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Gay Community and the Corner in the Room​​

April 17, 2018

gay communityIsolation can really place us in one of the worst places in almost a metaphysical stasis in the gay community. We can often place ourselves in this state, even when on paper it seems like we have this supportive and communal arsenal around us.

I remember going into that space of depression when I had two guys practically “ghost” me back to back at first glance. This act seems to be popular in the gay community. During this time period, I felt I heard the “I promise I’m not a flake” excuse so many times which caused me to throw my hands up dumbfounded in the air. How can so many different people tell me that same thing at the same time? I remember telling some close friends that after that round one of ghosting, that I was sure I would not fall in love in Los Angeles. Sometimes my pragmatism can veer into the pessimism category, but hey, it is the predictable gay community after all. Then again, is that more realistic after the trial and error of dating in the same place for many years? For the other, I recall having a two hour coffee date for our first meeting. That same evening, I set up a time to see him again that same week. I planned a long hike because I knew he really liked them, and also set up and took him out to dinner afterwards on my dime. I was feeling like I finally met someone who was a “nice guy” because I for one would like to think the same of myself in the gay community. After we shared one kiss before we parted ways, he then took my hand again as I was leaving his car, and we shared another kiss. That evening, I told him I had a nice time, and I asked if he would like to hang again, and for him to give me some free days for the upcoming week. He then texted me a day and a half later saying the same, conventional thing we are all used to hearing: “Sorry, but I got busy…blah blah blah.” I wonder what he and everyone else would feel by being the fourth wall on our lives during that period of latent communication. I could also play the serial optimist card, and be appreciative that he even texted me back.

During that period of silence, I can then go into my introverted mindset and analyze every last word of the long 4 hours we shared together. I feel a lot of men in the gay community go through this internal conversation. But then again, I thought how isolating and defeating that conversation would be to my personal well-being, and how it wasn’t worth it. One of my closest friends said, “…the most important part is that you are a f$%#*&’ catch, and that bod is sick! These dudes are idiots. Don’t let them get ya down.” I then go into my mindset of “why does this keep happening to me? Do I care too much? Why do I keep being told I’m awesome, and then I always wind up feeling like I am never good enough?” This, my friends, is the core of our dating frustration and sources of depression in the millennial age. The idea of someone reciprocating an affirming interest in a reasonable amount of time or at all is now obsolete or seen as “rare.” This is our reality in the gay community, especially. It’s so interesting to hear “thanks for calling me back” even from a business perspective these days. We have normalized insufficient and ineffective communication styles.

At that point in my life, I was just warming up to the idea of dating again, but I often wonder about men in the gay community who haven’t done that for a while. More severely, maybe they sit in front of their TV after their normal daily cadence alone, every day, and have been confined to their apartment with not as much human interaction as myself. As I was on a call with a non-profit organization about facilitating a talk to the older HIV+ gay community, that specific hardship came to the forefront of my mind. I feel we often forget about our gay seniors, as they feel forgotten. Then I began to realize that I needed to acknowledge the community I have to offer supportive advice and hope. I must seek something to be able to find it. I need to give myself permission to be disappointed and to tell someone about it. Sometimes we need a little vision without sight. With this, I was able to admonish the bad behavior of my dates, and appreciate my valiant effort to be that “nice guy” in the gay community. This wasn’t about me creating an internal tab, but merely realizing that my effort should be enough for me, without it being strengthened by a winning result. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous work, we spend a lot of time chasing a win, when really the prize is the journey we have regardless if we lose or win. If a roadmap from someone is constructed in a way to create a suggestive path, it’s ultimately the other parties’ decision to take the opportunity, leave it, or maybe even suggest a different path that benefits everyone. With this analogy, I spent so many moments making maps and not realizing how many maps I can say I made beautifully. Whether they were used is irrelevant, and for me that is when a switch turned, and a delightful smirk incinerated a cynical pout. Eventually, you’ll find the win you deserve.

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