Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The philosophy of Butters Stotch

A few weeks ago, one of my friends who'd recently found himself a new boyfriend sends me a txt msg:

Hey GB, can't believe you went away on holiday again! Would be good to pop in to see you soon, to chit chat and catch up. I also want to ask your advice about something. xx

I'm intrigued that he needs to ask my advice about something, so I send him a reply to try and find out what's on his mind:

Good to hear from you mate :-). Don't forget that my holidays have been quite short, I didn't take three weeks off like you did! Anyway, what kind of advice do you need? Is it something to do with your new boyfriend? You could come round after work tonight if that helps? GB xxx

I don't have to wait long for his reply:

Yes, it's about me and the bf that I need your advice on, haha. Just a little confused so need to sort my mind out about what I want to do with him. Anyway, tonight would be great, so I will bore you with the story later. Thanx for meeting up :-).

Towards the end of the afternoon we exchange another couple of txt msgs to agree the exact time, and a few hours later we're settling down in my living room with bottle of decent grand cru Chablis to catch up with each other.

"So how's it going with your new boyfriend," I ask, after we've discussed a few less interesting topics.

As soon as I ask this, he catches my eye and almost looks as though he's about to cry.

"Well," he says, taking a deep breath, "let me tell you what's happened ..."

It turns out that the previous week, the new boyfriend had told my friend that he couldn't see any future in their relationship! My friend hadn't seen this coming at all, so he felt completely devastated by the news. However, a couple of days ago the guy had met up with my friend again and told him that he missed him, and that he thought he'd made a mistake.

"So he asked whether we could try being boyfriends again," continues my friend. "Of course I said 'yes', but is that the right decision? How can I trust him again?? I still feel really betrayed after the way he dumped me last week!"

"Well, do you love him?"

"Yes GB, well I certainly did before he dumped me, I really really loved him :-)."

"Love isn't easy to find," I reply, "so if you get back together with him, just take it slowly and eventually you should re-build the trust that's been lost :-)."

"But what happens if he dumps me again. I'm not sure I could stand it ..."

I rack my brain to think of a good way to encourage him.

"You know the American cartoon South Park, don't you?"

"Yes, why?"

"Well, have you seen the episode where Stan gets dumped by Wendy, and Butters gets dumped by the girl that he thought was his girlfriend?"

"I'm not sure, why?"

"After Stan gets dumped, he joins the Goth kids and drops out of life. Do you know who the Goth kids are? They're the ones who dress in black and insist that life is pointless! Anyway, when Butters gets told by his 'girlfriend' that she's not his girlfriend after all, Stan and the Goth kids find Butters crying so they suggest that he should join them. But Butters refuses and says that it's 'a beautiful sadness', because the only way he could be this unhappy is if there was something that previously made him very happy, so he's got to learn to take the rough with the smooth."

I pause to let this sink in.

"So bear that philosophy in mind! I think it's an excellent way to approach this kind of situation."

"OK, let me think about that a bit."

"In any case, if you don't give it a go with this guy, you'll always be wondering 'what if?'. Is there anyone else?"

"No," replies my friend, smiling a bit now, "there's no one else!"

"Well that settles it then! Give it a go with this guy :-). But take it slowly. Hopefully he'll bring you happiness. But if it does go wrong at some point, which hopefully it won't, then try to view the way you end up feeling as 'a beautiful sadness' :-)."

We carry on chatting for a while but before too long my friend needs to go, so I see him to the door.

"Let me know how it all goes!"

"Of course, GB :-). And I'd better go and find that episode of South Park to watch, just in case!"

I feel pleased with the outcome after my friend left, but then last weekend, I get a txt msg from him to say that he's not happy with something that his boyfriend has done recently. It sounds like quite a major incident. Although I'm busy, I give him a quick phone call to encourage him to sit down with his boyfriend and discuss what's happened so they can work out how to move forward.

However, the next day, the following txt msg arrives:

GB, it's a beautiful sadness

That can only mean one thing :-(. As soon as I can, I give him a call:

"He ended up saying that this incident brought back into his mind all the reasons that made him dump me in the first place," explains my friend, "so basically I'm dumped again :-(."

