Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A discussion about my boyfriends

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a pleasant evening in a pub with Close Encounters. We hadn't seen each other since we had supper together back in May, so it was good to catch up with him :-).

"So what can I get you?" asks Close Encounters, reaching the bar before me.

"Let's see," I reply looking at the hand pumps behind the bar, "actually they've got a couple of decent beers here :-), although it's a pity the Fuller's is off :-(."

"Actually I don't normally drink that kind of beer," says Close Encounters, "I'll be having a pint of Stella!"

I spot an empty table in the middle of the pub so I go and grab it before anyone else has the same idea. Close Encounters arrives shortly afterwards carrying the beers, and we're soon chatting about my recent trip to New York.

"It was a good trip," I tell him, "but I really don't know where things are headed between me and boyfriend P now that I seem to be 'boyfriend number 2'!"

"Well, if I remember correctly," replies Close Encounters, "you used to encourage him to try and find a permanent boyfriend, didn't you?"

"Ummm, yes that's true, actually I'd forgotten that! But that was when I wasn't available as a full-time boyfriend, and I am now."

"Hmmm, not quite available yet I think," says Close Encounters correcting me, "because boyfriend S hasn't quite moved into his new house yet, has he? Anyway, why are you so sure that you're not the 'boyfriend number 1'?"

"It's lots of little things added together," I say forlornly. "The whole way he reacts to the other guy gives me a strong impression that I'm the 2nd choice. For example, in an unguarded moment he let slip that when the other guy was away travelling recently, he'd sent him a txt msg to say how much he missed him. But he's never sends me emails or txt msgs to say that he misses me :-(."

"But you email him every day don't you?"

"Most days I guess, and I try to phone him at least once a week."

"Well if you're always in touch with him I guess he doesn't get a chance to miss you does he? Anyway, perhaps you seem a bit too needy which is always a turn off!"

"Well how about this, on our last night in New York together, he left me to my own devices because the other guy was in New York too and he wanted to have supper with him instead of me."

"Hmmm, on your last night that's not a good sign," admits Close Encounters, "although I guess he'd seen a lot of you in the previous couple of weeks."

"He's also put pics on his facebook profile which make the two of them look like a couple, and the other guy's even met some of his family now. I've met a few of his friends but not as many as the other guy, and none of his family :-(."

"Well that's not surprising because you don't live in the same city as boyfriend P do you, and presumably the other guy does?"

"On that subject," I reply, "if we ever do live in the same city, he suggested recently that we should 'date' for a while rather than living together."

"Really? What does he think that the two of you have been doing over the past few years if not dating??"

"I told him I didn't have any interest in dating. After all the time we've spent in each other's company, if he doesn't know now that I'd make a good boyfriend then I don't think he'll ever know :-(. I think he ended up accepting that 'dating' wouldn't be necessary."

"His affections sometimes seem very fickle too," I continue, "because after a couple of weeks in my company we'll be making plans about our future, but as soon as I'm not there it all swings off in another direction. I don't mind if he has other boyfriends of course, but he keeps saying that he only wants one boyfriend. If this other guy turns out to be 'Mr Big', that means I get dumped and that would hurt a lot. I get the impression that the only reason that hasn't happened yet is because the other guy doesn't want a relationship just yet. I really do love him mate, but sometimes it feels like we've been all the way through a deep relationship from start to finish without even ever having lived in the same country! I also don't want to end up being boyfriend P's boyfriend and feel that he's settled for 2nd best for the rest of my life! Perhaps I just need the courage to move on?"

"What about boyfriend R, do you ever see him these days?"

"No, and I've got no inclination to either. Although he's a lovely sweet guy, he's just too screwed up!

"Well GB, I did used to enjoy the posts about your encounters! If you do broaden your horizons again, I hope that we'll all be able to read about it :-)."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Flirting in the office

I regularly get emails from various readers of this blog. Recently, a long time reader called E who works for a big international accountancy firm sent me an email complaining that his ability to flirt with the other guys in the office is severely hampered by the fact that everyone knows that he's got a boyfriend. If the email correspondence had turned into a face to face conversation, it would have continued something like:

"I'm not sure that flirting with colleagues is a good idea anyway," I reply with a cautionary tone in my voice, "I've said before that I think it's a bad idea to have sex with your colleagues, and flirting is definitely taking a small step down that path!"

