“Fairy tales can come true, if you’re young at heart,” so go the lyrics of one of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits.
Sing along mentally with me to this truth-is-stranger-than friction, er, fiction fairy tale I’m about to relate. (You might also ask yourself while singing if you were ever dropped on your head as a child. It might account for a lot.)
Once upon a time there was an energetic young lad – let’s call him Chris – who loved to play all kinds of sports. You name it. Baseball. Football. Basket Ball. Polo. Especially Rugby.
The talk of his kindergarten class, Chris was lifting weights at age five, bench pressing 150 pounds. (Not possible? Listen PG reader, if televangelist Pat Robertson says he can can bench press 1000 pounds, anything is possible.)
Anyhow, by the time Chris turned of age, he was the star of the sports arena. He had several girlfriends, and one in particular he intended to marry. Then the unthinkable happened. He did a flip-flop on the playing field, cracked his head, spent two days in a coma.
Fairy tales often have happy endings, and when Chris awoke his was very happy. Personally, and career wise. Let’s save the happy ending for last. Here’s the real story for your consideration. (Again, were you dropped on your head as child?)
The following news item got big coverage last November in England, Wales, and Canadian media. Purportedly it’s all true. (You just can’t make things up like this.)
“Chris Birch, 26, a rugby player from Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, spent his weekends watching sport and drinking with his mates,” reports the March issue of Fortean Times. “When he attempted a back flip in front of friends, he fell down a grass bank, hitting his head and suffering a stroke.
“Regaining consciousness in hospital a few days later, he found he was homosexual. ‘I was gay when I woke up and I still am,’ he says. ‘It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different. I wasn’t interested in women anymore.
“‘I had never been attracted to a man before – I never even had any gay friends. But I didn’t care who I was before. I had to be true to my feelings. Suddenly I hated everything about my old life. I didn’t get on with my friends. I hated sport. I started to take more pride in my appearance. I bleached my hair and started working out.'” (That sounds really gay!)
The bottom line (I’m not sure if Chris is top or bottom) is whether what happened is indeed possible. Joe Korner, a quoted British expert on strokes, thinks so. “Strokes can have a big effect on individuals and lead to personality changes.
“During recovery the brain makes new neural connections which can trigger things people weren’t aware of such as accent, language, or perhaps a different sexuality.”
Anyhoo! Our fairy tale and factual news story have happy endings. Chris is now partnered and – the big clincher for me – a hairdresser. (Oh, yes. Send me your own bump-on-the-head, now-I’m-gay stories. If you’re young at heart.)