gay, online, dating, quandry
June 9, 2008 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I live on an island and it's hard to date. And I'm queer...and 50...a bad combo. Is all hope lost?

My partner of four years decided it was time to move on. I can understand, the age difference was extreme (20 years). I'm 50, and a bit of a 'gay anomaly.' I don't like bars, clubs, drag queens, Pride marches, Barbra Streisand or home decorating. And, like I mentioned, I live on an island in Washington.

Several years ago I tried 'online dating' and it was a horror show. But that was then -- this is, well, something or other -- I dunno -- maybe times have changed.

I'm an artist, successful, smart and comely but philosophical/spiritual minded (not New Age though).

Does anyone have any recommendations for meeting kindred queer souls. I'm totally not about hook-ups and ships passing in the night. I'd like to cultivate something with another man that's, uhm, deep.

Queer web dating hip peeps -- I ask you -- what/where are your favorite haunts/spots/zones? Or any other words of wisdom from the meta-hive? I'm all ears (while crying in my beer).
posted by zenpop to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your profile says you live in Seattle. Is the island you live on completely isolated or can you get to civilization with a short drive? In Seattle there are queer arts groups, book clubs, political organizations with single men in them. By going to one of these groups you already share an interest with the people there. With online dating you cast your net kind of wide.

But I hear great things about Connexion.

Happy hunting.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:42 PM on June 9, 2008

I don't like bars, clubs, drag queens, Pride marches, Barbra Streisand or home decorating.

Not being gay, a man or in Washington, I can't tell you where to go, but I can say that I know plenty of gay men who agree with you.

If you're kind of isolated on that island, online dating might be the easiest way to meet people. A friend of mine (now in his late 20s) met his partner (same age) of five years through PlanetOut. I don't know if that was just a fluke for that site, but neither of them is or was into the stereotypically gay scene. Also, this was in Washington, D.C.

And just go out and do things you're interested in doing. Sure, not everyone you meet will be gay (unlike in a gay bar), but at least some of them will be. And if you don't click with them on a romantic level, maybe they'll have friends who will work out for you.

It can be a horror show, sure, but it's kind of a numbers game. Increase the ways in which you can meet similar people, and increase your chances of meeting those people.
posted by Airhen at 6:53 PM on June 9, 2008

do you read savage love? dan's usual advice for the queer and remotely situated is to get thee to a city.

is there a reason you're living where you are? i know it's hard to uproot, but if having a partner is a priority--and i think it is for most people--then it might be worth relocating in order to improve your odds of meeting someone. think about it: if you're interested in the movies, you move to los angeles. if you want to work in tech, you move to san jose (or you did ten years ago. i don't know where it is now. probably omaha). but you see what i mean--people move to improve their job opportunities all the time. it's just as legitimate to move in order to improve your love opportunities.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:55 PM on June 9, 2008

Response by poster: I like that it's mostly female MetaFi folk responding. Thanks.

munchingzombie (!) thanks for site recommendation. It looks refreshingly different.

I just finished a major remodel on this island, and I'm ready to settle in and enjoy the post-shock of the entire remodel process. Wouldn't want to move. Plus Seattle is only a boat ride away. I do love the quiet here, lack of traffic and don't miss the general insanity that big city living involves.
posted by zenpop at 7:08 PM on June 9, 2008

"I'm 50, and a bit of a 'gay anomaly.' I don't like bars, clubs, drag queens, Pride marches, Barbra Streisand or home decorating."

As a gay man, I'm happy to let you know that - regardless of what your 30 year old something ex told you... you are not an anomaly. You're a silent majority. Most of us are just like you - but we don't make good news articles or TV shows.

Rock on and happy hunting!
posted by matty at 7:51 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm a gay guy from southern California, but I lived in Latvia and Indonesia for two years and am off to not-exactly-gay-embracing Poland in the fall, all for work (which I actually really love).

The isolation is tough to deal with from a romantic perspective (even though Riga's only openly gay bar was right across the street from the office!). What bothers me the most is that my gayness must, in fact, be totally invisible because it's just so (outwardly) uncommon and even dangerous to reveal overtly in my line of work. This is not, of course, your situation.

But here's how I got around it. Instead of moping about the lack of eligible bachelors, which I knew about in advance, and also because I cannot change the minds of millions of people overnight, I focused on becoming a person who is always ready to connect with others and see what happens.

