The most wonderful thing about other people is that each and every one we come across or read about has lived a life like no-one else. Even though we may relate to various aspects of their lives, none of us have travelled the same path as them. And yet, discovering how these fellas navigate their way through our topsy turvey world is not only fascinating and eye-opening, it can be reassuring and inspiring. Which is why GuysLikeU – unlike so many other websites aimed at gay men – is so keen to share young men’s stories about their coming out experiences, their relationships, their struggles with mental health and so on.
Here, gorgeous Venezuelan copy writer Daniel Schutte shares his dramatic coming out story plus gushes about his love for men with bellies, why he loves with his ‘dad bod’ and the attention he gets on social media and explains how life in isolation has been affecting him and his husband.
First of all, Dan, tell us about your family life…
Growing up in my family was bittersweet. I had – and still have – the most loving mother but she could be a tough cookie sometimes. She has that Bianca vibe, where she would tell you she loves you by throwing you into the water before knowing how to swim. It was tough love, but love nonetheless. My parents separated when I was two and I stayed with my mom.
That must have been tough. Did you see much of your dad after that?
My father moved to another city and after that he wasn’t really in the picture anymore. I’d visit him during the summer but other than that, radio silence the rest of the year. Looking back at those visits, it felt more like a military school. Very serious, very macho man. Which is funny, because if you ask me now if I wanna be in a room full of serious-looking macho men, I’d be like “SIGN ME UP”.
So was it just you and you mum?
No, I grew up in a full house, kind of like the 90s show. I lived with my mom, my younger brother, my grandma AND four uncles. It was packed and testosterone was everywhere. My uncles were all ladies men and living in Latin America, being gay was a no go. I remember them joking one time about taking me and my brother to a brothel to become real men. Thankfully that never happened.
It must have been hard for you to grow up around such straight men when you were developing feelings for guys.
I always knew I wasn’t like my uncles, so I always felt out of place. I remember watching videos of Jerry Rivera [a very handsome salsa singer] and having a warm, tingly feeling in my body. But it was when I saw Ricky Martin that all my doubts flew out the door. I know what you’re thinking – a gay Latino that likes Ricky Martin, groundbreaking. But come on, Ricky in the 90s was the definition of eye candy. From that point on, I knew I liked men but I also knew that coming out wasn’t an option then. So I kept my mouth shut but my eyes very open.
Was keeping it secret hard?
When I was 14-15, I slowly drifted toward the Internet. I couldn’t really afford to go out and meet people. Also I didn’t want to be seen out on the street hanging out with a bunch of gay kids. I was worried people would think I was gay and tell my mom. I just didn’t want all that. So I had one choice, the Internet. Chatrooms were a turning point for me. They provided me with an outlet to express what I was feeling inside.
What would you do?
I would log on every evening and would spend hours and hours chatting away. The first time I had sex was with a guy I met on that chatroom. I started meeting people, but I wasn’t making actual friends in real life. But then I met one guy who invited me to hang out with his friends. The more I hung out with that group, I discovered that most of them had been thrown out of their homes for being gay or they had just fled for a better life. That made me feel even more unsure about coming out.
So how did you finally get around to coming out?
It’s a messy story. The first person I ever came out to was friend from high school. I told her that there was a guy I was chatting with and that I thought I liked him. But then Miss Thing told all her girlfriends that I was into guys. One of their moms heard about me who then called my mom and told her that my best male friend I had at the time was my secret boyfriend and I was ordered not to see him again. After that, I was just scared. Scared of what my mom thought about me and, of course, what my friends would think once they found out. As time passed I just compartmentalised my social life and my family interactions.
Did that work for you?
Keeping my friends and family separate resulted in me having secret boyfriends when I was 17. My first actual boyfriend was called Jose and he was pretty sweet, caring and loyal. But I think I was a bit of an ass to him to be honest. One thing led to another and we broke up after a year, and then I ended up going on a date with one of his close friends ONE DAY after we broke up.
Yep! Word got around, as it always does, and he found out. Pissed off, he then decided to call my mom and tell her that her son was a flaming homo. For the next couple of years I had a rocky relationship with her. I even had a few therapy sessions to deal with it and there was a lot of crying.
Did seeing someone help?
It did. I got to understand my mom’s processing of my being gay. I already had years trying to understand my sexuality, but this was news for her. So I think the therapy sessions were more for her than for me. What I discovered was that my mom didn’t want me to go through any hardship, whether I liked men, women or anything in between. We eventually worked everything out and now she’s super close with my husband.
Wow, that’s great news.