"'I'm so sorry to hear that mate," I reply, "How do you feel?"

"Terrible :-(. But I keep thinking about what Butters said in that South Park episode. It's such a good life lesson! Who'd have thought that I'd be learning it from South Park."

When I'm back at my computer, I look up that episode online to refresh my memory as to exactly what Butters said. When the Goth kids invite him to join their clique, Butters replies:
"Yeah... And I'm sad! But at the same time I'm really happy that something can make me feel that sad... It's like... It makes me feel alive, y'know? It makes me feel human. The only way I could feel this sad now, is if I felt somethin' really good before, so I have to take the bad with the good. So I guess what I'm feelin' is, like a beautiful sadness... I guess that sounds stupid... Besides, I'd rather be a crying little pussy than a faggy goth kid!"
Until recently, if anyone had asked me who my favourite South Park character was I'd have answered Cartman, because he's so comically outrageous in everything that he does. But with philosophy like that, I think that in future I'll say that my favourite character is Butters!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Email from a young gay banker

About three weeks ago, I received the following email from another gay banker:

Dear GB,

First of all I wanted to tell you that I'm reading your blog frequently and that I'm enjoying your writing very much. I would even say that it helped me a lot in recent months when I have been finally starting to deal with issues concerning my sexuality.

I guess that you are a very busy man, but I wanted to try and ask for you advice on some issues.

I'll try to briefly summarise my background before presenting you my questions. I'm in my mid twenties, and I'm now starting a new job in one of the banks in the City in a prestigious (and obviously very time-consuming) position. I've lived in London for a while now, although I'm originally not from the UK. I've always had feelings for men and for a few years had a strong relationship with a very good friend back home which also had sexual dimensions. This was unsustainable, however, and it stopped a few months ago.

In parallel, I have finally started to think more seriously about my sexuality (first of all by not saying to myself that the relationship with my friend is a one-off thing) and I am more and more willing to meet other guys. I have registered on Gaydar and Gay Romeo and met a few people and had sex with a couple of them. Although this was, of course, very nice and exciting, I'm starting to think that I do want to try something more meaningful - I understand that it's not that easy to find a relationship, but on the other hand my feeling is that those gay websites are quite time-consuming and do not necessarily have the right crowd for people like myself (as it seems that most people on these websites are looking for very short term things). Also, I would consider myself to be average looking - not bad but certainly not a top male model - and I am not too keen on the very visual and perhaps shallow searching style that prevails on those sites. I do hope that I have a lot to offer other than looks and body etc., and perhaps I would be better able to show this in different contexts.

Anyways, I wanted to ask you if you have any thoughts for a person in my position - i.e. where is the best place to try and meet "like-minded" guys (young professionals, say)? (Assuming that Soho bars are not a very good place for this). My problem is that I am not 100% out yet - certainly not to colleagues in my bank and also not to many people around me - it is a gradual and slow (and painful) process for me. Hence, even though I found out different events that may be suitable for me (e.g. Village Drinks etc.), they do seem a bit too much for a person in my position who do want to keep things a little more discrete at this stage. My time-consuming job is of course another obstacle in this regard.

Sorry for this really long email and any advice would be greatly appreciated. By the way - you mentioned in your blog a while ago that there is a gay bankers social group or something like that - would you be able to provide me with more details? (Again, I'm not sure that it is suitable for someone who wishes to remain discrete but just wanted to ask).

Thanks a lot,

Best regards

When it comes to trying to find a boyfriend, lots of guys seem to have the same concerns about web sites like Gaydar and Gay Romeo that this reader mentions. None the less, I still reckon that one of the best ways to meet other like-minded guys is online. For example, I met ex-boyfriend P on when I was travelling on a business trip, and I met both ex-boyfriend R and boyfriend T on Gaydar. Fellow blogger Monty in Sydney also met his boyfriend on Gaydar. There's also the web site which organises real world social events as well as providing online chat facilities.

