Thursday, October 29, 2009

Email from a young gay banker in Asia

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The big penis book

Last weekend, I'd originally planned to work on a posting for the one remaining advice request that's been waiting patiently in my "Dear GB" queue on this blog's right-hand side-bar since the end of last month. However, in the end, the whole weekend was occupied by a trip with boyfriend T to visit an old friend who lives in the British countryside.

During the course of the weekend, we went on a couple of walks where I took the photos that can be seen below. We also spent quite a surprising amount of time discussing other men's penises, partly because boyfriend T discovered that my old friend (who's also gay) owns a copy of The Big Penis Book. One suggestion that emerged from the discussions was the rumour that Irish guys tend to have bigger than average appendages for Caucasians males. Does anyone think that there's any truth in that?

Anyway, apologies to the reader who sent me that request for advice, but I'll try and post a response later in the week. Meanwhile, can anyone work out where in the UK we were from the pics below?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A quiet evening with boyfriend T

One evening last week, I'm cuddling up on the sofa with boyfriend T watching some TV, when suddenly he asks me a question.

"My shoulders have been quite stiff recently," he says, "do you think a massage would help?"

"Yes probably," I reply. "Do you want to come with me to visit my masseur friends B and N sometime?"

"Yes please. Or do you think they might be able to fit us in now? It would be great if they could :-)."

"OK, let me call them and find out."

As luck would have it they're both available, so soon we're making our way round to see them. Since I'm a regular client of B's I take a massage from him, while N looks after boyfriend T. A couple of hours later, as we're walking back home together, we compare notes.

"So was N's massage any good?" I ask boyfriend T.

"Actually YES," he replies enthusiastically, "one of the best massages that I've ever had :-)."

"Wow, you sound keen! I've never actually had a massage from N, because I've always been B's client, but I'm glad you had a good experience with him. What did you wear?"

"Initially I had my undershorts on," answers boyfriend T, "but after a bit, just before he started using the oil, he asked me to take them off. I was a bit shy at first but it was fine actually, once I got used to it! After all, he's just doing his job :-)."

"Did B give you an oil massage too?" asks boyfriend T after a short pause.

"He used to, but these days I normally get him to give me a traditional massage without oil."

"So you don't have to go naked, right?"

"I suppose, although I always do go naked :-)."

"Really?" replies boyfriend T, mildly surprised, "And what does B wear?"

"Shorts, just like you saw him wearing this evening, why?"

"Oh, just wondered ..."

I think I can guess where this conversation is going.

"GB ..." says boyfriend T after a pause.

"Uh huh :-)."

"Have you ever had sex with B?"

"Yes!" I reply laughing slightly, feeling pleased with myself that I'd spotted this question coming, "Although in fact we haven't done anything together for about a year now."

"Why not?"

"I don't know really. Actually B started out as a friend from gaydar, but after I'd seen him a few times I decided to try letting him massage me. He doesn't like to mix sex with massage, otherwise he feels like a rent boy!"

"You've had sex with all your gay friends, haven't you!" asserts boyfriend T, with a playful tone in his voice.

"No of course not," I giggle.

I can't help feeling that boyfriend T is sometimes a bit jealous of my happy-go-lucky approach to gay life.

"Well, you slept with that friend of yours that you were seeing earlier this year, around the time that we also started sleeping together, didn't you?"

"Yes, true," I reply. Ever since we started being boyfriends, I've been careful to be scrupulously honest with him about everything, especially if he asks me a direct question.

"And I bet that at some point you slept with that friend who split up from his boyfriend recently?"

"Errr yes, true, but before he started that relationship."

"See," replies boyfriend T with a grin on his face, "you've slept with all your friends!"

"But I haven't slept with either my friend P or my colleague P," I protest.

"OK, but you've slept with your colleague M haven't you!"

"Errr, well we didn't actually *sleep* with each other, we just ..."

"I don't need to know all the sordid details," he laughs, interrupting me.

We carry on joking with each other all the way back home, and soon we're cuddling up on the sofa again to watch a bit of TV before bedtime. I'm glad that I can talk freely with boyfriend T about activities with other guys, because I think it makes for a much healthier relationship :-).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Email from an out gay guy who works for a bank

Just under 4 weeks ago, I got an email about the prejudices that straight guys can have about working with gay guys. The email was as follows:

Dear GB,

I've been following your blog for quite a while, which I think is very useful and entertaining at the same time. Can I please ask for your kind help and advice?

