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The new rules

A gay man’s dating survival guide for 2013

02.11.2013

Whether you’re an active dater or just getting back into the scene after the end of a relationship (sorry, he was a jerk anyway), now is a great time to think about your approach to dating, as spring is just around the corner. And boy, is there ever a lot to think about.

It seems like the dating landscape changes every year, due in part, perhaps, to technology and in part to your own life journey. You’re a different person today than you were a year ago, and so are all your potential dates. With that in mind, here are some helpful guidelines to a more satisfying dating life.

It’s all about balance

As with anything in life, balance is key. You’ve got a vast array of options for how to meet people. Apps, sites, bars, events, dinners, friends, even bathhouses, so think about what mix is right for you. Are you looking for love? Are you looking for sex? Or are you like most people — looking for both in varying levels at different times?

Doesn’t it feel like more and more dates are set up online? Think about it: when was the last time you met someone out through friends, got talking, enjoyed each other’s company, swapped information and made a plan to meet up?

It seems obvious to say, but your choices about dating are going to influence the results, so don’t expect to meet your future husband on Grindr. It’s not unheard of, but it’s a hook-up app. (Polite note to all monogamously partnered guys looking for friends on Grindr: who are you kidding?)

Make sure you mix going out with friends and different activities with sitting at home in sweatpants scrolling furiously through profile pics. Here’s a warning about online dating: all apps and sites treat men like products that can be selected from a shelf, and that seems like a shitty way to treat other people. It’s so easy to project what you want to see on a profile but be disappointed in person and conversely, to ignore a guy who could have been a great fit because his profile pic isn’t the most flattering. Keep an open mind, and don’t compromise yourself or others.

Put yourself first

Think about what you like and don’t like. Remember that you’re not playing a numbers game here. You’re looking for quality, so don’t put yourself through the rigmarole of dating everyone you possibly can; instead, wait for someone who genuinely piques your interest. I’d stick to a maximum of one date per week to ensure you’re in the right headspace when the date rolls around. Getting into an unhealthy routine of date after date after date is an easy trap to fall into. You’re telling your subconscious, “I didn’t like him. I have to keep looking,” and it’s easy for your self-esteem to grab on to that and make you wonder if you’re Bridget Jones without the happy ending. There’s a negative compounding effect, which will rear its ugly head when you least expect it. Usually wine and crying are involved.

Think about your online persona

I’m not saying post that photo of you from five years ago when you’d been working out hard and were 25 pounds lighter, but do put your best foot forward. No one will judge you for choosing your best pics; just make sure you use a variety of shots. If they are all studio photos, no one will buy what you’re selling, and if they do, there’s a high chance they’ll return it immediately after purchase.

Before a date

Create your own routine that gets you feeling like the best version of yourself. Maybe it’s a manicure, maybe it’s going for a run, maybe it’s unloading your gun in the shower before you leave the house. Whatever you choose, you want to arrive fresh, clean, rested, happy and ready to engage in interesting conversation. Even if a date doesn’t work out, it can be fascinating to learn about someone else’s life, so it’s a win-win.

After the date

Remember when that book The Rules came out? As awful as it is to think there are rules to dating, it really doesn’t hurt to not have sex on the first date. My own empirical evidence (a statistically significant sample) suggests that there is a correlation between future date success with someone and not having sex on the first date. Just make sure you have sex on date three.

Safety first 

Here’s something terrifying. A new study* by New York’s non-profit Community Healthcare Network of gay and bisexual men who used such apps as Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt and Growlr found that nearly 50 percent admitted to barebacking. Here’s the thing on that: if you’re one of the 50 percent who engages in bareback sex, you should know that you’re being stupid and irresponsible. Feel free to write a ranting letter to the editor, but you’re a fucking idiot, so stop it right now. STOP IT. You really should know better.

Etiquette 

Remember what your mother taught you? Keep it polite, boys. Dating etiquette seems to wither every year. It’s now normal behaviour not to reply in a timely manner to messages or to confirm plans the day of. There’s this false sense that the guys you talk to online are disposable; they aren’t real because you haven’t met them, so you don’t need to treat them like real people. Try treating them like you’d like to be treated, and see what happens!

* For more on this study, search for “Community Healthcare Network Releases New Report on Attitudes, Knowledge About HIV/AIDS Among Gay, Bisexual Men Who Use Social Networking Apps.”
 

What does your choice of app/site say about you? 


OkCupid

You’re out there, you’re doing it, and you know what, Charlotte? It’ll happen. Stay the course and take up a pottery class in the meantime.

eHarmony

If you made it through their raft of questions, you’re a tenacious person who is committed to finding a relationship.

JDate.com 

You want a Jewish husband; shame there are only 40 gay dudes on the site, and they aren’t interested in a shegetz.

Scruff 

Hairy guys hate you because you stole their app. Typical entitlement generation.

Dudes Nude 

You’re looking for sex.
 

Gaydar 

You’re looking for sex.

Manhunt 

You’re looking for sex.

Squirt

You’re looking for sex in very specific locations.

Grindr 

You’re looking for sex.

Grindr Xtra 

You’re looking for sex and you use your unlimited blocks for Asian dudes. (For more on these types of guys, please visit douchebagsofgrindr.com.)

Jack’d 

You tell me. This app is pretty new. Go to fabmagazine.com and tell us whether it’s any good. 


** Check out douchebagsofgrindr to understand what we mean by this sentence. Oh boy . . .
 


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