Thursday, January 28, 2010

Attitudes of straight Asian guys to homosexuality

"A colleague told me today that I'm quite Metrosexual," says boyfriend T to me over dinner recently.

"Well he's kind of right, isn't he," I giggle, "apart from one important detail!"

"Yes, but I'm never going to come out, so I don't like people getting too close to the truth :-(."

"Do you really think he'd mind if you told him that you're gay?"

"I think he'd tell me to Fuck Off," replies boyfriend T, looking quite upset.

"You always say that, but I simply don't believe that everyone who you know is as completely homophobic as you think. Firstly, when a guy is confident about being straight, he really doesn't care if other guys are gay."

Boyfriend T shrugs, not sure whether to believe me or not.

"But more importantly," I continue, "whoever you're talking to about being gay, if you're 100% confident about your sexuality then you're likely to get a good reaction. It's when you're clearly unhappy about it and you tell someone, in that case the reaction might be 'Fuck Off'. But if your attitude is more like 'being gay is great, and by being my friend you can share in my fabulous lifestyle', then that kind of confidence is infectious :-)."

Although I don't mention it in the conversation, a couple of years ago I actually did a post about this topic, which I called The confidence mirror.

"But like me, this colleague is Asian," answers boyfriend T finally, after a short pause, "and he's straight too. He might not react much if I told him, but underneath I know what he'd be thinking and he'd definitely want to run away :-(. Worse, I'm sure he'd tell everyone, and then everyone would dislike me :-((."

It's clear that I'm not going to get anywhere with this discussion so I drop the topic and we start talking about what we're going to do the following weekend.

Later I start thinking about what boyfriend T said, and I realise that although I've met a lot of gay Asian guys, I have no experience in discussing gay life with straight Asians. So I'm wondering whether boyfriend T is right about the reaction that he's likely to get from other Asian guys? Presumably though, guys from different countries might react differently, so perhaps straight Thai guys would have a different attitude to straight Japanese guys? And what about the reaction of straight Indian guys, straight Korean guys, straight Chinese guys, straight Malaysian guys, ...

If any readers can educate me on this subject then I'd be very grateful :-).

Monday, January 25, 2010

An offer of breakfast

"Actually, a Thai ladyboy once offered to buy me breakfast!" says C, taking us all by surprise.

Humming bird pictureIt's Saturday night, and myself and boyfriend T have come out for dinner with lapsed blogger HBH and his boyfriend who's called C. I'd started talking about our recent holiday in Thailand, and it turned out that C had lived in Thailand for 6 months when he was younger.

"How come?" I ask, mildly amused by the idea.

"It was all rather odd!" says C, "because it was 7am in the morning and I was heading home after a long night out, and all of a sudden there was this ladyboy running down the road after me. He/she had a fistful of money in his hand, and he was shouting 'Look, I make all this money last night, I buy you breakfast'!"

"Wow," I reply, "he must have fancied you! Was he cute?"

"I wasn't interested," answers C, "I was just so tired that all I wanted to do was to fall asleep in my own bed!"

"Awww, don't you think that it would have been interesting?" I reply sounding disappointed, "I mean, if he'd bought you breakfast, do you think he'd expect that he'd be entitled to get to know you a bit better?"

"Maybe," says C, "that actually didn't occur to me. But I also had concerns about how he'd earned that money. I mean, if he was earning a lot of money at night then he must have been a sex-worker of some sort, wouldn't you think? So would you be happy being bought things with prostitution money?"

"Well if he was a ladyboy, I wouldn't be interested," I reply, "I'm into guys, not ladys and not boys either!"

"But what if it had been a cute guy who'd earned all that money by selling his body, offering to buy you breakfast ... ?"

"Well there's not a problem if he'd earned all that money legally, is there?" I answer, "Obviously if things progress, then one would need to play extra safe, given that one doesn't know where he's been!"

