A lunch time ‘me moment’ at the Atelier des Chef

A lunch time ‘me moment’ at the Atelier des Chef

I cannot claim I am good at the kitchen. I had a moderately bohehian upbringing, with a mum that would not really cook – I cannot remember food being prepared at our house apart from special occasions. Instead we would have take away every day, strange concoctions, shop-bought sweets, cereal for dinner, cold pizza for breakfast and off-the-packet cakes.
For me food was something that magically made its way through kitchen doors in restaurants, over the take-away counters or brought by relatives. I never cooked as a child or a young adult, so when I was released in the wilderness of real life I was totally unprepared for this mythical magical thing called cooking.
However, this was something I wanted to change. Initially for others: when we were with F* he always cooked these amazing dishes and the one time I had to make breakfast I googled it (and it sucked). So, I decided it would be nice to learn how to cook, so I can cook him something. I booked a class for a Monday; we broke up the Sunday before.
Now, I did not go to the class, because I felt it would be a 2 hour reminder of the dinner I would never cook him; plus, I think it would be unsafe to handle sharp objects while I am crying your eyes out.
However, I thought that I don’t have to do this for someone else; I can do it for myself. So, I rescheduled the class for Friday, and sure enough, on my lunch break I was walking in the Oxford Street branch of Atelier des Chefs.
I immediately relaxed when I was greeted from a lovely team member in the foyer who put me at ease and gave me all the relevant information. It was a quick class, and although it was basic it promised to be quite exciting: by the end of it I would have created an Australian Steak Sandwich.
The class was great, the chef was patient no matter how stupid my questions were (she had to explain to me how to cut bread correctly; and how to cut beetroot; and how to put a steak on a pan; yes, she was a patient person).
In the end I could not help but be proud of what I created: a mouthwatering sandwich with rump steak, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, egg and mayonnaise I made (I mean, seriously, I made mayonnaise).
I put it in a takeaway container, bought a Diet Coke, went to the little square closeby and sat under the trees. I looked at my sandwich and smiled. I did this for me. I wanted to text F* so much and tell him about the day and at that point I missed him more than words can describe. I let that feeling wash over me, and then remembered the pride I felt before and turned my attention to the here and now, to what I have instead to what I am missing.
I took a bite. This is good. This. Is. Good.








In a Bed of Lettuce With Five Guys

In a Bed of Lettuce With Five Guys

I think I might be the last person in London that had not tried Five Guys (just to be clear, I mean the burger, not a sexual experience with five males simultaneously; which I have also not tried).
I remember passing from the stores and seeing queues that reminded me of Disneyland rides. I am sure some people are still waiting from then. I don’t usually buy into hype so I did not bother to try it.
The other day we were with S and wanted to eat something quickly so as we passed from it and saw no queue (!!!) so we thought, what the hell, let’s!
We ordered a burger, soda and fries each (S is gluten intolerant so he got his wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun), sat down, took a bite and …. well, and nothing. It was a good burger, but nothing to write home about. Was it worth the price? I don’t think so. Would I queue for it? Definitely not.
However the soda machine made my day, with a selection of the randomness flavours (diet cherry coke, yes please!), so it was not all bad.
Instead, if you have time I would suggest trying these three burgers instead:
The Kiwiburger from GBK: heaven in your mouth.
Honest Burgers: honestly good. Try the cheeseburger (yum)
Dirty Burger: doing only two burgers and they are both delicious






Today is the day after my heart broke. The pain is unbearable, and writing this hurts, but I need to do it. I need to get these feelings out of me.

We went out with some of his friends a few nights ago and it was a great evening. We laughed, drunk, cuddled and kissed as always, so when it was time to go home I said goodnight and left. I texted him from home, and he texted back. I thought his reply was a bit colder than usual, but I did not make anything of it.

Then for the next couple of days nothing. I did not hear anything from him. I started worrying, so I asked him to meet up.

So we met, grabbed a coffee, and we walked as a light drizzle started. We found a place that was shielded from trees, we sat down, and as I started talking, I could see that he had something to say, so I asked him to say it; he did. It was not working out. I am great, I am just not the one for him. We talked some more, we cried, hugged, and walked back to the station. We hugged one last time, and he did this thing he does when he hugs me, and he smelled like him, and this was my undoing, because from the moment I left until now I cannot stop crying.

