Tranford Tales – Dilys



Our family holidays were always two weeks at a Christian Summer Camp. Not bad, actually. Wholesome games and activities, camping food, songs around the campfire. Everyone so positive and jolly, out in the countryside, or at the seaside.

This was a different one. Some sort of fenced enclosure.

We were met by big friendly American, the Reverend BS Johnson.

“So this is Daniel,” he said, giving me that firm handshake evangelicals have, to show they’re really OK.

“Welcome to the lion’s den! Don’t worry son, with the power of the Lord, you’re going to be fine.”

“Hello, sir,” I replied, as I had been taught, “pleased to meet you.”

“No need for sir,” he answered with a smile. “We’re all equal in the sight of the Lord, and all friends here. And no need for Reverend.”

He turned to my parents.

“He is past his eighteenth birthday?”

Dad nodded and shook hands with him, Mum kissed me and they got into the car.

“It’s just for you,” Dad said, with an insincere smile.

Mum looked a bit uncertain, as if she was going to say something, then gave a little wave. Then they were off.

And the compound was closed by a big gate with barbed wire on the top. I had a bad feeling.

Well, I was eighteen now, so capable of looking after myself. Maybe Mum and Dad wanted a holiday on their own. But why hadn’t they told me?

In hindsight I was just so obedient and immature, so what happened to me did so, because I let it.

It turned out this was a re-education camp to turn wicked young men away from sin, in particular homosexuality.

I think there were a couple who really were homosexual, and terrified by their upbringing. They had volunteered to come, hoping to be cured. But most were like me, inoffensive young men, bemused and worried. Not very good at sports, perhaps liking gentler things such as art.

What we had in common was our parents. I couldn’t analyse it then, because my upbringing seemed normal to me, but strict conformity was more important than any generosity of spirit. Somehow my asking my parents for help in understanding my adolescent feelings had convinced them I was deviating from the way of salvation.

I had some doubts that he was an actual Reverend. We had to call him Mr Johnson, while we were all addressed by our Christian names. So much for equality.

It was Purgatory.

After the first week, I remarked that we were at least half way through and one of the enthusiastic homosexuals told me it was four weeks!

It was Hell.

The system was conditioning. We were to associate homosexual thought with unpleasant things, such as cold showers and heavy exercise, of which we had to do plenty.

So we were shown pornographic pictures. Men with stiff cocks. Men fucking other men. This is why he had checked we were over eighteen, or he could have been charged with child abuse. These were the things we were accused of liking, though most of us had never seen them before. It was before the days of internet porn, so these were rude magazines that church-going families were unlikely to come across.

And we were warned not to masturbate. In order to prevent this, we were not allowed privacy in the toilet. We were supposed to monitor each other when urinating or in the shower. That’s right: to look at other men’s cocks!

There was no hot water for the showers, of course.

There was a limited supply of very plain food, with no red meat, so as not to excite us physically.

We spent a lot of time on our knees and a lot of time being shouted at.

The ones I thought had volunteered were initially the zealots trying to harry us even more, but even they just became miserable after about two weeks.

We didn’t learn how not to have sinful thoughts – most of us had not had them anyway. We learned to confess having them and wishing for strength. By week three we were told the thoughts were diminishing and we agreed.

Effectively we were being tortured, and agreed to confess anything, sign anything.

Our parents came to collect us and we thanked Mr Johnson for curing us, and he handed over our certificates, which included our confession of the disease and joy at being cured.

I did not tell them the truth. I was gay.

That bastard Johnson had made me aware of desires I hadn’t known I had. Or maybe his programme had created them.

I had been naïve – excluded from sex lessons at school, not understanding smutty jokes, keeping my religious primness. I had only a vague understanding of sexual intercourse, as something that happened between men and women, preferably in marriage. It seemed exciting and made me want to masturbate, but I resisted and had wet dreams instead, which embarrassed me a lot, as they seemed sinful.

Now he had shown me that there was another way. Seeing all those cocks made me think of men as sexual partners. I wondered what it would be like to masturbate someone else, or to push my cock up a bum. It didn’t have to be a woman’s mysterious private parts, necessarily. It seemed so enjoyable in the porn I had been shown, and those good-looking men were so willing.

