COLUMNIST — DEAN ATTA
My boyfriend and I recently traded living separately in London for a fl at in Glasgow. We’re both keen to make gay friends here. But my old way of making friends isn’t compatible with our monogamous relationship. In the gay community, a straightforward friendship ( pun intended) feels diff icult to come by. Many of my gay friends are people I initially spoke to because I found them attractive. Sometimes it’s about more than looks, there’s something intangible that draws you to them.
Gay bars and clubs are conventionally about hooking up. Sometimes it’s tricky to distinguish whether you’re fl irting because you fancy someone or because that’s just what you do in that kind of venue. However, even if you meet someone on a hook- up app, friendship is still possible.
I was once told by a guy who moved to London from the Midlands that it’s impossible to make gay friends in the capital without having sex with them fi rst. Some of my gay friends are people I’ve had sex with, but I haven’t had sex with all of my gay friends. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t, given the right circumstances. For me, sex has been a fast- track to feeling close to someone but I haven’t stayed friends with everyone I’ve had sex with. We may have kept each other’s numbers and checked in from time to time, we may stay connected on social media, but that’s not a marker of friendship for me.
Friends are people who are there for you in times of need, who you tell your good and bad news to and who have seen you at your worst but always want the best for you. For all these reasons, my boyfriend is most certainly my friend. It’s right there in the word: boyfriend. However, when he arranged to have his motorcycle delivered on a day he would be at work, he asked me to wait in for it.
It was being delivered by a family friend, and my boyfriend’s texts said his “friend”
( me) would be waiting for the delivery. Natually, I took exception to that description. It forced us to have a diff icult conversation about a fundamental diff erence between us — he picks and chooses who he comes out to, whereas I am happy to come out to everyone I meet. I wouldn’t want to have a friend or acquaintance who had any issue with my sexuality. We didn’t quite resolve this diff erence, but we did move on from it. I imagine there will be other times when he won’t be comfortable being out to some people. But I still want him to feel safe and valid within our relationship.
Me? I certainly don’t need to have sex with all my friends, but if the idea of my boyfriend and I having sex bothers someone in any way, I don’t want to waste my time on them.
“I took exception to being described as my