Thursday, July 30, 2009

Computer problems :-(

I guess I should get a new laptop. My current one is about four and half years old, and a hard disk failure a couple of days ago is causing me lots of problems :-(. Perhaps it happened because I took it on holiday with me, so it was subjected to much more shaking and moving that usual.

Luckily I can still post to this blog from work, but I don't want to be caught blogging at work so I can't write too much. I guess I'm also lucky that I've got a boyfriend again. Online cruising as a route to satisfying one's natural urges is a bit difficult without a computer!

So at the moment I'm wondering what the most reliable laptop brand is, whether I should accept Vista or wait for Windows 7 (NB: I hate Apple!), the advantages of the new Solid State Drives versus traditional hard disk drives, etc. If any readers have any thoughts on these crucial matters then please leave comments!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A couple more holiday pics

Myself and boyfriend T should be returning to London later today. It's been an excellent holiday, and we've got on very well with each other :-). But I haven't had any time for any proper blogging! So instead, I'm just posting a couple more holiday pics. In my post last Wednesday I wondered whether anyone could identify the city that we'd been staying in. It turned out that several readers easily worked out that we'd been in Rome. This time, the two pics were taken in a different towns or cities, but can anyone identify the locations?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A couple of holiday pics

As I said last week, I'm now on holiday with Boyfriend T. We spent three days in a city, where the two photographs below were taken, and then yesterday we hired a car and drove out to stay at a hotel in the countryside. So can anyone work out the name of the city where the two photographs were taken?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Email from a bicurious student

One morning, just over a week ago, I woke up to find the following email in my inbox:

Dear GB

I am a finance student studying in one of well known universities in UK. I just found your blog today which I found very impressive. I am glad that you found your new bf and hope your guys get along well together. I am about to graduate this year and now I am looking for a job. It is really difficult to find a job these days, even more harder when you are not British. Do you have any advise for job hunting?

Another thing is about my sexuality, I don't know exactly what I am. I like going out and flirting with girls, watch porn as normal guys do, but I also like to look at guy's bodies and watch gay porn. I might be bi-sexual but when the time comes, such as arrange a meeting up with some guy, I am so scared and nervous. These things do not happen to me when I am going out or hooking up with girls. I have tried a few times with guys but they just wanna suck my dick...well..they might want more but I just stop at that point. You know, some time when I think back about that it made me feel sick. However, I still love to look at guys and gay porn and wanna try again;p, I don't know why. What should I do? Should I just try again? And this time he has to be a good looking and nice guy. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I am straight acting guy.


Before I went to work I sent the reader a brief reply, telling him that I didn't really have any advice for job hunting. It's been quite a while since I was a fresh graduate looking for work, so these days I'm very disconnected from what one has to do to find a good job. Although I've been involved in a very minor way in graduate recruitment, I'm not at all sure what attributes employers are really looking for in candidates. My only suggestion for the reader was to try and resolve any issues relating to work permits and visas before applying for jobs, in the event that he's eligible for such a visa.

Although this reader didn't use the word bi-curious in his email, it seemed to me from what he wrote that the word describes him perfectly. He seems to like girls, but then it's clear that he's curious about guys too. The balance in his email suggests that he could be mostly straight, although it's equally possible that he's just starting to come to terms with the fact that he's gay. Bisexuality is another possibility, but as I think I've said before, genuine bisexuality is very rare and most people tend to be either mostly straight or mostly gay. If a bisexual is in a relationship and that relationship ends, typical behaviour is to move into a relationship with someone with the opposite gender to their previous partner. Indeed, the relationship might have ended because neither gender can give a bisexual everything they need.

But there's no doubt in my mind that he should try and hook up with guys again. His nervousness could well come from peer pressure or family pressure to be straight. He could also be worried that discovering that he actually prefers guys will turn his life upside down. Although that could well be a consequence, the eventual consequences of not establishing his true sexuality could be worse. Indeed, if a gay guy tries to deny his sexuality and ends up marrying a woman, although he may succeed in the short term in the long term he may well find himself surreptitiously meeting guys for sex. The result is likely to be divorce, shame and unhappiness. But if he works out that he is in fact gay, then after the initial trauma he'll be able to find himself a nice boyfriend and is likely to live a much happier life :-).

