Archive for January, 2014

‘A Sporting Chance’ – Super Bowl Fever!!

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s Friday 31st January 2014 and I have a confession to make….I have become….a sports fan!



I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t think that someone at the age of 29 could suddenly go from passive indifference to the sight of sports on tv…to roaring at the tv at teams that I have no previous loyalty to yet love how they’re performing in the game.

At the age that many boys were learning to play at sports through kicking a football outside in the street with the other children from the street, I was busy…helping as a cleaner and general nuisance in the shopping mall that my Dad then managed. My sister and I were the only children in my street from the time of my birth until I was into my 20s so we never really had the chance to learn sports with other children so I never developed much of an interest. This was combined with the fact that I grew up in an ABU household…’Anybody But United’, which threw up two particularly challenging issues. The first was that Manchester United were HYPER dominant during the late 90s when I entered Grammar school so they were basically adored by everyone in school…aside from me, so I stuck out a mile AND secondly, opposing a team didn’t mean that I had a particular team to root for, so the passion never developed.

Despite my general ‘meh’ attitude to sports, I HAVE flirted once or twice before with sports, both as a fan and competitor. I was on the school basketball team for two years. Before you all burst into fits of laughter, I was at least giving it a shot. At 6’1 I had the potential to be a decent enough player, but given that the coach was more interested in playing games against other schools than actually arranging times to train new players, it was hard to get good at it. Instead I had the pleasure of being overshadowed by a 5’8 player who could jump higher and score more often than I could dream….another sport….another dream shattered….or not!

When I was at University I DID finally find a sport that was good for me. I spent 4 years training in the Japanese martial art of Ju-Jitsu and I moved up to Orange belt during that time, I even bought a ‘gi’. As with most things at university, once you leave uni, you don’t bother carrying on, but for those few years I was a killer ninja. I can still remember how to break peoples’ necks from those days so at least that made it worthwhile I guess…quite handy for a guy who gives the appearance that he could be knocked down with a feather.

My move to New York has seen me embrace a person renaissance, broadening my mind to interests that previously never fascinated me. I am doing this because I think that building a life in New York from scratch shows me that you can teach an (not so) old dog new tricks. In 2011 I chatted with friends in work about settling on a football team to support and decided that Arsenal would be the right team for me. As we enter 2014…they are top of the league (well were until Wed, but we’ll fix that soon), and Utd….well let’s just say that they are having a memorable season, for all the wrong reasons so I am watching more games than ever!

I have also watched more NFL games in the past few months than in the entirety of my life. I am a Chicago Bears fan due to living in the city many years ago, but I’m still debating whether the Giants or Jets get my love in New York. Back when I lived in Chicago I also attended a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field and it was one of the most fun days ever…and we won!

Wrigley Field 2007

Spot The Blondie...And Sports Fan!

So what is the point of this post? Oh wait, you want a POINT…to one of MY posts? Good luck with that! There’s no real point, other than to say that I am quite pumped for the Super Bowl. It is all the more fun to watch given that the Broncos colour of choice is Orange and the Seahawks colour is Green, so it’s like the Irish have invaded the city with all the Green and Orange all over the place. As they have never won it and are considered the underdogs, I am cheering for the Seattle Seahawks! The first ever Super Bowl held in New York/New Jersey and I’m here for it, whoop whoop…Bring it on!

Super Bowl State Of Mind!

Super Bowl Boulevard


A Tea Partier About Relationships

January 26, 2014 1 comment

My coming out story was long and convoluted so I will save that story for another day, instead I want to talk Carrie Bradshaw style about single life and relationship life. When I was growing up I sometimes encountered moments that in hindsight were key indicators of my sexuality, but at the time I rationalized them away in my head as one thing or another. One constant that remained with me throughout my long coming out was an image in my head of my ‘ideal family future’.

This ideal family scene is set at Christmas, I am decked out in the hat from the Christmas cracker, my numerous children have brought over my even more numerous grandchildren and we are all awaiting the arrival of the turkey from the kitchen for me to carve up. As I sit in the end chair as the head of the family at this spectacularly decorated table, with all the food and smiling faces, I see the arrival of my beautiful other half, jet black hair, dressed perfectly and the full turkey is placed in the centre of the table…and I receive a kiss on the cheek from the love of my life. A perfect image…one that I could treasure all my days…except that in this scenario….my beautiful other half…is a woman.

Now this image of wedded bliss to a beautiful woman who fills you with joy is hardly an alien concept to many gay men who have long since greeted the reality of their orientation with open arms and formed a new interpretation of the family ideal. Growing up in the 80s and 90s the idea of gay marriage wasn’t even countenanced, and the premise of living with another man wasn’t even mentioned during my 14 years of study at highly regarded but fiercely conservative catholic schools…so what other idea would form in my head.

This year I turn 30, I’m not afraid of the number, in fact I am getting the growing sense that my 30s will be a wonderful decade, but of course 29 is the age when you start reflecting on your expectations of life by the time you hit 30. I am currently single *singletons scream with delight…or not* and the prospects of marriage within the next few years are as likely as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus hooking up and then winning ‘Most Normal Couple’ award. While I would have no objections with falling in love with a woman if by some voodoo magic she was able to excite me in all ways required; however, the likely outcome is that some handsome gent and I will get married.

