Saturday, May 29, 2010


I simply can't believe that it's happened again :-(. Three years after Lord Browne resigned as the chief executive of BP for lying about his gay private life, another stupid gay guy ends up resigning for a similar reason. This time it's Liberal Democrat politician David Laws who's resigned, all because he claimed expenses for renting a room in his partner's house. I'm not saying that he was wrong to resign, I'm sure that it's the right decision given that what he did is against the rules. But why did he pretend to himself that he wasn't in a gay relationship with his partner James Lundie? There are enough stupid people in the world! Someone like David Laws, who used to be an investment banker, really should know better. It really makes me ANGRY!

Lunch with a collegue

Last month, a colleague who I don't know sent me an email as follows:

Hi GB,

I went out for a drink after work with P recently, and he told me that you're gay. I'm gay too, but I sometimes find it hard to be myself because my immediate colleagues here on the trading floor all seem so straight. Perhaps we could go out for lunch or drinks sometime? We could share our experiences about being gay in the banking world.

Best wishes,


I immediately ask my colleague P about H, and when he tells me that H is a nice guy, I reply to his email offering to go out for lunch with him the following week.

On the day, we end up meeting in the restaurant shortly after midday. We get on well together, and we end up talking about a huge variety of topics. We talk about the bank that we both work for, gay life, our boyfriends of course, as well as many other things.

Towards the end of the meal, I ask him a question that had been on my mind since I got his email.

"So why did you want to meet me for lunch? It's always nice to meet new guys, but it was a bit of a surprise to get your email."

"Do you want the direct answer, the official answer, the simple answer, or ..." replies H with a cheeky glint in his eye.

"Oh I think we'd better have the direct answer!" I say bluntly, "I always prefer the truth :-)."

"Well, there were two reasons actually :-)," he replies. "Firstly it's because I've seen you on the trading floor, and you don't seem to have any problem being gay and interacting with all your straight colleagues, so I thought that it would be interesting to meet you."

"Sure, and it's been interesting to meet you too :-)."

"And secondly," he continues, looking me directly in the eye now, "I think you're a very attractive guy."

I start smiling now, but inside I'm completely taken aback by what he's just said.

"Wow, thanks for the compliment :-)," I answer, trying not to disclose my surprise, "but I bet you say that to all the boys!"

Is this guy trying to chat me up? We continue talking, and when its time to get the bill, he insists on paying. We walk back to the bank together, and when it's time to say goodbye, he squeezes my arm slightly in a very friendly way.

"Let's see each other again, perhaps for drinks after work or something :-)," he says, again looking me directly in the eye.

"Um, yes sure :-)," I answer, "it's been fun!"

Walking back to my desk however, I can't help thinking that if we do meet up for a drink after work, I'll need to be careful. Judging from his behaviour, he's definitely the kind of guy that likes to get a girl drunk so that he can have his wicked way with her!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An email from a closeted investment banker

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

Dear GB,

I always enjoy reading your blogs and appreciate your unique perspectives. I am writing today as I was hoping to have your quick advice for my unique situation.

I am from an Asian country, but I moved to the US a few years ago for a job transfer. I have been working for a major investment bank in institutional sales since graduating from university. I am gay and have been closeted throughout my life, and I try to be as careful as I can to stay that way.

As you know, the financial community is still very conservative and I do not know anyone who is openly gay or who even looks gay in my work environment. Therefore, I am very nervous about the impacts from both my employer (investment bank) and clients (asset managers) if I ever come out or become outed.

Career wise, I have been somewhat successful so far, and my future is looking OK. However, I am getting more and more nervous as people around me are increasingly more curious as to why I am not married or do not seem to date girls too much.

I am worried not only because my managers and co-workers are very homophobic, but my clients also tend to comment negatively about gays. While I work for an American investment bank, my report line is to Asia where things are still a lot more traditional and conservative. And, my client base also involves both Westerners and Asians. Therefore, I think my situation is more complicated than those who only work with the Westerners.

