Category Archives: same-sex marriage

Pondering New Years With Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

In Within a Budding Grove (À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs), the second volume of Marcel Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, the young narrator describes his disillusionment with New Years Day and the moment he discovers that “New Years Day was not a day different from the rest… it’s not the first day of a new world.”

Here Proust’s narrator begins to see that time passes indifferently.  The future does not magically open up on New Years Day; there is no break in the calendar.  There is only the unheeding fluidity of the old days and years that, unknown to the Years themselves, we choose to invest with a different name each January in our attempt to shape and modify them to suit us.  Proust writes:

“I returned home. I had just spent the New Year’s Day of old men, who differ on that day from their juniors, not because people have ceased to give them presents but because they themselves have ceased to believe in the New Year.”

For Proust, loss in the belief in New Years is a loss of hope.

So, as the year come to a close (a random demarcation in the fluidity of days or not) the Gay Groom is spending some time looking back over the past 364.25 days and pondering his successes and (shall we say) non-successes of 2014.

There were many grand moments.

My novel, Shirts and Skins, continues to do well. I did a number of readings and signing including a couple in Provincetown, Montreal, Palm Springs and my first in my Hometown. I also met a lot of great people who connected with the novel. I was also short-listed for a Hamilton Literary Arts Award for the novel which was very exiting (for a first time novelist).  I went on a cruise in January to see the Caribbean for the first time.  I also launched my website jeffreyluscombe.com and started on my second novel which I hope to have finished in the first half of 2014.

And there were less than grand moments.

I did not win the aforementioned award I was short-listed for, my father is still battling Multiple Myeloma and we have had a couple of bad events through the year though he seems to be better right now, the husband had an operation on his knee which took months of recuperation.  Early in the year my asthma was out of control but with some extra medication I was able to get it in check by the end of summer.

“But”, Proust may have asked if he were to drop by this New Years Eve,  “does the Gay Groom still believe in New Years?  Or will he have the New Years of old men.”

“Well, Marcel,” I’d say as I handed him a cognac, “believe isn’t quite the right word.  Instead, I choose to accept the contrived and artificial demarcation of New Years.  Let’s call it a ‘New Years of mature men'”.

I choose to accept New Years because I hope.

And aren’t all those fresh pages in my new red 2014 journal (which one day will prove to be a most scandalous memoir) 364 pages of lined hope?

At the end of Proust’s enormous novel, when his narrator (after squandering year after year of his life and writing potential on frivolous society parties and obsessive love) suddenly discovers that death is imminent, is overcome with the need to write.  In writing, the narrator regains time by folding time – and himself – into the pages of the book.

And on that note, your humble blogger signs off for the year.

The story continues…

Happy New Year!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Let’s Talk Grindr

This week Paris Hilton made headlines when she said gays were ‘disgusting’ for using the iPhone app Grindr.

Most surprising in the whole affair was that anyone still cared what the aging talentless socialite who seems slightly retarded thinks.

But apparently some do.

So now you may be asking yourself, “what is this Grindr thing?”

Well please allow Your Humble Blogger to fill you in.  Grindr is an app that… well let me quote their own webpage:

“The go-to place for gay, bi, and curious guys to meet, the location-based Grindr is free, fast, and fun. It uses GPS technology in your iPhone or BlackBerry and Wi-Fi in your iPod touch or iPad to determine your exact location and instantly connect you with guys in your area. Simply launch Grindr to see local guys (the closest appear first) and view pictures, stats, and map locations at a tap. It’s that easy. So come on, see who’s available on Grindr.”

Now your humble blogger has been attached for about two or three hundred years now.  No, I’m kidding… I’ve only been with The Husband about a hundred years.

But I have heard from my friends that couples (both straight and gay) are now meeting on the internet (Match dot com, Lifemates etc.).  Thus, it seems to your humble blogger that Grindr is just the logical next step for gay guys to meet new friends for friendship, dating or both.  And though I met my Husband the old fashioned way (he picked me up in a gay bar), I think Grindr and apps like it are actually a good thing.

As E.M. Forster said: “Only connect”.

Intrigued (and for the purposes of investigation for The Gay Groom blog), I created a profile on Grindr (with the full and written consent of The Husband) but, as it turned out, no one sent me a message.  Perhaps it was because I had used my wedding photo in my profile?  Or maybe because I said I was “happily married and just looking about material for my blog”.  But for whatever reason, I was unpopular (it was rather like high school all over again).

There is also an app that is like Grindr but is for the more bearish in the gay community called Scruff.

