The article appeared on Issue #132. Posted on this blog with the permission of FM Magazine. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Steve Grech. Mr. Gay Malta 2008
The difference between real happiness, the kind that happens in brief chapters on the way to somewhere else, and looking as happy as a toothpaste advert, are obvious to some, but not all. As far as Steve Grech is concerned, winning the Mr Gay Malta competition, organised by DJ Chunky & Klozet Club, and coming agonisingly close to bagging the Budapest edition of Mr Gay Europe were both a fantastic experience, especially after long hard years of contest participation. It certainly put a massive smile on his handsome face. Yet, he tells me, there’s nothing that makes him happier than love.
Sharing your life with someone special, eating together, watching TV, you know, all the normal, domestic stuff that we take for granted - I couldn’t think of lovelier things to do with my free time. Luckily, I get to do them.”
Steve has been with his partner for the past three months and is so clearly besotted, I’m almost jealous. “I’ve been doing the beauty contest routine for too many years now. I am seriously considering drawing the line. Hearing my name announced is a great boost, but being able to chill out, especially watching my favourite horror movies, is bliss. Oh, and I only watch them once - I like surprises.”
He also likes cooking, whether going for it solo in the kitchen, or sharing a chopping board with the significant other. “I follow a very specific diet but my partner doesn’t, so on Sunday we all let go and have our lovely Sunday roast with all the extras, family and friends. There’s nothing like it.”
Steve is on very friendly terms with the gym’s welcome carpet, and his diet is a carb-laden one designed to fit in with his daily workouts. “I spend two hours a day pumping iron. I am totally addicted. And like any other addiction, I hate it. After ten hours at work, I find the whole
rigmarole incredibly difficult, but I do it because I like the results.” The very apparent results are a pair of biceps bulging out of his C&R outfit and the kind of chest the definition of which I can see through his vest. These must have contributed greatly towards his popularity with the screaming audience at Mr Gay Europe, but I’m sure that his very easy smile that showcases a mouth full of enviably straight pearly-white teeth, helped just as much. Yet this kind of ‘popularity’ is not what Steve seems to be looking for.
“I have two Yorkshire terriers, a male and female, which I’ve had for six years, and they’re my greatest companions. I just let go when I’m with them. I’m like a boy again with the smell of careless childhood in my nostrils. I even play hide and seek with them. They love it, and suffice to say, I love it too.”
You couldn’t say that Steve’s job is the most exciting one in the world (it involves accounts - nuff said) but he “meets people and it pays the mortgage,” which is just the kind of thing he needs. “I had a customer service job for a while, with a much better pay. Yet since I was answering the phone all day and did not have direct contact with people, I just couldn’t stick it. I resigned after a while and went back to my old job.” Amazing how bosses manage not to realise that what makes their people happy is sometimes just the small thing everybody else wants to avoid.
“My dream job is with an airline”, he tells me. In fact, I can so imagine him trolley-dolleying with Emirates that I suggest one of their recruitment drives. “But in order to work with a foreign airline, I’d have to be stationed away. And I have no intention of leaving either my boyfriend or my dogs behind.”
Like most people, Steve loves to travel, but hates travelling for competitions. “You get so lonely and it’s really stressful. Initially, all the competitors are your best friends, but eventually, the bitching inevitably starts. There’s no joy in that. Neither is there any in the filching of my private time nor in the four hours of sleep I get.”
“I’ve changed a lot. I used to be a material kind of person, into clothes and stuff in general, but I’m over that now. Now I look for honest friends and companions, quality time, and enjoying life in the best way I can.”