Saturday, December 30, 2006

An email from a kinky lawyer

The Thursday before Christmas, I received the following email:

Dear GB,

I just stumbled across your blog and it is great. (I should be in bed now, i am flying back to England tomorrow morning from Holland!)

Is this a typical reader of this blog?Oh by the way, I am 23, bi-curious and very innocent looking, oh and I have a latex fetish (if you needed to know!)...and i am a little kinky too....

Well, I am writing to ask you for career advice, if you don't mind... :)

I have a 2:1 class degree in Law with LLB Hons, and i am hoping to do a Masters in European Economic Law soon. I am earning money right now by teaching English and translating.

I want to eventually become Barrister, but would like to try investment banking - it seems such a thrilling career. Goldman Sachs is so appealing, so I may apply there. To be able to buy a nice flat in Covent Garden would be bloody amazing!

Can you give me any tips at all, about anything really...I am genuine - not a ponce like most from Law school - and would work all hours to bring in the dough (to buy more latex). As a person I can get on with anyone - without being false - and I am professional, but have a good sense of humour.

This sounds like a type of lonely hearts ad! Sorry :) GSOH...WLTM...

But, any advice would be great.... I hope you are doing ok with all the boyfriends anyway Mr :)

Take care, and have a nice Christmas, but don't be kissing too many gents under the mistletoe now. Oh i must go to bed, i am half asleep....

I've had emails in my inbox before asking for career advice. However this is the first one since I started the Dear GB concept, so it seems like an ideal opportunity to broaden Dear GB beyond relationship issues. From what I can tell about this guy, looking at a couple of his web sites that he's told me about, he's actually got quite a significant latex fetish. But if a healthy sex life was a barrier to a career in investment banking I'd have been sacked a long time ago!

In his e-mail, the guy mentions Goldman Sachs, which is certainly a famous investment bank. But it's not true that one has to work there to have a successful career in investment banking. It's got a reputation for making staff work very long hours, however the potential rewards are very high too. If the guy wants to have some spare time for his latex hobby, he'd probably be well advised to work elsewhere.

For a guy of his age, I reckon the best thing he could do if he wants to work in investment banking is to apply for all the graduate training programs. Although I've never been involved in recruitment, my guess is that now is a good time to apply, because now is the time when banks will be starting to think about recruiting fresh graduates who are still in the final year of their degrees. He'll need to be very well prepared for the interviews of course.

Another possibility would be to continue in his career as a lawyer for now, and apply once he's a fully trained lawyer, because all banks have their internal legal departments. To do this, he should specialise in law which is relevant to investment banks, and once he's got a good knowledge in a suitable area he could probably switch from working at a law firm to working for a bank instead. But it's also true that you can find guys who've trained as lawyers in many different areas of a bank, where perhaps their legal knowledge is useful even though the main focus of their job isn't legal.

Do any readers have any more advice?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gay tango dancing in Buenos Aires

Having had a few lessons on how to dance the Tango in the city where he lives, boyfriend number 2 was aching to visit Buenos Aires, which is where the dance originated over one hundred years ago. So last summer, since neither of us had ever visited Argentina, we decided that we'd try and take a holiday there before the end of the year.

"And shall we have some Tango lessons together while we're there?" boyfriend number 2 had asked.

"Yeah I'd love to," I replied, "but you'll have to be gentle with me, I'll be a complete beginner!"

Eventually the holiday gets arranged for December. The week before we arrive, boyfriend number 2 manages to locate a gay guy who lives in Buenos Aries and teaches the Tango. So after a couple of emails have been exchanged, we've got a private lesson booked together for one hour during the afternoon of what will be our second day in Buenos Aries.

The day arrives and boyfriend number 2 wants to go shopping.

GB's new Tango shoes"Let's buy some proper Tango shoes," he suggests. "Everything is meant to be so cheap here, so I bet we could get some really good Tango shoes that would cost us a fortune back home :-)."

He really does have Tango on the brain! Without too much trouble, we locate a few shops in Suipacha street which specialise in Tango shoes. And it does indeed seem very cheap to me. A pair of hand made leather shoes only costs 170 Argentinian pesos, which is less than £30!

"At that price, I may as well get a pair too," I say, "even though I don't (yet?) know how to dance the Tango!"

With too much sight seeing and shopping to do, we arrive slightly late for the lesson. Luckily the teacher is waiting patiently outside for us and it's not big problem. We head into the dance studio, put our new shoes on, and the lesson begins.

"Let's just start by walking," the teacher says. He speaks very good English, but with a gorgeous Argentinian accent. All three of us walk up and down the room, looking at ourselves in the mirror.

"When we dance the Tango, one person leads, and the other person follows," the teacher continues. "We usually teach how to do both, although most guys tend to have a preference".

"So I guess you call the guys that don't have a preference versatile," I joke. Boyfriend number 2 grins, although the teacher doesn't react.

"Do you have a preference?" he asks boyfriend number 2, "Since you've already had a few lessons?"

"Actually I much prefer to follow," says boyfriend number 2.

"In which case," says the teacher turning to me with a smile on his face, "you'll have to lead!"