I am in so much pain right now.

If I had known that the last time I woke up in his bed would be the last, I would have stolen a few more minutes. If I knew our last kiss would have been the last, I would have kissed him longer, held on to him and pray that time would stop, because it didn’t, and it passed, and now I will not have that again, and this hurts, it hurts so much that I feel as if my heart is being ripped out, as if all the things I miss about him already and will miss in the future are pushing the tears out and my eyes will never be dry again.

I will miss his voice, when he was speaking about history, when he was singing Disney songs, when he was telling me goodnight in bed.
I will miss feeling his heartbeat when we cuddled in bed before falling asleep, and his breathing as he was relaxing, or his snoring as he felt safe to fall in a deeper slumber.
I will miss his eyes when he got sleepy, or when he just woke up.
I will miss how if we were with a crowd, I would turn and he would be looking at me, blowing me a kiss, making me feel safe.
I will miss how he made breakfast or cooked dinner, making everything look easy, getting me peanut butter even though he doesn’t eat it, just because I like it – yes, it is a small gesture, but that little jar meant the world to me.
I will miss getting butterflies in my belly every time I was about to meet him, and how seeing his from afar made me relaxed and nervous at the same time.

Most of all, I will miss how happy he made me feel, how a text from him made me smile, how the thought of him was enough to make every cell in my body truly, stupidly, totally genuinely happy.

I loved him.

I know I will be ok, but right now I am not. I feel as if the day got silent, as if someone stole the music from it, drained the life from it, and the pain, this unbearable pain of missing all these things that make him him, is all that is left.

They say, don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened. Well, I am grateful, but I am also unbearably heartbroken; and that is ok.






I decided to write this post after a discussion I had with two male colleagues: ‘is the pride still relevant? I mean, gays are accepted nowadays, so what is the reason for closing the streets and disrupting the whole day just for a party?
The second one simply nodded and said ‘where is a straight pride, heh?
This was the first year I was part of the Pride. S sent me a link for the Inter Tech Group, a forum of LGBT digital professionals, and I signed up straight away. Fast forward a few weeks, and we are at the gathering point, putting on our white t-shirts and getting ready to walk and celebrate. I felt this strange sense of belonging, of being part of something, of recognising myself in others.
As we started walking, I remembered my years in Greece. I remembered having this intense fear that came with growing up gay, having to hide my sexuality.
The theme of this pride was heroes. Now, I firmly believe that in some way, we all experience heroic moments, and we all become heroes for someone else. When I came to London, a fellow student was talking in class about his day, and then mentioned his partner. When he specified that his partner was a man, I felt shock; it was as if someone had opened a window and revealed that this closet you call home is a prison. People live their lives without guilt. The fact that no one reacted made me question this whole experience even more. How can this be?
By that time I was out to my friends, but not to my family. I became friends with this classmate, and being around him helped me to slowly started the process of truly accepting myself. In a way, he was a hero for me at that point in my life.
A few years later I was working with someone, and when we were talking about relationships, I asked him if he had a boyfriend. He froze, looked left and right to check no one heard, and asked me how I knew he was gay. He begged me not to tell anyone, and I assured him that I wouldn’t. We had a lot of chats about how he does not have to feel ashamed of it, and I could see him slowly relax into his own skin. Years later, I see him on Facebook living his life openly.
So, as we were walking down the street and people were there, cheering, supporting us, I felt completely overwhelmed even though I have been completely out for 10 years now. I felt supported, visible and accepted, and I truly wish I can go back to my 15 year old self and tell him that one day he will live this. Pride is not just a big party, it is a moment of visibility, an establishment of acceptance, and an encouragement to people all over the world that are struggling with their sexuality.
Yes, there is not a straight pride; but straight people are lucky they do not have to have one. They don’t have to come out as straight, they don’t have to be told that they are sick, immoral, or sinful just for being themselves, they don’t have to go through being rejected from their families and loved ones. LGBT people do, so this is why it is so crucial for pride to exist.
It is impossible for a boy in the closet to feel really, truly loved for who he is. Coming out is the first step towards loving yourself, and allowing others to love you. I am truly blessed for being where I am, and I hope, I truly do, that visible posts like this will help other. Be the support you want to receive.









