Monday, 27 June 2011


Porn. Well, on that front there’s so much to say and so little. I’ve never bought a jazz mag or a blue movie. On the other hand God knows, the internet saw me through some very tough times in the early naughties before I got the balls to come out.

It taught me a thing or two too. Opened my mind as well as my eyes… some people are very open about their pornographic predilections, but not me. Friends at school always boasted of their collection under-the-bed.  Childish snooping found my father’s secret stash too. When Fella and I moved in I was quite surprised by the volume of material he brought with him – gifts apparently. Popular guy.

I am writing this post because it occurred to me quite by chance that the things I have gravitated to when  I have watched porn are quite different to the things I have gravitated to in real life. I won’t go into details… but I realised there was no particular reason, within reason that is, why that should be so.

Pornography is for gay people an important expression of sexuality. I’ve heard it contended that for gay men a health obsession with pornography is quite essential. Sex is after all… what we do.

I wonder if perhaps sex is how we compete. Well, of course we do in one sense – the evolutionary impulses behind our sex drives are not diminished by the accident of our sexuality. But it is more than them there straight people a yardstick by which we measure ourselves. Sex by any other name… perhaps there is an over emphasis on youth and beauty in the gay world. Still, I’ve been going to the gym a lot more since I came out than before. So, for me it isn’t all bad.

In one sense it isn’t a gay thing – it’s a male thing. Without the brake of the female acting to control us, why would we exercise self control?
The answer must be a zen thing or similar. To win the game, get out of it… God, the hours I’d waste trawling through Gaydar or a similar site. The secret is not to take it all so seriously. There’ll always be someone better looking, more promiscuous, kinkier, bigger… you can run the race, but ask yourself: who set out the course? And what is the prize?

Great sex, learning about yourself, meeting amazing people, exploring your desires… all of these things are important elements (or at least, gentle reader, they were to me ; I might be talking bollocks in more than one way here) to growing into a gay man’s gay identity. But when they’ve helped you become a well rounded tired-but-happy gay man what comes next?

You win the game. You find your Fella. And then you move in together and then… the game begins again. Level 2!

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Where we at Gentle Reader? All in all, not too bad – for me, at least, and I hope for you too... I’ve lost 7lbs (about 3kg) and am running 5k six days a week to keep on that trajectory (and enjoy the odd glass of wine or three). The rest of the family are all well; Fella’s career development scheme, run by his workplace, is doing wonders for him. The fish has proven indestructible – and she’s grown. Soon we’ll have to get her a new home! And Morag (the car, named after the great aunt of a woman we met in the pub, naturally) has managed to assert her personality without any death or destruction (her oh-so-hilarious tendency to slip into reverse when we’re stopped at a junction notwithstanding) so far.

We’re renewing the lease on our apartment, as we are very happy here. The balcony is blooming, literally, and Fella’s lettuces, pumpkins, and tomatoes are doing well (even though we lost some of our crop to black-fly).

Family and friends – all is well, or as well as can be expected.

That leaves my work. Or job.

Admin assistant; complaint handler; case worker; case manager; project manager; business manager. That’s quite a career, over 15 years. I think I’ve done well, and it pleases me roles have come my way based on my merit instead of some kind of career plan on my part.

Now that’s changing. Not my merits – at least I hope not. Now I need to look forward, and plan my career. Things are tighter now than I’ve ever really known in my adult life; and in addition I have responsibilities what with a fiancé and all...

Committing to a career plan is a little bit like committing to a sexuality; for me anyway. A scary jump I should've done years ago. It isn’t closing doors; it’s identifying the best possible opportunities. So, after a shade over a year in my current role, I’ve decided what I want to ‘do’ – ultimately I want to be a chief of staff or equivalent for a large, high profile, national public sector (or at least charitable) organisation. I want to be there in eight years or so.

It’s not too much to ask; two promotions or so; I’m 33. In eight years I will be 41. Whilst I have not had my 40 therapy yet, I’m due to retire at 67 ½... a long time to coast along. Still, throw a couple of non-executive directorships into the mix and... ;-)

I’m passionate about three key areas of healthcare, the area that has become (for better or worse) my field – mental health, sexual health, and patient engagement. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to contribute to those areas in a real, meaningful way. And where I am now has really opened my eyes to where and what I want to be.

So that’ll be me for a while; trying to make that next step. In the meantime, to balance that out, I will be trying hard to be a better friend (as always, as always) and perhaps I’ll think of something very nice to do for my fiancé.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Curiosity killed the cat

I came across this image on a website I stumbled across recently - Equalitopia (link in my blog list)

It maps the responses given to a dating website to the question "have you ever had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex?". I wonder how much the results represent the social acceptability of homosexuality, rather than truthful responses to the question. Unless they have a great nightlife in Louisiana... one the other hand they clearly know how to make the long winter nights fly by north of the border. O' Canada indeed!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Once apon a time

Where am I at with my life? I’m approaching the end of my exam season, studying in the evenings after work, going to the gym before I start in the office, and generally juggling a hefty workload when I’m there.

The thing is: so what?

Gentle reader, tell me truly: am I... dull?

I watch Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who and the occasional film. We have friends round for dinner, or we visit them. Sometimes we go to art galleries or the theatre. I tend the plants in my little garden. I read, when I have a chance (Matter by Iain M Banks is the current volume).

I work in an office. I go to the gym. My parents are divorced. I am engaged.

Funny how getting everything you worked for sometimes seems a bit... disappointing.

Coming out immeasurably improved my life, and my experiences over the last three years have been fantastic. In many ways it’s a shame they have come to an end. Now the Cheerful Fairy is an ordinary ‘mo, and it’s sometimes a bit sad not to be special.

I’ve never been a people person, nor particularly creative (as maybe perhaps you have noticed??). I get away with it by being OK looking, and reasonably bright. Introvert that I am, I look at the outgoing social types with a mixture of envy and dull incomprehension. The gay stereotype of the flamboyant creative actor type with a large circle of friends and a party lifestyle... well, it’s hardly ever true but it’s still out there, weighing down on my inadequacies so I feel them all the more.

Three of the most important lessons I have learned are:

• keep positive;

• taking a chance is never wrong;

• coming out was a really good thing to do.

But now I need some inspiration. I really have to make some changes.

Fella is fine; I genuinely couldn’t hope for more and I’m not stupid enough to throw away a good thing when I’ve got it – unlike International and those that came before him HA!

I’m thinking about the future, and have a detailed career plan forming in my head; I know I want to be with Fella and I know what’s going to happen by and large in my personal life. But overall I can’t help wondering what’s missing – or perhaps more accurately what I need to replace the excitement I had over the last three years.

I’m not dissatisfied with my life, quite the reverse. But I want to think about a big change. Changing career, moving to the other side of the world (Fella permitting). It’s just – what?? Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration... I’ll let you know when I get it,