We try a few steps with me leading, and at first it all seems rather easy. But gradually it gets more complicated. Then we try what we've learned with music, and it's clear that I'm hopeless.

"Remember," says the teacher, "Tango is a dance of improvisation. And try to keep your shoes close to the floor at all times. We don't know if it's true, but they say that when the Tango started the people who danced it were very poor, so they kept their shoes close to the floor to avoid revealing the holes in their shoes!"

By the end of the lesson I reckon I’ve learned a bit, just enough to realise that there's a huge amount that I don't know. Boyfriend number 2 is a bit disappointed though.

"I guess it was right for him to concentrate on you, since you've never done it before," he says, "but I don't think I learned very much".

None the less, one thing that we did learn from the teacher was the location of a couple of gay milongas. And one of them was taking place that evening, so we had to go along to see what it was like.

San Telmo, Tango dancing ghetto?It's held in a ground floor bar in the San Telmo district, and by the time we arrive there are around twenty people there. To my surprise, it's very mixed in terms of gender. But looking closely, I notice that that the boys are dancing with the boys and the girls are dancing with the girls! And in fact, it seems that it's a couple of lesbians who are in charge.

"Have you danced much Tango before", one of them asks us. As with the teacher in the afternoon, she speaks very good English.

"I had my first lesson today", I explain, "but my boyfriend has had a few lessons before".

"OK no problem," she says. "Well what we do here is start off with some Tango lessons. That's what we're doing now. Then after about an hour or so the dancing starts, each to their own ability!"

"Sounds great :-)."

"Right!", she says, and she takes a firm hold of me. "Since you're a complete beginner, you'll have to follow. Why don't you let me lead you for a while?"

It turns out that she's very very good at leading. I'm never left in any doubt about which direction I'm meant to go in. Boyfriend number 2 also gets some tuition from one of the other experienced Tango dancers there.

Once the lessons are over, we spend a couple of happy hours there, eating some supper, and having a go at dancing the Tango. It is genuinely good fun, and even though we're complete outsiders, we are made to feel very welcome.

During our stay in Argentina, we manage to fit in another couple of hours of private lessons with the first Tango teacher, and I make sure that one hour is purely for boyfriend number 2. We also visit the other gay milonga that we were told about, which provides us with another chance to practice what we'd learned. Again, it's much more gender balanced than a lot of events that I'm familiar with on the gay scene in London.

"Look," says boyfriend number 2, picking up a card as we're leaving the second milonga, "there's an International Queer Tango Festival in Stockholm next April. Perhaps we should go?"

"I'm sure it would be good fun," I reply, "but boyfriend number 1 will probably expect me to take my next holiday with him!"

I'd thoroughly recommend any visitors to Buenos Aires to take a few tango lessons, and to visit the milongas. During our visit, our guides and our hotel staff kept on trying to sell us "Tango shows", which I'm sure are a complete tourist trap. It's definitely much more fun to trying to take part. And in terms of my personality of course, I'm much more of an exhibitionist than a voyeur!

Links about gay Tango dancing in Buenos Aries article, March 2006 article, March 2004

Sunday, December 24, 2006

An email from a gay male student in San Francisco

A few days ago, I received the following email from a guy in California:

Dear GB,

I stumbled across your blog today, and spent much of the evening reading through your life, quite intrigued.

San Francisco, as photographed by GB, see post dated 30th May 2006I am 20, at university near San Francisco, and have been in a relationship with an amazing guy who's a couple of years older than me, for a little over a year.

Prior to being with him, I dated casually and had many casual sex encounters, and until recently, I have been totally satisfied with him. I definitely want to stay with him, yet I want to bring casual sex back into my life. For him sex is a very sacred thing and I am afraid if he finds out I am having sex with other guys it will be over.

I feel a bit awkward asking the advice of a total stranger, but how would you handle my situation? I know I am young, yet I truly love this guy and want to keep our relationship while having sex with other people. Should I just do it behind his back? See what he thinks about an open relationship (i know the answer though-NO), or what? I would feel guilty just cheating, but I almost compulsively check the web for potential hookups and know it will happen sooner than later.

Again, great blog and I look forward to hearing from you.

I reckon this is a very common problem. In the western Christian world, we've all been programmed with the heterosexual stereotype, which implies that relationships should be monogamous. So even if a guy is gay, his instinct is often that gay relationships should be monogamous too. That was certainly my instinct when I first got together with boyfriend number 1.

I changed my mind of course! These days, I reckon that boyfriends are your very closest friends, the ones you can rely on and share your life with, and the ones that provide you with long term companionship. Sex is usually part of that of course, but actually I don't think that the two have to be connected. It's easy to imagine a situation where a guy is a perfect close friend and companion, but lousy in bed. Similarly it's easy to imagine a sex god who's great between the sheets, but is an emotional retard and hence a terrible friend.

But all gay couples have to work out what works best for them. However, as I've said before, I think a key ingredient in this should be a recognition that people may change their mind. I changed my mind, but I felt unable to discuss the subject with boyfriend number 1. As long term readers of this blog will know, when I went through a rocky period with boyfriend number 1 my infidelity surfaced, and things became very difficult as a result.

