Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Sometimes it's a small gay world

When I’m looking for fun on gaydar, I’m always scared that I’ll end up accidentally meeting someone inappropriate. In this context, ‘inappropriate’ means either someone who knows boyfriend number 1, or someone I know in a business context. A couple of days ago I had a lucky escape.

It’s Sunday morning and I log on to gaydar to try and find a bit of fun. This will be the first time I've tried cruising with the new photos (When it comes to my online photos, I'm just a vain gay man). Over the course of the next hour or so I have a few chats with a few guys, but no fun materialises. Then I spot a guy with a promising profile who’s probably no more than a mile away, so I take the initiative and start to chat with him.

It turns out he’s happy for me to visit him as long as I’m discrete. He’s a European student called M, living as a lodger (in quite a smart neighbourhood), and his landlord wouldn’t like it if he brings guys into the house that he’s only just met on the Internet. So it’s got to seem like I’m an old friend of his that had always been planning to visit him on Sunday morning. I promise to play along and we exchange mobile phone numbers. “Txt is always fine”, I say, “but please don’t phone”.

I’m sensitive about phone numbers because there was a phone ‘incident’ about six years ago. There’s a guy who I agree to meet at his hotel near Euston before work, but when I go to phone him on his mobile phone at around 7am on the day I’m due to visit he says he’s feeling too tired. So the meeting never happens. But several months later, the next time this guy is in London, he phones me on my mobile when boyfriend number 1 happens to be standing right next to me. Boyfriend number 1 must have heard some of what this guy says. So after I’ve insisted that I have no idea who he is, I have a very difficult conversation with boyfriend number 1.

Back to today, and I arrange to meet M outside the nearest tube station. I always hate it when I don’t have an address because it increases the probability that the meeting won’t happen, but M insists that this is the best way of avoiding trouble with his landlord.

My fears are unfounded because M does turn up at the appointed time, and he looks gorgeous but familiar in a way that I can’t pin down. I had seen pictures of him before we agreed to meet and I didn’t recognise him then, but face to face I’m sure we’ve met before.

“Hmmm”, I say to him, “have we met before? Perhaps you’ve changed your gaydar profile name? Did you ever live in the East End of London?”

“Yes you look familiar too. But I’ve had the same gaydar profile name for ages, and I’ve lived here for almost ten years.”

It’s a mystery. As we walk to his lodgings I feel convinced that this meeting is ‘inappropriate’. But since neither of us can pin down how we know each other, and since I think M looks gorgeous, I’m powerless to pull out of the situation.

Inside M’s lodgings we make it up to his bedroom without bumping into his landlord. I strip down to my undershorts, and M does the same. While I’m still standing he goes down onto his knees in front of me. Although I enjoy the attention, after a minute or so I ask, “Why don’t we go over to your bed? Do you like cuddling?”

“Yes of course.”

So it’s my lucky day. I love cuddling gorgeous guys, and M is a gorgeous guy. Once we’re on his bed, we have a fantastic time. But even while I’m having fun, I occasionally wonder why M looks familiar. At one point M is lying on his back with his head on the pillows and I’m on my knees facing him. Behind his bed there are some photographs. I summon up enough concentration to focus on the photographs as well as my activities with M and, ‘phew’, I’m relieved that I don’t recognise anyone in the photos.

Afterwards we work it out how we know each other. “What gym do you go to”, says M. When I tell him, he smiles knowingly, and I suddenly realise why we seem familiar to each other.

“So we’ve had fun with each other in the sauna there, haven’t we!” I say.

“Yes that’s it”, says M, “although I don’t go to that gym any more”.

Indeed, I haven’t seen him there for at least six months. I feel that I’ve had a lucky escape. Although there always seem to be hundreds of new faces on gaydar and in the sauna at the gym, sometimes the gay world seems quite small.

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