The funny thing is, I don’t know why I was so scared of coming out to my mom, or to my family for that matter, because I was F R U I T Y when I was younger. I mean, I used to fangirl every time a song from Shakira came on the radio and I’d wrap a sweater around my hips and dance to Ojos Así. Even one of my friends’ mom used to call me Shakiro. I had a super level of fruitiness. But I guess all the homophobic comments from most of the people around me spiked my insecurities and that fruitiness dulled down.
How did that fruitiness go down with the lads at school?
I wasn’t particularly bullied but I also did not quite fit in a particular group. I was like a hopper. I think my fear of coming out made me try to be a regular Joe kind of boy at school, I wanted to stand out as little as possible. There was a girl in school that helped me a lot to feel better about me. She was the outcast of the class. People used to call her the “emo girl”. We were really close, but then she ended up copying my entire research project in my last year of high school and I almost didn’t graduate because of her. So that was that. In general, though,
Was love finding love a priority for you?
Growing up watching teenage movies, I always wanted to have that high school boyfriend fantasy. But I never had it. Nowadays, I just want to be with someone that makes me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, sex is important but my hole can only take so many beatings. But really, I’m pretty laid back, very homely, I like to go out to the club once every blue moon. I’m not high maintenance at all. I like a guy that can ground me a little. In terms of looks, he just has to look like a human with a penis. I don’t care about anything else in that department. If you have a penis and we can have a good laugh, we’re good. Luckily, I have already found an amazing guy. We’ve been married for almost five years now and we’re doing pretty good.
How long have you been with your husband?
We met in 2014, so six years! I was doing a summer course in the south of Germany with my ex. Yes, another ex. Drag me. We decided to a visit Cologne for a couple of days, because we had heard that the city was the San Fran of Germany. As you can expect, we had Grindr working overtime as soon as we got there. One of those nights we were bored at our hostel and this guy messaged me and invited us to have a beer at his place, which we all know that code for “we gonna fuck”. We ended hitting it off and I even stayed at his place for a couple of days at the end of my trip. After that, I went to the US but we kept in touch. If you would have told me then that I was going to marry him a year later, I would have laughed so hard. But we did.
And a year later, there we were suited up, in front of a judge. I was so nervous, excited, sweaty but most of all I was sad. Not because I was getting married, but because none of my family or friends were there. I guess that is what happens when you decide to move to another continent. Still, he made me feel so loved – he still does. The one thing I’ll never forget is how he surprised me when he said his vows in Spanish – he is as German as it gets. But somehow he memorized the words and as soon as he started saying those vows I burst into tears. I also said to him ‘you asshole’ in front of everybody for making me cry uglier than Kim Kardashian.
It sounds so cute. A lot of gay couples have open relationships. Is monogamy something you abide by?
I don’t know what to think about monogamy. Some people use that word as virtue signaling and it’s just exhausting. I’m not saying that monogamy doesn’t exist, but it can be misused. And for nothing, because most gay men are hornballs. But also, you can be in a romantic relationship with more than one person and it is as valid as a monogamous couple. What’s important to me is that the person I’m with is loyal to our relationship and that isn’t necessarily on a sexual level. If you want to fuck the neighbor because he makes you queef, by all means, do. But if you wanna take him out on an actual date, in the words of Khia: Electric chair! But that is just what I think and what works for me. I’m sure that there are people that don’t mind that as well as there are those that go crazy if you look at someone else for a millisecond.
You’re a good looking guy. Have you felt a pressure to look a certain way?
I grew up feeling so ugly to be honest. I never did sports so I wasn’t particularly in shape and I used to hear a couple of comments about my big ears. My mom used to tell me I was a handsome boy, but I never believed her because the eyes of a mother can be as blind as a bat. When I entered my 20s, I started to go to the gym and men started to notice me more. The attention felt nice and if you wanna buy me a drink because you think I look good, who am I to tell you ‘no!’?
Oh, don’t mind me. This is just a dad bod 😅 pic.twitter.com/cIM0zH2x5B
— Danny Rumors (@beefydanny) May 3, 2020
Guys fancying you must be a great ego boost.
I do think I have had a healthy amount of attention in my life. A little ego boost is necessary, at least I need it. But if you ask me now if I like the way I look, I’d have to say it depends on the day. Sometimes I feel like I look stupidly good and then some days I look in the mirror and think “who let Perez Hilton in the house?”. And it’s not that I feel pressured to look a certain way but I just wanna look as decent as I can without committing to a diet. So I basically train as much as I can to burn all the stuff I eat and not to be like those delusional muscle gays.
