Tag Archives: Relationships

Brokenhearts Clubs and Vulnerabilities Show, These Are Our Valentine’s Day Woes

vday

We are officially in the season of love. A time we know will soon be perfumed with flowers that bloom and sweeten the air. The days become longer now and the sun greets us after a long hard day’s work. Our urges to hibernate from the cold ebb away and our mood is lighter with each passing day. We are more likely to seek out new people and places to go and endlessly imagine all we want to do when summer arrives. By nature, we as gay men are more expressive in how we show love and just become so much more livelier during this time of year. We begin to listen to more songs that speak to the beginning of love to welcome new possibilities…but this time is not all rosy.

Even though we love all aspects of love this is also the time of year when we measure our entire worth based on whether or not we have a relationship. The subject of love is always looming to the point that it feels like it’s taunting us because we are examining what love or lack there of, we have in our own lives. And we begin to dread the international day of love. A day that is penned as the day of expressing our love turns into a diatribe about shattered hearts from inflated egos of our exes. We being to relive betrayal from infidelities and show apathy towards love that did not last. We lament on missed opportunities that we fear may never grace us again, Love consumes us in every aspect of our lives around Valentine’s Day.

If we’re single, we incessantly examine if it is the men we’ve been pursuing in the past calendar year. So we begin this at first objective list of what we are looking for in our potential soulmate, with trepidation and fear. It starts off innocently enough. First we may wonder are we looking for the wrong attributes in a man, how that can be tough.  We ask if our standards too hard to obtain. Should we settle for the guy that completely lacks ambition but looks great naked, or should we abstain?  Is the city I live in just lacking in worthy men or can we never win at love again? And then we turn this one day into the biggest self-deprecating examination into our looks and personality.

Are we too fat? Too skinny? Too tall? Too short even in top hats? Too much or not enough muscle? Too little ambition with not enough hustle?  We will go on dissecting every single inch of our bodies with great care, to find a flaw that is not there.  Then we examine our faces as aging in the gay community is hardly granted any graces. We’ll ask if our eyes are too close/far apart, and if our noses are too big/small by just an ounce.

Are our brows too pronounced or are our ears too big by just an ounce. Do we allow our scruff to sprout or just all hair out. Should our clothes mismatch or is there another reason we can’t find the ultimate catch. We’ll pull at our lips to see if they’re gigantic or in desperate need of snips.  Is it our voice or a bad accessories choice, our walk our smile too wild, our laughs, our dancing has too much prancing… It all begins to sound like a bad rhyme in our heads.

We’ll ask ourselves if we’re too needy or too detached. We’ll begin to wonder if we’re not affectionate enough or if we flirt too much with other guys. Are we too political or not worldly enough. Maybe we’re just boring/bland or too adventurous and spontaneous. Ponder extensively if we don’t communicate enough or know when to leave well enough alone. Could it be we’re too dry or never takes anything seriously. Are we too trusting or should we have trusted our instincts. Maybe we’re too cocky or too insecure. Constantly questioning how our past is affecting our present.

No matter how much friends and loved ones convince us otherwise. Their words are hallow to us now and facetious to boot. We feel patronized because we want to see what the guys we pursue don’t like about us. We’ll listen to sad songs, write sad, dark poetry and darker clothes. We get angry at even the slightest mention of love, the one thing we crave with our entire being. All we crave is to feel anything other than this constant drive to fill this void placed in our hearts.

Single people aren’t the only ones that do this. If we’re in a relationship we are constantly evaluating if that relationship measures up to not only our standards but the standards of everyone else. Wondering how to spice things up and try new things. Speculating at how truthful those relationships that make everything seem easy when you have to put so much work into your own. Wondering why the passion has left your relationship. Maybe even if only for a minute wondering if the love has ended and you both settled for comfort.  Also, you’re wondering if he feels the same way. So the day of love becomes a critique of both yours and his performance up until this point.

I have been through all of these stages just like everyone else, especially when I first came out. So often we critique ourselves to our communities standards whether we blindly follow them or not. It resulted in bad hair experiments and excruciating muscle building regimes. Attempted a really bad clothing makeover. Stared at myself in the mirror off and on for hours readying myself for discovering something heinous that was preventing me from finding “the one”. Made a list and called my exes to see what I could’ve done differently. Secretly studying other happy couples seething at how effortlessly they made their relationship seem and comparing how my interactions with past loves measured up. Hey, I’m human just like everyone else.

I was examining what I’ve done right or did wrong in all aspects of my life for the pursuit of love. Wondering what other measures I could take to make myself more desirable both inside and out. Inspecting my body and my behavior to see what I thought others would see, through their eyes. I did this regardless of whether or not I was in a relationship or not. Constant speculation of failed relationships and lack of consistency when I had a boyfriend. All these negative thoughts about myself going round and round like a bad rhyme.

