Sunday, 20 March 2011

New Job and New Gay Friends

I've had quite a busy few weeks since my last post. Firstly, I started a new job! It's only a short-term thing (about 3-6 months) but I think it's a step in the right direction. You'll remember that I was considering moving into more banking type jobs. Well, as I was beginning to look, a last minute project arose at the asset management company my Dad works for. Even though it's not ideal to work in the same company as my Dad, I jumped at the opportunity because I really need the experience. It's a great company as well, with beautiful offices in the heart of London's financial district ("the City"). It's a fairly easy introduction into the world of finance as well and I'm learning a lot especially about which direction I want to head in the future. The only bad thing about it is that with starting a new job and meeting new people comes the whole issue of coming out again. This time it's even more complicated though. The fact that my Dad works in the same company makes me extra hesitant about telling people in the office. Even though he knows and is cool with it we've never really spoken about it, as he just leaves me to get on with things. He's a respected senior person in the company and I'm just not sure if I want to create a situation where people may start talking and where he might be brought into the equation. In all likelihood it would probably not be such a big deal and besides there are such stringent laws against discrimination nowadays that people will probably be too scared to say the wrong thing out in the open. But that doesn't mean they won't say things in private and as it's a relatively small company (about 200 people) it is fairly social with people tending to know each other's business. The company is also quite old school and my impression of it so far is that it attracts a lot people who are not necessarily used to meeting gay people. I don't really want to stay in the company long-term but I'd like to keep my options open and so I don't want them to think I won't fit in. That said, I also don't want to be someone I'm not and I don't want to have to lie again like I used to do in the past. It's the same old dilemma - it never gets any easier!

I'm making some progress on building up a gay friendship base though. I only know a couple of gay guys and even then I wouldn't say they were close friends. However, last week we all went out with some mutual friends and ended up having a great night at a gay club in Soho (I'm not really one for the gay clubs but this one was cool, laid back and not in your face). Since then we've been chatting more online and are making plans to make it more of a regular thing. We're even thinking of going to a gay professional networking event that happens every month in London.

I've also started to make progress on the sex/love side of my gay life in that I finally got around to meeting a guy from Gaydar! Don't get excited though as I didn't seal the deal. From his photos I could see he was OK looking but I wasn't really attracted to him and so I wasn't planning on anything happening. Rather, we had a lot in common so I thought I would use the opportunity as a sort of dry run and maybe make a friend out of it in the end. We decided to meet one evening after work in Soho. It felt quite strange to be meeting a complete stranger off the Internet but at the same time it didn't feel scary because we had been chatting a bit online and so we knew quite a bit about each other. When we did actually meet though, I could see his pictures definitely showed his good side, as he looked a bit chubbier in real life and so went from being not my type to definitely not my type! The conversation flowed fairly easily though and got us through a couple of drinks at a gay bar and a quick bite to eat. By 9pm though I was running out of things to say to him. He's 30 and so we're at slightly different stages in our lives. I also think the fact that I knew it was never going to lead anywhere very exiting made me lose interest a bit. I hope I'm not very fickle about how my friends look but I fear I might be a bit - I guess it's just nicer to hang out with someone you think is attractive (especially if they're a guy) because then there can always be a slight bit of flirting (however subtle and unintended) involved in the friendship. So I'm not sure if I can see us becoming long-term friends. I'll probably keep in touch but won't go out of my way. The nice thing was that it helped me take a step forward and so maybe my next meet with a guy will lead to more. And at the very least, I did feel very cosmopolitan sitting on the tube home thinking about how I had just met up with a completely random person from the Internet and never have to see him again! You've got to love big city life :-)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Hats Off to Steven Davies

The English cricketer Steven Davies came out as gay the other day. He's the first openly gay cricketer and one of only a handful of professional sportsmen who has publicly come out. I can't even imagine how difficult coming out in the public eye must be especially if what you're famous for is playing a manly sport. It makes our own individual struggles with coming out seem so insignificant! And while I agree with those who say it shouldn't really create such a big media storm I understand why it does and I think it should until it becomes more commonplace. It is so refreshing to see people like Steven come out, as once again it helps break the stereotype. And the effect that that has on people out there like me in terms of helping them become more confident with who they are should not be underestimated. I really hope that more gay professional sportsmen are as brave as Steven and come out soon.

I found the video interview he did with The Daily Telegraph really interesting because I was able to relate to so many of his experiences and feelings. And like me he's 24 - so if anybody has his number let me know :-)