Monday, October 29, 2007

How do I meet other gay professionals in Asia?

Just over a week ago, I received the following email from a gay guy in Asia:

Dear GB,

I just found your blog by chance and I think it's great! Thanks for all the information. I just need a little bit of advice, and would be most grateful if you could help.

I am oriental, and now not a banker. I am a lawyer with one of the magic circle firms, and now aged around 30. I just fully accepted that I am gay, and will now stop dating women. All my life, whether in the City, HK or BKK (where I am now based) I have always fancied male clients and colleagues. They are of course lawyers and bankers! The problem is that we are all straight acting, and if we fancy another straight acting gay person we never get to know. No one is certain so no first move! I just found out from a senior VP of a bank that after 7 years of having worked together, he really fancies me! Days go by without knowing where and how to find like minded people even though you work with and talk to them every day!

How do we get to know others gay professionals in our societies? It's hard. Do you know any similar blog or website for professional gay bankers mainly in Asia? I have moved back to Thailand now.

Again, your views would be most welcome.

Warm regards

I feel I should say straight away that I have no idea what the answer to this guy's problem is :-(. In London we have the interbank drinks, the village drinks, and also citypink for lesbians. But in Asia, I don't know of anything equivalent, in any of the major cities.

Now that my boyfriend number 2 knows about this blog, I asked him for his advice because he's originally from Singapore. But I didn't think his reply was very useful! All he said was

Ask him to check out He'll find plenty of dates and mates there.

Of course, I would have mentioned anyway. It's the gay dating web site which is based in Asia, and I know about it because I myself have had a profile with them for over two and a half years. I expect the reader who sent me the email knows about it too! But in terms of a web site focussed on gay professionals in Asia, I have no idea.

If there isn't any way for gay professionals to meet in Asian cities, perhaps it's a business opportunity for some of the local gay professionals? In any case, since I'm clueless here, the main purpose of this Dear GB posting is to get reader's views. So does anyone know of any way for gay professionals to meet each other in Asia?

Friday, October 26, 2007

A surprise for boyfriend number 2

Beach photoOn the first Wednesday in October, I got an email from boyfriend number 2. Nothing unusual about that because we email each other all the time, but what he had to say came as a pleasant surprise:

bf#2: Hey GB, are you able to take a few days off work in Mid October? If so, perhaps we could go somewhere warm and sunny together? I know this is a bit last minute. But will be fun to get away so impromptu like this!

It turns out that I can indeed get time off from the bank, so I get on to my travel agent to find a suitably elegant spa hotel in the Caribbean for us. And a week and a half later, the day after my afternoon in New York city, I'm flying down to the Bahamas for a short holiday with boyfriend number 2. I haven't seen him since our trip to Fire Island in June, so it'll be good to catch up with him face to face.

Over breakfast at the start of our second day, we're chatting about Roman history.

"I always thought that it was Julius Caesar who was the first Roman emperor," I say to boyfriend number 2.

"No, it was Augustus Caesar, I'm 120% sure!" replies boyfriend number 2 sounding quite confident.

Although I studied Latin at school that was quite a long time ago, so when we get back to our room I go over to my laptop to see who's right.

"OK," I admit, "it seems like you're right, I've got it up on wikipedia."

"See, I told you," says boyfriend number 2 triumphantly, leaning over my shoulder.

"Hey GB," he continues, "what's that minimised web page, it says 'Gay Banker'?"

OH BUGGER! I've done it again!! Last year, my friend P spotted 'Gay Banker' on my PDA, but as far as I know he didn't connect me to this blog.

"Errrr, well, ..." I stammer. Although I've thought about coming out to boyfriend number 2 as a blogger in the past, in the end I decided against the idea, "It's, it's just a web site that I sometimes visit ...".

I sound very unconvincing and I know it :-(.

"Don't you think it's rude to look at what's on other peoples laptops?" I say going on the attack, but feeling annoyed with myself for allowing myself to get into this situation.

"Oh come on, what is 'Gay Banker'?" says boyfriend number 2 again, really curious now. "Some porn site I bet. You may as well tell me because you know I'll just Google it and find out anyway!"

"I'll, um, tell you later ..."

Luckily we're about to go out so I manage to change the subject. But what on earth can I do? It would be much better if I tell boyfriend number 2 about my blog, rather than letting him find it for himself, but what will he think about all those conversations of his that I've blogged about?

Calming down a bit, I realise that I've got a few hours to prepare myself to tell him about this blog. We've both got massage treatments booked in the hotel spa, so he won't have a chance to use Google until after that. If I manage to get back first then I can probably delay him until after dinner, which is good because coming out as a blogger would probably best be done over dinner.

