Tag Archives: boston legal

Love Stories, Homosexuality and Crime

Warning – wee bit muddled, with all the good intentions and very little articulation.

The first time I was introduced to the idea of being gay – I don’t remember that. I do know that I thought it was a bit “wrong” somehow because that was the way I was told about it. I never really thought about it much. Whoever told me definitely did not make much of an impression, even about the concept. The next time I came into contact with the idea was Bend it Like Beckham, a 2002 movie with Keira Knightley, and an Indian girl who likes to play football the way Billy Elliot liked to dance. Anyway, for those who remember the film, Keira Knightley’s mother starts believing that her daughter is a lesbian (the blame is placed primarily on the indiscriminate playing of football, which is understandable. Let’s not pretend that football doesn’t make you a little homosexual, right?) and finally confronts her about it. Keira’s like “no woman, you fucking cuckoo?” (that was the basic gist)

And then she said the words that changed everything for me. She said “And so what if I were a lesbian? What’s wrong with that?” (or something like that. You must know by now, no actual research goes into these posts)

I couldn’t think of a reply to Keira Knightley’s angry, frustrated question. I already knew about sex and at the time it was simultaneously appealing, tempting, scary and disgusting. Lesbian or gay sex was about the same combination in the same proportions. Suddenly, gays and lesbians were… well, a novelty. Something that wasn’t bad, but I had personally never encountered. By the time I familiarized myself with Will and Grace, gay people had become a rare gift that I had yet to encounter. Not a very progressive viewpoint, certainly, but I was learning.

That phase was lost by the time I was seventeen, which was the first time someone came out to me. Well, sort of. A new friend told me he had slept with guys as well as girls.

“Is that a joke?”


And maybe I’ve imagined it like this ever since, but I think he was waiting, proper waiting, actually waiting, for my response. Because admit it or not, I think knowing that a potential friend can deal with unexpected news, would actually accept you, is important.

“So, what exactly are you?”

He said that he was mostly just straight. Which is how I would love to describe myself if I ever dabbled in the lesbotic arts, which I currently haven’t done.

The next intervention that television and film made on my sexuality came a bit later. When I was nineteen (or twenty) I had an unhealthy obsession with James Spader. It started, naturally, with Boston Legal and manifested itself in familiarizing myself with all of his filmography, everything he had been in, procuring the ones that seemed enjoyable, taking snapshots of his beautiful young face from the movies, fantasizing about meeting Alan Shore in an abandoned corporate building’s conference room… it was a lark.

In the process I saw stuff like Sex, Lies and Videotape, Mannequin, Pretty in Pink, Bad Influence…. I was in the throes of a wasted quarter life in Law School and nothing was going to stop my unhealthy obsession with the man who at the time was in his early fifties (I think).

Recently however, I became familiar with another show that Spader is doing which sent me on a minor Spader relapse (exacerbated by the fact that I’m too sick to do anything but TV and internet). It’s called The Blacklist, and its quite an ok show. Its only ten episodes in so I cant really say much, except that I will watch it as long as its on simply to watch James Spader make being a witty criminal look SO good. And sound SO good. Take a listen. If you don’t like the way he looks, just shut your eyes and listen.

Anyway, this compelled me to look into James Spader again. Apparently he’s going to be in the next Avengers movie so that’s something to look forward to. Then I watched White Palace again. It’s a 1990 movie with Susan Sarandon. There’s sex, there’s swearing, there’s jews…. every pleasure you want out of life.

As I watched the film just a few days ago, I started getting a little déjà vu. Not because I had seen it three years ago, but because …. well. I realized Susan Sarandon’s sexual nature was a bit familiar to me. It wasn’t too long before I realized that my sexual personality was probably subconsciously based on hers in the movie. I already had a natural affinity, no doubt, but at the time I first watched it, I wasn’t sexually active. Now that that has changed – I laugh at the same stuff, I … well, lets not get into details. But yes, things are a bit familiar.

