Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dilemma in my personal life

There are a couple of new guys that are starting to feature in my life. One of these guys is K, who I've mentioned a couple of times in this blog (1, 2). The other guy is called L, and this is the first time that I'm mentioning him. Both K and L know something about each other's existence.

L is a very sweet guy, and he really really likes me. However, for various reasons I can't see us ever being boyfriends, and just over a week ago I told him how I felt. I told him that although we won't end up as boyfriends, we can definitely be friends, and that as far as I'm concerned we can also be "friends with benefits" as long as I don't have a boyfriend and as long as I'm not dating anyone on an exclusive basis. L was upset when I told him all this, but he appreciates my honesty, and he's happy to continue our friendship on a "with benefits" basis for now.

As I said before, I feel that I'm falling in love with K, and although I still haven't slept with him we're now talking about the possibility of dating each other on an exclusive basis in early October. I've agreed with him that before then, I can carry on indulging in activities with whoever I want. Given K's reaction when I told him that I slept with the guy M that we both met in a bar in Soho, I think that K wants to know that if he starts sleeping with me then he won't have to share me with anyone else. I can understand that, and I'm happy to go along with it. One complication is that I got to know K via some mutual friends, and for various reasons, K doesn't want them to know if we start dating seriously. Obviously if we become boyfriends then everything would be out in the open, but he'd much prefer to keep it secret to start with, because if it doesn't work out then they never need to know.

Night picture of parisIn an attempt to help keep any dating arrangement with K secret, I've now arranged a one night trip to Paris with L. I've told L that I may start dating K on an exclusive basis in early October, and he really appreciates my gesture of organising this trip on what may turn out to be the last weekend when I'm available to be his "friend with benefits". On my side, I am looking forward to spending time with L in Paris, both because he's a very nice guy and also because I love Paris. However, my original motivation for this trip was to try and create a "smokescreen" which would make it easier to date K without any of our mutual friends finding out. All these mutual friends are keen users of facebook, so if I get some pics of me with another guy in Paris and post them to facebook, then they'll almost certainly see them and then never guess if I'm actually dating K.

My dilemma is, should I tell L that I have this extra motive for the trip to Paris? And if I do get some pics of me with L in Paris, should I ask his permission before posting them to facebook?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Email from a guy who puts up lots of barriers

About two years ago, a reader sent me an email requesting advice. At the time I had quite a big backlog of "Dear GB" emails waited to be posted on this blog, so I sent him a quick private email. It turned out that my reply was sufficient and it wasn't necessary to do a post for him.

The email exchange that I had with this reader has been in my mind a lot recently, because some of his issues remind me of the problems that ex-boyfriend T has being gay. In any case, I always think it's good to post these sorts of emails, because other people may be in a similar position and so these posts may end up helping them. So just for the record, I'm posting the email exchange now. The original email was as follows:

Dear GB,

Some advice, if you please. I have so many issues, I could become a millionaire by selling subscriptions.
  1. I'm gay. And in the closet. So far back, I should begin hanging ties off myself.

  2. I have no desire to come out of the closet, at least not completely. I come from a very, very conservative culture (Muslim South Asian). I am the oldest son. I can't shame my family that way.

  3. People have moralized to me. It won't work. I'm stubborn. So any "Get out of the closet" speech won't work.

  4. I'm lonely. I don't have many friends. For many years, I was a Mormon. I lost most of my friends when I left the Church. Most of my social interactions is with relatives.

  5. I am very, very conservative. I fooled around a bit while in college but never had full-blown sex. I don't want to become a manwhore. I also have a very boring lifestyle (no tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, dancing). My biggest vice is chocolate. But enough about me. How others live is their business, not mine, and I'm not worthy to judge others.

  6. I want a boyfriend. Who's also in the closet.

  7. I'm not in the best of shape but getting there. Nevertheless, I'm very conscious of my body. This effects my self-confidence.

  8. Nevertheless, I'm considered to be very smart, witty, geeky and nerdy to a point, intelligent, talented, resourceful, generous (sometimes to a fault), impulsive, and caring.

  9. Under family pressure, I got married once. Didn't work out and got divorced. Under religious pressure, I found a good Mormon girl. Didn't work out and called it off. Parents found another girl. It's not working out. I'm tired of following what others dictate for me. I want a man for a change.

  10. I'm a diabetic (although I'm 31). That brings its own baggage, though not as much as above.
So, any ideas for me? If the answer is, "No," I'll take that. I'll just channel all this pent up desire and frustration into conquering the world. No biggie.

Sent from my iPhone.

I thought about this for a couple of days, and eventually I knew what I had to say, which was as follows:


Thanks for the email, and thanks for reading my blog :-).

I think you know that I normally take emails like yours and post them on my blog, together with my thoughts, so that you get my views as well as the views of any other readers who leave comments. I'd be more than happy do to that with your email, but if you want that you'll probably have to wait about 3 months! Unfortunately I don't have much time for blogging at the moment, and if you look in my right-hand side-bar you'll see that I've got a bit of a backlog of these "Dear GB" emails. So in case you don't want to wait, I'll give you a few quick thoughts now. But bear in mind that because these are quick thoughts, I haven't thought about them as much as I do when I do a posting, so I may make mistakes!