I'm a 27 gay man who has recently joined a large UK bank. I grew up in Amsterdam where I've never had any issues with being gay and I didn't make a secret out of my sexual orientation when I applied for this position. My line manager appears to be quite comfortable with it. Also my team members are fine with too and have even joined me on a boys night out in Soho (3 guys all straight). I have a straight appearance and manners, so in general I seem to hit it off quite well with straights. The job, line manager and colleagues are the best I could've asked for.

I haven't really had a great relationship with the department's head from the very first start though. It always surprised me from the very beginning how he actively reached out to my team members and my subordinates, while I felt I was always shut out by him (seriously, although I've tried to initiate conversations or reach out to him, he would just ignore me. He even never responds to my greetings in the mornings). Although not very nice, it wasn't something that I was too bothered about, so I decided not to let it affect me. I always wondered: is it because I'm gay??? Until today!

We had a team lunch to welcome a new team member and I sat in front of the department's head and the new team member. They seemed to hit it off quite well. I was engaged in a conversation with a couple of colleagues when I heard my name a couple of times in their conversations. Didn't exactly catch what they were saying. At a certain point, I decided to listen carefully and again my name fell. I then clearly heard the head saying ' X definitely choose the wrong sector, he should have tried fashion media and design" followed by a loud laughter. For a couple of seconds I couldn't breath; I felt like someone stumped me intensely hard in my stomach. Although I'm very ad rem and have a strong personality and can control my emotions well, tears filled up my eyes and I couldn't say a word; I felt paralysed and weak. I couldn't believe what I heard: were they really saying that?

I felt deeply offended and humiliated. Are gay people incapable of occupying professions other than fashion media and design? Are we still living in that era that gay people should hide their true identity for the sake of being accepted and not subjected to public humiliation?

I'm very confused as to how to handle this situation. Am I over dramatising this??

Being a gay professional who is well experienced in investment banking here in the UK, I'd really value and appreciate your opinion and advice on how to handle this. I'm not per se looking for vindication, I simply don't want this to ever happen again. Would it be wise to speak to my line manager (who reports to him)? Or should I speak to him directly, or someone else or simply keep my mouth shut and get on with my work???

Thank you so much!

I'm sure that lots of gay guys who work for banks or for other big corporate firms could run into this kind of thing during their career, so it's an important issue.

At the time when I received the email, there were three other pending advice requests in my "Dear GB" queue on this blog's right-hand side bar. However, I felt that this reader needed some immediate advice, so I sent him the following email:

Because you're 4th in my "Dear GB" queue at the moment it'll be a few weeks before I can get round to posting your email, so meanwhile there are two things I can say:
  1. you need a thick skin to work as an out gay guy in any corporate environment. It's like being in the school playground - any weakness is seized upon. So don't let them get to you.
  2. you need to earn the respect of you co-workers, and that won't happen if you speak to anyone about this and make some kind of complaint. The standard way of earning respect is a work environment is to do an excellent job, but if you're able to interface socially then that can help too. Or if you overhear a similar comment again, if you've got a quick wit and can make a cutting remark about the guy who said it, that would earn immediate respect - problem solved! But that takes a lot of confidence, of course, and is hard to do.
Within a day I received his reply:

Hi GB,

Thank you so much for your quick response! That's kind of you.

I really appreciate your advices, thanks! I ran through your comments and you're absolutely right! I think I might have become too comfortable with the fact that my direct colleagues (who know me quite well) are quite open-minded and have no issues with an out gay co-worker. Also, that I need to develop a thicker skin (which I kind of thought I had). The corporate world is indeed not the easiest place for openly gay men, no matter in which country.

I had to smile when I read the comparison with the school yard, it so made sense. I guess I kind of expected the department's head (a 60 yo man) to act more like a head teacher who would protect you against bullies rather than to bully you himself, which is a foolish assumption: boys will always be boys.

Luckily, I believe I'm doing a good job, which is acknowledged by many people within the department and that's what count at the end! I believe this makes the head look foolish if and when he talks negatively about me.

I was thinking today that indeed, if I were to tell or complain to anyone about what happened yesterday at the restaurant, it might put me in a weaker position and that it won't serve me at all. I decided to put this aside, keep on performing well, while being positive and true to myself. Again, thanks a million.

