My Gay Friend’s Hot Mum
INTRODUCTION & DISCLAIMER – When pretty 18-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl Sophie meets handsome Josh at a regatta on the Yarra River in 1996 she is very taken with him. Her best friend Imogen jokes that he might be gay, and while Sophie is somewhat disappointed when this proves to be correct, she is very glad to have a gay male friend.
While Josh is open about being homosexual, he is very guarded and defensive about his home life and giving up any information about his mother. But when Sophie finally gets to meet Josh’s mother Chelsea despite the efforts of her son to prevent this, young Sophie’s world is changed forever as they become friends and life takes a most unexpected twist.
All characters, events, businesses and educational institutions in this story are fictional, and any similarity to real persons living or dead coincidental and unintentional. Only characters aged 18 and older engage in sexual activity or are naked. For North American readers unfamiliar with Australian sexual slang, the word fanny is used for vagina on some occasions. Please enjoy your trip to Melbourne, Australia in the mid 1990s, my entry for the ‘Love in a Sunburned Country’ competition, and please rate and comment.
It was at a regatta on Melbourne’s Yarra River early in 1996 that I met Josh Levitt for the first time. I was there with my Year 12 classmates from the co-educational Catholic school I attended, my best friend Imogen and I being members of the girls’ eight rowing team and both of us having turned 18 shortly after school recommenced for the year.
There were lots of teenagers there from various schools and very crowded, and in February so a very hot Saturday with sunny blue skies all over Victoria’s capital, the sunlight reflecting off the Yarra and Melbourne’s skyscrapers, the tallest of these the Rialto buildings shimmering bright blue. Imogen and I became thirsty as the temperature went above 35, and went to get some bottles of water as we needed to keep well hydrated prior to our event.
Imogen and I joined the queue and a young man came and stood behind us. He was so friendly, charming and handsome as he introduced himself as Josh, an absolute dream guy come to life. With his light brown hair, deep brown eyes, perfectly tanned skin and fine physique he looked more like a Hollywood heartthrob movie matinee idol of the 1950s or 1960s than an 18-year-old boy attending high school in the Australian city of Melbourne in the 1990s.
Josh certainly had an effect on me, and the dampness in my knickers that I felt as we shook hands was certainly in part caused by sweating between my legs in the Australian summer heat, but the greater reason was of course the effect Josh had upon me. He certainly took my breath away, so much so that I said my name was ‘Sophia’ rather than my actual name of ‘Sophie’ when introducing myself, leaving me a bit red faced that I couldn’t even get my own name right.
Imogen liked him too but she didn’t have the same enthusiasm as she had a serious boyfriend, a handsome guy named Luke who was a university student and a year older than us. Imogen and Luke were certainly childhood sweethearts, and while I had had boyfriends in the past none of these relationships were serious and entering Year 12 I was single.
The three of us got to talking while waiting to be served and Josh wished us all the best for our event, and we in turn wished him the best for his. Our race came up, and Imogen, myself and the other girls took off our shoes and climbed barefoot into the boat, the other girls in our team doing the same. We set off rowing at fast pace, sweating in the warm weather. We were in the top three of the twelve teams as we reached the marker buoy that marked the turning point of the race, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground and Melbourne Tennis Center on the northern side of the river, the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and the Domain on the southern side. As we rowed back up the river for the finish I caught sight of Josh on the south side, cheering us on. We put in our best effort and even got our noses in front with the finishing line in sight, but one of the teams from a private girls’ school put on a final burst while our team was distracted by a crazy seagull that swooped us in a way similar to nesting magpies defending their territory in the spring, so we had to be content with second position.
When Josh’s team had its race Imogen and I and some of our other friends stood watching to cheer them on, and I admired the young man’s fine physique as he rowed hard along with his teammates. Unlike us, they didn’t have to contend with an angry seagull and won, quite comfortably in the end, Imogen and I congratulating him on their victory when they got out of the water.
The regatta finished up around noon, and Josh, Imogen and I continued to talk as we and all the other competitors, organizers and volunteers packed everything away and tidied up the riverbank. Josh, Imogen and I purchased some drinks from Southbank casino siteleri and headed back towards the city.