It works basically the same way as Gridr but has a few more ‘fun’ features like the ability to ‘woof’ (rather like the Facebook poke) at other members and there is also a tool, ‘Would you meet…” where you can say no, maybe or yes.  If you both say ‘yes’ to meeting, then the Scruff app will let you know.

Actually, I was never woofed at on Scruff either.

And since your humble blogger (being not only married but also apparently quite unpopular) could not get any practical experience with either Grindr or Scruff, he must rely on his wonderful readers.

So tell me, have you met anybody on Gridr or Scruff? Was it a good experience?  Would you use it again to meet ‘friends’?  Are they any other apps for gay men out there you would suggest?

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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World’s Worst Little Hockey Player

Hockey Jeff

To celebrate the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a repost of my popular hockey blog:

With visions of NHL hockey contracts dancing in his head, each winter my father would stand out back of our house in the freezing cold and flood our lawn with a garden hose to make my older brothers and me a backyard skating rink.

My dear old dad wanted your humble blogger to be a great hockey player.  He had me on ice-skates before I was two years old.  The logic being, I suppose, that the earlier I was on the ice then the better skater I would become.

Sadly, for him, this was not to be the case.

Unlike my older brothers, I hated hockey. I hated the cold. I hated the big heavy uniform.  And I especially hated how my brother’s hand-me-down ice-skates hurt my feet.  I told my dad that skating for long periods hurt my chest (my asthma not yet being diagnosed) but any protestations I made were dismissed by my father with a shake of his head as he would put those damned skates on my feet at the kitchen table each evening and then have me skate in circles around that backyard ice rink.

“You just need more practice,” he would say as he shoved me out into the cold.

On Saturday nights, he would have me sit in front of our huge Zenith color television and watch “Hockey Night in Canada.”  The little Gay Groom did not like watching hockey anymore than I liked playing it.  The games seemed to go on forever and I never really cared who won or lost.  To pass the time as they skated up and down and up and down and up… I would critique the colors of their uniforms:  loved the purple and gold Kings, hated the brown, yellow and orange Canucks, and decided that the Whalers needed a splash of crimson.

I would wait patiently for the end of the game when the camera would move into the locker-room and someone would put a microphone in the face of a half-naked husky hockey player with a bare chests and long sweaty hair.

In those days your humble blogger really dug those Montreal Canadians with their French accents.  Actually, your humble blogger still does.

When I was seven, the time came for me to join the city boy’s hockey league, just as my brothers had, where I played on a team called the Cardinals.

“Shouldn’t cardinals be in red?” I asked my dad when I saw my green uniform for the first time.

“Stop worrying so much about color,” he said.

And I was hopeless on the ice.  I tripped.  I fell over.  I slid on my face.  And at times I simply gave up and lay on my back staring up at the lights on the ceiling as others skated around me.  The lights are pretty from down here, I thought.

“Get up!” my father yelled from the stands. “For Christ’s sake, skate!”

I didn’t feel like it.

After a few games, I was not put on the ice much and spent most of the game sitting on the bench with Tommy Young who was also a terrible skater (and who, incidentally, I would run into at a gay bar a few years later) and discuss important things like Tiger Beat magazine.  Warming the bench with Tommy was fine by me.

(I should mention at this point that many gay men are great athletes and, particularly, great hockey players… and the Gay Groom’s own rottenness at hockey should be in no way seen as stereotypical of all gay boys.  There are excellent gay hockey players out there – I am just not one of them.)

On the drive home from the neighborhood hockey rink after a Cardinal’s game my dad was always quiet.  He was never one to mask his disappointment well and would look shell shocked as he drove (rather like he did years later when I told him why my roommate and I had rented an apartment with only one bedroom).

“But he was on skates before he was two,” he would say quietly say to himself.

When we got home he would make me put my skates back on and skate circles around the backyard rink in the dark.

“You need more practice,” he said.

One night after he made me go out in the backyard to skate circles I waited until I saw him looking out the kitchen window at me.   Then I stretched out my arms wide at my sides and, in the best Dorothy Hamill imitation my lousy skating skills could muster, I started to do big flamboyant figure eights on the ice.  As my father’s eyes narrowed I even managed to throw in a few tiny little jumps without falling.  The final spin never materialized properly but I still finished with a defiant “TA DA!”

It worked.  He flew outside in a rage running over the ice in his stocking feet and pulling me by the shoulder, threw me through the back door.

My dad never made another backyard ice rink.

And as for your humble blogger’s first and only year playing hockey with The Cardinals?  Now the only reminder I have of that unhappy winter is my team photo.

