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How can I find a boyfriend in the gay community while still being myself?
December 29, 2004 9:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm a gay male in my early thirties nearing my sixth year of singlehood, and long since ready to be with someone. However, I've had the hardest time trying to relate to the the gay community. I'm a bit eccentric and will often go to the gay club to write and probably get too wordy with personal ads. It seems that emotional and spiritual depth, along with a lack of care about materialism, just doesn't jibe with the "gay mainstream." My question is this: how can I continue my joyously weird existance, and attract the right person, without diminishing my personality and belief system? What sacrifices must I make with my 'kookiness' and still be me? Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Omigosh, this question could be about me. Substitute "female" for male, and "Christian" for gay (well, and the age thing is off, but the general idea is there).

I don't think there's a magic answer for people like us, anonymous. I think we just have to get "out there" (wherever that is) and keep meeting people. I think most people have trouble meeting people they really jibe with- I think it explains all the too young marriage and too fast commitment crap you see too much of.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 PM on December 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


Spring Street Personals!
posted by u.n. owen at 10:20 PM on December 29, 2004


Find a cause or activity you are passionate about, and become active it. The organization you join will be full of others who are similarly passionate, and things have ways of happening. This is what us old married farts mean by getting "out there".

A good friend of mine is getting married next month because he joined a scuba diving club. He's in his early thirties and I thought he had missed his window, to be honest. If I were back on the market, I would crank up my involvement in Habitat for Humanity, or maybe get involved in the Humane Society or something like that.

I don't know enough about the gay community to suggest anything further than that, but I'm sure you're not that unique, Anonymous. Good luck.
posted by Doohickie at 10:29 PM on December 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


It seems that emotional and spiritual depth, along with a lack of care about materialism, just doesn't jibe with the "gay mainstream."

If you buy the self-defeatist, straight community's impression of what all gay people are about (self-destructive narcissism) you've already lost. An attitude adjustment is needed from the start.

Join myspace, match.com, Onion personals, Friendster, Unitarian Church, HRC, what have you. Join gay-organized groups that go hiking, swimming or biking. Read your local gay publications for various events. Go to the coffee shops in your city's gayborhood, where you're not going to be embroiled in house music and crystal meth.

I can tell you there are plenty of non-"clubbing" gays out there who are in a similar situation. Basically get yourself out there in all the ways that straight people get out there when they want to meet people.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:31 PM on December 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


I've never met anyone I liked in a gay bar (except a hard rockin' band of Viking kitties, but that's another story). I've never had an online friendship bloom into something more (and many times an f2f diminished even that). All my long-term relationships--social, platonic, romantic, what-have-you have come from meeting someone either at the office, or because they knew someone I worked or was friends with.

What surprises me is the accuracy with which some of my gay dates have been set up by my straight guy friends. Then again, all guys are gay in my book, so my number of choices/chances are hugely increased. Guys are such suckers for flattery. And beer.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:36 PM on December 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


It seems that emotional and spiritual depth, along with a lack of care about materialism, just doesn't jibe with the "gay mainstream."

Have you looked for gay spirituality groups in your area? They do indeed exist, though may or may not be nearby. Church/temple is traditionally a great place to discover new friends. If there's a local MCC congregation, that could be a good starting point. You don't necessarily have to join; but that's the kind of place where you're more likely to find announcements there about other gay community events/groups with the spiritual/emotional depth you're seeking. Party promoters plaster their ads all over clubs, but there's so much more more to the community than what you can find through a club.

If there isn't a gay community center or queer bookstore (which should be your first and second stops in the search for new activities to join in on), look for a women's bookstore or feminist group. Get on their newsletter lists, check their bulletin boards, and chat up their employees. You'll soon start hearing about all sorts of interesting events, and getting introduced to like-minded guys.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:38 PM on December 29, 2004


To clarify: ...a women's bookstore or feminist group because when there aren't clearly designated gay-friendly resources, that's usually a good access point into local lgbt community life.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:44 PM on December 29, 2004


My question is this: how can I continue my joyously weird existance, and attract the right person, without diminishing my personality and belief system? What sacrifices must I make with my 'kookiness' and still be me? Thanks!

