I remember watching a TV show a few years back called ‘Suburgatory’. It was an American sitcom about a New York teenager who’s father decided to move her to the suburbs so that she wouldn’t succumb to the big city’s temptations. And in her opinion, living in the suburbs was her idea of hell. I always wondered why.
For me, the suburbs are a magical place. I love seeing the rows and rows of identical houses. I love walking on the high street and seeing familiar faces (even if I have never actually spoken to anyone). I love the quietness and calmness of a Sunday morning lie in, where I can actually hear birds chirping. It appears that for the most part I am alone in thinking like this, though. A quick google search and I found Suburbia to be one of the most hated terms on the internet. My favourite description of it was ‘Where dreams go to die’. How cheerful. But is the BIG CITY that much better? I mean, really? To me it’s overcrowded, dirty and expensive. I’m happy to be where I am now, even though it does have it’s challenges.
Especially as an openly gay man. Luckily I’ve never had any traumatic negative experiences (although I’ve had a couple of not-so-nice moments), but I’ve always felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere one hundred percent. No matter how well people reacted to my coming out I still felt like the odd man out. I spent some time away, moved to a different country, got married, came back, and after all that came to a conclusion: this is where I want to be, despite the internal battle to feel included.
Being gay in the city is FABULOUS. Being gay in the suburbs, not as much. There aren’t any ‘gay’ pubs or bars, I don’t see that many gay couples walking down the street, hand in hand, and straight people treat you nicely enough, but don’t really ask you about your life or your relationship, and sometimes it’s nice to talk about yourself a little bit! Maybe gay men flee from the suburbs, because they felt like I did growing up. The city greets them with open arms and a new world of possibilities. Which is true, even I have experienced it. I think all of us have to go through that at some point, whether its at university, or through travel. The problem for me is coming back, and wanting to find similar acceptance and opportunities in a place where I would like to plant some seeds and grow some roots.
With this blog, I wanted to share my point of view. Guys often want to prove themselves as the perfect ‘Modern Gay Man’. A man who is superbly dressed, works out regularly, and leads an exciting and active social life. And while that’s true for many guys (without stereotyping), it just isn’t the case for me. I work 9 to 5, come home and spend time with my husband, cook some dinner and watch some telly. My idea of exercise is 30 minutes on an exercise bike, followed by a few lazy sit ups. On the weekends I occasionally venture out, but I would be much happier staying home with a glass of wine and Netflix. Fabulously normal. But that’s OK. I have had some great adventures, and I still do! My dreams didn’t die. Interesting things and interesting people DO exist on the outskirts. Hopefully I can prove that with time.