"But I don't want anything to actually happen GB, because I honestly am very happy living with my boyfriend," says E, trying to convince himself of the truth of his last statement, "but some of my colleagues are hot and it would be nice to flirt a bit with some of them occasionally :-)".

"What about colleagues who work in other offices, they won't know that you've already got a boyfriend will they? Not unless you're universally known as THE company gay guy!"

"Yes but when I get chatting to colleagues who don't know about my boyfriend they always end up asking me if I'm married. When I say I've got a partner they invariably lose interest in the conversation!"

"Indeed GB," continues E, "there was a colleague from another office that I got chatting to recently, and you could literally see and feel the difference the moment that I mentioned that I've got a partner."

"So presumably he was gay too?" I ask.

"I feel sure he is, but even if I'm correct, it would've been misleading for me to say anything more than the norm as I don't want to go in that direction. That said, honestly, it can be really difficult to be so disciplined! The guy is cute!"

It's clear to me that there's a huge internal conflict raging inside this reader, between the monogamous commitment that he's presumably made to his boyfriend, and his natural desire for a bit of extra fun. Now that I've thought about this a bit, I think the key to being honest and simultaneously keeping the possibilities open is to handle the moment that one mentions one's partner in the appropriate way. So just for E, if he wants to ignore my advice and flirt in the office, I think it should go something like this:
The cute graduate trainee was visiting London office from the firm's Madrid branch. Towards the end of a long afternoon, he bumped into E at the water cooler and the two of them got chatting:

"This is my first visit to London," said the trainee smiling at E, "is there anything in particular you think it's worth me trying to see?"

"Do you really think you'll have the energy to go site seeing after working in here all day?" jokes E grinning back at him, "Actually a young guy like you will probably find the energy somewhere I guess :-). Where are you staying anyway?"

The two of them continue chatting for another minute or two, and they keep catching each other's eye in a knowing kind of way.

"So are you married or anything?" asks the trainee eventually. It's clear what answer he's hoping for.

"Not necessarily ..." replies E, catching the trainee's eye again with a particularly mischievous smile, "shall we grab a beer or something after work together?"
Do any other readers have any alternative suggestions?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Email from a gay American navy veteran

Last week, the following email arrived in my inbox:

Dear GB,

I'm sending you this email to ask for some advice. My name is Robaire Watson and I've been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for 19 years. I spent 6 years in the Navy as an openly gay military man from 1989 to 1995.

Now, I've spent the last year sending out over a 1000 emails and mailing at least 200 letters, asking gay & straight organizations, magazines and media about allowing me to tell my story. When it comes to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" I want to be the first black man to have his story told by the media. (Boy! Do I have a story to tell.)

I'm starting to feel like, since I don't look like Jake Gyllenhaal and I'm not under 30 years old or have the body of Colton Ford, they're not interested! We in the gay community have our own racial and discrimination issues. We need to be honest with ourselves and admit this is true. I'm like Rosa Parks and I refuse to sit at the back or to be thrown under the bus.

Can you advise me on how a black gay military veteran can have his story told? You can read a bit of my story by following this link?

Thank you,

The interesting thing about Robaire is that he seems to have been an out gay guy in the navy both before and after the infamous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was introduced, so I replied to him with a couple of ideas. One thought was to contact a media organisation that I know that focuses on gay politics, and the other idea was for him to simply start a blog and gradually post his story from one day to the next. Do any readers have any other ideas for him?

I recall that in the UK, it was during the 1990's that the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces was lifted. With so many other countries allowing it these days, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy does make the USA look very old fashioned.

I think one of the reasons by a ban on gay people serving in the armed forces is bad is because armed forces recruit lots of guys as soon as they leave school, so it's quite likely that some guys won't have worked out that they're gay when they sign up. I imagine that the trauma of gradually realising that one is gay while in a hostile environment could be quite devastating. If it wasn't for that, I'd think that it's madness for anyone to want the right join the armed forces and hence the right to die for one's country, because that's what being in the armed forces can ultimately mean.