TA DA!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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The Gay Groom Hits One Hundred

A toast to my 100th

Although I’m still recuperating from my sinus surgery, I couldn’t let the 100th Gay Groom post go by without at least a little fanfare.

After all, it’s my Centennial.

When I first starting blogging about my upcoming wedding back in 2009, I never really thought that I’d still be doing it over two years later.  I had envisioned that The Gay Groom would cease after my nuptials – after all the posts about caterers, rings, music and the rest of the crazy wedding planning finally ended.  In fact I did stop writing The Gay Groom for some time.  However (contrary to Hollywood romantic comedies) it turns out that life does indeed go on after one says “I do”… so I started blogging again, but this time my posts were about living life as a gay married man – with all the ups and downs that go with living in a big city and growing (kicking and screaming) into middle-age.  As well, I’ve also written some reviews of books, theatre, art exhibitions and anything else that has struck your humble blogger’s fancy.

In addition to writing all about my big fat gay wedding, together we have met Queen Elizabeth II, stared down death when an asthma attack landed your humble blogger in the hospital, trained for and ran a 5K race during Pride, celebrated Alice B. Toklas’ birthday with Alice’s hash brownie recipe (oddly, this is one of my most viewed blogs) lived through the Rapture, tested ‘suggested fee’ museums in NYC by attempting to get in the Metropolitan and Frick for a penny and went under the knife for my sinus surgery.

I’ve shared stories about growing up gay, like World’s Worst Little Hockey Player, My First Book of Gay Erotica: The Sears Catalog and Nearly Everything I Needed to Know About Sex I Learned from The Sensuous Woman.

And speaking of growing up gay, one of the really cool things to happen to your humble blogger while writing The Gay Groom was when I received a note from Bjorn Borg telling me he had read and enjoyed my post, Me and Björn Borg – A Love Story, all about the schoolboy crush I had on him when I was seven.   Borg would also send me an autographed pair of ‘lucky underwear’ from his Bjorn Borg underwear line as thanks (photo).

And it seems that I have struck a cord with many of you as well, as I have been fortunate enough to have had tens of thousands of readers.

Let me take a moment to say how thankful I am to everyone who has popped by to take a look at my scribblings – and a very special thanks to all those who have subscribed to my little blog.

It is greatly appreciated.

Thus, I plan on continuing writing The Gay Groom for the foreseeable future.  And whatever’s in store next for your humble blogger… I hope you will come along for the ride.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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New York State Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State to Pass Law

Now I love NY even more

Congratulations to New York, your humble blogger’s favourite US State, on the passing of the marriage equality bill last night.

Like many of you, I watched the vote via closed circuit televisoin on net and got a little misty eyed as the vote passed in the Senate 33-29 (with four members of the Republican majority joining all but one Democrat in the Senate in supporting the bill).

One of the most moving speeches of the night was from Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had sought office promising to oppose same-sex marriage.  He told his colleagues he had agonized for months before concluding he had been wrong:

“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

I think that sums it up.

Soon after the vote, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a same-sex marriage bill into law in his office at the State Capitol.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signing the same-sex marriage bill into law

This makes (to quote from The New York Times) “New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.”

Today’s New York Times article

So it’s a happy day (landing on the first day of NYC Pride, no less!) for my NY friends and family.  Now just one quick question:

“When you getting married?”

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Vancouver Can Wait (or Palm Springs Here We Come)

Our Palm Springs Holiday, March 2009

On my last blog I mentioned that I was going to be accompanying the Husband to Vancouver later this week.

But Vancouver will have to wait.

Instead (after some discussion and a report that it will be a cold and damp spring) we decided that a weekend in Vancouver just wouldn’t cut it.   So, (for a small 50 dollar fee) we changed my Vancouver flight to a Palm Springs for later in the month.

The husband and I had not intended to go south this year.  We had wanted to save a little money but (as it turned out) one can only take a long Canadian winter (that refuses to let go to spring) for only so long.

You win, Winter!

The husband and I just couldn’t make it through this whole miserable winter and the upcoming miserable spring without some vitamin D that doesn’t come in a pill.  That’s right, Winter kicked our butts.

So we will be spending a week sunning ourselves at a guesthouse in sunny Palm Springs, California.

And now that WestJet has a direct flight from Toronto right to Palm Springs, it makes getting there much easier (I won’t even go into the hassle we went through last year changing planes in Las Vegas).

Bring on the sun!

We also just put down our deposit for an Atlantis Mexican Riviera cruise in October.  It will be to celebrate  our second wedding anniversary.

Atlantis, as you may know,  is the big gay cruise line.