Everything goes according to plan. Although I get back from the spa after him, he's calmly reading a magazine on the terrace. I doubt he could have got back much before me so my secret must still be safe.

But what's the best way to tell him? Saying "I've got a confession to make ..." implies there's something wrong with what I've been doing, and invites a negative response. I decide to take a piece of my own advice. Applying the confidence mirror concept, I have to be confident about my blog in order to get the right reaction.

A few hours later, we're in the best restaurant at the neighbouring hotel and I decide that it's now or never.

"There's something important that you don't know about me," I say smiling, "and I don't think you'll ever guess!"

"Really, what?" says boyfriend number 2, looking slightly concerned.

"Don't worry, it's nothing bad," I reply, and taking a deep breath I go for it, "I'm a blogger :-). I've been blogging anonymously about my personal life since my visit to Singapore in February 2005. For a blogger I've got a reasonably sized readership, and you're one of the major characters!"

"No!! Really :-)??" he replies.

"Uh huh, at present I get an average of over 400 visitors to my blog each day! But don't worry, everything is anonymous so I don't mention your name, you're called 'boyfriend number 2'."

"Seriously ... ?"

"As part of my blog I'm also an agony uncle! Every now and then, people email me about problems in their personal lives, and I post responses on my blog."

"So you're a celebrity blogger, I can't believe it!"

"Well, no, I don't have anywhere like a large enough readership to be a 'celebrity blogger', but I suppose it's successful in a minor way :-)! Most of the blog relates to what I've been doing, including various encounters with guys if you know what I mean, so if you read it then you're effectively reading my personal private diary."

"Oh, perhaps I shouldn't read it then," says boyfriend number 2 looking slightly embarrassed.

"I don't know, it's up to you. Perhaps you should just read the bits about you, so that you know what I've been saying?"

I can see from his face that boyfriend number 2 doesn't really know what to think about all of this. But given that he's one of the major characters, I decide to make one thing clear.

"There's something I want to say though," I say smiling, and looking him straight in the eye, "you're much more important to me than my blog. So if you don't like it, or if I've said something you don't like, then I'll change it, or even delete my entire blog if you want me to."

Even though this is all new to him, I can tell that he knows that this is an important statement. He smiles back at me lovingly.

"Well, perhaps I should read some of it, I'm quite intrigued now. But promise me that you won't change anything, I want to read what everyone else has read!"

"Well, there are 450 posts now. It would be a monumental task for me to go through it all and make sure there's nothing that I think would offend you. So I promise I won't touch it."

We chat a bit more and soon our first course arrives.

"Actually," says boyfriend number 2 looking a bit sheepish, "I've got a confession to make too."

"Uh huh?" I say smiling, "so what have you been up to?"

"I knew! I've known about 'Gay Banker' for four hours now!! I know I was reading a magazine when you got back from your massage but in fact I was back about 30 minutes before you and I knew I had time. I didn't get it straight away, but Google is a wonderful tool :-)!"

I burst into laughter.

"So what would you have done if I hadn't told you?" I ask, feeling slightly cheated out of my revelation.

"I guess I'd have become one of your readers!"

Over the course of the next few days we chat about blogging, and I point boyfriend number 2 to some of the posts which relate to him.

"Actually, it's not too bad," he admits when he's seen a few of the more important ones. He even giggles a bit at the post about the nightmare I had.

"Perhaps I should become a blogger too?" says boyfriend number 2 toward the end of the holiday, "I've got a few stories to tell too you know!"

"I'd love to become your first reader," I say giving him a peck on the lips. "If you want to do it, let's set it up while we're here, in case there's anything you want help with."

"Great, but I warn you," says boyfriend number 2 with a glint in his eye, "I've been dating quite a few guys, especially in recent months :-). I hope you won't be shocked by what I get up to!"

As yet, boyfriend number 2 hasn't got around to setting up his own blog. But if he does (and if he lets me know where his blog is!) then I'll do a small posting about it :-).

It's finally happened. Someone I blog about has discovered this blog. So what does the future hold for 'GB'? I guess I'd better make a promise to all my existing readers. As long as boyfriend number 2 doesn't ask me to delete this blog, I promise that my blogging style won't change. The truth is, I simply enjoy blogging too much!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dear GB

I've been living with my main boyfriend since 1989 and I absolutely adore him, however my relationship with him is not monogamous. I started playing around in the mid 1990's and I made sure he didn't find out about it because I knew it would upset him. But ten years later when our relationship was going through a rocky patch in spring 2005, I actually ended up going away on holiday with someone else, and I now regard that guy as a second boyfriend. I admitted everything to my main boyfriend when I got back from that holiday. After a lot of talking, including extensive relationship counselling, our lives seemed to settle down. The fact that the second boyfriend lives in a different country did ease some of my main boyfriend's concerns. With my main boyfriend's knowledge, I've carried on seeing my second boyfriend every now and then.