The conversation moves on, but later I start wondering whether C had a point. If one accepts things bought with prostitution money, is one implicitly participating and encouraging it? If any readers have any views on this, please let me know :-).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Email from a gay guy with trust issues in his relationship

Last week, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I've been with an Asian guy for about 4 months. That's time we first met rather than becoming "officially" boyfriends. But from time to time he'll have a bit of a crisis because he can't get to trust me. We've talked about it a few times but it always seems to come around.

We had an almost break up last week and another serious chat at the end of the week. He was using my computer and came across my messenger logs and decided to read them. In there there are some early conversations when I told some friends I wasn't sure about the whole thing so he just assumed I just didn't like him and brought back all his insecurities, mistrust and the jealousy that comes with it.

This time he's asked for some specifics that he wants me to do.

The first one is that I remove all my pictures from any profile I may have in any dating website. I already updated my status a long time ago and make it clear I'm not looking for any fun and just interested in models for my photography or friends. I also removed any pics where I may have a top off or be in swimwear or similar.

He now wants me to take off the rest of the pics. As such I am not completely against it. I mostly want to use it just to find models really and my pic is not completely necessary for that. But although he didn't as such say, he wouldn't like me to actually contact anyone either, so basically chances of someone finding the profile, clicking on a picture-less one and volunteering as model are highly remote. So it's pretty much useless for that. Equally it also means I couldn't make any new friends. All in return for not objecting to me continuing with my male photography.

The second thing is about travelling. He has limited holidays, while I have quite a lot more. He uses most of his by visiting his parents so there is little left where we could go together. We're going on a couple of one week holidays but that still leaves me with 5 weeks more of holidays.

So, unless I can find an existing friend to travel with, I would have to travel on my own. Last year it was almost impossible to find anyone and only last minute for one week.

He wants me to go on any holidays either with a friend or nobody else, including meeting any friends I may have in any of the places but haven't met before (existing or new). For me it would me much easier if I could meet a friend in some of the places so they can show me around, give me some local advice etc. I'm not talking about taking them to my bed, I have no intention of doing that. I'm talking pure friends. Travelling to some places is not quite easy, especially where they speak little English. In the past I've always met someone locally and that's made all the difference for me.

To be honest, if I really wanted to sleep with someone else, and I don't, I could do it here with anyone using a faceless profile, the same on the holidays. Or I could just go to a gay place and meet someone there. So really it serves no purpose other than make my holiday worse as I can't meet a friend. He agrees with that but he wants to remove any situations where I could be tempted.

To me besides these two things there is also an underlying thing that he's never really trusted me and I can only imagine than even if I agreed now it would be something different later and this may have no end. And I also worried at some point I would also feel frustrated and unhappy with restrictions I consider unfair and unnecessary, a relationship cannot survive if there is no trust!

My friends think he's being unrealistic and needs to mature while apparently his friends completely agree with him. So it could be everyone is just supporting his friend and saying what they want to hear. So I thought why not ask someone who isn't a friend of either and has been in a Western+Asian relationship.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

It's true that I'm in a Western+Asian relationship, because boyfriend T is Asian. But although a few values seem to be common between Asian guys from different countries, I think that there are also many differences, so just because I've also got an Asian boyfriend doesn't necessarily give me any useful insight here. In particular, I don't think boyfriend T and myself have any trust issues, even though he knows that I'm not necessarily monogamous. (... and before anyone leaves a comment, YES, I'm happy for him to be 'not necessarily monogamous' too!)

In fact, the reader's boyfriend reminds me a bit of a guy I know who's particularly hung-up about finding a guy for a monogamous relationship. In the case of this guy, his attitude stems from the fact that while he was growing up his father slept around with many women, and the guy saw what a terrible effect his father's behaviour had on his mother. So one thing that the reader might do is try to understand his boyfriend more, and try and find out if there's anything in the boyfriend's past that causes him to be so distrustful.

Any relationship involves compromise. Given that the reader's boyfriend wants to agree rules which restrict what the reader can do, I'm wondering what the boyfriend is offering in return? One thing that occurs to me is that is the boyfriend could agree to spend less time with his family, which would help solve the reader's holiday problem a bit. After all, if the boyfriend wants this young relationship to develop into a serious long term one, then the reader should eventually become more important to him that his family. I'd say that a guy isn't serious about a relationship if he says "if you want me to be my boyfriend then you must do all these things" without being prepared to compromise on other things himself.