If all the gay guys in the American military were to 'tell' and get themselves discharged, I wonder how long it would be before the policy was changed? Just like a parent dealing with a naughty child, sometimes the best way to get what you want can be to seem to seek the opposite!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The new gym sauna

In spite of the extreme heat in the sauna in the men's changing room at my new gym, I have now observed some activities :-). But I'm convinced that the gym management are deliberately keeping the sauna temperature high as a deterrent :-(. As sort of proof of this, I recently discovered that there's another sauna next to the swimming pool which is used by both men and women, and that the temperature in that sauna is much more comfortable!

Anyway, I spotted a guy that I recognised from my previous gym, seated outside the sauna last week and looking a bit hot. Although this guy never featured in any of my previous gym posts, I recognised him as a guy who had sometimes participated in sauna fun. No doubt he was feeling a bit horny, but was feeling too hot having been waiting for a willing participant inside the sauna.

I catch the guy's eye and it's clear that he probably remembers me too. I decide to go into the sauna and see whether he follows me in. Of course he does! And as he's pulling the door closed behind him, another guy grabs the door from the outside and follows him in too. The two other guys quickly arrange themselves so that their towels are barely covering their essentials, while I sit down on my towel, naked as usual in these circumstances.

Having settled down, I find myself watching the other two guys, and I note that they're both watching me as well as each other. In spite of the heat, I gradually find myself becoming a bit excited, and can't help noticing that the other guys are having a similar reaction. Before too long, the guy seated closest to me who I'd recognised from my previous gym bends forward and lifts his towel to wipe his forehead, revealing a huge erection underneath. Catching his eye, I smile a big smile at him, and we both look over at the third guy who moves his towel to reveal his own contribution before smiling back.

After about another minute, we all move a bit closer to each other, with the guy that I'd recognised in the middle. Then suddenly, before he can refuse, the third guy leans over and takes the middle guy's cock in his mouth! No time to waste I guess, in case someone comes in and interrupts us. The middle guy leans back smiling, and stretches out his arms on either side resting them on our backs, before moving his hand up the third guy's back so that he can push the guy's head down onto himself a bit more. Not that the extra encouragement is required!

"Are you gonna cum for me mate?" asks the third guy quietly, taking a breather before eagerly resuming his activities.

The middle guy just nods his head but suddenly he's pushing us both away. Surprised at first, all too soon I realise that there's another guy entering the sauna, so I hastily cover myself up and try to look as though butter wouldn't melt in my mouth which it obviously would given how hot the sauna is. The new guy doesn't take any notice and sits down on the opposite side from the three of us. After what feels like ages with nothing happening, which in reality is probably less than a minute, the third guy gets up and leaves.

There's an unwritten rule that one doesn't talk in cruising situations like this, because somehow talking destroys the atmosphere and prevents activities from starting. However, with the new guy clearly not interested in activities, I figure that there's not much to lose.

"I think I recognise you from another gym mate, have you been a member here very long?"

The guy that I'm talking to is looking the other way and it takes him several seconds to realise that I'm trying to talk to him.

"Errrr, what, um, yes I think I recognise you too :-)," he replies looking extremely surprised that I'm talking to him, "but I think this gym's much better, don't you?"

We have a short amicable conversation about the relative merits of the two gyms. Before too long though, with the new guy looking extremely unlikely to leave, we both make our way to the showers.

A very very long time ago, in the dim mists of time when I'd only been blogging for a couple of weeks, I did a posting titled How gay men cruise gym saunas and steam rooms. It still attracts readers who no doubt somehow find it via search engines, and recently a guy left a comment there asking me a question:
I have a strange request... Would you be able to write a guide on post-sauna activity etiquette? That's the one thing I'm struggling with...

