5 Things Will & Grace Taught a Young Gay Boy

The first Friday of 2018 was the most important TV event of the year: Will & Grace made its long-awaited comeback in the UK.

It was a big day for two reasons. Firstly, I love Will, Grace, Karen and Jack (to be honest, the latter two are my favourites and I think the show should be called Karen & Jack). Secondly, one of the worst finales in the TV history got finally rectified (“That never happened!”).

I’m someone who grew up with TV. My parents probably thought I would become a better person watching TV shows than listening to what they had to say. I couldn’t agree more.

The Will & Grace comeback made me reflect what I learnt about (gay) life watching the show in my late teens and early twenties.

  1. It’s OK to be camp. When I first got to know Jack, I thought he was too camp. I had been working my ass off to lose my camp qualities to, at first, pass as a straight person, and then to be more attractive to gay men. But there he was prancing around on TV and embracing his campness! Later in life Jack became my role model. I learnt that if you’re a bit camp, at least the man of your dreams doesn’t have to waste time wondering if you’re gay or not.
  2. A gay man is a straight woman’s best friend. But he can’t replace a boyfriend and he shouldn’t. Same goes the other way round. I think the dynamics between Karen and Jack works better than that between Will and Grace. Karen and Jack’s relationship is about fun, sharing, and caring – pretty much like Will and Grace’s but without the complexity of building a family that they both would prefer to have with a romantic partner.
  3. Gay relationships don’t have to be similar  to straight relationships. Straight and gay people should have the same rights as couples but why should all relationships, gay or straight, follow the ideals of which has become a traditional straight relationship? Let’s at least save the gays from that baggage! Will seems to struggle with how to live a straight life as a gay man whereas Jack embraces his gay life.
  4. It’s valuable to have a gay friend you never slept with. I find the sexual tension between Will and Jack interesting. Labelling is not cool but I can’t help but wonder if both of them are bottoms. There’s been some tension between them but it has never materialised. I say good for them! Friends with benefits is one thing but sex doesn’t always benefit a friendship.
  5. Jokes are more fun when you’re a good person. The fact that you treat other people with love and respect allows you to tell jokes that are dirty, questionable, and even politically not correct. That’s because your audience knows you have good intentions and you are probably just mocking people with idiotic views. How much fun!

5 Things that Tell He’s into You

Most single people have sometimes asked themselves if the person they are into feels the same way about them. I’ve come me up with a few points that help me determine if a man is into me or not.

  1. Looks: I’m an ordinary-looking fellow. If I make an effort, I can go from ordinary to good. If I don’t make any effort at all, I go down a notch. If a man thinks I’m very handsome, he probably has some kind of feelings for me because he doesn’t see my flaws. (But if he likes my butt, he might just like the butt. I do squats.)
  2. Work: Pretty much the same goes for my work. When I write my CV, I say I work at a cool, cutting-edge creative agency where I hold a key position. If I’m being honest, my work is pretty much cutting and pasting. If a man thinks I’m very creative from what I’ve told him about my job, he’s either read my CV or he’s so intrigued by everything I say that he must be into me. (Or then I’ve been lying which I only feel like doing with idiots.)
  3. Behaviour: I’m quite sociable and so are many men – until they’ve climaxed. I love a liedown after sex, when the two of you are on your backs catching breath, holding hands and not saying a word for a while. I love it when you fall asleep together. But if I say something meaningful and he doesn’t reply in full sentences, he’s probably not into me. Once a man said to me, after we had finished having sex at his place, that London has a most amazing night bus network. I took the hint and caught a bus.
  4. Drinking: If a man sees me drunk and he thinks my behaviour is charming and not alarming, he probably gives me the benefit of the doubt and is into me. My drinking is not as bad as it sounds though. My rule is to have more days in a week without alcohol than with (even a glass of wine counts!).
  5. Culture: If he reads, goes to the Tate, and loves the opera, and doesn’t mind that I read (Bridget Jones), go to the Tate (for the rooftop café), and love the opera (in the Eurovision Song Contest), he probably thinks highly of me and is into me.

Disclaimer: Even if it seems he’s into you, it might be that he’s just being nice. If this turns out to be the case, embrace it. He might make a hell of a friend.

Why I still Blame Society for Limiting my Chances as a Gay Man

When my country allowed same-sex marriage, I was asked many times if I would get married with my then boyfriend. How about adoption – would we consider it? I found it charming that people thought the whole world had changed overnight. But it hadn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that the law passed and I do think it made the world a better place. But the law had changed, not me. When you grow up thinking that you would never have a husband nor children, you might accept that model in your head no matter how much you fought it.

Sometimes my heart isn’t able to keep up with changes in the law and people’s values. This is also reflected in my relationship with my family members.