Walking over the Princes Bridge, which linked Swanston Street with St. Kilda Road over the Yarra River I asked Josh, “Have you been rowing long?”
Josh shook his head. “I only took it up recently. I used to play cricket in the summer months but I got bored with it. Too much standing around in the hot sun. Rowing like running is better for fitness. Do you play any other sports?”
Imogen nodded. “Yes, Sophie and I are both in the school netball team. I’m a goal attack, and Sophie is the center.”
“Netball, that’s a great sport, better than basketball,” said Josh. “I also love the football, how about you?”
“Yes,” I affirmed. “Although neither Imogen nor I have ever seen our teams win a premiership. She goes for the Demons and I go for the Lions. At least Imogen’s Mum and Dad can tell her about the last time the Demons won the flag, my parents weren’t even born the last time the Lions were premiers.”
Josh laughed his good natured laugh. “My team the Tigers have won it in my lifetime, but I was only two when it happened so obviously I don’t remember it.”
“Maybe this year?” I suggested. We had now crossed the bridge and were outside Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street Station, where Imogen and I would catch our train home. Josh had already said that he needed to walk further up Swanston Street and catch a tram home.
A tram did indeed pass by as we stood talking, ringing its bell at some boys who had meandered into its path, too distracted by two girls in short skirts who were walking the other way.
Now was the awkward time we had to say goodbye, which I really didn’t want to do. Although we would be meeting at another rowing competition in two weeks’ time, I was secretly hoping that Josh would ask if we could exchange phone numbers so we could meet up again before then as I really loved spending time with him. I also knew that wishful thinking almost never came true, but to my delight today proved an exception. When Josh waved goodbye to Imogen and I before walking away up Swanston Street and we waved back, he had my phone number and I had his, and I was more than satisfied.
Imogen and I walked through the busy station to the platform, and got onto our train, which arrived two minutes later. We took our seats and looked out the windows at the river and the city skyline as the train pulled away, heading for the Spencer Street Station at the western end of the city before going on to our line.
“I put on sunscreen and still got burned,” Imogen complained, looking at her arm which was showing a reddish tinge near her tee-shirt sleeve. “You’re so lucky Sophie, the way you tan naturally.”
Imogen and I had been best friends since early childhood, and we couldn’t have been more different in looks. We were the same height of five foot four, were both slim and had B Cup breasts, but that was where our similarities ended. Imogen’s surname O’Reilly gave away her Irish background, and her red hair, her sapphire blue eyes that were the highlight of her pretty face and her blemish free milky white skin also pointed to a Celtic background. Imogen’s younger brother Sean shared the same red hair, blue eyes and fair skin of his older sister, as did their parents.
In contrast, my Mum while born in Australia was Burmese in origin and my Dad also Australian born but of Italian origin, which gave me the Eurasian looks of dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and an olive complexion. I took after Dad in looks and had more Italian features than Burmese, my surname Caselli another obvious clue to the fact I had Italian origins. My younger brother Kevin took after Mum looks-wise, and had facial features more Asian than European.
“I can still get sunburned,” I said.
“Yeah, but at least you get a tan out of it. I get burned, peel and then go back to white.”
Our contrasting looks aside, Imogen and I had a lot of similarities in our lives. We both had part time jobs at a video rental shop, liked the same subjects at school and at age four we had become big sisters to our younger brothers, and now the said brothers aged 13 going on 14 served to drive us crazy. Both Imogen and I lamented the fact that we had to share bathrooms with our younger brothers. Sean and Kevin seemed to have deep-seated moral objections to cleaning up spilled toothpaste, placing used dental floss and cotton tips in the bin and replacing the expired soap. Far worse was the failure to replace the toilet paper, and both Imogen and I would often face the frustration of needing to go to the loo and going in there to find no toilet paper, just an empty cardboard tube or one square of tissue remaining and we would have to replace the toilet paper ourselves. And even when there was adequate supplies of loo paper, nine times out of ten the toilet seat would be left up.