All long term readers of this blog will know that I'm not keen on monogamous relationships, and that I think that gay relationships should be constructed in a different way. For any two guys in a relationship I think the important thing is where their hearts lie, and how they treat each other when they're together, rather than what they do with their dicks and their orifices when they're apart! In that context, then of course I think that the reader's boyfriend is being unrealistic, especially because the reader could easily cheat if he wanted to.

However, given that these guys both want a monogamous relationship, one possibility is that there's something in the reader's behaviour that gives his boyfriend reasons to be suspicious about him. In fact I've had other correspondence with the reader that leads me to think that this might be true. Two guys in a relationship certainly don't need to do everything together, or have identical hobbies, but they should know about each other's hobbies and interests. So I think the reader needs to be more open with his boyfriend, and over time that will help build trust. As an example of this, in my case I decided early last year that I'd have to tell any new boyfriend that I'm a blogger, so I divulged that information to boyfriend T after I'd known him for a few months. Although I pretty sure that he's not one of my readers, if I hadn't told him then he'd have good cause to wonder why I spend so much time online!

Ultimately though, if these two guys can't agree a better deal, then it might well be best for them to split up. The reader clearly knows this, because he says that he may end up feeling frustrated and unhappy with the restrictions, and that in itself could end up killing the relationship. If the reader wants to try and save the relationship, then I think he needs to work especially hard to gain his boyfriend's trust and make him feel comfortable, because when two guys love each other then they should work to help each other over their difficulties. If that happens then the boyfriend should become a lot more comfortable, and happy to relax the proposed restrictions. In my case with boyfriend T, I think that perhaps I'm a bit too attentive, but the good thing about that is that it leaves him in no doubt that I love him and that he's always my top priority :-).

Does anyone else have any thoughts for this reader?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Do a lot of Londoners have an inferiority complex?

"I've lived in South Ken for almost twenty years now," said the elderly woman, "although it's quite stressful because there are so many people around. Before that, I lived in Hampstead village, but I think South Ken is better because Hampstead is a bit remote."

"But Hampstead was on the tube twenty years ago," I reply, "so how can you say it's remote?"

"I know," answers the woman, "but it's on the Northern line. So it goes to places like Camden and Tottenham Court Road. They're certainly not the sort of places that I want to go."

I'm with boyfriend T in a smart restaurant, and we've accidently got chatting to one of the diners on the table next to ours. We chat to her for a while, but after ten minutes or so, she and her dining companion pay the bill and leave us on our own.

"That woman was hilarious," I say after she's gone, "saying that South Ken is 'stressful' and that Hampstead is 'remote'!"

Hampstead"I didn't like her!" replies boyfriend T decisively. "Actually I've noticed that lots of Londoners talk like that :-(. They give unnecessary information when they're describing some pretend hardship or other, but in fact they're just showing off. With her, she lets us know that she's lived in two of the best neighbourhoods in London, but that it's either 'stressful' or 'too remote'. Poor her."

I hadn't expected this response, because I'd just found it amusing listening to the way that the woman described the places that she's lived.

"Do a lot of Londoners really talk like that then?" I ask. I'm not an impartial witness because I sometimes describe myself as a Londoner, so it's interesting to get boyfriend T's perspective.

"Yes! For example, I went to that conference a few months ago, and one of the guys that I got chatting to there said that he was late arriving at the conference because he was having to 'stay in a 5 star hotel while his house was being renovated'. Why didn't he just say 'hotel'! I don't need to know that he can afford to stay in a '5 star hotel'."

"And other people will say things like 'my Mercedes is in the garage at the moment'," continues boyfriend T, "Just saying that their 'car' is being repaired would be sufficient, I don't need to know that they can afford an expensive car."

"I hope I don't do that kind of thing," I say, realising that boyfriend T has a valid point.

