How does this work?
December 22, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

So, I'm a junior in high school. Recently came out. Pretty much moved on from all the drama associated with that act, and now I'm looking for a relationship. Problem is: I can't for the life of me figure out how to meet and get to know my fellow homos.

From my perspective, the problem is twofold:

1. I can't find the boys. I know they're here (I live in the Bay Area), but I don't know where. I'll occasionally meet someone through a friend, but surely there's a better way? Some kind of secret network? Monthly meetings? I know about Gay-Straight Alliances, but my school's is just full of lesbians.

2. They never bother getting to know me. What few guys I have met have expressed at least superficial interest, but they all seem to assume that I'm straight and (therefore) boring. How can I let them know that I'm (a) gay and (b) an okay guy without compromising the comfortable swimmer/water polo jock image that I've grown accustomed to? In other words, how can I get them to progress from furtive "he's cute" texts to actual conversation?

So, to sum it up: where and how does one go about finding potential mates when one is gay but not flamboyant? Forgive my naivete, if it is displaying itself. I am, after all, quite new to this. Thank you for your time.
posted by Gotham to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What few guys I have met have expressed at least superficial interest, but they all seem to assume that I'm straight...

I can't offer gay-specific advice, but based on this one part of your comment and the fact that you're in high school, being proactive can't hurt. Gay or straight, you're at a time in your life when you can afford to cast a wide net by simply asking people out. A lot of high school angst comes from the "what ifs" of never asking someone out. I know there's the added wrinkle of the odds being against you when approaching a random stranger, but if you form a superficial acquaintance and sense interest, take the lead.

Good luck.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 11:56 AM on December 22, 2008

My mom (who is a lesbian) has always said that to feel out for other gay people/give the signal that you're gay, you should mention something coded. In the Bay Area, where gay culture is slightly more mainstream, this might be more difficult, but generally mentioning an article you read in *insert gay magazine here* or a show on Logo can be a good indicator.
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:04 PM on December 22, 2008

The Billy De Frank Center's youth group might help if you are in the south bay. If you are in the City, these folks might be able to help you. Granted, these are youth groups and not "go to x and win date on Friday" type answers, but in my rainbow colored experience you're more likely to meet prospective dates in groups where you share similar interests. As for coming out in casual conversation, it gets easier as you do it more. In my experience, moving from texts to real conversation requires a common interest or risk on your own part, to start that conversation.

Hope this helps! Also, it should be easier in college since people talk all the time about all matter of things and it can be easier to meet interesting and interested people there.
posted by luminous phenomena at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

(Also HOME DEPOT, while also very lesbian filled, is basically all Family. Maybe not younger, but as a tip for the future).
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2008

Well, start with checking out LYRIC, especially their calendar of events. And the San Francisco GLBTQ Community Center might have some youth-specific stuff. may provide more leads.

Congratulations, good luck, and happy holidays!
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on December 22, 2008

What about wearing a rainbow bracelet or putting a rainbow/gay rights patch on your bag or something? It's a way to say "Homosexuals, please apply here" without tattooing it on your forehead.
posted by Anonymous at 12:09 PM on December 22, 2008

Seconding LYRIC. And hey, mazel tov!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:13 PM on December 22, 2008

Best answer: Facebook, MySpace, and all other social networking. Join. List your sexual orientation as gay. Include pics that emphasize your jock image. Wait for gaggles of gaybies to befriend you. Stick with the under 18 crowd until you are 18 yourself.
posted by hworth at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

agree with hworth - the internet is your friend. and no matter how cute he is and how mature he tells you the you are - you really are better off staying with the under 18 crowd (although, i'll admit to no following that advice myself when i was in high school).

you're far better off being in the bay area - i was in arkansas/texas and i was one of about 20 people who had an email address.
posted by nadawi at 12:33 PM on December 22, 2008

(Also HOME DEPOT, while also very lesbian filled, is basically all Family. Maybe not younger, but as a tip for the future).

That might be the case in the Bay area and other more gay-frequented areas, but I really think this varies by city and demographics so I'd watch out on generalizing the company. I'm pretty sure the employee break rooms at the Home Depots in places like Little Rock, Arkansas, Des Moines, Iowa or Springfield, Missouri aren't exactly gay pick up joints. I was just at a Home Depot in East L.A. the other day where I seriously doubt there's much gay pride going on.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:40 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, social networking sites are the way to go to meet people these days. Though, of course, remembering MY early days as a high school gay, and those first ridiculous relationships, I'm more inclined to say: wait for college. Or at least wait for post-high school.

Also, congratulations! Welcome to the family!
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:14 PM on December 22, 2008

Best answer: Do you use or have facebook? It's a good way to subtly suss out, or declare, things like if one is gay, straight, bi, single, in a relationship, looking for a relationship, etc, to the world at large without needing to awkwardly bring it up in conversation. I think friending the guys you like will help solve 2 and following hworth's advice will help solve 1.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:29 PM on December 22, 2008

For question 2, there are a whole lot of ways to tell a story that casually let your listener know you're gay. Mention a boyfriend or an ex or a crush. Mention that a male character in the story was cute. Hell, mention that he wasn't — the fact that you're paying attention to his looks at all outs you. Drop in the sort of gay cultural phenomena that SputnikSweetheart suggests. Long story short, if you can get to the point of shooting the shit and swapping stories with a guy, you can clue him in pretty quickly.

(I found it helpful to look at the way straight female friends would casually work their boyfriends into a story if they were meeting a new guy, just to put it on the record that they were taken. If the guy was interested, he'd get the message; if he wasn't, no harm done, she was just telling a story. You're looking at the same sort of technique, only the message is "I like boys" and not "hands off.")

