I remember it well. The 6th September 1999 and I was fresh out of high school. It was the summer season and I was working at a holiday park in Gt Yarmouth. I was 16 years old, young and impressionable.
I knew I wasn’t like all my friends. They all had girlfriends. I was happy to be single but I secretly knew I was gay and had a massive crush on one of the bar tenders who worked at the holiday park. Unfortunately for me he was straight and I was still in the closet.
On a night off from work one evening a few of my work colleagues and I decided to go into Gt Yarmouth to try and get into a night club and have a few drinks. I say try because most of us were under age and it wasn’t always easy to get in without identification to verify your age.
After failing to get into every nightclub in town we were about to give up and go home when my friend Pam suggested we try and get into the local gay bar as they usually let under age people in as it’s a safe environment and keeps them off of the streets. A few of my straight male friends were freaking out saying it’s a disgusting place and they would not be seen dead in a gay bar. They all went home. That just left me and my two friends Pam and Steve. We decided to go to the gay bar.
Pam and Steve were a couple and I was single and still in the closet so I was panicking on the inside. I pulled Pam to one side and decided to tell Pam the truth. I told her I was gay. She gave me a massive hug and asked me if I would still like to go to the bar. I said as long as she didn’t leave my side. We stayed together the whole evening and had a few drinks. We had a dance and had a great evening just the three of us. At about midnight we decided to leave and just as I was leaving I felt a hand on my shoulder. I stopped and turned around, this tall beautiful guy smiled at me and handed me a piece of paper with his mobile number on it. It said I’m Jay call me in 5 minutes and we will have coffee.
As Pam, Stave and I stood outside the bar waiting for a taxi I showed Pam the note I had just been given from the guy in the bar. She said that she had noticed him looking at me all evening but didn’t want to say anything because she didn’t want to make me nervous as I had only just told her I was gay and wasn’t sure I was ready to act on my feelings yet. Steve snatched the note off of Pam and started to dial the number into his mobile phone while running up the street. We both began to run after him but it was too late the guy had answered the phone Steve handed the mobile to me and said somebody wants to talk to you.
Nervously, I spoke to him on the phone. To this very day I cannot remember how that conversation went but I do remember him inviting me back to his house for coffee and I said I would only go if my two friends could also come with me.
When we arrived to his house he was standing at the front door waiting with a bottle of wine and four glasses and I just thought, oh my god he is beautiful. We paid the taxi driver and he came to say hello. He introduced himself again. He said, “Well, I’ve spoken to you on the phone and told you my name. Before I invite you in I need to know your name.” I suddenly realised I hadn’t even told him my name. I said, “Hi my name is Robert.” He said, “Pleased to meet you.” He kissed me on the cheek and took me by the hand and invited us in.
I have never been so nervous in my entire life. We must have talked until about 4am I was just about to suggest that we try to call a taxi but I looked over at Pam and Steve and had noticed they had both fallen asleep on the sofa. Joe got a blanket out of the cupboard and covered them up and said I will get you a blanket if you want to stay but my bed is big enough for both of us.
I said I needed to tell him something, I told him that I was only 16 and that I had only told my friends I was gay that evening. My family didn’t know I was gay and I had never been with or even kissed a guy before. He smiled at me and said he only came out 2 years ago, he was 16 when he came out and he had just celebrated his 18th birthday this week and the bottle of wine we drank was a birthday present from work. He said the only thing that would have made his birthday better would have been to have had a birthday kiss. He put his hands around my waist and pulled me close to him and looked me straight in the eyes. I began to tremble with nerves. We stood in complete silence for a few seconds, but to me it felt like ages. I leaned slightly forward and said, “Happy Birthday”, and kissed him. This was the first time I had ever kissed a guy and it felt like Christmas, New Years, and my birthday all at the same time. He took me by the hand again and we went upstairs to the bedroom.
I will let your imagination fill in what happened next as that bit is personal to me and I don’t think it’s something I would want my husband reading, let alone thousands of other people. Let’s just say I walked upstairs and crept down slowly in the morning trying not to wake up Pam and Steve only to find them standing in the hall giving me a round of applause.
I told them nothing happened, but they said the noises coming from upstairs told a different story and the look on my face told them all they needed to know.