Reading your email (several times), my impression is that you put up lots of barriers between yourself and the world. It's almost as though each separate point in your email is another barrier that needs to be overcome. I imagine that the personality behind all the barriers is quite vulnerable, as well as a bit lonely. Unfortunately it's hard for guys who put up lots of barriers to find boyfriends and hence solve their loneliness, because people have to lower all their barriers to develop loving relationships. Lowering your barriers is something that you'll have to work on. The fact that you clearly feel a need for a life partner is a good sign, but you'll only find one if he can get to know the real you underneath it all.

I'm a big fan of finding boyfriends using internet dating web sites, and it's especially good for guys in the closet because they can access the web sites from the privacy of their own homes. I'm not sure where you're based (I'm guessing USA), in which case may be a good choice (it used to be heavily used in the USA, but I haven't logged on for over 2 years so I'm not sure any more). In any case, if you can find some online gay chat rooms, then if you don't already know what other web sites there are then you could ask in the chat rooms for other recommendations. One of the keys to success in finding boyfriends online is having a good profile. For the want of a better word, try to make yourself look relaxed and open, i.e. "cool" :-).

Does that help?

GB xxx

After I sent the email I didn't hear back from him for a while, but after about four weeks the following email arrived.

Dear GB,
  1. You're amazing.

  2. You're awesome.

  3. Your boyfriend is one lucky dude.

  4. I read and reread your email many times, and have tried to implement what you said. It has not been easy, but I am making progress.

  5. I joined and it's been fun! It seems all the guys with hot pictures are the most popular, but whatever. I'm talking with nice people. Including one person in particular. (Crosses fingers.) Not that I want to jump him right this moment, well, maybe I do, but he's an amazing guy and nothing like most of the studs online. Mature. Intellectual (we debated theology for a good hour once). Understanding. Anyway ... this is for another day.

    Still a virgin, which is fine, though maybe not for too much longer. I don't think I'll be like your guy who one day was a virgin and the next day sleeping with any guy he can lay hands on. Or will I? Hmmmmmmmm.

    But a lot of the things you said rang true.

  6. That said, there's no need to put up my long, rambling email. Not only have you resolved most of my issues but circumstances have changed. Or, rather, the urgent needs of the moment have certainly changed.

  7. Again, you're amazing.
Best regards,

I was astounded at how much of a success my simple response had been. Looking back, my guess is that the guy had reached some kind of internal crisis point regarding his life. In that state, the smallest nudge in an appropriate direction will work, because the person is very receptive to suggestions.

In connection with that, I still feel upset because of my inability to help ex-boyfriend T with similar issues. He puts up so many absolutely impenetrable barriers between his gay life and his straight life. Unfortunately, though, he was never receptive to any suggestions. It may even be that his four year relationship with me was counterproductive, in the sense that it allowed him to avoid confronting all his issues :-(.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Email about East-West gay relationships

Last month a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I'm looking for good suggestions or also books regarding gay relationship between Western guys and Chinese guys. Maybe you have some advice for me. I would really appreciate. Sorry for my mistakes in the English language. I’m from Germany.

I met my boyfriend at the end of May on a gay app. It was just a nice conversation and we decided spontaneously to meet the next weekend. I’m 40 years old and he is 23. Yes it’s a big age different but I’m acting very young and look also younger. He lives 450 km away. I’m from Frankfurt and he is from Dresden. He's a student, ethnically Chinese. He is in Germany since October last year and he had a lot experience with German guys. OK, here’s my story.

I met him on the next weekend. I rent a hotel and we talked 3 hours before we went to bed. On the next day he decided to come back to me to Frankfurt. He stayed until Wednesday. The time with him in Frankfurt was great. He stayed at home while I was working. In case it would be boring for him, I dropped him into the city centre and he explored a little bit Frankfurt. We baked together cheesecake and we cooked together Tofu and stuff like that. A friend of mine came to me during that time and he saw him and me sitting on the couch and my boyfriend was laying his head on my shoulder while we watched movie. At that time we weren’t a couple. But some small things happen during the time what let me feel very comfortable with him. When I picked him up from the city centre he asked me: "You forget something? Give me a kiss". Also holding hands, cuddling, he cooked for me and he gave me his passport picture for my wallet. Then he went back to Dresden on Wednesday. While he drove back with a transport service, we texted some lines. He said he is scared about relationship with Western guys but he is also sad to leave me now. After that we texted every day and he invited me to go with him to a big event in Dresden 2 weeks later.

I tried to lower my feelings because around 5 month ago I finished my relationship to a Vietnamese guy and it was horrible. I needed almost 6 month to get over him. He cheated me a lot and I don’t want the same shit as before.

2 weeks later I came to Dresden and he showed me his international friends. He is out to almost all of his friends, except the Chinese friends. We had big party and I made friendship with his friends. He took care of me and said I don’t have to drink too much and I took care of him as well. He kissed me in public and he also hugged me. He took my hand and all the people on the street could see it. Well you know, he is student and have not much money but he paid for me the food and when we were at a Chinese restaurant and I paid the bill and went to the toilet, he put some euros into my wallet.