The people I've met in the sauna haven't usually been regulars at the gym, but what if they are? What if you see them working out, or in the changing room? Do you say hello? Are you friendly? Do you ignore them? Any advice appreciated GB!
It is indeed very rare to talk to another guy who one only knows as a result of sauna activities, which is why the guy didn't think that I'd be talking to him last week. In most situations, such as when one sees another sauna participant working out or in the men's changing room, one doesn’t talk to them. However when I've seen guys that I recognise from sauna activities I find myself smiling knowingly at them, and they usually smile back knowingly too :-). I think it would be extremely rude to completely ignore them. In any case, the advantage of discretely acknowledging them is that it does make it easier to start activities with them the next time you're both in the sauna together!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Email from a guy who used to be in a difficult relationship

Last week, I got an email from the guy who emailed me last year about his difficult relationship. The email was as follows:

Dear GB,

Not sure whether you remember me but we corresponded a while ago. It must be about a year ago.

I was the one with the boyfriend trouble with the nice apartment where he stayed over and people was thinking that he was using me. :) Anyway he has moved out and we have a good understanding and I told him that we should be good friends etc.... He's moved out and all is well. We still see each other most weekend. I think it is nice to have some companionship in London. :)

Ok just to cut to the chase. I just had the guts to register on gaydar and have included pictures of my fit body. :) Have got a lot of response but as soon as they know my origin (Chinese) most of them just don't be bother anymore which sucks. A lot of guys have mention that I am sexy and look more mix than Chinese. Most of the guys that are interested are all older and I am not interested. :(

Anyway I just pick up this guy from gaydar today and we had sex. He was huge and I did not think I could accommodate. :) He was nice and gentle and so the experience was pleasant. The only think is that I am feeling weird about the whole situation. Maybe it is because this is my first experience on gaydar and trying out for a quick shag but I feel slightly sick about myself. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to experience but this may not be my type of thing.

I think gaydar is all about a quick shag. Do you know of any other website where gay guys in Finance/banking who earn a decent salary meet? Would you recommend Am actually looking more for a relationship and meeting nice guys.


It was good to hear that he'd solved his previous problem, and that he's now got the confidence to negotiate encounters with guys from gaydar :-). But judging from his email, he's the type of guy who prefers relationships to quick shags, and I think he's right that most of the guys who use gaydar are just after quick shags!

Now that he's branching out to meet other guys, he's discovering that a lot of younger British gay guys are much more inclined towards other British guys when it comes to choosing sexual partners, and often avoid guys who're ethnically Asian. Long time readers may recall that a student in Scotland emailed me about this problem last year. It's an unfortunate fact of gay culture in Britain and there's no easy solution.

For what it's worth, my own view is that guys are being narrow-minded if they just focus on their own ethnic group when looking for boyfriends and sexual partners. Part of the problem is that there's a lot to handle when one comes out as gay, so looking for guys from a similar background is easier because it's more comfortable. However, once a guy is comfortable with being gay, I think dating guys from other backgrounds and cultures is a good idea. I think gay relationships work best when there's some kind of complementarity between the two guys, and there's bound to be a lot of complementarity between them if they're from different ethnic backgrounds. So if the guy who sent me the email last week earns a decent salary in finance/banking, it might be better if he could find a struggling artist to be his boyfriend for example, rather than another guy with a decent salary in finance/banking!

None of my friends or readers of this blog have ever said anything to me about, so on that basis I doubt that it's much good for gay dating. However, I've heard good things about, both from friends and blog readers. As a result, I recommended it last year when I got an email from a guy who's new to London. In terms of finding a boyfriend, it's probably a much better place to start than gaydar!

Do any other readers have any other thoughts for this guy?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Circuit parties in Provincetown

"Hey GB," says boyfriend P a few days before our recent holiday, "shall I get us tickets for the circuit parties that'll be taking place while we're going to be in Provincetown?"

"I've never been to a circuit party," I reply, sounding vaguely interested in the proposal, "so I guess it would be fun to see what they're like :-)."

"Take a look at," answers boyfriend P, "looks like there are three parties. I'll get us tickets for all three because we get a discount for booking them all in advance."

I'd always thought that circuit parties were huge events lasting all night, but the parties that boyfriend P was calling circuit parties were only due to last between 4 and 6 hours. On offer were a sunset cruise from 5pm to 9pm on Wednesday 2nd July, a night cruise from 9pm to 3am on Thursday 3rd July, and a party on one of the piers in Provincetown from 3pm to 9pm on Friday 4th July.

"Yeah why not," I agree, after reviewing the web site, "we may as well go for the full monty! Have you been to events like this before?"

