Entering the gay dating scene late
March 14, 2010 3:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm a gay man in my late 20s who has never gone on a date before. Where do I start?

I'm in my late 20s and unfortunately, I've never gone on a date before. It's embarrassing.

I've spent the past several years in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I was probably the only gay guy in my age group and so dating was pretty much a foregone conclusion for me.

Last year, I decided to go back to school. And so this past fall, I moved to the city to attend a large university. There's gay people everywhere and it's pretty cool. Even if I'm older than the traditional college student, I still fit in somewhat and made a lot of friends. So I should have gone on a bunch of dates by now, right? Well, that was the plan and unfortunately, with the school year more than halfway over, I haven't gone on a single one. I can no longer blame living in a rural area as my excuse for not having a boyfriend. I've started thinking about the other issues.

The major thing is that I am fat, obese, whatever. This is a major thing. And again, it's a work in progress. I've lost 30 lbs. so far, but I have so much more to go. Needless to say, it's a huge blow to my self-esteem and I have it in my head that no one wants to date a fat guy. It's like why should I even bother? My friends have taken me to a gay club and they coax me into talking with someone I'm interested with, and I make up some silly excuse about why I don't.

But I can't use being fat as an excuse either. I've seen a lot of fat guys who have boyfriends, and not to sound conceited, but I think I'm better looking than they are. (Overall, though, I think otherwise).

So where do I go from here? I'm not really into the night life (what can I say, I'm a nerd and it's not my cup of tea) and gay club atmosphere and all that; though it's fun to do once in a while. And I've attended gay organizations on campus, I feel out of touch with the younger gay men there. Online dating seems to be a disappointment (once they see my pic, I don't hear from them again).

I'm trying to be less shy, more outgoing. Trying to meet some people. I try to dress nicely (I'm gay & without fashion sense FML). But something's missing. I seem to attract straight women (I know, weird) and gay men want nothing more than "just friends."

I'm at a lost and would appreciate some advice. Just tired of being alone... Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on this, since my own dating experience is rather sparse. (I'm 42 and only came out about 3 years ago.)

But whatever advice you receive from folks that are more knowledgeable, please know that you're not alone and you always have us here at MeFi to support you.

Best of luck in your quest!
posted by darkstar at 3:53 PM on March 14, 2010

My only suggestion would be to involve yourself in a productive activity in an environment where there are likely to be lots of gay men. Specifically, is there any LGBT voluntary work you could do? I'm not sure that "dating" is the be-all and end-all of relationship forming. The more you have a working network of gay friends, the easier things will be.
posted by howfar at 5:26 PM on March 14, 2010

I don't speak from personal experience, but my brother is gay and thus I've absorbed some info from him about the gay dating scene.

Mostly, it seems to revolve around gay bars. In a big enough city there are different bars for different types. One of the types is fat guys (especially hairy fat guys, who are called "bears") and there seems to be a subset of gay guys who really go for that. So, if I were you, I'd find the local gay newspaper/magazine, see what bars advertise in it, and go check them out and find the one(s) with the most people who look like you in terms of age, body type, etc.

Alternatively, it seems the secondary place people try to meet is via online personals, and there are some popular gay sites although I don't remember the names. The advantage is you can filter for all sorts of criteria so you can filter for people who are only looking for men of your body type and age range. I'm pretty sure there are even sites specifically for big guys.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:44 PM on March 14, 2010

Ah, just did some Googling and the term you should look for in ads or online is "chubs" (you) and "chub chasers" (guys who want to date you). Even if you don't end up meeting someone that way, I think it might help your confidence a little to check out some of those sites because you'll soon realize that not only are there plenty of gay guys who want to date fat guys, but that for some people the extra pounds are what turns them on.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:54 PM on March 14, 2010

If you are unhappy being heavy, then manage that first. Physical attraction is an important part of any romantic relationship. If you are planning on significantly changing the way you look, it is unfair to date folks who find you attractive as you are and will not want you to change.

If you can move into self-acceptance as you are, then online dating is the answer. There are lots of guys looking to date you. But they are prolly not going to gay bars, because there aren't a lot of chubby guys there. In fact, the mainstream gay scene is so fatophobic that it is unlikely you will find chub chasers in any mainstream gay venue.
posted by hworth at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2010

I'm not really bagging on Jacqueline, because I'm sure she means well, but I'd respectfully suggest you don't turn to the fetish scene (like chub chasers) as your intro to dating (and you said "dating", not just getting laid). Also, while "bears" can be fat, the emphasis is on size, hairiness and rough masculinity, not really weight directly, but you probably know that already. Really, dating is the same for straights and gays from one point of view: it's about the person. Getting to know somebody, liking them, having them like you. My advice would be to relax, try to meet people and be open to others. It really doesn't matter what the environment is as much as it's in the end *all* about the person.
posted by VikingSword at 11:00 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you want to date online: biggercity.com

If you want to explore your gay nerd side and encourage potential connections indirectly, join a local meetup.com group for gay gamers, gay Star Trek lovers, etc.

