Recently, the idea of a relationship has been top of mind. Being in therapy and getting to my “old” twenties has made me question why I haven’t been in a relationship. Moreso, the prospect of finding someone I can fall in love with and be vulnerable around seems like something reserved for cheesey movies and people with visible abdomen muscles.
Finding someone that can get your heart racing but also go to the Container Store with you and not lie, cheat, steal or worse…get fat seems impossible to find. I might as well be hunting unicorns. So for the sake of argument I will sharpen my mother of pearl arrows and bring a virgin to a secluded meadow and get my hunt on.
At a young age, without gay role models in solid relationships (and coincidentally no straight role models either), I made peace with the fact that I might die alone. However, the prospect of being “lonely gay uncle” at family affairs, weddings and holidays has given me a renewed energy in my search for Mr. Stays Around-Loves Me for Me (It’s a hyphenate because he’s fancy.).
Although I’m searching I have made some observations I’d like to share with you:
1.) Whore or Nothing: There are two groups of gay men. Whores and Prudes. It’s the Madonna/Whore dichotomy played out like political parties. Party 1: Guys that are seemingly sex obsessed and seek intimacy and validation in casual sex encounters. Party 2: The romantic guys who will only consider talking about sex if it’s the fourth date. No one group has the right answer. We should value and appreciate sex but we shouldn’t deny that it’s omnipresent in gay culture. Let’s face it…we all need love.
2.) What is Love? Baby Don’t Hurt Me. As men we are not raised to be in touch with our emotions. Where are there positive role models of gay relationships? Celebrities? No! The Media? No! Worse yet…you meet so many gay men in open relationships. I won’t deny that they might work. But shouldn’t a relationship be more than shared property and having a permanent plus one? If you’re expending the same energy seeking out sexual partners as you did when you were single…is it really a committed relationship?
3.) Laundry List Thinking: I’ve done the online dating thing. Any who says they haven’t is a big ole liar. When you look at some profiles of guys they say things like:
Fit, attractive and sensitive guy seeking a guy who is masculine, with a good body, who is intelligent, emotionally available who can do magic, turn lead into gold and loves dogs.
This begs the questions…does your Prince Charming exist? Moreso, would that perfect person be interested in you?
Call me crazy but I don’t think there is a perfect specimen out there waiting for me. Dr. Kenneth George, in his book Mr. Right is Out There, says that gay men should limit their criteria for rejection to 3 bare essentials. There is a difference between Mr. Right and Prince Charming. I subscribe to this belief. I will share that I did make a list of qualities once of what I wanted in a guy. I met him and it was astounding. But over the course of our errsatz relationship, he showed me how emotionally unavailable he was and how we had vastly different views on relationships.
4.) You’re Not Meg Ryan, honey! Let’s face it. As gay men, we are denied that foundation of dating and intimacy before sex is on the table. You don’t see moms driving their sons and their boyfriends to Jillians for a tween date. The first time we get to explore our secret gay feelings is in secret locations which is often when sex is on the table. So we indulge our libidos and have sex on the table. We don’t learn the slow burn of letting intimacy develop. We don’t learn how to be authentic with emotions and say, “I like you.” Worse yet, we don’t know how to handle that emotional frankness. When you add to this internalized homophobia, emotional baggage and the whole host of other things that warp our minds we’re all 10 year olds at heart.
We’re trying to figure out how to find and show love. We end up looking to romantic movies for paradigms or signals on how to make things work. But let’s face it they aren’t helping straight women. Also, gay relationships are different. Straight people don’t debate if they should delete their Manhunt profiles, throw out sex toys from past relationships or have threeways.
5.) The Karmic Twist Last but not least, let’s not forget that in our gay lives we might sleep with 10 or 10,000 other men. That being said…they will eventually meet other gay men. Most of the damage done to the gay community is guy on guy crime. You stop calling some guy and he gets broken up about it and does that to someone else and then you end up doing it to someone who ends up dating him. It comes full circle. That’s why we need to try and be nice to each other and replace all the jaded and bitchy behavior with rainbows and unicorns!
I don’t know the answers to How or Where to find a relationship. But, I am acknowledging the Why and letting that sink in because who doesn’t want a snuggle buddy to watch True Blood with? Hopefully my pretentious pontifications will help someone be a little more frank and honest with themselves and change the way they treat others.