Back in Frankfurt we almost talked via phone every day and two weeks later I went again to Dresden. The first night some friends of him were in his new small flat and they wanted to go out. We walked at the street and he said to me “go slower, I want to go back with you”. So he wanted to be in private with me. We had again a nice weekend together. This time he came again back to me to Frankfurt because he wants to go to the CSD in cologne with me. We stayed almost 10 days together and had a nice time in cologne. At that time we still weren't in a relationship, although maybe other people thought we were. During his time at my place in Frankfurt, we bought together some furniture’s for the Winter garden, he assembled the whole stuff and surprised me when I came back home.

After his return to Dresden he changed a little bit. He doesn’t text me that much as before and I saw him online on that gay app. Yes, I controlled him sometimes and I talked about that with him. I asked him directly: Should I search for a guy in Frankfurt and he said NO. He told me he was scared about me because I know a lot of Asians and he wanted to wait until Friday but he want to ask me now. “Do you want to be my boyfriend” and I said yes and he was surprised. He told me he wants to settle down.

Since that day he was sometimes online on the gay apps and I was wondering why. He said he just looking for friends but we know that those gay apps is not for friends, it's just for sex. The next weekend was very nice in Dresden. He really gave me that feeling that he like me and love me and want me. Also in the past he was interested in my life and asked about me. On that weekend we drove to Prague and had a nice time together but after the weekend it changed. He doesn’t want to call me and I also saw him again on that gay apps. OK, to be fair, he didn’t use it a lot, not really often. But when I saw him on gay app or also Facebook messenger I contact him instantly, and that was maybe my fault.

You have to know that he started learning for his exam, so he was also very busy but did also some party with his friends. In the past when he had party with his friends, he gave me a message at night but in that time he didn’t. After his last exam he had his last party on 5th August and on the 6th he came to me to Frankfurt because his flight back home to Asia was on the 8th. We had again a nice time but I had the feeling he was still grumpy because of my controlling and complaining. I’m honest. I really don’t trust him 100%. I guess he had sex date. Maybe before we committed.

OK now he is at home in Asia and he told me he is not happy there, because his family is having a few problems that are nothing to do with him. So he can’t go to his home place; he had to stay at his cousin place and so on. So he didn’t contact me that much and one day as I complained about that, he said he doesn’t know if it work between him and me but he want to try it. I guess he has a lot of things in his head right now and can’t handle my complaining. So I decided not to contact him at the moment. I just waiting for his messages and will reply then.

That’s my story and I really hope I can do something to get together with him again. He will be back in Frankfurt at the end of September.

Sorry for the long email. Cheers

The email contained a lot of details which might make the reader and his boyfriend identifiable, so initially I decided to send him a private reply by email. The main substance of the email that I sent him was as follows:

I don't know of any books about gay relationships with Asian guys. I have a lot of Asian readers, though, so you may get some answers simply by reading my blog and the comments.

Regarding your relationship, you have to start off by trusting him 1000%. You don't sound as bad as the ex-boyfriend of the wonderful guy who I met in 2007, but perhaps you're getting close! If he says that he wants to try a relationship with you, then that must be good enough to start with.

With all relationships, the key is good communication, especially on *difficult* issues. An obvious example of a *difficult* issue is monogamy vs open relationships. I expect that your Chinese boyfriend would expect a relationship to be monogamous, but it's worth being entirely upfront and checking that you both have the same understanding in terms of that. Regarding the issue of gay dating apps, it seems that you have the expectation that he shouldn't be using them anymore. Again, that's worth discussion, and in particular you should discuss whether you should both delete all your accounts, and if not what the rules are.

All relationships can be difficult at times, and cross-cultural relationships can be especially difficult precisely because the two of you have got less in common to start with, so that you're both starting from a lower position in terms of mutual understanding. Even the concept of a relationship means different things to different people and especially people from different cultures. I recall that the guy who I call boyfriend number 2 in my blog (a.k.a. ex-boyfriend P) thought that the two guys in a relationship should be a bit more distant from each other than what I thought. So avoid making assumptions (such as he shouldn't be using dating apps any more) and initiate discussion instead.

My last thought, which is another opportunity for discussion, is what vision of your future life together do you share? You presumably want to live together, but does that mean you move to live with him somewhere in the world, or does he move to Frankfurt. Unless you share some vision of what the future looks like, your relationship won't work.

The next day I got a short reply, which was just to let me know that to some extent, one of my suggestions had already been dealt with. He said:

I'm sorry, I just forget an important information regarding using the gay apps :-)). He and I decided to mention our relationship on those gay apps, also on facebook. So everybody see that we are in relationship :) That gave me a secure feeling for some time and it was his suggestion to do that.

I replied to tell him that I would do a post for him on my blog, and then a few days after that he sent me an update:

After some days without contact (I gave him space) he called me on Tuesday. He apologized that he was acting like a jerk and he was so glad that I didn't bother him. Now it starts slowly again with sending text messages. He is on holidays, so I don't send him much of text and wait until he send something to me :-). He also sent me the following
Dear [blog-reader], bf

Recently I am preparing the trip of Vietnam. Me and my friends will arrive Vietnam around 1st Sept. Wish me luck and tell me what you want from Vietnam and I can bring back to Germany.