It now turns out that my main boyfriend had successfully managed to keep his personal crisis about the situation to himself. The relationship counselling which we had together stopped over a year ago, but three months ago he told me that he subsequently found a counsellor just for himself and that he's been seeing him ever since. The settled lives that I thought we had were an illusion, because he told me that every day he was waking up thinking about the same question, namely whether he should leave me or not. This became the only thing he could think about, so it got to the point where his mental health was deteriorating badly.

I have no idea what to do, although I do know that I have to help my main boyfriend recover somehow. My best idea for that is to buy him a place to live near me, so that we no longer have to share the same house, but none the less we can perhaps still stay boyfriends. I think that will help him past the question that's been haunting him, as well as giving him the financial security that he lacks. But in fact, after that, perhaps it's better for both of us to stop being boyfriends and try to be close friends instead? And should I try and make a new life with my second boyfriend, if it turns out that he's interested in a deeper relationship than the one we currently have? The problem with that is that he lives in a different country, although I can envisage circumstances which might allow me to move to be with him or vice-versa. There are other guys in my life too, but the only really significant ones are boyfriend number 1 and boyfriend number 2.

I feel that the only certainty in my life is that the future will be very different to the life that I've had in recent years. But trying to work out what that life should be, I feel lost. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Email from a female reader with a bisexual ex-boyfriend

Early last week, I got the following email from an Asian female reader:

Dear GB,

My ex-boyfriend and I are 24 years old. We've been together for two years, and we're still very close. We broke up because we couldn't take the stress of a long distance relationship. But I just learned that there was one other reason for the break. Recently, he told me he was bisexual, and it was just this year that he fully accepted his bisexuality.

In the past, he's had crushes on women and has been in relationships with them. However, he told me that he has also been attracted to men since puberty; but he has never acted on them. Even with all the opportunities he has to be with other men, he has never taken advantage of them.

He also says that he still loves me very much, and wants to get married to me, and be a good father. I asked him if he will be completely faithful to me after marriage. He said yes. He also says that he doesn't ever want to act on any of his attractions to other men. I'm inclined to believe him because he's a very disciplined, strong person.

We're able to sexually satisfy each other, so at least I know he still gets aroused by me. He also trusts me completely, and tells me everything he feels.

As much as I want things between us to be okay, I just have 2 niggling thoughts at the back of my head:

1. How can I be sure that he isn't just in a transition phase, and that he's not gay?
2. Can I really trust that he'll be completely faithful to me? I'm worried that I won't be able to satisfy all his desires.

At first I was very shocked at his confession. Being Asian and Catholic, we're not really used to being open about these things. That's why I sympathize about the anguish and despair he must have felt while deciding on his sexuality. And I still love him very much. He's now undergoing counseling with a good therapist.

I hope you can answer these two questions. It will really help. Thanks so much GB! :)

In my experience genuine bisexuals are rare, however this reader's ex-boyfriend certainly might be one. But I'm concerned by the fact that he doesn't want to act on his attractions to other men. It sounds as though he could still be in denial about his sexuality to some extent. At his age, I think it would be healthier to experiment, especially because one of the reader's worries is that he might really be gay. He'll only be in a position to judge whether he is a real bisexual or not once he's experienced the intimate company of both men and women, so I think the reader needs to encourage him to do this. If the "good counsellor" that this guy is seeing has a different view, and for example encourages him to suppress his feelings or pretend that he's straight, then in my opinion the counsellor is doing much more harm than good.

I also think that the Catholic religion is notorious for suppressing people's true sexuality. The anti-gay teachings of the Catholic church, indoctrinated from an early age, have a very strong influence and make everyone want to be straight even if they're not. So as the reader suggests, he could be saying that he's bisexual because he can't yet admit the truth about really being gay. If he resists the idea of experimenting with the gay side of his sexuality, then my guess is that he's really gay rather than bisexual but can't fully admit it to himself yet.

If he's only got very mild attractions to other men, then perhaps he will be able to suppress these feelings forever. More likely though, if he keeps it bottled up inside him, eventually it will reach a point where his feelings for guys erupt in some uncontrollable fashion. Again, I think it's best for him to find out the truth now, rather than make commitments to this reader that he eventually might not be able to keep.