As I am tired of being worried about someone finding out about my sexuality, I often feel that career change might be a good way to get out of my current situation. But, I am not sure if I have any transferable skills outside of this industry since I only have equity sales experiences without an MBA.

Going onto MBA and getting into a new industry, where sexuality is less of a problem, would be an option. However, people tell me that I am too old for top MBA schools because I would not only waste tuition ($150,000) + 2 years of income, but I would also end up in less attractive job position, and making a lot less money. So, I am not sure if that would be a wise option.

I have also thought of just getting married to a girl and try to suppress my feelings like many other gay/bi guys do. However, my conscience would not let me do so.

In the past few years, I have thought of all sorts of possibilities, but I always got confused and ended up keep doing what I have been doing. However, I am increasingly frustrated and often get depressed.

Since you seem to have great knowledge about (a) how things work in investment banking industry, (b) Asian culture and (c) coming out issues, I was hoping to hear your opinion.

My apologies for the long email, but I would very much appreciate it if you could give me a quick advice. Thank you so much.

Best regards,

I was on holiday in Paris with boyfriend T when I received this email. Nonetheless, I immediately sent him a quick reply suggesting that he tries to think about how he can build confidence as a gay man, and asking him whether he has a boyfriend. For a guy in that kind of situation, a good boyfriend would be a real asset, because he would be able to give the reader a lot of emotional support. His reply was as follows:

Gaining confidence as a gay man is definitely something I would like to work on. I have tried this before but my fear of losing career, friends, and reputation has been too big. No, I have never had a boyfriend. Because it is difficult to go to gay bars as I am so afraid I could get outed by someone, the only place I can search guys has been online. I have tried multiple dating sites, but it is not too easy to meet guys for friendship or long term relationships. It is already difficult to be a minority without native level English skills, to be working in a Caucasian male dominant investment banking industry with high level of homophobia. So, I would need a great level of courage and confidence to come out here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much again for your attention to my email.

Reading his email again, I'm glad that he hasn't forced himself into marriage with a woman. That path isn't likely to lead to long term happiness for either of them, and is particularly unfair on the woman if she doesn't know in advance that her fiance is gay.

More importantly, it's time to point out that the fundamental premise that investment banking is intrinsically homophobic is completely wrong. The key word that all banks are talking about these days is diversity. Googling for the names of a few top banks in conjunction with the word 'diversity' I found the following web sites:
Deutsche Bank diversity
Our commitment to diversity At Deutsche Bank ... goes beyond age, gender, disability, religion, ethnic origin or sexual identity. For us, a diverse culture is not just desirable: it’s an essential part of the way we do business ...
Bank of America (Merrill Lynch) diversity
Has affinity groups for "Asian, Black, people with disabilities, Hispanic/Latino, women, military veterans, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, ..."
Goldman Sachs diversity
We strive for excellence. To be the best firm ... we hire ... across the full spectrum of gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, culture and level of physical ability.
Morgan Stanley diversity
Member of both the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce NY.
I'm sure that further googling would find equivalent information from the investment banking divisions of all the other global banks, but that would make for a boring post! So as a first step, perhaps the reader should make contact with the people at the bank that he works for who're involved with his bank's diversity programs. Similarly, given that he said that he works for a major investment bank, I'm sure that there'll be a network of gay employees that he could join if he wants to.

It's worth pointing out that this culture of valuing diversity also extends to some bank clients these days. I've heard of a straight salesman being asked by a client about the diversity policy of the bank that he works for, and luckily for this salesman, he was able to give a good answer because he knew about some of the work that his boss did in connection with his bank's diversity programs.

Regarding the networks of gay employees inside investment banks, it's true that relatively few of the people who're involved with those networks work in front office roles like institutional sales, which is where this reader works. With that kind of job, the reader will be working on the trading floor, and there's no doubt it can be a tough environment. But even on a bank's trading floor, I've known gay guys have successful careers provided that they have sufficient confidence. A couple of years ago I wrote a post about something that happened to one gay guy I know. That story proves that it is just a question of confidence.

