The Whole ‘Straight Pride’ Silliness

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As we head into the month of June, which is typically Pride month for the wider LGBTQ+ community, the recent news about Boston’s upcoming ‘Straight Pride’ has raised the hackles of many people within the community.

As ridiculous as the idea of even needing such a ‘celebration’ is, it’s not really that crazy when you think about how far to the right most news outlets and politics have shifted over the past few years around many parts of the world.

The three men aiming to organize the event in Boston, planned for 31 August, include Mark Sahady, who has ties to the Proud Boys, which has been classified by the FBI as a rightwing extremist group.

[…] Sahady said the proposed march was a response to the Massachusetts administration turning down the group’s request that a “straight pride flag” be raised at city hall.

“We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgment and hate,” said John Hugo, president of the group.

Since the ‘Oompaloompa-in-chief’ got into power in America, all the crazies and self-righteous seemed to have come out of the woodwork.  It’s allowed some people’s common sense about how life truly is in the world to go out the window along with any common decency.

In their minds, these stereotypical white, straight men think they’ve been marginalised to the point where they think they’re now a minority.

*Face palm*

Sometimes you just wish you could slap someone upside the head to knock some sense into them.

What these so-called ‘oppressed’ straight men seem to forget is that they haven’t had to live with all the issues the LGBTQ+ community has had to over the decades.  They’ve never had to fear letting people see their true selves in public without fear of being attacked, bullied, beaten, ostracised, ridiculed, and sadly in some cases, killed.

They’ve never had to hide who they love from their families or friends.  They’ve never had their private lives poked into, investigated, or invaded.  They’ve never had to stand up against the larger society and pronounce to the world who they were as a person.

They’ve just had to be themselves from the moment they were born, without worrying how people would perceive their sexuality or gender.  They could introduce their significant others to those around them without fear of ramifications or consequences to their lives or careers.

They hadn’t had to fight for their rights to love and marry their spouses, or their rights to fair and equitable treatment.  They haven’t had to fight for the right to serve their country, or recognition of their partnered status when it comes to medical issues.

They don’t get harassed or embarrassed on public transit when travelling with their partners, let alone attacked for who they are or with.  They can walk down the street holding their partner’s hand without worrying that someone passing by may take offence to a simple outpouring of love and affection to another person.

What these ‘straight pride’ enthusiasts keep forgetting is that the whole Gay Pride movement was born out of our community being continually harassed in supposedly ‘safe spaces’ by the police and powers that be.

Early on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City. This riot and further protests and rioting over the following nights were the watershed moment in modern LGBT rights movement and the impetus for organizing LGBT pride marches on a much larger public scale. (Wikipedia)

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and basically the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement), now is the time to realise that the fight for equal rights is still just as important now as it was back in 1969 when Marsha P. Johnson famously became one of the prominent figures in the uprising at the time.

All too many of us within our own community take for granted the rights and freedoms we’ve already ‘won’ over the past several decades, and we’ve become a bit lackadaisical in our approach to these things.  We’ve allowed ‘Pride’ to become less of a political statement and more of festival environment that forgets where it came from.

We need to step back up and make our voices heard without the mainstream media drowning us out.  We need to re-embrace our Pride and remember where it came from.

Pride message

 

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Not Fitting The Stereotype

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As empowering as it can be to stand out from the crowd by being a unique individual, it can also be a hinderance in society in general. But do I really stand out from those around me, or is that just my own perception of myself?

I’ve always considered myself an ‘average’ gay man – average looks, average abilities, average personality. etc – but haven’t been able to correlate how I perceive myself physically (short, fat, hairy, bald, etc) with how others see me or what they’re looking for in a potential partner.

Obviously, when it comes to the bear community, there’s a different aesthetic sought after, which is great for those who are into that type of guy.  And physically I suppose I do have that stereotypcial ‘bear’ look.

Now here’s the kicker – despite that physical similarity, I don’t particularly feel part of the bear community.  Just like when I was younger and would hang out with my thinner (twinkier) friends at the bars they enjoyed, I still feel like I’m an outsider looking inside.