Joe came down stairs and put his arms around my waist again, this time in front of Pam and Steve I can honestly say I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It felt right for the first time in my life I knew this was me. I had had girlfriends in the past, but I had never had this feeling from just having them put their arms around me.
We said our goodbye and exchanged mobile numbers and agreed to see each other again and called a taxi and Pam, Steve and I left to go home. When I got home, I went straight to my bedroom and couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened. I had just come out to two of my best friends and also lost my virginity in the same night, OH MY GOD!
I suddenly found a new self-confidence I never had before. I decided that when I went to work that evening, I was going to tell some of my other colleagues who I was close I am Gay. I had to be careful who I told at work because my Parents and my sister also worked at the Holiday park and knew the same people as me. Because of this, I had to make sure the people who I told could be trusted not to say anything.
I knew Pam and Steve could be trusted, and they hadn’t said anything to anybody. I decided not to say anything to anybody that evening, but I did have a slight panic attack. My manager called me into his office and asked me what was wrong. I stood in silence and he said, “Do you want me to get someone from your family to come and sit with you and then we can speak about what’s wrong?” I said “Oh God, please no they’d go mad”. He asked me if I was in some sort of trouble if it was drugs. I told him they would probably be happier if it was drugs! “I’m gay”, I told him. “What took you so long”, he said laughing back at me. He said he knew the minute he offered me the job. He said he could tell the minute he met me when my sister introduced me to him when I was 14. He asked if I had told anyone and I informed him I had only told Pam and Steve. I told him that I had met a guy last night called Joe in a night club. He stared at me for a few seconds blankly. He asked me if he worked in the gay bay in Gt Yarmouth.
He told me I should stay away from him he was a user and would probably never hear from him again, he has a habit of picking up guys pretending it’s his birthday and taking them home for a one night stand and then never seeing them again. I should point out that My Manager was also Gay and had also fallen for this scam in the past with the same guy.
In that moment I went from feeling relieved to telling my manager about my sexuality to feeling disgusted that my first time was not as special as I thought it was. I made myself a promise I would never let anybody use me again. How wrong could I be!!
Let’s move on to part to the Nitti gritty bit you are all eager to read about. The part where I come out to my parents.
I never did hear from Joe again so I guess my manager was right! So over the next few weeks, I built up my confidence and told a few more friends about my sexuality. Everyone was fine about it, which was great considering this was 1999. A group of work friends decided that they were going to find out if the guy who I had a crush on at work had any interest in guys. Since he found out I was gay he would flirt with me all the time and even give me free drinks and slip alcohol into my soft drinks when the managers were not looking. They invited him along to the night out and he was really excited to come along. His name was Danny and he insisted on buying all of my drinks and paying for everything the whole night.
I’m thinking he can’t be straight. He was flirting with me all evening wanting to hold my hand when we walk along the beach when we were walking to the night club. When we arrived at the club all of our friends went inside and Danny suddenly went off of the idea. He took one look at me and said, “I can’t do this, I’m sorry”, and went home. I was heartbroken. Pam gave me a hug and took me inside the club and bought me a massive vodka.
It was very busy. You could hardly move I felt a hand slide around my waist and pull me closer and thought it was Pam wanting to dance I turned around to say come on then let’s go and dance but it wasn’t Pam. It was a really nice looking guy who smiled and said “hey cutie, can I buy you breakfast?” I didn’t know what to say so I just said, “no thanks it’s a little late in the day for breakfast but you can buy me a drink.” I completely didn’t see the pickup line!
He laughed, and pulled me across the dance floor to the bar leaned over and said, “I’m Adam”. “I’m Rob”, I replied. “Can I take you home with me tonight?” he asked. “I can’t, I’m out with friends”, I said. He told me he was also staying with a friend who lived in a big house on the seafront and if we wanted, we could all go back to his house after the bar closed for a few more drinks. Pam came over to the bar to see if I was ok. I introduced her to Adam. He told her about the party she looked at me and smiled “this is going to happen isn’t it?” she asked. “He’s gorgeous, go back and give him the time of his life.” I almost sprayed my drink in her face with laughter.