"No you don't, not when you're with me anyway!"

"I guess people who say things like that have some kind of inferiority complex," I suggest, "because they're just trying to make themselves sound more wealthy and important."

"Maybe, but if so, why do so many Londoners do it? Is there something in the water? Anyway, I hope that by living in London I don't end up suffering from that affliction!"

I'm not sure whether the way of talking that boyfriend T doesn't like is a trait of Londoners, or if it's used more widely? If any readers have any thoughts on this, it would be interesting to get further perspectives :-).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Email from a young gay guy in Serbia

A couple of days ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I'm seventeen and I'm coming from Serbia. I have a problem.

I'm gay, and as you may know, it is very hard to meet people such as ourselves here, in Serbia, because anyone who COMES OUT gets thrown out of the house, or actually killed. I know some people who were actually killed because they were gay :(.

I have doubts about three people, but I'm not really sure if they are gay. I've been reading your posts lately and I really need a more precise way of recognizing gay men. What should I do? I know I can't talk about that in front of them, and my girl friends couldn't help me too. I don't know if you can guess someone is gay or not just by looking in a picture. I heard that some experienced gay men can do that. If you can help me, please answer. I will send you pictures if you decide to help me.

Thank you in advance,

I had no idea that life in Serbia was so hard for gay people. It's terrible to hear about people being killed for being gay :-(. Serbia recently applied for EU membership, but if it's culturally so backward that homophobia can regularly involve murdering gay guys, then I doubt that the application will succeed.

In terms of working out whether a guy is gay or not by looking at him, I did a post on that subject back in 2008 called How do gay guys recognise each other? As soon as I received the email from this reader, I sent him a link to that post.

I think it is true that some guys look more gay than other guys, but that's a very unreliable way of working out whether someone is gay or not. Also, straight guys who live in big cosmopolitan cities like London and perhaps Belgrade can often acquire metrosexual habits, and that makes it even harder to tell.

On this subject, after myself and boyfriend T went to visit my gorgeous Japanese masseur B and his business partner N for massage, the next time I saw B he told me that he thought that it was possible to guess that boyfriend T was gay. A few days later I told Boyfriend T what B had said, and boyfriend T was horrified because he's still very closeted, and doesn't like the idea that people can work out his sexuality. He insisted that I find out from B what his reasons were for making that statement. The answer that B gave was basically that boyfriend T was very fashionable, with a neat and smart appearance, and way past the age when his family would expect to see him married!

Returning to the problem of this Serbian reader, he obviously wondering whether a few guys that he knows are gay, because he's offering to send me some photographs to look at. However, as I said above, I think that's a very unreliable way of identifying a gay person. A person's cultural background also affects their appearance, so it would be much harder for a non-Serbian person to have a view on a Serb's sexuality. On top of that, even if someone is gay and looks gay, if they're as young as this Serbian reader is then they may not have acknowledged it to themselves yet. And even if they have realised that they're gay, they may not want to do anything about it at the moment.

However, perhaps the most important piece of advice for this young reader is "Don't fall in love with any of your straight friends". There's a danger that these guys that he's wondering about could be in this category. Somewhere in Serbia I'm sure that they'll be lots of nice gay guys that he can fall in love with, so it would be a mistake to ruin any of his friendships, hoping that the friend is gay.

Even though gay life is hard in Serbia, I'm sure that there are still places where gay people meet, especially in Belgrade. I have no idea if it's accurate or not, but a quick google search found a web site called Belgarde and Serbia gay guide. So my suggestion would be that instead of trying to work out whether people that he knows are gay, instead he should try going to such places where perhaps he can make new gay friends :-).

Do anyone else have any thoughts for this young Serbian reader?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dinner with fellow blogger 'Close Encounters'

"Do you have an iPhone yet, GB?" asks Close Encounters, "if not, I've got something to show you that might make you change your mind!"

I hadn't seen Close Encounters for a couple of months or more, so with my boyfriend T still out of the country, we decided to catch up over a nice meal in a smart restaurant last Saturday night.