And to add to it, I’m an anomaly because I’m not a lesbian-bear  – a bear who’s attracted to other bears.  Instead, I like what would be called a ‘chaser’ or ‘admirer’  – generally fitter or thinner guys, somewhat masculine, good looking (to me), etc – who are into bigger guys.

And I definitely find the super fit, muscular guys in the magazines very attractive.. even if I consider them unattainable.

In the end, I still feel like the average queer that I’ve always considered myself, regardless of which subsect of the community I’m spending time with.  I don’t necessarily stand out compared to others, and my true personality only comes out for the rate few that take the time to get to know me.

I suppose I have never really empathised with the mindset of the bear community because I’ve never really seen myself as one, despite my outward appearance.

In my mind, I guess I see myself as being an average guy with an average body.. and I tend to get a nasty surprise whenever I see myself in the mirror.

I guess I’ve never fully embraced my size or bear-stature.  I do not enjoy being a bigger guy.  I don’t find my body generally attractive, regardless of what other guys have said to me.

I kind of feel like there’s a thinner, fitter version of myself screaming from the inside to get out.

No, I’m not delusional.  LOL

But most of all, I’ve spent most of my life feeling helpless about my body and it’s outward appearance.  My weight over the years has risen and risen, with a few fluctuations here and there.

I would ‘try’ to eat healthier but would end up either ‘treating myself’ too often for doing so well with my food, or I’d still overeat regardless of how healthy the food I was eating was.

Last summer, I was at my absolute heaviest (about 300lbs/136 kgs) and I was starting to have issues walking, breathing, and having regular back pain.  I would run out of breathe after maybe a 10 minute walk and would need to stop for a rest.

So… what is a chubby, lazy guy to do?

Initially I started taking a fat suppressant prescribed by an on-line pharmacy, which I definitely do NOT reccommend. It just made me feel sick and gave me really bad diarrhea on a daily basis.

Around the beginning of the year, I started to make myself walk part of all of the way home from work (45 minutes each way).  This helped, but walking the same route daily got boring fast.

So a couple of months ago I finally got off my ass and joined a gym.  This wasn’t easy as I’ve always felt very self-conscious about going to a gym.  Trying to work out whilst surrounded by fit, muscular guys just felt intimidating.

But I’ve been doing my best for the most part.  I haven’t been on a specific diet, but just trying to eat healthier where I can and cut out sugars, snacking, and all the rest of the yummy foods we’re not supposed to eat regularly.

I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind, but looking to just feel better in my skin.. and perhaps get back to around the weight I was a few years back.  But now I find myself down to about 260 lbs/118 kgs.  Most of that weight loss is since Christmas.

And I’m quite happy with my progress and I’m hoping to keep it going to see if I can lose some more weight.  But again, it’s not with a specific set goal, but instead an intermediate hopeful weight.

I know I’ll never be one of those super fit guys in the magazines, and I’m not hoping to be.  I just want to be comfortable in my own body and feel attractive to myself.. and others obviously.

And if it helps me meet some cute guy who likes me for me, and not my size, then all the better for it.

Photo with cast of ‘Drag Becomes Her’ – (L to R) Peaches Christ, Jinkx Monsoon, ME, BenDeLaCreme, and Major Scales.

Overcoming Loneliness as a Gay Man

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Loneliness can be a bitch at times, and for some people it can hit harder than for others. And regardless of how one might identify sexually, loneliness can sometimes overwhelm those within the LGBT+ community.

At least it does for me at times, though don’t know if it’s specific to me being gay.

For some, this loneliness can stem from sexual or gender identity discrimination, or even from rejection from their biological families.  Though some might say these feelings of loneliness is to be expected despite our community’s supposed mandate of love and inclusiveness, and trying to ‘choose’ our families.  Unfortunately not everyone can fit into the existing cliques or social circles.

I was reading an article about gay men battling loneliness and it got me thinking about my own life.  A lot of the time, I feel isolated from others but this is something that comes and goes in my life depending on what’s going on at that point.  One day I can feel great, loved, and on top of the world.. but the next I can be curled up in the ball staring at my phone thinking nobody even likes me enough to call.

