Monday, 30 June 2014

Gay Pride Parade Dublin 2014

The streets of Dublin City on Saturday 28th of June, witnessed 40.000 people in the
parade to celebrate Gay Pride 2014. The theme of this year’s celebration was “freedom”. This year’s parade welcomed 5000 more since last year
It was a wonderful, fantastic and colourful day, full of cheer and laughter with a great spirit of joy and fun. The gathering started at 12:00 pm sharp and the parade started moving at 1:45 sharp. From the Garden of Remembrance through O’Connell Street, turning into O’Connell bridge along the Quays all the way until Merrion square where the fun was just vibrant.

I am very proud to say I was part of this amazing celebration and I cannot wait for next year.





Friday, 27 June 2014

Her name is...Sharon Mc Donnell.

When I first started working with and for this girl, I hadn't a clue we were going to embark on a journey that will end up in a beautiful destination called friendship. Again, as I have said before, life has mysterious ways to shape our paths and along the way we meet extraordinary people that leave a mark on us - to me she has been one of those people!
 There were 2 events in her life that I would consider crucial to bring us closer together. When her father died, I saw her suffering and I held a huge sympathy for her considering that - as you all know - I am very defined by the death of my own Mother. Therefore now we have that in common, losing a beloved one. The second and most crucial event was the birth of her beautiful daughter – Megan - a little angel who came into her life to magically enchant her and her husband home.

 I loved Megan's stories, she would tell me every single detail of  Megan's beautiful awakening to life and I loved it so much. I remember, at some point, I used to be so looking forward going to work to see her and to have her telling me more about Megan. I miss all those chats.
 She is a strong woman, with a strong character and a golden heart full of generosity. When you get to know her, you just know you have gained a friend forever and I am happy to see that in her I have a friend. We exchanged our lives stories and of course that was very nutritious for our union.

 I miss her so much. I would love to be able to see her more, but you know, life gets in the way. But I have to honestly say I love her! One day when I am old, I will look back on my life and I am going to be very happy that once I had a boss who became a true friend and who left an indelible mark on my life and her name is…Sharon McDonnell.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

John Henry Compton...The man of Marlife.

Comunion boy
It is nearly impossible to write about this man – my man – and not to get emotional. He emotionally represents so much in my life, he is my love, my friend, my husband and the most special person to me. When I lost my mum, I lost my home so for so many many years I was longing for a new one, now  with him I have a home, a lovely sanctuary that is just for us and I feel  fortunate enough to be able to tell and share this magnificent feeling.

I met him a month later after I arrived in Dublin, for the first time, by chance, 11 years ago in The George. It was a Friday night and all I had in my head was dancing. I wasn’t aware that a year later he would become the man of my life. Life or destiny has a mysterious way to intertwine our hearts and I feel honoured to see that life or destiny intertwined my heart to his.

1st Modelling shoot
John Henry Compton was born in Dublin; his Mother is Pauline, an adorable elegant woman and his Father Sean Compton, an intelligent and witty man.  He grew up in Blackrock with his 3 brothers – Alan, Mark and Paul and his sister Debbie. He went to college in Dun Laoughaire where he studied art. He has a great artistic side to his brain, but I would personally say that performing and being in front of the camera is his biggest forte, which is the strong reason why he became a well-known Irish and international male model.
On top of his game
He is a beautiful man and has a very classic look, when I see some of his pictures, sometimes I can see he looks like a movie star. Gorgeous! His looks was the first good impression he had on me, but when one day I chatted to him it only took a few moments to realise that he was a very honest man (Again I have to stop typing cause I’m teary ). Honesty was for me his main beauty and it was just there and then when he conquered my heart…forever!

Because no one is perfect and nothing is perfect, we have had our ups and downs, we have been through a lot as individuals and as a couple, but we have managed to stay together because we love each other so much. We have tried to respect and understand each other, which is not always an easy task, but we have tried and achieved. We have grown together as people and as human beings and have had amazing adventures together. We have been naughty together and have had great fun. He is there for me, I am there for him. The reason we are together is - and I can say it from the bottom of my heart - because of the magic of love, love is magical, well it has been for the two of us.

