Monday, June 25, 2007

I don't invent the 'Dear GB' emails!

In a comment to my most recent posting in the 'Dear GB' category, a guy calling himself Stephen suggested earlier today that perhaps I make up the 'Dear GB' emails. I was drafting a response to him when I realised that this is an important question, so I'm going to devote an entire post to answer this.

The answer is NO, I have never made up any of the 'Dear GB' emails. If any of them feel similar it'll be because I sometimes make some changes to improve clarity or English grammar. I also always edit the start to 'Dear GB' because apart from one occasion, people always begin their emails differently (e.g. Hi GB). But I do try and preserve the style of the author where possible.

In terms of the situations, so far I think they've all been pretty distinct. In particular, this recent one seemed very different to me. The next 'Dear GB' though ("Email from a gay guy with relationship issues"), which I'll hopefully get round to later this week, is a very similar situation to another recent 'Dear GB' email. But the one after that will definitely be different because it's from a young woman. As everyone will see when I post the response to that one, I've been in correspondence with another young woman who previously wrote me a 'Dear GB' email, because I felt I needed a woman's view to do a good job.

Regarding the most recent posting which Stephen queried, the guy who sent me the emails has now identified himself as Robert by leaving a comment. I am grateful because I don't like to have my integrity questioned, and I can certainly confirm that Robert was the name on the emails that I received. But he shouldn't have been put in the situation where he felt that he needed to support me. In fact I was having supper with Dragonzlad when Robert's second email arrived. Dragonzlad had just gone to the men's room in between courses, and I checked my emails on my PDA while he was away. On his return I took him into my confidence and showed him the email to get his view on the situation.

Anyway, I don't understand why anyone would think I'd make them up? Does anyone think I don't have enough to blog about?

The 'Dear GB' concept all started when I received a few unsolicited emails asking for advice. Because they were interesting situations, I asked for the author's permission to post their emails and my responses. The people who sent me the emails seemed to like my responses, so underneath my e-mail address in the column on the right here I added a line saying that people can email me for advice. I now seem to be getting more and more such emails, and at one point last week there were four pending 'Dear GB' emails. Perhaps it's getting a bit out of hand because I'm a banker, not a professional counsellor!

'Dear GB' is just me trying to be a good gay guy, providing free advice to anyone who thinks I may be able to help them. In a similar way, in another attempt to be a good gay guy, I got the fee from The Guardian piece that I wrote as 'GB' donated to the Terrace Higgins Trust. Obviously I mustn't divulge any of the names or contact details of the people who've sent me 'Dear GB' emails, but if anyone doubts me on the THT donation and wants to email me, I could tell them who to speak to at the THT to confirm that The Guardian charity donation occurred. (In any case, the online version of The Guardian article also says that the donation occurred).

So when I do a 'Dear GB' posting, please can everyone try and leave comments, because these are real people sending me these emails. I don't claim to be any good at writing the responses, and I certainly don't have any counselling qualifications either, but there's one claim that I will make here. I don't invent these emails for the fun of it, so if nothing else, I do think that I have some integrity!


Dragonzlad said...

Hi GB,

I would have written this in a personal email to you as with my usual style but I felt that I must leave a comment instead as Stephen's comment is perjurious to your reputation and most importantly your efforts.

It is unfortunate that the "Dear GB" emails that you received have been suggested as "invented" by Stephen. While he may asked you rather politely, I believe it must have felt unkind and hurtful to you especially since you actually do take the effort to contemplate about the issues before providing advice. Although you may not be a professional counsellor, I must say that you have certainly adopted a professional approach to it, with very good insights provided almost every time.

I should know. You received Robert's email reply to your follow-up email while we were having dinner! Then, you had discussed with me over dinner the hidden issues in the email which you think he might be facing.

There will always be skeptics out there for all the good that is being done. And I know such skeptism can be demoralising since you do take much time and effort in this. But please, take this as a chance to clarify your position and not be too affected by Stephen's comment. I know I have personaly benefited from your advice and so have the others who have written to you. It will be a pity if others out there cannot benefit from your insights and advice.

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

I hope you take this constructively, but you were so much more interesting when you were just talking about your daliances.

Stick to what you do best.

GB said...

Is the previous comment from Lady Muck of If so, I might take more notice if you logged in to make yourself properly identifiable, and also if I was on your blogroll LOL! In any case, thanks very much for the constructive critisism, I do want to hear this stuff.

The trouble is that I got a bit bored blogging about Encounters constantly, the format of those posts is often identical. And I enjoy blogging about my boyfriends, gay life in general, and also the 'Dear GB' stuff because there each situation is different. I can't help thinking that if people didn't like the 'Dear GB' stuff, I wouldn't keep getting emails in my inbox asking for advice.

I've had comment in both directions if one looks back, some people have encouraged my new format, and some people miss all the Encounters. I still do Encounters occasionally, but for now at least, it's not going to be my main focus.

So it's the old adage, "You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but ..."

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

You cant make everyone happy so I think you dont need to explain anything.

Brechi said...

I will look forward to the next Dear GB post ;)

Jinx said...

I, for one, think "Dear GB" is the most fabulous thing on the web and that you are a saint for taking the time to reply to such emails.

Humming Bird in Hyde said...

I think it's way too much effort to fake postings and why would u want to do that anyway? I believe u - always have :-)