The Indignities by Graeme Aitken (2010)

Drop dead gorgeous Stephen Spear used to only have one problem – his dick size was below average. Now he has two – he’s turning 30! After ingeniously avoiding his 30th birthday, the boy who (almost) has it all’s world starts to fall apart.  His boyfriend leaves him for the muscled personal trainer next door, and the only work he can get as an actor is as the face of a tomato sauce brand. So at the suggestion of a friend he signs up for gaydar, and fun and mayhem follow, including a sex orgy in which most of the participants are uninvited.

This is Aitken’s third novel, being a sequel to the saucy “Vanity Fierce” (1998), and is not so much about the indignity of turning 30, but rather about the main character’s relentless pursuit of his next “perfect” partner at all costs. Stephen is so up himself that you really don’t care who he ends up with, however trips through most of Sydney’s bars, clubs and saunas are amusing enough to keep you reading. The best character is Stephen’s mother, an aging actress still much loved for her TV soapie roles. Unfortunately she appears only occasionally, as this über PFLAG mum raises the book  to another level.

I loved Aitken’s first novel “50 Ways of Saying Fabulous” (1995) about a queer teenage boy growing up on a farm in NZ. The heart created so beautifully in that novel is missing from The Indignities, and I know the author can do much better. So read it for a few laughs, but let’s hope for his next novel he can ditch Stephen and his ego as easily as Stephen ditches last night’s trade, and get back to his best form.




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