If he decides he's gay, that means by definition that the two of them are not sexually compatible as a couple, so they could remain close friends but shouldn't marry. On the other hand, if they can satisfy each other sexually, then there are further choices to be made in connection with monogamy.

My previous 'Dear GB' posting about bisexuality was fascinating because there was a huge divergence of opinion in the comments. Some comments reckoned that monogamy is possible for bisexuals, others disagreed. But it's clear that male bisexuals can have successful long term relationships with women. There was one woman who sometimes feels that she'd be happy to let her bisexual man sleep with other men. Perhaps the reader here might feel the same way? Probably not because judging from her email, she's looking for a monogamous committment. But I've said many times in this blog that monogamy shouldn't be the issue, the issue is whether a couple are compatible as long term companions and life partners. In the world's main urban centres, sex is very much a commodity, but love is hard to find. Anyway, if the reader were to marry him on the understanding that he's occasionally allowed to sleep with guys, there's a health issue because she needs to be sure that he always has safe sex with other guys, so that he doesn't pass anything on to her.

Again looking at my previous posting about bisexuality, all the bisexuals that left comments have made very adult choices about how to lead their lives. They've experienced sex with both genders, and have subsequently made choices about the gender of their long term partner and whether to be monogamous or not. Until the reader's ex-boyfriend is in the same situation, I don't think he's adult enough to make the choices that he seems to be making. So at present, I think that a relationship with him would be a bad idea.

For another opinion, I asked the same Asian bisexual guy that I asked last time. He said:

I don't think I can answer this question in an unbiased manner. I can only say that I applaud the man's honesty, but I do not think that it was the best move if he wants to marry and have a happy relationship with this gal. My experiences with women with issues tell me that women are not very good at handling truths about their partners. While they may accept what has been said to them, they always tend to suffer from "niggling thoughts". And when the couple quarrel, these niggling thoughts surface into explosive accusations and the likes. In the long run, such thoughts erode the quality of the relatoinship. Hmmm ... not a good move at all I think. And somehow, I suspect she will not appreciate my advice to other men in that situation to lie/doublethink.

Do any readers have any other thoughts on this subject?

Update 1-Jun-2011: Relationships with bisexual men: a cautionary tale

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Ritz

Finding myself at a loose end in New York city last Saturday afternoon, I decide to go and see a matinee. The previous evening, I'd spotted a bill board showing three naked guys with towels wrapped round their waists. Naturally this catches my attention, and on investigation it turns out to be a revival of the play "The Ritz" by Terrence McNally, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Terrence McNally is famous for his controversial play Corpus Christi where Jesus Christ and the Apostles are depicted as gay men living in modern day Texas! With a strong gay theme and with a few naked guys thrown in for good measure, "The Ritz" seems like a good bet :-).

The play itself is a farce, set in a pre-aids 1970's gay bathhouse, and it's very entertaining. Even better, it turns out that afterwards there's a question and answer session with Terrence McNally himself. It's fascinating listening to what he has to say.

"We painted the original stage set battleship gray," says McNally, "but later we switched it to a much brighter, more cheerful colour. As a result, we got maybe 75% more laughs with an identical script, we didn't change a word!"

"How do you think the film of the play compares to the play itself," someone asks from the audience.

"Well, the film's main actors were from the original stage play, but somehow it wasn't as good. Perhaps one problem was that the director of the film never came to see the play. It was filmed in England too so it's full of pasty British bodies :-(, not really my thing!"

The audience laughs, while I sit there wondering whether I've got a pasty British body!

"Did you update the play for 2007?" asks another member of the audience.

"No, not really. Sure, some of the jokes could have been rewritten to make them current, but one doesn't update Shakespeare's plays so why update this one! What we did do was cut a few lines though, but not many, 5 or 6 perhaps. Don't forget that this play was written before Aids, so given what we know now we felt that a few lines had to go."

After the question and answer session, it's still only 4:45pm in the afternoon, so there's time for a bit of shopping along fifth avenue. And while buying a casual jacket in one of the department stores, I get chatting about "The Ritz" to one of the older shop assistants.

"Really, you saw "The Ritz" this afternoon?" says the guy who's clearly gay, "I know someone who's in it, but I haven't had time to see it yet."

"Really?" I say, surprised by the co-incidence.

"But I know they've had to change a lot from the original. I actually saw the original in the 1970's, and it was really OUTRAGEOUS!"

"Actually Terrence McNally was answering questions afterwards," I reply, not sure whether to believe this guy or not, "and McNally said that the play was identical to the original apart from a few lines which they cut out."

