I took a call today from a very good mate who I served with many years ago. It has to be said that his Irish wit is quick to the draw, and bone dry. “Guess where I am” says he, “On another planet as usual” I reply… The noise in the background was phenomenal, he was actually shouting down the phone in competition, it was obvious he was in drink, but in a happy-go-lucky sort of way. Then he dropped a bombshell, “I’ve just come out of the closet, and I’m taking part in a Gay pride march“… “Are ye still me mucker“? [are you still my mate]. Above the noise, I let his words sink in slowly, I replied “You broke up, where are you“? He almost repeated the same words, over the almighty din of whistles, laughter, shouting, and the wail of bagpipes? “I’m in a Gay pride march, and I’m wearing me kilt as well, commando style“.
My mind went blank as this was once the epitome of a Royal Marine, my section used to joke that he looked like one of the bronze Commando’s on the Spean Bridge Memorial in Scotland. Over 6′ 2″ tall, broad, lean & mean, jet black hair, who was required to shave twice a day (as he used to say; once for the Corps, once for the Queen) who lived a hard and fast social life, who was never ever seen out without a drop dead gorgeous woman on his arm (imagine a young mix of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrel, with piercing blue eyes, and the gift of the blarney as well as the craic).
I could only imagine what he must have been going through, living a lie for God knows how long “Listen mate, of course I’m still your mucker, especially after all of the nightmares we’ve been through over the years, it just come as a bit of a surprise thats all, you know I’ve never been homophobic, ‘what will be will be’, and it is what it is”. Just then the background noise stopped-dead as he stepped into a shop doorway. “What are you talking about“? says he; of which, I relayed back his original explanation of coming out of the closet, attending a Gay pride march, etc. Laughter, lots of laughter, he then explained the following. He was in Edinburgh for the comedy fringe festival, with an Australian redhead girl friend. Together they were attending a ‘Ginger pride march’ of which he had just come out of the gents closet (toilets) wearing a ginger wig in support of his redheaded girlfriend, as well as his Irish clan tartan kilt. …Ginger and proud! More than 100 redheads march through Edinburgh in UK’s first Ginger Pride march “Oh”, said I, composing myself, “well in that case I hope you and ‘ginge’ enjoy your selves, now bugger off and let me get on with some work”. He was still laughing as the phone went dead…
Yours Aye (who is taking no more calls today from strange Irish people wearing ginger wigs)!