Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gays, Dating, Sex & Attitude

Men!

I'd like to meet some.

Finding men can be as easy as ordering a pizza to be delivered. Sign in to Grindr, Manhunt or Adam4Adam and, boom, within 30 minutes or less you can have a man delivered to your doorstep.

Ah, the efficiency of gay hook-up culture!

I've been there and done that. But now hook-ups seem empty and pointless. It's a pity I feel that way. I could undoubtedly meet many more men if I would just change my attitude.

As with life in general, attitude makes all the difference.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized just how important one's attitude about sex is when it comes to meeting men. Generally speaking, it seems that gay men can be divided into three groups according to their 'sex and dating' attitude:

One attitude is that sex is recreational. 'Strings' are to be avoided because they inevitably ruin the fun. Although gay men of all ages can feel this way, my perception is that this attitude is most common among guys in their 20s and early 30s.

When a guy feels ready to jump off the NSA merry-go-round and settle down, he often adopts the second attitude. He's ready for commitment but he's not particularly looking for it either. He may hook-up less frequently than he did when he was younger but the whole idea of sex leading to a relationship makes sense to him. Basically, guys with this attitude are open to all possibilities, including recreational sex. These are guys who would agree with Single Guy, that "sex is the gay handshake" - casual sex is a way to determine if a guy might be relationship-worthy. It's my belief that the majority of single gay men have this attitude.

Guys with the third attitude tend to be somewhat prudish about sex. They are that certain segment of gay men who, regardless of their age, are keenly focused on finding a relationship. For them, sex is secondary to finding an emotional connection. Casual sex does not appeal to them and many of them would turn down a hook-up even if they found the guy attractive.

For whatever reasons, I have the third attitude. And I'm realizing that my attitude significantly narrows the pool of potential men I might meet. Bars? No. A coffee house as Austin has suggested? Maybe. That would be a crap-shoot. In a best-case scenario eye contact turns into a flirty conversation. Then what? A date? Maybe. Or an offer to come home?

Wouldn't it be much simpler if I just changed my attitude?

I've asked myself that question and it's something I could consider. But then I hear stories like this:

A friend I met from blogging has the second attitude. He would like to have a relationship but he's willing to hook-up for fun or to see if a hook-up might lead to something more permanent. Recently he met a guy through Grindr. They clicked well enough on-line that they arranged a coffee date. The date went extremely well. Afterward my friend told me, "the date was good. Really good. I'm sure this is premature - but I actually felt a connection with this guy. Sparks? Not quite yet. We had to stop by his house and drop off his leftover cheesecake - and while there he kissed me (which was nice) - and I could tell he was willing to go farther. I hit the brakes and said 'I want to go slow - I've been in these situations where I jump ahead of myself, and it never goes well.' He agreed."

Two days later I asked my friend if he'd had any more contact with his Grindr guy. He said, "I sent the guy a message a little while ago. He responded with something like 'I've been thinking a lot about it - and I'm having a problem with you being married. Sorry.' So that's that. I mean it's kind of funny. He was trying to get my pants off - and he knew I was married at the time. So I'm good enough to fuck - but not good enough to date."

I should mention that my friend's marriage is over but not legally so. Kind of like mine. Actually, my situation is worse. My wife and I are 'best friends' who sleep in the same bed.

So yes, I could change my attitude and I'd meet more men. But how many of them would say, "You're good enough to fuck, but you're not good enough to date."

"Wait a minute!!" you're thinking. "What do you think all those no-hook-up-I-want-a-connection guys are going to say?!"

Probably something like, "Are fucking kidding me? You're married?? See ya!"

***

When I was navigating through all the chaos of last year - did I have a marriage or not? - I was pleased and thrilled to follow Jim through his journey at Conflicting Clarity. He and his wife have maintained their family home and co-parent their kids together. They each have their own boyfriend and both boyfriends have found the situation acceptable, at least for a while. Theirs is a slow and gentle break-up that has sheltered the kids from having their lives turned upside down.

How ideal! I thought. Isn't everyone a winner in a slow and gentle break-up? Why have separate homes if everyone gets along?