"That's as maybe honey but believe me, the guy who's directed this production has made it much less promiscuous than the original. Don't get me wrong, it's the right thing to do. When the original was made no one knew about Aids!"

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Apart from the new jacket that I managed to buy, I was glad to have the opportunity to hear Terrence McNally talking about his plays. Even if he does think that British guys have pasty bodies!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An enjoyable evening with another Gay Banker

Monty hadn't yet come out as gay the last time I visited Sydney, Australia. But with one year as an out gay man now under his belt, we took the opportunity to catch up with each other recently on a spare evening during his current visit to London.

Pub imageSince we both work for banks, we decide to meet in The Counting House, a pub which used to be a bank in the City of London. I arrive first so I grab a stool near the entrance, and before too long Monty arrives and starts to look round for me. I stand up and beckon him over to where I'm sitting.

"So would you like a pint of traditional 'warm' English beer," I joke with him, "the good thing about this pub is that they serve Fuller's London Pride :-)."

"I haven't had much English beer, but I'm happy to try some as long as it's not TOO warm!" replies Monty , settling down onto the adjacent stool.

"It'll be cellar temperature, which should be fine :-). Some foreigners joke about English beer being too warm, but the truth is that it's just not as cold as the ice-chilled lager that some guys are used to."

It doesn't take long to get served and soon we're drinking our pints, chatting about London, and talking about what he's been up to since he arrived last week.

"Actually, we better be off soon," I say to him after about twenty minutes, "otherwise we'll be late for the restaurant!"

I'd made a reservation in a good riverside restaurant, and although it wouldn't matter if we were slightly late, I always feel more comfortable if I'm on time. And although the taxi that I'd booked to take us there was a bit late, half an hour later we're admiring the view of St Paul's that we've got from the table we've been given.

Oxo tower view"I presume you'll have a glass of wine or two?" I ask him. Talking to an Australian guy, I know that it's almost a rhetorical question.

"Yes a glass :-)," grins Monty , "or two ... !"

I order a bottle of 2002 grand cru Chablis for white and some 1999 Chambertin Clos de Beze for red, and soon I'm learning about some of the Australian bloggers who've left occasional comments on my blog.

"There weren't that many guys at the Sydney bloggers meet in February," Monty tells me, "but there were over 20 guys at the last one in July!"

As the evening progresses we gradually learn more and more about each other, and as the wine flows, the conversation slowly moves onto more interesting subjects.

"One of the nice things about being gay is the way that some single gay guys have casual activities with their gay friends," says Monty , "I mean, some of your friends fall into that category don't they?"

"Well I guess so. Although with me, I usually meet a guy for fun first, and then sometimes we become friends after that. My gorgeous Japanese masseur is probably in that category :-)."

"Yeah," replies Monty , "there's just no equivalent in the straight world is there :-)".

All too soon it's time to order dessert, and we suddenly realise that we've finished BOTH bottles of wine!

"Well we could order another bottle?" I say to Monty grinning mischievously, "I'm sure we could find something on the wine list that's worth our attention!"

The sommelier talks us into a bottle of South African chardonnay, and we carry on chatting. The wine turns out to be rather average, but at this stage of the evening, it doesn't seem important.

"So I read in your blog that your parents haven't spoken to you since you came out to them," I say to Monty, "that sounds terrible!"

"Yeah," replies Monty looking sad now, "and I do miss my mum and dad :-(".

Although it's a crowded restaurant, I suddenly feel very sad too and I reach out to him across the table. He reaches across to me and holds my hand. That's another nice thing about being gay, I think to myself, gay guys aren't afraid of showing their feelings.

Eventually it's time to go, so I get the restaurant to order a couple of taxis for us. It takes the taxis a while to arrive, but eventually we're making our way outside and it's time to say goodbye.

"Well it's been great meeting you Monty ," I say to him as we're standing next to our taxis, and I lean forward and give him a quick kiss on his lips. But after the emotion of some of the things that we've been talking about, and having been holding hands with him in the restaurant, and with too much wine inside me, for a couple of seconds I kind of forget to stop kissing him! Then, I suddenly remember my policy on meeting guys who know that I'm GB.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that," I apologise, "and completely outside my policy too, I'm so sorry!"

"Oh damm your policy," laughs Monty , and inside I'm thinking the same!

We get into our separate taxis, and on the way back to boyfriend number 1, I get a txt msg from Monty thanking me for a pleasant evening [which he also confirms a couple of days later in one of his posts about his holiday]. I've really enjoyed meeting him too, so I send a quick reciprocal message in response.

