This month has been a bit of an eye-opening experience between quite a few of my newer clients, gay men in Los Angeles. As I have told many over the years, lifestyle is a really important piece of compatibility in relationships, especially in gay men. This is heavily influenced by socio-economic status, and sometimes one’s environmental influence in the past or the evolving present. Regardless of age, a person’s (financial) success can really alter what a person prefers in leisure and in daily life, especially in gay men in Los Angeles. One of my longest relationships was with someone who ensured that he would receive “the best” of a lot of things. Growing up in a middle class home in rural Georgia, I grew up being surrounded by things that were, well, free or of little cost to me. I would go to the church playground for fun, would spend the weekend afternoons playing checkers or going bowling with my grandparents, I never really traveled, and all of my food was either microwaved or at an affordable neighborhood buffet. Although, I have always been good at saving and being strategic with my money, I have never had the urge to fly first class, waste too much money on parking fees, or purchase the best car, etc. – a lot of gay men in Los Angeles want these things. Even if I don’t or do have the means to do so, I’ve just never had the capacity to feel that I needed to be “extra.” My father definitely instilled in me to be gracious and thankful for what I have. Heck, I still shine my grandfather’s boots I was given years ago when he passed away. I have a solid good pair of brown boots, why do I need two more pairs? As a kid, he drove me crazy because he could be a bit of a pack rat, and never getting rid of things, but accumulating them for no reason. As I have grown older, I am in the wavelength of “less is more,” and feel a bit of catharsis when I go through any organization or purging fit. I feel like I am different among gay men in Los Angeles.
I have been really inspired by the minimalist mentality. It’s interesting how these men and women have such a “rich” life, only having nominal things they need to maintain a very complacent lifestyle. As we date, we start picking up on cues about certain things that may or may not fit with our lifestyle. It’s hard to intimidate me, but I remember going on dates with men with very nice shoes and cars, with gay men in Los Angeles, and it was a bit of a notch down on the compatibility scale for me. I thought to myself, “is this guy really going to be okay with me having the same 5 going out shirts, me not wanting to spend $100 on dinner every weekend, or will like my bed sheets I got on sale at Target.” A lot of these men are very genuine, not even showy, but this is what we gay men in Los Angeles do best: judge people with a minimal amount of evidence. What happens is when we date someone and expect them to have the same lifestyle expectations, and how they identify material value, this can easily intimidate or underwhelm someone, and cause them to label you as something you are not – “too fancy” or “too stingy” often times. The other day I saw another celebrity impersonating another saying as if she was “such a normal girl,” but if we really look at it, she’s one of the most highly paid actresses in show business currently, and I doubt she fully lives like a “normal” person living in the middle of Kansas.
The idea is to be understood that your experience or success is not someone else’s. Take mental notes, and understand that it can be a bit awkward for the person to say they don’t want to go to a dinner spot because the wine is $15 a glass with gay men in Los Angeles. A lot of times in intake interviews, men just want to meet men who are entrepreneurial and passionate regardless of a six-figure salary. If you have the financial means to “pitch in” every now and then, do it. Trust me, if the other guy likes you enough, he’ll be keeping tabs and make it up to you in his own cute way.