The toilet was another point of contention in our houses. canlı casino Whenever somebody called our houses to speak to us and Imogen or I were using the loo, our younger brothers had a stock standard response, “Sophie/Imogen is on the toilet. Can she call you back?” Sometimes the lucky caller would be given details of how long we had been in there, and how long we were expected to be. Even if we didn’t happen to be sitting on the toilet and were outside watering the garden, doing homework or some type of other chore within the house when somebody called for us, Sean or Kevin would usually say that they thought that’s where we were, rather than find out our actual location so we could take the call.
However, in recent times this problem had frequently become moot. In both Imogen and my houses, the internet had recently arrived and our brothers were absolutely obsessed by it. Despite our parents having strict limits on both boys, Sean and Kevin would go onto the internet at any time they got a chance, and this of course tied up the phone line. It was frustrating to call the house and not even be able to leave a message on the answering machine thanks to our brothers having connected to the internet.
I tied my long hair back into a ponytail, my hair now matching Imogen’s who had had already tied her long red hair back at the regatta. “So what do you think of Josh?” I asked.
“He seems like a nice guy,” said Imogen.
“A lot more than nice,” I said, my heart still somewhat aflutter.
“You seem really taken with him.”
“No, not a crush or anything like that, I mean we’ve only just met.” I tried to sound casual.
“Perhaps he’s gay and only wants to be friends?” Imogen suggested with a smile on her pretty face.
I laughed at my friend’s joke. “I really don’t think there’s any chance of that.”
While Imogen’s joke about Josh being gay was just that, a joke, perhaps she sensed something that I failed to pick up, and didn’t even realize it herself.
Josh and I did indeed make contact with each other and became friends in the following two weeks. He became friends with Imogen too and met my parents, who were impressed by his polite, friendly and charming manner.
One Thursday about three weeks after we met Josh and I arranged to meet after school in the city. Imogen couldn’t make it, she had to drive her younger brother to the dentist. Josh and I were walking down Collins Street, busy as usual with traffic, trams and pedestrians, when Josh spoke up. “Sophie, there’s something I need to tell you.” There was a small section of parkland just in front of us, looking out of place with Melbourne’s historical buildings and towering skyscrapers around it that was empty and I went and sat down with Josh on a park bench.
“So what is it you need to tell me?” I asked.
Without hesitation, Josh said, “Sophie, I’m gay.”
I thought Josh was joking, and immediately burst out laughing. It was one of those situations where I couldn’t stop laughing, and given I was wearing my school’s summer uniform — a light blue dress, black Mary-Jane shoes and white ankle socks – I must have looked like some immature, giggling schoolgirl to any passersby.
When I finally recovered my composure I said, “That’s a good one Josh, I thought you were serious for about a second.”
Josh remained composed. “Sophie, I’m not joking around, I really am gay.”
I looked at Josh to see any trace in his face that this was a joke but saw nothing and asked, “You are serious. You really are gay?”
Josh nodded. “Yes.”
I was totally taken aback and struggled to think of something to say. But the only thing that came into my mouth was really dumb. “You don’t look gay.”
I stopped, cringing at my stupid comment. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. What I meant to say …” Again I couldn’t think of something to say, which might have been fortunate given how I had burst out into hysterical giggling when Josh first told me his big news and then said one of the dumbest comments ever.
“It’s okay Sophie, I can understand you’re a bit shocked,” Josh assured me.
“Not shocked, surprised though,” I said. “I never would have guessed in a million years.”
“Other people have said that,” said Josh. “I’m not one of those gay stereotypes who says things he likes are fabulous, or who dresses in drag or leather gear and dances on a float on the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras up in Sydney. I’m just like any other guy, obviously I don’t tell the other boys at school and at the moment I’m not seeing anyone. But I’m still just as much as a homosexual as them.”
I was filled with admiration towards Josh and the way he was so brave and honest with me about his sexual orientation. “It’s a big step for you to tell me,” I said. “I really admire you Josh. It’s so brave, I don’t think I could be so brave in your situation.”
“I owed it to you to be honest Sophie, you’re a really good friend,” said Josh.