Then I remembered what love really was. How the beginning wraps you up in euphoria. How when he mentions your name you get week in the knees. How hearing his name can make your day infinitely better. The little things like small notes or buying your favorite brand of cereal to show you he cares. How kisses are electric and holding hands makes you feel immortal. How love gives you the strength you never thought you had. How you are more focused than ever on your dreams and making them come true for the both of you.

Or when after a long very difficult end to a relationship you are able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. That even though you want love, your life is what you worked hard to make of it. That loved ones are there for you to make you laugh and smile. And even when you are not alone you are not lonely. All those moments came from confidence  They come not just from the fact that someone loves you, but also the belief that you are in fact worthy of love. And that you love yourself.

Both of those moments of strength came from self love. And as the depth of how I loved myself  grew so did the love I gave and received from others. The point of this is first to not let this day be a measurement of how successful you are in the arena of love. Too often, in the season of love, we forget to love ourselves because we are too busy evaluating what love is given to us. What constantly ask what kind of love we want in relationships, whether we’re looking for one or attempting to reinvent the one we’re currently in. Being single is not a weakness and being unhappy about some aspects of your relationships is not the end of love. And we should also remember to give the same kind of love we are seeking to ourselves.

 

Texas Teenager Arrested for Murder After Using GRINDR To Lure Victims

Where The Rules Of Grindr Need Not Apply

grindr

You finally arrive home after a hectic day and what better way to get rid of some tension than the accompaniment of a gentleman caller. Then you open the app, letting those within a designated area know that you’re available to have some fun. Time passes as you’ve blocked those you have no interest in or the profiles that creep you out. After going through some preliminary participants you later reject you finally come across a profile that adequately meets your requirements as they haven’t grossed you out. Then there’s conversation via a series of text messages to verify profile claims and likelihood of sexual compatibility. An agreement is struck to the location of where to meet. Then there’s sex. And then most often, unless it’s someone who literally blows your socks off, you never hear from each other again.

It definitely isn’t the only dating ritual of gay men but it by far is the most popular. Today’s technology offers social interaction on such a convenient level than ever before. It allows us to be able to not even bother with the hassle of hearing from people whose looks, personality, or conversation that we do not like. It is almost comparable to online clothes shopping in how easily accessible it is to find someone to have sex with any time, any where. And to me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it being that way, safely. There’s always an assured confidence in knowing what you want out of your relationships so why should selecting who we want to have a one night stand with be any different.

But here’s the thing, today I was asked does the easy access to sex diminish the possibility of experiencing a real, fully developed relationship. Do apps like Grindr make sex cheap and thereby less meaningful? I had to at least entertain the question. But as I began to process the inquiry it leads to me asking: Does the easy access actually make having real, sustainable relationships harder to have? Because of how easily it is to select a sexual partner for an evening or two translate into how we look for someone to share or lives with? Do you ever question how much social dating apps change and influence the way you see other men? Does it change the way that you look for dates out in the real world? Or does it change your entire perception on what other men are like?

These are all legitimate questions if you think about it. Communication now is more about a text someone sends rather than the voice of the person sending the message. We are more focused on the physical aspects of a guy than any other attribute he may possess. Intimacy is now more about what is said than what is heard. The fast pace of it all and ease that doesn’t pose any of those pesky, sometimes awkward encounters of getting to know someone out in the real world. There’s an objective, almost sterile approach to these encounters and so why wouldn’t we want our other interpersonal relationships to be just as convenient.

Of course we know these apps are not designed to find the one so I’m not arguing against their purpose. I’m asking does our use of them set the standard in how we interact in all the other relationships we seek out. So often I ask myself what are the components of a successful relationship and wonder if these behaviors we enact upon on social apps placate other social relationships. Because we communicate differently on these apps than say when we text someone out for a date, or at least they should be different. So to an extent we have to at least examine how much of an influence these social dating apps have on us.

Think about this: when you first began to fantasize about being with men (or at least didn’t deny it to yourself that you are attracted to men) what was the idea that you had in your mind? Was it you rescuing a hot, rugged man in some forest where you show off how brave and strong you were? Defending the prospective lover waiting for you to defeat their adversary and you run into each other’s arms as the antagonists stumbles away, leaving you the victor. Then you and your lover run off into the sunset to begin your happily ever after. Okay maybe that was a little over the top but that’s what I thought about all the time growing up. Comes from a tendency to want harmony and romance in all amorous situations that lead to the fantasy. But I felt like romance and sex was the same thing. That having sex was intimacy and love.

But as an adult (more likely an adolescent) we learned that this is more the exception than the rule. A lot of the lessons we learn within the gay community we have to learn pretty fast. That more often than not the fantasy and romance to sex does not exist and it is just that, sex. It’s okay when it’s just sex. Have as much as often as you like (safely) has always been my motto. It goes back to knowing what it means for you each time you choose to engage in it. So again I ask do social apps set false pretenses of what to expect out in the real world? No it doesn’t. It doesn’t promise us the fantasy of what we thought love or relationships meant. We can sometimes just erroneously apply the same expectations to every other type of relationships we pursue.

