Dating can be a pain in the ass. Except for that one friend who absolutely loves going on dates every night of the week, most of us grow weary. It’s not the bad dates that are discouraging, because at least you get a good story out of them. It’s the mediocre dates that get to you. They wear you down and make you lose faith in gaykind, especially when you were particularly excited about that new prospect.
You’re probably familiar with this scenario: You’re texting back and forth for a few days. His humor is on point, he (dis)likes the same things you do, and his pictures are fire. Most importantly, he’s obsessed with same TV shows you are.
You then meet him in person only to find out he doesn’t look anything like his photos, can barely hold a conversation, and seems incapable of making a single joke.
The first time this happens you’re annoyed, but still cautiously optimistic. By the fifth time, you begin to suspect that all queer men are liars, dating is the worst, and you’re doomed to grow old alone, surrounded by a dozen cats all named Snowball. You become jaded, so you stop trying to meet new guys altogether.
Don’t. There’s no reason to Google “local animal adoption agencies” just yet. Try these instead:
#1: Don’t message back and forth forever.
Often, a guy’s online persona vastly differs from how they act in real life. They feel empowered online, but face-to-face, they haven’t quite mastered social skills. Avoid this by setting up the date quickly. You don’t want to invest your time and energy into a guy and get your hopes up only to be immediately let down. If he’s cute and seems friendly after a dozen or so messages, then set up a time and place to meet.
#2: Set up dates within a few days.
If you wait to set up a date a week from now, there’s a much higher likelihood he’s going to cancel. In that week period, other things come up in his life. He’s messaged other guys. He’s busy with work. Simply put, he’s over you. So odds are he’s going cancel. That’s why you want to meet for drinks or coffee a day or two after you decide you want to hang out in person. Keep the ball rolling.
#3: Set up dates nearby.
I was once young and excitable and would travel all over the city for a first date. There is nothing worse than spending a half hour getting ready and commuting an hour downtown, only to realize within thirty seconds that you’re not going to hit it off with this guy. Now, for first dates, I set them up walking distance from my apartment. This way, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time if it’s a bad date. Not only that, I can invite him back to my place after the date if it goes well.
#4: Text when you want to text.
We’re not in high school anymore. Playing hard to get is a turn-off. If you like him, message him. It’s as simple as that. If you find yourself obsessed about when/if you should text him, you’re going to despise the whole dating process for being anxiety-inducing.
There’s no hurry. After dozens of failed relationships, my guncle met his husband when he was in his early 50’s. They got married last year and have now been together for eight years. I know in the gay community we think that 30 is the new 50, and 50 is literally a rotting corpse. That’s not the case. You can find love at any point in your life.
Stick to these tips and you’ll start to gain some of that excitement and blissful naivety you had about dating right when you came out. Before the slew of mediocre dates and let downs. Before all the nonsense and jadedness.
Because hey, wouldn’t it be nice if dating wasn’t the worst again?