I resented my parents and was disgusted with myself. My ignorance had been bliss compared with the burden of sin. I now had knowledge of good and evil and found that I was attracted to evil.

I prayed and prayed, but there was no answer.

Thoughts of suicide came to me, but that was a mortal sin.

I don’t know how, but kept quiet until it was time to go to university. I couldn’t possibly talk about such things with a woman, of course, so not my mother. And knowing my father, I would be unlikely to get sympathy and help, just more sermons and his contempt. So I was sullen and silent.

Dad drove me there, and we unloaded my things. He then started a sermon, warning of temptation and sin, but I cut him short.

“Dad, tell Mum I love her, but I won’t be coming home. This is goodbye.”

He was stunned.

“Not coming home? But how will you manage?”

The truth was, I had no idea.

“I’ll manage,” I said. “Goodbye.”

I then stood there for ten minutes as he shouted, pleaded and prayed.

One thing I had learned was how to just wait things out, so said nothing.

He was too proud to ask what he might have done wrong, but eventually gave up and went.

I didn’t have a phone. Mum sent me letters which I read, but did not reply to.


It was Intro Week. The first student society I joined was the Gay and Lesbian one. It was an act of bravado rather than anything else. I am afraid I was a bit rude to the harmless people in the Christian Society.

I opened an account at the local bank so that my student loan could be paid in.

Maybe the conditioning had worked, but not in the way Mr Johnson had intended.

There were two things on the mind of most new students, and neither of them was study.

Alcohol and sex. We were old enough to do both legally, and the Students’ Union had highly profitable bars. And for sex, I found myself thinking back to all those pictures, and the cocks I had seen.

Many of the other students had been introduced to drinking gradually by their parents, along with meals in the home. I was one of those who were totally unfamiliar, and so unable to handle it properly.

After the first meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Society I went drinking with some of the people and ended up in bed with a stranger, an older student, who got me to fuck him. It was the first sex I had ever had, and it decided me. We slept together in his room. I had never slept with anyone before, and this man’s body in the afterglow of sex was wonderful. In the morning he got me to suck his cock. When he came in my mouth it wasn’t nice, but I was pleased that Mr Johnson had failed.

Over the next couple of weeks, he carefully initiated me until I was fucked and fucked again. He was really skilled in his seduction. Obviously, it was only fair that as I had fucked him, I should let him fuck me. That’s how homosexuals must work, taking it in turns. He taught me to relax physically and mentally, and he was just so nice. No-one had ever been so kind to me.

I was shocked how good it felt! We had seen a film mentioning the prostate, but I had not really taken it in. The main message was safe sex, of course. (Which I had ignored when I sucked him off.) I had never for a moment imagined that being penetrated could be so delicious.

It wasn’t turn and turn about. I learned that I was a bottom, and very happy to be one.

In fact, later on when someone invited me to fuck him, I couldn’t get it up. I was terrified of failure and responsibility. It was much easier just to present myself. Not all were as skilful as my first man, but even for those who weren’t trying to please me (or didn’t know how) it was still enjoyable, and I got satisfaction from their lust and the pleasure I gave them.

I gloried in my homosexuality, as much to spite my parents and Mr Johnson as for its own sake.

I no longer thought of suicide and sin.

Sex was so simple (for a man, at least). A cock pushed into a hole until it came. A cunt, an arse, a mouth, a hand. It was good to do it, and good having it done to you. The only thing was knowing how to avoid disease and pregnancy. And there was no need to go through the complexity of dealing with women, those incomprehensible creatures.

My depression had gone to elation. Life was brilliant!

Then he moved on.

I was devastated. I was immature and in the first fog of lust, and didn’t understand.

“I had fun,” he said, “but I don’t actually like you. Cheerio!”

I moped around until someone spotted me and I was grateful when he fucked me.

The worst thing for an immature first-year student is to be alone, unwanted. So I wanked off and was fucked by a couple more who found me easy meat. Fortunately there were free condoms available and they always used them to fuck me. After my first adventure I realised the risk in sucking off, so just did handjobs, which was good for both of us.