There’s a downside of course to the quick and easy mode of dating and relationships in using these dating apps and rely on the same rules to apply everywhere.  When we apply this mode of interaction to all of our relationships, we miss out on a lot of the things that make relationships stronger. Those awkward moments of first meeting each other are time-honored stories of how love can bloom to the younger generation. The obstacles of getting to know someone and finding out their likes and dislikes prove to be the thing that helps strengthen them giving the relationship decades of longevity. How intimacy can be in a simple touch of a lover’s hand or one longing look into each other’s eyes. Learning and reaffirming that sex is not the only thing there is to love and that there is so much more of yourself involved. Noticing how you place deep flaws on pedestals because that is a part of the man you will love the rest of your life.

I know the ones that regularly read my articles have noticed a central theme. You’re probably thinking, oh great, another examination into the world of dating and or relationships and what they could be doing. But honestly there’s so much about relationships that I’ve only begun to write about. Maybe it’s because of the place I’m at in my life or because of the relationships I observe around me that I question them so much. But I know that sometimes you just have to accept things at face value. That certain things provide a service and that is the extent of it. And that is what Grindr, or Scruff, Adam4Adam, or sometimes even twitter is, essentially. And that is perfectly okay. Just remember that those rules don’t apply everywhere else.

So, Are You Up For A Menage A Trois Or Dinner For Two?

Which one sounds better? A nice, quiet stroll down a beach on a clear moonlit night, then have a nice candlelight dinner with a smooth vintage wine. Gazing into each others eyes and when you hold hands it feels like fireworks are going off. Amazing chemistry and this feeling of euphoria consumes your entire being. Passion erupts into this beautiful declaration of endless love, an oath to share eternity together and you physically unite to demonstrate this affection.

Or how about meeting up with two other men in the industrial district. Upon your arrival where you all convene at, you know the building designed to withstand heavy weight in harnesses and chains. Masks and gags are applied to heighten the experience. There’s a passionate exchange and you never see them until ready for the next encounter. Two vivid, yet very different scenarios of real relationships. Neither is better or worse than the other, just different. And until adulthood, we only refer to the quiet dinner.

One of the fastest things we learn about when we enter the gay community is how different/same relationships are between partners. If we’re honest with ourselves, it does not resemble the trademark couples of Mr and Mrs Beaver or any other sitcom on nuclear families. The perennial image of two people meeting as a result of destiny or a higher power that are meant for each other for the rest of their lives isn’t always the standard.  But to be fair, this is not the case of straight couples either, no matter how often or loudly those religious zealots claim. And yet we are still hardwired to seek out these types of relationships where two people settle down and make a life for each other.

Even with all this knowledge of how relationships work (or don’t work) it is the one thing as gay men we seem to struggle with the most. Maybe it’s because we want the fairytale, And who wouldn’t? Despite the research that claims as men we are sexual nomads that have to quench this neurological thirst to sow our seed. Some of us want to be the Prince Charming sweeping that special guy off his feet and show him a w whole new world. Dance so his feet never touch the ground. To be completely swept up in a moment that time stands still and how our love will become a tale as old as time. It’s okay to want that.

But sooner or later, we learn that this isn’t always the case. We begin to see that some have more than one boyfriend and that is a perfectly acceptable rule in the relationship. Or that each partner can have sex with as many other men as they want as long as there is no emotional investment involved in these encounters. That more men in our community are open to having relationships that don’t require more than having a traveling toothbrush and a package of condoms. Because sometimes sex is just sex. Most of our relationships don’t even begin the same way as we were taught. Sometimes relationships d start off in the smoky, dimly light club or raunchy house party. Sometimes the greatest relationships we have start off online with not a clue as to whether or not they are real.

We learn that everyone else in the world has a different definition of what relationships and love means. Most times this lesson is hard but we grow from it. Most of the time. And the longer we live, the more we discover because of our experiences that we change what we want from relationships. The idea of what it means differs from each point in our lives.  But what makes it different when it’s between two men?

So many questions come from thinking about this, whether single or in a relationship.  Because our definition of what a relationship changes. We change everyday. Whether it’s small, incremental notes or huge leaps there is still change. We mistake sex for a meaningful relationship when sometimes, it’s just sex. It makes me wonder sometimes if we just settle for the ideal and pursuit of monogamy because that’s the only thing we know.  Because that’s what fairytale and books and our parents taught us as children. The concept of true love only seems to happen in made up stories when you see everyone getting a divorce or hear of one or both of them have had infidelities.