You know that it's better with a local guide for us to travel, so if you have some nice friends in Vietnam, maybe you can help me to contact with them. And I also will try to find some friends via romeo (that's mean I will be online on Romeo while I am in Vietnam). And if you can give some advises in Vietnam that will be wonderful :)

Cheers, Your lovely bf
I try to not care too much about that Romeo thing :-). Have a nice weekend.

The last two updates simply reinforce my thoughts that the reader has to trust his boyfriend much more. His boyfriend has clearly listened when the reader complained to him about the gay apps. Not only did the boyfriend suggest that he makes his relationship status clear on the apps, he's also been warning the reader that he's going to be online while he's in Vietnam. The reader is very lucky to have a chance at a relationship with such an understanding guy. However, unless he starts trusting his boyfriend and stops complaining about his behaviour, I don't think the relationship will last very long.

Apart from that, I don't have much more to add beyond what I put in my first email response to this reader. Except that I now have a very recent example from my own life about how hard communication can be on difficult subjects.

I blogged last weekend that I'd been trying to date a guy called K, but that when I went out on a recent date with him, I actually ended up in bed with someone else! The next time I see K, we both get a bit drunk at a party, and afterwards we go back to my house. Sitting on my sofa, I decide to show K some txt msgs on my mobile phone:

"Look at this," I giggle, "they're from that guy M that we met in the bar a few days ago. Do you remember? I ended up exchanging phone numbers with him!"

"OK," replies K, not paying much attention, "so I guess he quite liked you …"

We're sitting very close, with my hand around K's shoulder, and as far as I can tell we're both enjoying the proximity. I've been wondering whether I might finally be able to get K to sleep with me tonight, although since we're both a bit drunk, it might not be a good idea.

"Well indeed," I say, "but I never expected to end up in bed with him!"

"Errr, you did what? ... How on earth did that happen??"

"Well he phoned me, and I ended up taking a taxi to his place :-)!"

All of a sudden K moves away from me on the sofa, clearly upset, so I take my arm off his shoulder.

"But … , but … , how would you feel if I told you that I'd slept with a guy since we saw each other?"

"No problem, of course!" I answer, "Don't you remember the chat that we had right here on this sofa after our first date? You said very clearly that I should go on doing exactly what I'm currently doing, using all the gay apps etc."

"I know but …"

"Well what do you think those apps are for? Grindr isn't the first place you think of going if you're looking for a dinner date!"

K looks at me, and although still a bit upset, he seems to take on board what I'm saying.

"I think I told you," says K, looking a bit calmer, "I don't use any gay apps or dating web sites because I prefer to meet guys the old-fashioned way. Let me think about this a bit more tomorrow when I'm sober!"

Now I also can't help myself from feeling upset, and not only because any chance that I had of sleeping with K that night had clearly evaporated! I'm always telling readers here on this blog that good communication is fundamental, and all of a sudden it seems that there's been a major communication failure between myself and K.

In terms of the reader who sent the email that's the subject of this post, this little story illustrates how hard it is to communicate well with someone who's got a different point of view. Not only is K from a different culture to me, he also doesn't use the gay apps or web sites, and no doubt it was a combination of those two factors that caused the problem. So apart from trusting his boyfriend, and not complaining about his boyfriend's behaviour, the reader also needs to make a continual effort to avoid this sort of communication problem.

Anyway, do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A small consolation prize

A few months ago I met a gorgeous guy called K via mutual friends. When I first met him I still had a boyfriend, but after I split up with ex-boyfriend T, I started to wonder about the possibility of dating K. Fast forward to a couple of days ago and it's now my third date with K :-). The two of us seem to get on very well together in a social context, and I can feel myself falling in love with him. But in spite of my best efforts, I haven't been able to get him into bed, not even for a cuddle :-|. So far the two of us have been out for dinner in my favourite restaurant in the area where I live, and we also spent a particularly hilarious evening together at aquashard.

It's now early evening on our third date, and we're drinking in one of Soho's gay bars, waiting for K's friend C to arrive. We've spent almost the entire day shopping for clothes and the conversation is still easy, even though we've now been well over 7 hours in each other's company. K is on the phone to his friend C, trying to work out when C will arrive.

"Ask C want he wants to drink," I say, interrupting K mid conversation, "I'm going to the bar to get us another pitcher of Pimm's, so I could get C something too."

"Captain Morgan on the rocks, ..." answers K after a short discussion with C, "… thanks!"

"Single or double?" asks the hunky bartender when I order C's drink. I hadn't thought to ask, but I decide to opt for a double measure so as not to appear stingy.

When I return with the drinks C still hasn't arrived, but shortly afterwards I spot a guy looking around as though he's expecting to see someone that he knows. I'm about to ask K whether the guy is his friend C, but before I get the chance K spots him too and eagerly beckons him over to join us.

"Hey C :-)," says K with a big smile on his face, "this is GB."

"Nice to meet you :-)," I say, eyeing him up and down and smiling too. Without doubt, C is a very attractive guy!