Another point that I haven't mentioned before is that the people who matter in investment banking really don't mind if someone is gay, with one caveat that I'll mention below. There may be homophobic guys working in less important roles, but in terms of the top guys, I've met enough of them to know how they think. They focus on making money for their banks for hence for themselves, they focus on getting deals done, and they frequently dedicate themselves to their careers. There's no room in their mindset to worry about someone's sexual orientation, but the caveat is that I mentioned above is that if someone is gay, then the fact they're gay mustn't matter to that person either.

Unfortunately the reader isn't yet in that category, because from the way he wrote the email to me, he's clearly very uncomfortable being gay. The fact that he worries about it is his weakness, and because it matters to him, it could be seen as a serious flaw. This is very much what I call the confidence mirror. Being gay doesn't matter, but being worried about being gay means that you must be under-performing as a banker because there's a portion of your energy that is devoted to something that's irrelevant. Having said that, it's difficult to be a successful institutional salesperson, so given that the reader is capable of that I'm sure he's capable of succeeding in his gay life too.

So it really is as I said in my original email response to him. He simply needs to work on building his confidence as a gay man. He doesn't ever need to come out to his clients or colleagues, because his private life is only a matter for him and as I said above, being gay IS irrelevant to his job. However, he needs to be confident enough so that if someone mentions to him that they saw him going into a gay bar, he'll be able to admit it without feeling that he's losing face. He needs to be confident enough that if someone asks him why he's not married, then he'll be able to say that he's been "... looking for a partner for while but hasn't found anyone suitable yet", and then follow up by saying something like "I'm never been that interested in women" if someone offers to set him up on a blind date with a woman.

If he has trouble in taking any steps to develop his gay confidence, then I would suggest that he finds a good psychotherapist for some private counselling sessions. The first steps are always the hardest, but my guess is that once he's on the right path, he'll gradually find it easier and easier to be a happy gay man :-).

Does anyone else have any thoughts for this reader?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Maternal betrayal?

"I think if your parents hadn't got divorced when you were young, you might have turned out straight," says boyfriend T to me over dinner last Saturday night while we were in Paris.

"Really?" I reply with a bemused tone in my voice, "how do you work that one out??"

"Well, you've got a few straight characteristics," answers boyfriend T, "so you probably could have gone either way."

"So what made me gay then?"

"You've told me before that you'd do anything to help your mother. So I think that because you were brought up by her, you didn't ever want to have a girlfriend because loving another woman would have felt like you were betraying her. So you ended up gay :-)."

"But I never ever thought that having a girlfriend would have been betraying my mother," I reply, feeling confused, "and I'm sure that she'd have wanted me to find a nice girlfriend, preferably one with good child-bearing hips that could have ended up providing her with grandchildren! I even tried to be straight for a while, before I decided that I was gay :-)."

"I don't doubt any of that, but my theory is about what was going on in your subconscious!"

I've blogged before about how some gay guys had strong women in their lives while they were growing up, so I guess boyfriend T's theory could be true. The only problem with the theory, though, is that it's completely untestable! In any case, at this stage in my life, I'm very glad that I did end up gay :-). If I'd turned out straight, I'd never have met boyfriend T, and I can't bear the thought that I'd have ended being the boyfriend or husband of a female person instead of him!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A weekend trip out of London

Last Friday evening, me and boyfriend T went on a weekend break outside London :-). We had a great time together, but as a result, I've had no time to write a blog post. In these situations I usually post pics of where I've been, and get readers to guess the location. Last time I did that, it took just 2 minutes (!) before a reader left a comment which correctly identified that I'd been in Dubai. This time I hope that the mystery will last a bit longer. So can anyone work out where I've been from the two pictures below, which were taken on Saturday morning?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An email about circumcision

