1. There's an assumption that you sleep with others all the time - Yeah, that's right. We all sleep with each other, 3,000 times a day. There's no need for women. No talking about feelings (with extra witty banter about your boobs), we can just cut straight to it and start unbuckling each other's trousers. The only issue that we have to worry about is accidentally wearing each other's clothes roughly 20 minutes later. We're all sluts.
The problem is, in the 10 years of being out I haven't seen that much evidence of that at all. Yeah there are guys who sleep with absolutely everybody, but so are there many straight guys who sleep with absolutely everybody. The vast amount of gay guys I know are exactly the same as their straight counterparts - we don't know how to approach people / we don't go home with people all the time/the only way to chat someone up is by downing three bottles of wine in a nightclub and stumbling over to them whilst trying to think up an awful yet interesting 'opening line'/oh god will they give me their phone number or not/that awful 'I don't know what I'm doing' feeling the whole bloody time, and so on.
In fact, I'd go as far as much to say that there's not too much difference between straight and gay guys at all. The fact is, a great deal of us (in the long term) are looking for relationships, are wanting love, are wanting to happy, just like a great deal of straight blokes. Yeah the culture perceives that getting with guys is easier than straight guys, but it doesn't mean that we get the guys we like, or want to pull in the first place.
Now let me take your belt off.
2. You have to constantly come out to others for the rest of your life - Coming out for the first time can be the hardest thing that a gay/bi/lesbian person could do. You agonise about the relationships with your family, your best mates, your colleagues and all sorts. Then it happens. You come out. You get an adrenalin rush as if you've just hurtled down Alton Towers' Oblivion just after eating eight packets of Skittles. You feel alive. You feel like you've just pressed a giant 'restart' button in your head. You feel like no other problem exists, that no other problem can stop you...
Then you come out... about 37,000,000 more times.
Whenever I get a new mate, new housemate, or new colleague, thinking about when tell them that I'm gay is something that is always in my mind. I know that I don't need to tell people about my sexuality, it's my private life after all, but essentially in the long term, I know that I have to... otherwise conversations become a bit of a mindfuck when I have to avoid anything about relationships, gay marriage, nights out, whether you're single and "whether you think this person is fit."
Since coming out the first time I've found that there's two perfectly acceptable ways to do it to anyone who isn't your close friends and family. You either...
1. Strategically place a subtle reference within any conversation, flicking around the word "girlfriend" with "boyfriend", "she's fit" with "he's fit" (you then look at them with a subtle stare of 'yeah that's right, but let's not chat about it' before moving on to the next conversation).
2. You do a "I'm Gay" announcement followed by an Oprah interview with the other person where you talk about your feelings.
Luckily as being gay is becoming less of a WTF thing these days, I hope that I will get to the day and age where I wouldn't need to 'think' about the process of telling other people about my sexuality anymore. Until then though, I have to.
So I apologise if, after you meet me for the first time, I decide to break the ice by shouting "DOESN'T TOM DALEY'S SIX PACK LOOK UNREAL?" or something.
3. When did you first realise that you were gay? - The most annoying question in the entire Universe. Never ask a gay guy this. It's so freaking weird. It's like asking to a straight bloke, "when was the first time you noticed, in the glistening sun, someone's low cut top? When did you first imagine touching another girl's boob?"
Let me just answer the question here for you. We fancy blokes. It isn't that complicated. Some of us don't realise we do until later, but we just fancy blokes. In the same way that you fancy someone's arse, face, thighs or personality right now. In the same way that you first thought "I want to have sex with [insert name and gender here]" when you were a teenager. That's it.
Don't ask us about it. Many of us don't like having to do a monologue about it in front of you and all of your friends anyway. And the stories are usually quite dull. We're not soap characters. There aren't any EXPLOSIONS or anything. We just realised one day. We worked it out. We told everyone. That's it.
4. People assume that you take care of yourself - There was a time when everyone naturally assumed that gay people were either shouting "I'm free" in department stores or having fun up on Hampstead Heath. Then they realised we were not. Fine if you are, but many of us were not just those type of characters.
So what do many people assume that gay people are today? Fashionable, well presented, tanned, bitchy antique collectors who all undergo teeth whitening, who all have Britney Spears three songs away in their iPod, might be orange, who sneer at anything that's low-cultured and most importantly, look after themselves and their body.
May I add here... if you are into that (bar maybe the antique collectors) totally fine. TOTALLY FINE. But why do people assume that many of us, or all of us, are like that? I for one, do not look after myself. I can't see my bedroom floor as it's covered in clothes. I don't shave that well, sometimes I end up cutting myself I feel as if Sweeney Todd has visited in my sleep. I've never had an interest in shopping - whenever I've been dragged to any clothes store in the past, I usually find the 'shoe section' just so I can sit there and wait until everyone else has finished (it's been my ritual to stare and evaluate the condition of store's ceiling tiles - I literally get that bored).
The 'supposed' assumed lifestyle of being gay is all, I admit, just a bit alienating to me. It always has been. I've felt in the past like I've been pushed into a group or associated with particular labels for no particular reason. Yet again may I clarify, I have no problem with people who like this in any way, but why do all gay people continue to be represented in this way, in the media and in culture? Why can't 'liking blokes instead of girls' be the end all of being gay, without being pushed or associated with any of the 'supposed' lifestyle? Does society label gay people or do gay people continue to label themselves? I literally don't know.
5. People trying to matchmake the gay people up who they know - ARE YOU NUTS? WE'RE NOT A JIGSAW PUZZLE.
Fine if you've been contemplating it for an age and you think that we're a perfect couple for each other, but if you are just thinking right now about throwing two gay guys thinking that they should be together without any sense or thought... seriously, get a grip. It's a total, criminal offence.
SHUT. IT. DOWN.
I think I've vented enough here. Just so you know everyone, I'm going to have a lie down.