A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Thursday, April 12, 2007

(One of) The Problems With Romance in the Gay World

Someone said a long time ago that romance was dead. I'm not sure to what extent I believe this, as if a lovely new beau surprised me by buying me a CD (I can never have too many CDs) I would take it as a romantic gesture. I also describe myself as having a 'romantic viewpoint' on life, meaning that I walk around and go "Oh, look at the Thames, look how the raw sewage really compliments the contrasting murky grey... Oh, how I love London".

And, as misguided and brainwashed as I am, I believe that one day someone could waltz into my life and sweep me off my feet.

However, this is misguided. Take for example the BRAND NEW homosexual drinking establishment that has just opened in London; 'Profile'. This bar has been set up by the people who run Gaydar (come on now boys, don't look at me and say "What's Gaydar?". If you don't have a profile, you've almost certainly heard about it) and, may I add, replaced a rather lovely cocktail bar called '6 Degrees' (cocktails were expensive but lethal!). Profile boasts FREE INTERNET ACCESS LOLZ

So what's the betting that 'Profile' is now going to remove ANY social element of going to a gay bar, sometimes the last bastion of hope for those in singledom? Who are you going to be making eyes at if their eyes are permanently glued to a computer screen?Call me a technophobe, but this isn't just about 'Profile', this is a phenomenon that sweeps the gay nation.

No-one talks to each other.

Okay, okay... So there might be the odd time where you throw yourself in the direction of the desired object (and please, for those of you who just attach yourself like a leech, can you provide sick bags for those around you? It may feel good to do, but it's disgustingly nauseating to watch), and ask their name et cetera, but it does take A LOT of guts to do that. Kudos to the boys out there reading who feel comfortable enough to do that. But generally, gays are very timid and judgemental. I have made eyes at so many people in bars, but following through? It very rarely comes from either side.

Additionally, if someone were to approach you in a bar, you either go to mush and they walk away, or warning sirens go off in your head saying "Abort! Abort! Abort!". And when you approach someone else, you get that feeling, as you crack a joke, that you're going down as well as a knackered lift.

And what about on the Tube? Isn't it a bit sad that they have those 'missed connections' boards because we've reached a day and age when no-one communicates. Alarmingly, in the gay community, we are also becoming more and more technologically dependent. A lot of people meet their dates through various websites, chat forums, text based services et cetera... Unfortunately for us, that's because we can't ask the question "Are you gay?" for fear of someone taking mortal offence.

So your eyes meeting across the room with some tall, dark and handsome stranger as 'Close to You' by The Carpenters plays, and you suddenly move towards each other in a conveyor belt motion in soft focus? Forget it.

But equally, you can probably forget meeting the love of your life on the internet. Sure; it works for some people, but weigh up the amount of times you've chatted to someone for ages and been disappointed in real life with the amount of times you've fallen madly, head over heels in love?


So basically, romance in the gay world? Well, the odds are against us. With only 10% of the population describing themselves as "of alternative sexuality" and only 6% in total likely to be gay men, it suddenly seems a lot to ask. Considering you have to find them attractive, and they have to find you attractive, be compatible personality-wise, share common interests, and then trust them, love is a very small statistic for us, if you bear in mind how many people we have to choose from.

To bring me back to my original point, Hollywood has given us all (gay and straight) false expectations of romance and romantic feelings. We hope for awkward chance encounters, and what we get is usually structured, pre-planned formality, especially where 'arranging to meet off the internet' is concerned. Because the gay population is so small (even smaller in some more rural parts), our chances of romance are small, and our failing communication skills and shyness are a hinderance.

But the worst aspect of the human condition keeps us all going; hope.

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Anonymous Baylee said...

Thanks for writing this.

6:05 AM


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