When one of his siblings says or does something my 13 year old thinks is stupid, he'll berate them with, "That's an EPIC FAIL!!"
My last post can be called an EPIC FAIL - at least according to the (supportive) trouncing I took from both friends' and newcomers' comments. I must have done a very poor job of making my point.
Should I try again? Or should I simply say "thank you" and move on to a different topic?
I've decided to try again. Maybe I'll get beaten to a pulp again (with good intentions by all - I understand) but, for whatever reason, I'm finding it difficult to let this go.
Given my situation, figuring out how to meet the right kind of men is a tricky issue.
Although I'm convinced that OKCupid is the best dating site out there, I no longer think it's the best site for me. It's time that I pursue other options.
Turning away from OKCupid is disappointing. It's like switching from a new Apple computer to an eight year old PC. Why would I want to do that??!
I've realized that OKCupid mostly attracts a demographic that is not my own. As much as I would like to be a part of that demographic, I really don't think I can do it properly. I feel like I'm trying to shoe-horn again. That is, trying to get my foot into a shoe that almost fits, but doesn't quite.
What I'm talking about comes down to social circles.
Whether we're aware of it, or like to admit it, it's human nature to want to hang out with people who are similar to ourselves. Being with our own people makes us feel comfortable. It makes us feel safe and at ease with ourselves. There's a reason why different ethnicities tend to segregate themselves. We're all most comfortable among the people most like us.
When it comes to social circles, economic status and educational backgrounds can be more powerful than race. I have friends of many ethnic backgrounds but they're all college educated and they're all professionals. I have much more in common with them than I do with most white high school educated tradesmen.
Lifestyle and age often dictate social circles. Most people have friends in their own age group and most people have friends that live a similar lifestyle.
The intensity of friendships change as we move through the stages of life. As some friendships heat up and others cool down that signifies that the focus of our life is changing. We always make our closest friends the center of our social circle. As the circle changes, we change friends. That's why single people often complain that they need new friends after all of their old ones get married.
The gay community is its own social circle. This is evidenced by the fact that many large cities have gay neighborhoods. Gays and lesbians want a place where they are comfortable and are among their own kind, the same way people of different ethnicities want the same sense of community.
Like ethnic neighborhoods, gay neighborhoods have their own personality. Although individual personalities can be very different than neighborhood personalities the fact that a person chooses to live in a certain neighborhood indicates that they feel most comfortable with that neighborhood's personality. If they weren't comfortable, they'd live somewhere else.
I live near San Francisco, one of the gayest cities on Earth. Most gays in San Francisco live within a two mile radius of Castro and Market Streets, the center of "The Castro." The urban lifestyle they live is very different from the one I do. If I wasn't gay I wouldn't venture down to the Castro any more often than I do Japantown. Also, if I wasn't gay and I wanted to live in the City I wouldn't live in the Castro. Why? Because the center of my social circle would not be there.
It might sound like I'm implying that I don't want to date a guy who lives in an urban, gay neighborhood. That's not true. At this point, I'd be happy to date anyone who can fog a mirror.
What I'm saying is I have my social circle. I'm a suburban dad raising three bratty kids in a location filled other bratty, spoiled white kids and their often obnoxious parents. I have a routine that is centered on my kids and whether I like that routine or not, it doesn't matter. I'm committed, they are my responsibility and no one else, including my someday-ex-wife is willing and able to be their primary parent.
Urban gay men have their social circle. Mostly, it is dominated by other urban gay men. They have routines too. My guess is that their routines are more fun than mine.
Now, just because two people have very different social circles doesn't mean that they can't be friends. Of course not. It happens all the time. And it certainly doesn't mean two people can't be lovers. But here's the problem: in order for a relationship to grow, social circles have to adjust. If two people stay locked in different social circles then it creates conflict and, unless someone adjusts, almost certainly the relationship will end. Normally I would be happy to adjust. But with my responsibilities, I'm largely locked in. That means my potential partner would need to accommodate me. Why should a gay San Franciscan do that when there is an endless supply of other gay men within two miles of his home? He won't. And it's not just about supply. It's also about being comfortable and melding similar social circles.
The reason I think I'd stand a better chance for accommodation in a place like Kansas City or in suburban parts of San Francisco is because the lifestyle differences are less and the choices are fewer.
To have the best chance for dating success, I need to interact with people who are most similar to me. OKCupid is not the best venue for that.
I'm always going to have the same hurdles but cursory explorations of Match, Manhunt and Adam4Adam seem to indicate that they all have more divorced men, and, a greater portion of their users live in the suburbs than OKCupid. I think OKCupid is wicked cool but when it comes to online sites for middle aged, divorced men who are raising kids, it's not the best choice.
I should say that, although I'm somewhat obsessed with OKCupid, I'm not obsessed with on-line dating. In fact, more and more I'm feeling like finding a boyfriend is a lot like finding a job. You can send a resume into a generic job website, or, you can network with real people who have a similar social circle. Chances are, it's real people who are going to help you find success, not the on-line job site.
As for my 41yo teacher...my shoulder-bag wielding urban hipster...I have no intention of emailing him any time soon. He's my top-choice on OKCupid. But, as I'm learning, I need to expand my options. I suspect that if I make an effort with other sites, I'll find quite a few other guys who would make a better match than my geeky friend.
Am I going to get scolded again? Or am I making more sense now?
Many thanks to the guys who take the time to read my posts and make thoughtful comments. I'm not always good about replying but I do savor every word you guys say. I really wanted to respond individually to everyone this time, but since you all mostly hit a different note in the same song, I decided to go with a full post.
Big thanks to Mark, Jason_M, Jim, Amtop, Austin, Jack, Biki and Jayson.