Friday, September 18, 2009

Message from a guy who hasn't had much luck online

For a long time now, I've had a gaydar account that's associated with this blog. However, I rarely log on to that account, so if anyone sends me a message to that account it could be many months before I pick it up. None the less, the last time that I logged in I found that someone had sent me an advice request using the gaydar online message system. The message was as follows:

Dear GB,

First of all, I've been following your blog for about a year now and I must admit that at the beginning I didn't quite understand how you had a boyfriend yet engaged in certain activities with other guys. Now, though, I understand it.

I think it has to do with the fact that I moved to London only recently from a relatively small university city where there weren't all that many interesting guys.

I was wondering if you could help me out with something. I don't seem to be very successful meeting guys online and rarely receive replies, although when we do meet up live they end up being very interested in me generally. What is it that I do wrong online, am I breaking some strange online etiquette? Generally I just send a message along the lines of "Hi, what's up?". Or is it honestly more to do with my looks/pics?

Oh and if you do end up posting this on your blog or so I'd appreciate it if you didn't link my profile to it even if more points of view would probably be useful.

Thanks a lot for this and keep up the great blogging!

I had a look at his profile and at first I couldn't spot anything wrong with it. He looked like a great guy in his pics, and what he wrote about himself looked good too. So I sent him an encouraging reply, and within a few days I received the following response:

Hi GB,

Thanks for the reply! Might it be that I am using the site for the wrong purpose, by trying to meet people for things other than fun?

Based on your experience as a gay banker, I also had a few other questions.
1. As I have recently started working at a major investment bank, should I remove my facepics from the website?
2. What do you think of pride networks at banks? Should I join the one where I am at? I wonder because I'm afraid the guys might treat me differently, not include me in the banter and such.
Thanks for this,

It was only when I started thinking about his gaydar profile a bit more that I realised that he'd chosen a rather unfortunate profile name. So bad, in fact, that it could well be responsible for the lack of interest he'd been experiencing. Although his profile name had nothing to do with gay life or etiquette, the slang meaning of the English words in his profile name gave completely the wrong impression!

As soon as I realised this, I sent him another email which explained the slang meanings of the words, and suggested that he get himself a new profile name. Again, within a few days I received his response.

Hi GB,

How have you been?

Well I just got back to London and have changed my username. I will keep you updated on how that goes. However, to be honest I must admit that I am meeting up tomorrow with a guy I had been seeing a few months ago so maybe I won't be needing gaydar after all :P

Ah and on different tone, have you thought about starting a column in one of those free papers you get on the tube? I wouldn't mind having something a bit more interesting to read on the way to or back from work! :-)

Have a nice weekend,

If I had more time, it would indeed be interesting to write a regular column in a newspaper, even one of those free ones :-). However, I don't think I'd have time to write a column and write this blog too, so for now I reckon it's best to stick to blogging.

I got that email almost two weeks ago. I then intended to post all this reader's queries within a few days, but perhaps because I was on holiday I didn't get round to it. So a couple of days ago, he sent me another email:

Hey GB,

How's it going? Must be awful coming back to this dreadful London weather, eh? :-)

Well, I haven't met up with anyone from gaydar since changing username but I think it is because I haven't been on there much. I joined a gym and have been spending my evenings there instead. The time I have been on gaydar, though, I have received more messages. I would never have thought a username would make a difference!

Tomorrow I am seeing the guy I had mentioned previously, I think I'm beginning to like him, we'll see. Even if it isn't a long term thing, I think it would do me good to try and see a guy for longer than 2 months for a change. The only thing that confuses guys generally is that although I do seem to have a stiffy all the time, I'm rarely in the mood for sex ahaha (apologies if that was a bit too much information).

I am actually now thinking of going along to the interbank drinks soon. I was kind of seeing this guy last summer and we're now good friends so he told me to come along with him. He invited me to come with him last summer but I was far too apprehensive about being gay then. I have become much more confident of myself over the last few months.

Hope all is well with you,

When I received this email, I decided immediately that I had to post this reader's emails and answer his questions as soon as possible, because he's been waiting for a response from me for far too long!

The good thing about his most recent email is the news that he's been getting more messages on gaydar :-). It seems highly likely to me that this is the result of changing his profile name! So although his original query seems to be solved, he asked me a couple of other questions in one of his subsequent emails.

The first question he asked me was about whether he should keep his face pics on his gaydar profile now that he's started working for a major investment bank. As I said over three years ago, I don't have my face pics on my gaydar profile. However for a guy that's just started his career, with a clean and simple profile that one could show to one's grandmother, I don't think it matters. I've said before that there's no problem being gay in banking these days, and similarly there's nothing wrong with looking for a boyfriend online, so I think it's fine for him to keep his face pics on his profile.

However there are a couple of things that could make him re-consider. Firstly, if he were to make his profile more sexual. Although lots of guys have their face pics on their profiles, guys with very sexual profiles usually have their face hidden. Secondly, another point at which he should re-consider is the point in his career when he starts to have people reporting to him. I think that any online profile is highly personal, so it seems inappropriate to me that such information about me might be accidently discovered by people who work for me.

This reader's other question is about the gay social networks that all the major banks have these days. I think it's fine to join them, and I think it could even help him because it should help develop his confidence about being gay in the banking environment. Indeed, he shouldn't try to hide his sexuality. It's exactly like one anonymous commenter put it in response to a query from a guy who was in much the same situation as this reader. He should just 'be out', when he starts, rather than worrying about making a big deal about 'coming out' :-). This should earn him respect, and that's all one needs to be included in the office banter.

The last thing on my mind in connection with this reader's emails is his statement that although he seems to have a stiffy all the time, he's rarely in the mood for sex. If I was this reader's boyfriend, that would certainly confuse me! But is it too much information for his email to me? Not at all, because I reckon that those kind of details are the things that many readers of this blog love to hear about!

Anyway, does anyone else have any thoughts on this reader's queries?


A-Philosophical said...

Hey there,

Good explanation for the new gay bankers. As you know I live in the Isle of Dogs, almost there in Canary Wharf. But if you pop up in gaydar not many profiles are out there with pictures showing faces.

I do not care cos I work in the city and people there seem to be far more liberal and the environment than here.

I need to know where to hook up other than gaydar and similar sites. I went back to the mIRC and logged in Undernet. Not many people at all from London! Where can I meet local people in the IRC? Any other chat you may recommend?


A-Philosophical said...

By the way, can you level me in your links as A-Philosophical please?


GB said...

I think I had mIRC on my computer about 15 years ago, A-Philosophical. I had no idea that IRC was still operational. Hasn't the world moved on since then?

GB xxx

PS: I've updated the link to your blog, as requested!

Anonymous said...

If he didn't know he had a bad profile name in English slang then he might be perceived as foreign. That scores lowly in the gay community.

See What characteristics of men of other races do gay white men find attractive?