It's true that on some of those web sites, many guys are looking for Mr Right Now rather than Mr Right. But then there's also what I've called The Gaydar advantage, which perhaps is just another way of saying that one often finds boyfriends when one least expects it. Actually when I met all of the guys that I refer to as boyfriends in this blog, including ex-boyfriend S, I was only looking for Mr Right Now. My relationship with ex-boyfriend S ended up lasting 18 years! The important thing is to be open to the possibilities as they present themselves, although one also needs a thick skin. If one has an enjoyable encounter with another guy and one finds oneself wanting to see him again, either for a repeat performance or more socially, one mustn't get too upset if the other guy doesn't want to meet.

For now, given his work commitments at the bank, perhaps the most important thing for this reader to do is to work at building confidence with his sexuality as a gay man. In other words, he shouldn't worry too much about looking for a more meaningful relationship just yet, but just aim to get more and more comfortable with who he is. The target is to reach the point where he doesn't mind who knows that he's gay. Success in his job will be an important part of that, because that helps him develop his independence.

Regarding potential boyfriends, I would also suggest that he shouldn't focus too much on other young gay professionals. My experience is that some of the best relationships can involve guys who're very different, so given that he's a young gay professional, the best boyfriend for him may turn out to be in a different category. One problem that can arise when two gay professionals with big careers are boyfriends is that the careers can end up leading them in different directions which ultimately results in the end of the relationship. So for very long term relationships, it can be better if one of the guys has a more flexible career.

The reader also mentions that he doesn't look like 'a top male model'. Thank goodness :-). I don't think that I've ever mentioned it here before, but I really don't like the way so called top male models look. Some of them look so aloof that I can't imagine that I'd have anything in common with them, most of them look like they need a good meal inside them (or more likely many good meals), a lot of them are probably quite dumb, and they've almost always got far too many muscles!

Anyway, I've now emailed this reader to tell him how to find out more about the drinks evening for gay bankers , but does anyone else have any thoughts for him?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swimming and physics

"So how's your swimming going?" asks a friend of mine over beers last night.

While I was on holiday in Greece recently, I'd posted a couple of progress reports to facebook about learning to swim. Having seen those status updates, my friend knew that I'd been taking lessons from boyfriend T.

"I don't find it easy," I reply, "but basically I can now swim for as long as I can hold my breath :-). Given that a few weeks ago I couldn't swim at all, I think that I'm making reasonable progress!"

"So you can't swim with your head above water at all?" asks my friend, surprised.

"No," I reply, "not yet anyway. I need to keep my head down in the water to make sure that I float!"

"Actually, while I was at the hotel in Mykonos," I continue, "I noticed that the other guests had various different swimming styles. I don't think that I'll ever be able to swim like some of them do."

"Why not?"

"Well, some of them are able to keep their entire head out of the water while they're swimming. I guess it's a type of breast stroke, but they never get their hair wet and they do it so slowly too, perhaps only one stroke a second. I admit that I don't sink now like I used to, but I only just float so I just couldn't keep my entire head dry!"

"I don't think people who swim like that are swimming properly," replies my friend, with a knowledgeable look on his face, "so don't worry. It doesn't matter if you're not able to do that."

"But don't you think that this relates to the basic physics?" I ask, pursuing the subject. "I mean, doesn't it means that people who can do that are much less dense than me? I'm sure that if I had been able to do that then I'd have learned to swim ages ago."

"Actually," I continue, "while I was on holiday, I bet boyfriend T that he couldn't swim like that, keeping his head out of the water the whole time."

"Why?" asks my friend, still chuckling to himself about the fact that I'd admitted to being 'dense'.

"Well he's quite a muscular guy, so I reckoned that means that he's also too dense to swim with his head out of the water the whole time."

"And were you right?"

"Actually it wasn't clear! The first day when he tried, he admitted to me that he couldn't do it. But a few days later he managed to do better, except that he was having to do about three strokes a second to keep his head dry, so I felt that that proved my point :-). Do you think a person's density affects their ability to swim?"

"I suppose it must have something to do with it," he replies, "but I reckon skill is much more important. It's probably 90% skill, and only 10% physics, something like that."

