Last night, late for my usual posting time and attempting to break towering walls of Writer’s Block, I stared at a blank Word document (Blog18.doc) and complained to my friends: Why do I keep this column if I’m one of the most single people I know?

I guess I asked for it: a less-than-comforting discussion of why I, despite learning from my trials and errors, am single. My friends spoke with passion. In bursts of arguments, they agreed with each other’s rationales, citing situations and experiences that illuminated my inability to couple successfully, as if they had mentally isolated actions of mine that have led to my singleness and compiled a series of five lessons of what-not-to-do-if-you’re-a-gay-man-trying-to-get-laid that they only decided to share with me now.

Problem #1: My closest friends are straight women who work the same occupation.

(Pause-- Isn’t it ironic that the folks reasoning my own doomed relationship status are the ones perpetuating it?)

Beyond our friendships, we spend hours slaving over professional endeavors, typing away at coffee shops and brainstorming ideas to implement in our individual work. When we’re not stressing out, we’re wasting time at each other’s apartments, watching movies or plays, or, my personal favorite, eating. On a rare night out, we’ll taxi to a bar or club throbbing with lights, music, fog, and—a key ingredient—straight men. My friends become the women upon which these men prey, the same women who I must inevitably save when the men are no longer of interest. At the end of evening, we have ourselves only, a cab stewing with estrogen-injected memories of the phone number they got, the sketchy guy who wanted to dance, or the make-out session on the dance floor. For a change of pace, I am the new male necessity on the return ride: a pre-approved splash of testosterone, uninterested yet equally welcome and wanted—the bodyguard-confidant-token gay all rolled into one.

In case you’re wondering, they do, on occasion, humor my desire to dance among men who like men. But it is then that problem #2 arises:

Problem #2: I may be perceived as straight.

If you know me, then you’ll think that’s funny. My friends, however, highlight an example from a Vegas vacation: We stumbled into the only gay club on the Strip at 4am. Although the city has a reputation as a sleepless adult playground, this particular dance floor had already emptied to reveal a handful of older, not-so-appealing gentlemen, wriggling to an endless string of unidentifiable (and seemingly generic) techno beats. It wasn’t exactly our idea of a party. Disappointed at my options, I shoved my energy into reserve and plopped into a booth (which they reference as Problem #3—I can look unhappy at clubs when I’m not having fun.) Yet there we were, four girls and a guy wanting to squeeze the most out of our crazy weekend. They paraded onto the dance floor while I sulked on the side. A man approached them (a common occurrence for me at gay bars—men approaching everyone in my company but me) and began dancing. He saw me in the booth, hesitated for a moment, and then motioned towards me. I shook my head, uneager to make do with my option of dancing with a forty-something as opposed to my more attractive third Corona. Regardless, he didn’t take the hint. He came to me and whispered words I will never forget:

Listen, I know you’re straight, but your friends want to have fun. You should dance with them anyway.

I told him I’d finish my Corona and then consider his idea. Meanwhile, in my head, I contemplated my newly-found aura of apparent heterosexuality. Not that I especially wanted to grind with the gray-haired fellow, but what about me would I need to change in order to confirm my gayness? Was that the problem? Do men not flock to me because they don’t know that I might be attracted to them? Isn’t my excessive amount of chill time with a gaggle of friendly girls enough to project my inner rainbow to the world? What do I need: a gang of gays? Sorry! No can do because…

Problem #4: I don’t have any gay friends in my area.

If I did, maybe I’d have a completely different social network and agenda, one that would expose me to men who would (*wink*) expose themselves to me. It is said that 95% of employment opportunities surface from personal connections; is the same true of potential mates? Should I turn to friends to, literally and metaphorically, hook me up? Assuming, of course, that they’d do that kind of work for me, as I apparently don’t do the work myself because…

Problem #5: I’m not aggressive enough.

According to my friends, I don’t put myself out there. (What? You mean going out alone to a gay club isn’t going to suffice when I’m not at work or at a straight club?) I may go out, they argue, but I don’t approach the guys that I think are cute; I assume that they need to come to me. Is that a problem? Maybe. While I have my reasons for not making the first move (a long explanation in short: I don’t like acting on physical attraction alone), this is a definite impediment to my entrance into the dating world.


With these five issues in mind, my first instinct: get defensive. But I like my friends. But I shouldn’t need to change. But I don’t want to pretend. But this… but that… but I…

In the end, though, I stumble upon the same, stale realization: But I’m still single.

Excuses aside, I have to face it: while others are fashionably solitary, personifying Sex and the City as perpetual bachelors or bachelorettes, I’m—well—I’m just single. And I can either hope or pray for someone to dodge the landmines above or—gulp—I can disarm those landmines myself.

(To be continued)

Creative Commons License