Being a man trying to meet other men is always harder than it looks. Just like every person, it’s even harder to get through an awkward first date when you’re meeting your match from off the internet. I mean, let’s face it, with apps like Grindr, society expects gay men to always look picture perfect. Last I checked, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, thanks to the wonderful world of smart phones and our constant need for connection, gay men (like myself) feel forced to plaster pictures of our smiling faces all over dating apps and websites in order to find our perfect match.
Recently, I made a brave decision to go on a first date with a Grindr-buddy I had been texting. I carefully picked out what I was going to wear: a pair of bleached, washed out denim jeans, with little random rips in it, a black fitted v-neck shirt, and an electric orange sailor-style hoodie. I felt like I had to live up to my pictures, and I had to feel confident regardless of if this guy thought I did or not.
I picked him up in my 2004 bright red, Nissan Sentra adorned with several gay pride stickers. When he entered the car, he greeted me with a kiss. I definitely didn’t expect such a friendly “hello” from someone I had only talked to on the net. I can’t lie, I was charmed by it.
We had decided to eat at a diner, and as we sat in the pleather booths, we both struggled to make conversation – trying to talk to someone who is still practically a stranger is like pulling teeth. In a same-sex relationship, gender roles are not drawn out for us. Who gets to be the “guy” and who gets to be the “girl”? The guy talks first, right? Who is going to step up to the plate here? I figured, due to my feminine physique and absolutely stunning outfit, I must have been the girl. My date was dressed like any other guy; so in my head, he was assigned as such. Quickly after my mind had made all of these decisions, I realized that it didn’t really matter; one of us was going to have to start the conversation and it didn’t look like it was going to be him.
“So… What’s your relationship with your family like?” I blurted. It’s important to me to know that whoever my partner is, they have a strong sense of family loyalty. It’s also safe to say that it’s nice to hear how a family might deal with the coming-out process, and he might let me know just how “out” he is. Before I let him answer, I started to nervously word vomit about my own family – I couldn’t shut my face! Granted, he appeared to be listening to everything I was saying. Let’s face it, though, I should have stopped to let him speak.
Knowing I had let the conversation fly away from me, with my own rambunctious family rant, I got anxious and finally asked the awkward question. “Does… your family know… you’re gay?” I was so nervous when I asked him that I started to sweat a little bit. I mean, it’s not a HUGE issue, but I don’t want to have to hide that I have a boyfriend. Despite my anxiety, the conversation headed in the right direction when he told me that his family knows and accepts it.
Was he into me? Did he find me annoying? What the hell was wrong with me? All these insecure thoughts raced through my mind like a carnival ride. I was very attracted to him. I was hoping he was attracted to me, too.
I remember looking into his eyes. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m probably the luckiest person right now. I have this great guy that I’m talking to.” It was then that I remembered advice that a good friend of mine had given me: “Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to show them you’re interested in them.” Then I knew I was going to proceed to kiss him. But another thought ran into my head! The “girl/boy” role again. Like I said earlier, I was kinda the “girl” and he was kind of the “boy,” but I acted bold and brave again. I leaned in first. However, to my surprise, he was leaning in as well!
In the end, as awkward as the first date may or may not have been, it was an amazing and unforgettable experience for me. Especially to realize that we are both men in the relationship, and even though I might exhibit “feminine” tendencies, that doesn’t make me less of a man. If I want to take on a trait that society deems more masculine, I’ll do that. If I want to take on a trait that society deems more feminine, there is nothing for me to feel ashamed of. At the end of the day, I got a kiss on the first date and that means it went well, doesn’t it?
Quirky Gay Man
Q.G.M. wishes to remain anonymous and also spread the word of self-love and acceptance.