"Nice to meet you too :-)," answers C, and soon we're sitting down chatting and laughing with each other.

"So how do you two know each other?" I ask.

"C used to be a barman in one of the other gay bars near here," answers K, "and I was a regular customer there so we got to know each other."

I find myself wondering how well they know each other, and in particular, whether they've ever indulged in any activities together. But of course it's impossible to ask that question. However, as the evening progresses, it seems more and more likely that they're acquaintances rather than friends.

While we're chatting away, I notice a couple of guys who're sitting right next to us. My best guess is that they're on a date with each other, because at one point I see them giving each other long, deep kisses. If they were boyfriends then they probably wouldn't feel the need to do that in public, and similarly if they're only friends then they wouldn't be kissing like that at all.

"Excuse me," says one of these guys who're next to us, "can you look after our bags while we go outside for a cigarette?"

"Sure, that's fine :-)," I reply, and looking down on the floor I spot a couple of rucksacks. Briefly I find myself remembering the nearby Adminal Duncan pub bombing, and I wonder whether two guys that kiss each other so sensually could possibly be up to no good. However, the conversation with K and his friend C soon takes all my attention, and ten minutes later when I think to look around again I see that the guys are already back from their cigarettes.

Shortly afterwards I catch the eye of one of these guys who're next to us, and with a lull in the conversation with K and C, I decide to start talking to them.

"So where are you both from?" I ask.

"I'm originally from Brazil," replies the guy who actually asked me to look after the bags, "and my name is M, you?"

"I'm GB :-)", I reply smiling at him, "and I'm one of the few guys left in this city who were actually born here!"

Indeed, these days it seems almost impossible to find people in London who were born and raised here.

Eventually I find out that M's friend or date or whatever he is originally comes from Eastern Europe. However, he seems quite shy, and in spite of the kissing earlier my best guess is that their date hasn't been a success.

"You know," says M looking me straight in the eye and smiling, "you're an attractive guy :-)."

Wow, I didn't expect that compliment, especially in the company of K and C who I feel are both better looking than me. I can't help wondering whether being admired by M will improve my chances with K, by helping to show him that I'm a good catch.

"You're a good looking guy yourself :-)," I reply, repaying the compliment. Indeed, comparing M to his Eastern European friend, M is much more attractive.

For a few minutes we carry on chatting, but before too long I've reverted to talking to K and C, with M talking again to his Eastern European friend. Shortly afterwards it turns out that K's friend C has to leave because he's got some prior commitments, and then shortly after that I spot that M and his Eastern European friend are about to leave too because I see them picking up their bags. But again I catch M's eye.

"So why don't we all exchange phone numbers?" asks M on his way out, addressing both me and K.

"Sure why not!" I answer, although I'm not sure that there's really any point. It seems very much like the kind of friends that you make on holiday. At the end of the holiday one always agrees to keep in touch with each other, but then one always fails to do so!

"If you tell me your number I'll send you a txt msg :-)," I offer. Within a minute it's all done.

"OK great, so have a good evening," says M as he puts his phone back in his pocket, "and let your friend there have my number too :-)".

"Sure, and you guys have a good evening as well", I reply, and then with a cheeky tone in my voice "Call me maybe!"

"Do you want his number?" I ask K once M has left.

"Not really," says K casually, and it's clear that he's got the exactly the same 'holiday friend' view about the situation as me, "Anyway, let's have another drink :-)."

It's K's turn to buy the drinks, but the bar seems half empty now and he manages to get served quite quickly.

"It would be nice to see where you live?" I tell him, wondering whether it'll be possible to get to know him better at his place rather than mine. Our previous dates had ended up at my place, and although he almost stayed overnight with me on both occasions, in the end it never quite happened.

"Errr OK," says K nervously, "but next week! My place is such a mess, I can't let you see it like it is at the moment!!"

We carry on talking, but I know from what had been said earlier in the day that K's got a lot of commitments tomorrow, so when we've finished our drinks I suggest that we go home. We both live in the same area, so we find a taxi to share together.

"Do you want to come in for a while?" I ask hopefully, when the taxi gets near my house.

"I don't think I can," answers K, "I've got so much to do tomorrow :-(. But let's see each other again at the weekend :-)."

"OK great :-)," I reply, but again I'm feeling slightly heart-broken that he doesn't want to get into bed with me. However, tonight I'm not surprised because I know that K is indeed going to be very busy tomorrow.

"See you soon then :-)," I say, and there's just time to give him a quick kiss on the lips just before getting out of the taxi.

It's clear from K's behaviour and also from some of the discussions that we've had that he is interested in me as a potential boyfriend. But at present, it seems beyond me to take that potential interest any further :-(.

I fix myself a snack before bedtime, and a little later I'm casually looking at a few web sites when suddenly a txt msg arrives.

M: Hi GB, M here
M: Are u having a great time?

Wow, this guy has surprised me again, because I never expected to hear from him! Of course, I'm not having a great time because after a wonderful day out shopping with K, I find myself missing him terribly.

GB: At home now. The friend who I was with had to go home, because he is busy tomorrow. What are you doing now?
M: At home chilling u?