This morning, I did a bit of research using google and found (here) the following question with a couple of answers:
Question: Hi, I would just like to know the average density of a human being. Daphne, aged 16

Answer 1: Well, it's just about the same as that of water, because when you put the average human being in water, he just barely floats in it. Some people (me, for example) can sink or float depending on how much air they hold in their lungs, so their density can vary from just below to just above 1.0 g/cm^3. Grayce

Answer 2: Daphne, do you float in water? Some very muscular people don't. I hope that answers your question. Felix
So do very muscular people have trouble swimming? Or is my friend right after all, so that the physics only accounts for 10% of someone's swimming ability?

In some sense, posting this kind of question on my blog is a bit like 'Ask the audience' on Who wants to be a millionaire! It's not exactly reliable, but nonetheless it's always interesting to see other peoples views :-).

So if anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd be very interested to hear them!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Message from a guy who hasn't had much luck online

For a long time now, I've had a gaydar account that's associated with this blog. However, I rarely log on to that account, so if anyone sends me a message to that account it could be many months before I pick it up. None the less, the last time that I logged in I found that someone had sent me an advice request using the gaydar online message system. The message was as follows:

Dear GB,

First of all, I've been following your blog for about a year now and I must admit that at the beginning I didn't quite understand how you had a boyfriend yet engaged in certain activities with other guys. Now, though, I understand it.

I think it has to do with the fact that I moved to London only recently from a relatively small university city where there weren't all that many interesting guys.

I was wondering if you could help me out with something. I don't seem to be very successful meeting guys online and rarely receive replies, although when we do meet up live they end up being very interested in me generally. What is it that I do wrong online, am I breaking some strange online etiquette? Generally I just send a message along the lines of "Hi, what's up?". Or is it honestly more to do with my looks/pics?

Oh and if you do end up posting this on your blog or so I'd appreciate it if you didn't link my profile to it even if more points of view would probably be useful.

Thanks a lot for this and keep up the great blogging!

I had a look at his profile and at first I couldn't spot anything wrong with it. He looked like a great guy in his pics, and what he wrote about himself looked good too. So I sent him an encouraging reply, and within a few days I received the following response:

Hi GB,

Thanks for the reply! Might it be that I am using the site for the wrong purpose, by trying to meet people for things other than fun?

Based on your experience as a gay banker, I also had a few other questions.
1. As I have recently started working at a major investment bank, should I remove my facepics from the website?
2. What do you think of pride networks at banks? Should I join the one where I am at? I wonder because I'm afraid the guys might treat me differently, not include me in the banter and such.
Thanks for this,

It was only when I started thinking about his gaydar profile a bit more that I realised that he'd chosen a rather unfortunate profile name. So bad, in fact, that it could well be responsible for the lack of interest he'd been experiencing. Although his profile name had nothing to do with gay life or etiquette, the slang meaning of the English words in his profile name gave completely the wrong impression!

As soon as I realised this, I sent him another email which explained the slang meanings of the words, and suggested that he get himself a new profile name. Again, within a few days I received his response.

Hi GB,

How have you been?

Well I just got back to London and have changed my username. I will keep you updated on how that goes. However, to be honest I must admit that I am meeting up tomorrow with a guy I had been seeing a few months ago so maybe I won't be needing gaydar after all :P

Ah and on different tone, have you thought about starting a column in one of those free papers you get on the tube? I wouldn't mind having something a bit more interesting to read on the way to or back from work! :-)

Have a nice weekend,

If I had more time, it would indeed be interesting to write a regular column in a newspaper, even one of those free ones :-). However, I don't think I'd have time to write a column and write this blog too, so for now I reckon it's best to stick to blogging.

I got that email almost two weeks ago. I then intended to post all this reader's queries within a few days, but perhaps because I was on holiday I didn't get round to it. So a couple of days ago, he sent me another email:

Hey GB,

How's it going? Must be awful coming back to this dreadful London weather, eh? :-)

Well, I haven't met up with anyone from gaydar since changing username but I think it is because I haven't been on there much. I joined a gym and have been spending my evenings there instead. The time I have been on gaydar, though, I have received more messages. I would never have thought a username would make a difference!

Tomorrow I am seeing the guy I had mentioned previously, I think I'm beginning to like him, we'll see. Even if it isn't a long term thing, I think it would do me good to try and see a guy for longer than 2 months for a change. The only thing that confuses guys generally is that although I do seem to have a stiffy all the time, I'm rarely in the mood for sex ahaha (apologies if that was a bit too much information).

