I've never really had a lot of gay friends but I have had a select few over the years. I’ve always kept my distance because there are parts of gay culture that I really don’t like. Some parts of gay culture are incredibly self-destructive. The back-firing at parents when we struggle with childhood coming out. By the time you come out, you have had often years of getting used to the idea, working out what that means for you, adjusting your picture for your future. Its old news to you, but sometimes it’s out of the left field, brand new information for the rents. They need time to adjust. If they don’t adjust, learn to accept it and love you as you are, they are arseholes of the ugly variety, but good people sometimes need time to process stuff. So many gay people struggle to accept themselves, but demanding instant hand clapping from the people you love as the minimum bar, you set the standard too high for most people to ever meet it. I’m all for standards, but if no-one meets your standards, your standards are the problem and your hurt is of your own making. I also don’t love the bitchy gay queen trope. I do love a bitchy queen, but there is more than one way to be a gay man, and if queening it isn’t you, then the stereotype is just another box you don’t fit. Large groups of gays can become quite negative, bitchy and queenish. I mean, it's all good and fun sometimes, but when its constant, its negative and schoolgirlish. No one but a mean girl wants life to be mean girlish, and there is nothing more tragic than an aging mean girl desperately clinging to her heyday. I think it stems from a place of insecurity, and negative and constrictive cultural ideas about what it is to be a woman or a man or a gay man or whatever. I tend to have a pretty high sex drives, coupled with the inability to accidentally spawn because of a broken condom, as a community we are not great at foreseeing the consequences of fucking all and sundry. No strings attached sex can be a lot of fun, but there comes a time when you want to be more to someone than an orifice. It’s not great for your long-term mental health to see yourself as a cum dumpster instead of a person worth loving and committing to.
There is bitching, and savage take-downs, and while it can be funny to watch from a distance, it’s different when it is the world you have to live in. It’s getting better, slowly people are learning that you don’t have to be a walking stereotype. Being gay has only fairly recently started to be acceptable, it’s like we are experiencing a cultural adolescence of gayness where it’s all still hormones and popularity contests. I hope that with time, our community can create a new more grown-up culture of positivity, empowerment and acceptance of each-other outside of the tropes and stereotypes.
Ben, one of my good friends decided to organise a group weekend away in the Hunter Valley. Corey had just arrived from the motherland and Ben wanted to give him a gentle entry into how Aussies do gay. As Ben’s number 1 bestie and an internationally renowned ice-breaker expert extraordinaire, I was obviously top of the invites list. Ben will hate that I referred to myself as his number 1 bestie but I am, so I have to add the little disclaimer, and then ignore it. We got this cute little Airbnb house in the Hunter Valley and drove up on the Friday night, a good 3-and-a-half-hour trip with stops to grab everyone alcohol and food so we were ready to buckle down for the weekend. The first night was very chilled. It was just Ben, Corey, Tye and I, making a mellow start to a relaxing weekend. Ben had a bit of a thing for Corey, so Tye was invited to keep me from being the proverbial third wheel while things hopefully went well between them. Ben had just come out of a long-term relationship and had met Corey on Tinder. Ben was making an effort to go out, meet new people and hopefully find the love of his life, his forever man. Corey was nice, Corey was the same age as us, and a veterinarian. He was in Australia for 3 months to see if sunny Sydney suited him better than gloomy old London. I had high hopes for Corey and Ben’s love story for the ages.
