Category Archives: Gay

Loud(er) & Proud(er)

With each year, I get more and more excited about Pride.

I once disapproved of Pride; I felt the colourful parade an affront on wider society. Was it really necessary? Why did hundreds of men and women desire to dress garishly, blow whistles and flaunt their assets, when there were allocated places – such as designated bars – where they could do this in peace. I felt Gay Pride was crude. My views at the time clearly reflected I once did not accept my own sexuality.

With my increasing years and diplomas from the School of Life, I’ve done a U-turn on my views. This notably happened three years ago, when the Pride celebration was used as a platform for pushing Civil Union/Gay Marriage. At the rally, after the Pride Parade, holding my boyfriend’s hand, I realised, some day I too might want to get married or “unioned”, which at that time was not available to me. If my presence and participation in a parade, donated volume to a voice that called for equality, I was proud to take part.

The main day, of the week long Pride festival, involves a parade and rally. The bright parade starts from the Garden of Remembrance and makes its way down O’Connell Street to the Civic Offices via Dame Street. The usual suspects: Senator Norris, Panti and various political figures take prominent position. The promoters state the purpose of the Pride Festival is to celebrate diversity, promote inclusiveness and increase visibility and mutual respect. To my delight, in recent years, the reach of the parade is ever expanding. Families, involving same sex couples and relatives of gay individuals, are present in growing numbers every year. Very often, children take part. The sight of young teenage couples walking among the crowds leaves me emotional. These beautiful sights signify a gradual evolution of a society that decriminalised homosexuality as recent as 1993. And, every year, Dublin Pride gets bigger, bolder and more beautiful.

This year, I am going to go all out for the day. I’d say I am dressing up, but I am going scantily clad. I attribute every item of my costume to people I encountered during my life. For the guy that once gave me the sack, when he learned I was gay, I will wear a pair of demin hot pants. For the men in work, who are continually standoffish with me, I shall don a tight, shocking pink T-shirt. For the boyfriend of my close friend, who has yet to speak to me directly, I will carry a Pride flag. I will happily lend my outfit, presence and voice to Pride, which seeks to challenge every perception, opinion, boundary, piece of legislation and unequal treatment that resides in society.

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How to Give a Good Nose Job

My favourite gay club night was Spice, when it was held in SPY night club, South William Street. The plush interior of SPY, three rooms of amazing music and the crème de la crème of the gay scene made these nights memorable. The hay day of Spice coincided with the time I broke up with my boyfriend of three years. I spent many a night at Spice, dancing energetically to nostalgic tunes, attempting to convince myself I was happy as a singleton. Denial aside, I did have fun. Spice will forever be my Studio 54.

Later the same year, Boyfriend and I reconciled. We made another go of it on the basis we attempt remedy the issues that caused us to break up. Both of us felt we needed to socialise more as a couple. We injected a healthy dose of “coupley” outings into our relationship. One such outing was a visit to my favourite club night. On this particular evening, we encountered some of Boyfriend’s friends he made during our six months apart. One friend, Mike, was what you might term a ‘celebrity’ gay; a Eurovision song writer with an on-off-even-more-celebrity-gay boyfriend. He was – and always is – groomed and well dressed. He sported an air of self-importance and a tight t-shirt, showing his fine arms and pecs. I should chat with him and make an effort, I thought. He and I stood side by side in the nightclub. Dance music pounded from the massive speakers under the DJ’s decks. Strobes flashed in time with the music. I leaned in to deliver some small talk. I spoke loudly over the music.

“I love Spice. I’ve had more fun here than I have in any other night club.”

“The music makes it. I love it,” he agreed, nodding energetically.

I withdrew from his ear. What could we talk about next? Still thinking, I turned to survey the room, checking out the eye candy. I can only say I intended to talk to him again; I turned my head right, while looking to my left, absorbing the visuals on offer. As my head pivoted, my peripheral vision detected my companion’s head was much closer to me than expected. He was clearly doing the same as I, turning his head towards me, with no knowledge of where I was. It’s hard to describe the exact dynamics, but our heads collided at such a warped angle, just as I was about to speak, that Mike’s nose entered my mouth. It did not just graze or slightly poke my mouth; it went right in, withdrawing a coating of saliva as it exited. I was mortified.

