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

Friday, August 30, 2013


It was a Friday morning. I was off work and the sun was peeping through the very small window in my flat, promising a good day ahead. I slipped on a pair of lime green jeans and a black shirt, matched with black shoes. Today I was going for a high-contrast, powerful look that made a statement.

I received a message on Grindr... "Hi"

And another – "Are you ignoring me?"

It was Luca: a 22-year-old Italian I'd spoken to the night before. He had dropped his mother off at the airport the previous night.

"Hahaha! No!" I replied, "I'm just about to leave the house for coffee."

"Why don't you come round mine for a real Italian coffee," he said.

As you can understand, these invites on Grindr always have a double edge. Is he inviting me round for sex, or does he mean what he says when he says 'coffee'? I contemplated the fact that I had already masturbated this morning and, judging by the fact that he was younger and messaging a 30 year old about coffee, I was guessing that – if sex was on the cards – then he would want me to top him. And was I up to it... And would I want to.

"Give me 20 minutes," I said, as he sent me his location and I set off from the house.

Walking down the street, I swaggered with confidence, while on the inside worried about how much attention the green trousers were getting. Had I misjudged this outfit completely? It was too late to turn back now anyway. I pressed on to my destination.

When I got to the front door, I rang the bell and a smallish, boyish figure answered the door. Luca... He must have been about 5ft 7 and with an extremely slim build. I could have probably scooped him up and swung him round the room. He probably wanted me to.

Going through to the kitchen, it was awkward as he busied himself about. He had just got out of bed and was hungover from drinking wine with his housemates the night before. He fussed over the percolator, cleaning it out and apologising for the mess. I felt like a spare part as I tried to install myself in a corner of the kitchen, but was inevitably interrupted by him needing a mug, or a spoon, or some sugar from the jar.

He gathered some things – including a small pouch of tobacco and some rolling papers – and went through to the garden where we sat at a table. I chose to sit on the side adjacent to him so as to avoid being too formal and distant by sitting at opposite sides – much more like a formal interview than a date.

I asked him what he did in Milan and he told me that he was a freelance hair and make-up stylist with many contacts and he decided to move to London a year ago for love. His name was Mikhail, he was Polish and aged 31. Now at this point I'm starting to realise Luca has a 'thing' for men my age. What did Mikhail do? He was a bar supervisor. How did they meet? Apparently they chatted online for three months before he made the decision to move in with him.

Wow... So. Three months of chatting online and you decide to move in with someone. Why not take a holiday to London and see if you get on first before going all or nothing?

"I think the universe has a plan for me," Luca says.

Yes, I think to myself. The universe seems to have that 'fuck your life up' plan for everyone. A month later and Luca and Mikhail hadn't quite worked out – he moved out and so had stayed in London for the last year.

I am perplexed by the music coming from his iPod: Natalie Imbruglia, Alanis Morrisette, Blur... Things I would have listened to when I was 14 and he was a mere 6 years old. I question him on it and he replies his sister is the same age as me and that's what he grew up listening to.

It strikes me that Luca is actually very ambitious: he talks about his career in London at a local salon called Michelle Louise – one I pass most days – and how he wants to do this and that. He's a colourist, he could make her money, he could make anyone money if they stuck with him and put money behind him. He wants to start his own business, work with fashion stylists, do projects for Mac and Toni & Guy. He's underpaid, but he's a genius (of course) – his colouring is the future etc etc

I can't help but reflect on my tireless enthusiasm when I was 22. If only I'd wanted to be a hairdresser, I think to myself. Something with a clear career plan where it could be possible that by now I'd be styling for Chanel. Unfortunately, my chosen career at that point – rock star – was a bit more impossible and the chances ever so slightly slimmer.

It then occurs to me that Luca hasn't thus far asked me a question about me and my life, and so I realise that I am actually bored with him and that he isn't interested in who I am or what I do. I surmise that Luca is a lot like me: he chooses older men with less ambition than himself so he doesn't feel like he is 'in competition' with his partner. This starts to annoy me and I purposely leave long gaps in the conversation waiting for him to ask me a question, but he never does and so at this point I write off anything further happening with him.

However, there is a part of me that senses the very deep loneliness inside him. He talks of how much he gives to people that never seems to be returned, of loves that never quite worked out (always with older men around my age) and of how he thinks too much. As an emotional sucker, I want to hug him and tell him it will be okay, but decide it would be better to leave that job to 'the universe'.

He is very sweet, very cute, but ultimately I think Luca wants me to regard him – to view him as some kind of dolly or trophy. That I should adore him and he would be my successful little lapdog. However, I think he is intimidated by my presence – and probably also by my bright green jeans.

I tell him that I will disappear and leave him to enjoy the rest of his day off. This comes as no surprise to him and he sees me to the door. I hug him goodbye and thank God – in a way – I escaped. When someone can talk about themselves more than I can talk about myself, they are definitely not the right person for me.


Post a Comment

<< Home