Friday, December 30, 2005

Sage interviews Gay Banker

A few days ago, I spotted one gay blogger (Sage) interviewing another gay blogger (Atari_Age) via blog. Sage put the questions on his blog, and Atari_Age posted the answers on his. Perhaps someone could let me know whether this kind of online blog-oriented interview is new, or whether it's been around for a while? I've certainly never seen it done before.

What kind of questions would Sage ask me if I took him up on his offer to interview other bloggers? Anyone who's read my blog for a while will know that I'm the kind of guy who jumps into things both feet first to find out what something is all about, so I left a comment on Sage's blog volunteering to be interviewed. Within 24 hours he'd done his research and devised five interview questions tailor made for me.

When I first read the questions, I was struck by how thoughtful they were. Perhaps I can return the favour to someone? If any other blogger wants me to interview them according to the same rules, please let me know and I'll devise some questions.

Anyway, here are my answers to Sage's interview questions:

Question 1. Beyond the original incident, how did your causal encounter hobby become a regular activity??

The internet is to blame! Although it wasn't responsible for the original incident, the internet is certainly responsible for making it easy for gay guys to find casual sexual partners. Without the internet I would never have been able to meet so many guys without boyfriend number 1 finding out. The original incident reminded me how much I enjoyed the adventure of finding no-strings sex, but the internet made it possible for me to do it on a regular basis.

While I'm on this subject, I went for a coffee with a friend yesterday, a gay guy in his early 30's who came out about three or four years ago. Although he doesn't know about my casual encounter hobby, or this blog, we often seem to talk about sex and the internet.

"Without the gaydar chat rooms I wouldn't have a sex life", he said.

I laughed. "How many guys a month do you meet then?" I asked, although I could make a pretty good guess.

"Hmmm", he says thinking, "at least ten a month, at least!"

By those standards, I'm relatively chaste.

Question 2. When did you first know that you were in love with boyfriend number 1?

I guess this is where I divulge a bit about my relationship with boyfriend number 1. If you read this entire blog, you'd find out very little about him. Of course that's partly by definition (this blog is called "Things I can't tell boyfriend number 1"), but it's also because I originally thought that my relationship with boyfriend number wasn't for public consumption. I guess that idea got discarded last summer when I went on holiday with boyfriend number 2.

Remembering back to 1989 when we first got together, it was him who proposed to me. At the time I wasn't sure about having a relationship with him, so I certainly wasn't originally in love with him at the start. But over the following few years he became the most important part of my life, so my love developed gradually over that period. Of course I still love him, which is why it'll be very difficult for me if we end up separating now that he knows what I get up to.

Question 3. Your first sexual experience--was it with a man or a woman?

I'm a pure homo! Never had sex with a woman, don't think I ever will. Some gay guys (like Boyfriend number 1) have lots of female friends, but I always feel more comfortable in the company of other men, gay or straight.

It took me a while to have my first sexual experience though. I wrestled with my sexuality while I was at university because I didn't want to be gay. I had a couple of dates with women, but they were hopeless failures. After I left university I gradually realised the truth, had sex with a guy, and never really looked back.

4. How did you come to have a career in investment banking?

I guess there are some lucky people who, when they're children, know what they want to be when they grow up and work to fulfill their dreams. But I had no idea. Then one day while I was in my last year at university, I got talking to a friend who left university the previous year, and had started work for a stockbroker in the City of London.

"It's good in the City at the moment GB", he said, "I'll get you an interview at the firm I work for if you're interested".

Out of curiosity I took him up on the offer of an interview, and although I didn't get a job with that particular firm, I saw some attraction to working in finance. So I did my homework to learn more about it, applied for graduate jobs at as many suitable firms as I could find, and ended up getting myself a job at an investment bank. I've never regretted my decision and still (usually) enjoy the work :-)

5. Lastly, what advice would you give to a newly married, or civil unioned(?), gay couple?

A very good question given that I live in the UK, because since last week it has been possible for same-sex couples in the UK to have civil unions. Civil unions essentially give gay couples the same rights and responsibilities that a marriage gives heterosexual couples.

Looking at my relationship with boyfriend number 1, I wish I'd been more honest with him. But I reckon the hardest thing about honesty isn't just being truthful to one's partner - it's being truthful with oneself. Coming out as gay is one of the classic situations where a lot of people are initially not honest with themselves, which is why the first step of coming out to oneself can be the hardest.

In the mid 1990's when my causal encounter hobby began I don't think I was being honest with myself. "Occasionally I can meet a guy for some no-strings sex and boyfriend number 1 need never know". But ten years later when we hit a rocky patch it all comes out. Perhaps honesty isn't quite the right word but it's close, I think I was just deluding myself that there would be no consequences. It's very easy to believe something that you want to believe, but that doesn't make it true.

So to keep a relationship strong, my advice would be to try and be honest first with yourselves, and secondly with each other. Keep communicating. It's not easy. In spite of my current situation, most of the time my relationship with boyfriend number 1 has been wonderful.

PS: thanks to Sage for posing me such good questions.


Anonymous said...

Very good questions and answers indeed.

I especially liked your answer in the last question about being honest with yourself and the dilemma this presents to gay people who have likely for years deluded themselves from their own truth: being gay. I know for myself that my ability to compartmentalize and rationalize this has led me to sometimes doubt myself. Excellent point.

I wonder, do you think boyfriend number 1 would expect now that the two of you should get married being that you've been together so long and how would you respond if he took you out one night and proposed to you? Perhaps that's an impossible question to answer (there's your out if you need it)

GB said...

Actually jjd, civil partnership has been discussed briefly in the relationship counselling sessions that I've been having with boyfriend number 1. My activities make him feel insecure, but civil partnership is something which would make him feel more secure. So if we stay together we'll probably do it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen anything like Sage's interviews, either. His questioins are so relevant to the individual blogger yet somehow never seem to cross the line into something so personal that offense is given. When I read his list of questions for Atari (whom I have met), I immediately volunteered to be interviewed myself--the answers should appear on my blog Monday night. I liked how you responded a great deal, but I've liked your writing and comfort level in self-revelation ever since I discovered your blog.

All my best for 2006.

Anonymous said...

What excellent responses! Regarding your advice for other couples, I agree that being honest with oneself can be a challenge. Knowing ones own needs, and being able to distinguish them from mere 'wants' or 'wishes', is certainly a challenge! If you're up for it, I'd welcome some interview questions. Happy New Year!

GB said...

OK sage, give me a few days. Happy New Year everyone, GB xxx

Anonymous said...

It's cool you've been able to stay friends with your ex though!