Reviewing my 8 month GAY dating experiment. What is causeing me to get these results?
January 3, 2012 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Reviewing my 8 month GAY dating experiment. What is causeing me to get these results?

I like to think I'm a half-way decently attractive guy who is also able to have good intellegent conversations. As much as I want to have sex mostly what I want is to have quality stable relationships based on respect, love and similar values. I don't like the feeling that I'm being used because of my physical appeal. I need to connect to people. I totally understand that the gay population is mainly about sex, I just don't understand why I've met hardly any "quality" people after such a long time actively searching.

I've taken allot of precautions to ensure I'm attracting the right kind of guys. I don't use photos showing skin or in sexualized poses. I don't generally flirt in sexually suggestive manors. I don't engage people that show either of those signals. I've filled out my profile fairly completely so people can get to know my personality.

I went on 6 IRL dates. On all of them I was pressured to have sex. I thought all these people I was meeting were on the same page as me. Obviously I was mistaken and generally felt "tricked" during or after the date. I was raped on one of the dates :(.

Friends suggested I try gay meetup groups, help with gay-related charities ect. I did all that, made some amazing friends but never met anyone I was ever interested in. They where all significantly older then me as well.


Profile stats:


Profile URL:
Average messages per day: 25
Average messages per day asking me to hook-up: 15
Average messages per day consisting of "hi" with no photo: 4
Average messages per day with half-way decent messages: 1
Profiles I would be interested out of all 25 messages (regardless of how they contacted me): 0

* Other sites with similar / worse stats (ranked from worst to best)

- Fitlads
- Ladslads
- Woohim / Cockthevote
- Mingle2
- Plenty Of Fish
- OKCupid

My Criteria:

- Age: 17-25.
- Has a job or is otherwise attending school full-time.
- Not into hook-ups.
- Enjoys / can have intellegent discussions.
- Not into drugs or heavy drinking.
- Is health minded.
- Is 'out' to atleast some people.
- Not overly flamboyant (I want to date boys, not boys who are nearly girls...).


I'm starting to feel like I'm living in a world where I am the only sain gay person. Or maybe I'm delusional and I don't know why. I want to start this year off right and start meeting others like me. What can I do to improve my odds?
posted by ryker to Human Relations (34 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
- Age: 17-25.
- Not into hook-ups.

How old are you? It seems pretty common for people of this age group to be sowing their wild oats, especially gay guys who are less likely to have had dating experiences in high school. I think you'd have better luck in the 25-30 range, when people are more apt to want to settle down. Also, the job market is TERRIBLE for your desired age group, so I wouldn't hold unemployment against someone. I'm not saying you should settle, but maybe widen your parameters a bit.
posted by desjardins at 1:52 PM on January 3, 2012 [11 favorites]

Sorry about your experiences thus far. Last spring, I went on a dozen lousy OK Cupid dates before I decided it wasn't for me. I'm going to suggest a simple addition you can make to your profile page on any site: a message in bold letters, near the top, that you do not hook up on the first date, zero exceptions. That should make your position crystal clear.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:55 PM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Hmm, well, I could see some lines in your profile being misinterpretable. The stuff about one life to live, down for adventure, being professionally physically/body oriented and emphasizing how much you like that, being spontaneous, etc., isn't loudly screaming I WANT FIRST DATE SEX but I could see it being hopefully interpreted that way by someone who wants to read into it that way. Also your first photo is kinda mysteriously flirty (that's not bad, it's just that you said you were trying to avoid that - drawing attention to your lips like that is flirty in my book). And your public questions are only 25, and I didn't see any that were about how fast you'd like to go.

