Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter holiday

A couple of days ago, boyfriend T and me left the UK for our Easter holidays. Yesterday we took the pics that I've posted below. So can anyone work out where we are?

Friday, March 26, 2010

British plumbing

Oxo tower viewA few years ago, myself and a colleague were being taken out for dinner at a smart London restaurant by a couple of guys who worked for a different bank. The purpose of the dinner was for the other guys to thank us for giving them some business in connection with various bond transactions, and to discuss future business possibilities.

About half-way through the evening, we start talking about hotels. One of the guys from the other bank is American, and normally works in New York, and he had a comment about the London hotel room that he was staying in.

"I can't figure out British bathrooms!" he starts, "in particular, who designed the sinks?"

"How do you mean?" asks my colleague.

"Well, there are two taps, one for hot water and one for cold!"

"Well of course," I answer, unable to understand what he's getting at, "I don't know about you, but I like to wash in warm water, but brush my teeth in cold water :-)."

"Yes I agree," he replies, "so when I need to wash my hands I turn on the hot tap. But when I put my hands in the water stream it's often too hot, so then I need to cool my hands and I turn on the cold tap, but in winter that too cold so I'm ..."

and he indicates moving his hands from right to left and back again between the water from the different taps.

"Ahhhh," says my colleague laughing, "you mean you want the hot and cold water to come out of the same tap!"

Suddenly realising what this guy is getting at, I start laughing too, and soon we're all laughing at the peculiarities of British plumbing.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday evening and boyfriend T and me are at a wine tasting, which is being held in an old British establishment. We both visit the gentleman's toilets on the way out, and as we're washing our hands, boyfriend T starts talking to me.

"I don't understand these sinks!" he says.

"Why not?" I ask.

"Well, they're SO inconvenient, having two taps ..."

Immediately I remember the conversation that I had at that business dinner all those years ago. However, I also realise that I still have no real idea why British sinks are often designed like that! Can anyone enlighten me?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Only in Amsterdam ...

Just over a week ago, myself and boyfriend T hopped on a plane to spend a long weekend in Amsterdam.

"I've always wanted to try smoking marijuana," says boyfriend T to me, before we leave, "and I can do that in Amsterdam, can't I?"

"Yes, but you can also do that in London!" I reply, "I'm sure that some of our friends could point us in the right direction if you really want to do that :-)."

"I know, but I'd rather do it semi-legally. So I think Amsterdam is a better choice!"

Although I've never indulged much in drugs, apart from alcohol, I love the Dutch policy towards drug-taking :-). In a nutshell, taking soft drugs such as marijuana is still illegal in the Netherlands, but it's not punishable! My personal policy is that everyone should be responsible for their own well being, so it were up to me I'd legalise both hard and soft drugs, which would have a useful side effect of creating additional tax revenues. However, until that enlightened day arrives, the Dutch model is a reasonable alternative.

Thinking about drugs policies, there are actually parallels here to the way gay people are treated. Some people are gay, and they’ll always be some people who want to take drugs, and trying to legislate against human nature is always pointless. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I'd be convinced that the world's drug cartels must have the world's major governments in their pockets, to keep drugs illegal and hence perpetuate their revenues. It's hard to think of any other reason why the current flawed policy of prohibition would have been pursued so unsuccessfully for so long!

"Have you had marijuana before, GB?" asks boyfriend T over dinner on the first night of the trip to Amsterdam.

"A bit," I reply, "but since I'm not a smoker I never got into it, even though a few of my university friends were quite keen on it."

"So won't you share a spliff with me then?"

"Why don't we find a coffee shop that also sells the 'space cakes' :-)," I suggest, "and then I'll have one of those while you smoke your joint! I quite enjoyed the space cakes when I had one a few years ago :-)."

"OK great. So let's find a coffee shop after dinner, because because if we go tomorrow morning and get high we may end up wasting the day!"

Wandering around the streets after dinner, it doesn't take too long to find a plausible looking coffee shop. As soon as we walk in, it's immediately clear that we've come to the right place.

