Ahhhh February. The “Thursday” of winter months, the dreariest time of the year. We thought we would spend this month’s article on that polarizing holiday of holidays, Valentine’s Day. Since this “not even a day off of work and school” pseudo-holiday is still a thing, and as a thing, it raises the issue of how little LGBTQ people are taught about dating the same sex. It makes a journey for love even more complicated and scary.
So to help shed some light, we decided that we would give our readers a dose of our combined love advice, gathered from years of dating exploits. Specifically for you, The Queer and The Queer at Heart.
So without further adieu, we present:
Gay-ting and ReGAYtionships: Part One
The View of a Gay Male (Patrick Alexander)
After I came out as a gay person at 20 years old, never having been on a real date, and surviving the crucible that is the coming out process, I was happy with my new-found honesty and sexual identity. Truth be told, my desire to let people know about my sexual orientation came from one simple, secret wish
I wanted to fall in love. For REAL.
I wanted to be with someone I really loved, and would love me back.
Simple, right? Wrong.
I found that as I became more active on the ‘social media’ of the day (No Scruff and Grindr apps, come now, this is 2001, we talking “Gay.com” and “ICQ”, babies!) and met gay men who seemed reasonably educated, hygienic, and absent from the dangerous offenders list, I broke into the world of dating
One little problem; I had NO idea how to date another man
Dating is tough for all, but in our culture, heterosexual dating and mating rituals are ubiquitous; you cannot watch one television show, movie, coffee commercial or pop up ad on Facebook without being given multiple messages about heterosexual dating and courtship.
But I was gay. I asked out a GUY. Do I bring flowers, or is that too “femmy?” Do I offer to pay, or will he feel offended? Do I dare go with a “dinner and a movie” cliche date plan, or is a gay date supposed to be a step above? Instead, perhaps tapas and naked skydiving?
I was clueless.
SO, to help all the rest of you in the same position, I offer some personal advice that I have acquired in the trenches of gay dating for all of you would-be Romeo’s looking for your Benvolio’s.*
(*Did you think I was gonna say Juliet? How would that have made sense? Benvolio is Romeo’s best friend, the one he SHOULD have dated. Look how falling for a girl turned out. Am I right? But I digress.).
- Pass that Dutch: Though chivalry dictates a man pays for a woman on the first date, going dutch, or splitting the bill, is perfectly acceptable. Or follow the hard and fast rule of all dating: If you asked them out, you pay.
- Flowers are Always Romantic (except at a funeral): Okay, you’re both guys. Though it seems like a very feminine gesture, here’s a bombshell: men like flowers too! At least I do. Basically, any little gift to greet them makes you look thoughtful and considerate. Ignore the convention, make a romantic gesture, and give a hot dude some Avondale carnations.
- A Movie is a Crappy First Date: Perhaps some men who date women truly have nothing to say to them past the dinner, and long for the distraction of 90 minutes of cinema, but try to opt for a setting or activity that lets you feel comfortable and allows you to talk. Discussing your favorite films is a great first date, watching one in silence is defeating the purpose.
- Neither One of You will Know When to Make the First Move: Again, back to the heterosexual dating rituals ingrained in our heads. I basically made a vow that if there was an awkwardness while saying goodbye, I would just lean forward and see where that goes. You’re both men, you both feel the pressure to make first a move. Frankly, if you’re lucky, he will make the move to kiss you. But don’t be afraid to go first.
- Don’t over-analyze WHY you had to initiate the kiss: Because I KNOW you will. Hey, someone has to. If he kisses back, you’re golden! If he doesn’t kiss back, OUCH… That stings, buckaroo. So make sure you always apologize for being too forward, and then excuse yourself and quickly dial an Uber as you slip out the fire exit.
- Honestly, be Honest: If you’re having fun, say so. If you’d like to see him again, say so. If you like his cologne, say so. Being aloof or “hard to get” is only admirable in convicts at large. The beauty of dating another man is the desire for non-complicated enjoyment and the simplicity and directness of communication. He will appreciate it, and your willingness to be truthful is very endearing. (And sexy).
- Better than a Friend: Some men will go to great lengths to make it seem as though you’re just two dudes, hanging out, chewing the fat, and nothing more, because he feels perhaps a bit self conscious being visibly gay in public.