Obviously, left unchecked this can lead to depression, anxiety, loss of confidence, and all sorts of other issues in my life.

When it’s really bad, I feel like I’m on a deserted island looking across to the mainland where everyone else is enjoying life, and I can only watch as there’s no way to get across to the others.  So in others words, I’m curled up on my sofa feeling sorry for myself, watching people’s posts on Facebook or Instagram of how fabulous their lives are.

Obviously social media isn’t an accurate depiction of people’s lives, but when you don’t hear from people sometimes that’s the only way to hear about what they are up to.

Anyway, the article I was reading (link is at the bottom of the page) listed several ‘tips’ on how to overcome this loneliness.  And although accurate with its advice, it was fairly generic if you ask me, with a focus on substance abuse and reaching out to a therapist.

Often people will tell me if I’m feeling lonely then I just need to get out and be around other people.  Because apparently (in their mind) it’s just that easy.  And for them it probably is.

What those who don’t suffer from feelings of loneliness don’t understand is that you could be standing in the middle of a crowd filled with people you know, and you’ll still feel alone.  It’s like there’s a disconnect from others around you.

When we were all first coming out or realising our sexual identities, we would isolate ourselves or pull away from those around us to ensure our ‘secret’ isn’t found out.  That proverbial closet prevented us from making meaningful connections with others (family included) because of how different we felt from them.  This was probably an emotionally stressful period for most.

After coming out, those feelings of isolation probably went away for most people as they started to meet other people like them and build new social circles.  But for others, that might have highlighted for them how they don’t fit into the groups around them.  Even when those groups are comprised of other people supposedly like them with similar interests.

When I first came out, I met an amazing group of people some of which I’m still in virtual contact with now over 20 years later.  We were mostly all new to being out and living in a small town, so we all came together to support each other.

But like anything in life, this only lasted for so long as people moved away, moved on, found relationships and so forth.  It’s a recurring situation through life, and sometimes it’s hit me harder than others, contributing to those feelings of loneliness as I would try to move past it all to find new friends all over again.  And again.

Most self-help articles advise the best thing to do is to join a social or interest group as a way to feel less lonely.  And for some people this works.

For me, this was only fleeting as I tried several different outlets over the years – gay softball or bowling groups, naturist social groups, gay geeks, cinema groups, etc – but nothing truly fit me.  Sure, I’d meet a few new people and start going out a bit more, but then as people broke off as they tend to do, I was still left in the same situation wondering where everyone went.

So where does that leave me?  Trying to meet guys through the ‘dating’ apps or nightclubs usually leads to failure as these are more for those looking for sex and they’re focused more on physical interactions.  And after all these years, I’m just so over the whole bar and club scene these days.

I try to reach out to people when I’m feeling lonely, but unfortunately that doesn’t always work out.  People (in London) are generally always busy or booked up well in advance, so there’s little room for last minute plans.  Or they are the type that only want to be around when things are going good, so will purposely avoid you when you’re down.

Like anything in life, this too will be a work in progress as I try to help myself.  Or maybe I’ll just wear out my Netflix subscription by spending another weekend at home alone on the sofa.

Who knows. 😉

Source: 5 Tips to Overcome Your Loneliness as a Gay Man

Hopeless Romantic

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Hopeless Romantic: A person who is in love with the idea of love.

Yeah, well I suppose I’ve been called worse things over the years.  :/

My major bone of contention in my personal life is my lack of a love life.  How the hell I’ve reached my mid-40’s and still have yet to have an actual relationship is beyond me. It’s something I’ve worried and stressed over way too often, and has become a bit of a bane to my singleton existence.

It’s something I’ve always been open to since I came out back in my early 20’s, and have watched with envy as those around me went from relationship to relationship like it was the easiest thing in the world.

But sometimes I have to wonder if perhaps I’ve overly romanticised the ‘idea’ of finding that special person and of being in love.  That I’m allowing myself to get stuck in the ‘fairy tale’ idea of being in a relationship.