I had always assumed that movies have a lot of influence on the people watching it. In my case, I had rather presumptuously assumed the influence was largely intellectual. You know, I’d get interested in scientific, social, philosophical, technical… other random aspects of the movie concerned. It was all very British and pince-nez and nearly hipster. But that’s not it at all. My very behavior, my likes and dislikes, what I have experienced, what I have been brave enough to try. All of it has depended so much on the movies and shows I watch – I’m open to sexual experiences, I have no problems or questions with homosexuality, I occasionally like to get a little rough and more than occasionally like to be gotten rough on, I have a very progressive and often problematic attitude towards free speech, I find powerful douchebags hot, and so on an so forth.

You have to ask yourself – who would you be if popular culture hadn’t snuck in its lessons through your skull? Who would you be without Game of Thrones introducing you to the idea of complicated, amazing, power hungry women who have and use their sexuality whenever they want or need to? Who would you be if Bend it Like Beckham had never had that one line? Who would you be if Indian networks decided to not show Will and Grace on television? Who would you be if you had never seen Boston Legal?

I remember watching Secretary for the first time (another James Spader movie. I think that man has been a huge part of my sexual awakening without either of us ever knowing. I’m sure he’ll be pleased to know it when he finds out). Suddenly, BDSM made so much sense… Before that I had assumed BDSM involved people who just had no self respect. The beautiful thing about that movie was that it never directly addresses feminism or the arguments for and against BDSM… but you know it has, sneakily, carefully, and very beautifully. There is one moment, when Lee is sitting on the chair and refuses to move because her boss/ impending lover told her not to. People try to dissuade her, bring her food, support her… Her father, a recovering alcoholic reads a passage from the Bible – “You are the child of god’s holy gift of life. You come from me, but you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish.” And your mind slowly gets blown.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of India did something pretty awful – it overturned the Delhi High Court’s judgment (from 2009) that decriminalized homosexuality, “unnatural sex”. I can’t imagine what this means for the thousands upon thousands of people who struggle with themselves on a daily basis. What it means for me is that a lot of my friends, people whom I love and care about, even have to think for a minute about whether their country’s law allows them to love whomever and however they want to. In fact, considering the fact that the Supreme Court seems to have an utterly Victorian, unbelievably prudish definition of “unnatural sex” (anything that is not “penis into vagina”) I myself am a criminal on several counts.

I have never been more saddened by anything the Supreme Court did in my lifetime. Because its one thing when they kowtow to power every day, when they show blatant disregard for the kind of desperation that has brought everyday individuals to the highest court in the land, when they are unceasingly misogynistic. Its disheartening when they actively decide they want to continue the unfair and frankly, unsavory system that exists currently.

People, especially adults who never went to law school often ask me if I don’t want to make a difference. If I did, why did I leave the legal profession? The truth is I realized I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I don’t have the stomach for it. I am slightly sociopathic, very rude, and quite disarmingly morbid at times, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to deal with the courts, and its multitudes of terribleness.

On the other hand, there was films, and TV, and the natural high of making people laugh, and winning points by making jokes – this, I understand. This I can deal with. And this, I know, from my own personal experience, changes things in the most effective way possible – underhandedly and subtly. Watching Secretary was a revelation because I realized the truth of pop culture being a normalizing agent – suddenly, I didn’t care why people chose (if they did choose at all) to be dominants or submissives in bed as long as they were safe and emotionally and mentally satisfied.

This whole normalizing this is certainly used by largely male dominated film industries to normalize all kinds of crap, from rape culture to stalking, to unabashed machismo based, purposeless violence. On the other hand, there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned love story – a simple one, with no AIDS or excessive amounts of political and/or social discussions about homosexuality – to suddenly make you not care, as long as people have the temerity to fall in love, to want people and the courage to do something about it (the way I, cold and heartless as I am, would never have).

I hate adults sometimes, and many times, I want them to not be in control. I want a world where their opinions about what is “proper” doesn’t stop me from doing what I want – whether it is kissing girls, or choking on a penis. I have hopes for the entertainment world, and I know how to navigate it. I have hopes because if aspiring writers and directors and actors I meet are anything to go by, sooner or later people my age, with positive and compassionate attitudes about feminism, about rape culture, about homosexuality are going to be flooding the entertainment industry. And soon enough, people are going to watch. And maybe in a decade’s time, we wont be “criminals” for things we do in bed with a consenting partner.