"Hmmm, I've always quite liked the smell of marijuana," I say quietly to boyfriend T, "don't you?"

"Actually I'm not so sure," he replies, "it doesn't smell that good to me."

There's a small queue at the counter, and when the people in front of us ask for the marijuana menu, the female shop assistant points them at a mirror on the wall.

"Press the button at the bottom," she says, and when they do that, a light comes on inside the mirror revealing the menu.

While the people in front of us are paying, myself and boyfriend T have a look at the menu, but since we're not regular marijuana users it doesn't mean much to us. Some is listed as local, some comes from Morocco and other far away destinations, but what's best for us given that we're novices isn't clear.

"Can you give us some advice?" I ask the shop assistant when it's our turn, "my friend wants to try smoking a joint, but we don't know what would be best. And I'd quite like a space cake if you've got any?"

"No problem," she replies, "I've got two space cakes left :-). They usually take 30-60 minutes for you to feel the effect, but then you'll probably feel like going to sleep! Also, I wouldn't recommend it if you've been drinking alcohol. For the cannabis, I suggest you smoke one of our milder varieties, but that will work much faster than the space cakes."

"I only had a bit of wine over dinner," I say to the shop assistant, "so I'm sure I'll be OK :-)."

The only other time that I had a space cake, I did indeed fall asleep. I was with ex-boyfriend S at the time, also in Amsterdam, and on that occasion we both ate a space cake mid-morning. We then wandered around the town a bit, but about an hour later, poor ex-boyfriend S was having a bit of a bad experience with it. However, I was very much enjoying feeling slightly high, and all I could do was giggle! Luckily though, I managed to get us both back to the hotel, and I had a lovely afternoon asleep cuddling up to ex-boyfriend S, while enjoying the effects of the space cake :-). Unfortunately though, it didn't get any better for him :-(.

"It's a pity that they work at different speeds," I say to boyfriend T once we've made our purchases, "but at least it'll soon be bedtime so it won't matter if it makes me fall asleep."

While I eat my space cake, we get some help from a couple of the other coffee shop clients in assembling boyfriend T's spliff, who seem very friendly.

"This is my 18 year old brother," giggles the young woman, and the curly haired youth next to her grins at us, "and it's his birthday today :-)."

"What have you been doing for your birthday?" I ask.

"We've been cycling around, visiting as many coffee shops as we can find," he giggles, before taking another big drag on his joint.

Soon boyfriend T starts to giggle a bit too.

"Oh," he says a little later, "suddenly I feel very very tired."

I decide that we'd both better get back to our hotel, before either of us falls asleep. Half way back to the hotel, boyfriend T breaks into an almost uncontrollable fit of giggles.

"I don't know why I'm doing that!" he says, trying to regain control of himself and failing!

"Don't worry," I say, but soon I find myself giggling a bit too.

Back in the hotel, we get undressed quickly and jump naked into bed with each other. We cuddle up in each other's arms, and soon boyfriend T is fast asleep. But I continue to lie there, feeling drowsy, and then gradually I start to get a bit of a headache. All through the night I find myself frequently waking up with a bad headache and feeling exceptionally thirsty, and whenever I fall asleep my dreams are slightly disturbing. It's certainly not the pleasant and enjoyable experience that I had last time :-(.

"Time to get up," says boyfriend T to me around 10:30am the next day, sitting down on the bed and holding me gently on my shoulders.

"Errr, what?" I say, finding it hard to wake up, "I feel terrible :-(."

As I get out of bed, I find myself almost falling over as I walk to the bathroom.

"Are you OK?" asks boyfriend T, sounding quite concerned.

"Errr, NO! I don't think so :-(. My mouth is so dry :-((."

Feeling very unstable on my feet, somehow I make my way into the bathroom, and while I shower boyfriend T stands near me in case I fall over.

"Oh dear," I say, "I think I'm going to need to take it easy today :-(."

"Actually I didn't enjoy my joint at all," says boyfriend T to me later, when I've woken up a bit more and can almost walk in straight line.

