Tag Archives: DATING ADVICE

WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO EMBRACE REJECTION

I recently had a revelation about rejection while I was on the dance-floor in a random gay club in Boston. It was a Thursday evening in July and I was in the club alone. My friends were coming in from New York later that night and I had just enjoyed a dinner for one in a nearby restaurant frequented by Boston’s local gay community. After a couple of beers, a nice buzz settled over me and I was not in the mood to return to my hotel, so I did what I sometimes do when I’m feeling super confident (read tipsy) – I went out alone. Going to a gay club (or anywhere for that matter) by one’s self can be both daunting and empowering. It’s a lot easier when on holiday in a new city as you are unlikely to return anytime soon and thus need not worry about developing a reputation for being that guy who goes clubbing by himself (although there is nothing wrong with that either!).

I casually strolled past the door of the club a couple of times, conducting a ‘drive-by’ to try get a sense of what the place was like before committing to entering. ‘Just walk in and you can always walk out if you’re uncomfortable’, I said to myself, building up the confidence to actually go through with the act. Finally, I entered the unknown and was greeted by a sea of gay Bostonian boys. Another beer later and I was feeling even more confident and very pleased with myself at having the balls to go out alone. I tried to make eyes with the locals (eye contact – a dying approach to picking up in the world of gay dating apps) but received very little feedback. I began to feel a little despondent and conscious of the fact that I was dancing on my own (Robyn reference).

That’s when I realised that rejection is actually a wonderful thing.

To be honest, I hadn’t actually put myself too far out there to be rejected but I had been overlooked which at the time felt like the same thing. Nonetheless, I came to understand that rejection is actually a blessing in disguise. The way I see it is that with each rejection you’re one step closer to meeting the right person, whether that be the right person for the evening or the right person for life. It’s like a game of odds. The more chances you take, the more likely you are to win.  You’re also bettering your game-playing skills with each chance taken.  Let’s get mathematical for a minute to demonstrate my point further. Imagine that your Mr. Right is one guy in a group of 100. The chance of finding him on the first try is 1%. Those odds are pretty low but as you approach more guys and eliminate those that rejected you from the group, your chances get higher. Ultimately, you’ll find your man even if it means having to deal with 99 rejections along the way.

Now, I know that life is not a neat mathematical equation and I’ve probably over-simplified the problem but, in my experience, you do have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince (I’m still looking for mine and my lips are chapped but I’m hopeful!). The way I justify disappointment in love or picking-up in a gay club is through reframing the experience and seeing each rejection as a step closer to success. This is the same approach I try take in all areas of my life. Whether it be a career disappointment or missing out on renting what I thought was my dream apartment or waking up too late and forgetting to book tickets to see Britney Spears, I’ve noticed that something better is always just around the corner.

So instead of seeing rejection as negative or allowing your ego to sabotage the experience to reaffirm your feelings of unworthiness, change your thinking and learn to springboard off rejection, using it as a tool of empowerment. You must also never forget that in the end you want to be with someone who wants to be with you just as much as you want to be with them. If someone isn’t interested in you, there’s nothing you can do to change that so you shouldn’t exert emotion or effort trying to make them feel otherwise.

Image by Vladimir Snezhin

Now read this – 57 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT BEING GAY IN MY 20s

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THE MOST TERRIFYING THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE

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I’m terrified of being single but it’s not for the reasons that you may think. I’m not afraid of becoming the gay caricature of the old lady, surrounded by her cats, mainly because I’m allergic to cats but also because I’m not one to think too far into the future.  It’s not that I’m afraid that my soulmate is not out there (although it’s taking him a bloody long time to materialise if he is) but rather that I may be enjoying my own company too much in the meantime. You see, my biggest fear is not that I won’t find a partner or my soulmate but that I’ll be just as happy if I don’t.

I’ve noticed how some of my friends always seem to jump from relationship to relationship, easily finding a new partner with whom they become instantly infatuated. I on the other hand find it particularly difficult to forge such relationships. While some people need the security that a relationships brings to their life, I’m content being alone.  I refer to myself as a ‘social loner’ – a person who enjoys socialising, spending time with friends and making news friends but who is just as happy, perhaps even happier, being alone. As I become older and engrained in my routines and habits, which have rarely had to accommodate someone else, I worry that it may become difficult for me to adapt if and when a serious someone comes into my life. Will my morning, perfectly-timed schedule be interrupted by someone else’s schedule? What if I don’t feel like talking after a long day at work? Or going out with his friends? Or being in someone else’s company? What if I want to be alone?

