Rural Scotland is an amazingly beautiful place, with scenic views, rolling hills and bracken-filled glens. But for the modern gay man, this picturesque backdrop can be a cursed place, forcing some into leading a somewhat lonely life in such a liberal land.
Moving back to Aberdeenshire from Newcastle was to prove a distressing experience. Back in ‘the Toon’ I was to be found chugging endless pints of ale, drinking excellent espresso and, of course, frequenting the infamous Pink Triangle. Two days, a van full of boxes and a lot of farewell tears later, I’m back where I started three years ago, in the rural fishing villages of Scotland. Where cottaging is considered to be a family holiday in the Borders. Where a tearoom is, well, a place to have tea, and not cruise for sex. Where coffee is either ‘black’ or ‘white’ and usually instant. You get the picture.
So, I ventured onto the web to seek out some gay companions, through a multitude of gay websites. Gaydar, Fitlads, LadsLads, Recon, you name it, there’s a fair chance that you would have found me on it (well, maybe not Recon; leather isn’t my thing). Night after night, trawling through page upon page of generic monochrome icons, searching for someone with a picture, someone with similar interests, someone who didn’t proposition me immediately upon initiating contact.[pullquote_right]The worst part about living rurally is the complete lack of nightlife[/pullquote_right]
Grindr, with its glaring orange windows and tri-toned alerts did, however, provide a haven from what seemed a torrential downpour of unwelcome offers such as ‘Fancy a quick one mate?’, and ‘Stonehaven Toilets, 10pm, see you there?’. Having pictures of fellow users arranged in a grid, organised by distance, with the ability to block those spontaneous messages containing the hallmark of the ungainly chap that is the insatiable willy-waver, really is invaluable. It was through Grindr that I discovered that the nearest user to me was eleven kilometres away! Apparently, I was not alone in these dark times. Unfortunately, he blocked me as soon as he saw me. How charming.
The worst part about living rurally is the complete lack of nightlife; not just pink but in general. The only pubs in my area are the habitats of old men, drinking bitter and poorly crafted ales while playing darts on derelict boards and torn up pool tables. I’m not going to walk in and ask for a Bacardi and coke (Daffyd Thomas impersonation is optional). It’s not exactly as bad as Royston Vasey in the BBC comedy The League of Gentlemen, but it’s no Soho. The nearest decent nightclub is 60 miles and a millionaire’s cab fare away, and it’s not exactly cheap at the bar either.
It seems that not living in a major city and not being able to drive does put a halt to living the flamboyant pink lifestyle that I enjoyed so much in Newcastle; however, having access to all these dating sites really doesn’t help. It glued me to my laptop for hours on end, searching through picture after picture looking for ‘the one’. Perhaps turning the computer off and going out more often would be more successful. Who knows, I’ve tried both, and neither have been successful, both in and out of the city. I can’t be that bad.
I think I’ll remain on the web and on the mobile apps. I don’t really have much of a choice. I can but hope that one day, my phone will vibrate and herald the start of something big. Until then, I guess I must continue to attempt to seek out my perfect mate in what is beginning to seem like a far from perfect situation.