It appears to be guest blog month on No Empty Words and though the others weren’t planned, this post marks the start of a series of blogs I’ve been wanting to host for a while. The point of this series, where I asked people to write a letter to their teenage self with advice about relationships, was to get a different perspective. I can’t think of a better way to begin than with this honest and touching post from Matt Keyte, known to some of you as @singingbathmatt.
Dear 16 year old self,
I remember you trapped in the middle of the countryside, flicking through Top Of The Pops and Smash Hits magazines, hoping to find someone like you. Singing your heart out to the whole of the Top 40….apart from Britpop of course. I can smell your CK One filling up your tiny bedroom while you’re sat thinking about that boy from school and that letter you’ve written him which has been in your school bag forever. I can see you trying not to give it away by not being too camp, too gay, too feminine, too obvious, too loud, too good or not good enough.
I’m here today, 18 years on, thinking about you. I have some advice. Some you’re not going to like, some you won’t believe and some you have always known. Ready? Turn down ‘Wannabe’ please. Here we go..
Let’s begin with the bad.
That boy at school is just the first of many who are unsuitable. For one, he’s not gay and even if he was, it doesn’t mean anything. He doesn’t fancy you and you’re not even on his radar. You’ll waste another 3 years fancying straight men, but you’ll get better at spotting the signs and learn to give up quicker.
Don’t waste your time with anyone who’s unsure or confused about their sexuality. You don’t, but it’s just a reminder. Your first boyfriend is only 18 months away. You’ll meet him at college and get swept away. He’ll be a year older than you and you’ll be his second boyfriend, something you’ll find incredible. He’ll casually talk about his ex and you’ll be intrigued and jealous.
You’ll get jealous a lot.
Please stop comparing yourself to everyone. This is the start. There is no going back. As soon as you’ve tasted it, you’re hooked. You’ll think about nothing else for years. You will be a 20 year old gay man who feels like a 16 year old teenage girl.
It feels unfair. You’ve had to pretend. You’ve not done all the things the others did at school. You haven’t got it out of your system. You’ll be playing catch up now. Just please don’t play too hard. You will and it will hurt. You’ll hurt others, tell lies, sneak around, all for that one thing, that filthy gorgeous thing that you can’t leave alone.
There will be all types of men. Married men, liars, older men, though never younger, really big men, small men, men who struggle to perform, men who will be loving, men who will be rough. There will be one, terrible, terrible one. Then there’ll be men who don’t like you, men who adore you, men who will try to steal you away, men who will promise everything and deliver nothing. Don’t worry son, there will be a lot of men.
Right, so the good.
By the time you’re at university, you’ll be able to spot a gay man a mile away and suddenly, it’ll feel like they’re everywhere. You’ll work out your type: Older, taller, versatile, caring and thoughtful. You will enjoy life. A two year relationship will teach you everything about sex, things at 16 you didn’t even know were possible.
You will learn how not to confuse sex and love. You do not love him….OK you will love him, your heart will break hard, you’ll feel abandoned and most of all, you’ll miss that thing you can’t stop thinking about. I still think about it now. It won’t disappoint you, you’ll compare every other man to his. Please enjoy it more, it’s a good one.
Guess what! You’ll be allowed to get married to a man and have kids and it will be the law! You must do it. No one can pick on you now, because you’re just like them. You’ll be able to moan about your boyfriend, talk about love, settling down, adoption, buying a house together, you’ll be able to do it all. You don’t know any of this and I’m SO excited for you to find out.
You’ve probably stopped paying attention now and are thinking about that boy. The one thing that never changes is you. You are you. You’ll always be the same. A horny little attention seeker. It doesn’t matter any more. There are worse things you can be and you’ve seen it first hand. You are the best man you can be. You are lucky, free and happy. You know what men want and you know how to get it.
You’ll play with one heart too much though. You’ll put him through it all. He’ll put you through it all too. You’ll see sides of love you can’t be taught and can’t learn from mum and dad. You will break down, calm down and start again.
Keep going xoxo
P.S – You will track your schoolboy crush down on Facebook and he will message you. Your heart will flutter and you will be 16 again. You’ll reply straight away. He will tell you he is a policeman and single. You’ll look through his friends, looking for clues and arrange to meet him next time you go home. Your mind will run away with itself.
Oh you are silly.