It’s the ultimate opposites-attract romance: Shy corporate climber Paul, who isn’t in the closet but isn’t quite comfortable being too far out of it, is hit on by go-go boy Ben, a tattooed young man from a working class family who is definitely out and proud. Is there any chance of a relationship between two so very different men, or is the more or less homeless Ben just looking for a place to bed down?
“Strait Laced” is a quite believable story of two men attempting to navigate their way across a rather wide class divide. It’s a plot that particularly makes sense in a British setting, with the added spice of a little north - south resentment.
The realism of the plot is enhanced by the absence of any artificial drama. There are several dramatic moments which you’re not sure the two men will survive with their relationship intact, but they are incidents that come very naturally when two such very different people get involved with each other. There are several points where you expect Ben to give up on Paul after one of his unintentionally condescending actions, or perhaps it will be Paul who walks away after Ben pushes him too far outside his comfort zone.
Ben is quite an interesting character. He seems to be that particularly modern kind of beautiful young man who seeks validation through social media. The story doesn’t offer up any direct explanation for this side of his personality, but you will probably draw some conclusions from Ben’s history, as it unfolds through the story. The attention-seeking behavior does figure in one of the dramatic turns of the plot, and you have to wonder how it would affect any relationship that develops with Paul.
“Strait Laced” is available from Amazon.