Friday, October 27, 2023

Email from a guy who lives in Asia

Dear GB

When I was a regular blogger, I often got emails from readers asking for advice on a range of issues. I'd send them a brief email in reply, and then I would reply publically in a blog post with my thoughts along with their original email. Other readers could then leave their own ideas too in the comment section. Sometimes I'd make a few minor edits to the email, for example, however the actual email begins, when I post it on this blog it always begins "Dear GB".

I’m still happy to try and answer these kinds of emails, and when I checked my GB email account a couple of weeks ago, the following was waiting for me:

Dear GB,

I have just recently discovered your blog and I love it. I hope you are still answering questions and would love to hear from you.

Anyway, I am a 33 year old guy living in an Asian country (I won't say which country it is) where being gay is illegal and frowned upon. It's not such an extreme country, there are still gay clubs & bars despite being illegal but you don't want to hold hands in public with your boyfriend if u don't want to get beaten up.

Anyway I find it really hard to find any men to date these days. I don't go to clubs because I used to go when I was young and some bad stuff happened that makes me never want to go again. I also can't ask my friends to match make because I can't tell my friends I'm gay. The only way to date is through the app, and we all know 99% of them are not looking to date. They only need a quick fuck.

Recently also my dad has tried to match make me into marrying a girl. He doesn't know that I am gay. I can tell him and I know he & my mom would still love me but I know deep down inside they will be crying a river and I don't have the heart to do that. Since I'm 33 they have been asking me about getting married more & more and it's stressing me. I feel like I want to leave this country for good but I don't think I am qualified enough to get a professional job in other countries. I can work as an immigrant but then it would be a huge step backward career wise.

When I was younger, slimmer & beautiful it was so easy to get a boyfriend on dating apps. I am not fat but I am a bit chubby and I am no longer a twink and losing weight is extremely hard at this age. I have to starve myself and workout every day and I barely lose any weight. Being a bottom like me, there is not much market for you if you are no longer in your 20s and you are neither muscular or twink-ish. At least that is how it is from where I came from.

I feel stuck in my situation. I don't want to grow old alone or having forced to marry a woman and living a lie. However I might have to choose between those 2 options if nothing changes. 😔.

Lonely guy

It had been about 2 weeks since he sent the email, so as soon as I'd read it I replied immediately:

Dear Lonely Guy,

I just got your email, because I only check my GB inbox rarely these days. Sorry to hear about your situation. Whatever country you're in, without doubt you're not the only gay guy there who has these kind of problems. Let me think a bit, and then I'll do a post for you on my old blog, without revealing you email address of course.

Do you have any more information you'd like to share at this stage? In any case, for now, just remember that you are not alone 🙂.

GB xxx

We ended up exchanging quite a few emails, and apart from his dating problem, he told me about some other difficulties that he's having at the moment.

Looking back through my old blog posts, I've said it so many times, but confidence is the key to success in so many areas of life. Confidence is mental strength, the certain knowledge that whatever happens in life one can deal with it, and the inner calm that accompanies that knowledge. When I read his first email I felt that perhaps he lacked confidence, so at one point during our email conversation I wrote:

Maybe you should try and build a bit more confidence somehow. Do you have any ideas about how you might do that?

Getting people to solve their own problems always works much better than telling them what the solution might be. But he answered:

Hmmm. I am not sure but I don't think I have a severe self-confidence issue to be honest. I think I am decently confident. I think it was more of a sad & depressed tone that u got from the first email as I am kinda lonely these days.

Sometimes in life, things can spiral downward out of control. A couple of bad things happening at the same time can put a person in a bad frame of mind, and then because of the way they're feeling they underperform in other areas too causing more bad things to happen, and so things continue like that going from bad to worse to even worser! That may have happened with this guy, and then with no family, friends or boyfriend to support him, he ends up sending me his first email with the sad and depressed tone.

