Over the years GuysLikeU has happily introduced you to hundreds of gay young men who have generously shared their compelling personal stories which have entertained, informed and inspired thousands of others. One such guy is Londoner Petros, who became a GuysLikeU favourite after he opened up about coming out and revealed that in spite of his body confidence online he harboured body insecurities.
While many of his fans are tickled by Petros’ dashing looks, just as many admire him and his husband Rissi for their aspirational lifestyle and their optimistic outlook on life that they happily present on Instagram. Two years ago, a 16 year old Spanish lad called Alex got in touch with GuysLikeU to pay tribute to Petros and Rissi after reading Petros’s interviews on the site. He told us that having read about how he had come out and found love with Rissi had inspired him to find the courage to tell his family his family that he was gay .
As we begin to come out of lockdown we reached out to Petros once again to find out how life has changed for him and his husband during the pandemic and how their relationship has stood up to the pressure of living in each other’s pockets.
Petros, what have you discovered about yourself during lockdown?
I’ve discovered how easily we as humans can adapt to new situations, that’s for sure. I mean it’s a pretty messed up situation. However, mentally I was able to deal with it and do the best possible! I’ve also discovered that I’m a crazy plant person. Since lockdown I have doubled the amount of plants that we had before.
What have you learnt about Rissi?
That he works too much. He’s a manager so he works long hours, and I can hear him talking to his colleagues on the phone. He’s super professional. Also that he drinks way more coffee than he led me to believe.
Do you think lockdown has reaffirmed your relationship?
Definitely, it has most definitely strengthened it. Don’t get me wrong, we were strong before, but this lockdown has forced us to literally be together 24/7. It was different before, we’d go to work and not see each other ten hours a day. Now we’re together all the time, and we just fit like a jigsaw. We decided near the beginning, he’ll cook and I’ll clean, so that worked out real well.
You’ve been married for a long time – how do you keep a relationship fresh?
Yeah, married eight years now! WOW a long time. We always keep ourselves occupied with the next challenge. If it’s not a big holiday, then it’s a home project etc. But honesty has been a key component to our relationship. We tell each other everything, including things that are concerning us or that we may not be happy with. But that and more also FUN. We got to make each other laugh and keep things interesting.
Do either of you get worried about the attention you get from guys online?
So we get asked this a lot, especially by guys online that are in relationships and are concerned about social media. I tell them it’s about being honest with your other half, and telling each other what you’re comfortable with. For us, we’ve been together almost 12 years, so we know each other very well. We know that guys can flirt, but at the end of the day we don’t take it seriously because we know who we belong with.
Obviously you’re not shy about flashing your body – are you fully aware that you are giving your fans what they want. Do you feel like youre performing for them?
Haha, it’s true, I do flash a little skin on my IG. I didn’t think I was performing for them, until people started messaging me suggesting I open an OnlyFans and monetise my following, but it’s not for me. I mean, as long as I’m not repulsing anyone, its just a little fun right?
What kind of messages do you get from people?
Ooof. All sorts. From people asking for relationship advice, skincare or hair routine to more obscene stuff. I do get messages from people in countries where there is no support for the LGBTQ+ community or where it is dangerous for them to be themselves. Those are really painful to read, but I try to respond to everyone and if possible, find services that can help them in their situation. I feel super guilty though, when I’m not able to respond to all messages.
You famously helped a 16 year of guy to come out to his parents – have you had any other touching stories?
Ah Alex! That was a really beautiful story. There have been a few similar situations, including a few proposals. One guy told me he was bringing his boyfriend to London on holiday and asked where I recommended he propose! It’s so cool to hear these things, it’s like I have a subscription to other people’s life stories.
Has your body changed over lockdown? Have you found it hard to keep trim?
Yes and no! I end up snacking a lot more while working from home. But because it’s easier to meal prep now, we have actually been eating healthier than ever. We just had to change what’s available to snack at home. I mix high-intensity fitness training with weight training, so losing the gym was tough, but I’m a member of District Fitness, so they have been great at lending equipment and organising Zoom classes so we can workout from home. I also took advantage to using a PT based in New York, who was recommended to me. He’s awesome!
Have you started growing any grey hairs?
Haha, maybe the odd one on my beard, and every now and then @sold_a_telly plucks a grey hair out the back of my head when he sees one.
Have you developed any new lockdown skills?
