“Because we are your friends,
You’ll never be alone again,
Well come on…”
I’ve never found myself as someone who struggles to meet people and make friends. The lyrics from Justice vs Simian Mobile Disco’s hit were a mantra for my time at university and bring back some great (if occasionally hazy) memories.
Another song which brings me some of my fondest memories is Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone. It has become the anthem of my college years and a reminder of the best holiday I’ve ever had with all my mates to Lanzarote in 2006, when we were naive 18 year olds.
This song never fails to bring me a smile and remind me that no matter how far away the old college gang are, we have this great song to share and can reminisce over. It represents a huge chapter in my life. The girls I currently live with were in my tutor at college and are some of my oldest friends. I had a tough time at secondary school and never really found myself a place to fit in. College changed that. These amazing friends I made changed that. They accepted me, liked me and I believe we will never loose contact.
But let’s look at the where I am now.
I have to say I have the best colleagues in the entire universe. I love every single person I work with. Many of these guys and girls, who I think are ‘totes amaze,’ have become my new family. Not only do we spend everyday working together, but we often spend so many weekends and evenings together, thus over time turning them into the people I turn to for advice, support and companionship as well as a Nandos and drunken knees up.
As lucky as I am, I feel I have something missing still. A boyfriend would be lovely. But what I want more is a group of gay friends.
I have spent my whole life being the token gay, the gay mate, the one who goes to Kylie concerts. I have gay friends, don’t get me wrong; two of my closest gay friends have recently left the UK for a life in the USA, much to my jealousy. But they are both ex-colleagues and friends from other friendship groups. What I’ve wanted for a long time is to have a group of gay friends of my own. My own clique of homosexuals, a gang to hang out with.
This probably sounds very peculiar and surely not such a big ask.
I have some fantatsic friends. I’ve never struggled to start converstaions with people. I’ll happily be thrown into a room of strangers and socialise to my hearts content. But I find myself very nervous when speaking with other gay people in a group sitatuation. I’ve put it down to not really having been exposed to the gay scene till my 20’s. For 4 years, from the age of 17 – 21, I was in a happy relationship, and neither I, nor my boyfriend felt the need to visit gay bars or gay clubs. We had very few gay friends.
Yet like all good things do, this relationship came to an end and I found myself with no choice but to enter the gay world on my own. Lots of my female friends were happy to come to Heaven for a night out, but so long as it was once in a while, they wanted to go places where they’d have a chance to pull too. Unsuprisingly, after 4 years of never having had to chat a guy up I felt very lost and out of my depth. That base fear still remains.
I hate having to drag my friends out to gay clubs with me. For them its a nice novelty, but for me it’s part of my culture, a culture I am still learning about and want to explore more. Due to my irregular nights out at gay establishments I struggle to maintain friendships with gay men. Either we loose contact, or too often has a drunken night led to one thing or another, turning a platonic friendship into a sexual one. If Jim could fix it for me, he would find me a small group of close gay friends who I can simply go to the pub with, spend a night clubbing with and swapping dating horror stories with, just like I do with my straight friends.
I need to have some friends who have shared similar experiences, who understand the struggles of being a young gay man. I want to find people like me who I can talk to.
I feel a bit silly having written this down, as I’ve never really admitted how much it bothers me. But so often do I wander down Old Compton Street in Soho and see groups of men having a catch up, or having a few drinks after work, or meeting for a spot of dinner to celebrate a promotion. I want to have that and those sorts of relationships.
I think I could learn a lot about myself and how I want to live my life by having friends like these. I also think it’d help me from regularly making the mistake of meeting random blokes off the internet, going on awful blind dates and falling head over heel for the wrong type of guy after 3 dates. Having advice and friendship from gay peers would make me happier I think.
It can be quite lonely just being the ‘token’ mate sometimes.