Our Altantis Honeymoon Cruise, October 2009

The Husband seems to enjoy cruising more than your humble blogger.  After a year of hard work, he likes to park himself on a ship and do nothing… while I’d rather be strolling through Paris again (though the Husband likes to call my strolls ‘forced marches’).  However, I am looking forward to the October cruise as well.

But more about gay cruising on a subsequent blog.

Right now I have to get ready for Palm Springs… can one lose twenty-five pounds in two week?

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Behind Every Good Man

Your humble blogger and his husband

The Husband travels quite a bit for work.

Last week he flew off  Monday morning and (though he just returned late Thursday night)  we will be packing up his suitcase again for a business trip to Ottawa on Sunday afternoon.   Does that mean that the two of us will be having a romantic Saturday to make the most of our short time together?

Sadly, no.

It means that your humble blogger will be doing laundry all day Saturday so he will have something clean to wear.  We wouldn’t want the other lawyers to think he’s has a slothful spouse, would we?

Ah well, such is life when you are the spouse of a lawyer.

I’m sure there is no real difference between gay couples and same-sex couples in this situation.  One must realize that their spouse is simply doing their job – often a very difficult job – and should be supported.  And your humble blogger is one supportive son-of-a-gun.   I like keeping the home-fires burning.  And as they say, “behind every good man there is a good…”  well never mind what they say.

Behind my man is another good man.

At without breaking into a chorus of “Wind Beneath my Wings”, I know that The Husband is behind me as well.  He was there when I switched career paths and returned to The University of Toronto for my BA in English and again when I continued on for my MA.  He was also supportive when I was accepted into a PhD program (which I finally decided not to pursue since it seemed much more interesting to write my own novel than spend four or more years discussing someone elses work.  And I can’t count the number of times the Husband has acted as Alice B. Toklas to my Gertrude Stein and edited chapters of the manuscript that I’ve been working on.

I am behind him and he is behind me.

As I mentioned,  the husband is off again on Sunday for the week.  So one must always make the best of the time that we are apart.  I get quite a bit of writing (and reading) done when the husband is away.  As well, I can meet with friends for lunch or head easily to my hometown on the bus and see my parents (without renting a car like when we both go).

One must also remember that it is never easy for the spouse that is off traveling all the time.   It isn’t a holiday.  In the late 1990s  I was a consultant and commuted from Toronto to Dallas/Atlanta/Birmingham/London/Detroit/Miami/San Francisco/etc.  And it was never as much fun as people thought (and this was before travel became even more unpleasant with the new security measures brought in after 9/11).

Traveling for work is not the same as traveling for fun.

But we have decided that, for at least once, we will try and do both (work and fun that is).  Later this month when The Husband has to go to Vancouver on business, I will be using my air-miles and meeting him there.  And after a weekend lovely together, I’ll have to putter about the city for a couple of days alone during the day while he works.  I’m sure I’ll find something to do in Vancouver.

Such is life when you are the spouse of a lawyer.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom.

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The Gay Groom is Wired, Part II (or Let’s Talk Grindr and Scruff)

And no gay man worth his salt can talk about the iPhone apps without talking about Grindr.

Grindr is an app that… well let me quote their own webpage:

“The go-to place for gay, bi, and curious guys to meet, the location-based Grindr is free, fast, and fun. It uses GPS technology in your iPhone or BlackBerry and Wi-Fi in your iPod touch or iPad to determine your exact location and instantly connect you with guys in your area. Simply launch Grindr to see local guys (the closest appear first) and view pictures, stats, and map locations at a tap. It’s that easy. So come on, see who’s available on Grindr.”

Now your humble blogger has been attached for about two or three hundred years now.  No, I’m kidding… I’ve only been with The Husband about a hundred years.

But I have heard from my friends that couples (both straight and gay) are now meeting on the internet (Match dot com, Lifemates etc.).  Thus, it seems to your humble blogger that Grindr is just the logical next step for gay guys to meet new friends for friendship, dating or both.  And though I met my Husband the old fashioned way (he picked me up in a gay bar), I think Grindr and apps like it are actually a good thing.

As E.M. Forster said: “Only connect”.

Intrigued (and for the purposes of investigation for The Gay Groom blog), I created a profile on Grindr (with the full and written consent of The Husband) but, as it turned out, no one sent me a message.  Perhaps it was because I had used my wedding photo in my profile?  Or maybe because I said I was “happily married and just looking about material for my blog”.  But for whatever reason, I was unpopular (it was rather like high school all over again).

There is also an app that is like Grindr but is for the more bearish in the gay community called Scruff.