I'd do these things:
1) Put a disclaimer in your profile that you'd like to go slow. Word it however you feel comfortable, but actually say it up front. Do it in the message me section, or early on, but do it somewhere.
2) Answer more questions, and make as many as you feel comfortable with public so you get better match percentages and other people can check to see your answers.
posted by vegartanipla at 1:58 PM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

25 messages a day for 8 months and no one you're interested in? That's 6000 messages. If you tell me right now you considered only 6 out of 6000 offers, I would say the problem is with you. I'm going to assume that's not what you're saying. I get that the average is 0, but do you give a chance to more people than you're letting on? Also, keep in mind some people choose to be brief in initial messages but might not be totally vapid in the long run. Do you look only at profile that say they're looking for 'long term dating'?

That said, I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a traumatic experience. I hope you got some help after...
posted by namesarehard at 2:01 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Age: 17-25.

This is a big issue. A "quality stable relationships based on respect, love and similar values" isn't really a priority for many people at that point in their lives. Like desjardins said above, you'll have better luck with people in their late-20s and early-30s who are finishing up with all the really heavy-duty partying and are starting to want capital-M More out of life.
posted by griphus at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2012 [7 favorites]

Oh, also, looking back at your question -

If you're not taking the initiative and messaging others, too, then you can consider that since it will obviously expand your options. And as for the feeling "tricked," if you're unwilling to put it in your profile, I'd at the very least make it clear in your messages that you're not looking for a hookup. And make it clear as well in the type of date you choose to set. An afternoon coffee date sets a far different tone than an evening bar date.
posted by vegartanipla at 2:05 PM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Definitely be explicit, in the profile and in person. Tell guys you only do first dates in coffee shops/other public places, and make plans for a couple hours after your date (ie, "I'd love to get coffee today at noon, I'm having brunch with Jenny at 3 though so I'll have to run at 2 or so.")

If you're not taking the initiative and messaging others, too, then you can consider that since it will obviously expand your options.

Yeah, for real! Have you been messaging the kinds of guys you think you'd like?

Also, did you know that you can look at peoples' answers to their match questions? It's under the tab called 'the two of us.' I recall there being a few questions about sex on the first date and how soon you'd hook up after meeting someone, etc. You could check on guys' answers before meeting up with them.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:09 PM on January 3, 2012

Oh, I also just noticed that you've only answered 25 questions- definitely answer more! I've answered maybe 200 or so, and my top-rated matches are WAY more compatible with me, on average, than they were before.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:13 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think this is a problem for heterosexuals too. When I was a youngin' none of the men I met who were my age wanted to be in a relationship. In fact, it wasn't until I was 28 that I met any men my own age who wanted something resembling a relationship and even then said guy ran off after a year for fear of commitment.

So yeah it may be an age thing. Many guys in that age range just want to play the field and aren't really ready for a committed relationship. A couple of ideas -- (1) start your own volunteer group for gay early 20 somethings and then advertise on craigslist and meetup. Sometimes you have to make your own group if one doesn't exist; (2) try dating a little older.

When I was 21, I dated a guy who was 8 years older than me. What I realized is that someone in that age range was more likely to want a stable relationship. It didn't work out in the end, but the age difference really wasn't the problem.

Good luck.
posted by bananafish at 2:13 PM on January 3, 2012

I was raped on one of the dates :(

I just wanted to say that I am so very sorry this happened to you. That's horrendous. I hope you are taking care of yourself afterwards. I would also like to second roger ackroyd's advice and say that it is 100% okay to put your boundaries right up front, and you should feel good about doing that. Also, from a mathmatical point of view, it may well work out better for you if you do - it should massively cut down on the 6,000 messages and you can give more attention to the ones that do come through.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2012 [13 favorites]

I went on 6 IRL dates. On all of them I was pressured to have sex. I thought all these people I was meeting were on the same page as me. Obviously I was mistaken and generally felt "tricked" during or after the date. I was raped on one of the dates :(.

I'm so sorry that this happened. This in itself would be incredibly messed-up and demoralizing, regardless of the rest. I hope you have supportive friends to talk to or any therapy-type support that you need.