I'm a yes guy: yes I am ready to help out, yes I would love to come over and make dinner, yes I think it's an awesome idea to go sightseeing on a snowy day, yes I will MC the end-of-the-year party for our school's 500 teenagers, at a nightclub. By being a yes guy, then, I've been able to forge relationships which have been, while not romantic, incredibly rich and fulfilling. I became a godfather. I have a new best friend. I learned lots more of the local language than most of my colleagues did. I took heaps of photos and did a huge amount of professional development work that got me better jobs in better locations.

All of this wasn't to replace romance, exactly, but it ended up making life a lot easier. And you never know where you'll meet Mr. Right. Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 8:58 PM on June 9, 2008 [8 favorites]

Or you could just post in AskMe.

I'm on Cap Hill. Swing into town on Saturday and we'll go have coffee.

(No, I'm not kidding.)

posted by Vavuzi at 9:22 PM on June 9, 2008 [4 favorites]

Hi, fellow Washingtonian homo here. My advice is widen your net. I met my boyfriend on, a free dating site. Like you, I'm "anomalous" and never had much success finding LTR-types in my local area (no matter what that was -- rural, urban, college town). What I didn't realize is that it's okay to be choosy (or esoteric) if you're willing to work for it. For me and my S.O., it meant a lot of moving (the first one 300 miles for him, 30 for me, then a year later another 300 for both of us) but it was completely worth it.

My thinking is this: The demographics your belong to (and/or search within; gay, over 40, etc.) limit your prospects. If you want the same chance at real, lasting love that, say, a straight 30 year-old has, you have to increase your pool of dateable people. To do that, you have to either change yourself, broaden (lower?) your standards, or look in more markets.

HTH :)
posted by hjo3 at 9:57 PM on June 9, 2008

If you live on Vashon, I'd think that was a huge 'selling point' for prospective partners.

IANAH, but I found most of my dating pool among friends when I lived in Seattle. Here in Florida, it's been at art shows for some reason (in fact, I met my current GF, who is amazing, at my BFA graduation show).

I'd think that organizing an art show or two for yourself downtown would be a sure-fire way to meet a pool of people of sufficient size to take a dip in (no pun intended), esspecially if you advertise yourself properly. Isn't the old Rainier brewery divvied up into spaces now-a-days? Might be a good place to show.

Anyway, good luck. Non-traditional dating, gay or otherwise, can be a pain in the ass, but that can make finding the hidden gems all the more sweet.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:14 AM on June 10, 2008

I agree with matty and mdonley. You're not an anomaly. And the bigger issue, which will have a greater impact beyond meeting someone, is having a full and busy life.

You sound a lot like me, actually. Until last year I lived on Galveston Island 50 miles from Houston. Although I am partnered, my partner is disabled and we don't get out much, see many people, or have many friends. We moved to the Houston 'burbs to be closer to his doctors. Unfortunately we couldn't afford a house in the city that met our needs, so we're now in a "suburban island." Just yesterday we were talking about how isolated we feel and how we need to go out and meet people and look for that third partner we've always talked about, but I digress.

I'm an artist, successful, smart and comely but philosophical/spiritual minded (not New Age though).

I think those are the most natural area to look for social development and make friends, straight or gay. Who knows where it might lead. As for me, I'm looking for a gardening club, or else I'll have to start one.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:29 AM on June 10, 2008

You must live on Mercer, Vashon, or Bainbridge. Just because you're a boat ride away doesn't mean there isn't a world of difference between your neighborhood and Capitol Hill, but you've got to be willing to tap into that scene, I think. I don't think that means you need to go there every Friday to go to the bars, but try online dating again (MeFi is fond of OK Cupid), and cast a wide net in terms of zip code. Be willing to meet someone who fits all your other criteria even if they're across the bay.
posted by slow graffiti at 8:50 AM on June 10, 2008

I don't know the current state of things, but I met my partner of 11 years on IRC (Internet Relay Chat. See here for more info, if you're unaware).

One trick to on-line dating, meet in real life as soon after meeting online as possible. We tend to build notions about people we know online that are inaccurate. This can be a real downer if you've developed a serious interest, then find out your notions were mistaken.

And really, you're not unusual for a gay man. However, you might want to reconsider your attitude about drag queens. I guess my formerly negative attitude was improved by my love for the play and film "Torch Song Trilogy". Just saying.
posted by Goofyy at 8:51 AM on June 11, 2008

Odd, my link was wiped out. HERE is the link.
posted by Goofyy at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2008

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