My man's classic look
This 15 of July I am happy to say that we will be celebrating our  10thanniversary together and our 3rd year of marriage; yes we married on our anniversary.  If you ask me am I happy? Yes I am very happy, If you ask me will I do it again? Yes I would do it all over again, no doubts about it. He is my man, my friend, the person I want to grow old with and the simple reason is because he is undoubtedly the man of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing about him, because the way he is has affected very positively the way I am. I love you so much John Henry Compton and I am happy to see that you are the man of my life and of course Marlife!

Wedding invitation


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

3 Months of Marlife...Thank you so much!

I created and posted my very 1st blog on “Marlife” the 18th of March 2014, 3 months ago, and it has been a fantastic  adventure. What started as a little tiny idea has become a huge source of emotional reward for me, because the response has been amazing, better than I thought it would be.

The reason I created my blog was because of the reaction some of my Facebook comments/posts received. People “liked” what I have said, people have commented on what I have said. People “liked” the pictures I have posted. So one day it came to my mind I keep getting good reaction and response on facebook, so I think it would be wiser to try to concentrate all that reaction on my own personal online place and that could be a blog. One day, having a shower and the name “Marlife” came to my mind and I thought “that’s a great name, a good play on words “My life”

I never thought, in a million years, that this was going to become what it has. It has been the perfect platform to share some of my life stories, but also it has allowed me to reconnect with old friends around the world and allowed me to gain new online ones. It has allowed me to touch people in a different way and more so it has allowed me to rediscover myself, my thoughts, feelings, emotions and my gift for writing  - which was dormant for a few years.  I have to honestly confess that Social media has played an incredible part to get my stories known, noticed and talked about. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and tumblr are the platforms I have been using to get my blog out there, but also I have used some traditional way of promoting it like “word of mouth” and my promotional cards and I will be using others channels that you all will be soon find out.

I have reached over 5000 views - in just 3 months - and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been supporting me. Your support is invaluable and I cannot Thank you enough!



Sunday, 15 June 2014

What you cannot say to Irish women. Part 2.

When I was working in Sandymount, I became friendly with an adorable old lady who used to come to the salon every week. Very stylish, polite and lovely, we built up a strong customer/client relationship that went beyond talking about hair. She told me a lot of things about her personal life and so did I. She, like me, loves red wine and of course we kept comparing tastes of our beloved red wine with each other. If she had tried a new red, she’d recommend it to me and vice versa. If she’d tried one that she didn’t like, she’d say it to me and vice versa. As you can see red wine was very recurrent in our conversations. By the way, I have to say that I miss her a lot and miss our lovely chats.

Coming up to my wedding, she bought me a bottle of red wine which of course I drank with so much pleasure and even though I thought it was not a good one, I was touched by her gesture. A few days later, she came to the salon and asked what did I think of the wine? And I said “I drank it all, but it was only OK” and she replied “Oh just OK”? but her reply was quite emotionless so I didn’t know she was hurt by my dislike of the wine she’d bought me. A few days later, her stylist said to me “Marlon I want to tell you something, but promise me you won’t say anything to Mrs X” and I said “Yeah, go on” and said “She is very hurt by the fact that you told her you didn’t like the wine”. My heart sank, the last thing I’d do in this world is to try to hurt her in any way. When the others in the salon heard what happened they thought I was a prick hehehe. I’m sure you reading are thinking the exact same so I need to explain. I told her what I thought of the wine because we have built up a relationship where talking about wine was a big part of it. Also back home, if you are given a present and you don’t like it, you better let it known, no offence is taken because we rather give you the right present so you’re fully satisfied with it. In this country is different, so I had to learn to pretend I like the present I’m given even though I don’t like it. Anyway, our friendship was not affected by that. We exchanged Christmas cards and presents. She loves Molton Brown products so for her birthday I bought her hand creams and she loved it. She was even teary and moved by my gesture.
As a thank you she bought me a box of this fabulous French chocolates and asked me to open the present in front of her, when I found out the content of the box, I nearly said something but I just bit my tongue and said a BIG thank you and gave her a warm smile. To this date, she doesn’t know I know the wine incident and she never knew that I don’t like chocolates! I’ve learnt.

