It’s all become a bit of a cliché. Most gay men, I presume, don’t enjoy certain stereotypes we are given – the idea that it’s all about sex, that we go out and drink most nights, dancing topless in nightclubs and going home with strangers. There is, undeniably, a big focus on feeling young, looking hot and hooking-up and if you look at the gay scene, to some extent that’s what it’s rather limited to. By the gay scene, I mean the bars and clubs in Soho and Vauxhall. Of course, others may have a different vision of what the gay scene is, but for me, that’s it. And I think that’s the key to where The Omyx Club fits in the world, it’s a fresh and new virtual members club, providing a genuine alternative for gay men to connect.
To say that gay men are solely looking to meet other gay men is totally untrue. We did though, through our focus group research, find that gay men feel more comfortable socialising with other gay men, compared with straight men, and women (both gay and straight). For me, personally, I know that to be true. Some of my best friends are women, but, in a new environment and meeting new people, I certainly feel more of a connection with other gay men. It’s probably got something to do with relating to similar situations, in the same way that I imagine two single women can relate to each other? Or two married men can relate to one and other? I’m not quite sure exactly why, but I don’t think that really matters. It’s the way it is for me, and evidently from our research, the way it is for a lot of gay men. So, clearly, there should be a space for us to connect.
So, when it comes to meeting other gay men, what are your options? You could join one of “those” apps, or go to a gay bar or… well, that’s just it, there’s not a lot else. There are some really engaging and fun hobby groups, such as the gay hiking group, which can be a brilliant place to meet new friends, but if you don’t want to take part in an activity or sport and instead just want to meet and socialise, there aren’t many viable options. You might ask why gay men need somewhere else to meet. Equality is so far forward, we have the rights that many have fought for, for decades. Is there still a need for this? I’d argue that there is. Not because we need to further equality but as somewhere to counteract the impersonal hook-up apps. Somewhere to genuinely create meaningful connections.
The rise of smartphones and social media has severely impacted the gay scene and several of the more sociable gay bars have in the past years either turned ‘straight’ or closed. The gay bars left, appear to have a highly distilled and concentrated focus on sex. Don’t get me wrong, they can be fun for a night-out with friends. Even as I write this, I’ve got a date in the diary this evening to see a few friends in Soho. but I’ve been to about six gay bars in the last 12 months and I’ve always gone with friends. If I were new in London and didn’t have many friends, I’m not convinced that a gay bar would be the place to go. I’m equally as convinced that the existing apps wouldn’t help much either (of course, there are exceptions to the rule and it would be extremely rude of me to suggest otherwise, but they are few and far between).
Believe me when I say, it’s not just me. Just last week I was speaking to a young entrepreneur, openly gay and finding it difficult to connect with the gay scene. And there it is, that’s why I created The Omyx Club. It’s aimed at providing a space focused on creating meaningful connections, with all profiles pre-reviewed and approved first – to ensure the focus isn’t on a hook-up. Whether those members are forming connections for friendship, romance, dating or business networking, we offer an environment to cater for that. Bringing gay men together, somewhere more engaging and friendly, somewhere sociable and doing so both online and at regular social events.
To find out more about Omyx, click here.
Words by – Edward Johnson