"I don't like iPhones because I'm much more efficient when using a proper little keyboard, rather than that touchscreen version that iPhones have," I reply. "And on top of that, I'm allergic to Apple!"

"But look at this :-)," answers Close Encounters, quite undeterred, "it uses GPS and takes the art of hooking up with like minded guys to a completely new level!"

"You don't mean ....," I answer, almost afraid of guessing what I'm about to be shown, "... that it can actually find guys for fun near your current location?"

He starts an iPhone app called Grindr and nods, "Absolutely!!"

Soon, on his iPhone screen there are small pics of twenty or more guys.

"Look, this one is only 275 metres away! Shall we ask him if he wants a threesome?"

"And it works all over the world too," continues Close Encounters, ignoring his last question. "When I was on holiday abroad last month, I turned it on to see if I could find anyone. To my surprise there was another guy in the same town as me, although he wasn't one of the locals. In fact I think we both live in London, because on my return I spotted him again! So does Grindr change your mind?"

"Actually, no!" I answer honestly, "A month ago Boyfriend T started talking about moving in to live with me, and we've now agreed that it's going to happen :-). I really do want to focus on him now, rather than random guys from Grindr or wherever!"

"And how long do you think that'll last for?"

"I don't know, hopefully a very very long time :-). I've always thought that I'd be able to achieve so much more if I didn't waste lots of time cruising!"

"Which is why you need Grindr," answers Close Encounters triumphantly, "because it genuinely makes cruising so much more convenient :-)."

I remain unconvinced, and gradually the conversation drifts onto other subjects.

Even though I've got no plans to buy an iPhone at the moment, I have to admit that Grindr is a very clever idea. So I'd be quite interested to know what any readers who've used Grindr think of it?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Email from an Asian guy with a Caucasian boyfriend

A couple of days before Christmas, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I've been reading your blog for a while now, never thought that I'll write to you but here goes.

My bf and I have been together for more than a year, quite a large age gap between us, him a Caucasian and me Asian. If you see us on the road, the first thing that comes to mind is: Caucasian and toyboy - we are anything but that. It took me quite a while to get over how others view us.

I'm sure he loves me but I have a nagging feeling that I'm not that important to him. He's independent and travels quite a bit for work. In the past he used to sms or call when he's away, but now I do the calling or initiate the sms. I try not to be a bother but I can't help but wonder if you really do love someone wouldn't you want to contact them even if you are tired after work? I would, but am I imposing my values onto him? Somehow, now that the relationship has stabilised somewhat, I feel that I'm more like a good-to-have. I do wish that he'll give me a little more attention.

One more thing, when his family is here, he'll be with them 24/7 without even an sms. His family can visit for 2-3 weeks each time. When I do sms him, he doesn't really reply or replies very late. This I really can't understand, I don't think it takes much time to reply me. Or am I expecting too much? When we do go out, he's always in a rush to go off. He tells me he feels guilty for not spending all his time with his mom when she visits (he's not out to his family). And I'm not asking for much time with him, even I can take time out from my family to spend it with him.

I think that I'm putting a lot more effort in maintaining this relationship. I have hinted to him many times and he always says that he'll try harder. He does try for a little while, but then goes back to his own routine. There are some days when I ask myself whether I should just let go cos it can be quite draining. But I hold on as I do love him and I think he does too. Sigh, what should I do? Should I just accept that it's his character and accept it? Or am I being unreasonable or blame it on an Asian vs Western expectation?

I hope I make sense and thanks for reading my rant.

(Btw, congrats on your relationship with your boyfriend T)


Having read this email several times, I find myself very much siding with the reader, because I don't think the reader's expectations are unreasonable at all. It sounds very much as though his boyfriend is taking him for granted. I also don't think that Asian vs Western attitudes explain the reader's boyfriend's lack of attention. Indeed, my boyfriend T is Asian and I'm English, and in our case I sometimes think that he feels that I pay him too much attention!