Friends of mine have had good success going both routes.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:08 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

VikingSword - calling the chub/chaser relationships "the fetish scene" is part of the problem. We all have our likes and dislikes. Physical attraction (for most people) is a major component of a long-term romantic relationship. Why not start with a pool of people who are more likely to find you physically attractive?

I am a fat gay man, and have been all my adult life. I am very outgoing and have always been very involved in the gay community (activism, social groups, etc.) I am currently partnered, and over the last 30 years of my sexual life have had long periods when I was in a committed relationship (10 years) and other times when I was single. I have very rarely met a person interested in dating me through the conventional social means you suggest. The number of gay men in any population is small. The number of gay men in a population who are attracted to fat gay men is even smaller. The number of gay men in a population who are attracted to fat gay men, and are specifically attracted to you, and you find attractive, and you like as a person... Well, I think you get the idea. Dating is a numbers game. If you are straight, there are people all around you who you might be able to find mutual attraction with. If you meet the standard definition of attractiveness within the gay world, you can find enough numbers within the gay social scene to find a partner. If you do not meet that standard definition of attractiveness, online dating allows you to increase your chances of finding a mutual attraction. Why would you call that a fetish?
posted by hworth at 8:00 AM on March 15, 2010

two pointers: self esteem and breaking free from stereotypes

self esteem: I've seen a lot of fat guys who have boyfriends, and not to sound conceited, but I think I'm better looking than they are. (Overall, though, I think otherwise).

whoa! just whoa! i challenge you to stop putting yourself down in an arbitrary comparison to others. why do you have to knock people who have something (a boyfriend) you want? when you channel your energy into feelings like that, you're going to get nowhere. next time you look in the mirror, say "I'm fat and I'm beautiful" and keep saying that every time you catch your reflection

stereotypes: I try to dress nicely (I'm gay & without fashion sense FML). Oh dear. Not all gay men have fashion sense. Not all gay men conform to arbitrary standards of THISness or THATness. When you're confident about your beliefs and desires, own them and they are yours, and they are gay. Even if you aren't confident yet, still say to yourself "I'm a gay man, and I'm proud to dress this way" or insert whatever feeling or belief you mistakenly feel isn't a "gay" trait. Then make it gay simply by owning it. Being different is ok, being yourself is ok.

Guys are attracted to confidence and self-assurance. It make take a little bit of imagination to get yourself thinking in those modes after years of self-doubt, but you owe it to yourself to "own it" and be happy and secure, and radiate that to others.

and while others here are divided on the 'chub chaser' scene, i think it is actually something to potentially explore. one of my good friends, who is smart, attractive, and a genuine down-to-earth guy, wouldn't call himself a 'chaser' but truly is only interested in larger guys. It might help your self-esteem to have a 'chaser' friend/lover who can help you as you begin your own work on re-imagining and rebuilding your self-esteem.
posted by kuppajava at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another data point: a semester without a date is NOTHING in my experience. The gay community at large, and the college gay community (which in many ways mirrors the college straight community) specifically, isn't always structured around dating. Most guys I knew in college were so excited to be around other gay men that they went bedhopping for a period. Some guys still do it 10 years later.

It really is a numbers game, as mentioned above. Do things that interest you. Meet people. Eventually you'll find one (or several) that spark with you. And seriously don't give up on the online communities. That's where I met my partner, and I have no problem going out and meeting people in the traditional club sense. There are just more people online. Numbers game, remember...

And listen to kuppajava, it took me forever to realize what he says about stereotypes...
posted by This Guy at 10:35 AM on March 15, 2010

You say that in online dating "once they see my pic, I don't hear from them again." Well, here's where you're going wrong: you need a picture in your profile. This way, people who are looking for skinny boys won't bother you, and any time anyone does message you, or reply to your message, you know that they are into you, or at least open to the possibility of being into you. You have to be persistent, and a bit resilient - most guys dating online are looking for the same old conventional-looking guys - but it will pay off eventually.
posted by creeky at 7:34 AM on March 16, 2010

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