Right. It’s Pride in London day, I’m sure you’ve all got drag brunches to go to, and floats to dangle off, and stickers and condoms to hand out, and pups to walk on a leash down Whitehall – so let’s get on with it.
I am actually typing this at 1am because I’m going to a wedding Saturday. A straight wedding. On Pride Day. The homophobia jumped out. But it’s been postponed twice because of the pandemic and it’s true what they say: love is love, even when they’re straight. (Congratulations Deb and Paddy, I can’t wait! 💕)
This week, some good news: the gay men are back after a six-month absence.* We’ve missed you.
So who have we got? Meet Lucas, 30, a technical manager (left), and Callum, also 30, and a product manager (right). Here’s the all-important full-length shot:
Read the full version of the date on the good old Guardian website and then drag your carcass back over here so we can get all analytical.
Lucas on Callum | Callum on Lucas
What were you hoping for?
Good company, someone I could relax and be myself around.
A fun night, decent meal and to meet someone I could laugh with.
Imagine taking all these words to say ‘sex’.
I was bricking it but when I saw him I felt better. He wasn’t my usual type but I sensed from his shirt and smile that it was going to be a fun evening.
Bricking it is good. Remember, nerves are just excitement, but with worse PR, probably done by an intern who’s just ‘replied all’ to an 800-strong company with a crude drawing of their line manager fellating an eclair.
‘He wasn’t my usual type’ is code for ‘didn’t fancy him straight away’, which is fine. Thunderbolts are rare, which is a good thing. Being dumbstruck with lust before you’ve even ordered your starter doesn’t necessarily make the best date. We should never be afraid to let people grow on us. Like lichen.
Not sure what it was about Callum’s polka dot shirt that told Lucas he’d be fun. Did he think he was a children’s entertainer? Was he hoping for a few balloon animals between courses?
Super friendly and chatty. He was cute and made conversation easy.
When a ‘cute’ gets chucked in this early I’m afraid it means one thing and one thing only – a sword-fight’s a-comin’.
What did you talk about?
We were both comfortable sharing things you probably shouldn’t on a first date. We learned early on that we’d both spent a night in Sunrise Memorial hospital, Las Vegas, of all places.
We covered various chapters of our lives. We shared Vegas stories, and let’s just say we’ve both been in situations where we’ve had a few too many.
‘Comfortable sharing things you probably shouldn’t on a first date’ – hahaha you certainly fucking were, boys 👉👌. (Oh, spoiler btw.) Unless you mean tapas or childhood trauma or something.
A night in Sunrise Memorial hospital in Las Vegas/situations where we’ve had a few too many – ✅ Just a wild guess. There are two ways of leaving Las Vegas: staggering onto a Virgin 787 being sick into your manbag or on a stretcher to get your stomach pumped. (The contents of which are then piped straight back to your hotel to be frozen and resold as margaritas.)
Any awkward moments?
Slightly awks moment when we moved on to a bar and bumped into a guy I’d been on a few dates with.
Ah, the gay bars of Soho. Like stumbling onto a film set to discover the script being shot is everything you ever said in WhatsApp.
Any awkward moments?
None at all – he was really good at keeping the conversation going.
I am imagining Lucas diplomatically steering Callum away from the rejected paramour doing that nervous speed-talking about nothing that you usually hear from teenagers on mushrooms when a copper walks past them. Aside from halitosis, your politics, and a predilection for reciting S Club 7’s entire chart history, your past is the biggest cockblocker of all.
Best thing about them?
His cheeky laugh. Very infectious.
Definitely his chat – he is very bubbly. It was really easy to spend the evening with him.
Would you introduce Callum to your friends?
Not sure – they are pretty intense and I wouldn’t want to scare him off just yet.
Ach, just get them into a room beforehand and play six episodes of 2Point4 Children at them until every crumb of pent-up frustration or hint of weirdness has evaporated from them. In my experience, people who are very intense just need a few hours at a theme park queuing for a log flume – they’ll soon realise the futility of overthinking and confront their own powerlessness to change the universe.
Would you introduce Lucas to your friends?
Yes definitely – I think they would find him hilarious!
Look, if you ever need to spice things up in your friendship circle, get an LGBTQ+ person in – it’s cheaper than hiring a comedian and even if you get a boring one (like me), they’ll have at least three stock jokes about how awful their coming-out was. (Buy them drinks and make sure they have a cab fare home, thank you.)
Describe Callum in three words.
Cute, giggly, surprising.