We all agreed that the group of us would go back for one drink when the bar closed it was only 2 minutes up the seafront to the house and short taxi back home. When the bar closed, we all piled out on the street laughing and falling all over each other from too much alcohol! (Drink responsibly!) As we were walking to Adams friend’s house, we saw Danny standing outside a bus station waiting for the night bus. He said he had missed the last bus home and couldn’t afford a taxi so would have to wait until 6am for the first bus. We told him we were going to Adams friends for a drink and he could share a cab home with us later if he wanted to join us. So he came along.
I was still upset from the way he jilted me right outside the club before as I felt that he had been leading me on all evening and then bottled it at the last minute or he had just been messing with my emotions as some sort of sick twisted game.
I wasn’t going to let Danny upset me, so to test his true feelings, I became overly flirty towards Adam. I didn’t notice at the time, but I was told later that Danny didn’t take his eyes off of me for a second.
When we all arrived at Adams friend’s house the first thing we said was I don’t believe your friend lives here! It was a massive 7 bedroomed detached house right on the seafront, with beautiful sea views.
When we went inside, there was music playing, food on display and beautiful old fashioned furniture. Everyone went straight for the food and drink and Danny stood in the corner looking at Adam and me talking. Adam was stroking my arm, “Do you want to have a look around?” I said sure and he gave me the grand tour of the house.
The tour ended on the second floor outside of a closed door. “This is the best room in the house” he said. “It’s my room.” He opened the door and we went inside. He closed the door behind him shutting out the noise from the party below. “Privacy at last. I finally have you all to myself.” He grabbed at my shirt and ripped at the buttons and tore it open. The buttons flew off across the room.
I grabbed at his belt and pulled him closer to me. It was wild passionate and a little risky knowing that there was a house full of guest’s only two floors below.
Sometime later we emerged from the bedroom and went back down to the party and had a few drinks and spoke to some people I immediately went and spoke to Pam. She could tell from the look on my face what had just happened. “Well, what did you two get up to?” she asked. I just blushed and said, “That’s for me to know, and you to dream about.”
I asked her Where Danny had gone and she told me that he was in a mood when he found out that we had gone upstairs and he had left again. I didn’t understand what his problem was. I had a crush on him, he was straight. I told him I’m gay and all of a sudden he is interested.
I decided went back over to talk to Adam and he asked me to stay over for the night. I said I would but I would need to leave early as I need to be at collage for 9am as I was studying a music degree. He agreed to lend me a shirt as he had destroyed mine and he would drive me to college in the morning. It was a good excuse to lend me a shirt because it would mean I would get to see him again.
Once the party was over I said my goodbyes to everyone and stayed behind to help tidy-up. We once again wend upstairs to the bedroom and………..
The following morning Adam woke me up nice and early to breakfast in bed which was amazing. It was so thoughtful and sweet. He had picked me out a lovely shirt to borrow and ran me a bath. He had asked me if he could see me again and if he could take me out for dinner. I immediately said yes, I was so happy. We had breakfast together I had my bath and he drove me to college. We exchanged numbers and we started dating.
Adam was my first Love. I can honestly say I fell in love with Adam even though we only dated for 3 months he was my first boyfriend and he was the one who I compared all the other to afterwards. Even when I first met my husband Glen, I would compare him against Adam but now looking back Adam does not come even close to Glen. Glen is My Life. Glen would never break my heart they way Adam did.
After we had been dating for three months we had been seeing each other every other day and then out of the blue I received a text message one evening at work saying this isn’t working, I don’t want to see you again. It turned out, I was a carbon copy of his ex-boyfriend in looks, age, and name and I reminded him to much of him.
I had never felt my heart be torn out through my chest before, I couldn’t breathe. I went into total lock down. I said I was never going to find another man who will love me like him again. I went into my manager’s office and cried for an hour. My manager said that he was about to finish work and that I could have the rest of the night off. He asked me if I would like to go for a drink with him to talk about things. I agreed as I thought it would help.
We went into town for a few drinks and had a good long chat and then he agreed to drive me home. On the way home he pulled over and asked if I had considered coming out to my parents, as it would probably help in the long term. I started to breakdown again. He leaned over to wipe my tears but as he did our eye locked in on each other’s and we kissed. Neither of us pulled away. The next thing we knew we were taking off our clothes and we climbed into the back of the car!