I’m the youngest of my siblings. Once, when all of us were in our late teens or early 20s, we were talking about how we would name our future children. I had come up with a name for a future daughter but when I shared it with others, mum pointed out that I wouldn’t have any children because I’m gay. I felt both humiliated and disappointed.

Ten years later she was openly advocating for equal marriage and planning my future wedding (a straight child can be pissed off when parents do that but a gay child should be grateful). However, I’m afraid something had changed between us for good. Both mum and society had made me think I wasn’t fit for a husband or a parent and, sadly, I had bought that.

They say that for a nation to recover from the trauma of a war, it takes two generations after the one who’s lived the war. It might not take two generations for the LGBT+ community to get over their trauma but I’m afraid my generation didn’t get spared.

Also, I don’t have anyone to marry me for the moment. But once I find someone, I promise I will speed up the healing process.

A Christmas Party on a Wednesday – the Aftermath

I work from home this week, so I decided to throw a little Christmas party at mine on Wednesday evening. Try and organise a party on a Friday or Saturday in December – never gonna happen! I’m quite lucky to have flexible hours at the peak of the festive season unlike my guests who had to go to work in the morning. But they showed up because at least they didn’t have other plans.

It’s a funny thing, throwing a party. You very much anticipate it and prepare for it, but you don’t really get to enjoy it the way you had expected. Even if you were the only one at the party who could sleep in.

Last time I threw a party I was in a relationship. My other half (and when it comes to cuisine, definitely a better half) took care of the catering. This time it was just me doing the cooking and cleaning and serving, while having an occasional glass of wine and a cigarette. And that’s just the part before the guests arrived.

The most important thing about throwing a party, however, is knowing whom to invite. I did well, I have to say. I know lots of wonderful people in London but not all of them would live close enough or be a perfect match with each other. The ones I invited were able to stay quite late and had fun whether I was in the room or not. As a host, you don’t want to be irreplaceable.

After the party, as you finish whatever is left of your guests’ drinks (without mixing red wine with white because you’re classy), you realise you didn’t get the chance to bring up the funny topics of conversation you had in mind before the party. You forgot all the jokes. You didn’t play the coolest YouTube clips.

But they liked your pancakes.

What’s AIDS Got to Do with It?

When I was growing up, AIDS was the ultimate threat a little gay boy like myself could think of. I remember Freddy Mercury dying of it. I remember Tom Hanks on Philadelphia. Later in life along came Angels in America with some hope.

I took my first HIV test fairly soon after the first time I had sex in my late teens. I had somehow been exposed to semen in my eyes (wonder how that got there). Today such incident would be the least of my concerns.

I tested negative, and I was so relieved that I volunteered for years with the charity that took the test. I felt grateful for 1) Not having HIV and 2) Having people around me who would test me for free and make sure I would be treated if I had it.

Later in life I took a course on HIV/AIDS at the university and learnt more about HIV/AIDS and about people living with it. By that time AIDS had become an acronym less common than HIV, and that was something one could live with.

When I moved to London, testing for HIV and other STIs had become so easy that I could make it a routine thing. Also, I did no longer feel that I should own my life for the cause in return.

So much have times changed that just recently I’ve come across news about Prince Harry and the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, taking HIV tests in public. As if we went to the same sauna. (I know the issue is more complex than that but it could be just as simple. Ok, maybe not with Nicola.)

It took me back to square one when I made a new friend in London, 25 years my senior, who had lost at least a dozen friends to AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s. He barely escaped from it himself. It was just a combination of caution and some good luck.

He has seen how the London gay scene has changed, for better and for worse. Yes, there’s less stigma and more precautions one can take to prevent HIV, but there’s also indifference. It’s like AIDS has nothing to do with HIV anymore.

Not long ago I was fooling around with a guy who asked if I was HIV positive. When I told him that I’m negative, he said he’d rather have sex with a positive guy. If he’s on medication, it’s safe to bareback.

Jesus mate, I don’t know if I’ve been spared from HIV thanks to condoms. But I’m quite sure I’ve been spared from quite a few other STIs.

Never had sex with him.

Bad at Dirty Talk

It happens every now and then that I’m fooling around with a man and he suddenly asks me to talk dirty to him. I always get a bit overwhelmed by this request. It’s like when you tell someone you can speak French and they ask you to say something. You know you can speak it but you can’t think of anything interesting to say.

I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so I always try to come up with a phrase or two, whether it was French or dirty talk. The problem is, however, that I get too conscious about my words and how they come out. When it comes to dirty talk, I usually end up feeling like a bad porn actor or a boring teacher in a biology lesson.