"Why not?" I ask.

"I didn't like giggling when my mind didn't want to! I kept thinking, there's nothing funny here, so why am I laughing."

"Control freak!" I say, managing to laugh slightly, "you just have to go with it."

"I guess that's what you did," replies boyfriend T swiftly, "but look what's happened to you!"

"I didn't enjoy it at all this time," I admit, "and I still feel terrible. Perhaps it was unwise to eat the space cake after drinking wine over dinner?"

Whatever the reason for my bad reaction to the space cakes, it certainly doesn't change my views about legalising drugs. The only person to blame for my experience is myself!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Email from a gay guy with flakey gay friends

About a week and a half ago, I received another request for advice from a reader who emailed me about his first gay relationship last year. This time, he's got different issues:

Dear GB,

I recently had some unpleasant experiences when communicating with my gay male friends and I hope you can enlighten me on the situation.

First case with friend W.

Background: I did ask this guy out for a date before which he rejected cuz he said he was not recovered from being dumped from a long relationship) so we are just friends, and I am totally cool with it cuz I don't really have many gay friends to hang out with anyway (we did hang out a few times after that).

Situation: Back in February he casually asked me to watch a major blockbuster with him and I agreed. In March when the movie came out my other friends asked me to watch it with them, but I recalled I made promise to W. So I texted him to see if he still wanted to watch it with me to which he replied "sure", but we never fixed a specific timing. After a few days I realize there aren't many seats left on weekends and we have to book online fast before good seats ran out. So I left message on his facebook in the morning, which he never replied to (he was online at the time), at night I texted him again asking specific timing before the seats ran out, no reply again. Later I told him through facebook chat that if he does not get back to me I will have to book with someone else (he definitely received my message as he was online), but no reply again. Soon I realized there were only 2 front rows left, which is quite a bad place to enjoy a 3D movie, so I booked with other friends on another date.

A day later, W texted back saying that his phone had had no credits to reply (I call it bullshit lol) and asked wat's up. I told him I already booked with other friends since I didn't receive any confirmation from him and asked him to quickly book himself if he still wants to watch the movie. Later he replied "No worries, I got the tickets already", Me "wow that's a fast booking, enjoy! ;) ", W "*I bought it ages ago, lol*"

Then it suddenly struck me that he made his plan long time ago and was purposely ignoring my messages!

Second case was even worse with friend V.

Background: We met almost 2 years ago during work and were on good terms. He hinted interest in me but I rejected cuz I think he was in a relationship at the time. We remained friends and exchanged messages every now and then when I was on overseas exchange. We met up once after I got back home country late last year (just as friend).

Situation: Being a facebook junkie I always "like" or comment on my friend's pictures or status (including V's occasionally). One day he wrote on my facebook suggesting a meet up soon and I gladly reply "yes", but there was no follow up conversation on that. A few days later I checked my planner and realized I have a "pending" meet-up with him so I texted him asking if he wanted to have lunch sometimes next week. He never replied for 3 days! As a typical type A person I easily get impatient and annoyed if people don't reply to my messages or emails (especially when he suggested meeting up in the first place!) so I just went to write on his facebook "hey dude why you never reply my message regarding lunch next week?" Yeah, I know it sounds desperate but that's just my style if I don't get an answer.

Still no reply! And he could happily update his status on facebook when my message was RIGHT BELOW! I was like "fuck!" why is he ignoring me?!! Till almost A WEEK later he talked to me on MSN "hey, let's have lunch next week, I know I reply slow, haha" I was having 2 exam next week so I just replied "sorry kinda busy next week, probably next time".

At the beginning I was extremely annoyed by these 2 people as they are super flakey. But later when I complained to my straight friends they told me that I might have appeared too eager, too desperate, so they got the signal and were playing hard to get. Now I look back, indeed, I was suggesting everything and always messaging them. I would definitely appear as a desperate guy if I was dating.... BUT I AM NOT! I just treat them as normal friends and see going to movies or lunch as normal meetings. I just want to watch a movie, either with straights or gays I don't care!