Sorry, unacceptable. Shut it down. If he treats you more like a friend than a date, know where you stand. There is never an excuse to not feel like this person’s DATE. If he spends too much time masking the true nature of this meeting, he may need a little more work on him.
This is not a complete, or exhaustive, or even researched list. But they are things that I wish I knew before and not after. So this February, gentlemen, date with confidence and a sense of fun. Buy the flowers, don’t talk about politics or your exes, and may Cupid shoot you in the butt. I’ll let Falynn take the torch for all of you Single Ladies out there!
Gay-ting and ReGAYtionships: Part Two: The View of a Queer Female (Falynn Shaw)
When I came out I was 23, it took about a full year to reach everybody, and by that time I had already began dating women. The internet was just becoming popular as a way to socialize and “pick up.” Prior to coming out I had met a girl from the United States on Yahoo Chat but she was too far away, so I checked out some Yahoo chat rooms close by and I met my first girlfriend. We are actually best friends now and continue to stay in contact because we did in fact have a connection (just not a romantic one).
After that relationship I started going to the local gay bar, (Yes! at one point we did have a gay bar in this region!) and that is where I met my next girlfriend. Now, you realize there weren’t many people to choose from in this community due to its modest size. I’m not saying she was horrible, but I definitely could have done better.
There was small feeling of desperation on my side because I did not see that there were plenty of fish in the sea, and ironically I was also not on the famous website Plenty of Fish.
Once I was free of that relationship and I had come out I was ready to date for real! I was on my mission to find a beautiful woman to love. I ventured to Buffalo dancing, I went to Toronto and partied in the Gay Village, I went to anything gay related so that I could possibly find my dream girl. I even started working at the local gay bar as a shooter girl! After doing all of that I realized that the girl of my dreams was most likely going to find me because I kept coming up empty.
Just as Patrick gave you gentlemen some rules on dating, I’m going to give the ladies some tips on relationships. Why? Because I am kind of the queen of them.
- Don’t waste your time: If you were in a relationship with someone, but you feel lonely most of the time, that’s a good indication that the relationship should have been over a while ago, both of you need to realize that it’s over and all you’re doing now is wasting time. I want to save some of you some time because I wasted a lot of it staying in relationships that I thought we’re going to be forever.
- If you’re over the relationship, end it: If you nitpick constantly at the person that you’re with, constantly start little arguments, or purposely do things to get under their skin, (I don’t think I should have to say this BUT) that relationship should be over. We got one life to live people, and this is not the way it’s meant to be spent. If you’re not happy, end it.
- Don’t stay because it’s comfortable: If the reason you are with the person is because you are comfortable, even though your relationship has no respect or love, this is not the relationship for you! Both you and your partner deserve better!
Time out! I’m going to take a minute and talk about being alone. Sometimes, it’s the best thing you could be.
I took the last year and I spent it alone. I dated myself. I got to know who I was as a person, inside and out, and I was able to identify and work on some flaws in my behavior. Now, because of that growth and maturity, I’m ready to be in a relationship again. It is better to be alone then to be in a relationship that isn’t working, don’t waste time!
Back to the list! I’m going to give you three more rules these ones are definitely going to be more on the positive side because like I said with all that growth I did I’m ready now to be in a loving relationship now.
4. All the small things: If you are lucky enough to find the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with make sure that they know how important they are to you. Remind them that they are loved, go out of your way to do small things because all those small things add up.
5. Talk isn’t cheap: Make sure that you have conversations with your partner, not just small talk but actually become engaged in their interests. Also, put your phone down! When you are having conversations with the person you love, you need to make sure that they have your attention. There’s nothing worse than telling an important story and then just getting a one-word answer when they look up from their phone.
6. Keep it real, honestly: This is most important tip: If you take anything from my part of this article, be real with your partner. Always be honest, even if it hurts. Do not lie, even if you think it’s little one. Be honest, and work at the relationship, it deserves your love and attention.
I’m very happy that I’m out of the dating scene. It could be a scary place at times, and like I said earlier, I stopped searching for my dream girl and eventually she found me
It’s easier to say than to do, but don’t give up hope! There is someone out there for all of you but you may have to spend a little time alone discovering who YOU are and falling in love with yourself. Remember what Mama RuPaul says: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the HELL are you going to love someone else? Can I get and Amen?”