It's a bit surprising that the reader's boyfriend isn't out to his family. Many Western guys find it easier to address that issue if they become able to support themselves. Given that the reader's boyfriend is quite independent, and clearly has a good job because he travels for work, this is a bit of a mystery. Similarly, as guys get older they're more able to face the issue of coming out to family, and the boyfriend must be reasonably mature since there's a large age gap between the two of them. As one gets older, the excuse that "I just haven't met the right girl yet" wears a bit thin! If the relationship between the two of them was healthy, then the reader should be at least as important to the boyfriend as the rest of his family, so no contact when he's with his family doesn't make sense to me. Clearly the boyfriend has issues about being gay that need to be resolved.

One thing that the reader doesn't mention in his email is whether the relationship between the two of them is healthy from a sexual point of view. Since the boyfriend is quite independent and goes travelling a lot for work, he has ample opportunity to have sex with lots of other guys if he wants to. Perhaps the two of them have agreed an open relationship, but if not then I'd suggest that his lack of attention to the reader makes it more likely that he's having sex with other guys without the reader's knowledge.

Apart from the sexual side of the relationship, I also wonder if they have a good social life. To what extent have they met each other's friends, and perhaps made friends as a gay couple with other gay couples? That's just normal gay life, but my guess is that that aspect will be a bit thin too.

If the social and sexual side of the relationship is weak, then unfortunately my advice to the reader would be to try and find himself a new boyfriend who'll give him the love and attention that he deserves. The reader says that he's "hinted" to his boyfriend about his issues many times, but that the boyfriend never improves his behaviour for very long. Perhaps it's worth having a serious discussion, rather than just "hinting", but in any case I feel that at this point the reader does need to be prepared to let go and move on.

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this situation?

Monday, January 04, 2010

The perils of skinny dipping

On Christmas day, I blogged that I went skinny dipping with my Thai friend B. For a couple of days while we stayed at a hotel where we had a private swimming pool just outside our room, whenever we fancied a dip in the pool neither of us would wear any clothes. Being naked in the pool with him was great :-). But on a long car journey on the day that we checked out of the hotel, I discovered that skinny dipping can have a drawback.

In many ways I'm an average Caucasian guy. I don't expose my body to the sun much, and when I do, I usually put on lots of sun block cream to protect myself. And in my entire life, the skin of my body beneath my undershorts has probably seen the sunlight less than ten times!

Astute readers can probably guess what my problem is. While I was skinny dipping, I forgot to wear any sunblock! Most of my body was fine of course, because each dip in the pool probably only lasted fifteen minutes or so. However, it's turned out that those parts of my body that have almost never seen the sun were affected! I guess with so little lifetime exposure that region is just ultra-sensitive, and even now ten days later it's still slightly sore.

None the less, if I was in the same situation again and without any sun block cream, I'd probably do the same again. The underwater views of a hot naked male body moving through the water were magnificent :-).

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Eve 2009

"Why don't we go and see if we can find our friends who went to the party in that hotel," suggests boyfriend T, just after midnight on New Year's Eve.

It's now 2010 and I'm still on holiday in Thailand. The last few days have been great because boyfriend T has been able to fly in and join me, so we've all been staying with my Thai friend B at his house. The New Year's Eve party which we're at has been good fun, and the fireworks were good too, but it's all been a bit straight. The party that boyfriend T is talking about is taking place in a hotel where the guests are predominantly gay :-).

"It might all be over by the time we arrive," I warn, "but I guess it'll be interesting to see what that hotel's like."

We tell B and the other people that we're with where we're going, but no one else wants to come with us so we set off.

"Look, there's a tuk-tuk," I say as we're walking along the road, "we can save ourselves a fifteen minute walk if we can get him to take us there :-)."

We hail the passing tuk-tuk, and having explained to him where we want to go, I'm about to get in when boyfriend T has a question for him.

"How much?" he asks.

"80 Baht," replies the driver.

"What? That's far too for expensive for such a short journey!" says boyfriend T, "we'll give you 40 Baht."

"No, 80 Baht," replies the driver, holding his ground.

"Forget it then :-(," says boyfriend T, and before I can say anything the tuk-tuk is driving away from us.