In Venezuela, when it comes to achievements, the “before and after” plays a huge role and more so when it is in relation to physical attributes, we tend to be a vain country! Well we have won  6 Miss Worlds, 7 Miss Universes and a few Mr Internationals”. Trying to look physically well is a “must”. If you do something to improve your physical qualities – dieting to lose weight, going to the gym, doing yoga etc…this is regarded as “an achievement” and when you achieve your goal, we will reinforce the way you “were or looked” in order to enhance even more the way you “are and look” now as a result of your efforts and commitment, simple? Not that simple when you’re in Ireland and end up making someone cry for trying to give them my “Venezuelan compliment”.  A girl I know when through a good diet in order to lose weight and as a result looked good. One day we got together with a group of other people, including John my partner, in the middle of our drinks I told her, thinking that it was going be the compliment of her life “You are looking great, well done on the diet and losing weight because you were very big” and she started crying which I couldn’t understand why, she was wearing sunglasses and I could see the tears streaming down her face, she was very upset. Of course, John was very annoyed with me for my “imprudence”. I got even more confused because to me it’s a total “compliment”. To make things worse and for her to cry more I said to John, “but what do you mean John when you have also said that she was very big”. The whole thing did not make sense to me. Anyway we eventually left. I remember that on my way home I had to ring my best friend Daniela from Venezuela, who lives in Orlando and who is the vainest girl I’ve ever known, and told her what happened and her reaction was “what? So your friend is not taking your compliment that she looks amazing now, she is concentrated on the way she was” and I screamed “Exactly!” Let’s put it this way, Daniela years ago went through liposuction to make her belly flatter, because she thought she had a little bit of a belly, after the operation, she looked even more amazing and she would expect people to compliment her by telling her she used to have a belly, which we all did because the bigger the belly she used to have, the bigger the compliment because of the sense of achievement after. Days later, one of the girls who was at the party and witnessed what happen said to me “Marlon you give a compliment and should of left it like that, you don’t mention how we used to be like”. Oh ok, it didn’t make sense to me, still doesn’t, but that’s the way here in Ireland. Lesson learnt: Compliment people on how they look now, don’t dare to mention yesterday or tomorrow, but only NOW!

I was kindly invited to this party by someone I barely knew and after this incident I never heard from them again. I arrived at the party expecting to have the time of my life, ready to rock, mingling with the crowd which was mainly puffs. There was a group which I thought were interesting and I joined them, they were talking about  the way people look with age, now at this stage we were quite drunk and this particular young camp guy turned to me and asked “How old do you think I am” and I said “well it’s hard to say because  your face is plastered with make-up and I can’t see your face properly, but I could say that you are around 29” he had a hissy fit  and went “oh my god” and started crying awwwwwwwkkkkkwwwward and I asked “are you OK, what’s wrong?”, he goes “you just told me I look 29 and I am only 19” and I said “yes you asked me so I don’t see what the big deal is” Everybody at the group were disgusted by the fact that I made him cry guessing his age, but he bloody asked me. Some of the other pufters verbally attacked me saying that how dare you, how could you say he looked 29 when he is only 19. I kept saying “he asked me” and they said you don’t know that in this country you don’t tell a person age and I went again “but he asked me” and the person kept insisting “but even if he asked, you shouldn’t have said 29” so I said (and this question prompted the party’s organiser to ask me to leave)  “You’re telling me that in this country if you are a 100 years and even if somebody asks I have to say that they look 12”. On the Monday, I sent a thank you text to the person who organised the party for inviting me. This was around 7 years ago and never got a reply, oops.

Years back, in my very first job in Ireland, there was a group of girls gathered in the staff room. One
 of the girls had bought a blue-sequence dress for a night out, it was an awful thing and she was asking the girls what they thought of the dress, they thought the dress was, “nice”, “lovely”, “pretty” etc… I wasn’t there when she was being given “these compliments”. I came to the room as she was showing the dress off, and I said “that’s a nice dress, you bought it for your granny? She is going love it as the colour and the sequence represent her age very well” and the whole room went quiet. One of the girls jumped in breaking the silence “Marlon she bought the dress for herself” and I turned to the girl and I said “did you really? You’re going to look old in it”. She left the staff room with a sad face and went to the shop and changed the dress. The annoying moral of this story in particular is that one of the girls, hours later, said “Marlon fair play to you to say that the dress wasn’t nice, we all thought the same, but we couldn’t tell her” and I thought in my head “she needs better friends! What they were saying to her was bullshit. Time passed and somebody else bought a new dress and she was asking in the staff room what they thought, when my earlier victim popped up and said “Don’t ask us, go and ask Marlon he will tell you the truth” . To this date, she doesn’t know that all those telling her the blue dress was “pretty” actually thought it wasn’t, but couldn’t tell her. She will soon find out if she gets to read this blog. Gas!

