Saturday, November 24, 2007

Email from a gay guy who's not out yet

Almost three weeks ago, I received the following email from a new reader who lives in Asia:

Dear GB,

Just bumped into your blog, just when I'm going through another cycle in life.

I'm 25, never been in a relationship, and not out. Recently there's a visitor from another office, and boy is he gorgeous. He's just graduated and I'm pretty sure he's straight because he talks about hot girls and so. We did not speak for a whole 1 month, because we were not introduced, until recently.

He is smart, witty, and funny. The ladies and girls surround him everyday. He was assigned to me to learn what we do, and ever since then we got closer. Last night, he even asked me out to watch a movie, but I go the feeling that he asked me because no one else (his two other regular female companion) would go watch a thriller. We did not go home together, but this morning, he told me I smell nice (???).

My problem would be, why am I being so sensitive to things like these? What could possibly happen, if anything would happen in another month, before he returns home for good and we'll never see each other again? Why do I keep falling for things like these? Why do I get jealous when I see him with other women/people? Kept telling myself this had happened before so many times in my life, why let this bend myself again? I started to stay away from him, even talking less but that did not help.

Is there any way we could be stronger to fend off people like these, because if we do not, we will only hurt ourselves in the end? I would always thought I could make it alone, but recently, the loneliness has begun to creep upon me. How am I ever going to survive alone like this, for another 30-40 years?

Upon reading this email, I felt a lot of empathy with the reader who sent it to me. I immediately thought back to the days when I used to 'fall in love' with my straight male friends. So I sent him a quick reply, telling him not to worry, and also to start thinking about what his life would be like if he was able to be an out gay guy, however impossible it seems at the moment. Within half an hour, he replied with the following:

Thanks GB,

I can certainly picture myself being out, but that is definitely out of the question; my parents are very conservative and I respect them a lot so I could never do anything that would hurt them.

Some people I know have asked me if I ever liked a girl and so, but I've been always beating around the bush, so hopefully they get it. But I've been always falling for straight guys. Maybe it's a sign, that I will never be able to have what I want.

I am very tired of being the 'nice' guy because people don't see it. Beauty IS skin deep; so deep that we need to reconstruct the externals so that it is reflected on the outside :)

I could give a try, but I look forward to your reply soon.

I felt a bit happier when I received this reply because of what he said in the last line. He's clearly thought about his situation a lot, and deep down he knows what he's got to do, namely find a nice gay guy to have a relationship with!

Indeed, until he confronts his sexuality properly, he'll remain sensitive to this sort of situation, he'll continue falling for all the cute straight guys that cross his path, and he'll continue to feel jealous and hurt when he doesn't get the reciprocation he wants. There's nothing wrong with what he wants of course, but until he accepts himself, he won't allow himself to go and find it because that means looking for other gay guys!

This reader's email reminds me a bit of the email from a gay Chinese guy who feels he can't come out. Although this reader is suggesting that he'll just remain single, rather than marry to please his parents, many of the things I said in that post apply here. His relationship with his parents is likely to break down in the long term if he continues to deny his sexuality, which is bad for both him and his parents. On the other hand, if he eventually comes out to them, the relationship should end up being much stronger in the long term.

So where should this reader start? Firstly, I reckon he should seek out the company of other gay guys, both as pure friends, and also for intimate company. Given that he lives in Asia, is probably a good place to start if he doesn't yet have any gay friends. Then once he's got a few gay friends, the next step will be to tell a few of his close straight friends that he's gay. It'll all seem impossible to start with, so he should take 'baby steps', just one little thing at a time. I remember that when I finally admitted to myself that I was gay, and before I did either of those things, I used to look myself in the eye in the bathroom mirror each morning and say out loud to myself "I'm gay". It definitely helped saying it out loud. Within a few weeks I was saying "I'm gay, and everything's going to be all right"!

One issue is the fact that the reader was attracted to a guy who was visiting from another office, which I think means visiting from another country. My concern is in case the reader, who's an Asian guy, finds himself particularly attracted to Caucasians. My own experiences suggest that this is much more common that is should be, a subject which was discussed in a post that I did back in April, especially in the comments. As a result of that post, one gay British guy who lives in the UK with an Asian partner emailed me saying that in his experience, Asian gay guys tend to repel rather than attract each other! If the reader is attracted much more to Caucasians, rather than other Asian guys, I'm not sure what he can do about it though. But he should be aware that he's got a lot of competition in that respect, and also that it's often the older Caucasian guys that tend to be interested.