"That would have saved us the walk!" I say with a slightly bemused tone in my voice. "Why wouldn't you let me pay 80 Baht?"

"Because we're being ripped off," answers boyfriend T confidently.

"So what?" I reply, "80 Baht is only about £1.60! It costs over £2 just to get into a taxi in London. Why can't we pay his price and make him happy?"

When I was younger and money was much tighter, I had exactly the same attitude as boyfriend T. But these days, now that I don't have to worry about money so much, I reckon that it's better to pay the asking price in that kind of situation. There's almost certainly a vast wealth gap between us and the tuk-tuk driver, and in that context it feels obscene to me to haggle for such small sums of money.

"Well," says boyfriend T after thinking about my question for a bit, "aren't you worried that you're causing inflation? That driver probably can't tell the difference between you and Westerners who're trying to backpack around the world as cheaply as possible. Your behaviour would make it harder for backpackers to get a good deal here!"

It's an interesting argument, although on balance I still feel that I should simply pay the asking price. We debate the issue as we walk along without reaching any firm conclusions, and by the time we reach the hotel where the party's meant to be we find ourselves discussing the issue of worker exploitation in emerging markets.

"That must be it, down there in the basement," I say once we're standing outside the hotel, wondering how to find the party. Most of the hotel and its surrounding garden look very quiet, but we can hear loud dance music coming from the basement.

We make our way down the short flight of stairs, but when we open the door and walk in, it's not at all what we expect. The room is some kind of cabaret bar, with most seats facing a stage which is full of cute young guys wearing hardly any clothes who're dancing around to some music which I vaguely recognise. The waiters, who're also cute young guys, spot us standing near the door so one of them comes over to us.

"Follow me please," he says, "nice table here for you :-)".

We don't resist, and once seated we look at the drinks menu that we've been given.

"Let's stay for one drink," says boyfriend T, fascinated by what we've found.

"Why not!" I answer, "so how about a glass of Champagne since it's New Year :-)."

On the drinks menu there's Champagne at 400 Baht per glass which seems reasonable, but it suddenly occurs to me that it might not be real Champagne. When the waiter comes back to take our order, I follow him back to the bar to check the bottle. It turns out to be Freixenet cava and not Champagne, but that's not a bad substitute so I don't argue.

Some of the acts just feature guys dancing around wearing only tiny tight shorts or swimming trunks, other acts include kathoeys miming the lyrics of whatever song is playing. Although the place seems a bit seedy, it's not like the show that I saw in Thailand last year where the guys got naked and played with each other, because here the performers never take off their shorts. We both find ourselves relaxing and enjoying the show, because the energy on the stage coupled with the waiters dancing around in the aisles and joking with the customers creates a fun atmosphere that's hard to resist.

After a couple more acts, the performers all congregate on stage and one by one take their bows and wave at the audience to say goodbye. The show must be over. But the music doesn't stop and as soon as the performers leave the stage, a few other cute young guys take their place, wearing only shorts but with various different numbers attached.

"Look at that," I say to boyfriend T, "all those guys are available! We just have to ask for them by number."

Just then, the waiter who served us the Freixenet cava comes back and sits down with us.

"How much does it cost to have one of those boys come and sit with us?" asks boyfriend T to the waiter. I'm quite surprised because normally he wouldn't ask that kind of question, but thinking back over the evening, he's had quite a few drinks so the alcohol must have lowered his inhibitions!

"Just buy the boy a drink :-)," answers the waiter, "and if you want boy go home with you, 300 Baht for bar and minimum 1000 Baht for the boy, discuss with him."

"Do you really want one of those guys to come over?" I ask boyfriend T, curious to see how far he wants to go. "They'll all be straight, and I bet they don't talk any English!"

"Are the guys gay or straight?" says boyfriend T, talking to the waiter.

"Which one you want?" replies the waiter.

"Which do you think?" says boyfriend T to me, "how about the one on the far left?"