So what's the best advice to give to the student in San Francisco? One thing that occurs to me is that both this student and his boyfriend are relatively young. It seems unnatural to me for guys who are still in their early twenties to commit to a monogamous relationship, because sex with a variety of partners is enjoyable. Even if a guy has a boyfriend who is a perfect companion and a sex god, with so many years of their lives ahead of them eventually the sex is likely to become dull. So I think a move away from a rigid monogamous relationship is sensible.

Also, if guys are going to have successful long term relationships, it won't happen unless they can communicate properly about important issues like this, so I do think this student should try and discuss the subject with his boyfriend. How about starting a conversation with

"I've been thinking, what would we do if either of us changed our mind about wanting a monogamous relationship?"

Or if he knows a gay male couple that have a successful open relationship, perhaps he could try bringing up the subject by talking about them.

Once a conversation has been started, one idea would be to suggest finding guys to have threesomes with, perhaps as the first step away from a monogamous relationship. The idea is that both guys are always both present when they're having sex, but there may be someone else joining in too! Threesomes can be difficult though, because it's important to make sure that no one feels excluded.

Moving towards real open relationships, there should still be rules. Safe sex is by far the most important rule, because passing on a nasty disease to your long term boyfriend isn't something that any of us would want to do. Apart from that, some couples insist on emotional monogamy, which often means that either partner can have sex with anyone else once, but only once so that no emotional bond develops. My situation is that I'm allowed to see other guys, but never in the home that I share with boyfriend number 1.

So I think this student should definitely try and discuss with his boyfriend. He should also try and anticipate all the possible answers, and possible directions that the conversation could go, so that he has his responses ready. Hopefully there are a few ideas in the paragraphs above that will prove useful. And if he's lucky, it's just possible that the boyfriend may have been having similar thoughts!

If he can't get an agreement to move away from a monogamous relationship though, and if he doesn't want to split up from his boyfriend, then he could always cheat on him. If he takes this path, hopefully he'll feel a lot less guilty if he has tried to discuss everything with his boyfriend. Of course, I originally cheated on boyfriend number 1 and it worked just fine for ten years, but eventually it all came out in a very messy way. So mate, if you do decide to cheat on him, just don't ever think that you can get away with it forever!

Do any readers have any other thoughts?

Friday, December 22, 2006

A visit to a nice guy after work

During October, I exchange a few online msgs with a guy on gaydar. After a couple of messages have passed back and forth between us, he seems like a sensible chap so I decide to risk giving him my mobile phone number so that he can send me txt msgs. But in the days that follow, I don't get any txt msgs, or even a response on gaydar! Ahhh well, I've been on gaydar long enough to know that this kind of thing can happen :-(.

A couple of weeks later though, I get an unexpected txt msg from a guy called C:

C: Hi there. Just got your message. How are you doing? C x

But I don't know anyone called C, at least, not that I've recently sent any kind of message to anyway! It could be a mistake of course, maybe the txt msg was meant for someone else. But then there are quite a few guys in my life so maybe it's someone I do know but just don't recognise. After a couple of hours I decide to reply.

GB: Hi C, u sent me a txt msg a few hours ago but I don't recognise u, assuming that u didn't send the txt msg by mistake can u let me know who u r? xxx

It's a bit of a dorky txt msg, but it's either that or ignore it! I get the reply quite quickly

C: Hi there. Sorry. I am xxxxxxxx on gaydar. C x

Of course! It's the guy from gaydar who I gave my mobile phone number to a couple of weeks ago. We exchange a few more txt msgs over the following days, but it seems that although he lives in central London, he works outside London so early evening meetings might be difficult. On the first Friday in November I decide to make a suggestion

GB: So would u like me 2 visit u at ur place over the weekend? How about Saturday morning or lunchtime?

And then, just like when I first gave him my mobile phone number on gaydar, I get no response! Until the following Thursday.

C: Hi there. Sorry about not getting back to you before. Was v drunk over weekend and out a lot. I don't know what sort of times are best for you?! Got horny pants on?! C x

Since I started this blog, I've had more than a few e-mails and comments asking how I manage to juggle an investment banking job with boyfriends, other encounters, gym and running, blogging, let alone my wine and gambling hobbies. The answer of course is that I'm naturally a very organised person, and these days, PDA devices give naturally organised people the means to accomplish super-human feats of organisation! So if I get an e-mail to any of my e-mail accounts, or a txt msg, I'll often be able to reply immediately or at least the same day. When I was younger I found it hard to understand guys that didn't behave in the same way as me, but over the years I've learned that perhaps it's my behaviour that's unusual. All the same, deep down, I still think that unorganised behaviour is inconsiderate!

GB: Thx 4 txt msg m8, at the time I did think u were a bit rude, but no probs now, it's all cool. Still happy to visit u if ur still up for it :-)

And he is still up for it. After a few more txt msgs, we've agree to meet that evening after work at around 6:45pm :-).

He doesn't tell me his exact address though. Instead he wants to meet me on a street corner near his house. When I'm five minutes away, I send him a txt msg to tell him that I'll soon be there. And sure enough, when I arrive there's a guy standing on the corner who's a good match to the picture I saw on C's gaydar profile.