And funnily enough, I’ve actually had friends say something similar to me in the past.

After more than two decades of just hookups, casual flings, and people never wanting to actually ‘date’ me, it’s hard not to get frustrated by it all. I know what I want and am more than willing to give things a try, but it generally ends only being one sided.  And me being left with an aching heart wanting more than that’s being offered.

I’ve lost track of how many guys I’ve spent time with over the years where we’ve really connected on a personal level, and not just sexually.  But when it came down to things perhaps becoming more serious (ie: boyfriends or a relationship), they would continually back off stating they only wanted something casual.

Some people have said that perhaps I should focus on other aspects of my life instead.  For instance, I may not where I’d like to be career-wise but if having a dream job doesn’t fulfil anything special for me why should I strive for it?

An oft repeated conversation with my partnered friends would be about how being in a relationship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  And how they couldn’t imagine what it’s like on today’s dating scene… but are in happy, committed relationships.  Apparently.

And these same people will occasionally imitate that maybe I’m getting my hopes up regarding finding a boyfriend, that I should just go out and have ‘fun’.  That perhaps I should ‘lower my standards’, and say ‘yes’ more to anyone who messages me regardless if I find them attractive.

The problem with this is how my brain interprets their words.. either they don’t think I’ll ever find love so should give up trying, or that I’m not all that attractive so shouldn’t hold my breath for anyone good looking to want to be with me.  That I basically shouldn’t get my hopes up.

I know.. my brain can be such a bitch sometimes.  😦

I’m no different than anyone else out there, regardless of how many relationships they’ve had in the past.  I have hopes and dreams for the future, and how I’d like to spend my life with someone special.  To stop being the only singleton at the party, or on holiday alone, or the only person in my family that isn’t in a relationship (and I have a big family on my mother’s side).

I don’t expect to fall in love with some Greek god, or the most beautiful man in the world because on top of being a hopeless romantic I’m also a bit of a realist.  I’m well aware that not a lot of guys will find someone like me attractive, regardless of how I view them.  I’m more interested in them as a person than whether they’ve got abs, the perfect smile, or some other superficial trait.

I also don’t expect for life to suddenly become ‘perfect’ with no issues or drama when I finally meet meet that special someone.  I know relationships take work and are sometimes harder than being single (and vice versa..), but that’s okay because I understand that and am willing to put in the work.

The issue I have is finding that someone to put the work in with me and build something together.  And I don’t know how much more open to that idea I can be when those around me aren’t.

*sigh*

Digital Dating – The Fake Profile

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Online dating has now become such an integral part of the dating world that sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like without it.  More and more people are meeting new partners, lovers, and whatnot online than ever before, and there are an ever-growing list of apps and websites for people to use.

Sadly with all this technology it has also brought with it those who’s only goal is to scam you via a fake profile.  This could be to get some personal details from you to steal your identity, financial information to rip you off, or to get you to spend money on other apps or websites by signing up for ‘trial memberships’.  Or any number of things they try to get out of you.

Most of the time these fake profiles can be easily identified as they’re openly advertising some business or website to garner more customer traffic.

But for others, it can be a bit more difficult to spot.  Mostly because these people do their best to showcase exactly what you’re looking for, all wrapped up in a gorgeous, model-like package.  Sometimes it’s just too good to be true.

Scammers

A ‘scammer’ is someone who’s sole purpose online is to trick people in giving them money by illegal methods.  A lot of the time these people will spend weeks chatting you up, gaining your trust, only to end up asking you to send them money to help with their bills, an emergency that’s come up, or perhaps even to buy a ticket to come visit you.

But don’t believe it.  This is how they operate and are most likely chatting to multiple people at once.  These aren’t easy to detect without checking IP addresses, language analysis, or analysing their submitted profile picture (they generally use the same pic on different sites, so once flagged on one it’s flagged overall).

Imposters

These profiles are clearly using other people’s photos and details, sometimes even using a celebrity’s images. Or they’ll just be using generic stock photos they’ve downloaded from the internet.  Most of these pictures will look like standard headshots or as if they’ve been taken professionally.