“Eh, I am so sorry.”

He wiped his nose dry. “Don’t worry about it.”

The small talk continued, Meanwhile, I awkwardly remained next to him, praying we would leave his company. My face was red with embarrassment. I just sucked this guy’s nose, was all I could think. I just sucked this guy’s nose!

Weeks later, Boyfriend invited me to attend dinner with his friends one Saturday night. He noted my hesitance to respond.

“You really don’t like them, do you?” His tone was accusatory.

“No, they’re OK,” I said. I looked down at the floor. “I am a little embarrassed about seeing Mike.”

“Why on Earth would you be embarrassed about seeing him? Mike specifically asked me to bring you.”

I told Boyfriend the story of sucking off Mike’s nose. I can’t recall him ever laughing so hard as he did.

I never made the dinner in the end but I did provide a topic for conversation; Boyfriend repeated the Nose Story to the ten or so people in attendance. Apparently, the gathering, including Mike who had no memory of the incident, burst into convulsions at the tale.

He who shall remain “…”

I was dropping some pretty dodgy shapes on the dance floor on Friday night in the Dragon, when a a guy approached me from nowhere. He was about five eight or so and dark in complexion. He wore a red t-shirt with faded denim jeans, also indicative of origins from a foreign shore. I guessed he was Brazilian. So determined was his approach, I felt obliged to cease my dancing and engage him in chat.

He leaned in close.”Hi.” He said no more.

It was clearly my turn to respond. “Hello,” I replied.

“What is your name?”

I wasn’t interested in him and felt peeved by his bold interruption of my boogie. “My name? I am Nameless.”

He leaned in closer, claiming even more of my personal space. His face was strained. He spoke louder. “You are Nomless?” This name was exotic; strange to his foreign tongue.

“Nameless!” He failed to comprehend. “I have no name! I am nameless!”

It clicked. He wasn’t amused. “Ah, Nomless. Well enjoy your night, Nomless.”  He placed emphasis on my new name. He turned and was gone, consumed by the darkness, flashing lights and gyrating bodies of the  dance floor. I resumed my dancing.

Later that night, I stood with my coat on, chatting to Niall before I made for home. The Brazilian approached us in the same steely manner I had earlier witnessed. He ignored me and talked with Niall. It was obvious their exchange was lost in translation, since the Brazilian appeared frustrated  having to repeat himself. I failed to overhear. The Brazilian, satisfied with saying his piece, abruptly left our side. Niall appeared confused.

“Well, that was random …” Niall threw his eyes to heaven.

“What did he say to you?” I half expected he had insulted me.

“He said, ‘I see you are friends with Nomless’. I didn’t understand. “Who the Hell is Nomless?”

Sweet Nothings

Things I’ve said on dates –

“If you throw that snowball at me, I will will force feed you it!”

“With political views like that, you’d never make it in politics. No one would vote for you. In fact, you’d have to be a dictator to enact ridiculous policies like forcing unemployed people to do public service.”

“I showed your picture to my friend. She thought you were very handsome but had big ears.”

“You have a twin sister? Do you look alike?”

“The sauce in this banoffee is delicious. What is it?”

“Zsa Zsa Gabor had her leg amputated. I heard it on some celebrity gossip show … Wait, maybe I made that up.”

“Yeah, there’s nothing worse than coming across desperate. I’m not desperate. Well, eh … No, no, I am not desperate.”

Basket Test Case

Now and again, I pop into the Tesco store in Ringsend. Tesco in general can be pretty crap since they scaled down their ‘fancy’ product offerings two years ago. Tesco in Ringsend is extra crap. I recall a hissy fit when I realised they sold four different types of grated cheddar cheese and there was not a triangle of Parmesan (nor the grated variety) to be had. Parmesan is pretty basic, no? Last month, I again left the store, mumbling furiously to myself, when apples were the only fruit on sale. I have braces; I can’t bite into apples. I wanted a banana. Do you think there was a banana to be had? No! I flipped my imaginary hair furiously, turned on my heels and vowed never to set foot in the nutritionally void store again. The only item guaranteed in stock in Tesco Ringsend is scurvy.

