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Out! and about

Rather than let loneliness eat away at me, this group has given me food for thought, says Fearghus de Mórdha

I'm not a man who moves out of his comfort zone very often; in fact, when it comes to my social life, I am quite lazy. But, sometimes, after you are over the initial shock of a relationship finishing and as the fog clears, you realise that you haven't paid attention to your friends, they have moved on and you are a bit lonely. No shame in that -- we all are at times -- but there is something wrong if you don't try to resolve it, other than attempting to find a new boyfriend.

So, rather than hanging out in gay bars with the few friends who are around at the moment, I decided to try something different. A good while ago, I had heard about a homo social group that dine out twice a month. The group was set up in April 2002, and between 15 and 30 men meet for dinner in a restaurant in Dublin city centre.

The group gets together on the second Friday and last Saturday of each month, the aim is for homo men to make new friends, and people of all ages are welcome.

I am always a little sceptical about these types of social groups and I was nervous going along on Saturday evening, but I was pleasantly surprised, as the group of men were very welcoming.

Evidently, the focus of the group was friendship based, as opposed to some other gay social groups I have interacted with, where there is always an undertone of cruising -- but maybe that's just me.

It was also great to see that it wasn't a case of a nice meal and everyone rushing off to a homo bar afterwards (they went to the Laughter Lounge). In fact, I was the one who ran off to a homo bar, but that was no reflection on the group and I am looking forward to the next meal together.

For more details visit www.diningoutireland.org; fearghusdemordha@yahoo.com