“You’re our litmus test. If you’re not finding a partner or any opportunities here, no one can.”
I don’t set out to be the litmus test for people, but it does seem to be a common theme in my life. I have always been fortunate to be a motivated person, the kind friends refer to as fearless, independent and driven. Given that these qualities are my most pronounced attributes, it stands as no surprise that I am chronically single, much to the confusion of friends, family and colleagues.
If you know gay men like I know gay men, then you’ve met a lot of catty, shallow clubbers whose sole motivation in life is fitting in. Whether it be in the gayborhoods of our major metropolises or into an image of heteronormity, fitting in is of utmost concern. You know who I’m talking about. Guys who keep a sharp on eye on the current fads and trends, from hair cut to whether polo shirts and skinny jeans are in or out this season, what pop diva’s single is the anthem of the moment and which club is the club.
Not being one of those guys, I am in a splendidly fringe position within gay culture. Where do gay guys who are literate, articulate, well informed and thoughtful find each other? I’ve given the 21st century a fair shot to partner me up. I’ve tried gay.com, I’ve tried match.com, I’ve even given craigslist an honest go. (Full disclosure, I’m currently navigating the waters of OK Cupid). While casual sex has its place, it seems to be the only thing anyone is looking for within the realms of cyber dating.
It was suggested last summer that I attend the South West Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, was given two tickets, and told I would definitely meet an arty, intellectual gay man. I was decidedly the only person in the audience under 50. I’m sure that the one or two guys there not with a partner were very sweet, but there energy was obviously silver years energy, and that’s just not so appealing when you’re young, fit and vital.
Being a writer, I often hear that there are tons of attractive, intelligent gay men showing up at literary events. I’m sure they do (in other cities). Here in norther New Mexico, my home for the next four months, I am the gay man showing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the lesbians populating these evenings, but I am neck deep in women, and would like be neck deep in men for a change.
I know plenty of smart, vital, creative gay men who do the club thing. I also know every time they start something with a new guy they met on the dance floor, in an enraptured grind to a Lady Gaga tune, that in about six months, my shoulders will be soaking wet with tears from another nasty break up. It’s not that all guys in gay clubs are shallow, two-timing whores–it’s just that most of the guys in gay clubs are shallow, two-timing whores.
So, where does that leave us smart, book loving, driven to achieve our dreams artsy gays? Well,single, for starters. In a few months I am returning to New England (Providence). As far as I gather from my trusty friend OK Cupid, there are a lot of smart, well read men out there, looking for someone to share walks on the beach, nice home made dinners, and evenings curled up together reading on the couch. Not everyone’s romantic idyll, but it is a tempting motivator for relocation.
And if I only end up making some really good friends with these guys, then I will be getting closer to that image of the relationship I am hoping to someday have. You never know, you meet one of these charming guys, no sparks fly, but you stay in touch…and down the road they introduce you to their best friend, whose perfect you just so happen to be.