I am kinda person who is usually very active in social life and very enthusiastic when treating my friends. I reply messages within minutes and always check my emails (24/7 alert on my Blackberry) , I like to make plans (always proactively suggesting meet-up with my friends) and follow them accordingly. I have no problem when dealing with straight friends. Even straight girls (who don't know I am gay) will gladly have lunch or dinner with me. And straight guys (who know I am gay) have no problem going to bars or movies with me. All my straight friends like me and most of my friends are straight.

When it comes to gay friends, it's not so smooth anymore. I didn't realize it might be because of the "sexual/relationship potential" in a gay friendship till these 2 cases happened. I always like to make things black and white, if I am interested in you I will ask you out, otherwise I will just treat you as a normal friend. And I heard there are "dating rules" in the gay world, but I don't know if I still need to follow these rules when dealing with gay friends.

I have searched all your Dear GB entries and couldn't find answers, all friends/relationship category are actually about relationship (you see, that's the problem, gays are constantly guessing, does he like me or not? can we be more than friends? While some people like me just want to make friends and enjoy our lives.....)

So GB, here are my questions:
  1. Do you think my 2 friends are flakey? Or maybe I am just too intense and expected too much in people's responding speed.
  2. Do you think I might have appeared too desperate and they got the wrong signal and might have played too hard to get in those 2 cases?
  3. If 2 is true how can I prevent similar cases from happening in the future? Do I really have to pay special attention and change my habit when communicating with gay friends (e.g. wait for 30 mins to reply when I usually reply within seconds....). I am just confused when dealing with gay friends when I am looking for mainly friendship rather than relationship/sex. (I can't say "hey dude I am not interested in you, but let's just hang out" right?)
Sorry for the long email (that's me again, always talk a lot and write a lot in communicating, which might sound eager and desperate again. Just my style, can't change it!) and I look forward to your reply.

Best regards, xoxo

Having read this reader's email, I can't help thinking that I share some of his characteristics. I also get impatient easily, and will often reply immediately to txt msgs and emails. However, unlike the reader, I don't find it necessary to treat my gay friends any differently to my straight friends.

With all types of people, whether they're friends or colleagues or strangers, I think the golden rule when you start interacting with them is to try treating them in the same way that you'd like to be treated yourself. However, beyond the initial interactions, I think it's wise to adjust one's behaviour depending on whether the other person reciprocates your attentiveness. There's a fascinating scholarly article about the evolution of cooperation which suggests that a good way to behave is to adopt a tit for tat approach. In this context it means that you start out assuming you'll get the response that you're looking for from someone, but then if they ignore you, then in return you should ignore them. But if they treat you well or stop ignoring you, then you can treat them well or stop ignoring them in return :-).

In his email, the reader mentions dating rules. Rather than following any predefined set of rules, I'd say that the only important thing is to be cool. Indeed, I've said before that I don't like dating rules, and in one sense I think they're largely designed to help inherently uncool people appear cool! However, perhaps type A guys do need some guidance in this area, so maybe this reader should keep those kind of rules in his mind.

It's also interesting that the reader perceives a difference between gay and straight friends, so I can't help wondering whether subconsciously he does see them all as potential boyfriends and sex partners, in spite of his protestations to the contrary. Talk of 'dating rules' and 'appearing too desperate' are also terms that usually apply to relationships rather than friendships. I don't think it's necessary to treat gay friends any differently to straight friends, so perhaps the reader needs to acknowledge his desires, and if he doesn't have any sexual desires for these guys then he can relax.

To answer the reader's specific questions:
  1. Are his friends flakey? By the reader's type A standards, yes, of course they're a bit flakey! But alternatively, perhaps they're just type B guys who can't be hurried. Or perhaps they're guys who find it impossible to focus on more than one thing at once, so if the reader wasn't their top priority at the time he sent his messages, then they weren't able to give him any attention.
  2. Was the reader too desperate? I wouldn't use the word desperate because that applies to relationships rather than friendships, however I would use the world 'uncool' to describe his behaviour. Such behaviour is unlikely to produce the response that the reader hoped for.
  3. How can the reader prevent similar cases from happening in the future? Just adopt tit-for-tat tactics, but above all be cool. So I think it's fine to respond immediately to txt msgs and emails, but wait a long time before following up if they don't also respond quickly. Even guys like me who usually respond immediately aren't always able to do so, after all, I do go to bed sometimes :-).
Do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?

