On The Move

In October, I began to think about moving. As an organizational nerd, I formally brainstormed the pros and cons of the possibility on a Microsoft Word document, weighing factors like job satisfaction and professional development, cost of living and contact with friends and family. Among these attributes, I listed under pros: “perhaps better dating scene elsewhere.” I sent the list to some of my closest friends here in Texas and asked them for additions, revisions, and feedback.

After analyzing my list, one of my friends replied: Your personal life is something severely lacking, apparently, and you seem to really want to find someone to date.

No shit.

And so, when I applied for jobs, graduate programs, and other transfer opportunities in the following months, I looked at the potential to not only move forward professionally, but also, with the extra fuel (read: slap in the face) from my friend’s reply, move forward personally.

In February, gold: I heard about a new offer. Although I’m still in the process of making an official decision, it looks like when my contract with my current employer is up in July, I’ll be packing my bags, selling my current IKEA furniture, and leaving the Texas heat for the breezy liberal bastion of the San Francisco Bay Area, a new five-year opportunity to work with great leaders in my field, and, hopefully, some sort of reinvigoration to my personal life.

Indeed, my friends wonder if this move will actually revolutionize my dating life. I haven’t been a California resident in years—and never for an extended period in Northern California. Picture it: Gay men everywere. Asians everywhere. Rainbow flags and left-wingers galore. Five years in the homosexual heartland literally would mean fishing in the biggest, gayest sea on this side of the Mississippi. The larger the menu of men, the more likely I’d bite or be bitten. Think of it: The nights! The romance! The fodder for this blog!

Pause. While I’m excited about the possibilities, I really wish I were that enthused about my chances. Instead, I remain hopeful but not completely convinced that my work-centric personality will burst onto the San Fran social scene with a bang; I remain optimistic but not cemented in the idea that, within these next five years, I will meet someone with whom I, by the time I’m thirty, will be in a long-term—if not very long-term—relationship.

I worry that being in a big city means finding the reality of stereotypes. In the Bay Area, this means being engulfed by the Castro and its nightclubs, bars, and bathhouses, none of which are completely up my alley. I may not be “fabulous” enough for the hordes. I may find that the racial boundaries I’ve observed in other gayborhoods will become bolder and more delineated; I almost feel like it’d be easier to be the only minority in a small town rather than being lumped as “one of the minorities” in a huge city. It means being faceless and blurred.

I worry that I’ll be drowned among the masses. The larger overall population will mean a larger population of hotties and a larger population of non-hotties. I foresee less of a premium on being average and rather, a push toward reaching for and mimicking those at the top of the heap. Because there are, in fact, masses, it may be more important to assimilate and fit in than to actually retain individuality.

I worry that this will be exacerbated by the cost of living in the Bay Area. Imagine the standards of class: perfectly-styled hair atop a faux-tanned Adonis robed in an outfit from Rodeo Drive. I like nice things, but that level of high maintenance isn’t going to align with my tastes so well. It’s just not me.

I know, I know—I shouldn’t be doing some much analysis upfront. I haven’t even given the place a chance. And really, come on—I’m currently in Texas. If I had stopped myself from making a move to Texas simply based on my pre/mis-conceptions of the Lone Star State, I never would have realized how fun it actually is down here. My dating scene anxieties are definitely not going to stop me from going after my professional aspirations.

Yet I can’t ignore the fact that I’m from Southern California. And on each return visit to West Hollywood, it hits me how plastic and manufactured things can be—the fashion, the vernacular, the music. I’m not saying there won’t be exceptions, but if the Bay Area is anything at all like that, then I’m going to have to do some digging to find my niche. And I don’t really feel like moving for work, only to find more work on my plate.

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