Monday, 22 November 2010


These are actually Hugh's disastrous dumplings, but we ate all of my mum's dumplings so fast there was no time to take a photo, so this is just to give you the idea

Gay men don't like me. I've always suspected this but lately I've come to realise that it's just a fact.

Actually, it's not that they don't like me, it's that they are totally indifferent to me, which I think is in some way worse. I am to a gay man what a 65 year old woman is to a 23 year-old builder from Essex: invisible.

I used to try to be fabulous and bitchy and engaging and flamboyant, in a sort of desperate caricature of what I thought a gay man might want in a woman - and it briefly aroused a faint flicker of interest from one or two gay men. But it was unsustainable and I soon slid back into my natural persona: anti-social, chilly, beady, unsympathetic. And the loose grip I had on their interest melted away like the only two snowflakes of a mild winter on a warm car bonnet.

Everyone else I know has a gay friend - at least one. Everyone. Even my 85 year-old Swiss-German grandmother. "I vent to Lausanne last veekend," she will say. "Wiz my PANSY FRIEND Alain G-!" and she will shriek with delight at the thought of neat little Alain with his kerchief and lovely manners and expertise in early Renaissance ceramics.

Even my husband has a huge gay following and gay men have always thought he was great. At parties I usually find him talking to some very high-powered gay man, who will be standing there in a £5,000 suit laughing, showing off a lot of very perfect teeth and sighing and saying "Oh Giles." And then I come up and stand there and smile, feeling like a frump, and the high-powered gay man's eyes will slightly glaze over when I say something. And then eventually I'll excuse myself to the loo and let them get on with it.

"Yeah that's a surprise they don't like you," said my friend Wendy, who has, I think, almost exclusively gay friends. "Because, you know, you can be quite a bitch and they quite like that."

I ought to take lessons off my mother: she is a gay magnet extraordinaire. But she's not a bitch. She just LOVES gay men, or anyone camp or anyone fabulous. I'd say it's because she's an artist, but she's not like that - she's not all dope-smoking and far-out, man - she's just a very talented figurative draughtswoman. And by that I mean she draws things and they look like what they are. And sculpture, ooh you should her sculptures. But there must be a flamboyant, "modern", arty side to her that makes all these super dooper gay men flock to her door.

I ought to listen to my mother more, in general. Like the other day, I wanted to make dumplings for a stew but instead of ringing my mother, who makes great dumplings, I looked up a recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Meat Book for a recipe and they were TERRIBLE! Hard and nasty.

So I meekly emailed my mother for her recipe and she sent it back and they came out perfectly - like little clouds. Perhaps now I can make dumplings like clouds a gay man will want to be my friend. But I doubt it.

My mother's dumplings
Makes about 8

"6oz SELF RAISING flour,
3oz suet.
Salt & pepper,
lots of parsley (optional, but good with stewed lamb).
Mix to a soft, not too dry consistency"

[N.B. how my mother uses CAPITAL LETTERS about the self-raising flour, as I would. DNA: not a made-up thing.]

You can either cook these in a steamer, if you've got one, for 25 minutes - or rest them on top of your stew for the last 25 minutes of its cooking time.


  1. I don't have any gay men/ that a problem you think?!?

  2. Well, not really a problem so much and I don't know what it means or says about me - or you - I've just noted that I am unusual in my family and acquaintances in not have any close gay friends...

  3. Um... I'm a gay man and I LOVE you and I often think you're fabulous and bitchy and engaging and flamboyant... so there x

  4. Gosh I love your blog Esther! Your posts are an endless source of entertainment!

  5. I'm one of your husband's huge gay followers, and tbh I started coming here hoping some of the Giles would rub off.

    But I keep coming back here because you write well and you cook interesting stuff, and I'm genuinely keen to know what's going on in your kitchen.

    I don't suppose we'd ever meet at a party but I would try and be nice if we did.

  6. If my husband wasn't there, I daresay we'd get on okay. But if he was there you wouldn't be able to help yourself, you'd be starry-eyed. He's simply catnip for gay men. xxxx

  7. Pff, if your husband were there I'd be too starstruck to talk to anyone at all, even you. It would be like that time I met Kit AND the Widow.

    But you gotta love a girl who has a tape measure within easy reach whilst making youtube videos.

  8. And PS let's face it, he's catnip for straight women, too, no?

  9. Yeah, I'm a gay guy too, and I must say that, at least on your blog/twitter, I like ya. Perhaps there's something else in real life that breaks it.

    Of course, I am not the well-dressed gay in a $5000 suit, or the camp gay in a kerchief, so perhaps it is I who is broken.