1. When people say excitedly 'I've always wanted a gay best friend!' when first meeting you, without having said more than two words to you.
2. The misconception that all gay men are just fabulous! Wonderful to shop with and tell all your girly secrets too. Some men do seem to love their fag hags, but there's nothing quite like feeling like a stuffed fury animal that some needy girl has just won from a fair ground game.
3. The reality that in a lot of environments, gay men actually aren't very nice at all- particularly to each other.
4. All gay men want other gay men to label themselves- twink, bear, chub, skins, prep, geek, biker, leather man... the list goes on. If you don't easily fit into a category, finding a club where you feel comfortable can be difficult. In a twink place I feel old and unattractive, in a bear place I feel slim and too young, in a leather place I feel simply uncomfortable.
5. Having the same conversation with straight people that are 'just asking 'cause I'm interested' over and over again. 'So when did you know you were gay?' 'How long have you known though?' 'When did you come out?' 'What did your parents say?!' 'What's it like taking it up the arse?' -Really people? I am attracted to men. Get a fucking grip and get over it! I encounter these mind-numbing conversations at least once a week and I've been out for ten years. Yawn.
6. Your friends watching out for you in certain surroundings incase you 'go too far' and piss some straight boys off. It's always nice to be told after a party 'I think you were really getting to so-and-so and making him feel really uncomfortable, and he's the kind of guy that I could see was about to react.' WHAT? To me being myself at a party?!
7. The assumption that as a gay man, I will only listen to Kylie Minogue and go to gay clubs. Yes, I adore Kylie Minogue and do occasionally go to gay clubs, but I also love heavy metal and heavy rock music and would rather go to a simple pub and play pool any day.
8. Some people seem to have completely forgotten claus 28 and can't understand why I would never vote conservative. Um... because they made homosexuality a forbidden subject at school and made it ILLEGAL for two men to be affectionate in public... The obscure law only ended in 2003.
But saying all this, the past few days have been a joy to be a gay man in London. I went to see Kylie Minogue live in concert at the o2 Arena on Thursday and Friday and on both occasions met some wonderful gay men who were the friendliest I have met in a long time. The atmosphere was electric and was dominated by gay men, mixed with straight couples and some mature women. No-one gave a shit what anyone was, everyone was there for the same reason; to enjoy a night of unashamedly camp escapism. On the first night I was stood close to the stage and ended up in a little group, chatting to everyone around me. On the second night I was waiting for my friends outside the o2, when a guy approached me as asked me take a photo of him and his friends. When they learnt I was alone, they insisted that I joined them for a drink and wait inside. Experiencing such warm friendliness has restored my faith in the gays somewhat. I know I am pessimistic, but I think some of that comes from the stigma that was attached to homosexuality throughout my childhood and teens. It's time to let it go and move on and make the most of having the freedom of being a gay man.