“Gay is all around Tel Aviv:” Staff of popular British magazine Gay Times went to Israel to try figure out why people make a meal out of Tel Aviv men – and came back in love.
Shit, there’s one of my students,” says Roee, pronounced Roy, wearing the smallest Speedos shekels can buy, stomach you can bounce pennies off, hand locked inside his boyfriend’s, the other somewhere around mine, Marlboro Light hanging out of his mouth like he just stepped out of a cliché.
“He can’t see me smoking this cigarette, can he?!”
It’s the thick of Tel Aviv Pride and what looks – and feels, real good – like the whole city has plonked itself on Gordon Beach, which isn’t the gay one, but is the gayest beach on earth one Friday each June. It’s where the march – political and fun – ends, with the kind of crowds senior royal wedding balcony displays attract. Everyone’s off their toned tits on something or other, the sky’s that colour blue you see in brochures, and the music’s far too loud for sober people. It’s the best party you’ve ever been to.
And on a scale of one to gay, it’s Liza getting bummed in Halston on poppers during that scene in SATC/Movie/2 while Valley of the Dolls plays in the background. Which is really gay. And the thing Roy is most concerned about is one of his students seeing him smoking.
“I’m a role model,” he says, readjusting his penis.
Which is why we heart Tel Aviv so much we could burst. And don’t anyone come out of a bag on us right now about the nuanced political situation in Israel, because it really isn’t that straightforward. And besides, this is a travel piece, not The Andrew Marr Show. And another besides; Tel Aviv is among the friendliest, happiest, most liberal places we’ve ever been. And ANOTHER besides; when you have a bubble of tolerance – and we’re talking hardcore Jews in all the garb not giving a rat’s arse when you walk past them holding hands in a common-or-straight downtown high street – among the sea of horror that is the rest of the Middle East, and much of the rest of Israel, then it would be churlish to pick that particular nit.