And these are some of the situations I was in when I wasn’t fully adapted or understood the way Irish culture can be, in particular Irish women. As I mentioned in Part 1, all these situations were part of the process of my integration into Irish society. After 11 years in this country, I have learnt a lot and one of the things I have learnt is that there are certain things that you cannot say to Irish women and queens.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Her name is...Jenny Dawson!

This story is about a girl who is one of those people when you meet you get the genuine feeling she can be a good friend for life. She gives you a feeling of ‘you are OK, don’t worry about your problems because I can make you feel good with my laughter’ and we all love that. It seems to be that her mission in life is to make you feel good and that says a lot about her, who she is and even though life was not kind to her, still her smile is able to brighten up your face and gives you a sense of inspiration. She is lovely!

Her artistic side of her brain is so well-developed that she could of been an actress as she is able to transport you with her voice to an imaginary and fantastic places.  She has a deep, clear, sharp voice that implies she could work in radio to make you happy to wake up listening to her voice. Her voice tells you she could be a singer who could be out there singing the most beautiful and melodic songs for you, just for you.

Doing your hair is not a task or her job, it is just an art. Silently she makes you be aware she is sculpturing it, just to make you look good and as a result makes you feel fabulous.

She has a charming way to embrace you that is enchanting and knows how to sincerely get you. These are some of the reasons why she is a good daughter, good sister, good friend, good co-worker and good everything, I love her and I can say that she is one of those sisters I never had.

The whole universe sparkled in multiple bright and shinning colours the day she was born, because they knew this girl was about to enter the world to remarkably touch people’s lives, to make a contribution to who you are, to celebrate you in a honest way and I have to say that I have been one of those people touched by her kind and loving gesture and I feel honoured.

If she didn’t exist, we would have created one because we need her, life needs her because she is like an everlasting celebration to the simple things in life.

So many people lover her, but I admire, respect and love her and her name is…

Jenny Dawson!

Thumbs up Jenny!


Monday, 9 June 2014

9th of June 2003, the day I arrived in Dublin.

Sometimes I wonder if luck exists. Sometimes I wonder if destiny exists. Sometimes I wonder if our path in life is shaped and we just need to follow. I never wondered, because I always knew, my life and future was not in Venezuela, and I would love to tell you how I ended up in beautiful Dublin.

I finished my last job in Venezuela as a co-ordinator/manager of an Italian Pastisserie. I started as “sales assistance”, but in a short time I made my way up. That was an opportunity after being unemployed for around 3 years and I needed to prove to my bosses I was – like L’Oreal would say “worth it”. Because of my enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication they offered me the position of coordinator/manager, therefore a pay rise came with the offer (this was a big deal for me because a pay rise meant like 20euro extra a month which was basically a bonus) but you know “every little helps”. So I set a goal and tried to pretend that extra cash didn’t exist and started saving it. I knew that this poor extra amount of income was not going to get me anywhere (our Venezuelan currency is very devalued, so getting an airplane ticket was very expensive).

I met someone who was also ambitious –  he had some financial resources, more than I had anyway, so I proposed him a “business plan”. The business consisted of buying and selling clothes. No stall or shop, we were just telling our friends and acquaintances we were selling clothes and they would buy, obviously if they liked what you were offering.  The purpose was to double or even tripled what we invested. In Venezuela, this is called “informal economy” and you get away with not paying taxes which is a huge advantage. We would by stock for 5 euro and we would sell it on for 10 or 15 euro. Sometimes, due to my cheeky business head, we would sell it for 20 euro. The profit sounds good, yes it was, but even so it was not enough to afford a plane ticket. Also, my intention was to leave Venezuela, at the latest the following year. Anyway, in the end I managed to nearly afford it, and my friend helped  with the rest.