Now that I've got round to posting this guy's emails, I'm not sure that there's much more to say. As an example of gaining the respect of colleagues, I did a post last year about how my colleague M was able to earn the respect of his co-workers on one of the trading floors of the bank that I work for. But to do that kind of thing one needs to be able to think of a good reply quickly. As I said above, it also requires a lot of confidence.

It's true that in the UK these days, there are employment laws to protect minorities such as gay and lesbian workers. However in the corporate world, one should never fall back on those laws, because one will be seen as someone that needs special treatment because of one's sexuality and that damages one's reputation. As I said in my email to this reader, the key here is to earn the respect of one's co-workers. In my experience, good work coupled with an open, friendly and helpful manner is a perfectly good way of achieving that :-).

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this subject?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A visit to my gorgeous Japanese masseur

Very long time readers of this blog may recall B, my gorgeous Japanese masseur, who I used to visit regularly for massage and sometimes other activities. I still sometimes visit him for massage, but since he goes back home to Japan very regularly, just when I start to get into the habit of seeing him he'll be off on another trip and so the habit gets broken again.

On a recent visit to see B, I bump into his English colleague N, who's on his way out of the building where the two of them have their massage business.

"Hi, how're you?" I ask N, "I haven't seen you for ages!"

Indeed, I haven't seen him for well over a year because whenever I've visited B for massage, N would either be busy with another client or somewhere else entirely.

"Oh I'm fine thanks, you?"

"Yeah I'm good. I've got a new boyfriend now :-). It seems to be going well, at the moment anyway!"

"So what happened to the boyfriend who lived abroad?" asks N.

"Oh, I split up with boyfriend P back in January :-(," I reply, with a despondent tone in my voice, "and if I ever see or hear from him again it'll be too soon!"

"Still, you're looking great mate," replies N, eyeing me up and down approvingly, "what's your secret?"

"Well I still go to the gym regularly, ..." I start.

"... with perhaps a bit of Botox?" he interrupts, with a big grin on his face.

Bloody cheek!! How old does he think I am anyway?

"No certainly not!" I answer, sounding genuinely offended, "Anyway, how about you?"

"Actually I've also got a new boyfriend too," replies N, still smiling, "he's a Greek guy :-)."

"Wow, really?" I ask, "I thought you were a confirmed rice queen!"

"Naaaah, I've given up on Asian guys!" replies N, "they're too difficult and they never do what you want!"

I find myself wondering whether he means that they don't remember how much milk he likes if they make him a cup of tea, or whether he's talking about what he wants them to do in more intimate situations.

We say goodbye to each other, and while I'm climbing the stairs to visit B, I suddenly realise that something that one of my old friends told me last May must be wrong. When I met a friend of mine for dinner, he'd told me that becoming a rice queen is a 'one-way street', meaning that once a Caucasian guy starts dating Asian guys then all his boyfriends from then on will be Asian. But since N has a Greek boyfriend now, it's clearly not 100% true.

Although my gorgeous Japanese masseur always insisted that N was only a colleague and nothing more, I always thought that there'd been some kind of loving relationship between the two of them. Indeed, it might even have been the failure of a relationship between the two of them that forced N back up the one-way street!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Email from a guy with a couple of difficult friendships

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I was the Cambridge guy who wrote to you earlier this year about playing hard to get. Since then I have had little success in finding someone and have been through an emotional roller-coaster involving a slightly younger guy. Thanks for replying to my earlier email.

I went for a date with a guy, A, from Uni and we had some fun. We met up the next day and he didn't want to take things further, which I thought was a shame, so I was a little upset. But I pretended I wasn't upset and that I wasn't really interested in him anyway, and apologised to him, on the (false) pretext that I could have been exploiting any feelings he may have had for me should we have taken it much further, since I thought he may have liked me. He thought I had little feelings for him and we became extremely good friends.

Little did he know, I've been besotted with him since, and that throughout my exam period I needed to see him every day, and we did. I was always talking about him to my close friends. They told me that he must be stupid if he couldn't tell that I liked him, and so I always thought he had some idea about my feelings.

I spent a good month at his place in the summer and we developed a very strange relationship which was semi-sexual. We would lie next to one another on the bed and embrace, and he would tease me. I had thought at the time that this was cruel behaviour if he knew that I liked him, because it would be exploiting my feelings for him. This behaviour, and the loving way he treated me, made me feel uncomfortable, since I knew it wouldn't be able to result in a relationship. During that holiday I nursed him through illness and was always willing to talk to him about his concerns. He sometimes got angry with me at the time, which upset me considering I had tried to help him. To make things worse, once when drunk he did seem to want to do stuff, and I did not know if it was sensible to involve myself with him.