As well, the imposters will generally not have more than one photo on their profile.  And if they do, then the additional pictures will most likely just be variations on the first one.

Too Beautiful for Words

Carrying on with the imposters, some will use pictures of what you might think is probably the most gorgeous guy (or gal) in the world, and just looking at their pic makes you drool.

It’s sad to say that profile may be fake, as they’re playing into your need to feel attractive and want for someone better looking than you to be interested.  Sure, sometimes it’s not really about looks or body shape, but on your personality and who you are as a person… but if it feels fake, then it probably is.

And let’s not even start on those who use their own pics from years or decade past, from when they looked hot AF.

Profile Discrepancies

Sometimes these imposters or scammers can’t seem to keep their stories straight.  For instance, their profile will say they’re living in Manchester but every day it shows them a different distance from you – when chatting on Tuesday they’re 4.5 miles away, but on Thursday they’re 4000 miles away, then apparently around the corner the next day.

But it can also happen that what they say during your chat contradicts what’s listed on their profile… and as soon as you call them on it they’ll either disappear, change their profile, or accuse you of something silly to take the pressure off them and make you feel bad for even pointing it out in the first place.

Chat Offsite

Be leery of those who ask fairly quickly to chat off the site you’re already on.  A lot of the time, this will be to move to another chat site of some sort.  These other sites may be free initially but there’ll be in-app purchases or you’ll be required to sign up for a ‘trial membership’ that doesn’t get cancelled and you end up being charged.  They purposely make these difficult to cancel as well.

Or the popular one is to ask for your mobile number so you can chat on Whatsapp or exchange email addresses.  Again, be careful of this as scammers can use these details to sign you up for all sorts of things, which could end up with you being charged for services you didn’t ask for.

Relationship Status

Some advice out there states to avoid those profiles that state the user is widowed or a widower, as they’re using the sympathy card to lure you in.  And perhaps this can be true, but it leaves you dismissing a possible new partner because of their status.  This should probably be the last thing to look at when determining if they’re a fake.

All in all, just use your common sense before giving out personal details online.

Be safe.  Be sane.  Be real.

The Trials of Being an ‘Average’ Gay

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Life as a gay man can have it’s ups and downs.  And if you’re considered an ‘average’ gay, then you may be in for a few additional ones.  At least that’s the way society and the media makes us believe.

We all know that a lot of gay men out there can be very superficial when it comes to appearance (and I include myself in that generalisation…), but have we reached a point where the stereotyping is starting to harm those who may not fit that perfect mould?  Not everyone can have the body of a Greek god with perfect hair, muscles upon muscles, great abs, a large package, etc.

Unfortunately, the media does tend to paint the picture that only the most attractive amongst us could possibly be considered successful, happy, or desirable.  That you ‘must’ look like an Abercrombie model in order to be attractive.

When you really get down to it, the actual percentage that would fit that stereotype is probably quite slim, whereas the rest of us could be considered average with varying degrees up or down.  But yet we’ve somehow allowed ourselves to buy into the shallowness and try to strive to reach that unattainable ‘perfection’ and hotness – the perfect body, the hot AF boyfriend, the ideal life.

What a load of crap, huh?

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone.  Not everyone is turned on by an awesome set of abs, pecs that are marble-like slabs, a chiselled chin, or an ass so tight and peachy you could bounce a quarter off it.

There are whole sub-sects of the gay community that perceive things differently, and have different ideals of what is beautiful (bears, chubby-chasers, etc).  But sadly the media would consider them ‘average’ and perhaps even dismiss them for not wanting to live up to what’s considered an ideal.

Regardless of what you find attractive, it’s more likely that this ‘yearning’ for what others have is due to all of us (gay, straight or anyone in between) regularly comparing our lives to those around us, or to those depicted in the media.  And as much as we know deep down it’s all a facade, we can’t help but to buy into the happy-happy everyone posts on their social media and think ‘I wish that was me’ or ‘I want that’.

But does that necessarily mean your life will be more difficult when you’re just considered ‘average’ (*gasp* the horror…)?  Are you less likely to become successful at you job, or snag that man of your dreams?

