For those of us who don’t live in major cities, our homes nestled in the suburbs far away from the liberal life of urbana, gay bars, festivals, and other social gatherings, there aren’t many opportunities to meet gay men in the real world.
Sure you could travel to the gay bars of the city now and then in search of someone special, but in a capitalist economy not many have the time to make the trip daily and not many city boys are willing to date someone from the suburbs who has to travel 40 minutes just to hang out. It’s also not as if in the burbs we can walk up to any Joe Shmoe, assume he’s gay, and start flirting with the guy. Even the best gaydar can’t truly detect what sexual orientation some guys are. So what outlet can we turn to in search of other gay men around us?
Drum roll please………………….Online dating of course!!
I got sucked into this soiree a few months after my last breakup and have not since broken its hold on me. In my two and a half years of dating gay men I meet online, I’ve come across a few trends, etiquette, all in all wonders of the online dating world.
I first learned that not all dating websites are created equal. Outside of their design and number of members they had etc, their sense of directions were completely different.
I, unfortunately, began my quest for love on one of the worst ones, a site which I later found out was geared only towards sex. From there I ended up being exposed to other dating websites, some still aimed at sex, while others strictly dating, while still others a combination of both. Some were mostly targeted at American customers while others were more international.
But, what’s truly wondrous about any of these gay dating websites is the common trends that they all follow no matter what the users are after. For example:
-In each website the majority of the users responded with one to two word messages. E.g. “Hey, how’s your week going?” The response, “good thanks.” That’s where it would end, because asking about the other party’s life would be too much of an inconvenience for them.
-In each website guys boasted their bodies. From pecks to abs to even leg muscles, they would strut it all. Sex appeal is one thing, but if you’re serious about dating you wouldn’t want the first impression of you to be a picture of you standing in front of your bathroom mirror, shirt off, and flexing. A guy in a suite or cute outfit with a big smile on his face is ten times sexier than one with his shirt off in the bathroom staring at himself.
-In each website guys would label themselves as “nice, caring, outgoing, social.” When in reality, the majority of the users are not nice at all. There were times when I’d message someone, feeling like I was giving someone the benefit of the doubt, trying to see past their not so cute exterior, and I wouldn’t even get a response. Other times I’d meet them in person and it’d be evident that they were anything but social, having no common manners and could barely muster up a conversation.
-In each website all the guys claimed to be looking for love. And yet that same person who I saw on a serious dating website had another profile on the sex based one. On one profile trying to give the image of a loyal companion, while on the other whoring himself out to God knows who.
-In each website men were finicky about meeting up ‘too soon.’ When you meet someone in the real world, at a bar, social event, etc, you don’t run and hide behind a wall, tell them to email you a few times and then maybe you’ll consider dating them. You look them in the eyes, try and see if there’s any connection through casual conversation, and if you’re interested you give them your number. Online dating has completely made a joke of this process with men acting like little girls demanding that you talk to them online for a couple weeks before they meet up with you for even a coffee date.
Thus far the majority of men that I’ve seen on dating websites seriously lack social skills, are a bit of a narcissist, and mainly crave hookups as opposed to a serious relationship. But then there are the few men with a good head on their shoulders, are serious about dating, and leave a glimpse of hope in those facing a similar situation.
I often wonder if straight people face similar circumstances, although I doubt that the majority of women would tolerate a man putting up a picture of his penis on a dating website!