In the south of England, past the traffic and chaos of the M25, lies a city named Brighton. Known for its massive gay friendly vibe, many people refer to it as the ‘Gay Capital of the UK’. This wouldn’t be an unfair description. Upon driving into the city, it was clear that this was one of those places that you can just be yourself. As a gay man myself, I was born with a built-in ‘Gadara’, enabling me to be able to tell if someone is gay or not. Walking around Brighton, my gaydar was spinning out of control! Situated in the south-east of England along the coastline, Brighton is one of the most desired tourist destinations that we, as a country, have to offer.
I had been once before for 2 days with my ex a few years before but I never really paid much attention to my surroundings as I was too preoccupied keeping my eye on him to make sure that he wasn’t sneaking off into toilets with random guys again. This time was much different. It was my first time going away with my friends as a single guy, in my life. Don’t forget, I had been with the ex since I was 18 years old. I was still practically a kid. This time, I felt grown up, excited and eager to dance.
We started off in the morning, which was surprising as we never usually do anything on time. This weekend was a different story. We were up well before we had to leave, showered, packed and ready to go. The drive down was good, apart from the tsunami of rain that decided to throw itself upon us half way down the M25. It was awful! We couldn’t see out of the window for about 20 minutes, which on any road is bad but on a motorway, is terrible news! As we drove into Brighton the sun started to shine. I was on rainbow watch to try to prove to my friends that this really is ‘Gay Mecca’ (a term I give myself no credit for, which instead I will give to my friend who shall be known as the dodgy pixie!).After arriving at my friend’s Uni-mate’s house where we were staying for the night, we took off to explore the lanes.
‘The Lanes’ are a cluster of narrow alleyways and streets buried deep in the centre of Brighton. Built in 1792, they have been home to booming trade ever since. Walking around the lanes, I could smell freedom in the air (and marijuana but that’s not the point!). Everywhere was colourful. My eyes didn’t know where to look! There were a huge amount of shops selling imported goods from India, China and Tibet, to name a few. There were market stalls lining the busy streets selling silver jewellery and bohemian clothes. There were cafes dotted around so that the tired shopper or people watcher could rest their feet and take a break. Our first stop was a Mexican street food restaurant. The food was amazing and very reasonably priced. I opted for the chorizo burrito, nachos and a Margherita at 4pm (I was on holiday after all!) These pictures of the food really do not do it justice. It was like a taste explosion in my mouth. The staff was also extremely helpful and friendly (not to mention good-looking!).
Hidden away in the lanes, my friend introduce me to this little gem!
After that it was back to more shopping! I had fallen into a proper food coma, so shopping wasn’t on my list of things that I wanted to do. Nevertheless, I could totally do with the exercise after that meal! We were all pretty tired after the journey down (and the night at the pub before we’d even left home). We went back to the house and started to drink before we passed out! We had all gotten ready and were looking at our best (ish) before we remembered that we needed to pump up the airbed. Let me tell you, pumping up an airbed in skinny jeans is a challenge but like the champ that I am, I stepped up to the mark, inflated it and bounced on it just to check it was up properly.
After that, it was time to go to the club! We chose to go to one of the most popular gay clubs in Brighton, ‘Club Revenge’. Rumour has it that Revenge (or reven-gay, as my friend like to call it), was opened after a bitter breakup of two guys a few years ago. They had a bar together which I forget the name of but broke up quite dramatically. One of the guys opened a second bar, Revenge as payback for whatever his ex did to him. You can see why I like this club. If I ever meet the guy who opened it, I will shake his hand! The music was right up my street for a good night out! Spice girls, Britney, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé were played within the first half an hour of us arriving. They must have known I was going! I had intended to try to be a little bit mature when it came to the drinks that I was drinking. I told myself that I was not going to mix any drinks that night. That did not happen……There was Tequila, Sambuca, Jaeger, Desperado’s and vodka swilling around in my stomach by the end of the night. The bar closes at around 5 or 6am depending on how busy it is. That weekend was the annual London Pride march, so it closed at 5am, which is when we left in search of food that was way too unhealthy to contemplate whilst sober. Can you believe that at 5am, in party town, there was not one take-away that we could find!? In the end, we had to go to a local shop and buy microwave pizzas. We got a taxi home and to our horror, there was nobody there. There we were. 4 of us, sat outside a guy’s house in Brighton at 6am with bags full of microwave pizzas, makeup running and sweat pouring off our heads. Not to mention the sagging, alcohol filled eyes that we were now all sporting! Eventually, someone came home and I spent half an hour cooking everybody their pizzas in a tiny microwave before admitting defeat and passing out on the airbed, next to one of my best friends who snores like a rhino (sorry darling but you really do!).
We woke up at 10am after going to sleep at 7. It was time for the beach, however, first, a full English breakfast! It seemed to me that Brighton didn’t like me that weekend as every time we planned to go somewhere to eat, it was always closed! We finally found another cafe and sat our hung-over, rough-looking selves down. By that point I could only stomach a bacon sandwich and the biggest coffee known to man. There are no pictures of this as I was unable to pick my phone up and function as a human being at the same time! Then we went to the beach, FINALLY! It’s the main reason I’d gone to Brighton in the first place. I LOVE the beach! It’s not any old beach though as it has no sand on it at all. It’s all pebbles. We went onto the famous Brighton Pier and had a look around. It was the usual seaside town stuff; tarot readings, candyfloss, cheap tattoos and roller-coasters. It was great! I managed about an hour of this before having to go down to the beach and lie down to forget about the previous night of sin and regret.
Sat on the beach, it suddenly hit me. I hadn’t been thinking about the a**hole ex or guy #3 at all while I was in Brighton. This was the first time that I had ever gone on holiday or to a bar as a single guy. So much had changed. The last time I was in Brighton, I didn’t enjoy it too much because I was paranoid about my ex. I took a deep breath and said to myself:
“He has gone. You are free.”
I felt an overwhelming feeling of relief. Sat around all of those pebbles with my friends, I sat in silence, looking out at the sea. There is much more to life than constantly torturing yourself with questions as to why your relationship didn’t work out. I had let myself become consumed with these questions to the point where I forgot what it was like to be me anymore. I had been feeling lonely, hurt because of guy#3 and the return of douche-bag from China. I had been looking for a sign to tell me that I was going to be ok. As I looked out onto the horizon, I turned to my side and glanced at my friends;
“I don’t need a sign to tell me something that I already know. I’m ok”.
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