It was Groucho Marx who said something like "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members". Which is why I need to keep meetings with people who know I'm GB at a purely social level. People who know I'm GB have read my blog, so they know exactly how badly I can behave. If what they know doesn't concern them, then how on earth can I trust their judgement!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Email from a guy with a potential boyfriend situation

A week or two ago, I was happy to get an email from the South African reader who'd had a problem situation with his ex-boyfriend. The email was as follows:

Dear GB,

I know I have written one of these letters before, and that it might seem impertinent of me to do so repeatedly, but I am again in some personal distress. Your prior advice certainly was helpful and I was hoping that you might have some of the same for my current situation. I usually take ages to reach a decision of any importance, and to do so I try to accumulate as much information as possible. How else is my decision supposed to be informed?

Things have worked out quite well since I last wrote. I have actually been out and about so much these last few months that I hardly ever have time to worry about my silly ex-boyfriend situation. Ah to be young, stupid and insecure!...

I still pretty much believe the Internet is a bust (I am sorry guys, but it is true, for me at least) I still mostly get horny 18 year olds or hornier 50+ year olds replying to my ad(s). [Yes, I created multiple profiles for all the different interesting sides of my person - no one has seemed to notice... ] I really am not into copious quantities of casual encounters, so I end up meeting a few guys who sound nice but who actually still feel slighted that I turn down their offers to go home with them after dinner. They tend to just not reply to my messages after that. I consider that rude, and my profiles have all been swept from the information highway!

I have actually reconnected quite well with four or five of my (our) old friends. It turns out that attending parties with them and my ex is not even half as bad as I expected. Dragonzlad was spot-on in his prediction. I get more attention than my ex does anyway ;-) These old friends live about 100km away though, so I only see them about once or twice a month.

The fun part has actually been smiling at men, that does work! Thanks Kevin. I also made a new friend through the woman I share a house with, he introduced me to his friends and voila; instant support structure if you please. I went out with them a few times, got to know the hangouts and after that I even became confident enough to go out alone. I am friendly with everyone who comes up and talks to me, and have had the most stimulating conversations. Before I knew it, I had invitations and phone numbers (and even some casual encounters with amazingly hot men). People were warming up to me because I warmed up to them, as Monty implied they would.

I took Dreamer's advice and accepted each invitation I got, some truly were uncomfortable and unfun, but most dates were enjoyable at least. I think I might even have met people who will turn out to be long term friends of mine.

And now I have finally met someone I feel a connection with, someone with whom I feel I can have more than the all too common one-nighter. We have been 'dating' now for about six weeks, casually you understand. One or two nights a week we go out for dinner or stay in with a movie. We get along swimmingly during these evenings which invariably end in me staying the night at his place. I have fallen for this man, and I would like the affair to graduate to relationship, the next logical step. How to breach the subject though?

First a little more background: He is about 20 years my senior (in his forties), I have no problem with that, but he has said that it is something he is uncomfortable with. As a fairly long term bachelor and traveling a lot, he is very used to his way of life. I expect that he is used to his affairs being casual though I haven't asked him about that candidly. I am also fairly certain that he is currently seeing other men as well, another fact that doesn't bother me half as much as I thought it would in the past. I haven't questioned him about this either. Up to now we have been having fun together, and I was not expecting exclusivity or gestures of commitment. I have been dating other men too, but none of them have piqued my interest as this one has.

Some time during our last date, he confessed to me that in some time he hasn't felt about anyone as he feels about me and that he had no idea what to do about that. He even informed me that I have the approval of his friends (not that I think he should need their approval). Since then I have started to hope for my fairy-tale ending and it is driving me insane. Do I or do I not start up a conversation about a relationship? If I do and he does not feel as serious about me as I infer he does, it might be the end of it all, no more fun for me (not that I think I will be able to continue as casually as before after confessing to myself that feelings have developed).

What was I thinking? As if life is not difficult enough without me falling for the one person whose feelings I cannot read with any accuracy! My friends (who have not met him) are of different minds: some think he is just unsure about me and my intentions, some that he is unsure about himself his own intentions and some are certain that he is playing me. These friends of mine have no experience with men of an age with him, so I do not trust their judgement implicitly in this matter. Maybe you or your readers have some insights into the mind of an older man...

Thanks for all for the excellent advice last time, and thanks GB for initiating your agony Uncle (or would you prefer Auntie) postings!

Yours sincerely, as always,

Looking through this reader's new email, I'm glad that the advice we all gave proved so useful. So I guess it's no wonder that he's written to me again, now that things have progressed to the next stage :-).