The only thing going through my mind at that moment was I’m about to have sex with my boss in his car!
Let me say it is probably one sexual experience I do regret the most because It was completely meaningless and to both of us it was just sex. I was drunk and it was my way of getting over a breakup.
When he dropped me at home, he asked me if I was ok and if I was going to speak to my parents about coming out. I told him I would sleep on it and think about it more in the morning. He said goodbye and I went into the house.
I crept into the house and I could see that my dad was still watching TV in the living room so I popped my head through the door and said good night. He asked if I had a good evening and I said it was ok. I told him I was tired and was going to go straight to bed as it had been a long day.
I climbed the stairs onto the landing and could see that my mum was still awake as she had her TV on in her room. She called me into the room and asked me to sit on the bed. “Are you ok?” she asked. I found this unusual as she doesn’t usually ask these sorts of questions randomly. “I’ve been worrying about you lately; I’ve noticed a few changes in your behaviour and the way you have been sneaking in and out of the house late at night. Have you got a Boy Friend?”
My heart pounding in my chest!!! I didn’t know what to do. I looked over at the wall, then at the window, then at the floor. I wondered if I could make a run for the door and not say anything, but I thought if I say nothing, pretend I didn’t hear the question, and pretend I’m just watching the TV she might change the subject. But she asked me again. “Do you like GIRLS or BOYS?” I somehow plucked up the confidence and looked at her and said, “Both I think”. She looked at me stunned, almost shocked at my response and then said “for goodness sakes don’t tell your father! Now go to bed”.
I went to my room and got into bed puzzled at the response from my mother’s reaction. Was that it? Was that what I had been worrying about for so long? The following morning I got up feeling relieved at how well my mum had taken to the news that I had told her I was interested in boys. But when I came downstairs I could sense an atmosphere in the house.
I sat on the sofa. My mum was in the kitchen making breakfast and my dad was sat in his armchair drinking his coffee watching the TV. My mum came into the living room and said, “Your dad has something he wants to ask you”. I ask him what it was and he asked, “Is it true?” I said, “Is what true?” He then asked, “That you are a dirty F**king Queer? Because if it is true I want you to pack a bag and get the hell out of this house, you are no son of mine and I never want to see you again!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard from my own father. I had never heard him speak to me like that before. I had never had anything but love and respect for him my entire life and in one second I had lost all that love for him and he ripped my heart into a million pieces. I responded with one sentence I will never forget. “Yes Dad I am a dirty little Queer and I love having sex with men, lots of men.” At that moment in time I was angry and I just wanted to hurt him as much as he was hurting me so I ran up the stairs and packed as many cloths into a bag as I could and then left the house. I should point out this was now December 23rd 1999, the day before Christmas Eve and my father had thrown me out of the house with nowhere to go and nowhere to live.
The only place I could think of was Pam’s house. I had no money, I had to drag my bags all across town to get to her house and when I got to her house she wasn’t in. I sat on her doorstep for 8 hours until she finally came home. She instantly knew what had happened. She didn’t even need to ask a question she just hugged me and helped me carry my bags inside.
I spent the night at her house to give my parents time to clear their heads I knew they needed time to come around to things and I knew my mum wouldn’t let my dad get away with kicking me out of the house. The next morning, my sister knocked on Pam’s door asking if I was there, she came inside and spoke to me. She said my dad had been up all night drinking and crying and was not in a good place, he hated himself for the way he spoke to me and felt badly for what he said to me. They wanted me to go home.
I said the only way I would go home would be if he came and apologized to me in person. To my surprise, he did and he broke down in tears. This, of course, made me break down in tears to see that side of him feel so upset for the pain and upset he had caused.
I am now closer to my father today than I have ever been. We have had some tricky times, like when he met my husband Glen for the first time. But now Glen is like the second son. He treats Glen and me as equals and can’t stand any form of homophobia towards us. I love my dad with all my heart, he is my hero and even writing this is bringing a tear to my eye.
[author title=”Guest Post by Robert John Limb” image=”http://”][/author]