It's interesting that the reader says in his email "... this time he has to be a good looking and nice guy". I guess this means that in his previous attempts at hooking up with guys, perhaps as a result of his conflicted attitudes towards the fact that he might be gay, he's ended up meeting guys that he's not attracted to or who haven't been very nice people. It's easy to see how that could have happened, perhaps because he's been acting on impulse to explore this gay side without being found out, and perhaps because he's been keen to get it over with as quickly as possible. But of course, it's a mistake to rush into the bedroom with a guy that one isn't attracted to. There's nothing wrong with being gay, and there's also nothing wrong with being straight and having an encounter with a guy just to make sure that one's straight. So he needs to try and relax, and as he says, find a nice good-looking guy for his next hook-up!

Does anyone else have any thoughts for this reader?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On holiday

I'm off on a trip for a week or so with boyfriend T so I may not be able to blog much. However, I intend to try and find time to answer the one pending 'Dear GB' query, and perhaps I'll be able to post a few pics too. Although I went with boyfriend T for a long weekend to Paris , and we also went away for another long weekend in May, this holiday is going to be for much longer so it'll be a good test of whether this relationship can work. Wish me luck :-).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Email from a gay student in the UK

About a week ago, I received the following email from a gay student:

Dear GB,

I have been a reader for almost a year now, but have never written before. Your advice to other people has been immensely useful to me too. I even discovered Gaydar through your blog! I am a second-year undergraduate student studying economics. I'm from a Latin American country and only moved to the UK for uni.

A few months ago I met a guy who was just finishing sixth form. After pictures, phone calls, and long emails, we scheduled a meet-up in London. He pulled out five minutes before the agreed time (knowing I travelled over two hours to get there!), but a few hours later called and profusely apologised. We met the following morning. He arrived 40 minutes late, but when he finally got there he was a dream come true. He told me he wasn't out, and refused to hold hands. We spent around 7 hours of bliss together, in a long ramble around London. He kept looking into my eyes and, from my perspective, really seemed to be enjoying himself. When it was time to leave (both of us had to leave around 4), he didn't want to go, and we let three trains leave without us. Then, he kissed me, smack in the middle of the tube platform.

The following day, he called and told me he didn't want anything romantic. I couldn't believe it and we had a long conversation on the phone. At this point this turned into an obsessive crush. I basically told him it was alright but kept insisting to myself he didn't really mean it. That day I left for my country, half the world away, for Easter. I called him once or twice a week for five weeks, and we had long enjoyable conversations. I didn't hide my intentions, and talked about meeting up when I went back. I would think of him every five seconds. But, he disappeared again, the day before my arrival to London. After a few emails he finally responded: originally he did want to meet me and only chickened out because he was so nervous about the meet-up. However since then he hasn't been interested. He'd only been pretending because I seemed so distressed during the telephone call the day after our meeting. Since then he's been out of my life, and we parted on pretty civil terms. I've sent two more messages in the following eight weeks, unresponded. I had never been like this with anyone, and am normally quite blasé with relationships. I got into quite a depression, partly because of this.

Cue a few weeks later. I start talking to a guy in Gaydar, and by the third message or so I realise he is this guy's brother. They share a last name, look ridiculously alike, share a mixed background, and have each other befriended on Facebook. I am not nearly as obsessed with this one, but am still quite interested. Although we're only chatting (and, ominously, refused a meet-up right before my coming to my country once more, now for Summer hols), he promptly responds to my messages. He is older, more mature, and potentially more interesting to talk to. But, should I tell him I know his brother? The former did make it clear his family didn't know. But by now, both brothers could instantly figure out that I know that they're brothers from the information I have from them.

