Andrew Sim recounts an encounter he had with a closeted, married man.

Before I could mentally crown myself the King of Comedy, a young drunk guy approaches me at the bar.

OPINION I’m sitting at a bar in the East Village of New York after playing a lovely gig to a packed room of comics, tourists and a few true New Yorkers. The adrenaline is still spiking my brain as I sip on my ten-dollar wine that I had to purchase to get the gig. This had been my first gig here that wasn’t to a room of only comics, all of them forgetting to listen to who’s on stage cause they’re all in their heads thinking about their own material. Instead, I was buzzing from this one. I played to the room, executed my set perfectly and loved my audience the way a mother loves her child. However, before I could mentally crown myself the King of Comedy, a young drunk guy approaches me at the bar.

He’s not your usual drunken audience member as he’s wearing a flamboyant salmon coloured shirt with an unnecessary amount of buttons open, tight skinny black jeans, gelled brown hair with bleached blonde tips and clearly moisturised skin. He stumbles towards me and leers over me like a pissed up flamingo. He spits at me the kind but common phrase, “Good set, man.” I politely smile and say, “Thanks.” He reaches out his hand to shake mine and I reciprocate the gesture. “Love the bisexual shit!” Again, I take the compliment and smile politely. Technically, I’m pansexual but I don’t want to confuse my primarily straight audiences too much with that. Most of them have only got used to bisexuality. Don’t want to have their beady little hetro eyes staring back at me thinking, “Pansexual?! Does this guy fuck kitchen ware?!” So instead I keep it simpler for the stage, don’t want them thinking I masturbate into woks at Ikea.

“Technically, I’m pansexual but I don’t want to confuse my primarily straight audiences … Don’t want to have their beady little hetro eyes staring back at me thinking, “Pansexual?! Does this guy fuck kitchen ware?!”

“I think it’s really cool that you’re so open and stuff,” he continues. Again I smile and say thanks, but before I can add anything he asks, “Are you single?” Oh. Suddenly I realise that this guy might be hitting on me. I mean that must be it. He’s clearly gay and I’m hot shit, so obviously that’s what’s happening. (I must make it clear immediately that I do not think I’m ‘hot shit’ as I have a certain amount of insecurity when it comes to my looks. A genius, yes. ‘Hot shit’, no.) I answer his forward question with a calm yes and tried my best to have a cute glint in my eye. I hadn’t received any sexual interest in New York yet, so my time was now. “That’s exciting!” he says, “You’re travelling the world, doing comedy and you’re single. I could never be that brave. I mean my marriage defines me.” Marriage? “I’ve been with my wife for five years now. Can’t leave her now!” Ah fuck. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t flirting with a free affluent homosexual in the Big Gay Apple, I was listening to the confessions of a closeted Republican.

“Ha, I’m only joking,” he said with deadness in his eyes, “I love my wife.” Again, said with a very subtle cold bitterness that only someone with ears could hear. “I mean when you get to my age – “ He looked no older than late twenties, “ – you stop thinking about urges and concentrate on responsibility.” Oh god, what straight hell is this? I decide I need to question him on this. I choose not to start with screaming in his face, “HAVE YOU TRIED FUCKING A MAN!” Instead I go for the cautious approach with an even-handed, “Responsibility?” Passing back his statement with a question, pretending to be naïve to his meaning. “Well yeah, I mean like, as you get older you can’t just go with your weird urges. You have to fit with what society expects of you.” I was speechless.

I had to sit back for a second to comprehend what I had just heard. This is 2018. Granted I’m in Trump’s America, but this is New York! I couldn’t believe the prison this man I had made for himself. I start playing back the events that have just happened. When this man had seen me on stage, deep down it had signalled something to his brain that my freedom of identity was significant to him. I’m not loud about it, but I’m bold, aware and unashamed. Things that he cannot find in himself. Furthermore, he probably wouldn’t have had the courage to approach me if he hadn’t been drunk. So I pitied this man’s ignorance and decided to settle in to what else he wanted to say to me; his new cool bisexual friend.

“I mean you can do what you like. You can sleep with anyone!” Oh my goodness I wish. “You could sleep with three girls and two guys tonight if you wanted.” He seemed to overestimate my level of game. Also, the logistics of such an encounter frightened me. “I mean I would never be that adventurous.” This is when he uttered the saddest sentence I’ve ever heard, “I’m happy with getting drunk and doing missionary.” Wow. I tried so hard not to burst into laughter at this absurd notion. I forced myself not to breakdown crying at his ignorance of real sexual pleasure. But primarily, I had to not hug him tightly while shouting at the top of my lungs, “I am queer, and I am here to show you love!” Instead I just had to stare blankly at him while thinking about the fact he just admitted to getting drunk and forcing himself to have sex with his wife. How do I respond? What does his wife think of this ritual? She must know right? Or maybe she’s just as ignorant to the female orgasm as he is. All these ideas flashed through my mind as I stared at this lost, slightly effeminate, pissed up flamingo. I have all the answers to his problems. I have every solution to his gay searching, urge exploring, ball tickling problems.

“I mean you can do what you like. You can sleep with anyone!” Oh my goodness I wish. “You could sleep with three girls and two guys tonight if you wanted.”

But I froze. I could see in his kind eyes that he already knew what he was saying was wrong and I couldn’t find myself to say, “Sweetie, you’re heavily lacking in vitamin ‘D’” because I knew nothing would be achieved. I could sense that all he needed right now was someone to listen. Not scoff at his stupidity or agree with it either, but just listen. Looking into his eyes his pain was palpable. So many lies, excuses and arguments all connected to this falsehood. I decided to sit back and simply say a generalised version of the truth for his comfort, “Well sex doesn’t have to be adventurous. If you’re both happy with missionary then it’s fine. As long as you’re true to yourself, and your partner, then you’ll have no problems.” He knew I could see through him, but I was sparing him the dignity of working it out himself. He smiled sweetly and said, “Yeah. Exactly. Anyway…I should head back to my wife.” We shook hands once again, and he headed back downstairs to the club.

I dodged a complicated bullet. Although, sadly, I think he will be dodging many more as the years to come. I sat at the bar for a moment with my financially crippling Pinot Grigio, contemplating what had just occurred. Doubts start to enter my thoughts. Maybe I should have pressed the issue further. Breaking down every ignorant comment, teaching him self acceptance and finish my lecture with a rendition of ‘I Am What I Am’ while waving a rainbow flag at his sexually confused face. Or maybe I played it right. Maybe in three years time I’ll bump into him at another gig, hand in hand with his new gay lover Steven. I have no idea. All I know is that this is not an isolated incident.

Toxic masculinity takes many forms. It does not always have to be the bender bashing homophobe who physically assaults homosexuals and sexually assaults women. Sometimes it just has to be the pressure from within that stops a kind, young, pissed up flamingo from exploring his true comfort zone and not the one laid out to him by society. All I hope is that one day he finds love for himself, so that he can share that love with others. Also, maybe this will be the last time a married man indirectly comes out to me. It’s unlikely, but I can always hope.

Note: The opinions and viewpoints expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of the editorial staff of www.gayiceland.is.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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