Tag Archives: awkward

The Parent Trap

Five minutes ago, my date called me a DILF. I heard it quite clearly.

It was supposed to be a compliment.

I know this because my date purred the acronym at me and ran his finger across his mouth, like a negligee brushing against a closing bedroom door.

A DILF. I am 35 years old. I’m not really sure what kind of D I would have to be to have accrued enough years to F somebody young enough to be my son without being arrested, but it is clear my date’s strength lies in buzzwords he has read in listicles, not mathematics.

“Maybe I’ve got daddy issues,” he laughs, each of his 27 years peeling away like the skin of an onion – before my very eyes he is regressing to A-level student.

He thinks this is sexy. He thinks I have a fetish for younger men. He doesn’t realise that he’s not really young enough to be a kink.

He laughs, gurgling like a waste disposal trying to make sense of a baked potato. I should speak before he does it again.

“I’ve heard about the daddy thing,” I say, smiling like a cat who has just spotted the cage to the family hamster’s cage is open. “But I thought it was more about older men and other guys much younger than them. People in their 50s and 60s carousing with twinks.”

“Caroooooousing,” he mimics. He thinks he’s Kaa from the Jungle Book, charming me into submission. He is one half of King Louie’s coconut-shell bra at best. “Twinks!” he mocks again. Continue reading The Parent Trap

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 a room with a gay man is bound to feel under threat and oppressed – we can’t keep our hands to ourselves, we love to intimidate.

Sigh.

And then I got to thinking about my first crush and surmised there must have been many, even before I realised what sex actually was, and what went where, and even dreamed of putting anything anywhere. But the first one that stuck in my mind was Harry.

Harry. I remember thinking about Harry.

Even before I knew I was gay, I knew I wanted to see Harry with no shirt on. And thankfully, once a week I did – every single Monday for three years in PE.

Holding in sobs on the rugby pitch, getting my knees battered in hockey, being too short for basketball, watching 130mph serves whistle by me in tennis, trudging dejectedly across the field after one run in cricket, and the endless, infernal hell of football for the remaining millennia – all worth it, in their perverse way, for the 10 minutes either side that I got to furtively look at Harry’s skin in the changing rooms. Continue reading The first crush is the deepest

Know your dating enemies: Science fiction

There are three things you should really avoid talking about on a first date. Food, politics and science fiction.  Star Wars, Star Trek, comic books, Doctor Who, Alien, the lot. Just avoid it if you can until you’re “going steady”, because if the sci-fi chat comes out too early on, the chances are you’ll have an intergalactic battle on your hands before you even get to the bedroom.

So why is sci-fi a no-no? Put simply, it is extremely political, and sci-fi fans get very touchy when you don’t get their hobby.

If you’re not into it and the other half is, you will find yourself competing with Batman and/or Spidey for your lover’s affections. And Batman will always win – he’s Batman.

There’s nothing wrong with liking sci-fi, it’s just if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right . It’s a lifestyle choice, and unless you’re committed, you’ll screw it up. You’ll call someone a “Whovian” and before you know it, you’ll be a permanent resident of social Siberia.

If you’re not a sci-fi or fantasy fan, trips to the cinema will be ruined for you, as every other new release is based on a comic book, and he will want to see them all. You never realised you could become tired so quickly of watching buff blokes suited up in rubber bounce around a giant screen.

There will be conventions too. You will avoid these at first and just leave your man to his hobby, but this is a mistake. Conventions are a hotbed of drunk, awkward regrettable sex. Don’t believe me? A room – nay a hangar – absolutely packed to the rafters with people dressed up as your lover’s favourite characters? Have you seen these outfits? There is an ocean of flesh on display, and some of it is toned and tattooed and on its way to steal your man. Continue reading Know your dating enemies: Science fiction

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 our repeated assertions that we would meet up for coffee “sooooon”, there was an understanding between us that needed no words. This was just a party thing.

I was at one such party and had a text from Cally that she was on her way with some friends. Her friends weren’t really my kind of people – and I was certainly not top of their “most influential” lists either. These were weathered gay men, slightly older, and suspicious of the English boy who they never seemed to be able to work out or, crucially, fuck.

I was trading jibes good-naturedly with a guy in the kitchen when suddenly a door slammed and there was a whirlwind – Cally and her entourage. I greeted her warmly, but couldn’t help notice she’d brought a bottle of Grant’s vodka with her – I was willing to lay money on the fact she’d not touch a drop of it herself, not when there was so much Smirnoff around.

I greeted her warmly, but couldn’t help notice she’d brought a bottle of Grant’s vodka with her – I was willing to lay money on the fact she wouldn’t touch a drop of it herself.

