Navigation Bar Blue

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Mail: A Guy's First Gay Experience in a Foreign City

About 2 weeks ago, I received the following email from a nice guy who was travelling.

His First Email: ❶
Hi man, I know this is probably gonna come across as really random, but I felt compelled to email you just to say - your blog is amazing. I came across it yesterday when visiting this foreign city, and realised my hotel was at the end of the 'gay village' (didn't realise such things existed). 

Being in the closet and having never done anything with a guy (I'm 22) I told myself as I was visiting alone that I had to at least go to a bar. That's when I Googled: 'going to a gay bar for the first time' and came across your blog. 

I have only read a few posts so far, but fucking hell! It resonates. It is such a relief to know that all the things going through my head are not unique.

I'll not bore you with the rest of the story, as I imagine you get loads of emails. But I just wanted to write and say thanks for sharing your experiences. Had given plenty of food for thought already, and is good to hear from someone else who has gone through the same stuff.

#  #  #

I sent him a reply, thanking him for his sentiments on Gay & Invisible. Apart from that, I have also asked him to tell me more about his journey.

#  #  #

His Second Email: ❷
I think I understand what you mean by it being a process or evolution, though I worry I won't progress. At present I'm at: So, I must be gay, but this is something that I will just have to live with - but no one can ever know. Somehow a lifetime of solitude seems more appealing than facing up to reality - I truly hope (but doubt) this is something I can overcome.

So in this foreign city, I built up the courage, and walked down the street in 'the village' looking for a bar that seamed:
1) Not too busy
2) Not too old
3) Not to sleazy

(might have been a tall order...)

I walked to the end of the street, and back. I couldn't do it. I hated myself. It can't be that hard? I thought being away alone would make me less nervous about these things, evidently not.

I got back to the hotel, and watched some TV.  I opened Grindr on my iPad. I don't use it in my country, but downloaded it for the trip as I thought it might be a good way to meet local people. In the capital city, I chatted with a few people, but nothing really came of it. A couple of guys wanted to go for drinks, but it never transpired.

I refreshed Grindr, and within a few minutes someone popped up with 'hey' he was the nearest person at 50 metres. He was incredibly cute looking, age 21 and just so fit. I had seen his profile earlier in the day (he was a few km away then) but thought, there is no chance.

He started messaging in French, and I thought 'for fuck sake, I don't speak a word of French'. I Google translated 'sorry, my french is bad' and he replied in English: Yes! 

After exchanging pics, he asked if I was top or bottom. Having never done either, it's hard to tell so I went with 'versatile', he seemed satisfied. I suggested we met for a drink and he said he was in a club but it was boring there and fancied going somewhere else, we arranged to meet outside the club in 10 minutes.

I walked down and waited outside. Within a minute he walked out the door, even better looking than his pic suggested. What was he doing meeting me? He was way out of my league. He asked if I wanted to go in the club or find somewhere else, I suggested we found a bar, and he said okay but just needed to get his jacket from inside. He walked back in to the club and I was convinced that was the last i would see of him.

A couple of minutes later he walked back out. We walked down the street and chatted. Eventually we walked in to a bar and I got us a couple of beers. We sat chatting, I still couldn't understand why he would be interested in me? He said he thought my accent was cute and playfully squeezed my leg.

After our drink it was late, so we left. Walking back towards the direction of we met, I started panicking internally. I would love to go back with this guy, but at the same time was really nervous. After about 5 minutes he said "So, your hotel is down there?" pointing ahead on the street we were walking. I replied yes and he said his house was just down another street. A moments silence. He said goodnight and told me to message him the next day. I walked back to the hotel alone.

It was only when I got back that I realised he might have been interested in coming back. I started to analyse the night and realised I missed a great opportunity. I was sort of gutted, but at the same time proud of having a) gone to a gay bar, b) met and had a drink with a cute guy, c) told someone I was gay.

This short encounter seems to have made my whole trip more positive, and has given me a great deal to think about.

As soon as I get back home I'm gonna work to get in to better shape, I need my self consciousness to be less of an issue. I am potentially in the states on a couple of occasions next year (have started attending a lot of conferences in my field of study) - perhaps that gives me a target.

But where this all leaves me in the bigger picture of, will I ever want to come out? Will I ever be rid of my 'internalised homophobia'? Can I come to terms with this and stop hating myself? I don't know.