"Actually, he's definitely the best looking guy on stage at the moment," I remark, "all the others look far too skinny. They need a few decent meals inside them! But even the guy on the left isn't as gorgeous as my boyfriend :-)."

"Or mine :-)," says boyfriend T smiling at me, "but that guy might fun!"

"Is that guy on the far left straight or gay, and can he talk English?" asks boyfriend T to the waiter.

"That one gay and he talk good English."

Before I can discuss with boyfriend T what we'd do if the cute young guy on the far left were to come and sit with us, the cute young guy has been summoned over and is sitting between us with a big smile on his face. Rather than "Champagne", the guy only wants a drink which costs 250 Baht, so while the waiter is fetching his drink boyfriend T starts chatting to him.

"Are you gay?"

The guy looks at him blankly.

"You talk English?" asks boyfriend T, now speaking very slowly.

"Little," replies the guy.

"You gay?" tries boyfriend T again still speaking slowly, touching him on the chest with his finger.

"Me straight," answers the guy, at last seeming to understand what the question is.

Boyfriend T looks slightly perplexed when he hears the answer, so he asks another question.

"You have sex with men?"

"Yes," and with that the guy puts his arm round boyfriend T and starts rubbing his knee.

"Gay for pay," I explain with a big smile on my face, leaning over the guy to talk to boyfriend T. It seems unnecessary to say 'I told you so'!

A little later the guy starts rubbing my knee too, and while the guy's focussing on me, boyfriend T runs his hand down the guy's chest. When he reaches the guy's shorts, he tries lifting them up to see what's inside. The guy looks over at boyfriend T and smiles, not at all worried by what's going on. But underneath the guy's shorts there's another smaller pair of shorts! Still smiling, the guy winks at boyfriend T and briefly lifts up the tight elastic on the shorts which previously had been hidden, before letting it snap back into place.

"How come he's wearing shorts underneath his shorts?" boyfriend T asks me, as though the cute guy wasn't there.

"Probably to protect himself from lecherous guys like you!" I laugh.

"Don't you want to touch him at all?" asks boyfriend T, lifting my closest hand and placing it on the guy's chest.

"He's not bad," I admit rubbing the guy's nipple, "but I'd rather touch the man of my dreams!" and with that I lean over a bit further and try to slip my hand underneath boyfriend T's shirt.

Boyfriend T smiles back at me, but removes my hand and places it back and the guy's bare chest, perhaps anxious to make the guy feel welcome.

We continue like this for a while. The guy alternating his attentions between the two of us, not sure who he should be focussing on. Then for a few minutes, the guy disappears, and on his return it's clear that he's removed his outer shorts. Sitting back between us again, he smiles at boyfriend T and pulls down the elastic on his undershorts, this time just enough so that we get a glimpse of this flaccid cock!

"Why's he doing this?" asks boyfriend T, "is he trying to get us to take him away with us?"

"Yeah," I answer, "I guess so!"

But after a few more minutes we decide to leave alone. We've bought the cute guy a drink, we've touched his body and even seen his cock :-). Taking him home with us would be the next step but it doesn't seem sensible, after all, we don't know where he's been!

Outside there's a tuk-tuk, so I go up to him and ask how much to take us back to B's house.

"80 Baht," replies the driver.

"Will you take us for 60 Baht?" asks boyfriend T hopefully

However, I climb in before the driver can reply.

"OK," I say, "60 Baht plus a 20 Baht tip!"

This time boyfriend T doesn't argue.

"Why didn't you get more involved with that guy?" boyfriend T asks me as we're speeding back home, "Don't forget, I know what you're like!"

I think about the question for a short while. It's true that I did find that guy attractive, although he was definitely a bit young for me. But when I think about, I suddenly realise what the real answer is.

"I'm not sure what I'd have done if I'd have been on my own," I answer truthfully, "but the fact is, when I'm with you I honestly don't need anyone else :-)."

"Good answer!" says boyfriend T, "and although it was kind of fun having that guy sitting with us, now I think about it like that, neither do I :-)."

Although we didn't find the party that we'd been looking for, it was a fun excursion anyway!