"Hi, is it far then," I say smiling at him.

"Errr no," says C, staring me in the eye quite intensely. He looks slightly rougher than the pic on gaydar, but then you can't blame a guy for using his best pic on his profile! We chat on the way to his house.

"Thanks for coming over at short notice," he says slightly nervously.

"Oh no problem," I reply merrily, "I guess I do have my 'horny pants on' as you put it!"

"One thing," he says anxiously, "I think there's one of my housemates home at the moment. I'll just introduce you as an old friend if we run into her."

Doorway to paradise?Within a couple of minutes we're entering a large impressive old Georgian townhouse.

"Do you fancy a glass of wine or something?" he offers.

"Errrr," I hesitate, not sure if an alcoholic drink is a good idea. I usually only drink water of course in these situations, but then I don't usually get offered wine. "Yeah sure, why not?"

We head down into the basement where the kitchen is, running into his flatmate on the way. C and her exchange a couple of words but she's in a hurry so she takes no notice of me.

"Red or white," offers C once we're in the kitchen.

"I usually prefer red actually, what have you got?" I ask hopefully. But I don't get a choice between perhaps merlot, pinot-noir, or any other variety. There's already an open bottle of red wine by the sink!

"This wasn't that bad last night," he says, as he pours out a couple of glasses. "Now, shall we go upstairs to my room?"

It turns out that C lives on the top floor, four floors up from the basement kitchen. "All these stairs must keep you quite fit," I joke with him as we climb the sixty or so stairs up to his room.

Once inside his room, I notice that he doesn't completely close the door. He pushes to close it, but in fact leaves it slightly ajar. It seems slightly strange, given that we're going to be getting to know each quite intimately! Of course, given the age of the house, it could be that the house has shifted in such a way that the door can no longer be closed. Or perhaps he doesn't yet feel comfortable to be with me alone in a closed room?

"Sorry it's a bit of a mess," he apologises. In fact there doesn't seem to be any room to put anything down anywhere, so I drop my bag on the floor, and edge my glass of wine onto his crowded desk.

He looks at me, as though wondering ‘what next', so I start to undress. Initially he just stands there watching me, but eventually he starts getting his kit off too. Soon I'm down to my undershorts, so I approach him and give him a peck on his lips before jumping onto his bed. It doesn't take him long before he's almost naked too.

"Hmmm you look good mate," I say, "get yourself over here!"

He joins me on the bed and I put my arm round him, give him another peck on his lips, and rub my nose against his.

"And you smell good too!" I continue. Gradually we get more involved with each other, and we have a lovely time together.

"So do you meet many guys like this?" I ask him afterwards.

"No actually, you're the first!" he says, visibly more relaxed than before, now that he's unloaded. I look shocked, and thinking about what he's just said he suddenly realises that he didn't mean to suggest that I'm the first guy that he's ever been with in an intimate situation.

"The first guy that I've met from online I mean," he says, clarifying the situation.

"Well do you like cuddling?" I ask, "I always love cuddling nice guys like you!"

"Sure," he says looking slightly surprised.

We lie down naked together and I wrap my arms round him.

"What exactly do you do for a living then?" I ask after we've been there quietly for a few minutes.

"I'm a PE teacher at a sixth form college actually", he says.

"Oh really?" I say, but there's one question that I have to ask him, "Do you ever fancy any of your students then?"

"No thank goodness, because they're usually so immature! There was a student who had a crush on me a couple of years ago though. I knew about it because he told the only out gay guy in his year, who then told me. This student actually put his arm round me at the end of year party, so I thought I should back off. Perhaps he was just confused because I then found out that he'd got himself a girlfriend, although the last I heard was that they'd split up!"

"Thinking about schools and crushes, I saw the film The History Boys recently", I say, "did you see it?"

"No, but I saw the original play which was quite good!"

I wouldn't say no!"Do you remember the story and the characters?" I ask.

"Errr yes I think so, the best looking one was called Dakin wasn't he?"

"Yes that's right, and Dakin asked the cute student teacher to give him a blow job! What would you do if you were that student teacher, and Dakin asked you to do that?"

"I don't think it would happen", he says evasively, "although one of the female teachers at the school I used to work in was caught giving a male student a blow job in her husband's car. In fact it was her husband who caught her, and he managed to get it all on video using his mobile phone!"

I can't help but laugh.

"So what are the guys like that you share this house with then", I ask a bit later.

"Oh, a bit of a mixture really," he says, "some guys, some gals, and all with ambiguous sexualities!"

"How so?" I ask.

"Well take the girl in the room below me for example. To my knowledge she's only ever slept with women, so I had no idea what she meant when she told us all recently that she can no longer identify as 100% straight!"

"And the guy in the room next to her," he continues, "used to have a girlfriend, but now has a boyfriend, although I saw a girl coming out of his room before I went to work one day last week."

Eventually it seems like time to go.

"See you again sometime I hope," I say as I'm leaving.

"Errr, yeah, OK," he replies in a 'whatever' kind of way.