In the meantime, when all this was happening I connected with people on the internet, I made a few “online friends” and told them about my ambitions, my dreams, intentions and my fears. One of the guys, whom I’m still in touch with and lives in England, put in my head the idea of coming to Ireland and seek for asylum. I did some research about this potential possibility and realised that I could have a case of discrimination and persecution for being a homosexual in Venezuela, given the circumstances I faced as a gay man.

I remember being at the travel agency purchasing my ticket to Dublin,  very excited, but scared at the same time because I was once deported from London, something that could happen again. These mixed feelings were hard to deal with, but there was no way I’d allow them to stop me and my ambition, so I organised all I had to do and set up my trip to Ireland.

Dublin here I come

I arrived in Dublin airport the 9th of June 2003, with my Venezuelan passport, very little money, a small suitcase with my clothes and a huge suitcase that contained a bundle of dreams and hopes. When I approached immigration my heart was pounding, I don’t know how I managed to maintain my composure myself and not to give away sings of my nervousness. I was asked the usual questions and I told them I was coming on holidays. I had a month plane ticket, the officer checked my documents and said “Welcome to Dublin” and stamped my passport for a 3 months stay.

As I am typing this, I am having those emotions again, you have no idea the sense of relief I had. Having got through customs was the beginning of my Irish dream come true. I remember waiting for my suitcase and screaming in my head “I got through, I got through, I got through” and that horrible deportation feeling was lifted from my shoulders.

13 years on, here I am, living in Dublin, Castleknock  Dublin 15.

The huge highlight of all this is that in the middle of my political transition - from Asylum seeker to Irish citizen - a year later after I arrived, I was in The George and I met my love, John Henry Compton, who became the man of “Marlife”. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

What you can not say to Irish women. Part 1.

I have been in trouble so many times in the name of “honesty” ; I have been in awkward situations for being “indiscrete”; I have been in uncomfortable circumstances for “opening my mouth” when I should not have done. I have been in so many situations for so many reasons…Yes, loads of times. But I have also been in “trouble” for saying things that in my country would be a compliment, especially to women, and in trouble because what is deemed as “OK” and “normal” back home, could be an offence to Irish women.
I am one of those people who if I give you a compliment I really mean it. I do not say nice things to bullshit you for the sake of it, just to try to gain sympathy from people.  Of course, this way of being could make matters even worse. Could we call it a cultural shock? I don’t know. Should we call it imprudence?  I don’t know. What I am going to do is I am going to try to honestly explain those situations I have been in and you can form your own opinion. Mind you, it is extremely hard for me to try to be or pretend to be something or someone that I am not, and even when I have tried the real me always comes out, naturally.

For instance:

Jennifer Lopez, or JLo, is a huge female icon in our Latin American culture, not only for what she has achieved professionally, but also for her sexy big ass. Women love her and want to have a bum like hers, not to mention the dirty thoughts she awakens in men because of it. I have friends back home who would go to the gym and try to work out their arses off to have one like hers. If you say to a girl, “oh my god you have a big bum” you are giving them the best compliment ever and her working out achievements would have been fulfilled.  I did not know in Ireland having a “huge bum” was such an offence and of course I ended up offending someone. This girl is very slim and in my opinion had a nice big bum. One day, thinking I was giving her the compliment of her life. I said “oh my god, look at your bum is huge and lovely” and with an unfriendly face, she says: “thanks Marlon for telling me I’m fat”. In my head I couldn’t understand why she thought I was calling her “fat”, when JLo in Latin America is regarded as one of the sexiest women alive. It took me a few years to realise that there will never ever be an “Irish JLo”. In Ireland having a big sexy bum is a no no.

Working in the hairdressers and in the summer with the hairdryers, the salon can get very hot and stuffy. One day this lady dealing with me at the reception area, when she was leaving, said “Oh Marlon I think I got wet at the basin” and I went “Oh really? Let me see” I walked around, touched her and I said “No, you’re fine, you didn’t get wet, you’re just sweating” and she nearly died. She didn’t say anything to me, but she mentioned it to the stylist who was looking after her “Oh my god, Marlon just told me I was sweating”. I was informed of her disgust and I couldn’t understand what is wrong with sweating. Venezuela is a hot country and my city, Maracaibo, is even hotter. You can easily get 45 degrees in the month of August so sweating is as normal as having to go to the bathroom for our physiological needs, so I couldn't understand that sweating can be an insult for an Irish girl. Lesson learnt, in Ireland if a girl is sweating, you can notice it, but don't dare to mention it.

