Give it to me straight
Can two men go out for a quiet dinner without looking a bit, well, gay? Or have we moved on from such crass stereotypes in the metrosexual 21st century? Paul Sussman finds out
Not so long ago I was having dinner with a (male) friend of mine - just the two of us in a cosy little Italian restaurant in Soho - when he suddenly started laughing. "God, this all looks a bit gay, doesn't it?" he chuckled, indicating the plastic carnation in the middle of the table, the bottle of sparkling white wine, the tomato salad we were sharing. "I wonder if anyone thinks we're like... you know... a couple?"
Worst of all are dinners with my father, an 83-year-old who dresses in what can only be described as "predatory sugar-daddy chic" and invariably ends the meal by clasping my hand across the table and announcing in a tear-choked voice, "I love you, Paul." You can just feel your insides shrivelling as other diners lean into each other and whisper: "So, that's what a rent-boy looks like."