Last Sunday, I had the honor of being invited for a morning run with about 14 other men around the Bedok Reservoir. I had actually been invited quite a few times before by the one who started it but had always turned it down because of time constraints. Although I was the oldest, some of them were in their 20’s, and was the slowest runner, they made me feel welcome and the one who invited me actually ran together with me although I told him to go ahead as I was okay running by myself. After the run, we went for a late breakfast together. It was amazing how a motley crew of people of varying ages and types could actually get together for something as simple as a morning run and end up getting to know each other. The organisation of the weekly Sunday run has since the inception been passed on to members who take turns to do it.
Just a couple of days before the Sunday run, I attended a dinner gathering which takes place once every month. It was the brain child of a Singaporean who has since gone on to UK. On his holidays back here, he mooted the idea of getting guys to get together once a month for food and drinks. It was similarly amazing that there are always new faces mixed with old ones. This time, we had about 40 people, gays and straight allies. It was good food, wonderful drinks and great company. Like in the case of the Sunday run, the responsibility of the organisation has been shouldered by different involved members of the group.
There’s also a friend who organizes durian trips to Malaysia as well as other activities like arts performances and dinners for small groups of friends. Although the outings are smaller in scale, his amazing talent of rallying friends together for such activities is something I really appreciate. Although I’ve not joined them for any durian trips, I’ve enjoyed their company during performances and nights out.
It takes a special talent for someone to be able to organize such activities and get a group of people together into a special interest group.
Just 3 instances of guys with such a talent and who feel that there is a need for gay single men to come together. And the difference they have made.
One of the things faced by many single gay men is actually loneliness. In the midst of working hard each day at their job, even if there is financial security and stability, there is always the empty feeling of being alone when one comes home. It is worse for the single gay mature man. Many may not have the support of their family. Others may have been estranged from family members and because they themselves have not formed families of their own, they return to an empty house after a day of work. What happens when one has reached retirement, especially if one takes one’s identity from one’s work? There will be a gapping hole.
I’ve been told by some mature friends that they have grown accustomed to being single. No need for complications from relationships. Fully understandable…relationships can be very messy. But then there are moments when in the dusk of the day, a little loneliness creeps in.
That’s why I think the special interest groups like those formed by the 3 friends of mine, and I’m sure that are many more of such groups going on which I’m unaware of, may be one possible alternative. Whether one is young or old, it is always good to be part of a group because everyone of us needs emotional support. So what if there is no support from families of origin*? We can always find support from our family of choice**.
There should be more of such groups.
It is my hope that many, who feel this need and have the talent of getting something started and getting people together, would do so. For those of us who may not be able to start something like this, we should come out of our little comfortable ‘closets’ and join one.
And so my thanks to these friends both old and new whom I’ve gotten to know through these groups and who have accepted me with open arms. They have filled that little vacuum which I tend to feel once in a while on nights when I return to an empty home or on a lazy Sunday morning when suddenly I find that I have nothing to do.
*Family of origin – this includes family members like parents, siblings and close relatives.
**Family of choice – this is made up of a group of gay or straight close friends who provide mutual support for each other.