Nonetheless, because confidence is so important, it is worth making a suggestion for how other readers might improve their confidence. GB suggests taking baby steps to improve one's confidence, and to start by picking tasks that are very easily achievable. For example, if you're often arriving at work a couple of minutes late, can you set your alarm clock to get up just five minutes earlier and then actually get up when the alarm clock goes off for a whole week and get into work on time? Oh, you can, well done, you can achieve stuff, what's the next task to focus on? Even achieving simple tasks boosts confidence. Of course, that task is just an example, each person needs to pick simple tasks that are appropriate for them.

One thing that the reader says in his first email is that when he was younger, slimmer and beautiful it was easy to get a boyfriend. I have a lot to say to that.
  • Firstly, young, slim and beautiful are not the attributes that make long term relationships successful. What about personality, stability, generosity, compassion, wisdom, and an ability to compromise so that it's possible to get through the arguments that all couples inevitably have? Younger guys are generally not as stable or as wise as older guys, but for long term relationships those attributes are more important than beauty and waist size.

  • The beauty implied by the phrase "young and beautiful" is only skin deep. Maybe young and beautiful guys make a quick fuck more enjoyable, but that kind of beauty fades over time, as does youth. Is the reader is looking for young, slim and beautiful guys online? If so, he's not focussing on what's important in a boyfriend.

  • One can't make oneself younger, but not being as slim as one would like is a solvable problem. Admittedly it takes more effort to be slim as one gets older, but I still try to avoid being too fat even though I’m much (much!) older than this reader. Avoiding obesity is also important for health reasons. Excess weight puts more strain on one's heart, more stain on one's knees, and over time that leads to other health problems. Furthermore, if being chubby saps one's confidence when looking for a boyfriend, that’s another important reason to lose weight. GB again recommends taking baby steps rather than trying to follow the latest fad diet. Eat slightly better each week, and do slightly more exercise each week so that over time it gradually becomes a lifestyle habit.

  • I've always agreed with the notion that one can't get someone else to love you until you love yourself, and it feels as though the reader doesn't love himself because he sees himself as not young, slim and beautiful anymore. But there are many forms of beauty. GB would say that a confident person has a beauty that's much more important than the kind of beauty that's only skin deep.
As I said above, the reader told me about some other difficulties that he was having, so at one point I wrote:

With all that's going on in your life, maybe now isn't the best time to look for a boyfriend. But sex can relieve stress, so for now, maybe you should join the 99% of the guys on the gay dating apps who are looking for "Mr Right Now" instead of "Mr Right" 🙂. Is that a good idea?

But he didn't seem to like that idea:

Oh. See I'm such a complicated person haha. Hooking up used to be fine when I was younger but now I don't like it anymore. Don't want to even see any naked picture unless it's my boyfriend. I don't know, every time I hooked up, right after that I feel so cheap. You are right though. Maybe I should sort things out for myself first but it would be lovely to have a bf so that I could feel less lonely.

However, since the reader doesn't have a boyfriend, and since the reader wants a boyfriend, I would suggest that he approach any hook up as the first meeting with a guy who might become his boyfriend. Why feel cheap after a hook-up when one was meeting up with the most honourable of intentions 👍? 15 years ago I did a blog post with the title The gaydar advantage, and it's very relevant here. That post was written before grindr existed, but I guess if I was writing it today I'd call it "The grindr advantage" 😂. The advantage is real and relates to The pure thoughts of an uncluttered male mind, so those old posts are well worth a read.

Meeting up in bars or club is another way to meet potential boyfriends, but the reader says that he doesn't go to clubs some bad stuff happened when he was young. Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner I haven't asked him what happened, but that attitude reminds me of the old cartoons where Wile E. Coyote is trying to catch the Road Runner. Wile E. Coyote had many ingenious schemes which almost always fail, but even when I was watching these as a boy I wondered why he never tried to repeat any of the schemes which had only failed in a very unlikely way 😆. So maybe there are different clubs or places where he could go to meet potential boyfriends, and if so, don't be like Wile E. Coyote. What doesn’t kill you makes stronger, so learn from the past experience and give it another go!

