Years of acquaintance; 1976-1983 | Romantic relation; 1981-1982
Liliane was Claude's dance partner and one of his best friends while growing up. They were an elegant couple on the dance floor and around the time when Claude turned 16, they started dating. This little adventure ended very badly, however, when they slept together for the first time. Although Claude didn't fail to perform, it was obvious that something was missing and the resentment she felt towards him when he soon thereafter came out as gay and began dating Gilbert began seeping into their working relationship. Eventually, when Claude was injured one day at a contest, they decided to part ways and after Claude left for Africa in 1983, they never spoke again.
Years of acquaintance; 1982-1983
Claude met Gilbert through friends in school. Gilbert was four years older than him, from out of town and only just beginning to find his footing in Paris. He was also openly gay. Unsatisfied in his relationship with Liliane, Claude was slowly beginning to suspect that he might be gay himself and therefore sought Gilbert out as much as possible. The two of them struck up a friendship which soon turned into mutual attraction and they initiated a relationship. When the time came that Claude began talking about having sex, Gilbert had to admit that he a couple of years earlier had contracted HIV and was slowly getting sick from AIDS. Despite the shocking news, Claude was adamant that they should have a functional sex life and practice safe sex. Gradually, Gilbert got more and more sick, until he eventually had to be hospitalised and died from AIDS-related sequelae.
This event was what would lead Claude to leave France behind in favour of West Africa and start his grown-up life on another continent entirely.
Years of acquaintance; 1986-present | Romantic relation; 1986-1988 & 1991-1993
After he moved to Dakar, Claude met Didier - seven years his senior - at the local library where he was giving a poetry reading. Immediately fascinated with Didier's compact style of writing and his imagery, the two of them struck up a conversation and after almost an hour of non-stop talking, Didier invited Claude to a coffee house he frequented, to continue where they had left off. This was where Claude learned that Didier was gay and one of the most prominent figures of authority both in the gay and the artistic milieu of Dakar. They soon initiated a relationship that would last for five years, only interrupted by Claude's three-year stay back in Paris to finish his Bachelor in journalism. As it drew towards the end of his Master's, they both knew Claude would have to return to Europe and they agreed to part ways on friendly terms, staying friends for the next many decades.
Years of acquaintance; 2003-2005
Matthieu received the position as main food critic at Le Monde in 2003 and quickly struck up a friendship with Claude who was close to him in age and equally interested in food. Falling hard and fast for the other man, Claude did his best to stay emotionally distanced and not get too attached to a man he knew he couldn't have, but ended up failing epically in that regard. After a particularly troublesome Christmas party, he decided that if he couldn't keep his cool in Matthieu's vicinity, he would simply have to move himself and his emotions out of the way. Thus, he ended up moving to Luxembourg in 2005, leaving behind his life in Paris and Matthieu as a part of it. As a part of his past.
Years of acquaintance; 2007-2008
Slower to network than usually after he'd made the move from France to Luxembourg, Jean-Baptiste - a five year younger musician - was one of the first contacts in the gay milieu that Claude made when he one night had to turn the other man down, since he didn't do one-night stands. A couple of months later, they accidentally met again at a red carpet event where Claude was standing in for a sick colleague and after having talked on and off throughout most of the night, Jean-Baptiste invited Claude out for a cup of coffee that soon evolved into an actual relationship. Around the same time that Claude was beginning to feel at ease in that relationship, however, he found out that Jean-Baptiste had had an affair to a (female) model for several months and the two of them had a huge fight that ended with an ugly break-up and no more red carpet events in the foreseeable future for Claude.
Years of acquaintance; 2009-present
Claude met Vincent through work - at a seminar they were both attending. It was a case of immediate attraction and after having exchanged phone numbers, Claude proceeded to ask Vincent out. In the wake of a cozy dinner, they slept together despite all Claude's usual reservations in regards to one-night stands. Some months later, Vincent contacted him again and on a whim, Claude invited him along on a (work) trip to Marseille, France. Vincent accepted and thus began something that was originally not even intended to be a relationship at all. A year later, the two purchased a house together and not long after that (though the road leading there had been bumpy), Claude proposed. The rest is (and will make) history.