Monday, October 12, 2015

Your help please - which of these strategies will help me meet more men?

Finding a long-term relationship with a man over 40 is a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.

I'm getting a bit discouraged with dating again, but unlike the last time (when I took a two year hiatus), I'm determined to keep trying.  I'm very fortunate in that I live in one of the most "mature" gay-friendly cities in the US.  There isn't a limitless ocean of potentials here, but the waters are wide and deep.

There's someone out there for everyone, right?

My biggest frustration is how dismissive many guys are.  I know that appearances count for a lot (nearly everything) but the fact is, no one can have a fulfilling relationship with a photo.  This is especially true when *so many* guys' pics are 5-10 years old.  For me, the purpose of a dating app is to facilitate face-to-face meetings.  There is literally no other way to know if I click with someone until I meet them.  But other guys are far more confident.  They know we're not a match as soon as I message them. I can easily send ten messages and get no replies.  Should I take that personally?  No, apparently that's normal.

The dismissiveness doesn't end there.  I've had guys "like" my photos, but when I send them a quick hello, they don't reply.  What's up with that? Are their likes "fat finger" phone mistakes?  Who knows.  For the sake of my mental health, I assume they are.

Finally, there are the decent first dates that get dismissed ten minutes after they end.  That's when a texted "Good to meet you" actually means, "I never want to see you again."  Well, whatever.  I'd rather be rejected sooner than later.

The thing about all these dismissals is that photos and first dates are poor indicators of long-term compatibility.  Far more often than not, good connections develop over time.  How many men correctly "know" they've met their future spouse after the first date?  I really think more gay men would find satisfying relationships if they invested time in getting to know each other beyond a single coffee date.

As you can see, it's easy for me to complain about how other guys behave when dating.  But complaining doesn't change a thing.  I can't *make* people meet me, just because I think we may be a good match.  If I want to be more successful, I can only change myself and\or my approach to dating.  With that goal in mind I've been considering some changes, and I'd like your feedback...

It's my observation that most gay guys over 40 who will date someone their own age are looking for a man, not a boy.  Bears are popular, twinks are not.  I've also noticed that average bodies and six-pack abs aren't impressive but bulky chests and big biceps are.  My perception is that significantly more gay guys over 40 would reply to a message from the guy on the left than they would from a guy on the right.  Do you agree?

Similarly, I think a more masculine face - particularly one with stubble or a beard - is significantly more desired than a "cute" clean-shaven face.  Who would you prefer, the guy on the left or the guy on the right?

Of these four pictures, I am most similar to the guy on the top right.  (I'm actually more twinkish than he is.) And of the four, who is likely to get the fewest replies?  The same guy.  So... what if I were to try to look more masculine by growing a stubble-beard?  Would that make a difference?

Or, what about a more difficult change...what if I tried to follow in Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's footsteps and bulk up as he did for his role in "Don Jon"? (Left is "before," right is "after.")


He told Men's Health, "I put on about 12 pounds. I went to the gym every day for a couple of hours for six months. And I ate and ate and ate. I ate so much food, [but] no fat, no sugar, no dairy, no bread."

I wonder if changing my "packaging" with a stubble-beard and\or more bulk would genuinely make a difference when it comes to getting more first dates?  I also wonder if guys who are *that* focused on looks are men I would be interested in dating.  Do you think a year of intense gym time would be worth the effort?

Another direction I could go is to download every gay dating app there is (Grindr, Jackd, Hornet, Scruff, Tinder, OkCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish, Adam4Adam, Manhunt) and post a profile on all of them.  This would be a "big net" approach.  I'm reluctant to go this route because, within a month, I'd be stale everywhere and then what?  But on the other hand...all it takes is meeting the right guy.

A third option is to look for a relationship by hooking-up.  This is seems to be a somewhat common approach.  It's also something I'm extremely unmotivated to do, despite the fact that I'm fairly certain I'd meet more men by arranging sex dates instead of coffee dates.

The fourth option is make the (possibly insane) assumption that I'd be best served by changing nothing.  I should "be myself."  OK, sure.  That's easy to do.  But how is that any different than watching the years roll by?  I think being true to one's self is generally good advice, but it also seems naive to think that looks don't matter or that effort doesn't correlate with results.  What I don't know is where to most effectively put that effort, so I'm asking you: how do I get more first dates?

21 comments:

  1. I met my husband when I was 53. He was 57 and recently dumped by his wife of 30 years for her former college boyfriend. I am not physically the type of guy he is attracted to and he is not my type. We met through mutual friends at church and at the university where I worked at the time. One night, we were discussing where gay men our age, who did not drink and were not looking just for sex, went to meet people. I had written him off, although he had told me a couple of months before that he was getting a crush on me. It began to dawn on me that he is a great guy, and that what I was really looking for was a great guy -- not a great body or a great face, nice as that might have been. And there was a great guy, sitting across from me and he already liked me. So I asked him out. We have been together ten years. I don't know that I have any advice. Just sharing my own experience.

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    1. Awesome story Michael! Thanks for sharing it. May the two of you have many more happy years together.

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  2. I met my husband through a hook up site. I also met other compatible guys as well (who were otherwise attached). Sure, I met my share of flakes, but I think you should give a shot at your second and third options. And you can have some fun along the way :)

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion Paul. Pretty much everyone seems to agree with you that hook-up sites are the way to go.

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  3. I also met my partner (soon-to-be fiancee if all goes well this month!) on a hook-up site, years ago. I wasn't sure I wanted an LTR — after a few weeks he was sure that's what we wanted, and despite what I thought I wanted, he changed my mind over a few months.