At Christmas time Dad turned up with the car and I went home with him. So much for my rebellion.

My depression had gone, but not my resentment. There was some satisfaction in what I thought was their feelings of guilt, though I was sure Dad would never admit it. He humbled himself before God, but so far as people were concerned, admitting he had been wrong would never happen.

Things were quieter than before. Prayers were more vague, and Dad tried not to sermonize. I think Mum had taken him in hand. I liked singing the Christmas hymns, though my faith had diminished.

Mum asked if there were any nice girls in our class, and I said there were, and I was friends with them, which was true. Actually, knowing I was gay meant that they knew I had no ulterior motive, so they were OK with me. And I was OK with them, now there was no need to work towards marriage and consummation. I liked them as friends. They were different, and in many ways better, once you removed the barrier of sex.

Dad said “You know, not before marriage…”

And I said “I haven’t and I don’t intend to,” which was again true.

Just before I went back, Mum whispered “If you do… you know, please use protection.”

I nodded and kissed her.


I felt so good when I got back to university.

Apart from the January exams, of course, where I did not do particularly well. But I was not the only one who had neglected studies while having a good time. The academics expected it, and we started working properly. The drinking and sex still went on, of course, but more moderately.

I had been confused about my sexuality. Now I wasn’t. I had done the terrible things and found they weren’t so terrible.

Then I fell in love.

It was David. He had been another of Mr Johnson’s prisoners, now an architecture student, so in a different area of the campus and not a member of the Gay and Lesbian Society, so we had not come across each other.

We got a bit drunk wishing all the misfortunes of Job on Mr Johnson (apart from the deaths of children and servants, of course).

He was impressed that I had fully tasted the most forbidden fruit. I ended up kissing him.

“I’ve never kissed a man before,” he said, and kissed me back.

“Nothing to it!” and he got up to leave.

“Sure,” I said. “See you around.”

Actually, I had never kissed any of the men I had had sex with. It really was just sex, not affection.

And there wasn’t ‘nothing to it’, for me. There was a lot.

We had got to know each other, sharing punishment for four weeks, and I realised how much I liked him as a person. And more than liked.

He must have liked me, because we met up quite a lot.

He hadn’t had sex with anyone yet. He was shy and there weren’t many girls in his class. I got the impression he worked very hard, as well.

I am afraid I seduced him.

He had not been affected by the conditioning. Now he was away from home, he wanked off to pictures of girls, and was interested to hear that I didn’t actually get anything out of gay porn. I just liked men.

But naturally he was interested. Desperate for sex like all the others who weren’t getting it.

I managed to persuade him to let me wank him off!

I discovered how much better it is to do it to someone you care for. And I hoped he felt a bit like that.

I was confident enough to suck him off. That first time was such a thrill! So far as I was concerned it was love.

I think he got a bit nervous, so I backed off a bit. And I am ashamed to say I thought how I had been initiated and tried to do the same to him. Not to fuck him: to get him to fuck me, but slowly working round to it.

That was what I wanted most of all in the world, for David to fuck me.

Eventually he did it, and was surprised.

“Nothing to it!”

I thought the opposite.

He fucked me four times and kissed me eleven times. I kept count.

Then he stopped.

“Sorry,” he said. “I do like you as a friend, and it’s been great to try, but I think that’s enough for me. I hope you’re not upset. It’s fine, but I just don’t think homosexuality is the thing for me.”

Of course, I said it was fine, just a bit of fun between friends, nothing serious, and we would both have plenty of sex with lots of people, and be good mates.

Tragically, he believed me.

I congratulated him after the Easter holiday when he told me he had a girlfriend and was having great sex with her.


In my first year I had had sex (and booze). In my second year I had relationships (and less booze). And actually worked hard.

I did it right. First kissing and talking. Someone I had known last year and had broken up with his boyfriend asked if I would like a date. It didn’t actually take long before we had sex, but there was more to it: the human side which we both appreciated.

We were out one evening when David saw me and introduced me to his girlfriend. I introduced my boyfriend. It was all “Isn’t this nice?”