Although I haven't seen this guy since, we have exchanged a couple of messages on gaydar, and I do intend to contact him again early in 2007 to see if we can hook-up again. He's a nice guy, he's was fun to play with, and he's got some interesting stories to tell too!

Monday, December 18, 2006

An e-mail from a student

Last Saturday, I received the following e-mail from a student:

Dear GB,

My problem is I am a student in university and i went to some presentations of investment banks about internship. In which i have met a guy who has already worked there. I think i really fancy him and i have his email. I sent him an email to ask how is he but he hasnt replied me back. I am confused what should i do next? Can you tell me please?

I reckon it’s difficult to give reliable advice here because there are a lot of unanswered questions. What exactly happened between the student and the guy who works for the investment bank when they met? Is the student’s objective to find a boyfriend, or to get an internship?

Regarding internships, my experience is that the Human Resources departments of investment banks draw up a short list appropriate candidates, and then send round summary descriptions of each candidate to various managers within the bank, choosing managers who might have suitable short term projects where an intern could help. So the guy who the reader met could either be someone from a Human Resources department, or perhaps a guy who was a representative from a department which sometimes employs interns, and who was sent along to give the students an idea of what working in an investment bank is like. In either case, it is very unlikely that the guy would make the final decision about which students to give internships to.

I’ve said it before, but in my opinion it’s not good to get emotionally involved with colleagues. If someone is involved in hiring interns, they are very likely to have the same view as me in this respect, especially if they are from the Human Resources department. It’s very important to be seen to give all candidates equal treatment, and a liaison with an intern candidate would definitely be regarded as inappropriate if discovered.

My guess is that the guy gave his e-mail address to the student expecting to receive queries about investment banking and internships, rather than an e-mail asking how he is. If I’m right the guy won’t respond, even if he is gay, because he knows that developing friendships like this is inappropriate and unprofessional in this situation.

So what do I think the student should do? It’s simple really. I reckon he should
  • Forget about the guy at the investment bank as soon as possible;
  • Study hard if he wants an internship and perhaps a career in investment banking because the barriers to entry can be high;
  • Look for boyfriends outside the business environment!
Do any readers have any other thoughts on this?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Relationship descriptions

When I was on holiday with boyfriend number 2 last year, there was one evening when we had dinner with a couple of American women. On that occasion we decided to just describe ourselves as 'boyfriends', and avoid the more 'complicated' aspects of our relationship.

Naturally enough, a similar situation arises while on holiday this year. We get chatting to an English couple, and in advance of the dinner that we all agree to have together, myself and boyfriend number 2 have a brief discussion about what to say about ourselves if the subject comes up.

"I know it's a bit Politically Correct," I tell boyfriend number 2, "but I kind of like it."

"Can you explain it again?" he replies, "I don't think I understood what you meant."

"OK, imagine that we're a married straight couple. When we meet people for the first time, to describe our relationship I could say that 'you are my wife'. But saying it like that is kind of possessive, because I'm saying that you're 'my wife' and hence that you're somehow mine. So instead, I would say 'I am your husband' to avoid that implication."

"Oh I see, I guess that's quite neat if you like that kind of thing!" he says, "so how would you describe our situation?"

"I guess I'd say that I'm your London-based boyfriend," I say grinning. "Of course, the polite thing for you to do would be to describe yourself in return as my boyfriend too somehow :-)."

"But do we really want to get into a discussion about how many boyfriends we all have?" asks boyfriend number 2. "To be honest, I still think the plan that worked last year is best!"

In the end, the subject doesn't really come up, and they just assume that we're an ordinary gay couple that see each other rarely because we live in different countries.

I discovered quite a while ago that there's something in me that enjoys trying to shock conventional heterosexual couples. Originally, being gay used to be enough, but those days have long gone when talking to people who live in big cities anyway. The concept of polyamorous gay relationships, however, definitely has some potential :-). But for the full effect, I probably need to persuade the boyfriend that I'm with at the time to be open about the situation!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My original meeting with boyfriend number 2

"How did you feel about me when we first met back in 2001?" I ask boyfriend number 2 over dinner one evening.

"You know Sex and the City, right?" replies boyfriend number 2.

"Actually I’ve never watched it, although given my lifestyle perhaps I should!"

Boyfriend number 2's alter ego"Yes you definitely should. Watch the first series anyway, that was the best. But the answer to your question is, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw! She’s the main character in the show."

"Can you explain?" I ask.

"Well, there’s this episode in the first series where Carrie meets a successful handsome French architect. In my parallel world, that was you!"

"Uh huh, sounds good, I like the idea of being a successful French architect :-)".

"But you don’t know the story do you!" laughs boyfriend number 2.

"He swept her off her feet, just like you did with me," he continues. "He was a high powered guy from a foreign country, just like you were. He was staying in a top hotel, just like you were. And they ended up going back to his hotel room for sex, just like we did."

"Presumably something goes wrong then?" I say, preparing myself for the finale.

"After the sex, she goes to sleep in the room with him, dreaming of the relationship they might have together. But when she wakes up he’s gone, and he's left $1000 for her on the table!"