I invited him to an event at which a friend of mine in his mid/late 20's, friend B, was present. I was to stay the night at B's. A asks B if he could stay, since it was convenient. I notice that B starts to flirt with A, which A never noticed at the time. I felt worried they would get together, since there was nowhere else I could stay that night, and nowhere else they could feasibly go other than the room we were sleeping in. As time went on, and we went back to B's, I noticed he wanted A and me, both younger guys, to share one bed, and have fun. I tried to occupy the middle of the bed but B, who is older, and has more authority, easily got me to move. I didn't want to do anything because I'm not attracted to B. So the whole night was spent listening to them, literally touching me. And I couldn't sleep and felt like crying. The guy I was besotted with was being messed around with in my presence.

It all reached a head when I had my party at A's. A brought a boy with him. A had been showing interest in my ex, but I told him that it would really upset me if he got together with him, as I was still attached to my ex. In reality I was more attached to A, but A didn't seem to know that. I would just be jealous if A and my ex got together, if not slightly turned on by the idea. A agreed not to do anything with my ex and didn't. I got very drunk and was rude to A's new boy and to A behind his back, since I thought that he had known for months that I had liked him, and so I thought that his semi sexual behaviour towards me and his behaviour towards B, had been cruel and exploitative of my feelings. A was enraged as the boy he was with was so angry with me that they had slept back to back. In the morning he told me he never wanted to see me again. Naturally, I was devastated, and he still didn't know I liked him, unbeknownst to me. I spoke to B and asked for his advice and it was sorted out. I told A that one of the reasons I behaved so strangely was that I liked him and thought he was exploiting my feelings. I told him that I had never been able to express some of my feelings to people, even though on the surface I seem quite intense. A had said that I was extremely self-centred and never helped him, which really upset me, since I had nursed him and helped him for a month.

Since then, A became more involved with B, and this has upset me, since I valued B's friendship in part for it's independence from entanglement with my other friends and I was jealous of B. I am still jealous of B, even though A and B are just friends now. My first question is can I continue being friends with B the way I was before?
Another problem is that I continued to hide my feelings for A from A, saying that they had subsided. I met A's dad when drunk and told him everything I feel for A and he told A. I just don't want A to know, since A gets arrogant when other people like him, and I fear he will tell others. My second question is, should I avoid A for some time?

GB, I hope you can help this sad, sad under-confident boy!

P.S, The fact that A didn't like me made me have signs of an eating disorder and severe worry about my appearance, which is a shame, my ex thinks, since I'm not ugly. (I attach a few pictures of myself for you to look at)

Looking at the pics that this reader sent me, I thought that he's a great looking guy, and a very very very long way from ugly. I also hope that he doesn't develop any eating disorders because he's quite thin enough! Thinking about the situation with his friend A, I felt that it would be best if stops seeing him, so given that it would be a while until I'd be able to do this posting I sent him an encouraging email with that suggestion. However I wasn't ready for the reply that he sent me:

Hi GB,

Thanks for your reply. The problem with not seeing A for a long time is that he is one of my best friends. We have a very close friendship. I think it may be strong enough to withstand the strength of my attraction to him. He's going back to Uni soon though, whereas I've just graduated and am planning to live abroad for a while soon, so I suppose that might help!

The weirdest thing about it was talking to his dad about him, and the fact that I think his dad is hot (at least in a few of his pictures) and A told him so. I told his dad a lot of things that perhaps embarrassed A, but I also told him all about how I like older, dominating guys, and he seemed interested in me. Would it be unacceptable if I got with A's dad? I imagine this as a hypothetical since I don't find him nearly as attractive as his son, in fact I don't think I would do anything with him, since it is really pictures of him a few years back that I think are hot. The question is, then, is it unacceptable as a matter of principle to sleep with the father (or immediate family member excluding partner) of someone you have a romantic connection to?

Best, and sorry if I sound perverse,

I was still trying to work out what I thought about the question at the end of that email when another email arrived:

Dear GB,

I must clarify some things I said. A's dad, whose photo I thought quite hot, is not married or, I think, in a relationship.