Well… yes and no.  It’s all dependant on how you approach life.

As difficult as it can be at times, you can’t live your life comparing yourself to others.  There’s no magic formula for where you should be in life by a certain age, just a bunch of pressure you’ve put on yourself.  And there’s nothing saying that you have to have the same things in your life that your friends or family do.

And that’s the joy of life – it’s different for everyone.  And no matter how you look, you might have the same insecurities, hopes or dreams as that super hot guy beside you on the tube, or as that regular bloke sitting across the pub from you.  Or you might have different ones.

In the end, the most important thing in life is how we perceive ourselves and we really shouldn’t allow the media or other people’s perceptions of beauty to detract from our own self worth.  We should own our average-ness and not allow others to make us feel ‘less than’ because we don’t fit their mould.

Because when you get right down to it, you’re exactly who you’re supposed to be right at this moment.


Can’t help but look around and question whether or not you belong? Magazines, online publications, and nearly every TV show might show a gay couple cuddled up, but why do they all look like supermodels?

Source: The Trouble With Being Average Looking in the Gay Community – GayGuys.com

Is it a Hookup or a Date?

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Sometimes I honestly wish gay men came with instruction manuals.  Or at least a translator so you can truly understand what the hell they’re saying… and what they actually mean.

I’ve never been that lucky in love (don’t get me started…), and I always seem to have issues determining what a guy really wants from me.  Is he just after sex?  Does he want to get to know me more as a person?  Is this just a booty call, or is it a precursor to potentially something more?

And the most frustrating part is when you ask them point blank what they’re looking for and you still don’t know afterwards.

Now don’t get me wrong… I enjoy sex just like any other man out there, and have had the (*cough*) occasional hook-up but sometimes it truly is hard to figure out what a guy wants.

For instance, if you’re chatting with a guy online or on an app, and they keep saying how much they want to sleep with you or how hot they think you are, then you generally know if you’re meeting for a coffee that it’s probably just a precursor to having sex.  Or at least they’re trying to maintain a pretence of civility by meeting in person first.

But what about the guys that say they ‘want to get to know you better’ or they like you for ‘more than just sex’.  Does that mean they actually want to get to know you, maybe actually go on a date?  Or is that just ‘gay-speak’ for not wanting it to just be an anonymous shag?  So they can yell out the correct name during sex?

For some reason, it’s become more difficult of late to determine if someone just wants something casual or actually wants to go on dates.  Or they claim to want to just be friends, but then make the moves on you when out at the pub.

At what point do you draw the line?

It just seems in this day and age of casual hookups, open relationships and all these ‘dating’ apps, that most (single) gay men out there don’t seem willing to actually date any more, let alone be willing to commit to anything more.  They’d rather just ‘try before you buy’ – jump into bed with someone first, and then if the sex was any good they’ll decide if they want to find out more than just the other guy’s sexual preferences.

I’ve heard many guys proclaim that ‘love is dead’ or ‘romance doesn’t exist any more’, and that just makes me sad.  And I can’t help but wonder who the hell hurt them so bad that they’d give up on love.

As a society, we’ve become so damn non-committal about everything in our lives of late and not just about romantic relationships. It’s like we’re all afraid to commit to something just to find out later on it wasn’t worth it.

And sadly we’re all guilty of it too, just some more than others.

Who hasn’t tentatively agreed to plans with someone just to turn around and cancel or reschedule when something more interesting comes up?  Or cancelled that ‘date’ with the sort-of cute guy from the app when your crush calls up last minute wanting to ‘hang out’.

If only there was a way to cut through all the bullshit and just be honest with each other without any ulterior motives or worrying that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings.

Gawd forbid, huh?


Does that man you like want a hookup or a date? Learn 7 signs he’s looking for a hookup and not romance. Do you know these signs?

Source: 7 Obvious Signs He Wants to Hookup and Not Date

Paris Pt 1 – Love of Travel

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Like a lot of people out there, I absolutely love to travel and explore new places.  There’s no better feeling than wandering around a city you’ve never been to before to get a feel of the place, admire the different architecture, and get first-hand experience of a different culture.