Do you have many gay male friends? Can you ask some of them about your profile, their dating experience, etc etc? I haven't got the faintest notion of what's conventional among young gay guys in your general demographic, so have no notion how to signal that you want not to have sex on the first date.

I also feel like some of these responses have an unintentional undercurrent of "of course young gay men should expect to be pressured for sex". No one should be pressured for sex. Messed-up, patriarchal crap happens in the gay community too.

As I read this, I wonder if you should consider your general interactions with everyone - are you usually good at conveying what you want? Do you build close connections easily? How did you grow up? Was it easy for you to make close friends? Do you find it easy to identify people who are trustworthy and then to trust them? Look for patterns in your social life as a whole to help you identify good behaviors.

Also, maybe be super upfront in your online profile - you'd like to take things slow or whatever.

I am not a gay man and don't face the same pressures you do. None the less, though I have absolutely no objection to having casual sex early in a relationship, I do like to know and trust the person first, and the whole "have sex before you can even tell whether the person is a total puppy-kicker" thing freaks me out.
posted by Frowner at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like roger ackroyd's suggestion. You can also make it clear, in your preliminary texting/emailing, that you've had some unpleasant experiences with people pressuring you to have sex on the first date and that you like to move slowly. You can say it in a friendly way, and you're doing both yourself and the other person a favor by being crystal clear about it.

And, meet in public places, in very low-pressure activities, like coffee, as someone else suggested.
posted by jayder at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2012

("good" behaviors meaning "positive, useful", not "morally good")
posted by Frowner at 2:15 PM on January 3, 2012

first- very sorry you've had such aweful experences so far.

Piping in to point out that being "into" hook ups at that age doesn't totally mean that they wouldn't be willing to give it up once a good boy-friend-material dude comes along. As long as you're being clear that hooking up with you on the first date isn't going to happen, I guess I don't see how their other activities bug you.

Also- This question smells like yesterday's JDate question.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:16 PM on January 3, 2012

I want to date boys, not boys who are nearly girls...

Oh, I will add from knowing various queer folks that the more emphasis you place on all that "straight-acting" stuff (which is kind of what that's code for) the more assholes you'll attract. You don't need to date femme guys if you're not into that, but men who are fearful or contemptuous of femme-ness are not worth a red cent and tend IME to have a lot of internalized homophobia going on.
posted by Frowner at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2012 [13 favorites]

You seem like you're a fairly cautious young gay guy who enjoys the sorts of crowds that don't really feed into those values.

That doesn't mean that you need to compromise on any of these issues. But it seems to me that a gay men who is straight-acting with little interest in sleeping around is also probably going to come out at a later age than average. Or if they are out, they're probably equally annoyed with the meat-market tendencies of the online dating game, and not yet tuned into the parts of gay culture that's not clubbing.

So part of the answer is to be patient. Keep your eyes open. Be open with your friends about what you're looking for. Many of my male friends (both straight and gay) have been seeking relationships over hook-ups since high-school. So it's not impossible.

I'll agree that many relationships start from 'hook-ups' that morph into something more. But don't feel obligated. I'm an incredibly anxious person and shy away from that scene. My dating history is shorter than most, and I've had long stretches of being single. But I've managed to have many meaningful relationships on my own terms, and I'm content with my lot.
posted by politikitty at 2:31 PM on January 3, 2012

I'm not much into the dating scene so I don't know if my take is very helpful. However I will echo Frowner in that what you've said in your question comes across as vaguely contemptuous of queerness. Most of the well-adjusted gay boys I know don't put down their 'femme' brothers, and enjoy being flirty and at times libidinous. I guess my point is that I think your criteria are increasing the likelihood that you will meet people with issues.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:34 PM on January 3, 2012

So here's the thing to remember: you're using mostly free services. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and therefore the quality of suitors you're going to meet is not as stellar. I find that OkCupid was great for finding friends, but not great for finding dates. When I joined, I finally started meeting people who were actually interested in relationships. People who join free sites are not necessarily opposed to relationships - but they find other things easier to achieve, and then those things become their goal.

I'm sorry that this has been such a terrible experience for you. I hope it improves. Be careful not to tar the entire queer community with your negative experiences here. There are wonderful, relationship oriented men out there who respect your boundaries and who will want to build a relationship with you.
posted by jph at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2012

[comments removed - if you can't be constructive, don't bother answering, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:51 PM on January 3, 2012

Can you switch your primary photo to the one with the camera?

The one you're using is a bit erotic.
posted by k8t at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm terribly sorry to hear what happened to you.

Specific to your question: while it should not be assumed that you'll have sex on the first date and/or randomly hook-up, I can see how people might leap to that assumption based on your profile. Some of your comments about enjoying using your body every day and things like that might lead people who want to see sex to read sex into it. I don't know how to express yourself in a way that would be less likely to be interpreted that way, but if you can do so, that might help to weed out some of the creepers.

As a few others have said, I'd also suggest using a different photo. The one you've got up there now seems very sensual and kind of erotic. I mean, it's a good photo, but you may want to use a more "plain" photo if you're trying to make your profile seem less sexual.

NOTE: Your profile is not the cause of people being assholes to you. But, hopefully, some changes will help to attract fewer of the assholes and more of the sort of guy you're looking for.

Other than that, well, I dunno. I have a couple of (older than you) friends who have similar problems finding men to date. They have had a few serious relationships between them, but it has generally taken them longer to find solid partners because most of the obviously queer spaces they have access to (both online and IRL) tend to focus on sex more than on longer term relationships.
posted by asnider at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2012

I appreciate all the comments here.


* Don't use any photos that can be interpreted as sensual or erotic.
* Remove text in profile that could be read into in a sexual way (creepers).
* State the obvious upfront. No hookups. Also state that prior to meeting.
* Be more proactive finding / messaging people I think I may have an interest in.
* Answer more questions and review questions other have answered.
* Re-write some of my profile text that might come off as condescending.
* Try some pay services.

The age difference thing would never work for me. I'm into people in my own age bracket period. So I suppose I have to accept the obvious in regards to that.

posted by ryker at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm really sorry to hear about the rape. I really hope you went to police about this or at the very least have told someone you trust about it. I hope this one bad experience that shouldn't have happened isn't colouring the way you are viewing this last 8 months.

If I am to give you one piece of advice it is this:

You're being too passive.

It's OK to have erotic pictures on your profile and it's OK to have flirty copy, they don't mean anything unless you let them mean something. What's NOT OK is expecting people to react to you or your profile in the way you want or expect them to. It's also NOT OK to expect people to respect boundaries that you've not set. If something like hooking-up on a first date isn't OK with you, (or else one of a thousand other deal-breakers,) then you need to have that discussion with the other person, preferably before you meet them. A romantic relationship isn't just going to happen without any effort, you need to make it happen. You need to be prepared to talk to guys about what they've not written on their profile or volunteered to you in a message but yet is important to you.
posted by I_read_somewhere_that_. . . at 3:39 PM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Now that I am home and can visit OKCupid, here's something I want to add:

"I spend a lot of time thinking about
Whatever I choose to think about.

On a typical Friday night I am
There are no typical Friday nights."

These are not questions that test your ability to come up with flippant one-liners. These are questions to let people get to know you better before, well, getting to know you better. Look, when I was dating, I didn't sign up for OKC because I didn't want to deal with the stupid fucking questions, so I understand where you're coming from. But if you're going to answer some of the stupid questions, you can answer all of the stupid questions. Flippant answers like that can be misinterpreted as "I don't want to get to know you either" rather than coming off as cool and mysterious as you're probably intending them to.

Forget the phrasing and just put in the information the questions are trying to suss out. That is, what do you care about and what's something fun that you do regularly.
posted by griphus at 3:41 PM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

You can say this:

I’m looking for:

Long-term relationship
Serious guys looking for commitment
NOT interested in hookups

Forget the "new friends, long-term dating, activity partners" because all those things suggest that you're not serious. ("Long-term dating" can easily be heard as a euphemism for "no strings and lots of sex.") Look somewhere else for your friends and activity partners: the qualities that make a good "match" in those categories are not the same as what you're looking for in a life partner.

Second the public, short meet-and-greet first date. Tell a white lie when you're setting up the first date and say, "I'm meeting a friend for dinner at 8:00, so shall we meet for a coffee at 7?" That way you have a ready excuse for making an exit, and the idea that you are expected elsewhere will tend to quash the idea of hooking up.

A bonus here is that if you are interested in the guy, you will have the chance to observe his behavior in setting up a second date: e.g., does he return phone messages in a timely manner? Does he suggest a precise time or just "let's get together sometime?" Is he flexible in trying to arrange times and locations that are mutually convenient?

Your answer about "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is great because it's specific and it offers at least a hint into how your mind works. You need to revise your evasive answers to the last three items, including "the most private thing I'm willing to admit." The point of these questions is to put yourself out there, to show that you're willing to meet guys halfway.

You are a good-looking guy so I think you might think about the idea that the "glamour" photo you are currently using might actually scare away some serious prospects, in the sense that they will think either "he is vain about his looks" or (worse) "there is no way a man that handsome is going to be interested in me." I rather like the black and white photo as it looks more spontaneous (which is always going to be attractive to a gay man) without the hint of "come and get me" your current photo projects.

You might, in a broader sense, look into IRL mixers: I met my partner at a speed-dating type event called "Date Bait."
posted by La Cieca at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2012

I couldn't look at your profile from work - now that I can, I second the "use the black and white photo" advice - the others are too pouty-alluring for what you're trying to convey. Also, maybe get another one taken - something spontaneous yet serious, somehow? These photos all make you look (to me, at the advanced age of 37) really young and kind of vulnerable. Which would undoubtedly get you lots of play, were that your thing.

The other thing - your profile seems so unrelentingly positive and healthy that it almost reads as depthless. Also, a lot of it is a list of things-that-sound-marvelous-like-a-really-good-travel-ad. Maybe expand on one or two of the cool things you do/have done rather than listing many? Talk about what you do as service to others, or why it's important to you, rather than the mere fact that you do it. Also, see if you can get a little bit more of your day-to-day stuff in - food, books, movies, favorite moments of the day.

It basically seems like a perfectly pleasant profile to me, though. Get some of the gay friends you've made through your volunteering to look at it - I assume there's stuff going on with it that non-gay-guys can't spot. Although I don't think that merely saying "I like to use my body every day" when you're talking about your job as a karate instructor ought to translate into "feel free to pressure me for sex because my every word drips innuendo".
posted by Frowner at 5:52 PM on January 3, 2012

I really dig the photo you're using now, but it's really androgynous, and that might be coloring the response you're getting. It's the finger/lips thing with the Myspace angle.

IMO, the most private thing window (and the other descriptive windows too) are all good for generally throwing interests out there. People write better messages when you give them a shitload of conversation-starters: bands, books, movies, video games, favorite websites, favorite philosophies, whatever.
posted by NoraReed at 7:21 PM on January 3, 2012

a few others have pointed this out, but i want to underscore the point: for someone who sounds like he has every right to be fed up with okcupid, your profile is remarkably pleasant, very very nice.

time to get tough on your profile, dude. i'm looking at the "you should message me if" section. be direct, be frank, give a rigorous list of criteria if necessary. ALL CAPS for NO HOOK UPS is fine.

that said, i've had great luck with okcupid. but the folks i've made the best connections with were the ones i messaged fist. i'm bi, not hurting for star votes here, but the guys and gals i'd be most interested to hang with are the ones who are probably getting just as many if not more messages than myself. people in that position can sit back and wait to be found. but then how are those folks supposed to find each other? someone's got to be proactive. you're getting there.

you're taking the right steps by consulting the mefites.

now time to put all this good advice into action. edit that profile, mister.
posted by chyeahokay at 11:01 PM on January 3, 2012

As much as I want to have sex mostly what I want is to have quality stable relationships based on respect, love and similar values.