"So he treated her like a prostitute! I never treated you like that," I complain.

"No, that's true, but it still felt similar after you went back to the UK. There were also various other things in my life at that time that I had in common with Carrie. So I was left wondering what you thought of me, and as happened to Carrie, I thought that you might have just been using me somehow."

"And what do you think of me now then?" I ask smiling, fishing for a compliment.

"Actually I almost didn't meet you when you came back to Singapore the following year. But let's just say, I'm glad that I did!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The hotel bathroom incident

I storm out of the hotel room, naked apart from a small towel wrapped round my waist to cover the essentials. Luckily the hotel owner is sitting behind his desk.

“There’s yet another problem with the bathroom,” I complain, “now there’s no hot water!”

“What you want me to do?” says the owner calmly, looking me up and down. “Eees not my problem. They stop water from outside.”

The owner returns to his paperwork.

“Come on,” I reply, starting to get angry. “If there’s cold water, it must be a problem with your boiler or something.”

“First it was the toilet flush not working,” I continue, “and when we got back last night there was an insect of some kind crawling out of the bathroom to greet us. That was before we discovered that there was no water at all.”

The manager starts to look uncomfortable.

“And another thing. There’s no plug for the sink, and it’s definitely not the cleanest hotel bathroom I’ve ever used. The shower curtain is filthy. Why did it take more than two days to fix the toilet flush anyway?”

“Why you come out of room no clothes,” says the manager going on the offensive, “Eees not right either!”


“You want I should call THE POLICE?” asks the Manager, starting to get angry too.

Luckily I manage to get control of myself before things turn ugly. Although we’ve got a room booked at this hotel for a single night next week, I doubt that we’ll be welcome back!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Boyfriend similarities

Boyfriend number 1 and boyfriend number 2 are very different people. They were born in different countries, they have different ethnic backgrounds, and most of the time their strengths and weaknesses are different too. So as I holiday with boyfriend number 2, I find myself fascinated as I discover (and often re-discover) some similarities between the two of them.
  • A Siberian huskyNeither of them own dogs, but if either of them were going to get one as a pet, they'd both choose a Siberian husky.

  • With both of them, their sense of direction is completely hopeless. Curiously, this is one of my strengths.

  • They both have a mild allergy to grass.

  • When eating chocolate they both prefer white chocolate, followed by milk chocolate, with dark chocolate last. My preference is in the opposite order.

  • They both like extra spicy food. With boyfriend number 1, this means that when he's following recipes he'll always use slightly more spices and herbs than the recipe says it needs, or he'll add extra spice to pre-prepared sauces bought in supermarkets. With boyfriend number 2, now that he no longer lives in Singapore, he asks his local Asian restaurants to prepare their food for him with more spice than usual.

  • Neither of them know how to drive a car, although both are expressing an intention to learn in 2007. I've been able to drive since I was aged 18.

  • In public men's toilets, I always use a urinal, but both boyfriend number 1 and boyfriend number 2 always head for a cubicle.
No doubt there are other similarities, but in any case, it's an intriguing list. I can't help wondering whether boyfriend number 3 shares any of these traits!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An email from a gay guy in San Francisco

About a couple of weeks ago, I got the following email in my inbox:

Dear GB,

I read your blog all the time, really enjoy it, and thank you for the work and effort you put into it. I love the way your mind works, and respect the fact that you do what you want to do. I could use some advice from you, as I feel you would understand my situation.

BF and I have been in relationship for 5 years. We met online and live only several blocks away from each other in SF. BF is 8 years older, he is a wonderful sweet man, and when I met him my mother had recently died a horrible and sudden death. I was at a total low point in my life, and he brought me back to life. I started working out again (got pretty ripped too) and got my "groove back".

At first the sex was pretty good but not great. After the first year it became rare, and at this point, we have had sex only twice in the past year. I lived with him for the first year most of the time, and learned early on that he is a chronic masturbater. He is a successful businessman but works from home, and being home all day, he spends huge amount of time online. He is constantly j/o with other guys via webcam, and is addicted to Internet porn too. By the time I get home, the party is over, so to speak. He is also out of shape, and he drinks and smokes too. This affects his ability to get it up, so he takes Viagra to j/o online. When we go somewhere, he is always pointing out boys that he and his former BF had three-ways with. I learned from a friend that he and his former BF did have three-ways so this is likely to be true, but I also learned that part of the reason his former BF left him was the lack of sex in their relationship.

Anyway about two weeks ago we where at a friend's house up in Sonoma County, and one of the guests who I knew came on to me. I had had a few drinks, and BF came into the room when I was getting a BJ. He was mad at me, even though over the years he's pretty muched told me to find some sex outside of the relationship (I'm pretty horned up most of the time). He forgave me and that was that. Then last weekend, we went out to a few parties and a drunk friend came over to BF's country house late at night to try to hook up with one of our house guests. I don't know how it happened (thank you Vodka and Cranberry juice) but I ended up have sex with this "friend" in one of the guest rooms. BF went crazy! I realize now, I should not "shit where I eat", but it just happened. I usually confine my infidelities to the gym like you used to, or a few regular Fbuds. The next morning he drove me to the train and told me that I embarrassed him and he was really mad.