This isn't a sexual preference issue. We all go through that "what if someone found out about my [insert thing that seems really odd/different/weird/uncool] here?" stuff when looking for a partner. The great thing is that the right person will think that you as you is the best thing there is. Don't sacrifice!
posted by judith at 10:46 PM on December 29, 2004


If you're a literary person, I suggest the general library or bookstore. I know little about the efficacy of finding gay guys at a generally orientation-neutral location, but playing the odds might work well, since you seem to shy away from the type of guy who crafts his whole identity around being gay.

As a straight, literary guy, I avoid the usual singles hangouts full of empty people. If you wouldn't go to clubs if you were dating, you won't meet your type there anyway.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:46 PM on December 29, 2004


How can I continue my joyously weird existence, and attract the right person, without diminishing my personality and belief system?

How are you going to meet and attract the right person if you diminish the very things that make you special, and are obviously very important to you?

What sacrifices must I make with my 'kookiness' and still be me?

None whatsoever. Be secure in who you are and what you love. Embrace who you are! If people can't handle, understand, appreciate, and love you--who the hell are they that you need to be someone other than who you really are?
posted by fandango_matt at 10:49 PM on December 29, 2004


What these folks all said. Not a sexual preference issue at all, but one involving comfort and identiy. Make a list of all the activities you enjoy doing (including the things that you feel make you "eccentric") and then find out what groups and organizations in your area exist around them. (And if there aren't any, why not form one to attract the type of people you get along with?)

Also, dare to invite someone you're interested in to coffee. Make a move. There are plenty of people out there who share your "kooky" interests. You just have to seek the right people out and let them know you're around.
posted by ed at 11:14 PM on December 29, 2004


If my bookstore experiences are any indication of bookstores in general, then bookstores are a great place to meet gay men.
posted by drezdn at 11:30 PM on December 29, 2004


Look for someone a little older than you may have been looking for.
posted by codeofconduct at 12:18 AM on December 30, 2004


However, I've had the hardest time trying to relate to the the gay community. I'm a bit eccentric and will often go to the gay club to write and probably get too wordy with personal ads.

Don't go to a gay club and write. Heck, don't go to any club and write. I mean, you can do it if that's your thing, but people are mostly at clubs to have fun or hook up, so if you're there writing, it's just going to weird them out. This should not be surprising.

Write a less wordy personal ad. Unless you consider longwindedness to be a majorly defining character trait, perhaps showcasing a more abbreviated version of yourself in written form would attract more interested parties who could then get to know the entire you.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:23 AM on December 30, 2004


My best friend is a hyper-intelligent, very spiritual gay man (also single for similar reasons). He's not materialistic.

You two sound like you'd be a great match. If you want to email me, maybe I could help you guys exchange contact info.

I will, of course, keep your identity secret.

My email is in my profile.

===

I suggest the opposite approach from 23skidoo. Use craigslist, and write a really long personal ad. Explain who you are, what you do, what your interests are, and what you're looking for.

I've tried this approach (not for romantic purposes -- I'm married) and have had success. I never get many responses, but the few that I DO get really click with my ad. The trick is to re-post the ad until it gets results.
posted by grumblebee at 5:29 AM on December 30, 2004


There's already a lot of good advice in this thread. I'm just going to relate some of my personal experience, and if I make the same point someone else has made, please forgive and/or ignore it.

I'm gay, and I was single for about five years, after coming out of a long marriage (yes, to a woman: long story, not especially relevant here). I dated some people, and I hooked up, but I wasn't finding anything lasting, and it bothered me. So I decided not to worry about it for a while and just work on myself. It's really nice to have a partner, but being single isn't the end of the world, either. I decided to figure out what other things made me happy and to pursue them. At the same time, there are definite needs that I had that can only be gratified with the help of other people; namely, sex and friendship.

When I was looking for a hook up (mostly online; I don't much like bars, for a variety of reasons), I concentrated on finding nice guys who were also sexually compatible, and in that way, I developed a (small) number of friends with privileges (aka FWPs), in addition to my friends without privileges (who, for some reason, I never call FWOPs; go figure). And I was pretty happy with that arrangement, partly because I had so much else going on, between the job and my daughters and activities and what not.