Last week, out of pure necessity, I returned to same Tesco in Ringsend. I set my expectations low. Expect nothing ‘fancy’, fresh or organic, I reminded myself. Jubilations, there were bananas. I threw some into my basket. Since I prepared for an evening of study, I wanted Crunchy Nut Cornflakes to snack on. En route to the cereal aisle, which as you can guess is quite prominent – and barren of porridge and granola, I encountered a sight to behold. There, beside the small offering of vegetables stood a beautiful man. His hair was dark, almost black, was cut shortly and stylishly. His sharp cheek bones angled towards a dimpled chin. From his complexion – and lack of proximity – I guessed his eyes were blue. When dealing with a specimen of this calibre, it is essential to weigh up the whole package; I checked out his clothes. He wore a tweed jacket, most definitely from Zara, dark slim fit jeans and white Adidas Tiger runners. This boy ticked all the right boxes. It was imperative I travel to the cereal aisle via the vegetables and fruit. I slipped by, apologising as I did. He didn’t even notice.

Ten minutes later, my shopping basket brimmed with junk food. It was time to queue for a cashier. There were only four people in the queue. I noted the absence of Beautiful Man. The store is quite small. I hadn’t bumped into him on any other of the aisles. Where could he be? I asked. Did he leave? This required an investigation … or a stalk. He wasn’t on the alcohol aisle. Neither was he in the convenience food section. He was nowhere near the baked goods. He must have managed to sneak by me, I realised. Perhaps, he is still in the fruit and veg section? I pondered. Carrying my heavy basket, I wobbled in that direction. There he stood tall, looking as beautiful as ever, examining the label of some pre-packed corn-on-the cob. This man clearly makes an effort to eat healthily. I would never buy corn-on-the-cob, never mind examine the label. My presence had still not come on his radar. I took an opportunity to check out the contents of his shopping basket. In his basket was:

  • Strawberries
  • Glenisk yoghurt
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Onions

While his shopping list was clearly not representational of his final purchase, it gave an accurate assessment of how important his diet was, given his lean, healthy appearance and the considerable amount of time he spent choosing his fruit and veg. I was disappointed with his purchases. I too like to eat healthily, but there was no fun in his diet. It’s clear I am placing waaaaaaay too much emphasis on Beautiful Man’s purchases to soften the insult of his failure to acknowledge me as I purposely collided into him with my shopping basket. I dismissed him and his dull basket. The man I want will be as good looking as Beautiful Man, cook with fresh ingredients just as I am sure Beautiful man does, but my man will have a streak of fun in him. He’ll have a Box of Frosties, Oreos or a pack of Wagon Wheels in his shopping basket.

Awkwardness Is …

About a month ago I was on a first date with a guy I quite liked (at the time). We did drinks in the Secret Bar, during which the laughs and conversation flowed. He then suggested we grab some food. Over noodles in Wagamama, he declined my invite to another pub.

“Let’s go back to your place,” he casually suggested.

By this time I’d had four glasses of wine. Despite my drunken haze, my date’s forwardness caused me to choke on my fifth glass of wine. I thought for a moment, weighing up the situation. “OK then!”

He had consumed only Sprite that evening and so drove us home in his small, pratical car. I’m sure my merry chirp irked him slightly. He parked the car and we made for my apartment block. He walked on ahead of me. Compacted snow was thick on the ground. My impractical brown shoes made the short journey treacherous. I slipped two or three times.

About twenty metres or so from the apartment block door I heard a loud squelch.

“Did you just fart?” I asked.

My companion cautiously turned on the ice and looked at me. “Eh, no.” His surprise was evident. He turned and recommenced his slow trek along the icy pathway.