"Actually no, but I imagine the usual dance club crowd will all be there, dancing topless as usual :-)"

The day of the first party arrives and four of us make our way down to the pier to board the boat for the sunset cruise. Apart from myself and boyfriend P, we bought a ticket for our distraught female friend N to try and take her mind off her marriage problems. Another gay male friend is with us too.

"Do you think I could find a gay guy to make out with?" asks N looking around mildly lecherously at all the buff muscular gay guys, "It wouldn't count if I make out with a gay guy, would it?! I miss my husband so much :-("

"Maybe," I say laughing, "and there'll probably be a few guys here who've got bisexual tendencies deep down so who knows what could happen!"

We all troop down to the bar on the lower deck and get ourselves a drink to help us into the party mood.

"Actually," says boyfriend P looking around, "it's an older crowd than I was expecting. The average age here is probably around 40."

Looking around, I find myself agreeing. But whatever their age, almost all the guys are well built, so most of them would have too many muscles for Janet!

Back on the top deck which is the main dancing area, almost all the guys are dancing topless so I decide to join in. Taking my t-shirt off, I tuck it into the rear of my shorts in the usual way. Although I'm a long way from having the best body in the crowd, I'm a long way from the worst too so it feels quite comfortable. Looking around I spot N dancing with a few of the guys nearby, who seem to be enjoying the novelty of having a pretty girl to dance with.

"N seems to be getting a lot of attention," I say to boyfriend P while he's looking in N's direction.

"Well she's a very beautiful woman," he replies, "so it's not surprising, even here!"

A little later, N comes running up to us, "That guy there who I've been dancing with says that 'I confuse him'", she laughs almost uncontrollably, before heading back to dance a bit more with her new friends.

The party continues while the boat sails slowly around Cape Cod bay and the sun gradually heads towards sunset. It's a very pretty setting. With an occasional drink from the bar, the time goes quite quickly, and a few hours later we're back on dry land.

"So did you make out with that guy, or anyone else for that matter?" I ask N as we walk back to our house.

"No GB," she says sounding slightly depressed, "I don't know if he would have wanted to but in any case it wouldn't have felt right, after all he's not my husband :-(."

The following night, we end up skipping the Night Boat party. The idea of another party on presumably the same boat, which means that one's got nowhere else to go if one gets bored, doesn't seem like a good idea.

We do attend the Pier Party, although it's a bit of a disappointment. It's nothing like the huge well-attended event that I'd been hoping for. Furthermore, the drinks choice at the bar is extremely limited, there are huge queues for the toilets in spite of the fact that there are probably only a few hundred guys there, so paying $60 in advance per ticket seems like bad value for money even to me.

However the sunset cruise was certainly good fun, and if I'm ever back in Provincetown during the 4th July party week I'd be quite happy to do that one again. Provincetown itself was a great place to spend a few days too. So if there are any gay guys who're reading this and haven't visited Provincetown, I'd say it's definitely worth a visit at some point :-).

Monday, July 07, 2008

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Last year, after a short business trip to New York, myself, boyfriend P and some of his friends had a long weekend together in a house on Fire Island. We all got on well with each other on that occasion so this year we decided to get together again, although staying in a different location. So at the end of last month, after a long week filled with business meetings in New York, I hired a car and we all drove out to Provincetown in Cape Cod where we'd rented a house for the week.

Like Fire Island, Provincetown is another magnet for gay men, especially during the week which includes the 4th July American independence day celebrations. There's a huge number of gay venues, including places like the Boatslip which has a tea dance every day from 4pm-7pm during the summer season. The only problem with Provincetown is getting there. It's at the furthest point along Cape Cod, so it's around a six hour drive from New York!

So this is just a short post to say that GB's been on holiday :-). But I'm back now, so I'll try and write a bit more about Provincetown later in the week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our distraught Mexican friend

One of the nice things about my recent business trip to New York was that boyfriend P introduced me to some of his friends who live there, and whom I hadn't met before. In particular, he introduced me to a young Mexican friend of his called N, who had recently discovered that her husband wants a divorce. We met up with her early one evening in a quiet bar in downtown Manhattan, and immediately she starts talking about her problems.

