Monday, March 05, 2007

Offline meetings with people who know about this blog

When Reluctant Nomad interviewed me last May, his question 2 asked me whether I ever meet up with guys as a result of this blog. My answer back then was "No, Never, Absolutely Not"! After I'd answered that interview question I received much fewer e-mails from guys wanting to meet me, but now I seem to be getting quite a few e-mail propositions again. So I want to be clear about why I almost never meet guys who know that I'm the blogger Gay Banker.

One reason why I don't meet guys who contact me at my Gay Banker e-mail address is that there's such a huge mismatch in what we know about each other. Guys who've read my blog know a huge amount about me, because everything on my blog is basically true. Anyone who thinks that I've spent the last 25 months and 360 posts constructing some consistent elaborate lie is very much mistaken! How ever many private e-mails I exchange with someone, it's not the same as having access to their secret private diary, which is effectively what this blog is for me.

I'm sure that a lot of the e-mails I get are genuine, but then, how can I be sure? How can I be sure that the sweet e-mail isn't from some professional hustler? How can I be sure that there isn't a hidden motive? Of course, I'm used to meeting guys after chatting online on gaydar or, but whenever I do that the situation is balanced because we both start from the same point when a conversation begins.

Another vital issue is trust. I'm used to building trust when chatting to guys online. When engaged in a private online chat, one can tell by how quickly they respond how interested they really are. And then, will they tell me where they live, what their name is, what their mobile phone number is? When cruising online, one gradually goes through an exchange of information, and gradually one builds trust along the way. Unfortunately there is no reason to trust anything that I get told by e-mail.

And does anyone who sends me an e-mail think that all my friends, boyfriends, family and colleagues know that I write this blog? The fact is that almost no one knows. So why would I risk compromising my identity with a complete stranger? Unless trust has been established somehow, it would be an absurd risk for me to take.

In fact though, my attitude to meeting people who know that I'm the blogger Gay Banker has changed slightly since the Reluctant Nomad interview , but not much. I guess the change occurred when I broadened the scope of this blog last November. The logical consequence to everything I've said above is that if trust can be established somehow, and if I can plausibly learn enough about the other guy in advance, then I should be prepared to meet up. And that is indeed my current view on this subject. I still don't think that activities with people who know that I'm Gay Banker is a good idea, but in principle I am prepared to have purely social meetings if there's sufficient trust, and if and there's some sort of equality in terms of what we know about each other before the first meeting.

At the moment, the only way that I think it's possible to reach that point is if the other person is an established blogger, and if we've managed to build trust on top of that somehow. Given that I want to keep my offline identity separate from my Gay Banker identity, the ideal situation is if the other person is in the same situation. Another thing I like about bloggers is that to become an established blogger one needs a certain amount of discipline and intelligence, because I reckon those attributes can be well correlated with trustworthiness.

I am always flattered when I get e-mails from guys wanting to meet me, because it's nice to be wanted. It's nice to know that there's someone out there who thinks that I'm worth getting to know. But please think about my situation here. Unless we know a similar amount about each other, and unless we've built mutual trust, it really doesn't make sense from my point of view!


S said...

Oh GB, everyone just loves you and wants to get to know the smart, funny, genuinely kind man who writes this blog! Trust me, there aren't many left out there!
Saf XoX

Anonymous said...

hahaha! i am SOOOO curious to readd e comments this one gets!
actually, mebbe if i were in london, i'd buzz ya for an 'audience' myself. *grin*

Anonymous said...

Hey GB, wanna meet up? ;-) OK, maybe I no longer qualify as an "established" blogger! lol!

GBD xxx

close encounters said...

what counts as an "established" blogger ?

i'm not sure i get the correlation between being a blogger and intelligence ??

so, how many readers have you actually met ? what are the odds on any of us getting an audience at the Court of GB ?!

Monty said...

ha ha! Good on you GB! I think one does have to establish some boundaries and at least you've put them down in writing! We can't say we weren't warned! AFter all, blogging is supposed to be a fairly anonymous thing...though, that being said, here in Sydney, we've been having Bloggers Meets which kind of defeats the purpose! ha ha! Oh well, when I visit London later this year, GIL suggested we meet up for an "International Bloggers Convention" which i think consists of getting drunk at a bar! Sounds great! Have a think about least I'll have a few more months blogging under my belt by that stage! Trust me! :-)

Tales of the City said...

Gb.. agree and disagree. I dont think you can decide is some is trustworthy based on their blog.. I wonder how many out there embelish the truth just a little. That said, the with the truthful blogs, you do know so much about that person and it can become a little embarassing perhaps? On balance I think you are right not to meet anyone.

GB said...

Perhaps it's my own fault for talking about pulpits and sermons in a comment that I left on cuteCTguy's blog, but honestly, I was only joking. So I find this talk of "audiences" and "the Court of GB" mildly disturbing! I'm also surprised that I've only had one comment in support (thanks cuteCTguy), doesn't anyone else think that one's anonymity as a blog author is worth protecting?

Anyway close encounters, the sentiments expressed in this post weren't meant to be a list of requirements to be fulfilled because the purpose of the posting is to avoid meetings, hence I don't have a precise concept of an "established blogger". And perhaps my comment about intelligence is more that I enjoy reading blogs written by intelligent people, so if one doesn't enjoy reading someone's blog there's definitely no point in an offline meeting. To date I've met virtually no one, but thinking about cuteCTguy's remark, if you and me ever did meet wouldn't YOU feel a bit embarassed given the kind of stuff that YOU write in your blog?

Sorry to say Monty that if I ever do meet any more bloggers, it would only be on a one-to-one basis, and definitely not in a group. But I look forward to reading about any meetings that you have with GIL or any other bloggers that I'm linked to.

And I completely agree that you can't decide whether someone is trustworthy or not based on their blog cuteCTguy. So somehow, one has to find other ways to establish trust.

GB xxx

MadeInScotland said...

well I just thought as a fellow professional in the City, and especially to acknowledge the $1000 donation, we could have a coffee. No other agenda given I am so, oh so happily married.

Age is nothing to be ashamed of.


flygye12 said...

i have been thinking of writing something similar on my blog. i think i should leave a link to this post instead :P