I should have stopped there. “Are you sure you didn’t fart?”

“Eh, yes,” he replied in a bewildered tone.

It then dawned on me the squelch could only have been caused by his step on the snow. The five glasses of wine had caused me to bypass my already flimsy think before you speak policy. I said no more to him until we were in the lift, hoping the elapsed twenty seconds may have induced some sort of amnesia.

Hey Mumble, Mumble Italiano

Two Fridays ago, I felt the need for a good night out; a few drinks, laughs and a dance. A few texts later, it transpired my friends, Shane and Brian, intended doing the same. I agreed to join them later that night. To offset the calorie value of a night on the beer, I decided to hit the gym before joining my friends. One must watch those sneaky beer-calories, y’know.

Following a brisk workout, I marched home to shower and change. Brian and Shane, already in town, instructed me to join them at my leisure. I showered, shaved and rifled through my wardrobe. I had few clean clothes. I threw on a shirt – too tight for my liking – that I had acquired in a sale for €7. I pulled on my jeans, tucking in the shirt, and fastened my ensemble with a brown studded belt. I ran for the door in untied brown shoes, intending to tie my laces in the lift.

Hogan’s was busy, filled with its usual mish mash of well dressed and funky characters. Shane and Brian were, as usual, in good form. We chatted, howling with laughter regularly. Two “swiftys” later, I crossed the road to the Dragon, to boogie until the wee hours.

Shane and I performed our usual ritual of flamboyant dance moves on a sparsely occupied dance floor. Brian watched and giggled. Now and again, I left the company of Shane and Brian to scope out the talent on offer. While standing on my own near the dance floor, a guy approached from my right and tapped my shoulder. He was average looking. His wrinkled shirt, which he had nicely paired with bad shoes, hung loose over his jeans.

“Hi,” I said in expectation.

“Hi,” he replied loudly, to compensate for the loud music. He moved in front of me, obviously determined to have a deep and meaningful. Despite his close proximity, he continued to shout. He bellowed “where are you from?”

“Ireland,” I replied shyly.

“Ireland?” he responded with obvious surprise. “You look Italian. Your clothes and dark hair make you look Italian.”

“Oh right.”

He attempted to quash my obvious confusion with a compliment. “It’s a good thing.”

I side stepped to the left. Fighting the urge to sprint, I maintained eye contact and smiled. “Grazie mille,” I called as I moved away from him.

I shared the details of this interaction with Shane and Brian. “Why would he think I’m Italian?” I asked.

“It’s the hair,” answered Shane.

Within an hour of my awkward deflection, another man approached me. This fellow was much younger than the last guy. He was tall and gangly, demonstrating a slight stoop as he leaned in to talk. He seemed inebriated. He blasted words into my ear as we made tedious conversation.

“Your English is really good.” He leaned back, smiling, in expectation of some appreciation for his kind words.

“I told you I’m Irish,” I said in an unfriendly tone. “I’m from Dublin.”

“I know, but I don’t believe you.”

We continued to talk for a minute more, before I used a well-practised dismissal. I touched his forearm and smiled warmly. “It was nice talking to you. Have a good evening.”

“Same to you.” He turned and rejoined his friends in the corner.

I remained near the dance floor. What the fuck? I asked myself. Am I giving off some Italiano vibe or wha? I ventured to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t subconsciously painted the Italian flag to my face. I checked myself in the mirror. My hair, which I had earlier spent seconds spiking, sagged and appeared slicked back. This particular hair product has a habit of making my hair look darker. The ill-fitting, tight shirt, tucked into my jeans compounded my Italian appearance. I shrugged. Meh, what of it? I thought. I returned to my standing place near the dance floor.

Within minutes, another potential suitor, a man in his early thirties, greeted me. I checked him out. His cheeks were flushed and rosy. His hair had no particular style. I knew he was in the club alone. He resembled someone separated from his friends, during a night out in the “Big Shhmoke”, who happened to stumble upon a gay bar. I looked down at his feet, expecting to find wellies.

“Hello,” I said in return of  his greeting.