"We're both in our mid 20's GB," N explains to me. "We fell in love quickly so it was only a year after we first met that we got married. That was two years ago now. When he told me recently that he wanted a divorce it was like such a COMPLETE shock because everything had been perfect. I really LOVE him so much GB and I've got no idea what to do about it. I want him back so BADLY, I miss his touch, his smell, his body ..."

Looking at this beautiful eloquent young woman, I find it hard to believe that any sane straight guy would ever contemplate leaving her.

"I've totally been the perfect wife to him GB, I really have, and he used to say so too, like he used tell me that he'd never NEVER leave me. What on earth went wrong GB? Yesterday I was looking at all the nice things that he'd written to me in the past, and now he's saying the exact opposite. I just don't understand."

As I listen to the poor woman, I slowly realise that I've never met anyone who's been jilted so badly. Her extreme anguish is clearly completely genuine.

"So did he just suddenly ask for a divorce out of the blue?" I ask, feeling slightly confused.

"Everything had been completely perfect, it really had, but we started arguing a bit about 6 weeks ago."

"Yes," confirms boyfriend P, "we all thought that they were the perfect couple, so this has been a big shock for all of us."

"He suddenly started saying how he needed his own space. But originally he always wanted us to totally do everything together. When we first started arguing I suggested counselling but he rejected the idea, although now that he's decided that he wants a divorce he has agreed to go to counselling sessions with me."

"Have you got any advice for N?" asks boyfriend P, no doubt thinking that I've got a small amount of experience with relationship issues through my Dear GB postings.

"I'm not sure," I answer slowly, shaking my head, "but I'll give it some thought. I'm trying to imagine what's going through his mind that would make him act this way. Do you think there's another woman?"

"I did ask, and he says no," replies N assertively, "and in fact I do believe him. I'm sure he'd have said if there was, and anyway I'd just know."

A couple of days later we meet up with N again and we naturally continue talking about her relationship crisis. Having thought about her situation now, I've got a couple of questions for her.

"The two of you did get married quite young," I say, "so I've been wondering whether he's got any young free and single male friends that he might be jealous of? Perhaps he feels that he's missing out on his youth?"

"He doesn't have any friends like that," replies N, "but there are some 'friends' of his who are haters :-(. I know that they've been reinforcing any negative thoughts that he's been having about his marriage, because like one of the first things that he told me was that he'd been discussing everything with them. None of them are married, and they don't have any meaningful lives themselves so they've been jealous of us. This is their chance to wreck our marriage. Oh GB, it's so TOTALLY UNFAIR!"

None of her agony seems to have dissipated since we last saw her.

"Well, N," I say thoughtfully, "I think the only thing you can do is to listen to what he's been saying and give him his own space for a while. How often do you talk to him at the moment?"

"I still phone him, and although I try to talk to him in a matter-of fact way, I usually end up telling him how much I LOVE him, and that I TOTALLY miss him, I just can't help it."

"Hmmm, I don't think that's good at all. Given that he's told you that he needs his own space at the moment, every time you say those things I think you're driving him further and further away from you. He's feeling suffocated by your love for him. Do you think you could avoid having any contact at all with him for a few weeks?"

N thinks about this and nods her head.

"Unless he changes his mind," she says slowly, "I guess I've got to get used to not having him in my life anyway :-(. I do see what you mean GB."

"Good. It may well turn out that even with some space he'll still end up wanting a divorce, but from what I've heard I reckon that your marriage is certainly doomed if you don't leave him alone for a while. You need to give him time to realise what he'll be throwing away, without any pressure from your side."

I don't know if she'll actually be able to manage to avoid contact with him though. They've had a couple of counselling sessions together, so I've told her that she should postpone the remaining ones, but I'm not sure whether she's going to do that. In her distraught state, although she's able to reason logically that she shouldn't tell him how much she loves him at the moment, and that it's a good idea to avoid all contact, in practice she always seems to fall back on her emotions when faced with any real situation which involves her husband.

Do any readers have any other ideas on her situation? And if the worst comes to the worst and she ends up getting divorced, does anyone have any thoughts on the best way for her to put her life back together again?