God, I can’t think of a good ending for this post. Just… fuck it.

– Billy


Boston Legal dreams, How Not to be an Adult and Lessons from Pretty Woman

There is something to be said for discovering yourself. And I don’t mean spiritually or anally or metaphorically or any of that, but purely based on knowing what not to waste your time on, or waste other people’s time with. This is something I have had some trouble with in the last twenty two years or so, give or take. Though I have gone through many phases of self-discovery, and am proudly less of a flounder-er (the fish, get it?) I think the affliction will remain with me throughout my life, despite all the after dinner dim-sums and ice-creams I consume.

But I learnt something about myself in the last few years that was a wee bit disappointing, considering the whole Boston Legal thing. See, the dirty little secret about law students like I was, is that all of us at some point worshipped the non-existent ground below the non-existent feet of the non-existent Alan Shore and Shirley Schmidt and Denny Crane and Lindsey Dole. We still do, but in a sigh-the-dreams-we-had kind of way. At some point, we wanted to be them. That’s why we got into this racket (I’ve been watching a lot of Film Noir, so forgive my gams and my saucy yet sultry language, fellas). Most of us discover that we don’t have the fortitude though we may have the aptitude, and perhaps more importantly, the attitude. Some poor suckers like me discover that we don’t have either of the three and don’t want to acquire them either.

I was talking to a friend about it this past weekend – the realization that you will never have the skill or the willingness to pretend to be an adult the way adults want you to pretend to be one. I have never been comfortable at grown-ups parties, especially because they insist on asking about my health or my future. The answer to first – well, I walked here on my own, didn’t I? What else do you want? The answer to second – Well, I’d like to write, but I’m sure you’ll tell me I should be a journalist. Or better yet, a lawyer! It’s like Celine (Before Sunrise) said about her childhood ambitions – they always get converted by adults into these career-oriented money making ventures. Oh woe is me, child of the first world hiding in the third world.

Apart from finally tasting some humble pie regarding the manner in which creative aspirations fare in the real world, there are other adult things I’ll always be incapable of doing. I’ll never be able to wear heels and walk like I’m completely comfortable. I’m never ever going to be that woman who walks into the room to heads turning purely because of my natural gracefulness and my air of shy elegance and sophistication (guess where I picked up that kind of language. Mother? I should wash my mouth with soap). I will always be the person who at most is called “delightfully full of life” or “fun” or “kind of crazy” and at worst is called “Oh my god, who is that freak?” or something along those lines. I’ll always be the schlemiel, as the Ron Swanson and the joos call them. Anyway, those “walks in beauty, like the night” things very rarely exist and are in fact made into a trope to make normal women everywhere feel inadequate. Mitchel and Webb, help me out a bit.


Thank you.

But as I said, there are some things that are expected of adults, male or female. Small talk, the bane of all socially functional weirdos such as myself, is one of them. The odd thing about small talk is that I know it when I hear it, due to it being boring as a coma, completely wasteful as well as my inability to contribute or even nod amiably at it. But for the life of geniuses everywhere, I can’t remember even an iota of it later. I wish I could so I could gracefully pull some talking points out of my behymen every time I was tuck with a bunch of people discussing…. whatever they discuss.

Then of course there is a certain amount of … ability to blend in that I have never managed to execute properly. If one reads all the teen manuals and the women’s magazines that make you feel beautiful (oh, the jokes!) one knows that one has to blend in but never completely. Be distinctive but not outrageous. Which is why I always wear clothes that help me blend in completely because there has been less than three occasions in my life where stuffing my face has not been an option where I haven’t said or done something completely ridiculous. It doesn’t help that in most normal adult gatherings, saying something as normal as “Getting married is not part of the plan. Kids are definitely not” when asked about impending nuptials is seemingly akin to screaming “Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah lives in my sphincter!” in biblical jewland. Monty Pythons.