About a week and a half ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Like nearly all white Midwestern Americans born in the late 1970's, I was circumcised at birth. It bothers me that I had no say in the matter and that the procedure is still performed on millions of American infants each year, largely for cosmetic reasons. I am vocal in my opposition to the procedure, but my boyfriend can't comprehend why it bothers me. He thinks I should just forget about it and let life go on and let others do as they want. I don't want to sit back and let the same thing happen to others. What makes things worse is that there is widespread speculation that the American Academy of Paediatrics may actually begin to recommend the procedure in a new policy on male circumcision that is expected out this summer. What is your opinion on the matter? We are not in the middle of Africa were HIV is rampant, and I don't buy the cleanliness argument in this century where there is ready access to water for washing. I've heard that many Britons that think we are crazy in the US to continue the procedure. Would a recommendation for male circumcision make Britons think Americans have gone completely off the deep end? Now that circumcision rates have decreased in the UK for a few generations, do you think there is any danger that Britons will begin to adopt the practice widely?

Thanks for your advice,

Although I've had this blog about gay life for over 5 years now, I've actually never blogged about circumcision. So I guess this post is long overdue :-).

Over the years, I've enjoyed activities with both cut and uncut guys. Looking back, it would have been interesting to have kept a record of what types of guys were cut and what types of guys were uncut, but of course I haven't done that. In terms of enjoying the activities with all the different guys, I'm being quite honest when I say that it's never made much difference to me, because I've always focussed on the guy himself rather than the details of his apparatus. The only thing that I can think of is that I've found it easier to give unfamiliar equipment a hand job when the guy is uncircumcised!

America certainly isn't the only country that routinely circumcises its male children. Although my impression is that British and other European guys tend to be uncut, I'm pretty sure that some East Asian countries also circumcise most of their boys, although since I haven't kept records I'm not absolutely certain. It's also obviously the norm in Islamic countries and Israel. However, I'd be very surprised if it were to become standard in the UK during my lifetime. Perhaps because it's not standard over here I don't think British guys think about it very much, so I doubt that we'd think that Americans are crazy if they do start recommending it. For me, the fact that Americans still can't spell 'colour' after all these years is much more curious.

I can't help wondering what grounds there might be for the American Academy of Paediatrics to make circumcision the recommended policy. I've heard that circumcision makes HIV transmission slightly less likely. Apparently the HIV virus quickly dies when it's outside the body, but when it ends up on a guy's helmet underneath his foreskin, I think it's easier for it to find its way inside his body before it dies. As the reader says, in a modern society where guys wash regularly and change their underwear more than once a week, the cleanliness argument seems a bit weak. In terms of aesthetic appeal and cosmetic beauty, I suppose again I slightly prefer guys to be uncut, in the same way that a car looks better when the engine is under the bonnet rather than out in the open.

I've always wondered if there's any difference in orgasmic sensitivity between circumcised and uncircumcised guys. The fact that an uncircumcised guy's helmet is protected under his foreskin might mean that it's more sensitive than a circumcised guy's helmet, so perhaps it's more fun to be uncircumcised because one might expect that a circumcised guy's helmet gradually becomes slightly desensitised. It would be interesting to hear from any readers that were circumcised during adulthood whether they think there's an effect on sensitivity or not.

Regarding circumcision on religious grounds, I'm very much against it. More generally, I'm against anything that differentiates one set of people from another set of people, because that leads to divisions and ultimately wars! So I support the French for banning religious headscarves on girls in schools, given that most female French students don't wear headscarves. But perhaps in terms of circumcision, that means that all guys need to be circumcised, because I don't see how families can be banned from circumcising their male children.

Another thought is evolution. After several billion years of evolution, guys are born with foreskins,. Presumably this means that there's a good reason for them to be there. This means that unless there's a very good reason to cut them off, surely it makes sense to leave them alone.

Looking at all the different aspects that I've mentioned above, although I don't feel particularly strongly about it, if pushed to make a decision my vote would be for guys to wear foreskins rather than take them off. After all, avoiding circumcision means that a guy's got something else that can be fun to play with :-). For example, does anyone enjoy docking?

