Brief encounters

Brief encounters

The first crush is the deepest

I once read a brilliant interview with the ever-awkward Simon Amstell, which included him talking about his first celebrity crush. It is rare for gay celebrities to talk about their crushes. Usually we don’t really like to imagine anyone knocking one out thinking about another, let alone gay men. Also, for a gay man to admit he may at one time have dreamed of kissing a straight man would mean he were in some way determined to make it happen, right? As we all know, a straight man left alone in...
Brief encounters

The Steal

In 2001 I was 25, living in Scotland and still ‘finding my way’. I was painfully inexperienced, restricted to directionless fumbling, falling in lust with the man who washed hair in my barber’s salon or avoiding hopeless one night stands. Saturday nights (and Sunday mornings) were usually spent at parties, having the same dazzling conversations with less than dazzling company. I had met bubbly Scouser Cally at one of these parties and we had struck up an incredibly superficial friendship that relied on darkness and close proximity to vodka. Despite...
Brief encounters

The Charm Offensive

I am 24 and at a friend’s flat. She is having a party. Well, I say party – the lounge is full of people, there are bottles of vodka and dubious mixers on the kitchen table and there is a queue for the toilet. It’s as close to a party as we’re going to get this evening. I am a different animal as a 24-year-old. I’ve yet to endure all the various, turbulent life experiences that will teach me to be kinder, more humble, accommodating, friendly – all that shit....
Brief encountersGuest posts

The Forget-me-not

To celebrate my blog's fourth birthday, I decided to give everyone a rest from my prattling and instead hand over to a guest contributor – and not just any guest poster, oh no. This wonderful, funny tale of a brief encounter, which I knew I had to have for the blog as soon as I heard it, comes from none other than my wonderful, funny boyfriend. Take it away, handsome… It’s Friday night, and “the girls” are on the town. I’m with my friend James and his mate Chris, who I’ve...
Bad datesBrief encounters

The Attachment

I’ve been chatting online to Graham – a 35-year-old 'scientist' – for a day or two and still can’t quite work him out. And I’m not sure I want to. It’s like there is something he isn’t saying; the unwritten words hanging in the air like hours-old fag smoke. He talks me through the minutiae of his day like he’s writing a report for his parole officer. There is no humour, no flirtation – just fact after fact after fact. Wikipedia has become sentient and decided to explore the niche of...
Brief encounters

The Hogmanay Kiss

Have you ever been to Edinburgh for New Year? You really should. Edinburgh is beautiful. The year I go to Edinburgh’s annual street party, usually avoided by the locals, is 1997. I am 22. I have just broken up with my girlfriend. Yes, girlfriend. We weren’t together very long and my tears had dried before we'd even got to the second syllable of goodbye. My friend and I don’t have tickets for the street party, but we are not-very-reliably informed it is the ‘place to go’, so we buy lots...
Brief encountersGood dates

The One-Hour Wonder

The main problem with huge, exhilarating events is the crash back down to planet normal afterward. There is the inevitable need to prolong the high, to stave off the mundane. It is when bored that I am at my most very dangerous, and the warning lights are certainly flashing now as I sit in my lounge staring at the wall just minutes after arriving back home after my friends’ beautiful wedding. The day itself was perfect and the couple radiant. The setting, in the grounds of the groom’s parents’ house...
Brief encounters

The Boy in the Apple Store

The Apple Store is a strange place. It does its very best to pretend it isn’t a shop. There are no tills ringing or sour-faced shopgirls stacking shelves with garish product or hurrying along pretending they’re too busy to help you, no groaning rails or higgledy-piggledy stacks of boxes. The Apple Store, especially the one in London's Covent Garden, is more of an ‘experience’. Smiling pretty boys in skinny jeans loiter at the doorway with eager smiles and eyes so wide they can only be the result of a recently...