And because I love nothing better than exploring a city by foot and find some hidden gems, I would always ensure I’ve found a place to stay that was fairly central without breaking my budget.  Or making me share a bathroom with strangers.  *Shudders*

But for some reason I completely ignored my own instincts when I went to Paris this past April.  And that probably attributed to why I didn’t enjoy this trip as much as I might have.

I’d never really considered Paris a ‘must see’ city on my bucket list, but more of a ‘one of these days’ sort of place.  Or at least I’d hope to be able to go with someone special once day.

Originally when I was looking to take some much needed time off in the Spring, I had planned on spending a few days splayed out on a Spanish nude beach.  But a co-worker had just come back from Paris with his wife (for Valentine’s Day no less), and he kept extolling how amazing the city was that I eventually decided to try something new instead of yet another trip to Spain (went to Spain 5 times last year alone…).  He kept raving about how amazing the city was, and how terrific the hotel they’d stayed at was, how easy it was to get around, and so forth.

So out of curiosity, I looked into it and surprisingly found a great Eurostar deal, and the hotel he’d suggested was probably one of the cheapest I’d found (especially when it included breakfast and wasn’t just a single bed).  So in the end I figured why the hell not.

Damn I wish I’d gone to the beach as originally planned…

The first mistake was that stupid hotel.  Sure, it was clean, the (very) basic breakfast was filling enough, the room fairly comfortable, and the neighbourhood was very quiet … all quite good things in the end.  But it basically just felt like any other plain, generic budget hotel chain you could find anywhere in the world, and that was the problem for me.  No Parisian feel to it.

Plus it was SOOOOOO far away from central Paris.  I ended up spending too much time and money on the stuffy Metro system.  And the directions my co-worker had given me took me on a longer and more complicated route to find the place upon arrival.

He clearly didn’t check a map when they went.

There wasn’t much nearby the hotel, and on the Sunday evening literally everything was closed in the area including the restaurants.  So I found myself trekking all over just to find a place open to have dinner and buy cigarettes.  And because I hadn’t planned on that, I didn’t have any transit tickets with me, so had to walk about 45 minutes to get back to the hotel.

Besides the issues with the hotel, I just didn’t find myself excited about being in Paris itself.

Now I’m not sure if it was my disappointment over the hotel, but I just couldn’t get myself excited to tour around Paris.  Sure, I did all the usual things – Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre, and so forth – but none of it got me excited or thrilled that I was in Paris.

It also didn’t help things any that I was having issues with the battery on my mobile, as it kept dying on me mid-afternoon.  And this was with me not leaving the hotel until almost noon each day with a full charge.

So more than anything I kept feeling frustrated in Paris.  And as my legs were a bit sore, the last thing I’d wanted to do was to wander the streets like I normally would… so I ended up doing a hop-on hop-off bus tour around the city and only going to the major tourist points.

And for some reason, the last thing I’d felt like doing each night was trek back into central Paris to go out to one of the gay bars.  I’d stopped at one not too far from Notre Dame on my first afternoon there, and I just wasn’t impressed.  And this was a place friends of mine had recommended to me.

So moral of the story?  Do your own research into where to stay.  Go with your gut when picking a location.  And go where you truly want to go, not where everyone says you should.

Next – Part 2 of the trip, and the issues I had on my last day.

Just a Face in the Crowd

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Sometimes it’s hard to feel like I stand out in life.  That there’s something about me that makes me unique from everyone else.

And I don’t think this is the same as having a purpose in life.  This is more about feeling like there’s something special about myself that others may find interesting and make them want to get to know me better.

Or perhaps I just feel like I’m a boring person.  That I don’t really have much to talk about when trying to have a conversation with people.

Or maybe I’m just crap at talking about myself.

And as silly as it may seem to some, I actually feel slightly horrified when someone DOES try to engage me in small talk about me and my life.  For whatever reason, I’ll freeze up and act like there’s nothing of interest to talk about.  I’ll literally downplay anything exciting that’s been going on recently.