I also wonder about the situation with his friends and his parents. He says that he doesn't want to be forced to marry a woman and live a lie, but living a lie is what he's doing with all of them at the moment. If he can come out to any or all of them at some point and eventually get their support, then that would help him build his confidence. But this is a "chicken or egg" situation, which comes first? To come out and tell someone that one is gay one has to feel confident that one can handle whatever the reaction is, and even though he describes himself as "decently confident", it seems to me that the reader isn't in the right frame of mind yet. So for now, I don’t think he should tell anyone, but I do think it should be a medium term aim to tell both family and close friends. My experience is that parents eventually accept the situation if they can see that it’s true and that it makes their son or daughter happy. In my case, my relationship with my family improved a lot after I came out to them, because before I came out I was quite distant from everyone.

Anyway, I've written enough. If any other readers see this post and have any relevant thoughts, please leave a comment. 🙏

Sunday, March 19, 2023

An unexpected chat about penis size

Party tent in a large gardenIt's around midnight and the party is in full swing. I step out of the main area to relax on the seating in the quieter area outside, and soon I'm chatting to two of the other guests who're young women.

"Hi," I say, "I'm GB 🙂. You're P and that F, did I remember that right?"

"Yes, that's right!" replies P, "You're K's boyfriend aren't you?"

"Indeed I am 👍," I confirm, "we've been together for over 9 years now 🙂."

"Wow, I've never managed a relationship for more than 1 year," says P.

We chat a bit about the party and the other guests, but soon we're talking about relationships again.

"You're British, right?" asks P, "so how come you've got an Asian boyfriend instead of British one?"

"I used to have a British boyfriend called S, but I'm a bit of a 'rice queen' now. That's gay slang for a gay westerner who likes Asian men!"

"So you've had lots of Asian boyfriends?"

"Well, I'm not a slut," I lie, "but I have been with a few Asian guys of different nationalities. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean …"

"Oh Korean!" says P with a bit of sheepish tone in her voice, "I've never been with a Korean guy but I've heard about them, is it true?"

For some reason she expects me to understand what she's asking. Although I'm pretty sure that I do know what she means, I simply look at her with a puzzled expression.

"Well, you know," she continues, giving me a knowing look and indicating down to her groin, "I've heard that they're not very big down there, but I don't know whether to believe what I've heard of not."

Hunch confirmed 🤣! I almost burst out laughing, because I can't believe I've suddenly got into a conversation about penis size with a couple of young women who I barely know. I decide to tell the truth.

"Um, well," I say, wondering how to be diplomatic, "I'd say they're definitely smaller than average, but size isn't important for me, what's important is whether they're a good person or not."

"Oh really, so it's true," laughs P, "so I'll believe what I've heard!"

"How do you know what's small and what's big," asks F, who had been quite throughout the conversation. It seems like a strange question to me, so again I look at P quizzically.

"F is still a virgin," explains P in a quiet voice.

"Oh OK, well, let's talk about average first".

"In my experience, I'd say this is average," and I indicate about 15cm with my index fingers.

"This is definitely very large," I say indicating around 20cm, "and this is small". I indicate around 10cm for small.

"I was with a Singaporean guy a while ago," interrupts P, "and he really was very small!"

She raises her hands and indicates around 8cm with her index fingers.

"I had to ask 'Are you inside me yet?' I couldn't feel a thing 😆!"

"That's not small, I'd say that's tiny!" I laugh.

"But they can be this big," says P, indicating 25cm with her index fingers.

"Well, yes," I agree, "but I've only ever seen that in porn photos. I'm talking sizes that I've actually seen."

Before we can start chatting about girth, another party guest comes out of party's main area and interrupts us, so the conversation moves onto other subjects. I thought it was only gay men that were obsessed with penis size!

