A new website which allows gay men to publish their most intimate thoughts has exploded with readers and contributors from around the world, surprising its Sydney-based creator.
Contributions on The Wishing Well range from salacious secrets, to heartfelt messages of love, to notes exposing deep regret, its founder Mark Adnum [pictured at right] tells Same Same.
“Guys posts anonymous notes to the guys that they’ve touched or loved in some way – one night stands, tricks, high school crushes and even long term partners,” he explains.
“It has completely exploded with almost 500 new submissions, 25,000 page views daily and mentions on US gay blogs Towleroad, Queerty, and dozens of other sites.”
A quick look around The Wishing Well reveals contributors are from all walks of life, and several extremes of bad behaviour. “I cheat on you every night,” admits one confessor. “I meet guys on the net I go out to my car and swallow their cocks or fuck them over the bonnet… have a smoke to cover the sex smells have a shower and hop back into bed with you.”
“You are my backup plan,” another heartbreaker announces. “You’re a good guy, but you just aren’t good enough to make the A-team. Sorry fella. Not that sorry because I’m going to keep stringing you along, but nevertheless, I hope when I find someone better, you do to.”
The submissions are not moderated or edited in any way – even if they are full of spelling mistakes – and the comment system is an immediate-publishing free for all, Mark explains. The hundreds of confessions evoke a broad palette of emotions – many are quick and funny, others are a little disturbing, and some are downright heartbreaking.
There’s teenage angst: “why do you ignore me, doesn’t that night we spent together mean anything, we both lost our virginity that night, and you blame it on vodka…it pains me when i see you in the 6th form study room.”
And lost love: “You both died and I doubt I’ll ever find it a third time,” writes an older Wishing Well reader. Another writes: “My partner has cancer and requires constant attention. I wish someone would hold me and allow me to feel comforted.”
“I really don’t know why The Wishing Well is proving to be so popular and addictive,” Mark says modestly. “I guess I could only speak for myself and admit that it felt cathartic to tell one of the white lies I’ve told lovers and partners over the years and know that even though it was out in public, no-one would be able to connect it to me. I guess the endless inflow of submissions helps me feel like I’m not the only one.”
A private space
Mark started the website a few weeks ago, just after Mardi Gras weekend. “I met a few nice guys at the party and afterwards, and we spent some temporary time together, like it tends to happen on weekends like that,” he says. “Then the next week I got to wondering why it is that even when we connect sexually and emotionally with each other we then just go our separate ways and agree to pretend we never met each other.
“Sometimes it might have to do with one or both guys having a permanent partner back at home. But even when you’re single, you still sometimes wish you’d grabbed that guy’s number, but didn’t want to be the one to look vulnerable.
“I think our reactions to some of our partners and sexual encounters are unexpected and challenging,” the website entrepreneur reflects. “There’s so much that goes unsaid, either because of circumstance – can’t find them on Facebook, for example – or because our responses to our transient encounters or ongoing relationships are just too inscrutable to articulate.
“But I don’t think it’s good for the spirit to keep it all inside, so, I thought it might be nice to have a space where guys could express their thoughts without having to risk rejection, worry about saying something the wrong way and making everything worse, or, if they’re carrying around a potentially-destablising secret that’s eating away at them, risking any kind of personal exposure,” he adds.
“But mainly, I hope the site allows guys to send some secret positivity in the direction of the guy they will probably never see again, or that guy they see every day.”
Mark says he put the finishing touches to The Wishing Well on a Friday night, after asking half a dozen friends to each submit a note of their own. “When I woke up the next morning, there were three hundred and fifty new notes submitted from over sixteen countries waiting to be moderated,” he recalls. “I was surprised, and really happy.”
This article’s main image is from EXTERFACE