Nothing about that scenario has changed. It's still ideal - from my point of view as a parent. But I think the reality is that Jim's boyfriend T is an exception. Most single gay men who are interested in a relationship would have no time for a man who is still legally married and lives under the same roof as his wife.

I find it ironic that I'm gay and my wife is straight, our romantic relationship is over and neither of us sees an upside to getting a divorce right now, YET most single gay men would REQUIRE a divorce. Now I have outsiders telling me how to live?

The fact is, no one can tell me how to live. But my choices do have consequences. If I want to stay legally married and live in the same house with my sort-of ex-wife, I'll be damn lucky to find a guy who wants to date me. Or, I can get a divorce, move out (kids with me, of course) and HOPE that my divorced marital status will be acceptable to more single gay men.

Gee, it seems to me, I'm fucked either way. And my attitude doesn't have a lot to do with it.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a firm believer in the notion that we control our realities - if not the events themselves then how we interpret and react to them.

    You know the situation. You know the realities of the other perspective - that it's hard to find someone who wants to commit to you if you're giving the outword impression of not being willing (or able) to commit back. And, frankly, that's what the married-but-not-quite-married status probably sends people, regardless of the truth of it (and I'm not pretending to judge the truth). People (not just guys) understand "trapped in a marriage" or "married but separated", but most people would see "married and don't want to divorce, but still wanting to date someone long-term" as red-flag "cheating" or, at the very least, the "have your cake and eat it too" notion. That doesn't fly very well.

    So, it's up to you to decide what you are going to do and what your priorities are. If the marriage is your main priority, then you have to accept that others aren't going to see you as available (which means mostly casual sex). If you want to be seen as available, you have to take steps to distance yourself from your marriage. You might find someone who'll walk that middle-road you're trying to travel, but it's going to take a lot more work - and personal contact, as well as risk - to build a relationship to that point.

    There's also the fact that a lot of men, especially in their late 30's and older, would be really uncomfortable with even the thought of meeting the consenting partner of someone they're having sex with. It's just not something our society usually condones, so there's a fair but of social angst involved.

    In the end, the results are at least partially in your control. You need to take responsibility for those parts.


    Oh, and, regarding your three types - I probably fit some kind of fourth, though I'm not sure where it would fall. I think of sex as an action with no inherent value; all meaning is brought into it by the parties involved. So, I willingly have NSA sex if I feel like it, or friends-with-benefits sex (usually for fun - if you have the right friend, it can be a blast), or long-term relationships when they happen. I don't think any of them is any more or less appropriate or "right" than any other. The important part is that both (or all, if there's more than two) participants have the same expectations on meaning; otherwise, someone's going to get hurt.

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  2. Not only are some single guys not willing to date married men, there are divorced guys who won't date another married man. I was told by one divorced father that he would like to hook up with me, but he usually does not go after married guys. It was he who approached me, by the way. But if I want to hook up just let him know. Tempting, but no. Maybe he had a conscience and didn't want to be a home wrecker since he has been in my shoes in the past.

    Hookups on Grindr are not that efficient if you are picky and the other guy or guys when you are talking to a couple are playing games. Why can't you walk over here? No, you walk over here. We're even in the same hotel. No kidding. Yeah I am starting to play those games now and not enjoying it.

    You are in a good spot for meeting all sorts of gay men without those sites and apps. Get out to the gym or take a class. At least you'll start out with the same interest and you won't even have to flash a nipple to get the guys attention, unless you're at the beach. I need to get to a beach myself. Enough about me. Just get out there and have some fun without the pressures of finding a guy.

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  3. Hey Cam.

    I would totally love to find a guy like you, or Middle Man in my area.

    I realize now that I don't fit the mold either, but I'm looking for just a slice of intimacy, and to share just a little piece of me. I'm looking for someone who already has a full life and just wants some extra zest once in a while. By once in a while I mean once or twice a week.

    So, don't give up hope. There are guys out there that seek what you have to offer. How many guy, I really can't say. I used to think my feelings were common and ordinary, but I'm beginning to get some different clues.

    Good luck bud!

    J.

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