How to replot pants (into bigger pots for example). I also run way more now, so I can run further and faster, without dying afterwards.
What has got you through the whole period?
@sold_a_telly for sure! He’s been incredible. Patient, fun, and let’s be honest, a dreamboat to watch at home all day. I really do feel for some of my friends who have been alone during lockdown, but now it’s a little easier to meet in the park. Also Netflix and other subscription services. They’ve been keeping us going to remind us what life was like.
Have you coped with not being able to see you pals and go to bars?
It has definitely been tough not being able to see our friends, especially those that live nearby. I miss going to friends’ places for dinner and catch up. And hug them!! I’m a very tactile person so that is killing me.
Are you missing the gay scene?
Actually I’m not. To be honest over the last few years, we have been out on the gay scene less and less. We prefer house/dinner parties, or hanging out in the park. It would be a shame though if the gay scene is affected by the lockdown permanently, because it’s nice to take friends who are visiting from overseas every now and then.
The government have been criticised a lot about their handling of the current crisis. How do you think they have dealt with it?
Ugh. I think the government is too scared to say ‘You are NOT allowed to do this or that, etc.’ I feel the lockdown was way too slow to start. Plus we live overlooking a park and when you had to stick to your households, we saw so many big groups having picnics, and no police officers to inforce the rules.
What was the maddest thing they did wrong?
I just think that they were so slow at locking everything down. It felt like they were more concerned with keeping businesses open which had a devastating effect on those businesses anyway because they took so long to lockdown and will affect them in the long run.
Shops and bars are now open again. Do you think we are going back to normal life too soon?
I’ll admit I’ll miss the lockdown, but it’s different for me, I have my husband, and we had a lot of fun during lockdown. However, it’ll be great to have some normality again soon. I just hope we don’t have too many local lockdowns like the one in Leicester.
What do you make of the mad ramblings of JK Rowling?
You know when you respect someone for so long, and then they say something that completely changes your image of them? I completely get what she’s saying about men dressing up as women just to get an opportunity to abuse other women in the restroom, but I would really like to know the percentages of those scenarios actually happening. I don’t think it justifies disregarding trans lives like that.
Does it worry you that there is a real shift to the right at the moment – the Polish president, for example, has said he would ban gay marriages…
It’s terrible that there are more and more of these politicians who clearly try to gain popularity from spouting so much hate. I do however, feel that it’s all cyclical and the next person in line with better views of the human race will do far better. I just hope the EU somehow can interfere with leaders trying to roll back rights.
Do you thing young gay guys take pride seriously enough? Do you think we need more education in schools about LGBT history?
We definitely need to learn more about LGBT history in schools, history which is impartial, because even for people of BAME their history is barely reflected in education. Education is way more important than damn statues. How can people be better if they can’t learn from their mistakes? As for young gay guys, I think it’s all a bit of fun for them but as they grow older and see the suffering that the LGBT community suffers, they then begin to see why Pride is needed and so important.
Over the past couple of months, the world has seemingly come to gather to address racism properly. Why do you think it took the murder of George Floyd to create such global debate?
Well as Will Smith said, it’s not getting worse, it’s just being filmed, and the sheer brutality of just one death being captured like that, pushed people to say, enough is enough. That and keeping the momentum going will hopefully show more and more people that this is a huge systemic problem that has been happening for hundreds of years.
How have you backed the campaign to eradicate racism?
We’ve both been having so many discussions with our friends, watching films that have been referenced online and been donating to charities such as the Black Lives Matter movement (it’s on my bio on IG). We wanted to attend the marches, however, we both visit people who are at high risk each week and didn’t want to jeopardise their health with COVID-19 so we try to do as much as we can using our online presence.
Pride has had been celebrated online this year.. how have you celebrated?
It’s killing us that we can’t celebrate Pride outdoors this year. All we can do is enjoy it indoors with each other and at the park with a limited group of friends. I must admit, I’ve been listening to a Spotify Pride playlist in the mornings to kick start the day.
More and more normal guys are launching only fans sites – would you ever consider it? do you think its a good career move?
I don’t think its for me. I completely respect those who do it, and from what I see, their families understand, but I don’t think my mother would be so understanding. She’d slap the crap out of me. It seems super profitable though! Maybe I should put out an OnlyFans and just photoshop Super Mario with no clothes on, see how far I get before people realise its not me.
Follow Petros at Instagram.com/petros_sp and Twitter.com/petros_sp