I am actually now thinking of going along to the interbank drinks soon. I was kind of seeing this guy last summer and we're now good friends so he told me to come along with him. He invited me to come with him last summer but I was far too apprehensive about being gay then. I have become much more confident of myself over the last few months.

Hope all is well with you,

When I received this email, I decided immediately that I had to post this reader's emails and answer his questions as soon as possible, because he's been waiting for a response from me for far too long!

The good thing about his most recent email is the news that he's been getting more messages on gaydar :-). It seems highly likely to me that this is the result of changing his profile name! So although his original query seems to be solved, he asked me a couple of other questions in one of his subsequent emails.

The first question he asked me was about whether he should keep his face pics on his gaydar profile now that he's started working for a major investment bank. As I said over three years ago, I don't have my face pics on my gaydar profile. However for a guy that's just started his career, with a clean and simple profile that one could show to one's grandmother, I don't think it matters. I've said before that there's no problem being gay in banking these days, and similarly there's nothing wrong with looking for a boyfriend online, so I think it's fine for him to keep his face pics on his profile.

However there are a couple of things that could make him re-consider. Firstly, if he were to make his profile more sexual. Although lots of guys have their face pics on their profiles, guys with very sexual profiles usually have their face hidden. Secondly, another point at which he should re-consider is the point in his career when he starts to have people reporting to him. I think that any online profile is highly personal, so it seems inappropriate to me that such information about me might be accidently discovered by people who work for me.

This reader's other question is about the gay social networks that all the major banks have these days. I think it's fine to join them, and I think it could even help him because it should help develop his confidence about being gay in the banking environment. Indeed, he shouldn't try to hide his sexuality. It's exactly like one anonymous commenter put it in response to a query from a guy who was in much the same situation as this reader. He should just 'be out', when he starts, rather than worrying about making a big deal about 'coming out' :-). This should earn him respect, and that's all one needs to be included in the office banter.

The last thing on my mind in connection with this reader's emails is his statement that although he seems to have a stiffy all the time, he's rarely in the mood for sex. If I was this reader's boyfriend, that would certainly confuse me! But is it too much information for his email to me? Not at all, because I reckon that those kind of details are the things that many readers of this blog love to hear about!

Anyway, does anyone else have any thoughts on this reader's queries?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Rugby League Challenge Cup

I think that I've only mentioned my little gambling addiction here on one previous occasion, because when I had dinner with LWW it was one of the things that we talked about. I'm a member of a gambling syndicate, and just over two weeks ago, all the members of the syndicate that I belong to receive the following email from one of the gambling web sites that we use:

Hi Chaps,

The reason for the mail is basically that I have some hospitality planned at Wembley this weekend for the final of the Challenge Cup, and I would be delighted if you would like to join me on the day? I am not sure if Rugby League is your cup of tea but this promises to be a great day out.

Can you please let me know ASAP as these will go very quickly and I have to work on a first come first served basis.

All the very best,


Even though I've never been particularly interested in Rugby League, none the less I'm interested to go to see the cup final. The big finals of any type of sport always have a good atmosphere, so even if one doesn't follow the sport, as W said in his email it should be a good day out. Of course, it would also be nice to see the other guys in my gambling syndicate, but before I can contact any of them one of them sends me the following email:

I'm not available, and if I was, he's quite right, rugby league isn't my cup of tea at all; this is a prestige event though. Have you any interest in sweaty muscular young men wrestling with one another?

Well indeed, apart from the good atmosphere at such an event, there's also the homo-erotic aspect :-). Although all the other guys in my gambling syndicate are straight, needless to say they all know that I'm not!

It turns out that none of the other guys can make it, but I decide that it would be fun to go along anyway. When my host W from the gambling web site realises that I'm the only guy in the syndicate that's going to be able to go, he sends me another email to tell me that I can bring a friend if I want. So I send boyfriend T a txt msg:

Hey boyfriend, one of the web sites that my gambling syndicate uses has invited me to the Rugby League cup final next Saturday. I can bring a friend too, so do you want to come with me? We might have to pretend to be straight and talk about sport and cars LOL, but there'll be lots of hospitality, i.e. food and drink :-). Some British guys would probably kill for this opportunity! Anyway, let me know ASAP, GB xxx

Unfortunately with our impending holiday to Greece, boyfriend T has too much to do, so it's just going to be me after all.