Monday, March 15, 2010

A long weekend

Last Friday, myself and boyfriend T headed away from London for a long weekend elsewhere. We got back late last night. So can anyone identify where we've been from the rather phallic object in the photo below?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Can I stroke your pussy?

"Your neighbour has an enormous cat in his garden," says boyfriend T to me yesterday morning, while peering out of the window of my study.

Getting up from my desk, I wander over to the window and put my hand on his shoulder, and look down at into my neighbour's garden.

"Yeah I suppose it is quite large," I reply. "Actually, I think he's got a couple of pussies like that :-)".

"What did you say?" says boyfriend T sounding quite startled. "Did you say 'pussy'?? That's a woman's vagina isn't it???"

"Yeah, but it also means cat."


"Yes, honestly!" I reply. "I think that 'cat' was probably the original meaning, but then the slang meaning became, well, a woman's furry bits :-)."

"And is it OK to say that in front of a woman?"

"Yes of course."

"So I can say 'come here pussy' ..."

"Yes, if there's a cat in the room."

"... and then, 'open your legs pussy'!"

"But why would you want to get a cat to open it's legs?" I say, giggling slightly.

"So I can stroke it's tummy of course :-)."

"Hmmm, well I suppose so. But women know the slang too, so I wouldn't push it too far!"

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I like to think that I sometimes write interesting posts for this blog, and when I think I've done a reasonable post, I'm always keen to see whether it'll get any comments. I was thinking about this tonight, so I had a look at my blog's statistics to work out how many comments my posts get. The answer is shown in the picture below.

Examining the statistics, if a post gets comments, the average number of comments is around 8. So I'm shocked to discover that one of the posts with the highest number of comments is last Saturday's post about how often I change my underwear! Ahh well, given the number of responses to that post, perhaps I should pay serious attention and change my habits!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010


A few days ago, I'm in the bedroom with boyfriend T and we're getting ready for bed. I take off my undershorts and while I stand there naked, folding my trousers, boyfriend T has a question for me.

"Why don't you put those undershorts that you've been wearing today in the laundry bin?" he asks.

"I'm quite a clean guy," I answer, "so my undershorts aren't dirty after I've only worn them for one day :-). But I do change them regularly, after a few days, even if they don't seem dirty!"

"What?!" shrieks boyfriend T, "that's not clean!! You mean you don't wear clean undershorts every day??"

"Um, well, should I?" I reply calmly, surprised by his reaction, "I don't know if I've got enough for one a day!"

While boyfriend T opens my underwear drawer and counts my spare pairs of undershorts, I recall that ex-boyfriend P had a theory that guys from colder northern European climates like me don't wash as much as guys who're from tropical climates, who typically sweat more during the day.

"Look," he says triumphantly, "You've got more than enough for one a day! Are all British guys as dirty as you?"

"But I'm not dirty," I protest, "although it's true that when I was young my mother and my grandmother thought that I should wash more!"

"Well what about ex-boyfriend S?" asks boyfriend T, "did he have clean underwear every day?"

"Yes actually," I reply, "I think he did!"

"Well at least some British guys are normal then!"

Although I don't think there's anything wrong with my cleanliness, I'm quite interested to know how regularly other people change their underwear. So please vote in the poll that I've set up on this blog's right-hand side bar :-).

Update 20-Mar-2010: The graph below shows the final results of the poll. What clean guys you all are, well, most of you anyway!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Meeting the family

"I should go and see my family sometime before Christmas," I tell boyfriend T over dinner one evening last November, "do you want to come with me and meet them all?"

"That's quite a big step," replies boyfriend T, looking slightly nervous.

