Jul 012012
 

Being everybody’s gay best friend has its advantages; you meet the most interesting people. Yesterday, I received this e-mail:

“Hey Randy! i am a single gay dude in nyc looking for love. i got tired of grindr and okcupid and decided to write a blog that would help me find my future boyfriend. it started when a friend asked me to draw a picture of my “ideal guy” and right now it’s something like an FBI wanted ad and an oprah love experiment.”

Danny then asked if I’d help promote his site. “Of course, I will!”

Check out Danny’s blog: www.helpmefindhim.tumblr.com. If he’s half as clever and cute, Danny won’t be single for long!

 

 

 

Jan 022012
 

“I should have seen it coming,” she began. My friend Cameron had been recently dumped by her boyfriend of three months. Cameron and I were sharing tapas at one of our favorite lunch spots downtown.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I said.

“But all the signs were there. We were arguing a lot, he’d become distant, and his friends were acting strange. The writing was on the wall.”

“Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” I said sympathetically.

“I’m proud of how I handled myself, though,” she offered.

“Oh?” I was glad she had stopped beating herself up.

“I handled the whole thing with grace. I listened to everything he had to say, told him I was sorry to hear it but appreciated his honesty, and wished him well. Then we hung up.”

“Hung up? He broke up with you over the phone?” I was appalled.

“I know that’s not kosher, but I’m glad he did,” she said. “That way, he couldn’t see my face and how I really felt.”

“And how did you feel?”

“Angry. More angry than sad. I was mad at myself for not breaking up with him first.”

“I get that.” I’d been there too.

“He was right; we weren’t a good match. We should have ended it a month ago.”

The next day, I thought about our conversation. The next time, I’m dumped I’m going to take a page out of Cameron’s book. I’ll listen carefully, thank him for his honesty, and wish him well. The less emotion shown the better.

Even if it’s been a long-term relationship, I’ll keep any drama to myself. I’ll avoid arguing, bargaining, lashing out, or crying. After all, there’s no reason to act like he’s destroyed me; he hasn’t. I will get through it, and one day I’ll find someone who loves me as much as I love him. I deserve that.

Cameron had shown me how to handle a breakup with grace.

Oct 312011
 

Our date is at 7:00. As usual I am on time, and as usual I’m the first to arrive spoiling any chance of making a grand entrance. I take a seat at the bar. The bartender asks what I’d like to order. I order water. I don’t want to order a drink, just in case he doesn’t show up.

At 7:10, a man who looks somewhat like my date walks into the room. I’ve never seen him in person, only his pictures on the dating website. The photographs appear to belong to the same man only this man is a good bit heavier.

He has a warm smile, firm handshake, and he smells good. As he takes a seat, I steal a glance at his belly; it protrudes over his belt. Didn’t he write on his profile that he had an athletic build?

Don’t be so superficial, I chide myself. Give this guy a chance. I actually like stocky men. Stocky, maybe. But this guy has a belly, and his face is bloated.

Put looks aside. You two appear to have a lot in common.

We talk about our work, past relationships, and spirituality. I like him. Taking another glance at his belly I know I’ve lost the battle. The fantasy I’d built around our life together quickly dissolves like an Alka Seltzer hitting cold water. Chemistry is a funny thing. You either feel it, or you don’t. I don’t feel it.

I take a deep breath. At the very least, this guy could be a friend. I like that thought. Still, I am sad, and I’m disappointed. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I had really thought this man could be “the one.”

 

Oct 252011
 

My back was killing me. I had been standing for what seemed like hours. Roy, one my best friends, was celebrating his fifty-fifth birthday with a cocktail party in Manhattan, his hometown. One of his dear friends had loaned his chi-chi Columbus Circle apartment for the celebration.

I plopped down on what appeared to be a fifteen thousand dollar sofa to give my aching back a rest. An acquaintance, Richard, joined me; his back hurt too.

Within minutes, Richard and I were comparing notes on dating. In addition to having bad backs, we are both fifty-something single gay men. Richard lives in New York, though, and I live in Asheville, North Carolina.

“I could be dating a twenty-five-year-old right now,” he said, “but it’s impossible to find someone who’s close to my own age.”

I was shocked. To me, Manhattan seems like Mecca for gay men.

“Get out of here,” I challenged. “You’re attractive, successful, and you live in New York City. I would think you would have lots of options.”

“Not so,” he said. “For some reason, there aren’t many options in here, and most gay men my age want a younger man.”

Not me, I thought. I have no desire to be anyone’s daddy.

I remembered when I lived in Atlanta. Atlanta is considered the “Gateway to Gay” in the South.  Yet I had a similar problem; finding a date was tough. On the other hand, finding someone to have sex with was a walk in the park. (Sometimes literally—if you happened to be walking in Piedmont Park.)

Many singles—gay or straight, male or female—blame geography for their lack of dates. If I had a dime for every person in Asheville who complains about the tiny dating pool, I’d be a rich man.

If geography doesn’t dictate dates, what does? Could the self-help books be right? When you’re ready the right person shows up?

It happened that way for my Asheville friend Charles. After a particularly nasty breakup, he took a year off from dating. Four months ago, Charles met a great guy who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Recently his boyfriend landed a job in Asheville and is moving here. Charles is elated.

“You found the needle in a haystack,” I commented to Charles recently over cocktails.

“Or attracted it,” he offered.

Maybe we’re like magnets; we attract “the one” when we’re ready. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s more like playing the lottery.

Oct 192011
 

I can’t wait for this day to be over. Tonight, I have a special date.

“This man could be ‘the one,’” I half-jokingly told a girlfriend. He meets many of the qualifications on my ideal partner profile. He is handsome, successful, and adventuresome. We share similar values and backgrounds. He is close to my age.

I know what I’m doing; I am totally immersed in an imagined future with this man. So what, I reason, the fantasy is fun. Here’s how it goes:

We entertain his friends in New York. His crowd includes famous actors, highly successful entrepreneurs, and Wall Street types, as well as several socialites. In Asheville, we entertain mine. When not in Manhattan or Asheville, we travel extensively. We are active in community; both of us feel it is important to give something back. At night, I curl up in his arms and feel safe. With him, I feel complete. With him, I feel loved.

I know better. No one can complete me. Wish as I might, no man can make me feel loved. These things I must do for myself, and until I do I won’t be ready to be in a real relationship. Real relationships start with a strong relationship with self.

A while back, my therapist, Chip, suggested that longing for “the one” is linked to the longing to be loved. His words helped me find a compassion for myself I’d never experienced before.

At fifty-six, I’m still a little boy wanting to be loved by his mother and approved of and affirmed by his dad. Both my mother and father are gone now, but even if they were still here, they couldn’t do it for me. I know it’s an inside job.

Relationships mirror many of our issues and the work we have yet to do. Still, I’m looking forward to my date tonight.

 

 

Oct 152011
 

David Steele, MA, has identified twelve dating traps. Trap one is the marketing trap. Caught in the marketing trap, you feel you need to make yourself more appealing to attract a partner. You’re all about packaging, presenting, and promoting your best self. This trap can lead to disappointment once your partner discovers that the sizzle doesn’t match the quality of the steak.