In the UK, Rugby League is a sport that's predominately played in the north of England. So on the day, I get various emails and txt msgs from the other guys in my gambling syndicate, which would be interpreted as racist if one could regard people who live in that part of the UK as a separate race:

Make sure you take a flat cap and a black pudding to Wembley today, that way you'll be indistinguishable from all the other northern rugby league supporters.


If there's a lull in the conversation I'd try talking about whippets, or pigeon racing.

But of course they don't mean any harm, it's just the same kind of playground humour that teases me by asking me whether I'm interested in "sweaty muscular young men wrestling with one another"!

On the day, while I'm in a taxi on my way to the event, I start wondering what to do if any of the guys that I meet at the event ask me if I'm married. In my txt msg to boyfriend T, I was thinking that at such an event we'd have to play straight, but with a bit of thought I realise that that would be wrong. The only reason to play straight is so that the straight guys won't feel uncomfortable! But in fact it's important for gay guys to come out whenever they can, so that the population at large can see that we're no different from anyone else, and that gay guys are everywhere. So I promise myself that I won't pretend to be straight.

Within half an hour, I've met my host W and we're making our way up the escalators inside Wembley and into a smart room where lunch is being served.

"So are there many people in our party?" I ask W.

"There'll just be six of us today :-)," replies W, "and you're the third to arrive."

Soon I'm chatting to W and his other two guests about sports and gambling. It turns out that apart from W, none of us are big Rugby League fans, but like me they've all just come along for the occasion and a good day out. As we continue to chat, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will ask me about my personal background. A bit later, when the match starts, luckily one of these guys knows the rules well and is able to explain exactly what's going on.

"It's quite exciting, isn't it :-)," I remark casually after about 20 minutes.

"Actually I think they designed the Rugby League rules to try and keep the game moving," he replies, "so it's deliberately designed to be as exciting as possible!"

We have a few more drinks during the interval, and then during the second half, I find myself sitting next to W. However, after about ten minutes, W suddenly asks me the key question:

"Are you married, GB?"

So, here it is after all. What on earth do I say? All the other guys that we're with are watching the match, and with the noise of the crowd, only W will be able to hear my reply.

"Actually, I split up from my long term partner last year," I reply slowly.

I know that using the word 'partner' should raise the possibility in his mind that I'm gay. Straight guys would naturally say wife, or girlfriend, or fiancé! But summoning up the courage that I promised myself, I decide that I can't leave it there.

"But I've got a new boyfriend now :-)," I continue.

For the next ten minutes W is silent. Perhaps he doesn't know any gay guys and is stunned to realise that he's sitting next to one! So I start to make a bit of conversation about the match and soon he's chatting with me like before.

At the end of the match, one W's other guests makes a comment about the two teams:

"Warrington played well, they made Huddersfield look like a bunch of poofters!"

More playground humour, just like I get from the guys in my gambling syndicate. W looks at me slightly nervously, wondering what I'll make of the comment but I just smile :-). I hate political correctness, so it doesn't matter to me what language people use!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A couple more holiday pics (again!)

When I posted two holiday pics a couple of days ago, it didn't take people very long to work out that we were in Santorini. 31 minutes to be precise! We stayed there for four days, but now we've moved on. So can anyone identify the new location? My guess is that quite a few readers will find it easy to work out where we are now ...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A couple of holiday pics (again!)

When myself and boyfriend T went on holiday in July, we were only away for a week. So with lacklustre weather in the UK during August, we felt that a second week abroad would be a good idea :-). But can anyone guess where we are this time, from the two pics below? Needless to say, any readers who know the answer as a result of private email correspondence with me can't play!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A visit to a sauna in Amsterdam

Over the last few weeks, I've been in email correspondence with a gay South East Asian guy who's in his early 20's, and who only accepted that he was gay a few months ago. He currently living in London, and he's written a short story about a recent trip that he had to Amsterdam. However, the story goes into more explicit detail that I usually post here so be warned. But for readers who don’t mind a story with some sexual content, click here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The cop out

Just over a week ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I've been reading your blog and came across your advice section. I also note some of your stories reflect some of mine. So I thought I might ask you for some advice.

