I was thirsty for compliments, feeling disconnected from that sense of male validation. I was also feeling very detached from the dating scene because if I didn't have these handy mini-matchmaking tools at my fingertips, how would I meet men? Turns out old-fashioned dating is actually a whole lot of work.
- I gave up dating apps for a week and tried dating the old-fashioned way — here's what happened!
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In my head, I just assumed people met on the street, but not through things like catcalling or harassment. It was a fabled moment of mutual, clearly consensual eye contact - or something? It sounds ridiculous, but immediately, I realized people usually met at places. Groundbreaking stuff, I know. So, I took it to the streets and then into bars, bookstores, and coffee shops. And, especially at bars, I did notice other people noticing me and striking up conversations. I was more present and probably more approachable.
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I challenged myself to at least try asking for a number or two. It felt a bit brave and I was successful, which was a fun confidence-booster. It took engaged conversation and attraction as well as plenty of clear communication. Did I meet my future husband? No, I don't think so, but at least I kept my eyes peeled. And there was the other glaring issue: I mean, yes, we all love a compliment, but those can't be the morsels that provide sustenance to get through the day or feel attractive.
10 Reasons Why Gay Dating Is Really Hard
Without dating apps, I had to know I was attractive, and in fact, I had to retain even more confidence in order to tackle dating face-to-face as opposed to faking it from behind a screen. Going out a limb requires being self-assured enough not to look down for too long. Eventually, I learned that, though obviously that isn't too say I'm not still insecure or that I'm superhuman. Not at all. After a week, I happily re-downloaded my dating apps and got back into the game.
But instead of treating them as my phantom limb or a mindless video game, I reminded myself of just how useful they could be in aiding my desire to date the old-fashioned way, combining what I'd learned with what I already knew.
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Old school meets new school. Louis Baragona. I decided to give up all of my apps for a week and just try something totally new for me: Here's what I learned in the end, including how I've been using apps wrong this whole, entire time. That's the thing about my whole self-admitted dating app addiction. As gay men the testosterone levels are doubled in the dating world, and we are constantly playing with fire as we try to think with our brains and not our dicks. Going one step deeper into the conversation about gay men and sex, we have to acknowledge how easy it is to find sex. Add to the fact that when we go to gay bars, almost everyone in that room is a possible partner in some way, and our chances are doubled.
Additionally, many of us grew up insecure and full of shame, so part of coming out is feeling sexually liberated. However, we often mistake the ease and casualness of the sex we can, and do have, as something other than what it really is. Sex is great, but sex with substance is harder and harder to come by the more casual we are about this physical act.
Continuing the conversation from the last point, we often are beyond indecisive about what it is that we really want. Being gay is confusing. Once we break the norm, and find comfortability within our own sexuality, everything else is up for debate. Who do we want to be? Who do we want to date? Do we want to get married? Do we want kids? Do we want to be monogamous? Who, if we do meet, we most likely end up sleeping with, and confusing the relationship further. Revert back to points 1 and 2.
As gay men we grow up hiding parts of ourselves because gay still is considered different, and in a lot of places, bad. We feel like we have to hide a part of ourselves everyday for many formative years, which means we are neglecting other parts of ourselves that should be receiving precious energy. So when we finally do come out, we often confuse this as dealing with our issues, when in fact, this is just the beginning to dealing with what our issues really are.
Because we held back from being authentically ourselves for most of our adolescence and the beginning of our adult lives, we get a chance to do it all over when we come out. The cherry on top of all of this, is that this usually happens in a big city, or at least some place bigger than the hometown we grew up in, where excess is welcomed. The question is, when is enough enough? Gay men are beyond picky, and we feel like we can be because with social media the pool of possibilities feels endless. We are men with egos, and we strive to be the best at everything we do because it was something we learned as closeted children.
However, this tends to lead to us having crazy expectations for ourselves, and therefore our mates as well. Everyone is supposed to look like a model, have an Adonis body, be super successful, like everything we like, and fit the molds we've created that no one can ever actually live up to. Dreamboat is ready. His ego is hurt. Add to the fact that gays often date with the seasons, and half the year is either thought of as warm single, and often slutty season, or as a cold cuddling more relationship based time of the year.
10 Reasons Why Gay Dating Is Really Hard | HuffPost
We forget that we are still animals, and like our furry friends, our bodies change with the tides and seasons in a very natural way. However, gay men are quick to use the seasons as an excuse to why we are "allowed" to behave in certain ways.
We aren't definitely going to have kids, which is why most heterosexual people start to couple up and settle down. And even today straight couples are waiting longer and longer to have children.
However, even when we do couple up, the way in which we operate as couples is quite different than straight couples. Add to the fact that a lot of our friends are single, and it becomes almost more normal to be single in the gay world than in a healthy relationship.
We even joke that gay years are like dog years for relationships.
And for better or worse, the second something starts to go sour, we have reminders that there are men everywhere. Our social circles are full of these perpetual bachelors, who appear to enjoy their singledom, and constantly question why we are looking to settle down.
Why do so many gay men struggle to find the relationship they crave so much?
We all have a friend or two, who claims to love being single, but through candid conversations it become apparent he isn't addressing his deeper wounds from past loves and life. These single gay friends come with their own baggage, and will often project that we too need to sow our wild oats. Getting married wasn't an option for our community until very recently, so commitment from a legal standpoint was actually far from a lot of our minds.
This in some subconscious way made us less serious when it came to dating. It's easier to just keep reverting back to all the other points that making dating hard than it is to try and work on something with someone we thought we really liked.
Dating is hard, being in a couple is hard, but it shouldn't be this hard, right? We let our minds drift, we make assumptions, and half the time we aren't even communicating how we are feeling with our partners.