Even in younger crowds that are not based entirely in law schools, anonymity is eventually not afforded to me. Largely this is owed to my own fault – if I don’t want to talk about my sex life or what parts of my body you may want to talk about, why do I write about it in my blog? Well, the logical explanation would be that I like writing because I don’t like talking to random douchebags all the time, but that doesn’t really occur to people I guess. Which is why I get drunkenly and very douche-ily accosted every now and then by some dick who talks about stuff in my blog and/or my life as if they expect me to be ashamed/embarrassed/slap ready. I am very much ready to slap on these occasions believe you me, but usually because I don’t like having someone come up to me a back-handedly toadying manner and expecting me to get all swoony and ashamed of myself.

This, now that I’m going to start on the college thing again, is going to be a challenge and I know that. I don’t know yet how I’m going to deal with it, but Pretty Women, even with the shoulder pads and the unrealistic storylines is some help. I know I should be taking hints from Bergman and Hawthorne and any number of other stuff, but as I said, I’m going to be true to myself. I am girl-woman. Hear me roar. I tend to look at movies and books as tools that help you understand people and the world and the many ways in which one can fuck up the other, not as pure art. I’ve never been good at pure art. So for this purpose, Pretty Woman and Legally Blonde is at par with Citizen Kane and Dumb and Dumber.

Back to what Pretty Woman taught me – you let enough people tell you or even act like you’re worth nothing, and sooner or later you’ll start believing. Hard to imagine isn’t it? That there was ever a time when I let people tell me I wasn’t behaving appropriately, whether it be in laughing too loudly, talking too much about sex (which is especially insulting because unless it’s a that’s what she said joke, I talk about it very clinically. Apparently if I had a penis and talked about it in all the traditions of tweendom dickishness, it wouldn’t be a problem), wearing my chappals to the mall, or even wanting or having sex. But yes, I had enough people tell me that it just wasn’t right, so I had a lot of trouble with myself. I remember one particular session with a random person in a dark stairwell where we talked a bit about whether there was something wrong with me for liking this and not caring if people knew. Thankfully, this particular guy wasn’t a dick so he said people just tried telling me that because I have a vagina, and screw them and their little brains too. That didn’t really convince me completely, but it was nice to hear it from someone else; someone who wasn’t a friend and had no obligation to make me feel better, though of course it worked out in his favor a few minutes later. Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.

Even with all the covert mentions of my unmentionable deeds on this and the previous blog, it’s been an uphill battle. But recently, what with the recent accosting by douchebag I recently spoke of (I’m sure someone will tell you who you are even if you’re not sure), I realized that at some point between talking about amplifiers at vibrators and apparently being a sexual pioneer of sorts in college (the term being reserved for me is I believe, a grave injustice to many people I know in college), I don’t give a flying chopped scrotum anymore. Douche eventually douched away to douche at someone else. Meanwhile, only mildly frustrated at how the night was turning out, I went ahead and got head. I think we can all call this a win for coitus all over the world.

I’ve been lucky enough to find friends who only tell me not to act or say certain things when I want them to, i.e. when I actually want to impress someone, usually their parents. Even then, it doesn’t always work and they don’t seem to mind. I recently met Ips’ parents in Delhi and things were good. I was on my best behavior. Then come graduation, they apparently turned to Ips at some point and said, “H and Billy are a little crazy, aren’t they?” Ips laughed and said all her friends were. Me and H just had a harder time keeping it down.

I don’t know if I have the ability to make friends anymore. I’m really out of practice. And given my tendency to be a bit much at first glance, I don’t know how well I’d fare with people who may or may not try to tell me what’s appropriate and what’s not. I’m just nervous. Snap out of it, Billy. Ack.

I’d have met my future batchmates/ classmates by the time I write you next time. Wish me luck. I can’t believe that’s what this post came down to.


Embarrassing Secret in lieu of punishment – I think I might be getting tired of porn. I thought it was weird last week, but now I’m seriously worried. It still turns me on and everything, but it’s like I’ve lost all semblance of patience. I hate waiting even two minutes before the good stuff starts. The obvious solution is to skip ahead to the good parts. The problem with erotic literature is that you only know where the good stuff is if you’re read it and I’m getting bored of the same old porn. If I want something new, I’m going to have to read a whole book. Bummer. And don’t tell me to watch videos, because unless its anime porn, which has its own set of problems, the guys are REALLY bad looking. I get turned off sex looking at most of them. Apparently no hot men want to fuck the really hot porn women. Bummer.


Apparently, that’s all.