To name a few of my failures, I once had a sex partner who suddenly changed his mind about dirty talk when I had opened my mouth. “Maybe just be silent”, he suggested. Another one asked me if I knew any other adjectives than nice and any synonyms for penis. I came up with a “decent sized member”. He sighed but not the way you would expect in bed.

Don’t get me wrong, I can be verbal when I feel like it. But I prefer it to be spontaneous. It goes both ways. I find it a bit awkward if my partner sounds as though he had been learning his lines. It feels like he’s not talking to me but to himself.

(By the way, I never get turned on by someone calling me a whore. It’s not that I find it offensive. It’s just that I hate it when people think a slutty person like myself would identify as one.)

If you’re going to talk the dirty talk, you’ve got to walk the dirty walk. The words have to be unique to that situation and you have to turn them into reality. The words have to be inspired by that moment and not by the last porn clip you’ve jerked off to.

That’s when dirty talk becomes a sexy exchange of words.

What Makes a Perfect Top

I’ve been lucky enough to fool around with very nice top men in my life. Sure, they have been handsome and they have known what they are doing, but I wanted to lead with their most important attribute: being nice.

(For those not so familiar with gay sex: it’s most fun between a top and a bottom, in my opinion anyway. A bottom is, well, the bottom. I’m sure you can figure out the rest.)

Being nice is very important in bed from a bottom’s point of view as penetrative sex between men comes with a few challenges and there are some precautions you want to take before action. Sex doesn’t have to be penetrative, of course, but when you go there, you don’t want to do it with someone who’s not easy-going, considerate, and respectful (goes for other types of sex too).

My favourite tops acknowledge the fact that an unorganised bottom like myself is not ready 24/7. Unless I’m anticipating to have sex, most probably I haven’t followed a strict diet during the past few days, chosen my best pair of underwear in the morning, showered and shaved thoroughly just recently, and whatever some tops might expect. Jesus, I most most probably wouldn’t do all of the above anyway.

Sex is not the only thing in life that I like and I can’t let a possible prospect of having sex dictate how I live. And sometimes an opportunity occurs when you have been awake for 24 hours, drinking half of that time, and eating crisps for lunch and dinner. Your clothes are covered in beer stains and remains of ashes, and mayonnaise from takeaway food is dripping down your face. Try and be attractive then!

So what does a perfect top say when he sees you at your least attractive? (By this time of course you’re sober enough to decide whether you want to have sex in the first place. And if not, he doesn’t take advantage of you.)

He says you have beautiful eye lashes or beautiful anything that is not affected by your current state. He chooses his compliment so you can buy it. Then he grabs your butt and tells how he likes it. Between kisses and jumping into bed he asks if you need the bathroom.

As you come back from the bathroom, the perfect top appreciates what you probably just went through in there. (By the way, it took a top engineer / an engineer top for me to realise you can take the shower head off. Makes preparations a whole lot easier.) If the procedure didn’t really make you feel like a princess, he knows you might need another reminder of how attractive you are – nothing to do with the fact if you are or not.

Finally, when you’ve done it and he takes his condom off, he disposes of it discreetly. If you need to pop into the bathroom, he’s still willing to cuddle with you when you’re back.

Oh yes, he is the perfect gentleman at the beginning and at the end. But in between, the perfect top is a beast.

The Gay on the Train

I sometimes come across clips online where guys act inappropriately on the tube. On some clips they show off their bulge. On others they take their bits out. Sometimes they even touch themselves until they finish. I’m all for sexual expression but I think that sort of behaviour is a bit risky on public transport.

I take the tube every morning to work and sometimes wonder who these guys are and when they do their material (it’s not that I’d like to board the same train but I’m curious). The tube is not a very sexy place during morning rush hour unless you find it sexy to stand so close to someone that their ponytail is in your mouth. That’s why my guess is that the material is from the late or night tube (a weekend luxury London got a year ago).

I’m not completely innocent myself. I have always kept my clothes on when travelling but I have pulled a man or two on the London underground, and even on a London bus. Internet connections come and go in London and sometimes your eyes start wandering. And sometimes eyes meet.

They are exciting encounters. It’s a matter of seconds when a wandering eye becomes an invitation. Also, you might only have seconds to decide whether you should get off and join the guy who’s had his eyes on you. (This becomes much simpler if there’s an exchange of words.) The feeling when you stand together on the platform and the train accelerates beside you is exhilarating.

Some encounters are not so much sexy as they are alarming. It happened once on the night tube that a handsome man told me he had taken too many poppers and wasn’t feeling well. He asked me if he was turning blue and I replied: “I wouldn’t say you are. But then I’m not sure what colour you’re supposed to be.” We did get off together but for me to walk him to a nearest off-license to get a bottle of water.