I kaçak casino was so flattered that Josh thought me a really good friend, and we continued to talk before heading for home. In bed that night I did feel a little deflated that Josh would not be the boyfriend I hoped he might be. Imogen had seemingly met the right guy for her when they were kids, but I had not so much luck. People had often said I was pretty although I obviously was modest and never referred to myself as such. But as for the guys I attracted, I was just a walking jinx.
My first boyfriend was the son of my parents’ friends from church, and he was so possessive and controlling of me that the word ‘stalker’ began to form in my mind. After breaking up with him, I had dated another guy a couple of years older than me, but he was really into cars and his idea of us spending time together was for him to work on his car while I stood to one side and passed him the tools he needed. Needless to say, that didn’t work out either.
Another thing about me was that I seemed to have sort of effect on nerds and geeks, causing them to develop crushes on me. The worst example of this was when I was in the same English class as Matthew the biggest geek in school who had a crush a mile wide upon me, and we were studying poetry. We had to write poems of our own, and Matthew was very keen to read his out, a request the teacher had refused.
When the class was over, the teacher asked Matthew to go for a walk with her and while I probably shouldn’t have been eavesdropping, I overheard her say to Matthew, “I know that you like Sophie, the whole school knows you like Sophie, but you need to stop and think about Sophie’s feelings. How embarrassed do you think Sophie would have been if I had let you read out the love poem you wrote about her in front of the class?” I was most relieved that this love poem never saw the light of day.
Over the next month or so I adjusted to having a gay male friend rather than a male friend who might one day be something more, but the more I got used to it the more I liked it. Josh was cool and funny, and it felt so cool among Imogen and our other friends having a gay friend. My parents were a little surprised but accepting of this, but my younger brother Kevin had quite a few things to say about the matter. One afternoon when I was driving him to cricket practice in Mum’s car, he bombarded me with questions such as:
“How is Josh gay? He doesn’t look gay.”
“Was Josh gay when you met him, or did you turn him gay Sophie?”
“Do Josh’s parents know their son is a poof?”
“Does Josh eat things like bananas, cucumbers and carrots weird?”
“Is it awkward when you and Josh both check out the same guy?”
“Does Josh dress up in his mother’s clothes at home?”
“Did Josh play with dolls rather than toy trucks growing up?”
“Do you have PMS, Sophie?”
The last question of course wasn’t directly about Josh, but Kevin being a smartarse and irritating me even further when I had clearly tired of this bizarre game of twenty questions. Periods however were one reason why it was hard to believe Josh was gay.
At the supermarket one Saturday, Imogen and I both were on our periods and we needed to buy more sanitary pads and more period pain tablets. With Josh being gay we were less guarded with him then we would have been with straight guys and casually mentioned that we were having our periods and what we needed to buy.
Josh’s facial expression took on the same look of horror at the word ‘period’ as any straight guy. “No, no periods, anything but periods, I’m somewhere else, not listening,” he laughed, putting his fingers in his ears. He looked very nervous as he went with us down the aisle where the feminine hygiene products were kept, and put what we needed into the basket, Josh looking at the ceiling and floor. On the train on the way back, Josh couldn’t quite look at Imogen nor I the right way, knowing that we were both currently menstruating.
It wasn’t just the straight guy type reaction to our periods that roused our suspicions that Josh might in fact not be gay. Imogen and I liked romantic comedies, girly chick-flicks and three tissue box weepy romance films like many women, but Josh didn’t like them at all. He liked sci-fi, war, guy’s comedies and action movies and for the plotlines, not the great looking actors. When watching Australian Rules Football Josh liked the game itself, watching it like a straight guy, never once making comment about the tight shorts worn by the hunky footballers.
Then there was the classic car show that we went to with Imogen’s boyfriend Luke, where he and Josh looked over all of the beautiful cars, discussing the mechanical workings and history of the cars. It looked like two straight guys discussing cars, never in a million years would one guess that one of the guys was gay.
“Do you think Josh might not be gay after all?” Imogen asked me one morning as we got off our tram and walked to school, shivering as the inconsistent Melbourne autumn weather was starting to turn and we were still in summer uniform on a wet and unseasonably cold day.
“I had thought that myself,” I said. “But why would he lie about it?”