Curiously when I look back, this has actually been an ongoing thing most of my life.  It’s like if I actually boast about something good that’s been going on, then maybe that other person may figure out that there’s really not much interesting about me.  Or that maybe I really don’t deserve the accolades being given, rightfully earned or not.

Maybe I’m just afraid of being the centre of attention.

Is it a self-confidence issue?  Definitely.

I’m not sure why, but I grew up feeling like I wasn’t good enough or didn’t fit a certain expectation of who I should be as an adult.  As if there was some standard I never felt I could live up to, so ended up spending most of my life feeling less than everyone else around me.

Or perhaps in my youth, it was instilled in me that doing well and showing off how well you did was a bad thing.  That it made me boastful or egotistic in some way to celebrate any accomplishments I might have made.

An example of this was about 9 years ago when I travelled to Copenhagen with my LBGT softball group to compete in the World OutGames.  Because there weren’t enough teams for a proper men’s tournament, the organisers allowed us to compete in another sport of our choosing for no additional fee.

As I’d been bowling since I was 9 years old, I decided it be a laugh to sign up for the bowling tournament.  There were a few other guys doing the same, so I’d still know a few people and wouldn’t feel too out of place around strangers.

Now the big shock was how I somehow found my groove and kicked some serious ass.  And I ended up winning a Gold in the singles competition and a Silver in the doubles.  This was especially shocking as I’d never really won much as a kid/teen in bowling competitions, and was an average bowler at best as an adult.

But afterwards I got all shy and almost embarrassed that I’d done so well in the tournament!

I even tried to hide my medals behind each other as we marched in the Pride parade with the rest of the athletes at the end of the week.  Like most things in my life, I downplayed my accomplishment and even tried to give excuses why I won.

Stupid huh?

I seem to do it in most aspects of my life.  Hell, I even do it with this blog that I’ve been writing for almost 10 years now.  I’ll get all shy when someone shows the least bit of interest in my writing or asks to read any of it, when I should be truly proud of what I’ve created here over the past decade.

Odds are other people probably feel like I stand out more than I think I do and that I am special in some way.  And hopefully one day I can allow myself to feel that about myself too.

I Get Attached Too Easily

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I don’t know why it is, but whenever I meet someone new romantically (for lack of a better word…), I somehow end up getting super attached a lot quicker than I’d like.

It’s something that has occurred for me many times over the years, and despite me actively trying NOT to do this, it still happens without warning.  I can’t seem to help myself.

It’s usually the same old story – meet some cute guy, there’s an instant mutual physical attraction, and we get along like gang-busters.  We’ll end up chatting and texting very regularly, with the conversations becoming quite intimate while also getting to know each other.

And yeah, sure.. there’s some great sex.  That should be a given.  😉

Once I like a guy, I’m basically done and have no interest in continuing to look around for someone else.  I’m always open to seeing if this could potentially be something more than just a casual thing or friendship.

And perhaps it’s that openness to see where things go is what scares them off and causes them to put the brakes on whatever has been going on between us.  It’s not like I’m immediately suggesting we get married, but what’s wrong with showing interest in being more than friends-with-benefits?

What I do find interesting (and slightly disturbing) is how I seem to not have any say in where things go between us.  How the whole decision whether we should date or not is solely in their hands.  How by being so open and honest about what I’d like I’ve somehow given them all the power in whatever ‘relationship’ we’re in.

Messed up, huh?

What can I say.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, even when I’m trying not to.  Even when I’m trying to be cold and distant as a way to play the ‘game’, I still end up being the emotional one.  The one who gets their feelings hurt.

It’s just who I am.

And should I really have to change who I am as a person to get a boyfriend or relationship?

I should hope not… if someone likes me, then they should like me for me, not for their idealised version of my personality.

Because isn’t that the whole point of dating and finding a partner in life?  To find someone who accepts you for who you truly are, and not try to change you into someone you’re not?

I really hope so… and I really hope that guy shows up soon, before I go all ‘Fatal Attraction’, bunny-boiler on some poor unsuspecting guy.

Kidding… I think.  😉