Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mr. Where
Queer Sighted's post "I'm never going to find Mr. Right" addresses a problem not just confined to New York city... namely, the single gay man's lamentation on the lack of datable guys out there.

Post author Richard Rothstein advocates for us to get involved through gay and lesbian community centers, and he nails the reason so many men don't:

"Most of us know of but claim to be too busy or too cool to try the political, social or cultural organization route, but that, my friends, is where the husbands are to be found."

He's definitely got a point. Lately I've been pursuing the DC bar scene, mainly because that's where my friends (mostly couples) show up. And I've never gotten more than two dates out of any guy I've met in a bar.

Trouble is, I haven't had that much luck going the organization route either. And I've burned out on them. Over the past couple of dozen years, I've been:

A church-going member of Dignity Washington;
A helpline volunteer and youth group coordinator for SMYAL;
A Saturday-morning regular with Front Runners;
A coxswain for DC Strokes Rowing Club;
A bass in the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington;
A cycler in the Philadelphia-DC AIDS Ride;
A participant in numerous AIDS walks;
A 1999 award recipient from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation.

I've been to Provincetown, Fire Island, West Hollywood and Mykonos, sailed on four gay cruises, and spent countless weekends in Reho. I've alternated searching with giving up and not caring. And I'm chronically single. I've gone through numerous therapists, trying to isolate and treat the problem, but no luck. Is it me? Is it DC?

One friend, part of a couple, asked me "Are you happy?" I answered "About 50/50." "Well," he added, "I'm about 60/40, so being in a relationship doesn't change things all that much."

A fellow "singleton" claims guys are intimidated by me, because I'm solid, drama-free, and all about being "real" and "honest" (which doesn't mean "full disclosure) and "who I am." "They can sense those things in you, and it frightens them," he says.

"Actually," I answer back, "I don't think DC guys sense anything."

So is it the guys out there, or am I just too picky?


John said...

Roy and I have both tried the political route and the organizational route. On LI, we have a wonderful group called "Dinner, Anyone?" It's a no strings attached chance to socialize with other gay people in a public, non-threatening atmosphere.

We participated over the course of one year. Other than people we already knew we did not strike a continuing friendship with anyone.

My feeling is that as we get older, some of our shells become a lot thicker and people can't find their way into our lives. We begin really know who we like and who we don't.

It takes a lot of work to come out of that shell. I think you've done it well. I don't think people would be put off by you in any way (except, perhaps, your boyish good-looks).

People are either going to like us for what we are or they won't. We can't change the minds of those who've already made up their minds on what they are looking for.

We need a lot more substance in a guy than we did at 25 and that is at the heart of the matter. Where you meet is not important and I don't think one venue has a better chance than any other.

Mike said...

Excellent points, John!