Without K to keep me company, I start wondering whether it might be possible to console myself by hooking up with M. There's only one way to find out …

GB: Same! Might be nice to get together? GB xxx
M: Would be for sure
M: U are very hot man
M: U made me feel horny

Suddenly my phone rings, and it's M, wondering whether it would be possible to get together tonight. It turns out that he lives about 5 miles from me in quite a smart area of London, but of course, at this time of night it won't take too long in a taxi. Within ten minutes I'm in a taxi again, wondering whether I'm dreaming or whether this is all actually happening!

When I arrive, M answers the door wearing just a dressing gown, and immediately he takes me into his little bedroom. It turns out that he shares the apartment with two other gay guys, but obviously I'm not here to meet them!

"You're wearing far too many clothes :-)," he jokes soon after I've arrived, and before too long we're both under the duvet in his bed and enjoying each other's naked male bodies!

Empty comfortable double bedNature takes its course, and afterwards we just lie there, cuddling and dozing and feeling very comfortable in each other's company. Half of me wants to sleep the night with him, because I always enjoy sleeping in the same bed as a gorgeous man :-). But for various reasons, eventually I decide that it would be better to make my way home. With M almost asleep, I try to get out of the bed without disturbing him.

"Where are you going?" says M very slowly and quietly, with a very very sleepy voice.

"Maybe see you again sometime," I say, and once I've got my clothes on I give him a quick kiss on his lips, turn off the light, kiss him again, and leave.

Outside it's trying to rain and I didn't bother to bring a coat with me, but the damp air feels very fresh so I don't mind too much. Wandering the quiet streets of this smart, leafy, residential area, I feel surprising optimistic, in spite of my failure to make much progress with K. Tonight has been the first time in many years that I've hooked up with a guy who I met face to face rather than online, and that's certainly a big boost for my confidence :-). Even if I never manage to make any headway with K, I can't help thinking that I won't be single forever!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

My first guy from Grindr

A few months ago, no doubt because I'm a gay blogger, I received a marketing email from Grindr. The email arrived on 25th March 2013 and told me that Grindr was just 4 years old. That means that Grindr didn't even exist back at the start of 2009 when I met ex-boyfriend T on gaydar! The marketing hype in that email was certainly exaggerated, because I strongly disagree with the following quote from Joel Simkhai (the founder and CEO of Grindr) that was contained in the email:
"Grindr has proven to be an invaluable resource for men across the globe when they’re looking to meet-up. Five years ago, the only sure fire way to meet another gay man was to go to specific gay clubs or bars …"
How on earth can he ignore the huge number of gay dating web sites that existed back then and still exist today, i.e. gaydar,, manhunt, gayromeo, fitlads, manjam, the fetish site recon, and so on? However, I'm not going to disagree with his first sentence. Even though I haven't been on the dating or cruising scene since 2009, I am well aware that Grindr has become an invaluable resource for finding like-minded guys who're nearby!

Although I split up with ex-boyfriend T in late July, I didn't start using Grindr until mid August. A couple of days after my enjoyable 24 hours, I'm logged into Grindr in the morning when a cute young Asian guy (who turns out to be called M) sends me a few messages:

M: Morning
M: Do u like Asian guys
M: U look nice :-)
GB: Thx
GB: My last 2 boyfriends were Asian
M: :)
M: I like older white guys
M: Looking for fun n bf

We chat a bit more, and it turns out that he's originally from Bengal, although he lives in the UK now. One thing about Grindr is that it only lets you post one pic on your profile, although it does allow you to send pics that you've got stored on your device through its message system. So we exchange a couple more pics, and he seems to like me:

M: U look really nice guy
GB: Are you free to meet now? Easier to talk face to face than this msg system
M: Yah
M: U can come to mine if you like

He gives me his address, and before too long I'm in a taxi headed towards his apartment. The apartment turns out to be located on the top floor of a recently refurbished tower block, and there's still a lot of building work going on at the base of the tower, so it takes me a while to work out where the entrance is. But once I find the right entrance, he buzzes me into the building and soon I'm in a lift heading up to the floor where his apartment is located.

Stepping out of the lift, I look around and see M peering out from behind his door with an inviting smile on his face, so I walk over to him.

"Nice to meet you :-)," I say quietly, in case any of his neighbours are listening, "can I come in?"

He lets me into his apartment without saying a word. He's dressed in a t-shirt, with a sarong loosely tied around his waist. I can't help wondering whether he's wearing any underwear under the sarong, although I expect that the answer is 'No' :-).

"Thanks for coming over :-)", he says still smiling, once the door has been closed.

"No problem," I reply, putting my arm on his nearest shoulder and smiling back at him, "now, where do you want me?"

"Shall we have a cup of coffee?" he asks.

We walk along a corridor which is cluttered with a couple of bikes and various other stuff that I don't look at too closely, but once we get into the main living area I'm immediately impressed by the views.

"Wow," I say amazed, standing in his kitchen, "from here you can see Canary Wharf, AND all the skyscrapers in the City of London too :-)."

"Unfortunately it's not my apartment," says M, with a tone in his voice that suggests that he needs to admit something to me.

"This apartment belongs to my boyfriend, well …, he's sort of my boyfriend!"