All this comes together under the frame of a broader and far more important problem. Although I am out to my close family and friends in my country, and openly gay in the UK, I've never really had a proper gay relationship. However, I've had a "girlfriend" for the last 8 years, and to many people we are still introduced as a couple. She's the first one who found out I was gay, and throughout she's been more of a life companion. We are very much alike, almost brother and sister. She has become very understanding and even encouraging of gay forays, but still has some instinctive underlying problem with me going out. She also worries quite a bit about me, and gets distressed whenever she feels I'm not being truthful or forthcoming with my retelling of what's going on with my life. I do tell her about most things. The thing is, we very much behave like a married couple, sans any sex (although, disturbingly for me, she keeps secretly yearning for hugs and friendly kisses, and before I clearly set out that it should stop). I really like it. She is someone I can trust, someone I can tell my life to, and someone who shares my precise cultural background and knows my life story inside out, and therefore understands me better than anyone. We often talk of what our children would hypothetically be like, and after years of talking about that (and having a stuffed bear 'child') I have a strong wish to make a family with her, the kind of family that would give me legitimacy in this macho culture, that would make everyone in my family happy, and that would give me the children I so want to have and keep me from the loneliness I so deeply fear.

At the same time, the tension is mounting. Most worryingly, she has not had any sexual partners ever, or even serious dates, in spite of my actively trying to get her to date, and she's approaching her mid-twenties. She has a limited social life here and little ways or motivation to find guys. This is either extreme celibacy or utter lack of interest, and neither can be healthy. Meanwhile, I'm doing just a bit better, but still have not had a proper gay relationship. I have no such thing as a sexual technique, and can barely deliver or enjoy a blowjob. I shrieked in pain for 45 mins before deciding being a bottom is not my thing. I've done my best, going to saunas and clubs galore, but I feel I'm wasting everyone's time. I feel I need a proper boyfriend, someone I fancy and that's patient, to teach me the ropes.

All in all, life's getting stressful and disappointing. Two years of trying to be openly gay have yielded not one good relationship, a lot of disappointments and intrigues and pain, and tumbling self esteem (and I'm on the good-looking side of things!). I've now figured how to come across sex, but can't even do it. Furthermore, I don't spend more than two months at a time in any particular country. Now I have two months in my country ahead of me, and can't enjoy the gay life here for family reasons, and from fears of word coming out to the wider public of my being gay and consequent shaming of my "girlfriend". To make things worse, she's moving to London in September, for a year's stay. This dilemma has dragged on for years, and the various options (cut all ties with her and stay in the UK? Stay 'friends' but have an openly gay life in UK/my country? go back to my country and to the closet, and have my family?) have been dogging me for years. Just when I think I can lead a happy, independent life in the UK, I start realising how much I feel as a foreigner in the UK, and how lonely I'd feel, and how much I need to go back to my country. And then I'm back, and I feel burdened and trapped and not myself. One good thing is that I have a European passport, due to family background, in addition to the one from my home country. Hence, I can stay in the EU indefinitely without any visa issues. But I don't know what to do. I don't even know if I should do anything.

Sorry for the long email, and my ambiguous problems!

Best regards

I always thought that there must be some genetic element to homosexuality, so my guess is that the guy who the reader met on gaydar recently is indeed the brother of the guy who he met in London previously. The behaviour of the guy he met in London sounds like he can't handle the idea of being gay at the moment. When the reader is in front of him, the reader is everything the guy wants, but at other times the guy can deny the truth and pretend that he's straight. Everyone becomes more confident of who they are as they get older, so the older brother seems like a much better bet.

In terms of telling the older brother about the younger brother, I suggest that the reader should ask the guy whether he has a younger brother, using the excuse that he might have met him through another friend somehow. For the sake of the younger brother, I don't think he should tell the older brother that his younger brother might be gay, because I doubt that the younger brother has come out yet. However if he can establish that the older brother is out to the younger brother, which is quite likely, then he should send the younger brother a message to say that by chance he's ended up meeting his older brother on gaydar. Of course, that would only become necessary if the reader started developing a relationship with the older brother.