It works basically the same way as Gridr but has a few more ‘fun’ features like the ability to ‘woof’ (rather like the Facebook poke) at other members and there is also a tool, ‘Would you meet…” where you can say no, maybe or yes.  If you both say ‘yes’ to meeting, then the Scruff app will let you know.

Actually, I was never woofed at on Scruff either.

And since your humble blogger (being not only married but also apparently quite unpopular) could not get any practical experience with either Grindr or Scruff, he must rely on his wonderful readers.

So tell me, have you met anybody on Gridr or Scruff? Was it a good experience?  Would you use it again to meet ‘friends’?  Are they any other apps for gay men out there you would suggest?

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Not another New Years blog!

I’m wondering if reading a Men’s Health magazine and checking in at my gym on Facebook Places counts as a workout.

Probably not.

Your humble blogger has been away from the gym for a few weeks but will finally get back there this week.  If anything, just to look at the naked men in the shower.

Luckily we gay guys have that extra incentive to haul our ass the gym.

But New Years, as they keep telling us, is a time to start again… time to start losing that weight I put on over the holidays… which was the weight I took off last summer… which was the weight I put on last Christmas… damn that delicious and (luckily) seasonal President’s Choice Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge Crackle™ Ice Cream!

Ah well.

The husband gave me a number of books for Christmas.  The Slap by Australian author Christos Tsiolka is first on the list to read (that is after I finish Hitch-22… and Parisians by Graham Robb… To the End of the Land by David Grossman… and then there’s some lousy selection for my book club this month).  And Colm Tóibín’s new collection of short stories, The Empty Family is being released in Canada on January 04. Maybe I’ll write a review or one or two of these novels when I’m finished.

But there’s lots of time – New Years and all.

Ah, New Years!  I have 364.25 days to do all this stuff and more… and now I’ve even started blogging again (it will be interesting to see how long that lasts).

And what about the new novel I’ve been working on?  I’ve had quite a number of readers email me about the status of my novel.  If only publishers were as interested as Gay Groom readers.  Well I’m still working on it.  Editing and re-editing and re-re-editing.  It’s currently being read by a publisher and an agent or two.  I wonder if I’ll ever hear back from them?   Sometimes you never do.  But since hope springs eternal, I’ve began working on yet another novel.  But we’ll save all the poop on the book for another blog.  Still lots of time… it’s a new year!

Or is it?

A few years ago your humble blogger wrote a blog discussing Marcel Proust’s pondering of New Years in his colossal novel, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), as  Proust’s young narrator describes his disillusionment with New Years Day.

Time passes indifferently.  The future, Proust’s narrator suddenly discovers, does not magically open up on New Years Day.   There is only the unheeding fluidity of days and years that, unknown to the Years themselves, we choose to invest with a different name each January.   Thus is our feeble attempt to shape and modify Years to suit ourselves. “New Years Day was not a day different from the rest”, Proust writes, “it’s not the first day of a new world.”

But what did that old French invert know?

Quite a bit, actually.  We all know that a lovely new world is not magically created when Anderson Cooper hosts the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve.  We know January 1 is arbitrary and could have easily been March 15 (which would even make a bit more sense).  We know New Years isn’t a grand new clean start.

But hell, I’ll play along for a few days…

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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2010 in review (WordPress as guest blogger)

The folks at WordPress were nice enough to actually write a blog for The Gay Groom this week.  According to their Blog-Health-o-Meter™ (yes, it’s actually trade marked) I’m ‘fresher than ever’!

I haven’t been called ‘fresh’ in some time.

According to WordPress,  my blog has been viewed over 12,000 times (or as they like to put it, 29 full 747s) this year – which isn’t bad since I took the year off from writing – bringing my total views to over 15,000 since starting in July 2009.

My most popular blog Me and Björn Borg – A Love Story, was actually first published in a small literary journal back in 2009 and I’ll do my best to post some of my other published fiction as well over 2011.

But this blog is already taking up more time than it deserves…

Take it away, guys!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

—————————————–

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2010. That’s about 29 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 5 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 37 posts. There were 174 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 31mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 4th with 167 views. The most popular post that day was Me and Björn Borg – A Love Story.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, twitter.com, manginamonologues.wordpress.com, search.daum.net, and meetgaycouples.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bjorn borg, tim hortons, björn borg, tim hortons logo, and bjørn borg.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Me and Björn Borg – A Love Story January 2010
2 comments

2

Timmy-gate: Tim Hortons, Gay Marriage, and Outrage August 2009
1 comment

3

Hoarders and Tossers January 2010
3 comments

4

But I’m Not a Suit Guy September 2009
2 comments

5

My First Book of Gay Erotica: The Sears Catalog December 2009
2 comments

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