Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meeting The Right Guy

I have been asked from time to time how to meet a guy who has the qualities that I have described in my own partner: honesty, integrity, romance, intelligence, and terrific & tender with intimacy (not necessarily in that order!)

I am "of the age" where when I was single and looking around, the Internet was not available. Websites dedicated to social interactions and networking did not exist. The only places available to meet other guys were bars, clubs, social groups, and the workplace. We could run a personal ad in the local gay rag, but that didn't work very well and took a long time. Or, there were occasional gay-oriented events, like rallies, trips or cruises, but those trips didn't occur with the frequency back then with which they do now.

I know that I was exceptionally fortunate to have met my partner through a club that we both had joined for different reasons, but about the same time. The other members of the club turned out to have a lot of "issues." My partner and I figured that out fast, left the club, but kept each other! We are approaching 16 years of true partnership, and I am thankful for each minute I have had with him.

These days, using the Internet to make first contacts is how many men meet other men. But using the Internet exclusively has severe drawbacks. I have learned from my on-line activities (blog, website, occasional posting on BOL, etc.) that a fair number of the people who respond to on-line postings have "issues." A guy may sound normal in writing but then when you meet him, you find out that (a) he is married to a woman; (b) he has someone at home he calls a partner yet he is playing deceitfully behind his partner's back; (c) he was smart enough to analyze your posting to repeat what you wanted to hear, but when you spoke with him one-on-one, it turns out that you have nothing in common; (d) he is demanding for sex and not much else; (e) he doesn't have much "upstairs", (f) he wants your money, or (g) some combination of these things.

A guy looking to meet another guy on the 'net needs to be astute enough to know that not everyone is who he portrays himself to be. That if you do choose to meet in person, to plan the first meeting in a public place, like a restaurant or a bar, rather than invite him to your home immediately. Have a conversation before letting your libido take over your mind. Keep your mind straight -- at least as straight as it can be for a gay guy -- by not confounding your thought processes with drugs or alcohol. After all, meeting someone else for purposes of a longer-term relationship than a one-night stand means that you have to be able to listen and think.

While the Internet is an often-used tool to meet other guys, what I continue to observe and hear from friends is to "get out there." Get involved in things. Find out if there are brunches or other social functions organized by a group that you would enjoy knowing better. If you enjoy playing sports, join a volleyball, softball, or other local sports team. Get involved in community or church activities. Go rock climbing or hiking with people. Join a club or group that does things you enjoy -- like I do with motorcycle riding and civic groups. These days, gay men are "out there" and active in a number of groups because they like what the group does. They enjoy doing things like helping out at the shelter, singing in the choir, playing a sport, and all sorts of things.

Because gay men are more integrated than ever before in community events, activities, and sports, it is common to find that while there are a bunch of straight people in the group, there very well are gay people in it too. They are like me: they don't wave the rainbow flag, come swishing into a room with a squeaky voice, or have an HRC sticker on their car's bumper. That is, they generally blend in as a part of the fabric of the community, and not associate only with other gay people. After a while, though, you usually can find out (by using "gaydar" or simply asking) if a guy you like might be interested in going out with you. If you find a man you like in the group, you already have something in common, which is the activity that the group does. You already have something about which you can begin a conversation. And let me affirm that it is conversation that builds the foundation of a long-lasting quality relationship.

Getting out and involved seems to me to be one of the most overlooked "resources" for finding a mate. Yet that process is as age-old as going to the church social or the barn-building for a neighbor of years past. (And in years past, that is how a lot of gay men actually met each other because they never could think of revealing their sexual orientation.)

Keep at it, keep looking, and know in your heart that if you really want to meet that special man, there are guys out there that you will like and who will like you as well as be compatible in bed. But I know it doesn't happen like it happened with me but once in a blue moon. But it can happen. It does happen. Think positively, keep looking, keep true to yourself and your convictions. And also: keep smiling! Nobody likes a man who scowls.

Life is short. Spending it with someone who will remember your name and forgive you when you put your right boot on your left foot when you're 70 is worth it. :-)

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