Regarding the more serious problem of the reader's "girlfriend", one good thing about this reader's situation is that his sexuality isn't in doubt. One sign of this is the fact that he's been living as an openly gay guy in the UK for a couple of years. But a more telling sign is the way he had a crush on the younger brother, because that proves to me that he falls in love with guys, not girls. Who someone falls in love with is far more important than the kind of sex they have, and whether they make a good bottom or not! The reader also talks about his female friend in quite a detached way, so I'm convinved that the reader is 100% gay.

Another good thing about this reader is that, from what he told me privately, it's clear to me that he's not going to have a problem making his own way in the world and supporting himself. It really helps being able to support oneself because there can be concerns that family or employers might not treat a gay guy very well, so the more independent one can become the better.

The fact that he's definitely gay, with the ability to support himself, means that I think he should now come out to the wider community back home in his home country. If he's totally out, then it won't be possible for him and his female friend to be introduced as a couple. By moving things in this direction, he'll be making a statement to his female friend that he's not available for anything other than friendship. I see no reason to break his friendship with her, but given that she seems to be in love with him, he needs to become more adamant that he's not available.

I don't think he should worry about the fact that he hasn't yet had a good gay relationship yet. I feel quite sure that he'll eventually find himself a nice boyfriend. But it's exactly like the song that Diana Ross sung, "You can't hurry love, no, you just have to wait"! Although getting a boyfriend would also help with the problem of his female friend, thinking along those lines isn't a good idea because it increases the pressure and makes the idea of a boyfriend even more important.

If he's going to stay in the UK though, a British boyfriend would be ideal because that would help him feel less like a foreigner here. Indeed, I was chatting to my new boyfriend T last night about this subject. Boyfriend T said that he feels that he belongs here and is part of the community when he's with me, but feels like an outsider when he's at work. It's obviously hard to move and settle in another country, so if a relationship with local guy becomes possible it would be a good idea. However, if he continues to feel like a foreigner in the UK but doesn't want to return to his home country, given his Latin American background perhaps he'd feel more at home in Spain.

Lastly, if a guy wants to try being a bottom during anal sex, then he has to relax. Otherwise, if he's tense it will undoubtedly end up being painful. Some guys get lots of pleasure from being fucked, which is apparently to do with the stimulation of the prostate gland through the wall of the rectum. Not all guys experience this phenomenon, however, but no doubt it's the guys who do who are the most enthusiastic bottoms!

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this reader's situation?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A trip to watch London gay pride

"Did you know that it's London gay pride day next Saturday?" asks my friend T, when we were cuddling in bed one morning about ten days ago.

"Oh really?" I reply, "Actually I didn't know. Shall we go and march in the parade then?"

"... NO WAY!" replies T, almost speechless that the idea of joining the parade even occurred to me.

"Well how about we just go and watch it then?" I offer, snuggling into his naked body from behind.

"Yes, actually I'd like to see it :-). I've never seen a gay pride parade before!"

"OK great," I reply, holding him tightly, "so we'll watch it this year, and then we can march in the parade next year!"

"In your dreams!"

I don't pursue the subject, and on the day of the parade, we go shopping in the morning before taking up a good position to watch the parade along Oxford Street. It takes the parade just over an hour to pass, during which time T takes lots of photographs.

"So what did you think?" I ask him afterwards.

"It was good," he says thoughtfully, "although I expected more outrageous costumes!"

"We'd probably have to go to the gay Mardi Gras in Sydney if you want to see totally outrageous!"

In the evening we have a party to go to, and as usual when I take a new friend to meet some of my friends, everyone wonders whether T is my new boyfriend. The same thing had happened a couple of weeks earlier when I'd taken my friend who sometimes gets hayfever to meet some other friends. On that occasion, when someone had mistaken us for boyfriends, my friend who sometimes gets hayfever had been quite uncomfortable with the idea. Later on the same night I also heard him say that he prefers being single. But at the party after the pride march, T didn't seem to mind being mistaken for my boyfriend, although of course he had to tell people that we weren't together.

