I remember my 1st day as a single man once more finally living in a place of my own very well. The night is somewhat more hazy… I had split with my ‘wife’ amicably enough and were still friends, but after 10 plus years under virtual house arrest and dissuaded from going to any pubs, bars, nightclubs or places of entertainment that contained alcohol, it was time to once again enter the mouth of hell that was a weekend in my home town of Consett.
Consett is a unique place, an ex industrial town in the middle of nowhere populated entirely by those that people from other places consider mad or a bit odd. There is very little normal in my home town, Consett doesn’t ‘do’ normal very well in fact… and certainly not on a weekend night out. So I left my freezing cold house that seemed to soak up any heating I put on meaning it was often warmer outside than in my actual house. It seemed like a good alternative to freezing, so on with some clean jeans,a t shirt and my denim jacket and off I went… once more into the breach dear friends!
But the town had changed! This was NOT allowed in any way whatsoever! My visions of my home town on a weekend were now a decade old, and while I recognised a few faces for back then there were lots of new people most about 20 years younger than me. Now a I do believe that age is just a number and you are as young or old as you feel, I made friends with a lot of these guys and lasses aged about 20 in Consett. They seemed to appreciate an older face who was just as mad as they were, liked to go out, dance like a lunatic and not treat them like they were still kids. As such I gained the somewhat dodgy sounding nickname ‘Uncle Tony’.
Over most of 2014 whenever I was in town (which was most weekends) I’d spend time trying to find out what made this generation ‘tick’. But I soon realised that something very unique had happened in the little hobbit like world of Consett. This generation were very, very different indeed, unique maybe.
At least 80% of both males and females no longer viewed sexuality as a set thing, but saw it more ‘variable’. So as such it was perfectly acceptable for a guy to have had either a boyfriend at some point, or even occasionally still have one night stands with a guy, and then the following weekend have similar sexual encounters with females. Back when I was thier age, homosexuality was frowned upon (not surprising really with it being an old steel town full of ‘mens men’.) You were either gay or you were straight, you were not allowed to switch your pieces mid game! While I’ve always been of the opinion that its no god damned business of mine who someone fucks or what they get upto in the bedroom, back of a car or top of the roof of the local Tesco's, This did surprise me. So being an inquiring mind, I had to find out how this change had occurred in obviously less than a decade.
My key to this strange puzzle lay in Luke, a 20 year old outgoing guy who was popular with everyone, everyone seemed to know him and he was one of the few to actively label himself as a bisexual. So through him eventually I became friends with a whole extended group of young people. I soon began to realise after listening to the stories, the gossip and admissions that this was not just simply a case of young people experimenting. No, this was a whole new sort of sexual revolution, all be it one that was in its very early stages. There was no case of any of them doing it for shock value, or lying about it. It simply ‘was’ and as such was accepted by 99% of that age group.
This was such a paradigm shift from when I was their age, when the national front nazi types roamed the streets on the look out for anyone with anything but the most deathly pale skin colour or any ‘puffs, homos or gay boys’. Everyone of my age had either seen and witnessed, or had someone they know given a good going over with the boots by them. So men were men, boys would be boys, and sheep were nervous.
So after many months researching the whole thing while drinking copious amounts of alcohol, discovering the new drinks of choice for a new generation (and as previously mentioned even once being so drunk I fell into a 3 foot deep water filled hole in the ground in the middle of a field at 3am), I came up with my working theory.
Each generation finds new ways to rebel against their parents, this is an accepted fact. So as their parents were of my generation and as such had been coloured by both their experiences growing up and those around them rejecting anything ‘gay’, it started a unwitting trend. If this is combined with the fact that what some call ‘the loony left’, saying we should accept everyone no matter what and the increasing demasculinization of men since the mid 1980’s and you had a perfect storm.
So on a purely subconscious level I believe those 20 year olds had grown up perfectly accepting of just about any difference. Different coloured skin? No problemo… we all bleed the same colour! Different religion? “I don't really see that as an issue”. So they have as a result the most open sexuality of any group I have ever encountered in my travels. But what does this mean for the upcoming generation? Will they also rebel against their parents and end up just like mine was? Or will they find even newer and what may right now seem to be stranger ways to ‘buck the system’. Only time will truly tell. But its worth keeping an eye on that small town in the north east of England in the middle of nowhere to find out.