Also, yeah, rainbow patches, the internet and college.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2008

I am not sure this will make you feel any better but I can assure you that your peers, no matter their sexual orientation, are also having problems hooking up. I second wearing something subtle that would be a cue to cute boys who dig cute boys.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've nothing useful to add to all this good advice, but I still wanted to say congratulations.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:50 PM on December 22, 2008

Buy an "I Can't Even Think Straight" tshirt and wear it at every opportunity. Bonus points for getting one 4 sizes too small. :)
posted by Solomon at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2008

Hey, congratulations.

I don't really have much concrete advice to add either, except that when I was in high school (the website) had chatrooms for youth. Which was, you know, kind of sketchy but also great when I still didn't know any other gays at school.

And irc. and MUDs. Obviously I was a huge gay nerd in high school.
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 2:55 PM on December 22, 2008

Best answer: Many guys your age -- especially those who don't have the whole jock vibe going for them -- are dealing with a shit ton of of emotional insecurity about their sexuality, even if they can admit that they're gay. You sound like the kind of guy that I would have lusted after from afar when I was 17 but would never have had the courage to talk to. It's very common for guys to wait until they go away to college (or even later) to come out of their shells. This is why gays who are in their 20's are often dealing with relationship maturity issues that other people sorted out in their teens.

I think you're just going to have to be a little more forward. Think of it as good practice. While wearing some sort of gay insignia will broadcast receptivity, unless someone actually has the balls to do something about it (besides skeevy older guys like myself) then it won't help. You need to get really quick on the draw with a "Hi, how's it going? I'm _____." This gives you a lot more control over the situation, and you'll at least get good at meeting people while you kill time looking for the man you'll spend the next 6 months of your life with.
posted by hermitosis at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

What hermitosis said. As in, I would have written the same thing, nearly word for word (but probably slightly less eloquently and intelligently).

And congratulations! Coming out in high school is a brave thing to do. Good on ya.

Also, there is--in case you hadn't noticed--a truly enormous Gay Mefi Cabal. We've all been where you are, to varying degrees. I can't hook you up in the Bay area, but I'm sure there are approximately eleventybillion Mefites in that area, of various genders and orientations, who'd be happy to meet (not 'meat') you and introduce you to new friends.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:22 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

You sound awesome. Be aware, there are boys around, younger than yourself, that would benefit from a cool-headed guy like you to make them feel better about themselves. Be nice, play nice, make friends. And don't begrudge getting cast into a sort of big-brother role from time to time. If you are as you say you are, consider it noblese oblige. And maybe one will come along that's simply too sweet to allow to ever discover loneliness.

Sometimes it is difficult, at my age, to worry about things like Prop 8, in a world where this question can be openly asked. Pardon me, my screen is malfunctioning, it is blurring
posted by Goofyy at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]

When I was a homo high schooler (seemingly 100 years ago now) I did get a surprising amount from outside of school gay support groups. I didn't need the support per se, but it was a good place to meet chicks. I was also into outside of school groups that weren't specifically queer but were very queer friendly like a Unitarian youth group and an anti-war organizing group and these turned into fruitful places to find datable gals. I was very open about my sexuality at school too (it helped that I look like a lumberjack, well, a kind of wimpy lumberjack) and my reputation managed to get me laid a bit.
posted by serazin at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2008

Oh, and although I doubt it will be a good place to meet cute guys your own age, you should come to the bay area mefi meetup this weekend and meet a bunch of friendly nerds! We won't make good dates but we're entertaining!
posted by serazin at 1:14 PM on December 23, 2008

(hermitosis! When did you get your name back?!)
posted by serazin at 1:17 PM on December 23, 2008

I can't think of anything really beyond the good advice that's been offered so far. I second Facebook as a good way to re-affirm your newly-minted outness for new folks you meet, though I'm not sure I'd agree that it's a good way to actually *meet* new people.

Also, if you can, getting involved in local queer youth organizations or going to some events would be really awesome. I wish I had something like that when I was a junior in high school (not quite ten years ago but almost....). Hopefully you'll be able to meet other LGBT teenagers, and work the friend network. The friend network is much more effective when you have more gay and gay-friendly people in it!

And of course, congratulations! Stay safe and try to keep an even keel in the years ahead :)
posted by polexa at 1:49 PM on December 23, 2008

I asked a similar question not too long ago, but I'm too lazy to go look it up. In summary: zOMG! I am ready to be out! Um, where do I find boys, given that the club here is seedy, and the uni gay club is a couple of lesbian political warriors. But then, I'm... about ten years older than you, and I wish I'd come out when I was your age. I'd have got beaten to a pulp (Northwest Tasmania, not the most liberal area in the world) but I wouldn't have swum in de nile.

Now as for finding someone, I don't have much advice. Internet dating sites have an 18+ restriction, and that's how I met my man. Thanks AskMeFi.

Also, trust your gaydar. It does sometimes get it wrong, but not as often as you'd think. And if you never ask, you'll never know. Most straight boys I know (admittedly mostly university educated) would be "flattered, but no."

Finding someone, whether for gay or straight is about actually asking people out. I spent too long expecting to be found, instead of looking.

Remember, Mefi's Vast Gay Cabal is here for you. Drop us a line if you need to talk.

On preview... what hermitosis said.
posted by Basalisk at 2:19 AM on December 24, 2008

*cough*, Basalisk.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:37 AM on December 24, 2008

Sorry Basalisk, there is NO Vast Mefi Gay Cabal. Cortex shut the closet door, here.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:54 AM on December 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, everybody. It worked. :)
posted by Gotham at 8:22 PM on January 23, 2009

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