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. 🙏


Anonymous said...

Sounds typical of many guys in Asian countries. Highly closeted particularly to family and workplace. Wishing for a boyfriend yet is unwilling to actually take proactive steps to achieve it.

close encounters said...

I agree with GB about young guys - I actively avoid guys under 25 because so many of them consider themselves god's gift and are flaky!

One specific piece of advice about losing weight:
"I have to starve myself and workout every day and I barely lose any weight"
No you don't - although you will feel hungry at times! Use an app to track the food that you're eating and you will be shocked. Focus on sugar (not fat) and set an achievable target (losing half a kilo a week for example). I use one called "My Fitness Pal" from time to time and am regularly surprised at what I learn!

I'm not surprised your reader is lonely - he mentions that none of his friends or family knows he's gay, he doesn't go to gay clubs, and he doesn't use gay dating apps.
Maybe he could find a gym with a men only steam room - they can be great fun, and from what I observe, can be a way of guys getting comfortable around naked guys. And using the gym itself is always good for your health!

RB said...

Thanks for your post. I'm a Caucasian guy, 50's, in ok shape (24 BMI). I've dated a lot of Asian guys. I would describe myself as an introverted guy in a quantitative field. Tends to be a better personality fit for me. I like the look....smooth bodies and jet black hair. I've met guys from I think every Asian country....except N Korea :).

Anyway, for pretty much all the guys I've dated it's always the same story. They cannot come out to their families, huge pressure to get married and have kids. I have a bf now. He's 35 (and awesome in bed). He has to return to near Xi'an, China for a major family event. He is dreading the trip because everyone will be asking him "where's your wife?" His father is literally screaming at him to get married.

Sometimes the parents just figure it out. But my bf is not obviously gay. My gaydar wouldn't go off. My bf says he doesn't even think his parents know of the concept of "gay".

Earlier this year he decided to come out to his parents. He first discussed this with his sister. She knows he's gay and figured this out on her own. "NO! You can't do this. It will crush them!!" was the reaction. So he didn't.

I feel so bad for him. He is so torn up about this. "I'm 35 years old and unmarried. All my family will view me as a total loser."

I don't know what to do to help him.

A Korean guy I dated succumbed to his parent's INTENSE pressure. He's married now and has a kid. Still playing around in secret though.

My Malaysian ex-bf has lived in Europe for more than fifteen years. He has a long-term bf. He's distanced himself from his family even though he was very close to them.

The Burmese guy I dated keeps on dodging the bullet. His family finds a woman for an arranged marriage and he finds way out of it. We've talked about this extensively, and he is also really torn up inside.

My bf lives in Canada and part of the time with me in the US. He's distancing himself from family. I don't know what to do to help him. The pressure from his father will only get worse, and it's already bad. We keep discussing crazy solutions. An actress to play the part of gf?

GB said...

Thanks for the comment RB. I actually went to leave a comment on your blog yesterday but the system wouldn't let me login and said that I had to leave an anonymous comment. Anyway, sorry to hear about Scenario 3, I went through 3 redundancies in my career end never enjoyed it.

Regarding Asian boyfriends, I had a similar problem with my ex-boyfriend T who wouldn't come out to his family either. That definitely contributed to our split, because he was forced back to his home country from the UK. But I've now been with boyfriend K for 10 years, and at this stage, his family all know that we're a gay couple.

Sounds like your bf's sister didn't help very much. But if she won't let him come out, surely she should support him and tell everyone that he's very happy as he is and that they should all leave him alone.

GB xxx

close encounters said...

On the subject of coming out ... whilst we all have to choose the right time based on our own circumstances ... we need to recognise that the longer we stay in the closet, the greater the danger to our own mental health.

A deeply closeted young guy was just convicted in Ireland for murdering two men that he met on Grindr last year. Whilst this is obviously not a normal consequence of being closeted / self hating ... I see lower level versions of this all the time when I visit Ireland (and even sometimes in London).

The bottom line is that being closeted is bad for you.

TK said...

Coming out is fine if one is financially stable. If he is still living with his parents (quite often the case in Asia) he will need to be sure of living on his own once he breaks the news and also be prepared for more stress and heartache for a couple of years.
There are additional complications or losses in coming out in Asian societies than in Western societies including being the “bad apple” in the family and a sibling forever replacing you in the family set up. However while some of these problems will never go away with time, I would still advise coming out since the stress of not doing so, far outweighs these permanent losses. Unfortunately we are all dealt different cards in life and we must make the most of what we have. Gay people in conservative countries will have to bear this cross and deal with these additional consequences of coming out till things change for the better

Steve Harold said...

I know through my old stuff and that of my teenage boys that when under 25years old you are still trying to work out who you are and how you fit in the world around you. So part of the way to protect yourself is to act confidently even if on the inside you feel like jelly. This may come across as arrogance but I have noticed that if get to know the person there is a genuine soul behind that defence who wants to be accepted and happy.