Tag Archives: gay stereotypes

Gay men and the promiscuity ‘problem’

When you first come out as gay, one of the very first things you might do is reject the notion of homosexuality entirely. This doesn’t define me, you may think, these are not my people. You may even joke you’re the only homophobic homosexual you know.

You’ll rail against the stereotypes; you’ll complain the behaviour of other gay men is damaging your own experience. You won’t live your best life because you simply don’t know how yet. This is all so common, so expected – which must be painful to hear for everyone who thought they were the only ones to feel this way – that it could be mapped out as stages on a chart as you track your progress along the gay pathway. You may hurt yourself and hate yourself because you feel you should, before anyone else – be they straight or from the very community you’re so desperate not to be a part of – has the chance to hurt or hate you first.

You want to be accepted, to show you’re not a threat, not like the others, and because being gay is linked to sex, that’s the first thing you attack – and it’s usually the sex lives of others who cop the fallout. Continue reading Gay men and the promiscuity ‘problem’

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The bad touch

I have always known it, but I feel it even more when I’m not there – London spoils me. When I spend time anywhere else, I’m struck not only by the obvious things that signal me as a pouting metropolitan man-baby – unavailability of cocktail onions for a Gibson martini, H&M selling the same three checked shirts and nothing else, for example – but things I never really think about at home. Like, oh I don’t know, touching my boyfriend, for example.

There is something about being in other places that makes me feel even more self-conscious. Even when I go back to Yorkshire for Christmas, alone, I feel much more vulnerable going to the shop at 4 in the afternoon than I do swaying through Soho, desperately trying to remember what an Uber is at 1am.

I know rabid privilege hounds would jump on this to say “whiny gay man discovers life is different outside his comfy London bubble SHOCKER” or something, but that’s the thing about bubbles – it only takes one prick. Continue reading The bad touch

How to be 39

I never used to understand why people lied about their age. I didn’t bother. It seemed to me utterly unimportant, and while I pretended to choke with panic on my 30th birthday – it felt like something I was supposed to do – and spoke in hushed tones about turning 40 one day, my age, the actual number, being older, never unsettled me.

But now I am 39, I get it. I totally get it. Not because I am ashamed or embarrassed to be older and no longer in the first flush of youth, but because other people, of all ages, can use that magic number against you. And it’s really weird. All my hangups about being older, of which there are still mercifully few, don’t come from within. It’s everyone else who’s the problem.

First of all, you get the guessing game. So I have greying hair, but have yet to run to fat. I probably don’t have as many wrinkles as some men five years my junior, and my clothes are on the conservative side of contemporary, with the odd brightly coloured T-shirt or trainer thrown in. If you don’t volunteer your age straight away, people will try to get it out of you, or attempt to work it out from your cultural references.

I’d been working somewhere for about five months when, over a drink, a colleague confided: “We’ve all been trying to work out how old you are”.

I was mystified. “You have? Why?”

She then described the conundrum above, about how my age wasn’t placeable because of the way I looked and acted and spoke.

“Well, why didn’t you ask?”

“Well, it’s not exactly the done thing, is it?”

But I think I would rather they asked than speculated and whispered, as if I had something to hide.

“I’m 37,” I said, as I was then. And all was fine.

Other times when I’ve had to reveal my real age, like I am being unmasked as an imposter, I have regretted it immediately because now my age would become a “thing” about me, overtaking all my other attributes. Some of them may be unpleasant, but I’d rather my character traits weren’t buried beneath such a shallow, uncontrollable thing as my age, like a huge pair of knockers or a big nose or male pattern baldness.

I am not just me any more; I am 39. Continue reading How to be 39

My gay voice

A new documentary on the concept of “sounding gay” has been making waves in the media, and among gay men. Do I Sound Gay? investigates whether there is such a thing as “gay voice” – when it comes to men, of course – and, if so, how do we get it?

I became aware my voice was more ‘girly’ than other boys’ at a very early age. I seemed to have so many ‘tells’ when I was a child that it was difficult to rein them all in. I could just about walk into a room and sit down without it becoming obvious but the voice – oh the voice – it always let me down. I was never any good at impressions and booming out like a bullfrog wasn’t really going to fly for a seven-year-old, so instead I reverted to silence.

I stopped answering questions in the classroom, would avoid shouting out – whether in joy or misery – in the playground and would pretend I was ‘shy’ in front of grown-ups I didn’t know. And if I ever forgot myself, perhaps giving a yelp of delight or saying a word with lots of  ‘s’ sounds in it, I’d see their faces change and know I’d gone too far. A slight twist of their mouth, their attention suddenly all mine, a quizzical look across their brow, maybe. I’d failed. They knew.

Of course you can’t stay quiet for ever and by the time I got to grammar school I had at least come to accept the way I spoke. I couldn’t do much about the tone and so I kept to short statements, avoiding using too many long words, even they were bursting to get out. I effectively dumbed down in an effort not to fit in – that never interested me – but not to stand out. A ghost. Continue reading My gay voice

10 reasons being a Gay Best Friend sucks

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. It seems we have reached the end of an era.

According to today’s Sunday Times’ Style magazine barometer of what’s hot and what’s o-v-a-h, the GBF (Gay Best Friend) is done, replaced by the BMF –  Best Man Friend.