He leaned in. He shaped his mouth into an “O”, as he over-pronounced his words, loudly, and slowly, in that unmistakeable manner only used by English speakers when addressing foreigners. “Where are you from?” I sighed and thought for a second.

“I am-a frrrrom Rrrroma” I cried enthusiastically in my best Italian accent, ensuring I used stereotyped hand gestures.

“Really?” he asked with raised eye brows.

I rounded my answer with a higher pitch. “Yesss-a.”

“Why are you in Dublin?”

“I am-a ‘ere for learrrrning my English-a.”

“Your English is very good.”

If I genuinely were foreign, I would definitely be insulted by this condescending fucker. I smiled proudly. “Grazie,” I said. “I learn-a my English-a in schooool-a forrrr five-a yearrrs-a”. I held five fingers in front of his face.

“It’s really very good. How long have you been in Dublin for? Are you in college?”

“I ‘ave-a been in Dublino forrrr two months-a. I am-a working ‘ere.”

“Do you work in a restaurant?”

“Yesss-a!” I exclaimed loudly, to stifle a laugh. “I work-a in-a restaurrrrant-a.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I nodded. “Yesss-a, I ‘ave-a an Boyfrrrriend at home-a in Rrrroma.”

“Do you? And do you like Irish men?”

I held myself for a moment to give the impression of a pensive stance. I flicked my hand in front of me with an extended finger. “I like-a Irish men not-a-so-much-a.”

My new friend looked curious. He came closer. “Why is that?”

With my arms stretched both sides of me, as if delivering an operatic finalé,  I proclaimed “they drrrink-a toooo-much-a”.

My companion, with no good bye or parting words, turned and left my side.

Blinded by Bresy

One evening at a party, I got a call from Sarah, asking if I’d come to Oxegen the next day. “I have an extra press pass,” she screamed. “You have to come!”

I never considered myself a festival goer, often preferring to sit at home in comfort with a glass of wine and CD. In my living room there is no moshing or boisterous behaviour. Sarah advised I wouldn’t have to rough it; the press pass guaranteed access to a clean bathroom and luxurious bar. After initial hesitance, I agreed to go. My imagination, and verbal accounts from friends, created an Oxegen full of hundreds of people sloshing about in mud. I remembered the location of my Wellington boots.

On arrival the thud of heavy tempo, somewhere in the distance, registered in my ears. Surprisingly, the day was dry, even sunny at times. My pale skin took a scorching. Unexpectedly, there was no muck; dry, bark chippings littered the ground. My heart raced as we passed the burly security men at the Press Entrance with eight cans of Budweiser in tow.

Sarah instantly recognised people in the Press Area. She schmoozed while her boyfriend Ross and I made chat.

A random girl, packing away a microphone, piped up. “Who are you excited about?” she asked me from behind a large, untrendy pair of glasses.

I was caught off guard. “Eh, Kate Nash. I like Kate Nash.” I hoped this would satisfy her.

“MGMT are on in ten minutes. We are going there now. Do you want to come?”

“Who are MGMT?” I asked.

“Eh, only one of the hottest groups playing today”.  She turned and was gone.

Sarah continued chatting as the numbers in the Press Area, affected by the allure of MGMT, dwindled. Sarah’s boyfriend Ross nudged me now and again to point out an occasional celebrity here and there. I recognised few. I really was a fish out of water.

Moments later, Sarah announced we were to leave. We left the small enclosure of the Press Area and made our way across a type of allotment towards  more oversized security guards.

“Hang on a moment,” instructed Ross. “There’s Bresy!”

I turned to Sarah. “Who is Bresy?” She didn’t hear me.

“Hi Bresy!” called Ross enthusiastically to a tall man about ten or fifteen feet away.

“Hey,” answered Bresy in a friendly tone. Bresy moved towards us.

Sarah and I stood next to Ross. She beamed at Bresy. I assumed he was a friend. I stood there awaiting an introduction. I passed the time by analysing Bresy. He had nice hair, beautiful eyes, good height and a muscular frame. I realised Bresy was in fact very attractive. I drank in the sight of him.

