Stand by your man

20 May

This is an article I wrote for Attitude magazine in 2006, to tie in with the broadcast of the first David Tennant season. Attitude is a magazine for the gays.

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It was clear from an early age that I was destined to be the perfect boyfriend.

At the age of eight, when most of my male classmates spent their lunch break kicking a semi-deflated football against the junior portakabin, I was on the other side of the playground, skipping merrily through time and space with my best friend, Ruth.

With hindsight, I guess that Ruth already had issues of her own. She kept her hair cut military short, decorated the backs of her hands with fake tattoos from Tiger and Scorcher comic, and took to the role of Leela, Doctor Who’s jungle-savage companion, with alacrity. Bringing Ruth to mind now, I see her with bottom teeth bared like an irate Jack Russell, stabbing at the air with a plastic spatula as she hissed her familiar catchphrase: “Doctor! I’m going to slit this miserable fool’s throat from ear to ear.” Even at kid, Ruth was more butch than I’ll ever be. Wherever she is today, I’ll bet she’s always first to stack her pound coins on the side of the pool table.

Oh, but the adventures we had! In wondrous travels across the universe, we vanquished evil at every turn, armed only with a multi-coloured scarf and hearts brimming with imagination. An alien beech tree with designs on global domination was swiftly dispatched with an invisible laser gun (designed by me), and a brutal kick (dispensed by Ruth). Then, with a parting bon mot, we’d race off to my trusty TARDIS – a lord of time with his brave companion in tow. Eight years old I was, and already the most desirable boy in the school.

Twenty-six years may have passed since Ruth and I defeated the beech tree invasion of Blackpool, and while I suspect that she’s now busy with rugby practice at weekends, I still thrill to a trip through time and space every Saturday evening. Judging by the surging ratings for the sensational new series of Doctor Who, it seems that millions more are coming along for the ride – perhaps you’re one of them? If, like me, you’ve been a fan since childhood, you’ll already have come to terms with your own intense sexual magnetism. However, if you’re a more recent convert, you’re probably trying to understand why so many men are suddenly flinging themselves at you. Well, that’s simply because everyone knows that you can’t find a better boyfriend that a Doctor Who fan – because no one knows more about commitment, compromise and passion.

This bold, bright, brilliant new take on Doctor Who may have rightly taken its place among the most popular shows on the box – but for the devoted, it’s been a long wait. Although the series was must-see TV throughout the 60s and 70s, it fell severely out of favour in the following decade, and was cancelled in 1989. And while that seemed to be the end of the road for Doctor Who, the show’s fans were not willing to give up without a fight. Indeed, many of the crew of the new series – including the show’s guiding light, Russell T Davies, and its star, David Tennant – were the among the most ardent fans of the old, and it is their passion that has helped the programme to become the success it is today.

And there’s the first reason why every gay men need to find himself a lover who knows his Daleks from his Drashigs. You see, Doctor Who fans had to live through the fear and misery of those dark years when the show was off air – but in the end, our loyalty was rewarded. So if there’s one thing we understand, it’s the importance of commitment, of standing by your man. And this is not ordinary commitment I taking about, this is total commitment – an eternal, Until The Earth Falls Into The Sun And Civilisation Has To Rise Again On A New World commitment.

This isn’t a cold, unfeeling obsession I’m talking about. This is a love affair born out of pride and passion – with all the ups and downs, delights and disappointments of any long-term relationship. If you’re a recent convert to Doctor Who, I can promise you that the series hasn’t always offered sexy adventures in space with the divine David Tennant and the beautiful Billie Piper. There was a time in the 80s when the headline cast comprised a shouty man in a coat made out of old tea towels, accompanied by a squealing Bonnie Langford. Together they conspired to annoy the merry hell out of any viewer who accidentally stumbled into their path – and Doctor Who was about as sexy as sick. Those were dark days indeed, but we fans lived through them! So you see, the Doctor Who boyfriend also knows about taking the rough with the smooth. Treat him badly, let him down, wear a bad coat and make friends with Bonnie Langford – he won’t hold it against you. He’ll be fortified by the sure and certain trust that better times are on their way, even if he has to wait for 20 years. Doctor Who fans are a terribly sanguine bunch, and incredibly patient.

I don’t know, perhaps you find all this staunch and steadfast behaviour slightly scary. Worry not. Even if you’re not looking for a lifetime partner, just a four-month fling, a Doctor Who fan still has plenty to offer the discerning homosexual. Any man who can, off the top of his head, list every monster the Doctor fought, and in the precise order they attempted to conquer the Earth, has got to be useful for something. Some people call it autism, but they’re just jealous – with a memory like that, he’ll never forget your birthday, or what needs to be picked up from Asda at the weekend.

But this is still just about dreary old relationships, you say – what about the sex? Can a Doctor Who fan be relied upon for a decent shag? Well, of course they can – there’s no one better. They understand that any decent adventure lasts for at least 50 minutes, always has an slow, teasing beginning, and ends with a big explosion – what more can any boy ask for?

So there you have it. It’s time to get out on the scene of your choice and find yourself a part-time Time Lord. They’re easy to spot – just look for the guy at the centre of the coolest crowd, all hungry to hear his opinion about the true origins of the Cybermen, or the breeding habits of the Loch Ness Monster. Of course, even better than dating a Doctor Who fan is to become one yourself – which as easy as switching to BBC1 this Saturday evening. You’ll soon learn what an exciting, sexy, ridiculous place the universe can be – and this newfound sense of joy and adventure will make you simply irresistible to others.

But that’s Doctor Who fans for you.

Like the TARDIS, we may look ordinary on the outside, but great wonders are hidden within.

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2 Responses to “Stand by your man”

  1. The Rant Phile May 23, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    What a entirely fantastic read!!! Thank you!

    My boyfriend has been a Doctor Who fan since he was 3. I wouldn’t even be an original series fan had he not introduced me to it. Everything you’ve said is eerily accurate! Doctor Who boyfriends are the very best… our 4 and a half years together prove it!

  2. Gary Gillatt May 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m delighted for your both. And thanks for the compliment!

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