archivehe’s just not that into me

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...
Bad dates

The Selfie

Imagine being the most selfish person in the world. Never letting people pass on a narrow pavement, never caring about anyone else’s feelings, never censoring what you say, just barging your way through life satisfying only yourself. I've often wondered what it would be like, but I'm not really a selfish person – it has been my downfall over the years. I've spent many lost hours wanting to claw my own eyes out in frustration at other people's self-centeredness, or waiting – endlessly waiting – for people who can't be...
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....
Bad dates

The Plus One

“I’m going to a friend’s for dinner on Friday. Come.” I should say “No thank you, Toby; it’s only our second date”. I don’t. “Is there anything you don’t eat?” I should tell him about my phobia of celeriac and meringues. I don’t. When I ask “What shall I bring?” and he replies “Nothing, just yourself!” I should listen, but I don’t. When Toby spies the prosecco I’m clutching to my chest as we arrive and tells me “You can’t bring that; they’re teetotal and Polly won’t have it in...
Bad datesFollow-ups

The breakup: Mark and the herpes simplex complex

Oh, Mark. Mark and I had started off so well, with a humorously disastrous date in a museum followed by one too many drinks in a boozer laughing over how bad it had been. That first night ended with a drunken kiss, and half-hearted torso fumbling before we parted at a bus stop, sparks of sexual energy fizzing out of every pore as I watched his bus pull away. As time passed by, I could just about cope with him insisting on trying to put all his fingers in my mouth...
Bad dates

The Reluctant Mean Girl

Midweek. Another bar. Another pint with a stranger. I sit and wonder where I'll be in five hours. Will I be back in my flat ignoring the ironing or will I be tangled in Egyptian cotton and kisses with tonight's contestant?  You just never know. “And you wore pink!" I nod at his polo shirt, knowingly. “Perfect shirt for tonight!" My date tonight bristles with efficiency. He was on time, buying drinks and sitting opposite me with a rictus grin on his face, in his pristine baby pink polo, before...
Single survival

Beware the flirtatious straight man – six types to look out for

When you are growing up a future gay, you learn very quickly that your relationships with straight men are never going to be anything other than complex. Whether you’re trying to explain to your dad for the eightieth time that you’re not going to kick that football back at him no matter how many times it flies over your head, or enduring the weekly terror of “Backs against the wall, lads” in the showers after PE, it can be difficult to make yourself understood. So alike, but oceans apart. Many...
Bad dates

The Also-Ran

Is there anything less sexy than a date who dumps all his problems on you? Is it really only nice guys who finish last? Internet dating attracts the loneliest of souls. Behind every profile advertising a “vivacious go-getter”, there’s a self-doubting emotional wreck searching for a friendly face upon which they can offload their problems – and little else. Sadly. Thankfully. Everybody’s got their problems; some of them like to share them on a supposedly romantic evening. It’s a risky seduction technique, but depressingly popular. Tonight, I’m playing shrink to...
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