So lying in bed with T the following morning there's just one thing on my mind. Should I ask him to be my boyfriend? And if so, what exactly should I say? And when, but perhaps it would be better to leave it a week or two, and if he does want to be my boyfriend then when should we discuss what we want from the relationship, and does he want to live with me, and what about monogamy, and what about if he ends up having to go back to his home country, and what if I’m always the boyfriend who doesn't exist because he's so closeted, and, and ...

A couple of hours later, we're having breakfast with each other and I simply can't bear it any more.

"Um, T," I start, in a matter of fact voice as though I'm about to ask him to pass the orange juice, "would you like to be my boyfriend?"

Initially he's completely startled and looks away, unable to believe that I've asked him that question out of the blue. But then he looks at me and I smile, and when a big smile comes over his face I know that I'm going to get the answer that I'm looking for.

"Yes," replies boyfriend T, "we should try :-)."

Because he has to go, we don't have much time to discuss anything, but it doesn't matter. I feel so happy :-)))). We'll be able to talk about everything over the coming weeks.

Despite all my concerns and all the angst in my recent posts [1, 2] about "Should I?" or "Shouldn't I?", in the end I was powerless to take any other course of action. I love the guy, so rational thought is impossible! It's all very well being rational when I'm answering the "Dear GB" emails that people send me, but I guess that that's only possible because I'm disconnected from their lives.

"Don't forget," I tell him as he's leaving, "you'll be able to march in the pride parade next year holding your boyfriend's hand :-). That would be OK wouldn't it?"

"Maybe," he says, giving me a kiss, "let's see!"

Sounds like there's been a bit of progress already :-).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

An Asian versus a Western perspective

A few months ago, I went with T to see the film "The Reader", starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. One of the reasons that I wanted to see it was that Kate Winslet won an oscar for her role, and indeed, it's a good film.

*** plot spoiler follows! ***

The initial scenes of the film occur shortly after the end of the Second World War. The basic plot is that Kate Winslet's character likes being read to, and gradually as the plot unfolds, one discovers that the reason for this is that she's illiterate. Another secret of hers is that during the Second World War she was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Eventually she and some other women end up being put on trial for what they did while they were guards at Auschwitz. However, during the trial it turns out that Kate Winslet's character is so ashamed of being illiterate that she won't even admit it when accused of doing something that she couldn't possibly have done because of her illiteracy. The result is that she's sentenced to life in prison, while the other former guards get off with relatively light sentences.

The day after we saw the film, I end up discussing it with T. I may not have mentioned this before but T is Asian, and until recently had lived all of his life in his home country.

"It was fascinating how Kate Winslet's character wrecked her life because she couldn't admit that she was illiterate," I say, feeling pretty sure of my conclusion.

"Actually," replies T, "I didn't see it like that at all, because she got exactly what she wanted."

"But how can you say that?" I ask, astounded that T sees it so differently. "If she'd have admitted that she couldn't read or write then she wouldn't have wasted away in prison for all those years."

"That's true, but for her that wasn't the important thing, because if it had been then she would have admitted her illiteracy. She didn't want to lose face and admit that she couldn't read or write. As it turned out she was able to keep her secret, so she succeeded in her most important objective :-)."

I'm shocked at T's rational analysis of the situation, because that conclusion would never have occurred to me. One can still debate the subject of course, because arguably Kate Winslet's character would have had a happier life overall if she'd admitted illiteracy and avoided the life prison sentence, or early on in her life had made learning to read and write her objective instead.

The fact that T can see some things so differently to me means that it could be a fascinating and rewarding experience if I end up being his boyfriend. However as I said in my previous post, I worry about how closeted T is, and how he can't imagine admitting that he's gay to his straight friends and family. Indeed, I sometimes get the impression that he may regard telling them that he's gay as being comparable to Kate Winslet's character admitting her illiteracy! However, the good thing is that in the film, eventually Kate Winslet's character learned how to read and write :-).