Tye was a friend of mine. We had met two years prior through a work mate Nick, at his Harry Potter themed 25th. Disturbingly, Nick was a Pauline Hanson fan and voted no in the marriage equality referendum. In hindsight, I wonder why Tye or I were ever friends with such a fucked-up person. As the only two gays at the Harry Potter party it was assumed, we would hit it off, didn’t happen, we ignored each other all night. I knew no-one at Nicks party except Nick, so naturally I arrived early. It’s a tried and tested tactic for going alone to a party where you know no one. You help set up, meet everyone from the beginning and look like you belong half way into the night, because now you know everyone, and your drunk off your tits. A year later at Nicks 26th, Tye and I hit it off like besties that were made to be. We became good buds and Tye got a job at KRONOS a major pathology company that Nick and I also worked at. When I met Tye, Tye had his shit together. He did meditation on weekends, had a partner and generally had his life together. I didn’t like Tye’s partner but Tye was happy and I was happy my friend was happy. The relationship lasted about 6 months and this fuckwit basically told Tye that he wanted to settle down and didn’t see Tye in his future. Given Tye was under the impression they were settled down, this came as a shock and messed him up badly. Looking back with what I now know, Tye’s dickhead ex probably saw something I didn’t see at the time. After the break-up, Tye became, there is no polite way to say this, a raging slut. Tye was obviously affected by the breakup as anyone would be. Six months doesn’t sound like much, but emotionally its long enough to fall in love. Does this explain or excuse his later behaviour? I will leave that you, gentle reader to decide.
Everyone can have a rebound partner or two, but he basically fucked his way through my entire group of friends. I don’t want you to think I don’t like Tye, I do like him and don’t regret our friendship for a moment, but he hurt me quite badly when he spiralled after his break-up. So, on our first morning at the Hunter Valley I woke up early and cooked us all bacon and egg toasties. I’m quite the domestic goddess when I want to be. We sat in the sun drinking morning mimosas and lining our stomachs with bacon and eggs in preparation for the finest the wine country had to offer. The best way to shop for wine is with a buzz, so we were ready to shop.
Our first stop was one of the high-end estate wineries. Our lovely host Pam helped us kick off our first wine tasting. We quickly discovered we should all become best friends, because Pam is hilarious and the sun is shining and the wine is flowing. During our wine tasting I asked Pam if there were any prominent, young wine producers in the valley looking to sweep a young fun-loving chappie such as myself off his feet and carry him off into the sunset. Pam told me of a place next door to our Airbnb that might be home to my future husband, so we earmarked it for last, so that our weekend could have a spectacular happy ending. After hitting at least another five wineries we returned to our Airbnb for a few drinks by the pool while the sun was still out. The plan was to R&R before popping to the winery next to us just before closing time to meet my future lover. At 3pm, we staggered through the winery door just before closing. Once the winery staff realised how inebriated I was, they declined to allow me to take part in the wine tasting. This was probably a good thing because at this point, I was drunkenly demanding to see my future husband. Apparently, my future hubby was out the back old school pummelling grapes in one of those big vats. Our lovely hostess took us on a stroll down to the back to visit. After pounding on the door, I was confronted by the hottest fucking specimen of manhood I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I was also punked by Pam. The man of my dreams, it turns out was also the man of her dreams. Pam was delighted to see us, and proud to show off her super-hot boyfriend. Needless to say, my hopes of finding a wine making husband were not realised that day. After our big day of drinking we stumbled back to our Airbnb.
Do you need to hook-up to have fun? Can fun be had without rumpy pumpy? I think so. Is it ok to shag someone your friend is quietly loving in the background? I think not. Ben had put himself out there for the first time in a long time, and he genuinely wanted a future with Corey. We were chilling by the pool and after a time Tye and Corey wandered off. They were gone quite a while so Ben went looking for them. When he came back outside, he had a shocked look on his face. ‘They are having sex’ he almost whispered, shocked that Tye would so aggressively cut his own friends’ grass all I could say was ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’.