While he's making the coffee, he tells me about his situation.

"We've been together for about two years now, but my so-called 'boyfriend' isn't really into relationships. So it's an open relationship, and he's off all time meeting other guys, although we still have sex together too. I'm not happy because I want a proper relationship, that starts out as monogamous for the first few years at least."

"And where is your boyfriend now?" I ask, wondering if I'm likely to meet him at all.

"Oh, he's away for a few weeks. He's not originally from the UK so he's back visiting his friends and family in his home country, and sleeping with lots of guys there too I'm sure!"

I feel a bit sorry for M because he's a gorgeous guy and very friendly too, but he's clearly not happy with his domestic arrangements. He's also just the sort of person that I'd be happy to introduce to my mother as my own boyfriend, so I'm surprised that he hasn't found himself a much better partner to live with.

"Anyway," he says smiling at me now, "what about you?"

I tell him about my recent split with ex-boyfriend T, and we chat a bit more about our work and our lives while we drink the coffee.

"Where did I leave my phone?" says M suddenly, and he starts to get up from his chair. I look down at his sarong, and I think I can make out a nice perky bulge in the appropriate place! As he passes where I'm sitting, he leans towards me and gives me a slow kiss on the lips.

"Hmmm, that's nice :-)," I say, and rather than staying where I am, I get up to follow him around as he tries to find his phone.

A few seconds later, he turns to look at me, and now it's me that starts kissing him. Putting my hand underneath his tea shirt, I gently start playing with his nipples too. I can tell that he enjoys it!

"Let me help you," I say quietly, and I lift his t-shirt over his head so that he's standing there half naked, nipples slightly erect, now wearing only his sarong. He helps me off with my t-shirt too, and for a short while we stand there with our bare chests pressed together as we hug and cuddle each other for the first time. Reaching down, I now loosen his sarong too, and as it drops to the floor everything is as I expected! No underwear, and with the perky bulge now proudly exposed as proof that he's been enjoying my attention :-).

"Perhaps we'd be more comfortable in the bedroom," he says with a huge grin on his face, so I follow him down the cluttered hall. Soon we're both naked on his bed, and we have a wonderful time together :-). Afterwards, we just lie there for a while, cuddling each other and feeling very comfortable in each other's company.

"It would be nice to see you again," says M as we're getting dressed. "Perhaps you'd like to stay over one night? There are great night-time views of the London skyline from this apartment, but you'll need to come over before my 'boyfriend' gets home!"

"Yes, I'd like that very much :-)," I answer, "or perhaps you'd like to visit me?"

However, a few days later, I agree with M that I should visit him late one evening and stay overnight. We both have other commitments during the evening, so I don't end up arriving until just before 11pm.

"I brought you a bottle of wine," I say smiling at him as he lets me into his apartment.

"Thanks GB, that's great," he says closing the door, smiling back at me. "Come on, let's go through and have a drink :-)."

Sitting again in his kitchen, the night-time views are certainly spectacular. He gets a cold bottle of white wine out of the fridge, pours a couple of classes, and we sit together with our legs slightly touching as we look out at the London skyline.

"Do you do drugs at all?" he asks.

"Apart from this one?" I ask playfully, holding up my wine glass. "Not much actually! In the past I've done a little bit of cannabis in its various forms, but not much else. What about you?"

"My 'boyfriend' smokes quite a bit of marijuana," replies M, "but he also does a bit of E and sometimes LSD. I often join in with him when he does."

"I had some friends a few years ago that liked E," I say, "They used to talk about 'love-ey' E and 'dancey' E. The 'dancey' E was apparently good when you wanted to go to night clubs and dance all night, and the 'love-ey' E just made you want to cuddle each other, or something like that :-). But I never tried it. I was always worried about whether I trusted the dodgy looking people who supplied it!"

"Yes, you have to trust the people you get it from," replies M, "but having sex while on E is amazing! It would be nice to do it with you sometime :-)?"

I haven't ever had an opportunity like this before, and I find myself quite tempted, although I'm a bit nervous about the idea too.

"Are you suggesting tonight?" I ask M, curious to find out more.

"Actually, if you've never done it before, it would be best to do it somewhere that you're familiar with. Perhaps I can stay at your place sometime, and then we could do it there?"

"OK, that's a nice idea :-)."

We talk for ages, drinking a few glasses of wine, and looking out at the amazing view. While we're chatting, he shows me what the E tablets look like, and also shows me some LSD which he's got in the fridge. But we don't take anything.

After an hour or so, we both start to feel slightly tired, so eventually we make our way into the bedroom. We kiss and cuddle and play with each other etc, and when we're all done we fall asleep naked in each other's arms. The next morning we have breakfast together, and tentatively agree that M should stay the night with me at some point in the near future.

Since then M's 'boyfriend' has returned, so I haven't been able to visit him again in that stunning apartment. But we've exchanged a few txt msgs, although no further meetings have been arranged. At this stage I'm not sure whether I'll end up seeing M again or not. In any case, I certainly hope that he ends up getting a new boyfriend that can give him the love and attention that he deserves :-).