So here’s the point where I just swap the gorgeous bride carrying the turkey to my gorgeous groom carrying the turkey and everything will be perfect right? Hmmm not quite! While I know I fancy men and love them and all and hope to marry one someday, the woman in that mental image was perfect, perhaps unhelpfully so, to the point of being a stepford wife. Such men and women don’t exist, they never have, they never will, and yet she has informed my expectations…If I am to let go of this childhood idea of my perfect family future I need to find myself a perfect husband to outshine this perfect wife

…I will pause for a second to allow the laughter of you all to settle…

So…I couldn’t help but wonder…Do many/all/none at all/some gay men compare their relationships and future with those of a ‘perfect woman’ from the alternate straight life that they left behind?

The reason I am pondering over this question is that I see more and more of my friends getting married, some are having children, others a dog, but in someway many of them are moving forward in the direction of a more perfect union between two people, whether straight, gay, bisexual whatever and I’m…well I’m just the same me. I remember a girl I went to University with who couldn’t stand the idea of being alone in a room for longer than a few minutes…tying in with that, she was always in a relationship, and while that’s fine for her, it’s never been my thing. I am a proud singleton, I enjoy my own company and I have used this title to travel alone to places when I wanted to without having to involve or consult anyone else, I have been able to meet up with friends, even exes, for chats without facing an interrogation that would make the Gestapo blush, it has allowed me to move to another country without feeling guilt at who I was leaving behind and in practical terms it has saved me money and heartache.

I am left to wonder…after a certain can singlehood become a chronic condition? I have embraced the good thing about singlehood…but this has also made me more selfish, While cuddles are awesome, good luck to anyone in my bed who takes up too much room or is too warm, I can’t handle it, or good luck to you if I want to try something a certain way and I don’t, I’m stubborn, I know who I am and neither want nor desire to change. Compromise is crucial to make a relationship work, but becomes so hard to succeed at when one side comes with an expectation of getting everything their own way…HOLY FUCK…I’ve just realized…I’m a Tea Partier about relationships!!!

*Sniffs some smelling salts to recover from this painful revelation*

The bizarre thing is, that during those phases when I actually HAVE been in a relationship, I have been very obliging…well to a point, but those were years ago and so I worry that my views have hardened. Dates are often one offs because I have now devised so many boxes in my head (My own ‘Contract FROM America’ that the Tea Party wingnuts once drafted as their platform) that I am genuinely expecting guys to succeed against insurmountable odds. If I looked like the heartthrob of the day, had the best job, tons of money, and a perfect personality then perhaps I could get away a little with this approach….but I’m an average looking job seeking immigrant with no money and a control freak personality…..If I were on Blind Date, Cilla would’ve told ‘Our Graham’ to not even bother introducing me. There are guys that I have dated that I have been lucky enough to retain as friends after the fact, but there’s always one of those friends that you look at and wish things had turned out differently, and for that, the blame lies with me! I am glad that he is happy now, but there is always one!

So what can I do? This problem of expectations started all the way back with this woman in my mind as a child. I am wildly ambitious in life, and appear equally ambitious in the family I want, but reality isn’t like that, How do I accept reality and learn to embrace the diverse, how do I figure out how to discard my list of boxes to tick and let myself be loved. Answers on a postcard please!

Gazing Into The Future

Happy New Year!!

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, that time has arrived……HAPPYYYYYYY NEWWWWW YEARRRRR!!!

From a personal standpoint, no one can ever tell if the year ahead (in this case 2014) will be Happy…or indeed if it’ll feel like a year as I am understanding my parents more and more when they say that time flies the older you get, it’s damn true, but basically the one thing word that remains 100% true in a person’s mind is this….’NEW’! There will be a lot of new things ahead this year, even if we do bemoan New Years Eve because of the fact that come January 1st…nothing changes….yeah, but give time!

On December 31st 2012 I had no plans, one of only two NYEs in over 10 years where I had nothing planned…and I kept it that way, I watched TV…The Alan Carr New Years Specstacular was on and was sufficiently hilarious to make me think that I had made the right decision. At a few minutes to midnight my sister and I went into the kitchen to see our parents and counted down to zero with Jools Holland as had long been the tradition……A normal night at home, doing normal things, and at midnight….the world didn’t appear to change, life carried on just as it had done a few minutes before.

Fast forward to December 31st 2013 and I am counting down to midnight with new friends, in a fun bar in Alphabet City, on my first NYE as a resident of the City of New York. Had I been asked at 1/2/3/4 minutes past 12 on 1st January 2013 what I would be doing on NYE 2013, I certainly wouldn’t have come up with what the reality turned out to be. Yeah it may seem like nothing new lies ahead when we are drunkenly saying goodbye to 2013 and bemoaning how life isn’t fundamentally different, but like most things give it time, I can’t wait to see where we all are at the end of 2014.


New Friends Cassie and Katie treating me to a great NYE in NYC.

So now that the new year has arrived….what next?? Well firstly I would like to secure a paid job that allows me to gain good experience and fits well with what I am here to do! I would love to make some great new friends and I would also love to visit some old friends across the country.

As I look forward to exciting times ahead, I know that i’ll likely face some pretty rough days, I miss my family and friends at home, I miss the security of a job, I miss the familiarity of knowing a city inside out, I hate being the newbie……but my word, if those are the only problems that I have to contend with….then that’s a pretty blessed life! I am soooooo excited about what lies ahead in 2014 because I now know that whatever happens on any given day, if I want….I can change what happens the following day and the day after, I don’t have to be stuck in a rut….I can break that cycle and take risks and have new adventures. If 2013 has taught me anything, it has taught me that…..and for that reason alone, 2013 will be remembered as a pretty great year!

Have a great 2014!



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