I'm a 23 year old guy, not the best looking in the world but not ugly. I go to the gym regularly (to work out, not pick up! lol) and I'm academic and have what most would consider good prospects ahead of me. I don't mean to sound like I love myself, haha, just setting the context.

I've not long been out. Or I should say I'm still not! I have a close bunch of gay friends who I hang out with, and these are separate to my university friends. My family don't know, but that's a whole story in itself. I still go out on the scene occasionally, and I'm comfortable with it completely. I'm not constantly looking over my shoulder and I don't always care who sees me.

So I'm 23 now, which to most readers might seem young, but I've know I'm gay since I was 14, hence it's been quite a while now. My first encounter with a guy was when I was 16, and the next, which was a proper encounter, was at 18, so I've been at it for some time now. lol.

I need some advice...

This might sound pathetic, but in all my experience with guys, I find I never have trouble picking up, I just have trouble holding on to them! Several times now I've met guys who I've got on great with, and after a handful of dates, maybe a month or two of 'hanging out', they disappear! I always get the "it's not you, it's me" line and I'm finding it hard to believe now. How is it that every guy is wrong, and I'm perfect? It's just not possible, so I need to know what I'm doing wrong.

I need to give you some perspective, so I'll tell you about my most recent experience...

I met a guy one night when I was out in Soho. A policeman on duty, let's call him Sid for the sake of the story. I walked past Sid and his partner in their police van with my friends, and whispered that the policeman in the van was beautiful, but clearly straight. One of my friends, being a loud American, decided to announce my confession at the top of his lungs. So we went into the bar opposite to save me from my embarrassment, and when we came out, Sid and his partner were watching us, smiling. They hailed us over, and needless to say my American friend was there in seconds, telling Sid that I was interested. He laughed, and when I walked over I thought he could be nothing but straight. He was also very shy, which was extremely cute, and when we were left alone to talk for a minute his cheeks were red which was also very cute. But that was it. I, surprisingly confidently, asked for his number but he said he couldn't give it to me. Straight, for sure! So I said my goodbyes and took my friends and walked off.

We had just turned the corner at the bottom of the street, and arrived into the main busy stretch in Soho, when we heard a siren getting close. I turned around and saw a police van, lights and siren on, and the driver was hailing me to the side of the road. Bollocks, I pissed him off, I think and go to find out. Everyone in the street is watching at this point, and when I get to the van's window, Sid's partner explains that Sid is not allowed to give out his numbers while on duty. But there is nothing to stop Sid's partner from giving me the Sid's number! So he did, and Sid gave me a wink.

God I was so happy that night, I thought that was such a sweet, romantic move. Amazing. Lovely, beautiful guy, I thought. We spoke later that evening, and he came to see me while he was working the next evening. He told me he was going up north on holiday for two weeks, and that we should go on a date when he gets back. I agreed.

For the two weeks Sid was away, he called me every day, and I would text him probably just as much as he did! It seemed a bit odd to me, as we didn't really have much to say to each other, but it was nice. So the two weeks pass, and on Friday, we agree to go out the next evening.

Saturday afternoon comes and I haven't heard from Sid. I'm out with my friends at a bbq, and they all know that tonight is finally the night! Exciting. I text him to ask what the plan is, and two hours later still no reply. So I decide to call. I hear two rings, and I'm diverted! I try again. Same. And now I know something is wrong. I text again, saying I'm worried about him, and want to know he's ok, and he sends me back a message saying he's fine, and he's sorry. End of!

Two weeks of not hearing from him, despite texting and trying to call every now and then (much more than I should have done), I grew a little depressed. What on earth happened? That was all I wanted to know, and he would not answer no matter how much I asked!