Anyways, sorry this has been such a long email, just needed to get it off my chest and obviously cant tell any of my friends. Hope all is well with you?

#  #  #

My Reply to Him:
Please accept my apologies for the delayed reply. Had to juggle a few things that came all of a sudden. Anyway, I am touched by the story of your experience so far. You remind me very much of how similar we all feel when we're first trying to find some answers in regard to our sexual identity and where we stand.

The process is made even more daunting by the fact that we've been so sheltered in the closet and in the dark that it makes "taking the necessary steps" to re-align ourselves to the truth of what we are, who we are and the reality of the self-actualised person we're meant to be in life, seem overwhelmingly difficult.

Based on your story, I think you have inadvertently jump-started a journey and a learning process for yourself. One that is oriented towards digging out answers that were long overdue to your, and also gay experiences with other men that are crucial to your growth as a young guy coming to his enlightenment. And for that, I would like to offer you my sincere congratulations and to reaffirm how respectable and courageous you have been to yourself. It doesn't matter how silly you think it might be, but you did it and certainly deserve to be lauded.

I went through the same process as you did. Particularly the part where you tried to get yourself to go to a gay bar because I too was that person, pacing the entire street back and forth and not having the courage to walk in. But don't worry about beating yourself up too much if you failed the first time because apparently, you did visited one in the end with someone cute and had a couple of beers.

So like you said, you went into a gay bar (1), met and had a drink with a cute guy (2), and told somebody you were gay (3). That is already 3 achievements to feel proud of, and especially for someone on his first try! I'd say your luck is amazing for a first-timer. I am truly envious but at the same time happy that somebody else is doing well.

I understand what you mean when you mention how gutted it feels to have not read the signs and acted on it. To be honest, you're not alone. These "clueless" and "missed opportunity" moments have happened to me countless times because I was literally in the dark about how these things work.

I just wasn't aware of the signs, the body language, what was supposed to happen or if this is the part where the guy and me are supposed to kiss, have fun, have sex whatever. There was no way I could have seen it or read it because I was just inexperienced or uneducated in that aspect.

So even though you might have missed an opportunity to go further with the cute guy, but I actually think what came out of the entire experience, starting from the part where you initiated contact with him on Grindr to the point where you and him were standing in silence, was a lesson and a learning process for you. 

You were meant to go through the whole package, nerves and all, just as I did before in order to learn from it and to pay absolute attention to how the feeling tone of the evening was speaking to you and how you should respond. To help open your eyes and to become more aware of the body languages, the moments, the window of opportunities, the skills and the courage that are needed to pull a guy. 

But don't worry and don't regret a thing. Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be. Did you get his real contact number or email? Maybe you might meet each other again in the future for some fun or even a date? 

With regard to the further questions that are burning in your head such as: "Will you ever want to come-out?, Will you ever be rid of your 'internalised homophobia'?, Can you come to terms with this and stop hating yourself?" 

I think these are questions and thoughts that will continue to raise your level of self-awareness, so much to the extend that it will change and spur other actions of reformation within yourself. So don't worry about it to the extend that it becomes a counter-productive burden that dampens the self-actualisation spirit that is now happening within you. Go with the flow, and be with it as it comes. 

Because it's all part of the journey and the journey itself is a process. A real experience that I can vouch confidently will bring you answers and help you live better because that is what the Gay & Invisible Chronological Chart is trying to document. And so far, I think it has successfully proven that we all do go through similar checkpoints in our journeys to accepting ourselves.

So if an absolute non-entity like me can in some way share my experiences through the chart in order to give future guys hope, I'm sure you hold more capabilities within yourself to face those questions than you realise.

I apologise too for having written too much but I hope I have said the right things my friend. I feel honoured that you share things here with me that you feel you can't anywhere else, and for that I thank you. I thank you for helping me to realise how wide, understanding and open I have dreamt for this mailbox and site to hold. So don't feel sorry for letting it all out. It's my pleasure.

All the love and support in the world, M

#  #  #

I haven't heard from him since that last email, but I sincerely hope that he is doing well.


  1. He seems to be on the cusp of accepting it himself. Coming out will come, when he is there, it will feel like there is no reason why it should happen.

  2. Great story: