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Meeting men through the hotel trade


“In 1959 I left home to go into the hotel world at 18 and that’s when my life changed. I worked at the Saracens Head at Balsall Common on and off for five years. Being a good-looking lad I would be propositioned by the customers or diners at the hotel.  I think the fact that a man had spent time talking to me for a start off would give me an idea – or in-depth conversations or someone would twig that I was gay and, therefore, play on that but only because they were gay, it was very rare I was talking to someone and they said, ‘Are you gay, are you queer?’  So there would be the odd guy who would come more than once and want to take me out to dinner and invariably I’d go, I was a young man and why not -  if I liked the look of him or his car, and I developed quite a nice group of friends who were gay, directly or indirectly, sometimes married, sometimes not. I’ve very rarely had any negative reactions in my life and, of course, the hotel world is very transient, you know, people come and people go. I was doing my hotel training at Saracens Head and I was under the protection of Mrs Watt, the owner.” 

Contributed by: Robin McGarry, 66

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