Too bad if you were a bludg­ing gay Pom

Good rid­dance to the testos­terone-rid­dled work­places of old

Life & Style Weekend - - STUFF - with Greg Bray

FOLKS, when I started full-time work back in the dis­tant days of 1984 the two worst things you could be called in heavy in­dus­try were, one, a “bludger’’ and two, “gay’’. Close be­hind was three, a “whinge­ing Pom’’.

We kids quickly dis­cov­ered that our new work­place, a large re­fin­ery, was an ex­tremely male en­vi­ron­ment where you could just about hear the testos­terone slosh­ing about as the work­ers stomped through the gates.

Our next shock was dis­cov­er­ing that the walls of ev­ery lunch­room, work­shop and toi­let were plas­tered from floor to ceil­ing with porno­graphic images of women so ex­plicit that it was hard to tell if the pho­tos were ac­tual erot­ica or cut out of a gy­nae­col­o­gist’s man­ual.

Look­ing back I re­alise now that this graphic wall­pa­per must have been even more daunt­ing for the clean­ing ladies.

We lads soon got used to it, along with the smok­ing, hang­overs, swear­ing, smells and ca­sual vi­o­lence.

Yet, no mat­ter how coarse, or ob­scene, our trades­men were at work, out­side the fac­tory they were the essence of manly cour­tesy, con­sid­er­a­tion and re­spect to­wards the fairer sex.

I never once heard one of them swear in front of a woman, no mat­ter how drunk they were. But as they stepped back through the fac­tory turn­stiles they in­stantly mor­phed into mouth-breath­ing, rude, crude cave­men.

So if any­one was crazy enough to ad­mit that they liked some­thing even vaguely ef­fem­i­nate, like cock­tails or hugs, then some ho­mo­pho­bic yobbo would shout, “Bums to the wall!” and the vic­tim would be mer­ci­lessly ridiculed un­til he did some­thing to prove his mas­culin­ity, like belt the small­est bloke in the room with a large spanner.

Frankly, our fac­tory was not the sort of en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­aged any­one to come out of the closet, which was prob­a­bly why no­body did.

How things have changed. Today, the filthy pic­tures, lunch­room ash­trays, ran­dom cru­elty and gay-hat­ing Ne­an­derthals have gone the way of the dodo, tea ladies and type­writ­ers.

It’s okay to be gay in today’s work­place. In fact, we’re al­most open-minded enough now to tol­er­ate whinge­ing Poms.

Greg Bray blogs at greg­bray­writer.word­press.com. Find him on Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

The vic­tim would be mer­ci­lessly ridiculed un­til he did some­thing to prove his mas­culin­ity ...

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