I must have known over a hundred gay guys who have given me the same complaint as you have in the post. Lord knows I did it to. But looking back all of the guys at that age who were in relationships that lasted longer than a month were not afraid to test sexual compatibility.

This is not to say you have to put out to get into a relationship. But if you want sex and they want sex to put the breaks on the whole thing sends up a red flag. It is that red flag that every gay man learns to recognize: the "I am gay and will date you but am still afraid to gay sex and thus the whole gay thing" flag. This may or may not be true but it can be a huge turn off either way.

I think the problem here is with expectations. You are getting a ton of messages and you have not gone on very many dates but are disappointed because you have been expecting to find a match. My advice would be to go on more dates and don't be afraid to want what you want. These little dates may not be successes, in that it leads to a relationship. But they are practice for when you do go on a date and you do like the guy and it does lead to a relationship.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:12 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was thinking about this - maybe ask yourself why you don't want to hook up. IME, people often have perfectly good reasons for not hooking up, and even have perfectly terrible reasons (insecurity, social pressure, etc) for doing so, but all those reasons are socially conditioned. None of them are placed inside you by god or genetics.

Me, I have to trust people a little bit first because I'm a fattish nerdy queer woman who's had some bad experiences in the past. If I were a different kind of person I might not have had bad experiences, I might find it easier to deal with people while being agnostic on trust. More than that, I feel like as a fattish queer woman, I don't have a lot of social power - so if someone wants to hurt me or use me or make fun of me, I don't have a lot of recourse. I just have to rely on building trust to prevent that. [That's an example of why someone might not sleep with people right away.] It's not about sex per se; it's about the social context for sex.

Similarly, what's up with your own reluctance to hook up? (Obviously, the sexual assault you experienced plays a big role. I kind of feel like if you were female and had been raped as part of casual dating, this thread would be very different - now, gay men have a different social/sexual position than women, so your experience of what happened to you is likely to be different too, but still, that was a lousy, lousy thing to happen.) Anyway.

So what makes you not want to hook up? Are you afraid you'll like someone and they will just use you for a hook-up? Are you afraid you'll be judged on your sexual skills when you're not at your best? Do you semi-consciously think that sex without a relationship is trashy? Do you mistrust your ability to evaluate people? There are perfectly fine reasons not to hook up - maybe your life experience means that you just don't enjoy sex with strangers very much, and that's all right! But try to figure out why you're feeling what you're feeling. That will give you more confidence when you interact with dates.

Internalized homophobia. It's perfectly possible to get to be a functioning, out adult and still have a lot of internalized homophobia without even realizing it. I speak from experience! What is internalized homophobia, you say? Well, for example, visceral dislike of anything that's coded "gay" by mainstream society. If you don't like Cher or musicals or flamboyant dudes or drag queens or whatever, fine, but if you have a visceral "ick" reaction instead of an "eh, whatever, I'm not into Cher, NASCAR or skiing" reaction, that's one locus of internalized homophobia. Or feeling if you find yourself sabotaging your relationships, or ignoring your own needs in favor of what you think you "should" be doing (whether that's hooking up, not hooking up, dating popular dudes when you really like nerds, whatever). Or if you can only deal with gay stuff when it's as much like non-gay stuff as possible.

It's really hard to grow up without internalized homophobia. If you think about your situation and that's something you're struggling with, it's okay. It's not your fault. People talk about this as if it's super easy to fix and as if people decide "hey, I'll be queer and slightly homophobic, that will be awesome!