Also, I didn't make clear that all the time I've known A (until after the party) I constantly gave the impression of not fancying him because I was scared how he would react if he knew I did, as we spent so much time together, and I didn't want things to change. I tried so hard to give the impression I didn't fancy him that it often resulted in me seeming rather cold towards him, which caused tensions. So it is plausible that he didn't know that I fancied him, although, hearing my story, it may well seem to others that he probably knew.

Another problem I failed to mention was as follows. My ex and A both look after me, as I'm highly sensitive and behave like a little boy! Now, I have recently been arranging to meet with people from gaydar, mostly dominating men. I feel the need to give the number of the contacts I have made to A and my ex (in case something goes wrong), but this puts me in a dilemma. They want to know exactly who I'm meeting and see their gaydar page, as they're very protective of me. I can't tell anyone else the number of the people I meet, etc. So I have to tell A and my ex. But I'm afraid they'll see my taste for extreme kinkiness as evidence of some deficiency in me, whether moral or otherwise, and if they saw the profiles of those involved then they might well. They do know I'm into that stuff. I just don't want them to look down on me. But they are my best friends, and I'm a compulsive and paranoid worrier, so perhaps I'm being silly.

The problem is, with all the stories I've told you, the masochist in me loves this worrying situation, and loves the drama, but, at the same time I dislike the bad things that happen. And so I'm perennially caught between being hurt and upset and liking it and being hurt and upset and not liking it, which causes...more pain.

I hope this email doesn't make you look down on me, the same way that I fear my friends may look down on me.


I replied to this email immediately to say that it's never my intention to look down on anyone. I'm certainly far from perfect myself, so to quote a well known religious text, it really is a question of "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone". I also replied to say that I thought that he'd probably benefit from some professional counselling, even though I'm sure that he's quite capable of having normal and healthy relationships. In any case, I don't like to turn away any request for advice, so I'll now do my best to say things that hopefully he'll find helpful.

It seems clear to me that this reader has had a crush on his friend A, and that his feelings aren't going to be reciprocated. It even seems likely to me that A has been taking advantage of the reader, for example by getting him to look after him when he was ill. Because of the reader's crush on A, he's always been there for him, so much so that A probably got to the stage where he took the reader's help and attention for granted. Although the reader writes that he thinks his friendship with A may be strong enough to withstand the strength of his attraction to A, I don't think that the reader himself is strong enough. So to emphasise what I said in my first recent email to the reader, for his own good I think he needs to stop seeing or even communicating with A. I'd suggest that it would be safe for the reader to start meeting A again when the reader has a new romantic interest in his life, preferably when they're at the stage where they're calling each other 'boyfriends' :-).

Regarding the reader's concern that his friends might look down upon him if they see the gaydar profiles of the guys that he wants to meet, I'd suggest that perhaps he could take more responsibility for his own life and not tell them in future. One thing he could do if he's concerned for his safety is to find an email system which does delayed delivery, so that when he gets back from an encounter with one of these dominating guys he could then prevent an email containing contact and gaydar profile details from being sent to them. The email system that I use at work has that feature, so I suspect that it can be found elsewhere too. In any case, given that his friends know about the kind of stuff that he's into, they won't look down on him if they're proper friends, so it's a good test of whether they're good friends or not. However I think that he should stop using his friend A, and should just rely on his ex, assuming that his ex is happy to carry on playing that role.

In his first email, the first question that this reader asks is whether he can continue being friends with B the way it was before? I'd think the answer is 'no', because he must take account of the way that B behaved in connection with A. Surely it was a bit rude of B to want a threesome with both A and the reader, without discussing with the reader in advance? So I think that their friendship has evolved, although it's up to the guys themselves to work out what kind of friendship they'll have in future.

Finally, the reader also asks is whether it's unacceptable as a matter of principle to sleep with the father (or immediate family member) of someone that one has a romantic connection to? I reckon that it always depends on the precise circumstances and what the motives are, so I don't think that it's wrong as a matter of principle. However, there are lots of situations where I reckon that it would be wrong. For example, I think it would be wrong if the motive is simply to try and upset the person with whom one's had a romantic connection. It would also be wrong if the other family member is simply a substitute for the person with whom one's had a romantic connection. In both those case it's wrong not least because it's not fair on the other family member. So one criteria for it not to be wrong is that the intentions of both people should be 'honourable', and that they'd have been keen to sleep with each other if the other person didn't exist.