It's interesting that he finds himself attracted to an older guy. One of the attractions of older guys can be their confidence, because by the time a guy reaches his forties he's likely to know his place in the world, and hence have lost all his insecurities. The good thing is, if a guy like that commits to a relationship, he's not likely to change his mind for any trivial reasons.

The good thing is that it's clear that the older guy is starting to think the same way as the reader is. Why else would he have mentioned the fact that his friends approve? But I disagree with the reader when he queries the importance of the approval of the older guy's friends. In any relationship, both guys are likely to have friends from before they met, and it's important on both sides to keep those friendships going. Friends are important to fall back on in case the relationship ever fails. Also, if a guy can't get on with his boyfriend's friends, I think it increases the likelihood that the relationship won't work out long term.

Rather than discussing relationships, I think the next step should be for the older guy to meet the reader's friends. He said that they have not met him yet, and I think they should. They'll be able to give the reader a much more informed view about his potential boyfriend once they have met him. And if for whatever reason the older guy doesn't get on with the reader's friends, that'll give the reader something important to think about. It would certainly be best to know about that in advance.

I reckon small steps are best to try and find the fairy-tale ending that the reader's hoping for. Only once every piece is in place is it worth talking more seriously about relationships, and it sounds to me as though that point hasn't quite been reached yet.

I also doubt that anyone can really read a potential partner with any certainty. If one could, there would be no mystery or excitement in the relationship, so I doubt it would last. And lastly, I'm not the kind of gay guy who feels particularly comfortable in a woman's clothes, so I'd rather be an Uncle than an Auntie LOL!

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?

Monday, October 08, 2007

An nice evening with the Humming Bird

Humming bird pictureLast Thursday, I went out for supper with HBH, author of Humming Bird in Hyde. We'd never been able to have a quiet one-to-one chat with each other before about gay life and blogging etc, so a table for two in a smart restaurant seemed like a good idea.

"So what IS your best Chablis?" I ask one of the sommeliers after we've chosen our food. HBH had delegated the wine selection to me, and when I'd asked the sommelier about a '95 grand cru, he told me he didn't know because it had only been added to the list recently. When he went to ask the head sommelier, he'd come back with a less than glowing report.

"Well that grand cru probably is the best one, sir," the sommelier confesses, "do you want a bottle?"

Anxious to resume my conversation with HBH, I nod my head, and the sommelier scurries off to find one for us.

"You seemed quite tense while choosing the wine," remarks HBH, and thinking about my behaviour I realise that he's quite right.

"Sorry about that," I reply, "I guess I take my enthusiasm for good wine too seriously. I'll try and relax, I promise!"

"Now, about your blog," I continue, "there's one question that I've been dying to ask you. Where on earth do you get all those GORGEOUS pics of guys kissing?"

"You can't expect me to divulge my deepest secrets," laughs HBH, "well, not yet anyway!"

Restaurant pictureWhen it comes, the grand cru Chablis is very good, and turns out to be an excellent complement to the seafood dishes that we'd each ordered. Having read each other's blogs, we chat easily to each other, and later in the evening HBH has a question for me.

"Do you mind if I ask you an intimate question?" he says, putting on his cutest smile.

"Not at all! What do you want to know?"

"Well," replies HBH looking a bit sheepish now, "you never ever mention what you actually get up to with all these guys that you've met, I mean, what do your activities usually entail?"

"So now you want to know some of my deepest secrets," I laugh, "but I'd still like to know where you get all those pics from! Do you ever take any of them yourself?"

HBH looks at me and grins. But in the end though, we do swap a few such secrets with each other :-).

Overall it was a great evening, and judging from his post about it, I think that HBH enjoyed it too :-). It's true that I don't usually meet guys who know that I'm GB, however established bloggers are the exception to that rule. Especially bloggers as charming as HBH!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Email from a guy who's new to London

It's been about a month since my last Dear GB post. But having had a bit of a break from it, I was glad when the following email arrived a few days ago:

Dear GB,

I just moved to London last week and will be here for about a year. How should I go about making new gay friends in London? Most of the friends I've made are girls in my postgrad program, which is predominantly female. They're cool and all, but it's just not the same. Can't go out to a gay bar with them, for example. Speaking of which, any clubs/bars you'd recommend?

Oh, and one more thing. What's your take on the notion that it's hard for an expat to make English friends? I did my undergrad in the US and there are a lot of Americans in my program, so I've been hanging out with them. (And we tend to stick together... as do the Brits).

He's certainly a guy who can ask a lot of questions in a brief email! But they're good questions, and indeed, I should be able to say something sensible about all of them.