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I’ll assume they mean that the BMF is a straight man. Straight men are “men” and gay men are “gay”. I think that’s how it works.

Anyway, ignoring that every so slightly acidic twist of the heteronormative knife, here’s why I’m glad my services as a GBF will no longer be required. Quite frankly, it’s been an exhausting couple of decades and I will be glad of the rest.

1. Shopping
I like shopping, don’t get me wrong. But I like shopping for myself. The great thing about being a gay man is that my boyfriend is also a man so we both wear men’s clothes. (If you’re a man and you don’t, that’s cool too – please don’t @ me.) This means we can actually shop properly – assess what looks good, appreciate each other’s sartorial decisions, get true clothes envy etc.

Being a GBF, however, means that you have to go shopping with a woman and I have to confess, I haven’t really enjoyed that since I was dragged around the shops by my mother as a child, clutching a packet of Opal Fruits.

I don’t wear dresses or bras or high heels so while I can tell you you look “nice”, if you insist, I don’t really know what accessories would go with them or what colour you should wear or whether a flesh-coloured bra is appropriate under that T-shirt.

I know Gok Wan has done a sterling job of convincing women that gay men care about your clothes, ladies, but guess what? We don’t. All we care about is when we go out together, we all look good and that you’re not going to moan you bought the wrong top all night. Continue reading 10 reasons being a Gay Best Friend sucks

12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

Not sure whether you look like a desperate, cloying nightmare on social media?

Wondering if perhaps you may be going a little over the top when it comes to trying to impress someone on Twitter? We’ve all done it.

Fear not! Here’s the most common things we all do that leave us open to being exposed as massive attention-seekers, along with a thirst mark out of 10, so you can work out just how absolutely tragic you (we) are.

First, the thirst scale:
1. I could really do with a sip of water.
2. I’d probably lick a tomato for moisture.
3. That plastic cup from the vending machine looks like it might have a bit of water in the bottom of it.
4. Throat getting quite scratchy.
5. No, I’m just going to sit next to the watercooler if that’s OK.
6. It’s quite hot in here, isn’t it? Can we open a window?
7. If the air were any drier, it would be Joan Rivers’ diary.
8. I’d be able to sniff out a raindrop from 10 miles away.
9. Make it 100 miles.
10. All I can see, hear, smell and feel is sand and I would kill everyone I love for a dribble of stagnant water out of a verruca sock.

And now, the ‘actions’:

1. Tweeting how ugly you feel

If you’re actually ugly: 3
If you’re mildly unattractive: 4
If you’re quite good looking really, in the right light: 6
If you’re what Grandma would call handsome: 7.5
If you’re incredibly hot: 9.5
Horse-frightener, but with accommodating mates you know will big you up: 10
Jake Gyllenhaal: 11

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Here, please, sip this – it will save us all.

Continue reading 12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

The 25 stages of Twitter courtship

Twitter isn’t just for cat GIFs, cod politics, think-pieces and bitching about reality TV, it’s also a place to find love!

Spotting someone getting it on over Twitter is easy to do once you know how. Here are 25 signs those two faves you follow might be about to move on to being more than serial retweeters.

1. Regular liking of tweets – especially really boring attention-seeking ones.

2. Increased retweets.

3. Starting an @ conversation in response to nothing, not even a blogpost or a thirst-trap selfie.

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4. Meeting up and tweeting about being in same place but not mentioning being together.

5. Meeting up and tweeting about being in same place but not mentioning being together until they have an @ conversation about it two hours later.

6. Meeting up and tweeting about being in same place and tagging each other. There’ll probably be a photo around now.

7. Retweets start to decline so nobody notices how obsessed they are with each other. Everybody notices.

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8. @ references slow down somewhat. Mentions of “the boy” increase. Frequent DMing.

9. Pictures from a club night start to appear. It all looks quite handsy. There is facial hair assimilation. 

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10. Flathunting is mentioned in passing. “The boy” references gather pace.

11. There is a request for a bacon sandwich from “the boy”.

12. Using @mentions to request a bacon sandwich.

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13. Matching lattes photographed. December variation: Santa hats.

14. Using @ mentions to bemoan the other is away and can therefore not make them a bacon sandwich.

15. Using @ mentions to bemoan the other is in the next room and will not make them a bacon sandwich.

16. Requests to strangers to make them a bacon sandwich.

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17. Bacon sandwich is made grudgingly and tweeted about. No photo.

18. One’s retweets are modified by the other to include sarcastic commentary or contradictions.

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19. One of them shaves their beard off. Subtweets reach nuclear stage.

20. Flirty messages to a third party about possibility of what will follow a fulfilled bacon sandwich delivery. Casual mentions that “the boy” is away. 

21. Pictures of moving boxes and/or a stark bedroom with Blu-Tack marks on the wall.

22. A Marilyn Monroe-style quote about moving on but remaining friends.

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23. Night after night of pornstar martinis with friends who haven’t been in pictures or @ mentioned before.

24. Increased regular liking of somebody else’s goodnight selfies. One unfollows the other.

25. Go to 2 and repeat until you get the fail whale.

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Note: If you found love on Twitter, I am very happy for you. I know I did. And I am.

Image: Flickr