A Syrian man moves close to me on the dance floor, touching my waist and pushing against me in a way that made his intentions very clear.
Passing on that offer, I quickly meet an equally forward New Zealander working as crew for Emirates Airlines (where a large portion of the city’s gay contingent work).
After an all-day drinking session, followed by a spot of impromptu karaoke, during which I made friends with a lovely lesbian couple (we bonded over our love of ‘80s power ballads) I’ve ended up at this underground hotspot.
Nothing strange here you might think, I mean, there are gay clubs the world over, right?
Several weekends later I find a similar scene at another club.
I also quickly learn that, if you know the right people, there are a raft of unofficial parties going on in plush villas across the emirate.
In fact, thanks to a huge population of young professional expats, the scene is one of the most multicultural and diverse around.
Hi guys, so dating for a guy in Dubai is getting depressing!Entering via an underground car park on a Saturday evening, my male friend and I encounter the uneven door policies that are rife throughout gay venues (a vague attempt to curb gay activity).Men arriving solo or in all-male groups pay more, queue separately and are often denied entry altogether.Like Las Vegas, Dubai was built in a desert from nothing and like Vegas, Dubai (in the Arab world anyway) is known as sin city.
Despite being conservative by Western standards, this is where alcohol and sex-starved Arabs flock to in droves to get their fix — and that includes the gays.
From the get go, I’m under no illusions about Dubai’s official attitude to homosexuality.