“I heard the new album,” said Ross. “It sounds pretty good. Are you happy with the result?”

“Yeah, we are,” Bresy answered. “It’s about as good as anyone from Mullingar could come up with.”

Why is Ross asking about an album? Who is this guy? I asked myself. I cleared my throat. “I’m from Athlone,” I announced, staring into Bresy’s beautiful eyes.

He looked surprised. “Are you? Oh right.”

Bresy and Ross chatted for a few more minutes. Bresy said goodbye and strolled in the direction of a heavily attended Performer’s Area.

“Who was that?” I asked, a little peeved I received no introduction.

“That’s Niall Breslin,” answered Ross, as we shuffled towards the main concert area.

“Who is he?”

“He’s the lead singer of the Blizzards.”

“The Blizzards? Oh I know them. Oh right. So I randomly informed the lead singer of the Blizzards I am from Athlone?”

“Yep, you did.”

“Fuck, he’s hot though, isn’t he?”

Ross said nothing. Sarah laughed and put her arm around my waist.

 

Niall "Bresy" Breslin

Nip, Tuck, Straighten and Pluck

I hate my thighs and ass. When I put on weight I develop an ass that would give Beyoncé a run for her money. In my teens, I was tall and slender. Into my twenties, my subconscious prepared for a nuclear Winter by stockpiling lard in my thighs, hips and ass. I would kill for the silhouette of a male model as opposed to my shape, which resembles two or three models huddled together. Three or four years ago, I achieved a body I should have been proud of. I was lean – I had a flat stomach with good definition. My arms, shoulders and pecs filled a T-shirt nicely. My legs and thighs were solid. I obtained this physique by spending roughly ten hours a week in the gym, doing cardio, weight lifting and spinning. I calorie counted on a daily basis. My obsession reached its peak when I used an excel chart to graph my fat, protein and carbohydrate intake. I allowed myself treats now and again, compensating with an extra push during a workout. In my head it was all worthwhile; in my opinion I looked great. My friends disregarded my broad shoulders and bulging biceps, paying attention to my sunken eyes and ashen palor. Only when I regained weight did honest opinions emerge.

“I am putting on weight again,” I moaned to Joanne one day.

“You look great Stephen,” she comforted. “You were too thin!”

“Too thin? I looked great!”

“No, Stephen, you looked sick. You looked ill.” There was an unexpected firmness in her voice.

I was taken aback by Joanne’s comment. I was obsessive with weight loss yet I don’t feel I had an eating disorder. I question the reason for this distorted self-image. Advertising and media are often criticised for bombarding women with unrealistic portrayals of beauty, encouraging eating disorders. The same accusations can be made at male orientated media, perhaps to a lesser extent, since it traditionally did not focus so much on the male physique. Historically, actors such as Marlon Brando and Rock Hudson carried significant influence on the interpretation of male image in the 50s and 60s. Both actors – albeit through their portrayal in movies – appealed equally to men and women alike. Today’s portrayal of male and female beauty has more in common than ever. The portrayal of male beauty centres more on physical body – muscles and weight – than actual “manliness”. This is illustrated in men’s magazines that contain information on achieving the despairingly elusive washboard stomach. Countless men’s magazines boast secrets for the “killer abs”. In reality, a six-pack is achievable only by maintaining a relatively unhealthy body fat, rigorous approach to healthy eating and good genealogy. The facts are ignored by thousands of men who purchase these magazines on a regular basis.

I know many vain men. Gay men after all are perhaps the most narcissistic sub-category on Earth. However, increasing numbers of straight men are following suit in the amount of care paid towards their appearance. The modern portrayal of male beauty can be blamed for the advent of the metrosexual. David Beckham, undoubtedly the most famous metrosexual, was iconic for both his athletic ability and high ranking in the style stakes, during his hay day. His prowess on the football field reinforced his ability to be daring in his choice of attire. He popularised countless hair styles among teenagers around the world. Roll forward ten years and Beckham – and his modern equivalents – are role models for working-class teenagers. Cue the creation of the chav. The male chav, associated dress code and hairstyles, is a massive reinforcement to metrosexuality and an attack on the manly man of old.