Do any other readers have any thoughts relating to these questions?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A cow, a chicken, and some grass

"I want to do a little test on you GB," says boyfriend T, while we were on holiday in Greece recently, and eating our evening meal in one of the local restaurants.

"Uh huh?" I ask, taking a sip of wine, "it's not going to hurt is it??"

"No," laughs boyfriend T, "it's quite painless! There's a cow, a chicken and some grass. You just have to tell me, if you were to partition them so that two of them are in one group and the other is on its own, what's your first instinct on how to do it?"

[If anyone wants to play, make your choice now before reading on!]

"Um, cow with chicken, and the grass on its own I guess," I reply, without giving it too much thought.

"WOW, so he's right!" exclaims boyfriend T in a very excitable voice, "I didn't believe it when I read it but he's right!"

"What on earth are you talking about," I ask him, feeling a bit like some laboratory rat who's just confirmed some elaborate behavioural science theory for their researcher, "and what's your answer anyway?"

"First tell me why you chose cow with chicken?"

"Well because they're both animals," I reply, now mildly curious at what's behind boyfriend T's reaction, "and grass is a plant. So what's your answer?"

"Well, cow with grass, so the chicken is the odd one out. The cow's got to go with the grass because cows eat grass."

"Sure, that's another way of looking at it I guess!" I reply, with a sceptical tone in my voice, "but there's no 'right' answer is there?"

"No, not really," admits boyfriend T.

"I read about this professor who claims that Western people and Asian people think about things differently," he continues, " and this is one of his examples. Westerners tend to think about the categorisation, whereas Asian people think about the relationships and the harmony. I was so sure that cow with grass is the 'right' answer that it was almost shocking for me to hear your answer!"

"Interesting!" I reply. "Let's try it on someone else, I know, let's ask our Greek waiter."

The next time our waiter comes to our table, we ask him the same question that boyfriend T asked me.

"OK," replies the waiter, "so I choose grass and chicken together."

We both burst out laughing.

"Why you laugh?" asks the waiter, feeling a little vulnerable.

"Only because we didn't expect that answer," I reply, "what made you choose that?"

"Well, cows eat grass," explains the waiter, "so if I put the cow with the grass, I won't have any grass. So I put the chicken with the grass instead :-)."

Later, when I get back to the hotel, I do a bit of research online to find out more. The guy that boyfriend T was talking about must be Richard Nesbitt who wrote The Geography of Thought.

The next week when I'm back at work in the bank, I ask one or two of my colleagues, to test out the theory a bit more. My Chinese colleague replies as expected, that cows have to go with grass, but then all my other colleagues hear the subsequent discussion and end up answering the same way!

Do any readers have any views on this?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Email from a woman with a bisexual ex-boyfriend

Most of the emails that I get asking for advice are from gay men. But last month, a woman sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Recently, I discovered your blog. I was conducting a search for resources on bisexuality and relationships. I was linked to a post that you wrote about a woman with a bi-curious former lover. From reading your blog and your responses to posts, I sense that you are an open minded and compassionate individual. I hope you don't object if I share my tale of woe with you. Perhaps, you can present an objective, third party perspective about my predicament.

This spring, my ex-boyfriend, who is a politician, propositioned me when I sought his assistance in obtaining services from a state agency for the disabled. He suggested that I become his friend with benefits and then he would consider aiding me with my bureaucratic dilemma. A more vulgar expression was employed by him but I have refrained from invoking it here as a courtesy to you. My ex is single. However, I have been married for four years and he was aware of my marital status when I requested his help. We had been on friendly terms since the dissolution of our romantic relationship several years ago. Needless to say, I was appalled by his indecent proposal.

When I discussed this obscene offer with a mutual friend several days later, the friend stated that the ex had not been faithful during our relationship. When we were a couple, I had lost my virginity to the ex, experienced an unplanned pregnancy, and sustained a miscarriage with him. The friend claimed that the ex had hooked up with random men online and met with them in parks or public restrooms to engage in clandestine sex on a regular basis. Furthermore, the friend assumed that I already knew about the ex's infidelities and assumed it was the reason why I had ended my relationship with him. Undoubtedly, I was astonished by this revelation.