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Meeting blog readers

As a result of my post a few weeks ago when I said that in some circumstances I'm prepared to meet blog readers, I've now met six guys. On two of those occasions I've ended up sleeping overnight with the guy, which was very nice because I always sleep better when I've got a gorgeous guy to cuddle! See "An enjoyable 24 hours" for the story of one such occasion :-). However, on the other four occasions the reader just wanted to get to know me a bit better, and in particular to thank me for writing this blog which apparently helped all of them when they were first coming out.

Yesterday I had one such meeting. We have a simple one-course dinner together in the early part of the evening at a restaurant near Soho in central London. We're able to sit at one of the restaurant's outside tables, to make the most of one of the last days of summer.

"You're blog really helped me back in 2010," he says to me, just after we sit down at the table, "so I just like to give you a little something just to say 'thank you' :-)".

And with that he puts his hand into his bag, pulls out a little box of chocolates, and gives it to me:

"I wasn't sure what to get you so I hope it's OK?" he says, smiling at me.

"Yes," I answer, surprised and very touched at the kind gesture, "I do like chocolate so thank you very much indeed :-))."

We chat easily over dinner, and he turns out to be a very spiritual person, even though he doesn't follow any of the world's main religions.

The main reason that I write this blog is because I enjoy writing about my life. I also enjoy trying to help people via the Dear GB postings, so if I meet any more readers then please don't feel the need to give me anything. Nonetheless, it was very nice to get that little gift yesterday. It gives me something tangible to keep, which will remind me that other people have been able to get some benefit from my writing, and that's very comforting :-).

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Email about strip clubs from a straight woman

A straight woman recently sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I think this may be the first email you have received from a straight woman. I really enjoy reading your blog as I find it well-written and interesting. It also opens a window into a world that I am not familiar with in daily life. I also like the considered advice that you give without being judgemental and that is why I am writing to you.

I have two male friends, one gay and one Christian, who are thinking of going into investment banking. The problem is that they are concerned about aspects of the "entertaining" side of things, by which I mean strip-clubs. My gay friend dislikes it because he finds it demeaning and abusive and perhaps (I think) because he was always expected to admire women's bodies when he did not want to. My Christian friend is utterly revolted by it because he thinks that it is wrong to buy another human for sexual gratification just because you can, many women are exploited this way, the men behave like farmyard animals and that it is all rather degrading. In any case, this is not an email about the rights and wrongs of stripping. My questions are these:
  • How prevalent is going to strip clubs in banking circles? What percentage of people go?
  • What happens if a person, for whatever reason, does not want to go to strip clubs? Is his (or indeed her) career in banking affected?
  • Is that person subject to taunts from others and excluded either socially or professionally?
  • Is doing sporty stuff i.e. golf, football matches enough?
I know that you have said in the past that you don't do things with women in strip joints, stating that you are "just a voyeur". But my questions centre around what happens if a guy just doesn't even want to go to the strip joint in the first place.

My friends are not writing to you themselves because the Christian one does not read gay blogs (but he has no problem at all with gay people). I told my gay friend to read your blog and email you (you should have seen his face when I said I really enjoyed reading a gay blog)! But I think he is sticking his head in the sand. So I am doing it mostly because I am getting tired of hearing them talking about it with conversations going round in circles all the time. We don't know anybody in investment banking and are not sure of getting an honest answer even if we did.

I am really sorry you split up with your boyfriend and I hope you find someone special soon.

Keep writing, An avid reader.

It was nice to get an email from a straight woman :-). In fact my very first "Dear GB" posting was for a straight woman, and so was my third "Dear GB" posting. However, since then there've been no such emails until last month.

The general answer to this question is that strip club visits are very rare. There were just three occasions in my career when I've been in a strip club as a direct result of my job, and on none of those occasions did I feel forced into going. All occasions were late at night on international business trips and after a few drinks, twice just with colleagues, and on one occasion with some of the bank's clients too. Two of those occasions were in Paris, and one (when I said "I'm a voyeur") was in New York. It would have been quite acceptable to have said that I felt too tired, and to have left the people who I was with to go without me. Had I not gone, it would have had absolutely no effect on my career. However, even though I'm gay and not interested in the women, because I'm fascinated by sexuality I was always interested in going along to see what happens!

There was also a fourth occasion on a team building weekend in Marbella, but at that point some of my colleagues had worked out that I was gay, so I wasn't even invited along with them. And on that occasion, there was also a straight colleague who didn't want to go along with the rest of them, so what happened was that I stayed in the bar in Puerto Banús and had another beer with him. Another important point is that these days banks need to portray a super-clean image to the general public, so employees like the reader's friends who're not going to embarrass the bank are likely to be welcomed :-).

My whole career has been in financial markets, in front office roles, and because I enjoy travel I consider that I've been quite lucky to have had a lot of international business trips over the years. Had I had the kind of role that didn't require travel, then I probably would never have been to a strip club as a result of my work. I'm not sure what kind of banking jobs the two friends of the reader are interested in. However, given that there are many different types of jobs in the banking world, and given how low key bankers need to be these days, it's very likely that if the reader's friends pursue banking careers then this issue will never arise.

Hopefully that answers the reader's question. But do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?