Friday, December 23, 2022

What’s the gay male equivalent to a “mistress”?

When a married man regularly has sex with a woman who’s not his wife, the English language has a word for it. Any fluent English speaking reader knows that the woman is called a “mistress”. In recent years I’ve been spending some time in Thailand and I now know that there’s a similar word in the Thai language too, namely เมียน้อย which literally means “little wife”. In Thai, the male equivalent to a “little wife” might be a “little husband”, i.e. ผัวน้อย. But in English, calling a single gay man a “mister” if he regularly has sex with a guy in a gay relationship seems a bit odd to me. Can anyone think of a better word?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

What's the definition of a gay slut?

It's late at night in a downtown gay bar, and we've all had a bit too much to drink. There's me and boyfriend K, my old friend D his husband W, and a relatively new friend called N with his young boyfriend R.

"R just asked me if you've ever been a slut?" N asks me in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. The tone of voice seems slightly inappropriate given the nature of the question.

"Well," I giggle, unfazed by the personal nature of the question, "it depends when you mean by slut?"

While N is considering his response, I consider my dating and cruising history and can't help volunteering a simple answer to the question.

"Whatever definition you think is appropriate," I continue, "the answer is probably 'Yes'. My relationship with ex-boyfriend S came to an end after 18 years because I couldn't keep my trousers up!"

"I think a slut is a guy who's had two different cocks on the same day," says N, ignoring my confession, but answering my request for a definition of slut :-).

"Shouldn't that be 'two or more'?" I query with another giggle.

I glance over at D and W who had been listening to this conversation, and having heard N's definition, they've both got guilty looks on their face.

"I'm not a slut because I'm a virgin," says boyfriend K playfully. Everyone laughs, because boyfriend K is most certainly NOT a virgin!

Although N's definition of a gay slut is ostensibly quite a good one, it strikes me that most gay men go through a promiscuous phase during which they're likely to have two (or more!) cocks on the same day. And a definition of slut which includes pretty much all gay men seems a bit unhelpful.

Even though I doubt that I have any blog readers anymore, if anyone happens to see this post and has a better definition of slut, then please leave a comment :-).

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Email from a reader who's single again

How many times a year, does a blogger need to blog so that they can call themselves a blogger? I still like to think of myself as a blogger, but at present I'm only managing one or two a year, which probably isn't enough!

In any case, last month I got a "Dear GB" email from a reader who had emailed me three times previously. The new email was as follows:

Dear GB,

I hope you're well. How's retirement? And boyfriend K?

I can't believe it has been 9 years since my first email to you (here) and a couple of years since the subsequent ones (here and here). I recently saw you post a reply to an email and figured I'd share this on the off chance that you might see it and respond.

Interestingly, a couple of months after my last email to you (in 2014), I got into a relationship that would last 5 years. We broke up late last year and I've found myself dating again. Much of the behaviour that I mentioned to you in 2014 (i.e. pushing people away, finding faults in them, and mistrust) is re-appearing. Notably, during the 5 year relationship, my ex mentioned multiple times that he felt as if he was a placeholder and I was always looking for someone better.

What I've learnt since then (which was the focus 2014 email) is that I have a dismissive-avoidant attachment style. I've traced it to childhood experiences, moving around often and being raised by a single parent (who was often travelling for work) which resulted in me taking care of myself and avoiding close emotional attachments. Toxic masculinity and being a bookish misfit may have contributed to repressing my emotional needs. It goes without saying that I should be seeing a therapist (which I'll likely do once the pandemic is over).