As comfortable as I am discussing my own body-issues, I was surprised when one day Best-Friend and I openly discussed our personal hang ups with our appearance. Men – gay or straight – rarely do this. I recall mentioning how happy I am to have pursued orthodontic treatment. The conversation eventually turned to what we would change about our bodies, if we could.

“Once my braces come off, I’m getting laser whitening. Think Donny Osmond!”

Best-Friend admitted an insecurity, again prompting my turn.

“I am going to look into laser hair removal for my monobrow. I pluck so much I’m afraid a chunk of my face will one day come off.”

Following a discussion of cosmetic surgeries, it was revealed neither of us would consider anything more drastic than Botox. Walking through Stephen’s Green, I pointed to my crow’s feet and prominent frown lines on my forehead. I have no issue with age. I can’t wait to go grey. It just seems that for a certain amount of money I can pay to treat an insecurity. My once crooked teeth will be Hollywoodesque within two years. I can rid myself of a monobrow for €130. Should I develop a deep furrow, I can “fill” it, costing €300. For the first time in history cosmetic alteration is available to the public at large. Instead of dealing with insecurity we can simply spend to dispose of it. We do so because we can. Considering the proliferation of cosmetic treatments among the wider public, it’s no surprise increasing numbers of men invest in their appearance. At the height of the recession, Debenhams, London recently reported a doubling in the number of men availing of eyebrow – or “guybrow” – shaping. The Celtic Tiger was partly responsible for the expansion of the Grafton Barber franchise, a styling and grooming service offered in the guise of a traditional barber’s. Despite increasing sales of men’s hair straighteners in Europe, few men openly admit to owning one.  Society has progressed to allow man take pride in his appearance, only if he does so in a “manly” way. If he does it in a “pansy” way, he should keep it to himself.

Rating Speed Dating

Speed dating was created in Beverly Hills in 1998. Since then it has soared in popularity. The official match-making service was popularised in its portrayal in Sex and the City. I heard about speed dating years ago and always wanted to try it. The opportunity came when Romeo, Romeo – Juliette, Juliette targeted a speed dating service at the gay community. Six weeks ago, I bit the bullet and signed up. My attempt to bring mates failed; I ventured alone. To describe myself as nervous on the night is a massive understatement. Outside the venue, BrasserieSixty6, I centred myself with deep breaths. I eventually mustered some courage and entered the restaurant. The atmosphere, enhanced by the hosts, was welcoming and friendly. Tables with large, flickering candles lined one side of the room. Nibbly bits were on offer. Before the kick off, I chatted with many guys, assisted by a generous glass of white wine. It wasn’t long before I was at ease.

The (good looking) host, Anthony Nolan gave me my name badge and number before explaining the mechanics. “When you take your seat, write down the name and number of your date. Following your date, mark the box next to their name that indicates whether you are or are not interested in seeing them again. If you’re interested, you can opt to meet them either as a friend or date.”

Speed dating is an overwhelming experience that evicts anyone from their comfort zone. Chatting to fourteen men I never met before did my confidence much good. While I might not have met the love of my life, I did meet numerous guys with whom I would like to pursue friendship; Anthony Nolan explained how difficult it is for gay men to meet people Dublin when they might prefer not to socialise in bars and clubs.

My first date sat at table fourteen. I introduced myself and asked questions, lots of questions. On reflection, I pretty much put the same questions to every guy. Now and again, good conversation struck up, allowing me to deviate from my scripted interrogation. During one date, I asked a guy where he was from since he looked like a girl I knew. He laughed. I guess he declined to meet me again.

Looking back on the evening, I am unsure why I was nervous. Everyone was there for the same reason – to meet new people. Speed dating is without a doubt a good way to make new friends, which in today’s age is challenging. I give it my recommendation. Why would a singleton avoid it, when all it does is provide mates and dates?