Finally, perceptive readers will realise that I've written this entire posting without divulging whether I'm circumcised or not. So you'll all just have to guess!

Do any readers have any views on circumcision?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The right result

I can't help thinking that all the political parties got what they deserved in the recent UK election. The Labour party lost lots of seats because they've been in power for too long so a change is needed, and because they didn't save any of the taxes that they collected during the good years before the financial crisis. The Liberal Democrat party also lost a few seats, in spite of expectations of a big breakthrough for them, because when people started looking at their policies in detail they were realised how bad some of them were. And although the Conservative party gained lots of seats, they didn't get an outright majority because their leader David Cameron isn't convincing enough!

In spite of boyfriend T's comment he couldn't be boyfriends with someone who wants to get into bed with Brown, in the end I had to vote Labour. However it was mostly a tactical vote. There was a danger that I could have ended up with a Liberal Democrat MP, and given that some of their policies are very much against bankers, that would have felt like a disaster for me.

The only downside is that the result leaves the country with a hung parliament. At the moment, it looks as though David Cameron is going to get into bed with Nick Clegg. I think they'll make a lovely couple :-).

Thursday, May 06, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, myself and boyfriend T are having dinner with Close Encounters in a smart restaurant when the subject of ejaculation arises.

"There's a guy that I've seen a couple of times who produces enormous porn star quality cum shots!" says Close Encounters, with a real sense of admiration in his voice.

"Wow, really?" I reply, "But do you mean that he's a heavy cummer, or does he just shoot it a long way?"

Of course, the answer to that question is none of my business really, but I can't help myself from wanting to know all the details!

"Both :-)," laughs Close Encounters, and a distant smile gradually creeps across his face as he presumably starts remembering some of the details of his last session with this guy.

"I don't think I've ever been with a guy who's capable of one of those huge cum loads that you sometimes get in porn clips," I say, feeling as though I'm missing out.

"Actually, the guy himself hates it," replies Close Encounters, still smiling, "because there's so much mess!"

Both me and boyfriend T laugh at this, and briefly I wonder what it would be like if I produced a cupful every time I came.

"Incidentally," continues Close Encounters, "what do you think of guys who want to clean up immediately after a session?"

"I think it can mean that a guy isn't completely comfortable begin gay," I answer, after thinking about it briefly. "They want to clean up because they feel guilty that they've just had sex with another guy, so they want to pretend that it didn't happen."

"Yes, I suppose that could sometimes be the reason."

We chat about it a bit more, but gradually the conversation drifts onto other subjects.

Later, I remember that I did once witness a huge load, about seven years ago. I visited a guy who was working backstage in a London theatre on a Sunday afternoon. We had a session in an office there, at the end of which he came all over my chest! Luckily he had a big towel that I was able to clean myself up with. So perhaps the guy that Close Encounters has been seeing is right after all. Big loads can be inconveniently messy!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Does your blood type affect your personality?

A few days ago while I'm on my way to work, I'm idly browsing through the BBC news web site on my smartphone when I spot an article titled Dating by blood type in Japan. I've never heard of this before, so when I get to work, I immediately send boyfriend T an email to ask him what he knows about it. Later that morning I get his reply:
Actually, I once saw a movie called "My blood B type boyfriend" which was quite a success in Asia. This blood type thing seems more important for women, especially teen girls. I have never been into this. I think it is a very silly thing!

But just for fun, have a look at this website and guess what my blood type is. Any thoughts?
When I open the web site I immediately look for my own blood type (type O), and see that it describes me as "Outgoing, energetic and social, ... extremely self-confident". I've been called all those things in the past, so I start wondering whether there's some truth in the concept :-). However, although I think I know boyfriend T quite well I guess his blood type wrongly 3 times, so maybe it doesn't stand up to scrutiny after all!

Do any readers have any views on this subject?