to see the Caribbean again. and went back to Europe to see Madrid and (for the first time) the incredibly gay Gran Canaria (here are videos plus photos (warning – bare asses). I also launched my website jeffreyluscombe.com. and my YouTube channel (where you can finally see if I lisp or not!). One of the most exciting things to happen this year was being asked to speak to a high school GSA in my old hometown of Hamilton. And of course there was WorldPride in Toronto this year (more bare asses). And let us not forget the incredible World Pride Rainbow. I also did more freelance work for some magazines. Including pieces diverse as LGBT rights in Uganda, LGBT Rights around the world to travel articles on Palm Springs and what guys were reading on my Atlantis gay cruise.

And there were less than grand moments.

First and foremost was, of course, losing my father in November.  But I did have the support of many of you for which I want to thank you all for again.  Any other trials and tribulations seem unimportant in comparison.

“But”, Proust may have asked if he were to drop by this New Years Eve,  “does the Gay Groom still believe in New Years?  Or will he have the New Years of old men.”

“Well, Marcel,” I’d say as I handed him a cognac, “believe isn’t quite the right word.  Instead, I choose to accept the contrived and artificial demarcation of New Years.  Let’s call it a ‘New Years of mature men'”.

I choose to accept New Years because I hope.

And aren’t all those fresh pages in my new red 2015 journal (which one day will prove to be a most scandalous memoir) 364 pages of lined hope?

At the end of Proust’s enormous novel, when his narrator (after squandering year after year of his life and writing potential on frivolous society parties and obsessive love) suddenly discovers that death is imminent, is overcome with the need to write.  In writing, the narrator regains time by folding time – and himself – into the pages of the book.

And on that note, your humble blogger signs off for the year.

The story continues…

Happy New Year!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey with a portrait of Proust (Musée d’Orsay)

 

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The Worst Christmas Gift EVER

The Little Gay Groom not enjoying his Xmas gift.  Winter, 1970.

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.

TA DA!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

Worst Hockey Player Ever?

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For Remembrance Day: A Blog For My Dad (a UN Peacekeeper)

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States.

To commemorate, I am reposting a blog about my dad, a UN Peacekeeper in the Canadian Army.

A few months ago my father gave me a box of his old Kodak Kodachrome slides.

He had sent away to Montreal for the camera while he was a UN Peacekeeper in the Congo back in the early ‘60s.  Among the slides (that included photos of your humble bogger being held up at the maternity window the day he was born, assorted good and bad Christmases through the sixties and seventies, those miserable family vacations etc.) were the photos he took during his time in the Congo.

When I was young my father liked to haul out the slides a couple of time a year (often much to your humble blogger’s chagrin).  And it was when he started clicking the Congo slides through the projector that the rest of my family and I would usually hit bathroom.

I’m afraid we weren’t too interested at the time.

But last year, after I had scanned the old slides (and uploaded them to Facebook to embarrass family members with their ridiculous 1973 fashion choices) I was surfing through CNN and discovered that they were requesting photos from people who had been in Africa during the time of independence.

I have some of those, I thought.

So I uploaded them to CNN and a few days later the CNN London office called me to ask if it would be possible to speak to my father.  My Dad agreed and after his 15 minute phone interview they posted the story their website (I even got a shout out in the piece as well!).

CNN also asked my father if they could do an on-air interview.

Unfortunately he said no.

For twenty years I couldn’t stop him from talking about the Congo… and now he clams up?  It may have been my only way of meeting Anderson Cooper!  And to be honest, I would have like to have had a record of his memories of the Congo as well.

My Dad marching in the Remembrance Day Parade

My Dad marching in the Remembrance Day Parade

Anyway, here is the link to CNN spot on my Dad, and UN Peacekeeper:

My Dad on CNN

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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Kiss Me, I’m 37.5% Irish!!

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.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

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.

St. Patrick bringing up the rear in Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 13, 2011

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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