Anyway, one of my FWPs was an especially nice guy who I very much enjoyed going to movies and to dinner with. He and I had much in common. We were both divorced. We both had kids, though his were grown, and mine are younger. And neither of us was really looking for a major commitment. He enjoyed being single, and I felt like I was too busy. Also, he's significantly older than I am, so I just figured it wasn't in the cards. Not having any expectations took away all of the pressure that normally exists in a dating situation. Over time, we spent more and more time together, some of my FWPs moved on (or became FWOPs) and I didn't bother replacing them, and the same thing happened with him. Almost exactly a year ago, he mentioned that his feelings had intensified, and I acknowledged that mine had as well, and suddenly we had a relationship. I moved in with him at the beginning of October, and we're very happy together. He's a great guy, and everybody likes him, including my kids and my ex-wife. Adjusting to living with someone after being single is something of an effort, but it's made a lot easier by the fact that we really enjoy each other's company.

So, the lessons that I draw from this (which may not be well supported by the history I've just given you, but which are, nonetheless, true and supported by my overall experience):

1. If dating isn't going so well, concentrate on the other things that make you happy first.

2. Do not judge every man you meet by the standard of whether he'd make a good partner. If you're having dinner with someone, enjoy the dinner. A good dinner with a pleasant companion is a good thing even if it doesn't lead to a lifetime of bliss and a trip to Massachusetts.

3. If a guy is nice and easy to get along with, don't write him off because he isn't your type or isn't your usual type. Sexual compatibility is critical in a relationship, but sexual interests and abilities are fluid. If a guy doesn't light your fire immediately, there are chances that he can be taught.

4. There may be other ways to get what you want, and what you want doesn't have to come from just one guy. Maybe you want the financial stability of a relationship. You can get that from a roommate who's a very good friend. Your companionship, intellectual, and sexual needs can be gratified by different people.

5. Don't try so hard. Nothing is as unattractive as desperation.

6. Be honest and be yourself. Trust me on this one: if I can find someone to accept me for who I am, you can, too. Sacrificing your kookiness, or whatever, to attract someone will just lead to trouble when they figure out who you really are.


Finally, from here into eternity, make a vow not to refer to the gay community as if it's some monolithic entity. That sort of characterization is inaccurate, condescending, and a little offensive.
posted by anapestic at 5:51 AM on December 30, 2004 [2 favorites]


YOW! anapestic just nailed it. If you're single, male or female, gay or straight, follow his advice.

That's the way to live so you're happy, the rest will fall into place. And if it doesn't? Guess what, you're still happy!
posted by Floydd at 6:40 AM on December 30, 2004


Spring Street Personals!

I don't know if u.n. owen is kidding, but I'm not. I met my husband on the good old internets -- Onion personals, actually, and it was because we had two things in common: Coffee and Eddie Izzard. Not too much of a starting place (and I had about ten blind dates out of the thing, overall), but two-and-a-half years later, here we are. And my friend's mother met her new husband on Match.com, and they're wonderfully happy. YMMV, obviously, but it's not a bad idea. Just be honest - and funny helps. I wouldn't be married if it wasn't for Eddie! :)
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:43 AM on December 30, 2004


What everyone else, and esp. anapestic (and Alex earlier) said--your weirdness isn't really an issue til you move in with someone, and that wouldn't happen for a while. And everyone has weirdness--you'd be surprised by the unvisible weirdness of people.

Also, examine how you carry yourself and that whole writing in clubs thing--By doing that you're sending the message that you don't care who's there, which i think is not your intention. Coffee places (where there also just happen to be cute boys) and big bookstores are better places for that.
posted by amberglow at 6:55 AM on December 30, 2004


Anapestic is dead on. Well, mostly. I don't buy into the "teaching" concept too much, but I am willing to admit that it's possible.

I met the most amazing man of my life one night when I was walking my dog. I wasn't looking for anybody, or at that moment, really anything, which is probably why it happened.

Go about your life, be yourself, be active and be happy. When you do those things, I truly believe that the rest will fall very naturally into place.
posted by hummus at 6:58 AM on December 30, 2004


"how can I continue my joyously weird existance, and attract the right person, without diminishing my personality and belief system?"

If you are ever in Vegas, drop me an email at mischief@mail.ru ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:24 AM on December 30, 2004


anapestic has good points, and so do Alex Reynolds and amberglow and hummus and everyone.

There are lots of spiritual, non-materialistic, kooky, literary, sweet, loving, sexy gay men out there. I know lots and lots of them.

