"Though gay relationships, by their nature, had more sexual undertones, they are no less in need of commitment, security and fidelity than those in heterosexual relationships."
Gay dating, funny, a couple of years ago it would have been hard to discuss a topic like this. But not anymore! Gay dating is a fact of life and if this is what you want, then go for it! But before you do, let's discuss a few basic points to help you get started to finding Mr. Right.
With the onset of AIDS in the early 80's, the gay dating landscape has undergone a 360 degree turn. Whereas bars were the hub of gay life from the early years of Gay Liberation to the 80's, we now seek other venues for meeting potential partners. Before, during the golden years of Gay Liberation, being gay meant bar-hopping, cruising and immediate sex. The central theme of homosexuality was immediate, carpe diem sex. However, deeper and more profound ways of relating emerged alongside the AIDS virus scare. Gradually, gay men sought dating, courtship and more intimate, long-term relationships.
Though gay relationships, by their nature, had more sexual undertones, they are no less in need of commitment, security and fidelity than those in heterosexual relationships. The process of getting to know a gay partner is also no slower or faster; it takes the same investment in time and effort. Once you have made that steadfast resolution to take the gay dating exercise seriously, take note of the following tips of making this activity more fun, fulfilling and goal-oriented.
The idea behind dating is exploring the possibility that you and this person may be romantically involved in the future. As much as you would want to date as many gay men as possible, limit your encounters to three to five per month. Being selective permits you to exercise patience, perseverance and control in the dating process. Do not be in a hurry to find Mr. Right. It takes time, effort, and several dating occasions to know the deeper side of your potential mate. Investing a little time in searching for THE one is a small price to pay right?
Do not distract... attract!
Tonight's the night! You're going out on a date. Whether homosexual or not, the dating basics still apply. These include being prepared - both physically and mentally - for the event. Dress up appropriately and project an image worth respecting.
Talk, but don't talk your head off.
The basic talking and listening skills likewise apply. Avoid talking about negative, tragic or miserable past experiences during the early dating stages. NOBODY wants to date a whiner. And listen with true interest. If you really like your date, listening attentively tells him you are interested which in turn makes YOU a likely long-term relationship candidate for him. Also, avoid talking about your stigma on being gay. Hello? This is not news to him. The last thing you want to discuss with him, especially on a first date, is how difficult gay dating and gay relationships can be. Talk about worthwhile topics such as common interests, values and prevailing motivators. Try to sustain interest and enthusiasm in each other for the first few encounters.
Bring your wallet.
Even if he was the one to invite you out, be prepared. If you guys are trying out a new restaurant, it's always better to have extra cash for any 'surprises'. Also, you don't know how the night will turn out. You can end up leaving him or him leaving you, so ensure that you can always get back home with or without him.
Bring a gift.
If you're having a dinner date at his place, bring a bottle of wine, a book he casually mentioned that he liked and has been looking for, food to compliment what you'll be eating or anything that would make him feel that the dinner date is appreciated. But don't be extravagant! If this is a first date, you don't really know him yet and he might get offended. Bring a simple and 'non-commital' gift as well. I mean silk ties might make him want jump out the window. The thing to keep in mind here is a little thoughtful something...
To ask or not to ask.
Ok, you REALLY like him, but does he feel the same way about you? Of course you can ask him out or casually ask about his plans for next weekend but don't push. But if you're sure he likes you back and want to lead this time, by all means, ask him out!
Delay gratification - that is, sexual gratification.
The question really here is... do you like this guy FOR NOW or FOREVER. If you're looking for your lifetime partner, chances are, it would be better to delay having sex. The rule of thumb is no sex for the first three dates. Ouch! But do consider this
Bring a condom.
Ok, I'm NOT contradicting myself; it IS always best to wait. But when the waiting is done and you guys are now sure you want to take the relationship to a higher level, do practice safe sex after your hot date!
As a gay man in his forties I don't claim to be a "dating expert".
That said however, I must tell you that personally I don't like to think of two people getting together to spend time with each other as dating. I really dislike labels. When the term dating is used I feel that it denotes preconcieved images of how an evening has to play out. There is nothing wrong with just spending time with somebody and getting to know them without any pressure, and just seeing what happens from there.
I like to be honest with somebody that I am interested in.
I think that it is extremely important to be yourself, don't misrepresent who you are, and above all else, to know what you want out of a potential relationship. Just like any other goal that you are striving toward you have to be able to define it. You have to know what you are looking for, in a mate, partner, sex buddy, or whatever kind of relationship you are striving to attain. If you can effectively communicate what you would like your relationship to be and be honest about your expectations, you and your date will know if they are wasting their time. It is always better to know if you are compatible sooner rather than later. I tend to know exactly what I want and I am always honest about communicating it to the other person. At this point you might be thinking that there is no possibility that you could be so bold.
Being bold is not that difficult.
Myself, I am generally not a very forward person when it comes to meeting people but, I have thought about each time that I have met an interesting guy whether it be in a bar, coffee house or social event. Each time had something in common. That something is that, somebody has to make contact. Don't use a corny line or gimmick. Be yourself and state what you want. It can be as simple and straight forward as saying, "you look like an interesting guy so I just wanted to come over and say hi". If you want to go to dinner, hang out, go to a movie or whatever....ask for it. I find that being bold and directly stating what you want is more effective than beating around the bush and cuts through all of the game playing. I have had guys tell me that they wanted to, hang out sometime, go to dinner, make me dinner, go to a movie, go to a wine tasting party, have sex, go for coffee and you know what? It worked, not all of the time but a good share of the time. State what you want and you just might get it. Don't play games.
Datable guys, or rather guys with potential for what I am looking for, just have to be who they normally are. Anybody looking for that perfect guy is being unrealistic. Expecting somebody to be perfect is way too much pressure. Our quirks and imperfections are what make us unique and interesting. Don't try too hard, don't be needy, and don't be upset if somebody shoots you down. Go meet somebody else.
So to tie it all up it really is quite simple to meet somebody for whatever type of relationship you are looking for. All you need to remember is to be bold, honest and datable.
The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.