Tooji’s ‘Father': Bound or Freed?

Tooji’s ‘Father': Bound or Freed?

I just watched the new Tooji Video, as it appeared from five different news outlets on my Facebook timeline with headlines like ‘Hot Pop Star Comes Out’ and ‘Tooji Upsets Church with New Video’.
Now, I like Tooji. I downloaded ‘Stay‘, his Eurovision entry, the moment I heard it, and have been following him ever since. I liked the message he was putting out through his music and really liked his Love Yourself (LYS) song and video.
I think I always took for granted that he was gay, in the same way that people sometimes assume that I am gay upon meeting me. It is the lack of trying to hide it, of acting naturally, and being oneself. So, for me, when he came out elicited a ‘oh, was he not out already?‘ response, same as when Mika did the same.
The reason why this specific video stuck out for me was that it is a big departure from his usual style. It is an all or nothing gesture – either I will be in the closet and adopt a super friendly, non hetero-threatening image, or I will go to the other extreme of in-your-face hypersexualisation. It appeared to me constructed to attract attention, with all the Madonna tried and tested ingredients of sex and Catholic Church mingling to grab headlines.

In no way do I mind the sex or am I prudish. I just think that in this case, it is a hit and miss. The imagery steals from the impactful lyrics, and in my opinion cheapens the song. Something is not artistic because of a black and white filter, and the scenes in which he gyrates topless made me think of how his younger fans will feel seeing this. Tooji has an active young fan base, and the departure from the happy Europop songs to quite graphically simulated sex is quite a leap; it makes me wonder what it conveys to the young gay male audience that is first introduced to a gay pop star by seeing him in an ultrasexualised depiction, with the message that ‘sex sells so when I was in the closet I had one look, but now I am straddling a priest in the middle of congregation cause that’s how I roll‘.
I can reference other black and white videos that explore the same themes: Woodkid‘s ‘I Love you‘ takes place in a church and talks about a forbidden love with painful panache; Hercules and the Love Affair featuring John GrantI Try To Talk to You‘ depict a heart wrenching gay romance without ever cheapening it; even more famously, Hosier‘s ‘Take Me to Church‘ is a mesh of the two, with a powerful criticism of organised religion’s intolerance coupled with an emotionally engaging storytelling that transcends gender.
I understand that the decision to make the video must have factored in a lot of different angles, so there is no judgement on my part. I am really looking forward to seeing his next video, and seeing how he decides to move his career forward. I really hope that by breaking free from one closet, he has not pushed himself in another.

For now I will leave you with these songs videos that are as magnificent as their videos.


Happiness is: Him

Happiness is: Him

Happiness is waking up next to him. Seeing him open his sleepy eyes while a smile forms in his lips. The taste of his kiss. The way he hugs me, and the few minutes we steal from the day, in bed, wrapped around each other.
Happiness is breakfast, sitting opposite him, talking about the day to come, the week to come, our next date.
Happiness is the sound of the shower as I lie down on his blue sheets, taking this moment in, feeling as if I am the luckiest man in the world.
Happiness is him.




I choose hope

I choose hope

I was walking down the stairs at work today when it hit me. I am happy. I have my health, my family, I have a job I like, people that I consider friends and I am seeing a man that even the thought of him makes me smile. Of course, this brought a moment of internal panic.
There is a fear in the DNA of happiness. This is great, but it is too good to be true; this feels wonderful, but for how long; this will be taken away from you and your heart will break and you will break and nothing will make you that happy ever again.
This is the element that robs happiness of its shine; instead of magnifying it, it dims it down. However, I allowed myself to think of the alternative: it might not be too good to be true because maybe I deserve good things; I don’t know how long it will last for, but I will appreciate it for as long as it does and make sure I feel every minute with my whole psyche; if this is taken away from me my heart might break but I won’t and something will make me that happy again, something different yet equally uplifting.
I found myself smiling, and embracing happiness. I don’t know what will happen in the future. All I know is that now, at this moment, at this spot, as time is passing and life is moving, right now, I am happy with being happy. There is fear in happiness but there is also hope. Today I choose hope.