I did speak to him over the course of this week, and he told me he didn't want to see me. I totally love him and he is my best friend, but he has his faults. As we don't have sex, I really didn't think it was such a big deal, but he does. He is controlling and has abusive compulsive tendencies, yet I still love him and can't believe that he wants to break up.

On the flip side, maybe I should just be a big boy and move on. Any thoughts on this would be helpful. Should I stay or should I move on? I like being in a relationship as dating is hell. I'm 37 here, and still pretty gentle on the eyes. Maybe I just hate the idea of being dumped, but you worked it out with your BF, and I would really like to stay with mine if he would change his mind. Talk to me GB and give me some of your insight.

A loyal reader

What a long e-mail! The guy put a lot of effort into telling me about his situation, so after a lot of thought, I sent him the following reply just before I went on holiday.

Dear reader,

Anyway, I can’t help wondering why in the space of two weeks you’ve put yourself in situations where your bf might (and has!) discovered you having sex with other guys. All it needed was a bit of alcohol to lower your guard. Subconsciously, perhaps the intention was to get caught and bring the situation to a head?

What do you want from a relationship? I reckon as relationships mature, the companionship aspect becomes more important than the sexual aspect, which is the situation I find myself in with boyfriend number 1. Also as we get older the need for sex gradually decreases too.

If you want lots of hot sex with your partner I’m sure you need to move on – it’s just not going to happen. But if you’re happy getting most (or all?) your sex away from home, because the companionship aspect works well with the current bf, perhaps you can patch things up.

If you do stay with him I think you need to communicate better. You should chat with him openly about the rules of sexual engagement, and then stick to them. Not doing that ten years ago was a mistake I made with boyfriend number 1, but I hope I’m back on track now. If you can’t find a way to talk to him about sex, then I don’t see how the companionship aspect can work because you can’t communicate properly on a very important issue.

Don’t be scared to move on though. At 37 you still have plenty of time to find a soul mate. I’m a big monogamy sceptic of course, and I guess you probably are too given your experiences. I think that helps, because it’s realistic. If you do end up with another guy though, make sure you talk to him openly about issues like this so that you don’t end up in the same situation after another five years.

Above all don’t be a victim. Try and take control of the situation.

Good luck, GB xxx

Do any other readers have any advice for this guy?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On holiday with boyfriend number 2

But I'll be spending Christmas with boyfriend number 1 in London. So posting will be erratic while I'm away, or perhaps I won't post anything at all! Take care everyone, GB xxx

Update [15-Dec-2006]: I'm still on holiday with boyfriend number 2, but internet access has been readily available on this trip. Coupled with my strong urge to blog, my posting frequency has been much the same as usual, so I guess I needn't have worried about erratic posting!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is this blog 'pornography'?

I'm usually a big fan of the UK flag-carrier British Airways. But using their computers in their business class lounge, waiting for the flight to meet up with boyfriend number 2, I go to refer to my blog and I'm greeted by:
Internet Access to this site has been BLOCKED

Date/Time: 2006-12-02 - 19:31:17
Category: "Pornography"
I'd admit that this is an adult-themed blog, but I contest a pornography classification! Coincidentally, only an hour previously while in the taxi on the way to the airport, I had e-mailed the author of the new gay sex oriented blog In The Hundreds saying that I deliberately avoid explicit details of sex because I don't want this blog to be pornographic.

Maybe I should treat this as a compliment. At least it means that someone, somewhere, has noticed my blog, even if they've reached the wrong conclusion!

A weekend in the English countryside

A few weeks ago, myself and boyfriend number 1 went on a weekend trip out of London. We had arranged to meet up with my colleague P and his boyfriend D for dinner in the evening, because we both had reasons to visit the same area.

"There's an old friend of mine who lives near there too", P had said when we were originally discussing the trip, "so why don't we all have dinner together? It'll be fun!"

It can be a bit scary outside LondonBecause P's friend lives in the area, we decided that he should book a table for five people at whatever he thought was the best restaurant in the area. Everything was agreed.

On the day, I realise while I'm chatting to boyfriend number 1 that I know very little about P's friend. As usual, one subject in particular interests me. Is he gay or straight? Although someone's sexuality is purely a matter for themselves, I'll readily admit that I enjoy speculating about such matters.

"OK", I say to boyfriend number 1, "P told me that his friend had booked a table for five people, so he can't have a partner. He's probably a typical single gay guy that can't commit to a relationship".

"Amazing", replies boyfriend number 1, "that you can deduce all that information, simply from the number of people that the table is booked for!"

During the course of the day, I exchange txt msgs with P.

GB: Hi P:-), in what name is the reservation tonight? GB x

P: Hi GB. The name is XXXX XXXXXXX for 730. See you there x

So it's booked in P's friend's name, and it's not a common name. Towards the end of the afternoon, I'm checking emails online and I can't help googling the name, to see if I can find out anything about him. I find a single very plausible search result, a CV of a guy that used to work in finance, posted on a consultancy web-site to prove the credibility of their staff. And P used to work at one of the banks that this guy used to work for, it must be the same guy!