Anyway, if you change your profile and so on and still aren't getting what you want, try doing some serious critical journalling (not just what you're feeling but speculations about why, going on over time and trying to get to the core) to figure yourself out.
posted by Frowner at 5:29 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

My (attractive) friend insists that he always proactively goes Looking on the sites - he'll glance through the guys that contact him (and sometimes message back, but only if they're truly interestin), but he had much better luck looking for the similar-minded guys. When he was looking for a relationship he also put that up front that he was seeking a LTR, and that helped, too. He's now happily married.

Best of luck - you deserve to find all of the good stuff!
posted by ldthomps at 8:59 AM on January 4, 2012

You should try Gaydar.
posted by mippy at 10:06 AM on January 4, 2012

Also, I just wanted to mention that a number of sites will offer you the opportunity to filter the people who can contact you. After a couple weeks on, I had gotten a number of emails from people who really didn't meet the criteria I said I was looking for. The website automated an email that basically said, "We see you're getting a lot of emails from folks who aren't what you say you're looking for. Would you like us to take care of that for you?" I know OkCupid has a feature that you can turn on that filters responses so that certain people cannot email you if they meet certain criteria (ie. if they have "looking for: casual sex" checked).

That said, there's a fine line between disqualifying people based on a checklist based on true incompatibility, and hiding behind unrealistic expectations. It isn't just in fairy tales where Prince Charming appears in some unexpected and unfamiliar form, only to sweep us off our feet. I was actually more of a stickler for the age difference than you are - 3 years older, MAYBE 1 or 2 younger. Nothing else. Naturally, I've been dating someone 9 years my senior now for a year. He's got some other features that I never could possibly have anticipated, aside from the statistically significant age difference, some inconsequential (loves horseback riding... who knew?) and some a little more serious (he was married to a woman for six years; we're not citizens of the same country). Don't let the qualifications for dating you become so strict that they disqualify everyone, because that will mean you miss out on someone wonderful. It sounds like your stated qualifications (which, if you look at them above, are very basic) are not your ACTUAL qualifications. You really need to identify those qualifications and then take stock of how likely you are to find someone meeting them. If you were to work out the probability, I'm sorry to say that it would be rather low. A math guy in the UK worked out his probability last year, and it came out to a terrifying "1 in 285,000" chance. Don't let that discourage you. Let that inspire you to contemplate exactly which of your qualifications are etched in stone, and which are more flexible.

Frowner has a lot of wisdom about internalized homophobia. Most folks have to learn this stuff the hard way, growing up. But you have a great opportunity here to hear it from perfect strangers that, hey, some of the things you say... well, they come across as being founded in some probably-skewed thinking. The whole "I want to date men, not men pretending to be women" thing is a trope that I'm pretty sure has been around since the first drag queen told the first dirty joke and it broke into a million pieces and that was the birth of faeries. Likewise, thinking that "the gay community is primarily about sex" just means you don't know enough of the gay community. And that's okay. Very few can possibly know a representative sample of the gay community at 20 to really understand what it is all about. And actually, it is getting harder and harder to experience this so-called "gay community" because we're no longer ghettoized in seedy inner-city bars and clubs simply based on the fact that we're more accepted in society now. Your generation are some of the first who don't have to go seeking out others of your kind in mythical far off Greenwich Villages around the world, because you're growing up in a world that accepts you just the way you are. Mostly.
posted by jph at 2:39 PM on January 4, 2012

For OKC, I second the advice to put a lot more info in your profile, to use the filters where possible, and to answer a LOT more questions on the site. 200 is really minimal. It's fine to skip over the silly questions, but you will dramatically improve your ability to find compatible folks there if you've answered questions and marked which are important to you. One that I have marked as "mandatory" on my own profile is about how soon with a new person I'd like to have sex, for instance, and that seems like it would be a useful one for you as well.

And I also second putting more effort into seeking out folks yourself rather than just responding to the people who have messaged you! I'm sure there are guys out there for you. Good luck!
posted by olecranon at 10:02 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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