As I queued for the toilet, one of Cally’s friends, Nick, queued behind me and started to play a one-man good cop, bad cop routine.

First he complimented me on my hair and then slated me for being too big for my boots. He then followed me into the bathroom and looked at me like a bulldog gazing at a link of sausages. Then: a bang on the door. Continue reading The Steal

33 lies you will tell yourself on a first date

1. If I arrive first it will make me look responsible and also like I care and that I’m… not flighty. It will not make me seem overly keen and boring, with nothing else to do tonight, or indeed ever.

2. Arriving late will make me seem mysterious and sexy, and he’ll be panting at my arrival, staring eagerly at the door. He’ll be so pleased I haven’t stood him up that he’ll be overjoyed to see me and we will fall immediately in love.

3. Oh well, it’s better than being stuck in the house.

4. This is not too soon after my breakup. I’m ready.

5. I’m glad I didn’t eat before I came out.

6. I hope he doesn’t stare at my arse when I go to the bar.

7. I’m not going to get drunk.

8. I’m not drunk.

9. He is so wrong if he thinks I am getting another drink.

10. It’s definitely his round. Continue reading 33 lies you will tell yourself on a first date

Where not to meet your next lover: The gym

I have never dressed sexily for the gym – I have never seen the point. Either I have been partnered during my stack of memberships or, more usually, I have had no interest in romance among the kettle bells. In the dank, municipal hellholes where I like to work out, I have somehow known instinctively that Mr Right was not lurking by the lockers.

While my latest gym is clean and modern, it is most certainly not a place where I will ever feel lustful and attractive. It is so basic, so stripped back, that there is not even a swimming pool – thus it is devoid of the comforting pong of chlorine to mask all the toxic BO of my fellow gymgoers. You don’t just feel the burn; you breathe everyone else’s.

Any attempt I would ever have made to dress sexily – my running shorts are cut pretty high, I guess – is instantly negated by the inability of the staff to really grasp how air conditioning works. Unless you climb up inside one of the three or four pathetic air con units protruding from the wall like tin-covered beer guts, you’re unlikely to experience anything more than a light breeze that feels like it’s coming from several planets away.

A spandex-clad set of cockerels strutting round a farmyard of metal, grunting and always the most unfortunate choices of sock you can imagine.

Thus it takes no more than three half-hearted tugs on a machine that likes to call itself “Lat Pulldown” (very Star Wars cantina) before I am tomato-red, gasping and dripping in vodka-infused perspiration.

While most people are only there because the vending machine is the place to get the coldest Coke Zero in the western hemisphere, for some the gym is a total cruising experience. Cruisier even than being winked at in a public toilet or coughing suggestively in a sauna. I have watched these men (and women, of course, but it is the gay guys who fascinate me) strutting around – a spandex-clad set of cockerels surveying a farmyard of metal, grunting and always the most unfortunate choices of sock you can imagine.

It seems no part of the gym is off limits when it comes to being chatted up or flirted with or, in the most extreme of cases and depending on your proximity to Vauxhall, a spot of shagging. The sunbed room at my gym – 12 tubes, an Ikea chair and a bin filled with discarded wet wipes – is almost always occupied and I have never seen any ultra violet light beaming from under that door.

The locker room is where things begin, of course. I have lost count how many times I have shot down clumsy attempts at flirting as I stuff my bag in a locker only to find it’s broken. (About six or seven, in reality.)

The reality is I find the situation even more awkward than them, gradually going redder and redder and looking anywhere, at anything, other than their eyes, arms, pecs or, on one most unfortunate and unwelcome occasion, their depressingly low-hanging balls.

A range of subjects from where I got my padlock to the colour of my socks, via the incredible “Where did you get your hair cut?” have been among the awkward opener for potential suitors.

Of course, in my head, my tongue is an anti-aircraft gun and these hapless blokes are the Luftwaffe circling. Bang! Bang! Bang!

The reality, however, is that I find the situation even more awkward than them, gradually going redder and redder and looking anywhere, at anything, other than their eyes, arms, pecs or, on one most unfortunate and unwelcome occasion, their depressingly low-hanging balls. As soon as politeness will allow I give a friendly, yet curt, nod and head out of there.

I have seen it work on others. The chat will begin super-innocently in the changing rooms, and then once they’re out in the exercise area, chat will turn to protein drinks, running times and before long they’re ‘spotting’ each other’s ‘reps’ in that sweat-glazed palace of meat that is the free-weights area.

This part of the gym is full of mirrors, and our boys spend as long as possible glaring into them, but actually at each other, trying desperately to gurn as sexily as possible. The success rate is below sea level.

Not that it deters them – like attracts like, after all. Before you know it, they’ve got their towels over their shoulders and a mortifying time in the locker room for everyone but them is all but guaranteed.