None of them met their husbands, life partners, or boyfriends of short or long term in a nightclub.

Most of them met their husbands, life partners, etc., through friends, at work, or while doing things that were important to them--going to a poetry reading, participating in a church or synagogue, doing volunteer work, square dancing, playing softball, visiting the sick, joining a movie club, singing in a chorus, etc., etc.

Some of them have met their husbands, life partners, etc., through personals ads in which they were very candid about their own interests and what they were looking for in a man.

Take a look at this guy's blog for more insight. Write to him for advice if you like--he loves giving advice.

Good luck. And you will find the right person, perhaps preceded by a series of "nice but not quite right" people. It took me until age 34 to do so, and my husband until age 36, so don't lose hope.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:00 AM on December 30, 2004


And it took me until age 48, so screw this "missing the window" crap. And good luck!
posted by languagehat at 9:13 AM on December 30, 2004


I surely wasn't kidding.

And I really have no room to talk, I met my SO at a fark flamewar. Believe me, I love the internets as a way of meeting like-minded people.
posted by u.n. owen at 9:54 AM on December 30, 2004


I would certainly agree that there are sexual chasms that can't be bridged and things that can't be taught. I think that with some effort and willingness, however, a great deal can be accomplished through technical corrections. It's a good thing to keep in mind, both for potential partners and for yourself. A lot of romances never get going because of lack of skill. Which is yet another reason to keep your technique well honed even if you're not involved (yet) with the love of your life. For the most part, nobody's going to tell you that you're awful in the sack; they're just going to stop dating you.
posted by anapestic at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2004


Coffee places (where there also just happen to be cute boys) and big bookstores are better places for that.

Amberglow is right on the money. And the nice thing about coffee is that the places are usually well-lit and no alcohol is served. Not only are you in a more laid-back environment, and you can hear what the other person is saying, sobriety leads to a better decision-making process about your date. Good luck!
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2004


A lot of romances never get going because of lack of skill. Which is yet another reason to keep your technique well honed even if you're not involved (yet) with the love of your life. For the most part, nobody's going to tell you that you're awful in the sack; they're just going to stop dating you.

Also watch out if your date is on antidepressants. These tend to have an erm.. squishy effect on libido. If you two get along, be patient and understanding. This is something that can be worked on.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:53 AM on December 30, 2004


Wow.

Anapestic, that list should be required reading for everyone in the world.

Oh, and Anon Y. Mous... I may know someone here in Toronto (no idea where you are) who you would likely get along with extremely well. No idea about romantic or sexual sparks, of course; that's inherently unpredictable. But you two seem to think similarly. My email is my username @gmail.com, and your privacy is guaranteed, of course.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:22 PM on December 30, 2004


Hey anon, I'm hitched and happy these past 8 years, and I met him on the internet, on IRC! I was 39 when we met, he's much younger.

If I saw someone sitting in a club writting, I wouldn't let him go without at least a conversation. But then I gave up clubs years ago, perhaps due to a lack of men writing, I dunno.

Most of the advice here is great. Feel free to not be a stereo-typical fruit fly! That is so boring! Be yourself, be happy, have fun. Eccentric is good! Be assured, that which is different is attractive, at least to somebody. Sure, some of those shallow types seem to only want clones. Oh well, they have their own problems.

Once upon a time being an out gay man was a big deal, and that club was limited mainly to the inteligent and eccentric. I was quite young then, and had no business being 'out', but hey, I was a lucky kid. I had a GOOD time! Latter, the club became more popular, and then everyone was 'allowed' to be gay and out. Alas, today its even fashionable! This only makes it more difficult for the good ones to find eachother.
posted by Goofyy at 3:14 AM on December 31, 2004


Anon: be yourself... and understand that the odds are very much in favor of you finding someone who is right for you. Daring to be different is wonderful, and I like the concept of going to a gay club and writing, but I agree with everyone above that most likely it will separate you from everyone else. And, what goofyy said, gay clubs are not necessarily bastions of the eccentric anyone. Do your thing where others are, follow your passion but in a way that doesn't make you feel isolated.

This is a great thread y'all. If Anon could reply, I'm sure he'd thank you profusely.
posted by moonbird at 7:01 AM on December 31, 2004


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