As a postgrad, rather than a undergraduate, perhaps events for young gay professionals might be appropriate. Firstly there's an event called the village drinks which takes place monthly, and seems to choose a different venue each time. Although it's just a drinks event, it's less impersonal than simply going into a bar, so I think one could take a female friend for company. Register in advance for a lower admission fee.

Then there's Jake, which I know much less about because it's run by Ivan Massow and I'm not really an Ivan Massow fan. Looking at his his wikipedia entry, I can't help thinking that he probably wrote most of the entry himself! None the less, I know some people do like the Jake network so it's probably worth a look too.

There's also the web site. They organise real world social events, and the impression I have is that it's much less cruisey than gaydar or And even though those last two web sites are sex oriented, I'd say that they're worth a look too because guys one has sex with can also become friends :-).

In terms of making friends, one thought is that there must be some gay contact network at the college or university where this guy is studying. I was never a student in London, and even if I had been I'd be out of date by now, but it can't be too hard to find out. (Can any readers help here in terms of gay student life in London?)

Regarding clubs/bars, I don’t frequent those sort of places much these days so I'm not the best person to ask. The Wardour Street end of Old Compton Street in Soho is probably the area in central London with the highest density of gay bars, so that's the place to start. Also, each week Time Out has an exhaustive list of clubs and events for gay guys, so for up to date information and other opportunities for making friends I'd refer to that.

Finally, is it hard for an expat to make English friends? I think it probably is, especially as a postgraduate in an English university where many of the English students will probably have known each other as undergraduates, so that they'll have already established their social groups and cliques. Unfortunately it is often true that England and America are two societies divided by a common language! Because the language is the same, it's easy to forget just how different the two cultures are. When the language is different one expects a different culture too, so one probably tries harder to overcome the situation. I actually think that the English psyche is far more in line with our European neighbours than with America. So if the guy wants to make some English friends, I think he's far more likely to succeed if he approaches the task with these thoughts in mind.

Anyway, does anyone else have any ideas on the best way to make gay friends in London, or the problems that an expat faces when trying to make English friends?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dying of ignorance

Aids tombstoneDid any of my UK readers see Stephen Fry's program on TV tonight about Aids in 2007? Some aspects were truly frightening.

For me the most disturbing bit was near the beginning. A young gay guy described how one of his HIV positive friends was involved in giving an HIV negative 19 year old guy "the gift", meaning infecting him with HIV. The 19 year old actually WANTED to be infected, so he got 5 HIV positive guys to fuck him without a condom to "poz him up". At the end they put a butt-plug in his arse to make sure none of the infected semen escaped.

I've always thought the 1980's aids awareness campaign "Don't die of ignorance" that we had in the UK was a hugely impressive and effective campaign. Twenty years later and all the messages seem to have been lost :-(.


"Hey GB, are you on facebook," asks boyfriend number 2 when I spoke to him late last week.

Although we live in separate countries, I'm constantly in touch with him by email, plus at least one phone call a week.

"No, actually, do you think I should be?"

"Well yeah, of course!" replies boyfriend number 2 almost indignantly, "You do know what it is don't you?"

I always find it amusing when someone worries that I might be so far behind what the latest technology and web sites are! I've always been a technophile, and being a blogger definitely helps stay in touch as well. But of course boyfriend number 2 doesn't know that I'm a blogger. I thought about coming out to him as a blogger last year, but in the end I found myself agreeing with the comments that I got when I posted the idea here, so he still doesn't know.

Actually, over the last year or so I have received several automated invites that facebook sends on behalf of existing members, inviting me to join and become one of the existing member's "friends". Although I never bothered to reply to these invites, I did try accepting when I first got sent an invite to my GB identity. However facebook didn't allow me to join! Somehow it managed to spot that "Gay Banker" wasn't a real name, and it refused to let me proceed unless I did give a real name. I decided not to bother.

"I do use the Internet quite a lot you know," I replied to boyfriend number 2 last week, "so of course I know what facebook is!"

"Well you don't want to be labelled a fuddy-duddy do you?" says boyfriend number 2 with a smirk in his voice, "so I think you should join! I used to like, but now I think that facebook is better."

I make no comment, but secretly I can't help thinking that I prefer, because at least did let me create a Gay Banker profile! None the less, over the weekend I duly sign up to facebook with my real name, and sent a "friend" invite to boyfriend number 2.

I can see the attraction of facebook. I thought it was neat the way that it was able to log on to my online mail boxes like Gmail and find existing facebook members in my contact lists and old emails. But intrinsically it's a very open system. Although there are some privacy features, as I acquire friends they'll all be able to see my existing friends including boyfriend number 2. The problem is that, until now, very few people I know were aware of boyfriend number 2!