In this respect, I myself try to have an 'equal opportunity policy'! Guys of all races are interesting to me as potential boyfriends, and I would commend this attitude to the reader. I also think that there are traits that are noticeable across guys of the same race, and in my experience it's the Asian guys that tend to be keener on monogamous relationships with other guys. Perhaps that will appeal to this reader? Very long-time readers of this blog may even recall me admitting when Reluctant Nomad interviewed me that if I was cruising online and a Caucasian and an Asian guy seemed equally interesting to me, then I'd try chatting to the Asian guy first rather than the Caucasian one!

In any case, these days closeted gay guys shouldn't have to look forward to a life of loneliness, it's really not necessary.

Do any other readers have any thoughts for this guy?


Masturbedroom said...

The reader's crush has just graduated and is in a foreign country. The reader thinks he's straight but in reality he might be curious and being abroad is a good opportunity to do things one wouldn't do at home for fear of being outed.

The reader's crush was quite certainly testing the waters when he said the reader smells nice. Either that or he's one of those straight guys who likes to tease gay guys. Ask him whether he's curious about some activities with guys (don't ask whether he's gay, curious guys won't admit to that), but be prepared for rejection. If he is interested, don't fantasise about being boyfriends or lovers just yet and be prepared to let go when he leaves.

As to being out, I think Asian parents especially well-educated mothers will eventually love and accept their gay children provided the family has no staunch religious convinctions against homosexuality. It is the concept of 'face' that matters. The parents will be worried of what other members of the family and their friends will think. I think in this respect the reader thinks it is unfair to drag his parents into living his lie.

In this day and age race and age shouldn't matter in dating. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and mature physically and mentally at different rates. It's how attracted one is to the other's physical attributes and personality that matters. I would advise the reader to not conform to stereotypes and to keep an open mind when looking for dates.

p.s. GB, do you have any idea why your blog attracts so many Asian readers? What brings them here?

Sir Wobin said...

Asian social views about homosexuality are not (yet?) the same as here in the west. There is a reasonable chance that coming out to his parents will poison his interaction with them beyond repair. The same thing happened here in the west during the Stonewall years of the 60s and 70s. A few vocal queers came out and claimed a normality we now enjoy. They had, literally, to fight for it and many of them lost friends and family along the way.

This is only just beginning to happen in Asia. The first major pride parade only happened in Taiwan in 2003. When do you think the first Delhi pride parade will happen? The first one in Hong Kong or Karachi? Realistically, these events are at least a decade in the future, in my opinion.

The activist in me says we need to come out in every country every year or else we get pushed back into the closet, with all the mental and emotional anguish this reader feels. I reckon if he comes out his family will probably ostracise him until enough Asian men claim the normality that past generations of queers in the west have done. You'll be making more secure your own position in the long run but future generations of queers will likely be the main beneficiaries of your actions.

The longer you feel alone, the harder it is to know that you are normal and the easier it is for your parents and society to think badly about being gay. Make contact with other gay people in your country and then get them out on the street! It's a high cost to pay but that might be what it takes to be gay, to be normal, have love and be accepted by your parents and wider society.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Anonymous said...

The writer's crush goes out with women and enjoys the attention of a woman. Indeed, he likes to tease gay companions, and that is what messes up the writer's feelings.

The writer admits that he does more often likes foreign men, but he isn't denying any opportunity he has with local men, but has no luck so far. The said crush is 1/2 American, 1/2 Far Eastern.

One thing the writer notices is that beautiful men, like the crush, very often suffers from ADD, and are like the male bimbo. They've been talking for 2 months now, but yet the writer feels that the crush is still a stranger to him because the crush does not talk about his life, which the writer feels is strange for a 'friend' to do.

That aside, very disappointed, but hopes that everything will be back to normal once the crush leaves for good. The crush will be just another one of those items he sees in the store window, knowing that it is beyond affordable and that only memories will remain in his heart, forever.

ps: the writer has visited, but feels that the site is not very romantic hence will not join in.

Anonymous said...

Gay people don't have adequate legal protection let alone "rights" or freedom of assembly (parade) in the East. In fact you don't have to go too far East Sir Wobin, try organising a pride parade in Moscow or St Petersburg!

In some parts of Asia, politicians label homosexuality as a western practice which pollutes eastern culture while they happily down Cabernet Sauvignon and Scotch at dinner parties. The rise of orthodox Christianity and Islam in Asia also makes homosexuality even more taboo. In the least developed countries more pressing issues like food, housing, education and sanitation need to be addressed first. Perhaps when countries become richer, the perceived social imbalance which is thought to entail homosexuality becomes less of a threat to the country's prosperity.

How does the writer define romance? If anything it often comes after a few dates even for straight couples. He will have to meet and date other men first before any romance can happen. Don't add romance scares some potential partners and it makes for more heartache should the guy turn out to be Mr Not Right.

Anonymous said...

in white majority countries, most of the non white gays are more likely to repel each other, weird...