We think you have a great a bod. You describe it as a ‘dad bod’. do you think gay men are obsessed with the body beautiful?
I honestly think there is something really sexy about a belly. I was going through IG this morning and saw this guy with the biggest ass and a supper flat tummy. Like, congratulations on the ass, but where’s the beef, Wendys?? That is not to say that I can’t appreciate a fit body. The guy I look up to the most in terms of gym inspo has a six pack, for example. But I don’t go around thinking I HAVE to look like him. It’s just not healthy and, in my case, unrealistic. I’ll never have a six pack nor do I want one! Do you know how much bread I would have to stop eating to get there? Life’s too short for that.
I’m so bored rn pic.twitter.com/B5PJh3A6bZ
— Danny Rumors (@beefydanny) April 25, 2020
A lot of guys use social media as a way of boosting their ego. Do you have a good relationship with it?
I would be lying if I said I don’t like the attention. Who doesn’t want a bunch of people telling you that they find you attractive? But I also hate that people can take everything so serious on there. Take Twitter, for example. There, I try to stay away from serious topics because that’s not what I’m there for. If I want to talk about racism, Germany has enough of that as it is. So, I don’t want to bring that to the place where I just wanna look at memes and dicks. But I do have to acknowledge that social media can be a place to have productive conversations about those topics. Also, I have to acknowledge the privilege that allows me to avoid such topics there. So, I don’t want to take away from those people who start those conversations there.
What do you like most about your body? what do you not like about your body?
I particularly like my legs. They’re a little thick here and there. I like my shoulders too but only after shoulder day. Now, as for my back, I hate that bitch. It probably is because I can’t seem to develop a decent shape. But then again, that’s all relative, because I’ve had people tell me they like my back.
Not bad for a cut with a beard trimmer 🤷🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/jgvhgVMPwU
— Danny Rumors (@beefydanny) April 4, 2020
How has this Covid-19 situation changed things or impacted on work? Germany seems to have dealt wit it well. How are you dealing with isolation?
Luckily, I work for a company that works with newspapers, magazines, that kind of thing. So, our jobs are more or less secure. People want to know what’s happening and we deliver news. Because of the nature of the job, we are also able to pretty much work from every and as soon as the government started to issue warnings, the company sent everyone home. I’ve been working from home for the past two months and it’s been great. And now that stores have started to reopen, you can start to have a little of normalcy back.
What’s it been like being cooped up with your hubby?
I think I’ve never spent so much time with a person as I have been with my husband these past months. For the most part it’s been nice. We give each other enough space to avoid killing each other but we have had our moments tho. Sometimes the silliest things turn into these big arguments and it’s ridiculous to be honest. Once, we fought over a sourdough starter. You get the idea. I guess I’m lucky in that aspect too.
What have you learnt about yourself during this time. Do you think we will all come out of this changed people?
Before the pandemic, I spent most of my time at home or at the gym. So, the only thing that has changed is the fact that now I work out at home. Other than that, it has been pretty much the same. I’ve also had time to reflect on the falling outs I have had with people. More specifically one friend that I still care about a lot. When I decided to come to Germany, I didn’t do it alone. My best friend at that time, Viv, and I planned how we would come here and make better lives for ourselves. To this day, that has been the most important period in my life. I can honestly say that she, next to a very small number of people, has had a big influence in shaping the person I am today. Unfortunately, I let my ego get the best of that friendship and we ended up disappearing from each other’s lives. And now, having a lot of time on my hands, I look back at that moment when I told her that I didn’t want to be at her wedding and I really wish I’d handled things differently. I pride myself in cutting off toxic people from my life and I guess I never thought that I could also be toxic to people. I guess the only thing I could do is reach out to her and that is something I am working on right now.
What would you say to your 12 year old self about the future?
To my 12-year-old self I would say: You are about to enter a very challenging phase in your life. Be kind to your mom. Understand that every decision that she made, she did with you and your brother in mind. Also, TELL your mom you love her more often. She needs to hear that from her sons. Daniel, stop measuring your self-worth with the things you have or can’t have. Yes, your cousin might get more expensive gifts, but believe me when I tell you that those sacrifices your mom has made to keep you in school are priceless. Talk to your little brother more often, he wants an older brother and not a roommate. There will be a time when you two won’t be in each other’s lives and you will spend most days regretting you would have had more time with him. And finally, all those things your are feeling inside, they are not wrong. No matter how many times your aunt says nasty things about gay men. Stand up to her, push her buttons and be unapologetically proud.