And it was. Our partners got on well, being amused by the situation of meeting the ex.

Afterwards he said to me “Wow! I never knew what it was like to be a gooseberry! His girlfriend must have felt the same, the way you and David were eyeing each other.”

I laughed and said of course not. He laughed and fucked me really hard.

He said it was a bit of a turn-on and we had some hot sex for a while.

But then he said it had to end.

“I really thought we had something going, but I can’t compete while you’re thinking of him. I really like you a lot, but it’s not going to work for me.”

“By the way, why did you split up?” he added.

“He’s not gay,” was all I could say.

“Look, he must be a bit,” was the response. “You did have sex for a while. I know he’s got a girlfriend now, but there’s obviously something between you. Why don’t you try again?”

I didn’t know how to.

Instead I concentrated on calculating net present value with depreciating assets and variable interest rates and cash flow. Accountancy was a good profession. That is why I had chosen it. Arts degrees would get you nowhere.

But of course, I hadn’t really chosen it. I wasn’t remotely good enough to do medicine or law or get into Oxbridge. Accountancy at a middle-ranking university was a sound career choice. But not mine.

It was my parents’, of course.

David split up with his girlfriend, and I felt guilty that I had caused it. I had been well trained in feeling guilty for eighteen years. But I was also rebelling, and at the same time felt a quite sinful joy that I might have caused it. A girl had been jealous of me!

He found a new girlfriend and I found a new boyfriend – a lovely man, actually, doing English and History of Art. I didn’t forget David, but I was happy enough and did well in my exams.

Unfortunately, my latest romance was with someone in his final year, so he went off to a good job with Cardiff City Council Museums and Art Galleries. He emailed for a while, but then he said he had a new friend and it might be the real thing.


In my final year I got a girlfriend! Really.

Her name was Ruth and she was one of the girls on my course. We’d been casual friends but nothing more. She said she had had her fling and would like to go steady with me, but it would be fine if I had sex with men.

I know it sounds odd, but it didn’t feel it. We studied together. We went to a film or the student theatre together. We ate together. We kissed a lot. We were an item. But not friends with a particular sort of benefit.

She was trying to get a first-class degree, and was taking me along with her. She said she didn’t need sex, as she had her trusty vibrator, but she did want companionship, and to make it clear that she did not want anyone else. It was practical, but she did like me a lot. The feeling was mutual.

She said it was nice to have a man as a genuine friend with no distraction. I told how much I appreciated her as both a woman and a friend.

It was nice for me to have this human being physically close. And over the course of time we told each other about our lives. She was the first person I fully shared my feelings about what had been done to me. I also learned what it was to be female and admired it. We shared some of our sexual mishaps and what we appreciated in men.

It was the happiest year of my life.

We studied together, but had breaks in which we did other things – eat a snack, dance to music, or play a silly game. One day she decided to put makeup on me and was delighted with the result.

“You look so cute!” she shrieked. “No wonder a straight guy like David fancied you!”

She did it again, and even put some female clothes on me. It amused her and I didn’t mind.

She eventually called me Dilys – short for delicious she said. I was often in some items borrowed from her friends for the whole evening, but we were mostly working.

I wouldn’t have done it, but the Gay and Lesbian Society organised a Drag Ball, and she insisted we go together. She was in a man’s suit with eyeshadow applied to look like stubble and I (of course) was in a dress. People said we both looked cute.

Foolishly I fantasised that David would come to the ball, but he didn’t.

We passed. She got a first class, I got a 2.1 with the best marks so far, and was well pleased. Even Dad seemed satisfied that his prayers had been answered. (No credit to me, though.)

On graduation day, I introduced them to Ruth, as my best friend, and she kissed me and was absolutely charming, saying what I fine young man I was. I could see the faint hope in my mother’s face, and was sorry that I was going to disappoint her.

Later Ruth whispered in my ear “Let’s keep in touch. In ten years time, if we’ve neither found Mr Right, let’s get married anyway!”

Four years later she must have found him, for she sent me a wedding invitation. Inside was a slip of paper which said “I was half hoping you would get the hint and propose at graduation day. I would have said yes.”