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!

 

 

 

Apr 232012
 

Charlotte had finally broken up with her boyfriend of four years. All her friends—including me—were relieved. “Bob” had been bad news. Now Charlotte was sitting in my kitchen, sipping a gin and tonic, and confessing that she was considering going back to him.

The mind has a funny way of spinning reality. I remembered my own breakup. Observing my mind-talk, I was surprised at how often my thoughts grew into tall stories. In one, my ex desperately missed me and wanted to get back together. In another he was actively dating and had totally forgotten about me. At times, I would even tell myself our breakup was only temporary. My girlfriend Kelli set me straight.

“You’ve been thinking that getting back together is impossible,” she said. “I’d like you to entertain the idea that it’s not.”

She continued. “Jump into the fantasy that you’re reunited and see how you feel.”

I took her advice, and afterwards I felt like I’d been sprayed with cold water. There was no going back. We had split for a reason, and that reason had not changed.

“Tell me what would be different if you two got back together,” I asked Charlotte. “What has changed?”

Charlotte thought a moment, “Nothing really. I just miss him.”

I totally understood.

“Missing him and getting back together are two different things,” I pointed out gently. “Imagine being back with Bob. Go ahead. Imagine it!”

She closed her eyes.

“OK,” I said. “You guys have been back together for five months, and you’re having dinner at your condo. How do you feel?”

I have a knot in my stomach,” she said.

“Do you still want to get back together?”

“No!” She laughed.

 

 

Mar 282012
 

“I’m worried about you,” my girlfriend began. Was an intervention getting ready to take place? What had I done? I’d only been telling her about last night’s date.

“When you started dating again, you said you wanted to date casually, that you didn’t want to get stuck on the search for ‘the one.’ It sounds to me like you’re searching. Which do you want?”

It was a fair question; so was my response: “Both.”

“Which one’s in the driver’s seat?” she probed. I laughed, “Both. Well, one drives while the other rides shotgun. Then they switch.

I guess it’s not an either-or proposition; it’s more both-and.” My friend Elizabeth likes to say, “Every date is a potential mate.” She’s joking, but a part of me sees the truth in what she’s saying. Another part of me wants to roll his eyes. I just want to date casually. I’m enjoying being single.

Do I know what I want? Not really. Am I sending out mixed signals? Probably. Am I worried about it? Not yet. I know given time, the smoke will clear and I’ll be able to see the horizon.

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.

 

Sep 182011
 

In his book The Eden Project, James Hollis writes about a wonderful greeting card a friend gave him. On the cover was pictured a woman holding a cup of coffee. The copy read: “I don’t need a man in my life to show me who I am, or to fill any empty voids. I am independent and strong. I don’t need anyone as an emotional crutch to get me through life. I am an island unto myself, providing all I  need for a happy, fulfilled life. I am at one with myself and universe.” Inside the card was the single line: “God, am I lonely!”

 

Sep 162011
 

Today marks the official end of my celibate summer. After yet another breakup last June, I swore off dating—and sex—for three months. For the past four years, I’ve been in a relationship, one for three years and the last relationship for one year; it was time for a break.

My friends didn’t think celibacy would last. “Celibate summer? You’ll be lucky to make it through celibate Saturday,” they teased.

Celibate summer wasn’t as hard as I (or they) thought. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with my friends, especially my girlfriends. I’ve enjoyed this time to embrace my singleness.

Some friends still don’t understand. “I bet you have four guys lined up for today,” one suggested. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Today will be no different from yesterday. The last thing I want to do is embark on a “manic manhunt.”  I’ve been there, and I don’t like the feeling.

I won’t put up a profile on Match.com, SilverDaddies.com (Ugh. I guess I’m that age now.), or Manhunt.com. At least not right now. And you won’t find me hanging out in the bars. Most gay bars don’t get rolling until midnight, and I’m in bed by ten most nights.

The only thing that has changed is that I’m now open to dating, but I’m not sure how that’s going to happen. A potential date would have to parachute into my front yard and knock on my door to find me. Several friends have said not to be so quick to dismiss the possibility. I appreciate their optimism, but that’s not where I want to put my focus.

I want to be comfortable with “what is,” and right now I’m single. Most importantly, I’m happy. And isn’t that what really matters?