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I'm gay -- but do I only like straight guys?
December 8, 2007 6:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm gay, and I'm afraid that I only like straight guys.

I'm in my 20s and I've only really admitted to myself I'm gay for a couple of years. I've been on several internet dates over the past year and a half (perhaps 8 or so), combed through hundreds more profiles, met dozens of other gay people at things like speed dating and various gay clubs, and just not found too much that interests me. The few people who I've been really attracted to are straight. I'm a little terrified that I am somehow only really attracted to either a) taken guys and/or impossible goals and that this is some kind psychological malady, or b) that there's something about the personality/looks of the people that I'm attracted to that is simply is rare or nonexistent in gay guys. I like somewhat preppy, naturally sporty-looking guys who are simultaneously ambitious and unafraid to be themselves. They have a bit of a sharp sense of humor, maybe a little artistic bent, and yet have an odd innocence that comes from their uncalculating nature. Independent, intelligent, sharp dressers, naturally trim (though probably not a six-pack or anything), sociable, not too self-absorbed (maybe a little underconcerned with their emotions?), physically affectionate, a touch aggressive. Getting the picture at all? I'm not sure *I* get the picture but there it is.

Do gay people exist like this? Is there something wrong with my preferences that make it very unlikely I'll ever be satisfied? This is starting to worry me a bit.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think I can relate to what you're saying. I;m also a guy who likes guys who do not fit the typical "gay mold" that most gay men you'll find online and at gay events seem to be made from. That doesn't mean what we want doesn't exist, it's just a little tougher to find as these types of men typically aren't to be found at stereotypical "gay" events and activities.

It sounds like what you're looking for is an intelligent guy who acts like an emotionally strong, straight man in most ways, but is homosexual. I know these guys exist. I've met some (and dated one for a little while). The tough part is that they don't go around waving a giant rainbow flag, so it's a little hard to find them. Just my $0.02.

At least you know what you want...keep looking, and good luck.
posted by jspierre at 6:41 AM on December 8, 2007


Good lord, of course gay people exist like that! Do you know how many gay people there are in the world? If you're not talking about the norm, it means you'll have to look longer and harder, but eventually you'll find someone who meets the profile.

That said, I think you're closing yourself off to some great guys, based on some pretty superficial stuff. Not all of your criteria is superficial, but preppy, sporty-looking, etc.? I'm not saying you're wrong to like those things. I'm a hetero guy who is attracted to very feminine women. But I know that if I got to know a woman who was more "butch" and our personalities clicked, I could fall for her. It might take longer without the initial "WOW," but I'd be nuts to stop myself from exploring those possibilities.

But you're in your 20s. It took me until I was older to realize that great things come in packages I wouldn't normally consider. Maybe it will take you longer, too.
posted by grumblebee at 6:47 AM on December 8, 2007


I'd describe myself as similar to what you're looking for. We're a rare breed but we certainly exist! (And I think I look for similar things in a mate, so I can appreciate how it's hard to find it!)
posted by gramcracker at 6:47 AM on December 8, 2007


Do gay people exist like this?

Yes. But they're not necessarily easy to find. Also, maybe it's just me, but your type sounds really, really specific. Like, maybe impossibly specific.

Anyway, it's not like I've got it all figured out, so I'll try to keep my reply short. What I've found is that things that bring together people BECAUSE of their sexual orientation -- like clubs or bars or whatever -- are not generally the kinds of places that draw guys I would be attracted to.

This means that it's not easy to find someone because the numbers game isn't necessarily in your favor (when you go to a not specifically gay place/event/whatever, a lot of guys are going to be straight.)

But it is definitely not time to give up. Oh, and if you find this guy and he has a twin gay brother, email's in my profile.

(And. . . on preview . . what jspierre said. Totally true about not running around waving a rainbow flag, although on that subject at various times I have affixed a very small rainbow flag pin to my messenger bag, figuring that it might help things along.)
posted by veggieboy at 6:49 AM on December 8, 2007


Not just gay guys. Plenty of straight folks are attracted to people they can't have. It's "safer" that way.

I hope you find what you're looking for!
posted by softlord at 7:28 AM on December 8, 2007


In addition to what veggieboy said: when you go for gay-only places, go for those that require more than just drinking and awful chitchat, e.g. sports. Join a running club, biking, swimming, etc.
posted by flif at 7:38 AM on December 8, 2007


That's quite a conundrum; you're basically attracted to guys who are indiscernible from straight guys (so your gaydar doesn't work) and for whom being gay isn't a lifestyle (so they aren't prone to hanging out in gay bars etc.).
I've had colleagues like this so I think they exist. (although I'm straight so I don't know whether my gaydar is any good)
Still, even these stealth gays will be looking for a partner. Maybe you have a good chance at activities that are stereotypically straight guy: in Holland that would be field hockey for instance. Or, more lower class, football (soccer). Etc.
posted by jouke at 7:45 AM on December 8, 2007


I know all kinds of gay guys who would fit that profile -- and they do go to gay bars, etc. Hell, to me your "type" sounds more descriptive of gay guys than straight. Just relax, don't get so stressed out about getting hitched up to someone. Single life can be fun and fulfilling too.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:13 AM on December 8, 2007


a) taken guys and/or impossible goals and that this is some kind psychological malady, or b) that there's something about the personality/looks of the people that I'm attracted to that is simply is rare or nonexistent in gay guys.