"I think I told you before that they don't have any issues with the fact that we're gay :-)."

"Well, I guess I should meet them at some point," he admits, "but can we leave it until next year?"

In the end, a few weeks before Christmas last year I go and visit my family on my own, on a weekend when boyfriend T knew that he was going to be otherwise engaged. However, just over a month ago, I realise that there'll soon be another opportunity for a family visit.

"Have I told you that several members of my family have birthdays in February?" I ask boyfriend T one evening.

"No, I don't think so," he replies, "why do you mention it?"

"Well, because of the birthdays I often go and see them in February," I answer, "so perhaps we could both go this time?"

"I suppose I should meet them, now that we're living together," sighs boyfriend, clearly not completely comfortable with the idea.

"Don't worry! They'll all love you :-)."

"But perhaps ex-boyfriend S can come along too?" asks boyfriend T hopefully.

Indeed, boyfriend T and ex-boyfriend S have been getting on well with each other, ever since the two of them met last year!

"Sure, we can ask him," I answer. "After all the holidays that the two of us had with all of them, I sure they regard him as part of the family now, so they won't have a problem with it :-). But why do you want him there?"

"I want someone there who'll be on my side!"

It turns out that ex-boyfriend S is available, so when the day arrives, the three of us hop on a train together and settle down for the journey.

"Just don't leave me alone with any of them," says boyfriend T to me and ex-boyfriend S, early on in the journey, "because I won't know what to say. I don't want any awkward moments!"

"OK sure :-)" I reply calmly, and ex-boyfriend S nods his head.

"Have you ever met the family of any of your previous boyfriends?" asks ex-boyfriend S.

"I used to talk to the mother of my last boyfriend on the phone," answers boyfriend T, "although I never actually met her!

"I guess that counts for something :-)," I say.

Eventually we arrive at a train station in the middle of the countryside, and as planned, my sister is waiting for us just outside.

"This is boyfriend T :-)" I say to my sister once we've got into her car, "and this is my sister!" I say to boyfriend T.

The two of them exchange a couple of polite sentences, and soon my sister is driving us to her house. On arrival, boyfriend T meets my niece and my sister's husband, and shortly after that my mother arrives so he gets introduced to her too.

"How you doing?" I ask boyfriend T quietly, when we get a moment to ourselves.

"OK," he replies, "but I still wouldn't know what to say so don't leave me alone. I mean it, don't even go to the toilet!"

A restaurant had been booked for lunch, but before we leave my niece takes us to see her two horses, so boyfriend T gets introduced to them too! Half an hour later we arrive at the restaurant, and once my nephew and my father have arrived as well, the introductions for the day are complete.

For the meal, the nine of us sit down at a round table, with boyfriend T sitting in between me and my sister's husband. Although the conversation is a bit difficult to start with, bit by bit I can see boyfriend T relaxing, and gradually things start to become a bit easier. After the meal we all head back to my sister's house.

Sitting around in front of one of the open wood fires in my sister's house, my niece starts asking boyfriend T a bit about his home country in Asia. But after a few minutes, my sister's husband has a question.

"Isn't it true that they eat cats and dogs in some Asian countries :-)," he asks, with a smile on his face.

"Yes I think so," replies boyfriend T, "although as far as I know it's not very common these days."

"It's just that I saw you looking at our cat," continues my sister's husband, still smiling, "perhaps thinking ... that looks tasty, where's the salt and pepper!"

I can't help myself from laughing, because although his comment could be construed as a bit racist, I know that my sister's husband means it as a joke! Luckily boyfriend T laughs too.

"I hope you didn't take offense at that cat and dog comment that my sister's husband made," I say to boyfriend T later, on the train back to London.

"In the past he's made jokes about my background too!" adds ex-boyfriend S.

"I know, everything's fine :-)," answers boyfriend T, looking much more relaxed than he did on the morning's journey.

"Of course," I reply, "the good thing is that if they feel able to joke about that kind of thing with you, it means that they feel comfortable with you. Welcome to the family!!"