Although it may sound arrogant, most of the time I can provide for myself everything that I need to be happy. As such, there hasn’t been a real drive to find a partner and therefore I don’t think I have made a particular effort to look. From friends, to work, to spirituality and community, I have created for myself the things that I need to keep me satisfied. What about sex you ask? Well I can find that too, although I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes it’s easier and less complicated to satisfy one’s self in this department. It all stems from my belief that we are whole as we are and that there is no need to wait to find our ‘other half’ before we can feel wholeness. This is one of the most dangerous myths of our time, that we need someone else to save us or we will never be saved. As homosexuality has become more accepted we have adopted the dangerous heterosexual ideology that to be truly happy we need to find a monogamous partner that will be with us happily ever after. What if we never find that partner though? Does that mean we cannot live happy and fulfilling lives? While I think it’s beautiful to be in a loving relationship and I certainly wouldn’t mind it for myself, I don’t think we need to be miserable in the meantime.

My Facebook newsfeed is often full of gay guys lamenting themselves for being single or congratulating each other when their relationship status changes. I’ve always been confused by the latter as if being in a relationship is some sort of achievement that needs to be acknowledged. I think that this comes out of the fear of loneliness which is particularly strong amongst gay men as we have often felt ostracised because of our sexuality. Perhaps this explains why so many of us are desperate to be in a relationship? It could also explain why there is a constant need for many gay men to broadcast their relationships to the world? The over-the-top uploads and updates might just be a desperate way for us to show the world and each other that we are loved and wanted. Or perhaps it may be because we do indeed love that person so much that we want to shout it from the rooftops. The cynic in me says that it’s the former.

Why listen to me though? All of this is just the rambling of someone who has never been in a serious relationship. Sure I have had flings and dated lots of men and even been in what some might consider the early stages of a relationships but still none of these have been worth the Facebook update. Now that I am older and more aware of the passage of time, I’m worried not about being alone forever but rather that I’ll be just as happy if I were.

Maybe I should buy a cat just in case…

Image by Malc Stone

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RULE 26: STOP WAITING TO BE PERFECT

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Match.com has launched the 2015 campaign ‘#loveyourimperfections’, encouraging us all to embrace the things that make us unique. I have contributed to the campaign with this post which is a challenge to all those who read it to stop waiting to be perfect before you feel like you’re worthy of love. After all it’s our mistakes, misbehaviours, quirks, habits and our little obsessions that make us who we are.

If you are waiting to lose weight before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to have the perfect six-pack before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting for anything about you to change before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to be perfect then you will never find love.

I used to think that I would be ready for love and a relationship only once I had controlled all the external elements of my being, that only when my body, job and social life were in ideal alignment then would I find the perfect guy. The fact is that my life will never be perfect and neither will yours.

Stop waiting to be perfect to feel that you are worthy of love whether it be love from someone else or self-love. It’s exhausting to pursue perfection. Why? Because there is no measureable end goal. The finish line is always moving. How will you know when you’re perfect? The pursuit of perfection does not lead to happiness. It leads to dissatisfaction with the moment. Perfection does not exist and as such the pursuit of perfection is a pointless cause.

But who wants to be with a perfect partner anyway? Personally I don’t want to be with someone who wants me to be perfect, in fact, I want to be with someone who loves my imperfections. I want a man who will love me even when I’ve put on weight, when I haven’t gone to gym for three months, when I’m sick and when I’m feeling ugly. My future partner needs to understand that sometimes I shave and sometimes I don’t, that sometimes I trim my chest hair but most of the time I look like I’ve been stranded on a tropical island for months with only a Wilson volleyball as a companion. My future partner needs to understand that these external things do not define who I am and as such I don’t want a relationship that fluctuates depending on such things. The right person will love me for who I am always not who I am sometimes.