I like somewhat preppy, naturally sporty-looking guys who are simultaneously ambitious and unafraid to be themselves. They have a bit of a sharp sense of humor, maybe a little artistic bent, and yet have an odd innocence that comes from their uncalculating nature. Independent, intelligent, sharp dressers, naturally trim (though probably not a six-pack or anything), sociable, not too self-absorbed (maybe a little underconcerned with their emotions?), physically affectionate, a touch aggressive.

There's something about the personality/looks of the people that you are attracted to that is simply rare or nonexistent in guys.

You have to drop the laundry list.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:24 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think what you're experiencing is a lack of experience, not a pathology. Being gay, you got a late start in the dating game. Most of us did. So you've identified things you like and are attracted to. Perhaps they are things that you would like to see in yourself? Perhaps they're just normal preferences. Regardless, speed-dating and bars are for hooking up. Many of us (humans that is, not just gay humans) can't hack that. Perhaps I wish I had just a little bit more, but I had to find a man at random when and where I least expected.

Most of us, however, end up falling for people for subtle unexpected reasons-- similar communication styles, a facial expression that melts us, or an attraction that takes us by surprise. So please, look for your ideal, but don't limit yourself.

But as for straight guys-- You have to put them out of your mind. You can get them to sleep with you from time to time, but they'll always break your heart and make you feel nasty deep down.

You can meet a great gay guy anywhere at any time, but it probably won't happen unless you're visibly out. Sorry. Know it's hard. But most together gay men want other out men. Real love doesn't happen in the shadows. The chances of finding love a la brokeback mountain are damn slim.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:30 AM on December 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


I like somewhat preppy, naturally sporty-looking guys who are simultaneously ambitious and unafraid to be themselves. They have a bit of a sharp sense of humor, maybe a little artistic bent, and yet have an odd innocence that comes from their uncalculating nature. Independent, intelligent, sharp dressers, naturally trim (though probably not a six-pack or anything), sociable, not too self-absorbed (maybe a little underconcerned with their emotions?), physically affectionate, a touch aggressive....Do gay people exist like this?

Absolutely they exist. You have just described a significant number of my many friends.
posted by ericb at 8:49 AM on December 8, 2007


I will add another voice telling you such men exist in number.

Happy hunting.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:59 AM on December 8, 2007


You know, there's a bigger phenomenon here. I've met gay guys who fall for straight guys, straight guys who fall for lesbians, women who fall for straight women or gay men. I've met poly folk who lust after the devoutly monogamous, perverts who have the hots for vanilla folk, and on and on for just about every possible permutation of sexual preferences.

Sometimes it's just run-of-the-mill attraction to a quality that's discouraged in certain communities. Straight women — to pick an example out of a hat — often don't get as much encouragement as they should to learn about machines, so a guy who thinks it's hot when a woman can gap her own spark plugs is going to have a smaller field to choose from. Fortunately, women like that are out there. So are artsy, ambitious, "straight-acting" gay men (although the more adjectives you pile on, the longer you'll have to look no matter who you're looking for).

Sometimes, it's a preference for the direct, no-bullshit way people act when they see you as a friend and not a potential date. Again, if that's the case, then you're in luck: there are definitely guys out there who are just as no-bullshit with a date as they are with everyone else. It's a smaller field, but they do exist, and as a fringe benefit they tend to be low-maintenance and easy to communicate with once you're with one.

Sometimes, it's a preference for people who are emotionally unavailable. That's... well, it might be a little pathological, and it's definitely going to be frustrating for you. It's worth getting over for sure, and if you're having trouble getting over it it's worth talking to a therapist about.

Sometimes, at least among queer folk, it's internalized homophobia. If you're not okay with your own homosexuality, it's hard to be okay with someone else's. That's worth getting over too, and again, probably worth a trip to a therapist if you're really struggling with it. You'll be happier in general if you accept yourself for who you are — better dating odds are really just the tip of the iceberg here.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Listen to the wise words of gesamtkunstwerk. Very eloquently put.
posted by desuetude at 11:20 AM on December 8, 2007


I met a number of gay guys like "your type" at Harvard. For what it's worth, I didn't always know they were gay until they told me. So guys like you described are definitely out there, although I meet fewer of them in, say, San Francisco than I did in Boston.

It's hard to find the right person, but based on what you explained I don't think it's impossible.

Unless "your guy" has to be straight? That is a weird fetish I've noticed some gay guys have, they're really only attracted to straight men. That fetish seems to let those guys in for a lot of heartbreak, because straight men are unlikely to be interested in a gay relationship, by definition. So if that's what's really going on, it's worth a closer look, because what that really is saying is "I want only someone who is unavailable to me." There are a lot of reasons that people - not just gay people - might feel this very common sentiment, most of which need to be addressed by a therapist. But it's not clear whether that's what's going on with you or not. You can probably figure it out if it is.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:19 PM on December 8, 2007


First of all, I take issue with anyone who uses the term "straight acting"--or any permutation thereof--to describe guys who aren't limp-wristed, non-athletic, confident, etc. That means nothing. Guys, both gay and straight, just naturally tend to act more effeminate or masculine. Obviously, I know what you're trying to say, but it's irksome when people talk like that. A lot of what you find attractive is what the media has promoted as The Perfect Man. That's not your fault, I mean, who wouldn't be attracted to all those characteristics?