When I broached this allegation during a phone conversation with my ex, he became livid. He stated that the friend was nuts and a compulsive liar. Then, I politely inquired what reason would motivate the friend to fabricate such an outlandish tale considering he works as a photojournalist. The friend's credibility is his livelihood. However, the ex was convicted of a crime involving deception in 2002.

In reply, the ex started shrieking into the phone that he "owed me no responsibility for his actions during our relationship seven years ago." I was crestfallen
and retorted that I would need to be screened for STDs given his response. He threatened to seek a criminal prosecution against me if I pursued testing
and discussed the results. In turn, I disconnected the call.

Unfortunately, this is not the first claim that I have heard about my ex's sexual orientation. When I had dated him, a roommate of one of his friends
admonished me to terminate the relationship asap because he claimed that my ex was cheating on me with another guy. In a state of disbelief and denial, I dismissed the accusation because I thought that the roommate merely disliked my ex since he had a falling out with my ex's friend. At the time, I thought he made the statement out of spite because he was moving out of the apartment. Recently, a colleague of my ex's, another politician, has confirmed off the record that my ex's sexual preference is well known around the state capital.

Since that diatribe from my ex, I have been screened for STDs along with my husband. For the record, my husband is the only other partner that I have been intimate with besides the ex. Fortunately, my husband received a clean bill of health.

However, the physician at the clinic noted an abnormality during my exam. Two weeks later, my gynaecologist performed a biopsy. The result confirmed that I have been infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). When I relayed the news of this diagnosis to my ex via e-mail out of a legal duty and moral obligation, he threatened to obtain a restraining order against me.

Meanwhile, the state agency has denied me services for "a failure to participate." During the midst of this crisis, I had requested to be placed on medical leave for two months to have an operation performed on my shoulder. Instead, reps for the state agency believe that I fabricated the report and pursued an extramarital affair with my ex, which distracted me from developing my small business plan. Please keep in mind that I was offended not flattered by my ex's indecent proposal. A rep affiliated with the agency insinuated that the recent diagnosis of HPV must be the result of a tryst with my ex. However, I had an abnormal pap smear last year, which my gynaecologist had dismissed as a fluke until I learned of my ex’s sexual history.

In June, my ex visited my home with a male companion while my husband was at work. I was the midst of recuperating from surgery to repair a brachial
plexus (nerve) injury in my dominant shoulder. My ex rang my doorbell. When I did not answer the door, he shouted into one of the downstairs windows that he "was surprised that I was not home" and thought that I was a "f**king b***h." Before I recovered my equilibrium in time to contact the police, he had departed.

At the beginning of August, I consulted with a pain management specialist. He recommended that another MRI be conducted on my cervical spine because he thought that might be the source of my discomfort. Unfortunately, the MRI revealed that I have another herniated cervical disc at C5-6. My physical therapist informed me that this disc is responsible for innervating the shoulder and arm. From my lay person's perspective, this is the reason why my recovery from my brachial plexus surgery has been hampered.

When I was notified of the result of the MRI, I was supposed to participate in a hearing with the state agency a week later. The original hearing had been postponed in July so that I could attend a follow up appointment, out-of-state, with my orthopaedic surgeon. Upon learning of this medical news, I had requested another postponement because I am unable to drive. The hearing is being convened 30 miles away from my home and public transportation does not exist in my state. The week of the hearing, I had a consultation with another specialist out-of-state that I could not reschedule. In addition, my husband had requested time off work to transport me to this consultation but could not be approved again for leave that week for a non-medical appointment. Unfortunately, the state agency and the hearing officer refused to accommodate another postponement.

Due to my exasperation, I contacted the leadership of the state legislature and explained my predicament to them. A female legislator was involved with this matter but she refused to notify the leadership. She explained to me via e-mail that she did not want to inform them that my ex was suffering from "some serious, personal issues." You may have surmised that I disagreed with her position and decided that I had nothing to lose by contacting them.

I must concede that I was impressed by the response that I received. A member of leadership contacted the state agency on my behalf to petition for a deferment of the hearing. I was relieved to learn that her request had been granted. The hearing has now been rescheduled for October.

In addition, I was contacted by another member of leadership. He informed me that my complaint had been referred to the Attorney General's office for investigation. He mentioned that he did not feel comfortable convening the ethics committee given my explosive allegations. As an attorney, he also believed that this might be a criminal matter given the indecent proposition and threats made by my ex.