We change so why not our perceptions on relationships? I know mine have in the long-term relationships I’ve had with men. In fact, the first relationship I had with a man was an open relationship. Even though the circumstances to it being open was because we weren’t out yet we still had all of those components that we defined. But our relationship didn’t end because I couldn’t handle it, we simply grew apart. My rules are of course were different then they are now because I want that closed type of relationship.

It all boils down to semantics. Because we need to be clear, no matter what your position on it, to understand where you stand on relationships and make that clear with the person(s) that you have this relationship. Communication is always the savoir or the downfall to every relationship so talk about what it means for you.

The Awkward Nuances Of A Gay Man Flirting

Contributor’s Note: It has been a very long, trying day. Here’s an old entry. Enjoy!

Today I reflected on the very beginning of romantic relationships. Those baby steps when flirting is a key component to building upon communication and fostering understanding. These playful conversations allow learning more about each other. And while some view it as a sport I don’t view matters of the heart as games to become a gold medalist. When it comes to flirting most of the time I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. When I talk about this with some of my friends, it’s hard for them to believe that I’m bashful and shy when I’m interested in a guy. I’ve always been very social and don’t have a hard time communicating my emotions on any topic, except love. And I apologize now as I feel this entry will be just an awkward rambling on the subject so bear with me and maybe you’ll have a good laugh (at my expense but everyone needs to laugh at themselves sometimes so go ahead).

By nature, I’m not a big flirt mainly because I sound so awkward trying to “woo” someone. Yeah I know we live in the digital technology age and we can get tips on anything and everything. GayLife.com even has a list of 10 things to do when trying to flirt with a guy, but I am sure I would mess that up too. And I am NOT knocking people who do that, it’s just not for me.

See when I flirt, I start these weird facial expressions that are practically involuntary while mumbling an incoherent language. One of my exes called the paramedics once because he thought I was having a seizure which made the facial expressions worse and I was so embarrassed I couldn’t speak. Of course that makes not only me look like a mess but also leaves the guy that I’m pursuing full of secondhand embarrassment. It’s even worse when I say something that wasn’t meant to be a play on words and there’s more mumbling and embarrassment with abstract facial expressions. None of this would happen if I had a baby sloth that was with me the entire time to avoid tension and keep awkward moments away because I think they’re magical and who doesn’t love sloths? No one, that’s who. I’m not shy I just have a strong fixation on not ever wanting to make someone feel uncomfortable especially if I phrase the one liner the wrong way.

My point (finally) is what are the limits to flirting? Do new romances always have to start with flirting? Well that can’t be true because that’s not how any of my previous relationships started.  How far does one need to take it? Is it better to have the direct approach or a bag full of clever innuendos? And why do I make something that seems relatively easy to do so hard? Maybe I have this idea that it feels rushed because I’m constantly trying to think of witty things to say and it leads into me becoming a klutz.  I’ve walked into glass panels, almost fell down a storm drain, and slid down a hill leaving my shoes on the sidewalk. Grace is not a strong suit of mine in matters of the heart.

I know that everyone experiences the butterflies in the stomach but my stomach seems to resemble the altoids with dr pepper experiment, knowing that soon enough that I’m going to completely embarrass myself. Guess I just like the direct approach. I like when a guy just flat out says ‘hey dude, I like you’ (swoon). Don’t get me wrong, wooing and clever/cunning jokes gets you extra points but just being honest from the beginning is so refreshing. And if you’ve crafted the flirting skill well I commend you and envy your stealthy ways of wooing. I just am unable to do so. I just feel like when it’s real, you use your heart to speak for you, not the most clever thing you can say.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had awful relationships where vague messages were half of the problems in the relationship which led to this examination of my awkwardness. I don’t want to rush romance but I definitely don’t want to waste time. Maybe that’s where my extraterrestrial-like gestures come from is because I’m not speaking from the heart when trying to flirt. It’s not organic or real.

This is in no way downplaying or diminishing how everyone else flirts or how they show romance. It’s just for me, I want to skip that until we get to know each other. That’s when my quick wit comes in full force. Maybe it’s because I’m a late bloomer and was only 5’4 until about sixteen years old and in one summer grew almost a foot. So there’s no big revelation to this discussion. I don’t have sage wisdom for the masses to take into practice, or by writing this that I’m providing some new undiscovered technique in the art of flirting. To me, when flirting comes naturally and from the heart, it’s easier, endearing, and incredibly hot. So there isn’t a time table of when to start, it’s about how you start. That’s all I got. Except for sloths. Sloths Rock.

Sofellow readers, is fliirting necessary or outdated?

White Collar’s Matt Bomer Brings A Whole New Meaning To “Oh Daddy!”

Matt Bomer was out and about in Los Angeles with he and his partner, Simon Hall’s adopted children proving once and for all that it’s not all about Neil Patrick Harris and that gay Dad’s can be hot!