After two weeks I grew frustrated and sent him a message saying that I hate how things turned out, and I want him never to get in touch again. Honestly, I was a little rude in it and told him he was not a man, but just a boy. So he replied, with a really obscene message, and I leave it at that. That evening he texts saying sorry, and that he's an idiot, and that I am a great guy. So I call him and he answers! He tells me the reason he went quiet is because us talking everyday was too intense for him and he didn't know how to handle it. Things were moving too fast for him. I was stunned during this conversation and said absolutely nothing. He didn't want to know how I felt, and wanted to talk about him and his feelings. I wish I'd told him I felt the same, and reminded him that I only ever called him twice in those two weeks. Anyway...

We tried being friends for the next couple of weeks, but he ignored me lots when I would text him, and finally I lost it. I told him how I felt, and how he never took into consideration how I felt when I was deserted without explanation. Nor did he take into account that I was crushed afterwards. I told him he should have and he seemed surprised at how I felt! Like he thought I was actually fine after it all happened.

It stopped there. I know not of him now.

I'm aware my email is dragging, but I just want some help. All my 'relationships' with guys end the same way. I always end up being ditched, or I just don't hear from them again. The only way this is different is that we never properly had a date, nor did we have sex.

I don't understand and it's getting me down. I've become horribly pessimistic about being gay and having a boyfriend, and I tell myself that I need to get used to being alone for the rest of my life. I'm 23 years old and should not think like this but I'm hurting and people have noticed how negative I've become about everything. I want nothing more than a guy to share my happiest moments with. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for reading such a long and intense email.



When I first read the email, I was impressed that the reader had been able to get the personal phone number of an on-duty policeman. It's a pity that he didn't meet up with Sid for a date, and it was certainly inconsiderate of Sid just to avoid contact with the reader instead of cancelling their planned meeting with a txt msg or phone call. However, my experience is very much that younger guys can be quite fickle like that, so the reader shouldn't get too upset about what happened.

Indeed, young gay guys can often have quite a lot going through their minds. On top of all the standard dating dilemmas that straight guys have, there are all the gay issues too. "Am I really gay, or am I just going through a phase?", or perhaps "I don't want my friends to know yet that I'm dating another guy", and so on. So I think it's quite normal that the reader hasn't had a long-term relationship yet. Until the young guys that the reader has been dating become more mature and start knowing their own minds better, they'll often change their mind about things, just like Sid did. My guess is that for some reason, perhaps because this reader is at a similar stage, he's particularly attracted to guys who're not yet sure about things in their own minds and so is particularly susceptible to receiving the kind of behaviour that he's been experiencing. I know many gay couples, but I only know of one gay couple that have been together since they were in their early twenties. So although there are guys that are lucky enough to find their long-term boyfriends that young, I don't think there are very many of them.

However, reading the email carefully, one thing strikes me about this reader namely that he's obviously quite an intense guy. For example, someone who says that they're "horribly pessimistic" about ever finding a boyfriend is surely overreacting given that they're only 23 years old. The reader also describes his email as "long and intense". So I think that the reader needs to learn to be less intense, or in other words to be cool, and to take things much more slowly.

With Sid, it sounds like they were both responsible for the over intense communication while Sid was on holiday up north. Even if it was Sid who was doing most of the calling, the reader was no doubt encouraging him to keep up the frequent communication. It would have been much better if the reader had played it cool and avoided the ridiculous situation where two guys who don't really know each other are keeping in contact every day. The reader describes it as 'nice', but I'd call it crazy.

So it sounds to me as though the reader needs to play by some kind of dating rules. Ex-boyfriend P always used to tell me that there were rules such as not contacting a guy for three days after a date, even if one had had a really good time and really liked the other guy. I've blogged about this before, with the conclusion that dating rules like that are designed for guys who're inherently uncool, to try and make them seem cool! But until this reader can learn how to be cool naturally, I think that he needs to follow these kind of dating rules to avoid taking things too quickly and to avoid seeming too intense.

So how does he learn these rules? One gay reader wrote to me a few months ago to say that his straight friends swore by a book called The Game. However, that book is all about the pickup, and this reader doesn't have a problem in that area. So a book like The Rules is probably more appropriate for this reader :-).

Does anyone else have any ideas for him?