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Hi, from the UK relocating soon
#1
Hey people,
I'm from the UK, moving to Canada Toronto in two weeks for a year, to experience another way of living.

I really joined just for chat and friends, and mainly because I was wondering what foreigners who have visited the UK or living here make of the UK gay scene.

In my experience as a British person, you get very drunk, and pretty much just randomly you/others start talking. If you like a guy, you catch his eye, if he smiles it's a good sign and you smile back. I guess it pretty much mimics our whole pub culture of you sit down, drink lots of beer/cider and end up in large groups chatting, although in clubs most of the meeting happens around the toilets and outside, where it is quiet enough to speak. I find conversations mostly revolve around comparing notes and sharing stories and opinions on situations. The only down side is that the gay scene can be "fake cliquey" IMO, and it takes meeting a few new people until you find genuine people.

I've visited the gay scene in France. The French have a different way of doing things. No gay scene for meeting people seems to exist as it does in the UK. I guess they do it online. Pubs seem more geared towards friends meeting purely on a social basis. They don't smile or dance but they do scan the room with their eyes, perhaps it is considered overly forward to smile? They seem to be private people and care about outward appearances. The French seem cautious about meeting new people and it seems they stick to their groups.

I hope you Canadians like drinking as much as the British do. I met an American recently. I understand Canada is NOT America, but he tried to have me believe that guys come up to you in America and Canada and put their arms around you in the clubs. I can't be too sure, but it sounded like American humour to me.
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#2
Well, I cannot comment on the gay scene in the U.K. as i have not been there nor can I comment on the scene in Canada, as I haven't been out on the town while in Canada. I can, however, comment on what your American acquaintance claimed. Yes, sometimes people will come and put their arms around you, touch your back, your butt, etc. But I would say that that is only typical of a few very forward people, generally in dance clubs that also double as a "meat market". In other words, people who are expressly looking for a hookup. And, I might add, if they are being so forward as to start touching you without a preliminary of some sort, an introduction, you would do best to stay clear of them. They probably have a disease.

Dance clubs tend to be impossible to strike up a conversation with people in unless there is a separate lounge or beer garden attached to them. The music tends to be far to loud for establishing new acquaintances. In clubs, people will also look at you, smile, and then come dance with you if they are interested. Besides the physical contact. There are numerous ways of flirting or establishing communication or contact. Asking for the time, a light, or about some observable aspect of the person.

Bars are some what different. They are more laid back, people are able to talk to each other without trying to yell over the music, and they are less sexually charged than clubs. You can certainly strike up a conversation with a stranger if you like. From what you describe, the gay bars in the U.S. are far more like the pubs you are talking about than the gay clubs.

The amount or degree of cliques varies greatly, I have found. Just as the willingness of a person to start up a conversation with a stranger varies greatly.

One thing that you should remember is that, in the scheme of things, British and Canadian cultures are not all that disparate in the larger sense nor is Canadian culture all that disparate from American. Since they all share similar histories and origins, the differences are more subtle than you will find between many other cultures and nations.
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#3
Sorry, I should add as a reminder, (in my experience Brits and other Europeans tend to forget this fact) Canada and the United States are very large nations where regionalism (different regional expectations and social norms) may play a role in the experience you have in the countries.

My experiences in D.C. gay clubs and bars very widely from the gay clubs and bars in the Midwest and those very from my experiences in San Francisco. I am willing to bet that the same would hold true between Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.
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#4
Church Street in Toronto is pretty lively, there are members who know it far better than I do.

The Montreal gay scene depends on the bar you are at. You can find a bit of all those things around the city. I find the bear/leather/jeans bars tend towards that pub atmosphere. A lot of the less popular bars can be good locations for just socializing. I'm also fond of the dyke bar, Le Drugstore.

We have a couple dance clubs that are mixed gay/straight and popular with the trendy crowds, they aren't ideal for cruising or meeting new people. There are also of course cruising bars for hooking up, but the city has cracked down on "backroom" antics. They still tolerate the saunas. The strip clubs are also kinda sleezy, but I don't judge who people want to bang :p.

Montrealers are very different from Americans, but Toronto isn't that different, since they're in English Canada.
When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
- Virginia Woolf
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#5
@Wintereis: So basically the social scene is the same as in the UK. It varies just as much between Cardiff (Wales), Manchester (England) and London (England of course!). The Welsh and northerners tend to be more open I think.

@OrphanPip: Lol. "Le drugstore". Je suis sûr que les Français soient horrifié avec ce Franglais. "Drugstore" - une boîte amical, je peux déduire Wink :biggrin: Je voudrais visiter Montreal (même si je trouve Quebecois plus difficle que Parisien). C'est un dommage que ils ferment les antichambre (?), c'est pas ma chose, mais je pense que tout vont bien, ce qui allume

Best to put a translation in, it's English speaking forum after all: "Lol. "Le drugstore". I'm sure the French would be horrified with this Frenglish. "Drugstore" - an amicable club, I can tell Wink :biggrin: I'd like to visit Montreal (although I find Quebecois harder than Parisian). It's a shame backrooms are being closed, it's not my thing, but I think anything goes, whatever turns you on. It was just an excuse to try out my French, honestly

I'm sure the Torontoans would disagree with you OrphanPip Tongue Smile According to my American friend, Canadians try hard not to be American. As you say, there's overlaps in English speaking cultures, especially with TV and the internet. I'd say British culture and humour most like Australia and New Zealand, without all the sexy tanned people.
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