Friday, October 27, 2023

Email from a guy who lives in Asia

Dear GB

When I was a regular blogger, I often got emails from readers asking for advice on a range of issues. I'd send them a brief email in reply, and then I would reply publically in a blog post with my thoughts along with their original email. Other readers could then leave their own ideas too in the comment section. Sometimes I'd make a few minor edits to the email, for example, however the actual email begins, when I post it on this blog it always begins "Dear GB".

I’m still happy to try and answer these kinds of emails, and when I checked my GB email account a couple of weeks ago, the following was waiting for me:

Dear GB,

I have just recently discovered your blog and I love it. I hope you are still answering questions and would love to hear from you.

Anyway, I am a 33 year old guy living in an Asian country (I won't say which country it is) where being gay is illegal and frowned upon. It's not such an extreme country, there are still gay clubs & bars despite being illegal but you don't want to hold hands in public with your boyfriend if u don't want to get beaten up.

Anyway I find it really hard to find any men to date these days. I don't go to clubs because I used to go when I was young and some bad stuff happened that makes me never want to go again. I also can't ask my friends to match make because I can't tell my friends I'm gay. The only way to date is through the app, and we all know 99% of them are not looking to date. They only need a quick fuck.

Recently also my dad has tried to match make me into marrying a girl. He doesn't know that I am gay. I can tell him and I know he & my mom would still love me but I know deep down inside they will be crying a river and I don't have the heart to do that. Since I'm 33 they have been asking me about getting married more & more and it's stressing me. I feel like I want to leave this country for good but I don't think I am qualified enough to get a professional job in other countries. I can work as an immigrant but then it would be a huge step backward career wise.

When I was younger, slimmer & beautiful it was so easy to get a boyfriend on dating apps. I am not fat but I am a bit chubby and I am no longer a twink and losing weight is extremely hard at this age. I have to starve myself and workout every day and I barely lose any weight. Being a bottom like me, there is not much market for you if you are no longer in your 20s and you are neither muscular or twink-ish. At least that is how it is from where I came from.

I feel stuck in my situation. I don't want to grow old alone or having forced to marry a woman and living a lie. However I might have to choose between those 2 options if nothing changes. 😔.

Lonely guy

It had been about 2 weeks since he sent the email, so as soon as I'd read it I replied immediately:

Dear Lonely Guy,

I just got your email, because I only check my GB inbox rarely these days. Sorry to hear about your situation. Whatever country you're in, without doubt you're not the only gay guy there who has these kind of problems. Let me think a bit, and then I'll do a post for you on my old blog, without revealing you email address of course.

Do you have any more information you'd like to share at this stage? In any case, for now, just remember that you are not alone 🙂.

GB xxx

We ended up exchanging quite a few emails, and apart from his dating problem, he told me about some other difficulties that he's having at the moment.

Looking back through my old blog posts, I've said it so many times, but confidence is the key to success in so many areas of life. Confidence is mental strength, the certain knowledge that whatever happens in life one can deal with it, and the inner calm that accompanies that knowledge. When I read his first email I felt that perhaps he lacked confidence, so at one point during our email conversation I wrote:

Maybe you should try and build a bit more confidence somehow. Do you have any ideas about how you might do that?

Getting people to solve their own problems always works much better than telling them what the solution might be. But he answered:

Hmmm. I am not sure but I don't think I have a severe self-confidence issue to be honest. I think I am decently confident. I think it was more of a sad & depressed tone that u got from the first email as I am kinda lonely these days.

Sometimes in life, things can spiral downward out of control. A couple of bad things happening at the same time can put a person in a bad frame of mind, and then because of the way they're feeling they underperform in other areas too causing more bad things to happen, and so things continue like that going from bad to worse to even worser! That may have happened with this guy, and then with no family, friends or boyfriend to support him, he ends up sending me his first email with the sad and depressed tone.

Nonetheless, because confidence is so important, it is worth making a suggestion for how other readers might improve their confidence. GB suggests taking baby steps to improve one's confidence, and to start by picking tasks that are very easily achievable. For example, if you're often arriving at work a couple of minutes late, can you set your alarm clock to get up just five minutes earlier and then actually get up when the alarm clock goes off for a whole week and get into work on time? Oh, you can, well done, you can achieve stuff, what's the next task to focus on? Even achieving simple tasks boosts confidence. Of course, that task is just an example, each person needs to pick simple tasks that are appropriate for them.

