The Guyliner

Gay Times columnist and online dating survivor

I'm a writer and editor in my mid-thirties who, on finding myself suddenly single after a long relationship, decided to try out the dating scene for the very first time. It soon became clear that the only way to get through it with my sanity intact was to write everything down, just like I used to scribble in my diary all those years ago about the people I hated at school. Some sit in a chair crying at their therapist; I perch at my kitchen table and write about it.

All the dates I blog are recounted from memory only – I don't sit there with a tape recorder and, I should point out, I am not going on dates just for blog material. I'm reporting the facts as I remember them. Yes, I'm an unreliable narrator, but I'm all you've got. Oh, and please don't take any of my relationship advice seriously. Clearly, I'm clueless.

I'd Never Go On A Blind Date - So Why Do I Love To Be A Fly On The Wall?

Long before smartphones became our primary way of finding love, we relied on our mates to hook us up with someone suitable. Pics were harder to come by - and although vanity is nothing new, even one generation back it was not the done thing to have a self-portrait handy in case your friends wanted to play Cupid.
16/06/2017 08:10 BST

The Trouble With Sam Smith

You'd think this conversation wouldn't need to happen at Smith's level of fame - but media training and Sam Smith are strangers across a crowded room. Not that you can be media-trained for the specific brand of "Did I really just say that?" that Smith does so well.
01/03/2016 14:12 GMT

Why "We All Knew!" Is the Worst Thing to Say When Somebody Comes Out

It's a big deal. You can't guess the reaction - even from the people you love and trust the most. But there comes a point where you simply must come out because if you don't, you are living a lie and, for most of us, that simply isn't appealing. The day has to come. Today was that day for Conservative MP and cabinet minister David Mundell. We can assume at the age of 53, he's had plenty of time to think long and hard about whether to do this. In his statement, Mundell, who is the Scottish Secretary and has three children, talked of a "New Year, new start" and "one of the most important decisions of my life".
13/01/2016 17:04 GMT

Hot, Ready and Legal? You Need to Cool Off

Any adolescent reading <em>Tatler</em> and in love with Brooklyn Beckham doesn't care whether he's 'legal' or not, so who is that message actually for? For people in their 20s and 30s? "Don't sweat it, guys, you can jerk off thinking of him and not worry about being sent to prison", is that it? Thanks for the heads-up, guys, but I'm good, honestly.
30/10/2015 16:29 GMT

Manspreading: Why We Do It and Why We Need to Stop

I suspect the reason men do this is very simple: we think we should. Sitting with knees together and legs in tight is a sign of weakness or homosexuality - both social death, of course. So with this overbearing sense of self-consciousness, we have somehow decided that 'legs akimbo' is the norm.
02/12/2014 17:17 GMT

Why the Gym Is the Worst Place to Meet Your Next Lover

It seems no part of the gym is off limits when it comes to being chatted up or flirted with or, in the most extreme of cases and depending on your proximity to Vauxhall, a spot of shagging. The sunbed room at my gym - 12 tubes, an Ikea chair and a bin filled with discarded wet wipes - is almost always occupied and I have never seen any ultra violet light beaming from under that door.
24/11/2014 17:06 GMT

Coming Out Isn't a One-off Event - You Do It Day After Day for Ever

Think you have everybody covered? Relatives, friends, key people at work - check. However, you're not out of the woods yet. We live in a world where there may be equality in law, but socially, we've still a long way to go. Even a simple trip to the doctor, or a casual chat with a colleague, and having to say that dreariest, laborious word "partner", like you're in love with a law firm, is an act of coming out.
15/10/2014 17:35 BST

The 25 Men You Should Really Never Date

As ever, I only want to help, so if you want to separate the men from the boys and the woulds from the would-nots, here I have 25 more men you should, if at all possible, avoid when dating. Everything I do, I do it for you.
10/10/2014 17:16 BST

Everybody Needs Their Heart Broken Once - It Makes You More Human

I'm glad my heartbreak happened when it did, early on enough for me to realise it wasn't just <em>my</em> feelings that mattered. If you've been heartbroken, you'll know what I mean and if you haven't? Well, just pray that when <em>your</em> time comes it's swift and fixable - and that it comes before you break too many hearts yourself.
08/09/2014 03:17 BST

Decoding Dumb Clichés People Post on Dating Profiles

Your dating profile - or the bio on whichever app your fingers are getting busy with - is your storefront, your prime advertising space. Sure, a picture tells a thousand words, but as anyone who's spent more than a minute in the company of a boyband can tell you, hot looks are no guarantee of a great brain or a good time.
30/07/2014 16:38 BST

A Lucky Escape From the Handsome Guy With Control Issues

When the first glitch in a courtship appears, it's like that moment when you realise that to get that super fast, super cheap internet, you need to fork out for line rental. Matthew's 'line rental' was his need to have a say in absolutely everything we did together.
24/07/2014 16:09 BST

From Plus One to Zero at an Awkward Dinner Party Date

When Polly goes on and on about Toby's previous boyfriends, all of them beautiful demigods who adored Polly and would probably have turned straight for had she asked, I should defend myself, or step up my patter in an attempt to impress her. But I don't care what she thinks, so I nod politely and play with my napkin.
16/07/2014 17:22 BST

Why You'll Never Meet Your Next Boyfriend at the Supermarket

Let's get one thing clear: following people around supermarkets checking out their arse is a bad idea, and you know this. But just this once won't hurt, you tell yourself. I'll keep a safe distance this time, you reason. It's only really stalking if they see you, you decide. You are wrong on all counts, but there's no stopping you now is there?
08/06/2014 23:18 BST

Sorry, Jonah Hill - You're Going to Have to Do Better Than That Apology

The worst thing is not the fact Hill said the word - we have all told loved ones to go blow themselves or die in a fire - but his refusal to think about why that was his go-to insult, the thought processes that took him there, that is the biggest concern. When his celebrity status is in silent mode, and he doesn't have a sequel to flog or a chat show chair to perch on, what is Jonah Hill really thinking?
05/06/2014 12:05 BST

He Said He'd Never Put Out on a First Date - Should I Be Impressed?

He goes into a long diatribe about how relationships can only be brief and meaningless when founded on sex and that he prefers to get to know someone "spiritually rather than carnally". I wonder which rock of self-help this bizarre statement crawled out from under.
13/05/2014 00:00 BST

A Date With the Guy Who Didn't Want to Admit He'd Seen 'Mean Girls'

BINGO! We have the new gay stereotype - the gay man who refuses to conform to a stereotype! How lucky for me to have snared this rarest of beasts. And barely halfway through our first drink. I have two options. I could just let this go, or I could take a tin-opener to that can of worms he's waving in front of me.
29/04/2014 20:27 BST

Yet Another 25 Men You Should Never Date

What do you look for in a man? Nice eyes? Bright smile? Good taste in footwear? Ability to make you laugh? We all have tick-boxes and black markers at the ready when it comes to finding a mate. I can't tell you who you should date - that is simply none of my business - but I can certainly advise you give this quarter-century of drips a wide berth.
17/04/2014 16:52 BST

Are You an X Offender? How Many Kisses Do We Need on a Text Message?

Few things are as mind-numbingly political, stupid and awkward than the simple 'x'. Not the one that marks the spot on a treasure map, or the one that ends the words box and fox, but the little mark of appreciation you put at the end of a text or an email to denote a kiss.
09/04/2014 20:18 BST