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?