One thing that the reader says in his first email is that when he was younger, slimmer and beautiful it was easy to get a boyfriend. I have a lot to say to that.
  • Firstly, young, slim and beautiful are not the attributes that make long term relationships successful. What about personality, stability, generosity, compassion, wisdom, and an ability to compromise so that it's possible to get through the arguments that all couples inevitably have? Younger guys are generally not as stable or as wise as older guys, but for long term relationships those attributes are more important than beauty and waist size.

  • The beauty implied by the phrase "young and beautiful" is only skin deep. Maybe young and beautiful guys make a quick fuck more enjoyable, but that kind of beauty fades over time, as does youth. Is the reader is looking for young, slim and beautiful guys online? If so, he's not focussing on what's important in a boyfriend.

  • One can't make oneself younger, but not being as slim as one would like is a solvable problem. Admittedly it takes more effort to be slim as one gets older, but I still try to avoid being too fat even though I’m much (much!) older than this reader. Avoiding obesity is also important for health reasons. Excess weight puts more strain on one's heart, more stain on one's knees, and over time that leads to other health problems. Furthermore, if being chubby saps one's confidence when looking for a boyfriend, that’s another important reason to lose weight. GB again recommends taking baby steps rather than trying to follow the latest fad diet. Eat slightly better each week, and do slightly more exercise each week so that over time it gradually becomes a lifestyle habit.

  • I've always agreed with the notion that one can't get someone else to love you until you love yourself, and it feels as though the reader doesn't love himself because he sees himself as not young, slim and beautiful anymore. But there are many forms of beauty. GB would say that a confident person has a beauty that's much more important than the kind of beauty that's only skin deep.
As I said above, the reader told me about some other difficulties that he was having, so at one point I wrote:

With all that's going on in your life, maybe now isn't the best time to look for a boyfriend. But sex can relieve stress, so for now, maybe you should join the 99% of the guys on the gay dating apps who are looking for "Mr Right Now" instead of "Mr Right" 🙂. Is that a good idea?

But he didn't seem to like that idea:

Oh. See I'm such a complicated person haha. Hooking up used to be fine when I was younger but now I don't like it anymore. Don't want to even see any naked picture unless it's my boyfriend. I don't know, every time I hooked up, right after that I feel so cheap. You are right though. Maybe I should sort things out for myself first but it would be lovely to have a bf so that I could feel less lonely.

However, since the reader doesn't have a boyfriend, and since the reader wants a boyfriend, I would suggest that he approach any hook up as the first meeting with a guy who might become his boyfriend. Why feel cheap after a hook-up when one was meeting up with the most honourable of intentions 👍? 15 years ago I did a blog post with the title The gaydar advantage, and it's very relevant here. That post was written before grindr existed, but I guess if I was writing it today I'd call it "The grindr advantage" 😂. The advantage is real and relates to The pure thoughts of an uncluttered male mind, so those old posts are well worth a read.

Meeting up in bars or club is another way to meet potential boyfriends, but the reader says that he doesn't go to clubs some bad stuff happened when he was young. Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner I haven't asked him what happened, but that attitude reminds me of the old cartoons where Wile E. Coyote is trying to catch the Road Runner. Wile E. Coyote had many ingenious schemes which almost always fail, but even when I was watching these as a boy I wondered why he never tried to repeat any of the schemes which had only failed in a very unlikely way 😆. So maybe there are different clubs or places where he could go to meet potential boyfriends, and if so, don't be like Wile E. Coyote. What doesn’t kill you makes stronger, so learn from the past experience and give it another go!

I also wonder about the situation with his friends and his parents. He says that he doesn't want to be forced to marry a woman and live a lie, but living a lie is what he's doing with all of them at the moment. If he can come out to any or all of them at some point and eventually get their support, then that would help him build his confidence. But this is a "chicken or egg" situation, which comes first? To come out and tell someone that one is gay one has to feel confident that one can handle whatever the reaction is, and even though he describes himself as "decently confident", it seems to me that the reader isn't in the right frame of mind yet. So for now, I don’t think he should tell anyone, but I do think it should be a medium term aim to tell both family and close friends. My experience is that parents eventually accept the situation if they can see that it’s true and that it makes their son or daughter happy. In my case, my relationship with my family improved a lot after I came out to them, because before I came out I was quite distant from everyone.

Anyway, I've written enough. If any other readers see this post and have any relevant thoughts, please leave a comment. 🙏