CUTE, like Bambi in a onesie, threading Thumper’s eyebrows
GIGGLY, like a gaggle of gays who just turned round in the queue at Superdrug to see Dannii Minogue standing behind them, waiting to pay for a cheese and celery sandwich (on granary), a bottle of lychee Rubicon, and a tube of Atrixo.
SURPRISING, like finding an aubergine in a brand new pair of Aussiebums
Describe Lucas in three words.
Funny, chatty, cute.
FUNNY, like someone you might bang later
CHATTY, like someone you’re likely to bang later
CUTE, like someone you’re definitely banging later
(We also have matching adjectives – increasingly rare. Hurrah for ‘cute’.)
What do you think they made of you?
A chatterbox with too many stories, though I like to think I made him laugh.
He said he liked my laugh, and it was clear we were interested in each other.
Okay, stepping aside from my usual laboured jokes and overlong sentences, this is what Pride is all about. I have never held with #loveislove or anything like that, mainly because, for most LGBTQ people, a) love isn’t just love at all – we still can’t express it as freely as the majority and b) there is much more to our sexuality and/or gender expression than finding someone to love or even who you have sex with. It’s about being able to be yourself, at all times, with all your highs and lows and strengths and flaws, the loud times and the quiet moments. I was on a panel the other day for a Pride in Writing event, organised by my publisher, alongside other fantastic queer authors, and I was asked by the brilliant host where I found my queer joy. And there were so many things I could’ve said, but what came to mind was… the mundane. The day to day. Being able to go about your life without fear or judgement. To go for a coffee and turn your face to the sun and feel its heat rejuvenate you, to breathe deeply and slowly and realise how lucky you are but have the luxury, just in that moment, to take it for granted. To be allowed not to have to perform, or self-edit, or be fabulous, or run an eye over the place for the nearest exits just in case, or feel like you’re on show, or worry that you’re not. Just taking those few minutes to be my average, nothing-much-happening, gay self.
And that’s what’s great about this. Two guys flirting lightly over a bunch of sharing plates and the second cheapest bottle of wine. Not that long ago, this wouldn’t have been possible in the open, and for many people within the LGBTQ+ inclusion zone, it’s still pretty tricky. That’s why we can’t ever give up. The ladder stays on the ground until we’ve all ascended to the very last rung. Pride is a party AND a protest.
Did you go on somewhere?
Yes, we went for another drink, then a few more until we got kicked out.
We might have gone for a drink or two after …
Even the brightest and hottest of fires never say no to a little bit of accelerant. I don’t drink, and I’m neither evangelical about sobriety nor an enabler of drunkenness, but the flutter in the balls/belly/bumhole that comes with ‘Shall we go for one more?’ is a thrill whether you’re about to knock back a couple of Diet Cokes, or a tray of flaming sambuca and Bailey’s cocktails called something like ‘Jizzferno’ or ‘Titsageddon’.
And… did you kiss?
Well I left his place the following morning, so you fill in the blanks.
Sounds like they’ve already been filled in, Lucas. Front and back.
And… did you kiss?
Maybe once or twice.
If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
Argentina beat Italy at Wembley that night so there were crowds everywhere – I needed a wee but there was
nowhere to go, so I had to do it in a cup.
On a TMI level, this is somewhere on the scale between your dad’s new girlfriend telling you what his cum face is like and being trapped in the next cubicle to your boss in the office toilets the morning after the curry ‘n’ real ale work social.
Hope you washed your hands… mind you, judging what happened an hour or so later, there’s no point.
Marks out of 10?
We started at a solid 7 but by the end of the evening we were at a 9 easily.
9 – he started on a solid 8, but I think he deserves a 9.
They went home together and only gave each other a 9? Translation: just the tip.
Would you meet again?
I’d like to hope so.
Definitely – he’s really nice.
And we look forward to hearing all the ins and outs. Kind of. Well done lads and happy fucking Pride.
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You might also like one of the three comedies I’ve written. They’re quite gay and snarky but have nice heartwarming bits in too. LIKE LIFE etc. See them on Waterstones website
Something to remember about the review and the daters that I put at the end of every review
The comments I make are based on answers given by participants. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits answers to make the column work better on the page. Most things I say are riffing on the answers given and not judgements about the daters themselves, so please be kind to them in comments, replies, and generally on social media. Daters are under no obligation to get along for our benefit, or explain why they do, or don’t, want to see each other again, so please try not to speculate or fill our feeds with hate. Congrats on the bonk, boys – hope the next one is a 10.
* I refer to Lucas and Callum as ‘gay men’ in the intro but am aware they may label themselves or identify differently. Hope this is okay but am happy to change if not, truly.
Callum and Lucas ate at Yatay, London W1.
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