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?


etre-moral-etre-sincere said...

To summarize your great post,

one often finds boyfriends when one least expects it


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

Both these things are very true, from my own experience and experience of my friends. I would especially recommend to stay away from young professionals with a closely related occupation, since it might involve some unhealthy competitiveness in the relationship.

Also, when I used to do online dating, I found that Gayromeo is less sexdate oriented at times [as a matter of fact, I met my partner there], so if that's what this reader wants, he might have made a very good choice having registered there as well.

Borris said...

Call me old fashioned, but how about volunteering in a gay group, or joining some gay leisure activity (singing, walking, whatever)? Listings in the gay press. I don't mean spending your whole life there!

Your reader would build confidence in getting to know fellow gays of all walks of life. He would be free of the pressure of sexual content or overtly searching for a date, but with many opportunities...

Mind you, this is how, 20 years ago, I happened to meet an Englishman who was working in my country. We are now civil partners and living in London :-)

A-Philosophical said...

I met my exs, and also excellent friends in Gaydar while I was living in Uruguay. Now I am trying manhunt and dudesnude for London.

While I lived in Spain I used and i can tell you it is no good to meet men in Spain.

Gaydar is the best for Spain, thoug GayRomeo and ManHunt are catching up.

I want to find a good web-based chat for London. Let me know if you know some that are good!

Shawn LI said...

Craigslist? In big city like NYC you just need to key in "date" there are at least 20 threads coming out, it's relatively risk free as you don't have to show a face pic. Just describe yourself and what you want (emphasize you don't want one-off event but rather more meaningful interaction) I think you can always get quite a few responses, choose carefully after that, as ultimately it is craigslist ;)
But hey, instead of searching multiple profiles, you just need to type and click "submit", isn't that much easier for busy banker?
Always give something a try, it might work out

Eric said...

I'm in my mid-20s as well, but I've given up on looking for love. There really isn't anyone out there who could satisfy me unfortunately...

But great advice nonetheless for people still looking for a better half. If I was interested in meeting other guys, I would totally check out gayromeo.

Anonymous said...

watch this GB!!!