Three weeks ago, I was contacted by a detective with the AG's office. He requested that I submit a written complaint. Then, we discussed the complaint in further detail over the phone. At the end of the conversation, he recommended that I forward to his attention any e-mail correspondence that I had engaged in with my ex.. Right now, I am awaiting the detective's decision in this matter.

In the meantime, I have been in contact with a member of Congress. I enlisted her assistance in order to reinstate my services with the state agency. While I was informed by a member of her staff that this issue fell under the jurisdiction of the state not the federal government, this member of Congress offered to write a letter of support on my behalf to the Governor. A month has lapsed and I have not yet received a response from the Governor's staff.

I had no intention of outing my ex in this manner. Until the events of this spring, I had held him in high regard. However, I suspect that he may be related to a member of the state agency. If that is the case, then this could explain why I have encountered so much hostility in my interactions with the agency.

I know this message sounds like it could be a plot extracted from a soap opera. From my humble perspective, this situation has evolved into a horror movie. At one point in time, I was in love with my ex and thought that there was a possibility that we would get married. Unfortunately, my ex is still in the closet about his sexual orientation with the majority of his colleagues, family members and associates. He presents the facade to the world that he is a devout Catholic although it would appear that his sexual preference is in conflict with his religious affiliation. Now, I may be responsible for ending his political career which is not a prospect that I relish.

I hope that I have not overwhelmed you with the disclosure of this information. I apologize for inundating you with details about this unpleasant ordeal. If my ex had revealed his sexual orientation to me years ago, I would have been supportive and remained his friend. Now, I'm flabbergasted by his betrayal and deceit. As a man who has come to terms with his homosexuality, I'm interested in soliciting your input about my predicament. Thanks.


Before I received this email I'd never heard of human papillomavirus (HPV) so I looked it up on Wikipedia. I was amazed at what I discovered:
  • HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection in the USA;
  • By the age of 50 more than 80% of American women will have contracted at least one strain of genital HPV, and over 44% of women in the 20-24 age group are estimated to have the infection;
  • Although it is possible to test for HPV DNA in men, there are no FDA-approved tests for general screening in the United States, since the testing is inconclusive and considered medically unnecessary.
If this information is right, although this virus can cause problems with a woman's health, it doesn't have much effect on men so that testing in men is considered 'medically unnecessary'. Furthermore, according to that web site even in women it's often not a problem, because their own immune systems often eventually end up curing the infection naturally.

In terms of this woman's situation, it strikes me that she could well have contracted such a prevalent virus from either her husband or her bisexual ex-boyfriend. In her husband's case, it could well be that he wasn't tested for it, because there are no FDA-approved tests for it in the United States. Furthermore even if he was tested for it somehow, he could have had the infection at some point, but then his own immune system might have cured it. So if my impressions about HPV are correct, it will be impossible to prove that she contracted it from her ex-boyfriend. Beyond that, even if she did contract it from him, because it's such a common infection people are passing it on all the time. So passing it on to someone else is hardly a major offence, and seems to me to be more like giving someone flu by sneezing on them.

Although I don't see the HPV infection as an issue in connection with this woman's ex-boyfriend, using his influence to get her some help in return for sexual favours is a different matter. However, if he just made the suggestion in a private conversation it will be difficult to prove, because it's just her word against his. None the less, now that she's made a report it may turn out that other people can be found who've got similar allegations. If so their combined voice would carry more weight. Unfortunately the woman's word probably carries less weight than other people because she used to be his girlfriend, and people on jury's will know that failed relationships can sometimes cause people to make untrue allegations against their former partners.

Regarding the ex-boyfriend's homosexuality or bisexuality, to me this issue seems somewhat separate from the woman's grievances with him. It is of course quite common for guys to deny their sexuality, and my experience is that gay guys who were brought up as Catholics can have a harder time accepting their sexuality than guys from other religions. To some extent, politicians deserve as much privacy as the rest of us when it comes to these issues. However, I'd argue that if a politician lies about his sexuality when asked a direct question, or if he's homophobic in public and homosexual in private, then such a politician loses that right to privacy. From this woman's email, I can't tell whether I think that her ex-boyfriend deserves the right to privacy or not.

Ultimately I think that this woman should focus on recovering from her surgery and getting on with her life with her husband, instead of putting her energy into pursuing grievances with her ex-boyfriend. After all, my analysis above suggests that the HPV infection is a relatively minor issue, and in any case it will be hard to prove either of her allegations.

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this woman's situation?