Now you don’t own someone just because you are attracted to them, but you also don’t fuck the guy your mate is pining for. Ben had gone out of his way to plan a mellow weekend for Corey who was only in Australia for a short time, and Corey and Tye gave no fucks about Ben’s feelings. Drunk and feeling self-righteous I confronted Corey. I asked him why he had to ruin our bonding weekend by hooking-up with a 23yr old who had just had a painful break-up. Corey called me jealous and said I was just pissed that Tye didn’t want me. He said I was in love with Tye, which I wasn’t, but had heard a million times. Somehow this made it worse, he knew Ben liked him, he thought I loved Tye, and he fucked him anyway on a weekend away arranged by Ben while I was just outside. I asked Tye to think about Ben’s feelings, we were all there to enjoy ourselves and what he was doing was hurting Ben. He didn’t care about Corey and Corey didn’t care about him; it was just sex. Was it really worth hurting his friend over a random fuck? I am not going to say I have never done anything similar; I have. But that doesn’t mean it’s right or fair or decent or kind. It’s not. They ignored my concerns and made their choice. I fell asleep on the couch and woke at 3am. I went to the room I was sharing with Tye to find Corey and Tye stark naked and obviously post-coitally asleep. Corey was face down on his stomach with his arse still relaxed open. Tye was lying there with his cock lazily flopped over Corey's leg. I don’t know what I would have said if either of them had woken and seen me standing in the doorway. I returned to the couch, being careful not to wake Ben. The next morning Corey and Tye emerged from my room with the smug lazy smiles of people who have been thoroughly fucked. I stormed into my room without a word and grabbed my stuff. I stomped around the kitchen angrily cooking everyone breakfast. I was acting like a bit of a cunt, but I was angry that they both knew unequivocally that they were hurting people, but they did it anyway. The mood was now poisoned, so we left early and it was a long silent trip home.
I didn't really know what to do once we arrived back home. I'm not Tye’s dad and nor should I act like one. I guess I have that fatherly love towards Tye, I see a lot of myself in Tye when I was younger especially the self-destructive side. Tye definitely had his shit together more than I did at the same age, but right now he was self-destructing hard and he was hurting other people in the process. I decided to think on it over for a few days so I didn’t do or say something I would regret. I wanted to be calm when I decided what to do about my friendship with Tye and at this moment, I was still angry.
After a few days I called Tye to discuss the issue. I gave Tye some warning so the phone call wouldn't catch him off guard. I texted Tye saying I would give a call later that night to discuss what had happened. He knew I was still angry because I hadn’t contacted him since we returned, and I wanted to give him the chance to prepare his defence of his behaviour. I wanted to tell him what he had done was wrong, he had hurt Ben and that wasn’t right. If he blew me off, he wasn’t the sort of friend I wanted in my life. If he was sorry for how he acted, we could remain friends. I wanted to know why Tye had been so willing to hurt someone as good as Ben for the sake of a random fuck. I wanted to know he was sorry for hurting another human being. We hashed it out over the phone. Tye had already apologised to Ben, which I thought was great. Ben pretended it was nothing and that he didn’t care which made Tye believe it was no big deal to Ben and I was over-reacting. The thing is this wasn’t the first bump in our friendship. Tye had worked his way through most of my gay friends. I was running out of friends he hadn’t fucked in his post breakup heartbreak. But this was the first time I had seen him put his own desire for a meaningless fuck ahead of his friends’ feelings. Ben was hurt by what happened, hurt more than he would ever admit to, and that meant nothing to Tye. Maybe I was simply jealous that Tye got laid and I didn’t, but I don’t think so. I learned that Tye put his dick ahead of his friends' feelings and didn’t feel all that bad about doing it. After our conversation I told Tye that while we were still friends, I needed some space. I was so sick of people telling me I was in love with Tye, I think I actually at some point started believing it myself. Not seeing Tye would let me make sense of my feelings and would give me time to work out whether I wanted to be friends with someone who could be so ruthless with other people’s feelings.
At the Hunter Valley I learned that my friend would do things I didn’t think friends do to each other. I learned that my friend would knowingly hurt his friends for a meaningless moment of hormonal pleasure. I learned that he would prioritise an orgasm over another man’s heartbreak. A little private piece of me broke. There is a small place inside of me that wants to believe that friendships where you genuinely want what’s best for each other and care about each other’s hurts still exist. Everyone loves Tye, everyone agrees that he is a good guy with the world at his feet, and he is. Maybe the problem is my naive expectations of friendship. I hope it’s not. I hope that one day my feelings will matter, one day someone will care more about my hurt than their own passing pleasure.