But how to avoid all this eye-fucking and unrequited lust across the yoga mats? Well, why would you?

Just watch your eye contact; participation is automatic and there’s only one way to get yourself an early shower…

Nobody ever said all football fans had to be able to score goals at Wembley. Strap yourself in for the ultimate spectator sport – you still get the fitness benefits but don’t have to compete. Just watch your eye contact; participation is automatic and there’s only one way to get yourself an early shower…

Once you’re muscle-buddies and getting regularly up close and physical, though, what next? What about the times you can’t always make a training session? Is he there without you, making those same locker-room eyes at the cute guy on the treadmill? What if he says “great pecs” to all the boys? Is his spandex hanging out with other lycras?

Maybe look further for your next partner than the end of your dumbbell – save your communal sweating for the bedroom.

Image: Flickr

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.

Instead I am almost a quarter of a century of awkwardness, curiosity and sugar-topped vitriol masquerading as confidence. A familiar tale to many, I’m sure.

I’ve not been out of the closet long – I’m still working out what to do with my wonky wiring and feelings that I’m now allowed to have. And I get super-nervous around other gay men.

As I pour myself a really large gin and tonic, alone, my friend glides into the kitchen and says: “Claire’s friend Matt is here. He’s gay, but a bit weird. Watch out for him.”

I thank her for – well, warning me, I guess – and pour an extra shot of gin into my glass, sending the contents splashing all over the table. 38-year-old me would get a cloth and wipe it up, but time machines aren’t a thing yet and so 24-year-old me vaguely waggles some kitchen roll in the spillage’s direction and strides out to the lounge to witness this weirdo for myself.

I spy him immediately. He is kind of good-looking, despite being dressed in clothes you would describe unfortunate at best. He throws his head back in laughter at something the guy he’s with is saying.

I have met the other guy before and know for a fact his banter is up there with a night in a Bangkok prison in the LOL stakes, so I assume the hysterical laughter is for somebody else’s benefit. It then occurs to me that maybe he too has had a ‘warning’.

I play that desperately unoriginal game every young gay plays: faux-blindness. Oh, boys, you all think you’re being so clever, but coyness is the one trick every gay guy likes to pull out of the bag first. It’s never convincing and always ends in disaster. But I’m yet to learn that.

So it begins. I pretend I haven’t seen Matt at all and instead trundle over to a corner and start talking to someone much better looking.

It continues this way for around an hour or so. Whenever he walks into a room, I find the earliest opportunity to leave it and if finding myself trapped in a group conversation, smile politely before making my excuses and going to the loo. He does the same – he never addresses me directly and doesn’t cast his eye over me at all.

While our paths don’t cross and we haven’t said a word to each other, the air is thick with something – and it’s not cigarette smoke. Our fellow party guests eyeball us nervously, nudging each other, as if wondering who’s going to bite first.

Eventually, I take a pew in the kitchen and join another conversation. Matt enters soon after me and sits opposite. I am between the kitchen wall and the table and can’t possibly get out without appearing very rude. So the conversation continues.

Matt doesn’t say much, but looks across at me often. It is definitely not lust in his eyes – his hooded eyelids convey a dash of contempt, if anything. I decide I don’t have anybody to impress and let forth what I suppose at the time would’ve passed for bawdy humour but would now seem crass and attention-seeking. I’d do anything for a laugh.

At the next gap in conversation, Matt takes a swig of his drink and leans over, saying loudly to me: “Do you know, I think you’re the most arrogant person I’ve ever met.”

The room goes deathly quiet – the only sound is the ice clinking in my glass as my hand trembles.

I laugh derisively and he gets up and walks out of the room.

About half an hour later, I decide it is time to go. I call a cab and wait for it outside the flat – the sky getting lighter and lighter as I smoke the bollocks off a Marlboro Light.

I hear the familiar diesel engine sound and my chariot pulls up. Suddenly by my side is Matt.

“Er, hi,” he says.
“It’s bye, actually,” I beam as I open the cab door.
“But…” he starts breathlessly. “Aren’t I coming with you?”
“What?!” I shriek. “Why would you be coming with me?”
“I thought I’d be coming home with you,” he says plainly.
I’m incredulous. “Why? I thought I was the most arrogant person you’d ever met.”
“You are. And I want to come home with you.”

I’ll never forget his look as I carefully close the cab door and tell the driver to go – his hopeful face getting smaller and smaller in the distance until it is just a dot.

I’m sure Matt wanted to teach me a lesson I’d never forget, and he did – just not the one he was hoping for. The only thing I learned from him was that I should stop being a dick at parties – and that men are depressingly impossible to read.

Image: cathydelmarnie on Flickr