"Right", I tell boyfriend number 1, "I've changed my mind! Since P knows this guy from that bank he used to work for, the guy's more likely to be straight! But since the table's only been booked for five people, I bet he's divorced. Probably a messy divorce too, which will no doubt be entertaining if we get on to that subject!"

Boyfriend number 1 looks unimpressed.

On the way to the restaurant, I get a txt msg from P to say that him and D have already met up with this friend of his, but they're going to be a bit late. No problem, we should be able to work out which aperitif to choose on our own. But when we arrive, I'm in for a shock.

"Yes sir, we've got a table booked for six people in that name", says the maître d', "and one of your party is already here in the bar".

So much for all my speculating about the guy's sexuality based on a table for five! Anyway, the more the merrier, but who on earth could it be? A wife, a girlfriend, a boyfriend??

The maître d' takes us into the bar and there's only one person there. And it's a guy.

"Hi", he says to us, "you must be P's friends :-). I'm XXXX's best friend".

Best friend eh? He must mean 'best friend'. So surely XXXX is gay after all!

"We were at school together", he continues.

Awww, that's lovely, a gay couple that got to know each other at school :-).

It's not long before the other three arrive.

"Sorry we're late" says XXXX introducing himself, "the babysitter was late".

Errrr, what did you say mate? I'm completely confused. If he's a father, then perhaps the best guess is that he's straight after all. But his 'best friend' (or do I mean his best friend?) does look quite gay.

"I moved up here with my wife almost ten years ago now", he says while we're still introducing ourselves to each other. So he is straight then!

"But we got divorced a few years ago", he continues, "all quite amicably thank goodness".

Hmmm, or was the reason they divorced because he prefers men? Perhaps he's bisexual??

Round about this point, my mind implodes on itself! I don't feel I can ask outright whether he prefers todger to fanny because it's none of my business, so it'll just have to remain one of those mysteries.

During the course of the evening though, it turns out that he's quite keen on gaydar! Which was indeed the reason for the divorce. If he was bisexual, it seems that he's quite happy to identify as gay these days, although his best school friend has been gay for much longer. A case of two like-minded boys becoming friends because they had something in common which they didn't realise until much later in life. Still very sweet, even if they're not boyfriends after all!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Red ribbons and World Aids Day

Earlier today I received the following e-mail:

Hi there GB,

Leadenhall Market, City of LondonStanding in Leadenhall Market at lunchtime waiting for my lunch companion, I was struck that I was the only person I saw wearing a red ribbon for World Aids Day. I wonder to what extent this is because people still interpret the red ribbon as a likely signifier that the wearer is gay, rather than that the wearer is simply a supporter of HIV/AIDS research and care? I must admit to being guilty of this myself, especially if it's a man wearing a red ribbon, which I guess is why I was watching for them today. I suppose if others are like me, then that's probably an inhibitor for people who might otherwise want to show their support for AIDS causes - whether they're gay or not - if they assume that they'll either be outing themselves or wrongly be assumed to be gay themselves.

The Red Ribbon is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDSWhat do you and others think? Has the red ribbon just become too overused? Is World Aids Day a cause that people are embarrassed to support (or don't know about in advance)? Or is the red ribbon still assumed to be a coded gay identifier? Are there gay men in the City or elsewhere reading your blog who thought about wearing it but decided against it?

Interested... I would have expected to see a few more ribbons today.

A reader

For my part, I've known from the outset that the red ribbon isn't meant to be a gay male symbol. But in practice, I think it probably is. I've also known for ages that 1st December is World Aids Day, because it coincides with a family anniversary so I had reason to remember what is associated with that date.

Red poppy for 11th NovemberBut I hadn't occurred to me until I got this e-mail that one should wear a red ribbon on World Aids Day in the same way that one wears a red poppy on Armistice day. I do occasionally support these charitable causes with donations, but perhaps it would help if I also supported them visibly too.

Do any readers have any thoughts on this subject?

A sponsored wank!

Although it's already happened, the web site for the UK's first masturbate-a-thon still makes for interesting reading. When I first found this web site I couldn't believe it! Is this really the best way to raise money for charity? As far as I can tell though, the web site is genuine. Apparently it was an event to raise money for Marie Stopes International, which provides sexual and reproductive health information and services across 38 countries, and is a UK registered charity.

It appears that people who took part were sponsored by the minute, given the following extract:
Once you are settled in we will assign a monitor to you. They will maintain your time sheet and determine minutes for your sponsors. If you would like to be considered for the "Most Orgasms" category please inform your monitor. Monitors are trained and will not be embarrassed by anything they witness in the rooms. Also - monitors are NOT voyeurs, so will not be watching you directly as you masturbate, but merely remaining at a discreet distance and recording the time you take for your sponsorship form.
According to the web site, the UK TV company Channel 4 was filming there, but it doesn't say when the program about the event will be (or was) on the air. So if anyone reading this took part, or knows anyone that took part, please leave a comment and say what happened. I would be interesting to know the gender and age profile of the participants, how many people there were, how much money was raised, and so on :-).