  A client, who I still see now and then and whom I had a good customer relationship with, was very  used to a particular hair stylist who was on holidays when she rang to make an appointment with her and I told her she was away. She was insisting that she needed a haircut desperately, but because I knew exactly what and how she liked her hair to be done, I strongly suggested her to wait until her stylist comes back from her holidays (in 4 days), but she kept insisting in me recommending someone for her haircut, this is something I did before and she never liked the haircut she got from the 2 different people I recommended in the past, so I said " Mrs X I won't recommend anyone, and suggest you to wait until your stylist comes back, because I did recommend 2 different stylists before when she was not around and you were not happy, so because of you being very fussy, you better wait" and she nearly had a convulsion over the phone and said "Marlon calling me fussy is not very nice" and I said "but you are fussy, so you better wait" and she said "OK I will wait then". I hung up the phone and I went and asked the girls working with me at the time "Girls, can you use the word "fussy" with a client" and their face dropped and started laughing. "Who did you say that to?" and I said "Mrs X" and they laughed loudly. When Mrs X eventually came to the salon I approached her and explained to her that I didn't know you couldn't use such term in that context. She said "It's OK Marlon, next time you can say that I am very particular" she is actually admitting she is very "fussy", but we must say "particular" Hmmmmm interesting.

 In Venezuela if you have white skin you are rather popular, dark skin is a no. I wasn't in Dublin even a year when this happened, a girl I knew and who had (according to my Venezuelan taste) a lovely white skin, one day I met her by chance, and said "Hello how are you? I haven't seen you in a while. Oh my god you look great and look at your skin is even whiter since the last time I saw you" Her forehead frowned and she said "Thanks Marlon for pointing that I have a pale skin" and I said "Yes, it's very pale and white, but lovely" and she goes quite serious "Well thanks again, I spent 40 minutes and 50 euro this morning in the tanning shop getting my tan done because I am going out tonight" and in my head I went "Oops". I never saw her again. She probably drowned in her spray tan.

 I grew up seeing my sisters, nieces, cousins being pregnant so in my family there are more babies than stars in the sky. I saw so many of my friends being pregnant, too. All these women, family and friends and even Venezuelan women in general carry a sense of pride when pregnant and their bellies are growing.  I even remember one of my good friends when she found out she was pregnant, she could not wait for her belly to grow. So she would buy tight dresses in order to show her belly off. There is a Saturday TV program that near Mother's Day they had a competition on that consists of measuring the size of pregnant women bellies. The prize the winner gets is bigger than her belly. Can you imagine the thrill of the winner being rewarded for having a huge pregnant belly? It is a massive compliment to say to a Venezuelan pregnant girl "oh my god, your belly is growing", because the bigger the belly the better, meaning that the baby is growing healthy and is going to be a big healthy baby. I know you can already see where this going. In one of my previous jobs a girl fell pregnant and of course like every human pregnant being, her belly was growing. As a symbol of respect and compliment, one day I made the "mistake" of saying "Oh look at your belly is growing, you're getting bigger" She nearly choked.  She nearly had the baby right there in front of me. It would have been a premature baby caused by the disgust of my comment. She even nearly started crying and I thought "Jasus her hormones must be all over the place that she is nearly crying because of my compliment" Let's put it this way, I have never said anything like that ever again when I have seen  an Irish pregnant girl. Even though I think they’re glowing because their bellies growing beautifully big, I just bite my tongue and keep the compliment to myself.

Every single one of these situations I’ve been in has helped me to broaden my horizons, allowing me to solidify my integration into the Irish culture. I came from a totally different background and therefore I had to change my mind set in order to fit in. It has been a very interesting journey that has enriched my view in life and changed my perspective as I am exposed to the Irish society on a daily basis because this is my home now.

There is more to tell in Part 2, for example when a bottle of red wine got me into trouble, and not because I drank it.