I have seen the qualities you look for in many gay men, but you are probably looking in the wrong places. Join a gay sports team or put an ad on Craigslist for a hiking buddy or something. I'm in a gay hiking group and there are lots of guys there who are similar to what you describe. I think you're specificity when it comes to your perfect mate is half of the problem. You'll find that there are a wide variety of qualities that you can be attracted to when you find a cool person who has qualities that are different than the ones you seek.

Your age--and mine, I'm 26--is also part of the problem. I think a lot of guys our age who act the way you want them to have been good at "passing" as straight their whole lives, and that almost makes it harder for them to come out and embrace their sexuality. That's not to say that they're all cowards; many of them are out. They probably don't hang out at clubs, bars, and places where the typical scenester gays hang out.

Anyway, good luck. I sympathize with what you're going through.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:54 PM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


You just described the kinds of guys I'm attracted to perfectly. You also, without sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, described me. And I'm gay. And I have dated guys like this. They are very rare, and they're also hard to find, since you don't find them in stereotypically "gay" places most of the time, but they do exist. So don't despair.

Try getting involved with a gay sports team? When those guys want to meet other gay dudes who are like them, that's one of the places they congregate.
posted by logovisual at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2007


Shop older. Twinks don’t have the qualities you’re looking for.
posted by joeclark at 3:33 PM on December 8, 2007


Yea, don't freak out. This is interesting but not uncommon. I've been in many situations in which gay guys are people watching and saying, "Hm, is HE gay, what about HIM?"* And the subjects are neither gay nor straight, because no has bothered to ask.

It's dating 101. I'm not gay myself, but I'd say go with the flow, get used to yourself and expand your circles. (No pun).

*Have some really cool gay friends.
posted by snsranch at 4:39 PM on December 8, 2007


I like somewhat preppy, naturally sporty-looking guys who are simultaneously ambitious and unafraid to be themselves. They have a bit of a sharp sense of humor, maybe a little artistic bent, and yet have an odd innocence that comes from their uncalculating nature. Independent, intelligent, sharp dressers, naturally trim (though probably not a six-pack or anything), sociable, not too self-absorbed (maybe a little underconcerned with their emotions?), physically affectionate, a touch aggressive.

All I could think of when I read this really long checklist is those romantic comedies where the girl keeps pining after the tall handsome Perfect Man till he breaks her heart, and doesn't realize that the shy, less ambitious, but goodhearted guy she's really meant to be with has been waiting for her all along.

I can understand wanting these qualities in a guy, and apparently other people in this thread think these guys exist in great numbers, and even claim to be this kind of guy, but it sounds a little fairy-tale to me. Maybe in a few more years of being out you'll feel less like you need a guy to demonstrate all these qualities up front before you can get interested.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 5:21 PM on December 8, 2007


Great question, and you've gotten a bunch of great answers, especially from gesamtkunstwerk and nebulawindphone. I'll just add another gay voice to the "yeah, definitely, there are plenty of gay guys around like that" chorus.
posted by mediareport at 5:42 PM on December 8, 2007


Maybe not all of it at once, though.
posted by mediareport at 5:44 PM on December 8, 2007


I'll actually also agree with fugitivefromchaingang in that one of your obstacles is wanting to check off every quality on the laundry list. I've thrown away a couple of good things purely on the basis of "Man, he could have been a little more _____", and while you can get away with that when you're young, it's starting to seem like a stupider and stupider idea every time I do it. It's not good advice to say "Learn to be attracted to people who aren't like this," obviously, but, well, you're going to have to do so in SOME degree at some point.

Here's where people will start disagreeing with my advice, but: Do you fool around at all? Casual one-nighters, etc.? You might find yourself discovering really attractive things about guys you would never have considered if you were only looking for husbands. And then, voila, you've associated desire with several new qualities you can appreciate in someone else who maybe IS serious-relationship material.
posted by logovisual at 9:02 AM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can pipe up here and say - yeah, I know quite a few gay and bi guys who fit that mold. I know a lot that don't. I know a few straight guys who also fit that mold.

Which, I must say, sounds rather familiar.

In your shoes, I'd stop looking for Mr Right, and start looking for Mr Right Now. At least for a while. Broaden your horizons. If nothing else, it'll be a learning experience. Give it a couple of years. If you find a guy who fits your criteria, woohoo! Awesome. If you don't ... well, at least you'll have had some good times.

... I did end up with my ideal type after dating around for a while - tall, slender, confident, geeky, handsome, intelligent, with a sense of humour. It's the combination of geeky and confident that's vanishingly rare, at least in the sub-40s age bracket. But I had to date around a bit to get there.
posted by ysabet at 4:25 PM on December 9, 2007


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