So far, my one venue for finding men has been the dating site OKCupid. I've had my profile up for about five weeks which means that I'm no longer 'new'. I've reached the point where, if I want to meet anyone, I need to take the initiative.
The other day I narrowed the field to a few possibilities and started to email one of them. I had this idea that I would begin the conversation by complimenting him on something in one of his profile pictures.
As I was reviewing his pictures, I realized that two of them made me feel uncomfortable, as in, out of place. In one, he had a shoulder bag slung across his chest. The caption said, "Standing on Castro Street." In the other, he had his arm over the shoulder of a girl, his head turned toward her and his lips pursed. The caption read, "Trying to kiss Amanda at the Castro St. Fair."
When I had previously looked at the pictures I had focused on him. Now that I was looking again, I noticed his very urban surroundings and his comfort in them. He's a 41 year old school teacher - that appeals to me - but, he's also an urbanite. That got me thinking...
I live about 10 miles from San Francisco, one of the gayest cities on Earth. Yet as close as I am to Gay Mecca, my proximity disguises the fact that all the homos who reside there live VERY differently than I do. Many of them seldom travel farther than 5 miles from their home. Many of them don't have cars. Most of them DO have a strong network of friends that keeps them busy on a daily basis. Few of them have a realistic idea of what it's like to raise three kids. They're single and free. Outside of their work obligations they're free to do whatever they like, whenever they like. Without the need to be responsible for tedious things like homework and sport practices and packing school lunches and cooking dinner for a family every night, they have the freedom to pamper themselves. Who needs a big house when you're single? You don't. You can rent a small apartment and sock away a ton of money to use to travel the world.
As I sat there looking at pictures of my urban hipster school teacher I realized that, not only do we come from very different worlds, we will continue to inhabit those different worlds. And, because I'm the one with the dull obligations, what about my life would appeal to an urban, single guy?
Absolutely nothing. Why would a single guy who has spent his entire adult life catering to his own desires have any reason to accommodate a sort-of-divorced guy with three kids who lives and works in the suburbs? He wouldn't.
I canceled the email.
The fact is, people can come from different worlds and form a bond, but the chances of forming a bond when you continue to inhabit two different worlds is very low.
If I want to date single gay men in San Francisco then I pretty much have to live as a single gay man in San Francisco. There's plenty of them all over the City, there's no reason why any one of them should ever consider a guy with kids in the suburbs.
Because I don't plan to live as a single gay man in San Francisco any time soon, I've realized that I should forget about urbanites and focus on guys who live in the suburbs. If I do that, I wonder, how big is my prospect pool?
Not big! In fact, the number of total prospects, at least on OKCupid, drops by 90%.
After carefully sorting through the 10% who remain, I don't see anyone who instinctively feels like they might be a good match. In fact, when I eliminate the guys who will never, under any circumstances, ever appeal to me, my prospect pool is shockingly tiny - considering I live only a few miles away from one of the gayest cities on Earth.
I haven't done any research but I wonder if I had the same situation and lived in a place like Kansas City, whether I'd have better options than I do in the San Francisco Bay Area? That possibility is extremely jarring.
Because I am unwilling to dump my kids on Gabbie (and she doesn't want them anyway) it's clear that I have to work within the constraints I have accepted. OKCupid might be part of the problem. Maybe it's not mainstream enough to appeal to suburbanites. Whether that's true or not, it's clear that I need to pursue other methods of meeting the right kind of men.