Anyway, 6 years since we last spoke and newly single, I'm curious about the following (considering your vast experience with long-term committed relationships and as an agony uncle for gay men):
  1. What made you decide that Boyfriend K was the one? How have you stuck by that belief?;
  2. What do you look for in a long term partner? Were those expectations ever fully met?;
  3. Any tips pertaining to my situation? :)
It may be noteworthy that I currently live in a country that criminalizes homosexuality (and has no anti-discrimination provisions), which means that most men are seeking instant gratification and see relationships as liabilities. Then there's the prevalence of transactional relationships in both gay and straight dating scenes, which does nothing to ease my mistrust. I've considered moving to a more liberal environment. However, part of me wonders whether that's a form of self-sabotage in itself (by chasing an arguably less attainable goal that simply finding someone nice where I am; plus I've spent years in the gay scenes of European cities while I was studying, it's not particularly easy to get into a relationship there either).

Your advice is (as always) very much appreciated. Regards.

It's always nice to get emails like this, and looking at the email in detail, the reader asks a lot of questions. The first question he asks is "How's retirement?". My blog post two years ago said that I was happily retired from banking, however I'm still not retired from work in general. Otherwise I'd probably find time to blog more! In any case, without doubt, life after banking is good :-).

The second question that the reader asks is "And boyfriend K?". I'm happy to report that we're still together after almost 7 years :-). So the answer to that question is "Still wonderful :-)".

The other questions that the reader asks are a bit more serious. He asks "What made you decide that Boyfriend K was the one?", "How have you stuck by that belief?", "What do you look for in a long term partner?" and "Were those expectations ever fully met?". However, I think those questions imply an inappropriate selfishness, because the questions are all about whether the needs of the questioner are fulfilled or not. I think good long term relationships happen when a couple work well together, compensating for each other's weaknesses as well as fulfilling each other's needs. I don't have a set of criteria against which I evaluated potential boyfriends, or against which I now evaluate boyfriend K.

I really hate the expression "follow your heart" because it's so glib, but perhaps it does describe the way I ended up with all of my boyfriends. More concretely, I think what I was always looking for was mutual empathy, but I never sat back and thought about it in those terms. When I meet any guy for the first time, after a short while I usually know whether we're on the same wavelength or not. If so, I'd wonder whether we can become friends, and when I was single I'd also wonder whether we might become boyfriends. Of course, after just one meeting I'd never know whether a relationship could possibly work. But if I felt we were on the same wavelength then it would be worth trying getting to know them better, and trying to work out how they felt about me. Ultimately one never knows whether a relationship will work until one tries. However, I'm the sort of guy who likes having a boyfriend, so I'd always like to give it a try instead of overthinking it.

I won't pretend that I never quarrel with boyfriend K because sometimes we do. However, when we've resolved the situation after a big disagreement, I usually look back and feel that the final outcome is better that what would have happened to either of us on our own. In most situations, two heads are better than one.

After a big quarrel with boyfriend K last year, I remember him asking me why I wanted to stay with him. My answer was that whoever my boyfriend is, we're bound to quarrel from time to time. When there are so many good things in a relationship, it's pointless ending the relationship just because there are occasional bad things. A different boyfriend would just mean that the occasional bad things would be different. It's important to accept that none of us are perfect, and that perfect boyfriends don't exist.

Regarding the reader's situation, I was curious about his comment that he lives in a country that criminalizes homosexuality, so I sent him an email to ask him which country he lives in. Eventually the reader replied, and it turns out that a gay male friend of mine married a man from that country and the two of them now live in Europe. They were married in Europe too, and without thinking about it, some of their friends who were at the wedding posted some wedding photographs on Facebook. Those photographs were then accidentally seen by some of the man's friends back in his home country, and the photographs attracted a huge amount of homophobic abuse :-( . So I am tempted to suggest that, if at all possible, the reader should try and move to a different country where homosexuality is legal and tolerated. I find myself wondering, how many happy gay couples does the reader know who live in the country? If the answer is very few, and if the reader wants a long term boyfriend or husband, it suggests to me that he won't find one in the country where he's living at the moment.

Apart from that, based on my own approach to relationships, I would just suggest one thing. When he's interested in a guy as a potential boyfriend, he shouldn't just think about himself. Try thinking about what would make the other guy happy as well :-).

Do any other readers have any thoughts about this reader's situation?