    So yeah, sometimes meeting a person *in person* can flip their priorities if there's compatibility. Focus on meeting guys — sex is just one method of establishing intimacy, but it's also an important one among men. Don't begrudge if it gets you a legit opportunity to learn if you like what's inside a guy's head. Good luck.

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    1. Congrats in advance on your impending marriage! That's very exciting news.

      You're the third guy in a row who said they their partner through a hook-up site. As you said, I shouldn't begrudge those sites if they give me a legitimate opportunity to establish intimacy and get inside another guy's head.

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  4. Hook up site. 6+ years going strong here. Just be honest I think - I said I was interested in dating, finding someone, sex was good, but not everything... not one to sleep around and here for hookups.

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    1. Thanks Mike, for weighing in. I appreciate that you shared what you wrote.

      Congrats on six years and going strong!

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  5. My advice is be yourself. Of all the photos you posted, I'm most attracted to Gordon Leavitt. Hahaha. But seriously, I like the upper right.

    I would add a couple more dating apps to your repertoire. Make it clear their will be no sex on the first date, but don't sound like you don't like sex all together. (Although it sounds like that's the case). How can I say this.....Sex isn't everything, but it IS SOMETHING, and who wants to get into a sexless relationship? I'm sure there are some.

    Good luck dude. I'm glad you're not throwing in the towel, and posting your adventure to your blog helps countless other out here know they are not alone.

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    1. Thanks for the advice Jack. I'm seriously thinking of giving some hook-up apps a try. I might try Tinder first though.

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  6. I'm not a fan of twinks so I'm more attracted to the beefy guy on the upper left, but ideally not as muscular. Also, neither JGL for me, but give me a not so crazy Shia Labeouf as seen in Elastic Heart any day. A few years ago twinks were popular, but today's gay men tend to go for the muscle bears and wolves. I think it's the preconceived notion that they are hung tops, like in the [porno] movies. If you do change your appearance, what do you think will happen they meet you? They were expecting a lumbersexual or spornosexual god and got something different. Present yourself as you are. You may not get as many hits as you'd like, but the hits you do get will be from the ones interested in you. At least you're not Asian. Nobody is interested in them.

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    1. Wow, look who's still reading my crappy blog! It's good to hear from you. It's also a bit of an odd coincidence...just a few days ago I had stop following your old blog when it was taken over by an interior designer.

      I missed Shia Labeouf in Elastic Heart. Is he as crazy in the movie as he is in real life?

      You have an interesting theory about muscle bears and wolves. I agree to an extent, but I mostly think guys over 40 who will date someone their own age are specifically NOT interested in twinks. If they were, they'd be chasing the 20-somethings - as many guys do.

      As for changing my appearance and being authentic - I totally agree. If I'm not comfortable with 10 days of stubble and REI flannel instead of fitted Gap wear, then I shouldn't wear them. That said, I'm giving a more mature look a try. We'll see if it sticks.

      I know Asians don't have it easy but there are guys out there who are ONLY interested in them. That has to count for something positive, doesn't it?

      I hope all is well with you?

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  7. There are many things that some people can discern from a single meeting or even an online profile. Among these is a deep sense of insecurity. You seem very insecure not only about your appearance but about what you might offer to the right guy.

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    1. You're half right. I am very insecure about my appearance. It hasn't served me well. But I'm not giving up. I'm working with what I have and doing the best I can.

      As for what I have to offer the right guy...I'm far from perfect but still close to awesome. :-) As one of my good friends says, I'm a diamond in the rough.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  8. Entymo@hotmail.com (Abe)October 15, 2015 at 4:57 PM

    A lot of gay men are always looking for the next best thing. Immediate gratification. I'd still like to believe that if you just be true to yourself outside and in, you'll attract a quality guy. Otherwise preening and grooming to get a guy will work but after the initial attraction and thrill, what is left? Also curious what city is mature and gay. San Francisco? Because that's where I'm from

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  9. Cast your net wide. Go on all the dating sites/apps. It really is a statistical game here - don't leave it up to "chance"

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    1. Yes, it is a numbers game. I don't know that it makes sense to go on all the dating sites and apps at the same time, but I can certainly expand from the one I'm on now.

      I hope you're loving your new job?

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  10. I hate to say this.....

    I think you'll have better luck on the hookup sites. I've had no luck on match or okcupid or POF. I have had luck on he other sites, and met some surprisingly high quality guys there.

    Here's more bad news. In my experience, the sex happened pretty fast. And if it didn't, it wasn't a match.

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    1. It's unanimous - I need to try some hook-up sites. I think I need to do some internal work before I'm ready for that. I'll probably try Tinder before anything else. Even if I get very few matches, at least they'll be mutual.

      Fast sex on hook-up sites is a given. Maybe a slutty phase would be good for me. I just wish I had a more positive attitude about it.

      Speaking of a slutty phase...do you see one on your horizon?

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  11. I'm in the same boat, so mostly I am reading the tips as well. I have given up, I agree with most of your post, I really have no advice to offer, I suck at dating.

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  12. Hay Cameron,
    Sorry I am late commenting here. Also, I have not read all of the comments above, so sorry if I am repeating something.
    First, of all of the pictures above, the upper right one (like you) is the one I would most be attracted to. Maybe because it is most like me? I have always said "I would do me". I don't like to be be far out weighed or our bulked by my men. I am not a big fan of facial hair either, but some of the right kind can be sexy. The gym is always a good idea; even if it does not get you a date, it will make YOU feel better. Muscle tone looks good on anyone.
    Second, given the choice of coffee or sex for a date, sex will win. Hey, if we don't hit it off, at least we had a fuck. Sorry to be so blunt. Coffee, hiking, ect is great for future dates.
    Roger

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