It’s our imperfections that actually make us the most beautiful. The Japanese have known this for centuries. Kintsugi, the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold is based on highlighting imperfections as beautiful fragments of the overall story. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. We should apply this same approach to mending the parts of us that we see as broken and imperfect.

My body is covered in scars and marks. I have a long scar on my knuckles from when I cut myself working in a cocktail bar, I have a scar on my chin from when I was dumped by a wave on family holiday and I have little stretch marks on my sides from when I went through a growth spurt in grade 8. All these blemishes represent moments in my life and instead of hiding them, I have chosen to embrace them as markers of memories.

Only once you have learnt to appreciate all the parts that make up who you are will you then be ready for love. In the end though, it’s not about being ready for someone else’s love but learning to love yourself.

Watch the campaign video here to see how the things that embarrass us about ourselves might actually be the things that others find endearing. 

Image by Willy Vanderperre

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THE BEST SEX TIP YOU WILL EVER LEARN

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Sex – there is probably no other three-letter word in the English language that simultaneously conjures up both excitement and anxiety in gay men. S-E-X, three letters combined that spell out pleasure, lust, love, passion, yearning and often, confusion. So what’s the one thing that you can do to improve your sex life and to eliminate the confusion? I’ll share that with you in a moment, but first let me discuss my sexual education.

When I first learnt about the mechanics of gay sex at the age of fourteen I was completely mortified. Mortification led to confusion and confusion led to fear. I had so many questions and concerns but nobody to talk to. When parents sit down with their children to give them “the talk”, it rarely covers topics such as anal sex, douching and blowjobs. Sexual education for gay teens at school is no better. So how then are meant to learn how to have gay sex?

My straight male friends learnt about sex from their older brothers and from each other. They would compare notes, share tips and boast about their experiences. Not having any gay friends growing up meant that when it came to my first time I didn’t have a cache of stories from which to inspire tricks and tips. It was completely unchartered waters. While I had had sex with girls before, the differing anatomy meant that my sex skills (and a use the term “skills” loosely) were non-transferable. I compare it to playing tennis and then attempting to play golf. Although both sports involve balls and swinging, the techniques employed are different. Just because you can get a little ball in a hole in one sport doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to serve an ace in another.

So my knowledge of gay sex was formed through porn. But gay porn made it seem that your first sexual experience would be easy. You, the virgin, make eyes with your baseball coach in the locker room and the next minute you’re in the throes of passion. Expertly and seamlessly, you move through a series of positions that border on Olympic gymnastics and in forty-five minutes you both climax, shower and the credits begin to role. Easy. Although in reality, it’s nothing quite like that. In real life you spend years stressing over finding the right guy for your first time. When you finally find that guy and make it to his bedroom you quietly fumble through a series of uncomfortable positions, things often get messy, he gets awkward, someone climaxes in seven minutes, someone doesn’t climax at all and then it’s all over before you can say “but-Sean-Cody-makes-it-look-so-much-sexier-than-that”.

Which brings me to the best sex tip you will ever learn. When it comes to sex, particularly gay sex, which can take a few attempts to get right, the most important thing is communication. Forget all the other tips you’ve read or been told about how to improve your sex life, if you can’t communicate with your partner then nothing else is going to work. What do you like? Do you like it when I do this? Which position is best for you? How about we try this? Does this hurt? Can we change positions? These are the types of questions and conversations you need to have to enhance your sexual enjoyment. Communicating with your partner, whether they are a one-night stand or a long-term lover will enhance the experience for both of you. Sex is meant to be fun and it’s meant to be pleasurable so if it’s painful or uncomfortable or if you’re doing something that you are not enjoying then something should be said. Younger, more inexperienced guys often tell me that they’ve been left traumatized after their first sexual experience because it was just too painful and they were too scared to tell their partner. Without getting into the anatomy of it all, the truth is that if done properly, sex should not be painful. If approached slowly, at the right angle and with verbal guiding from both partners then sex should be amazing. This can only be achieved through talking. It doesn’t matter which position you take in the bedroom, top, bottom, left or right, it’s important to be open about what you like and what you don’t like to ensure that you are both having fun.

While there may not be a manual for gay sex, if you adopt an open-communication approach in the bedroom then you and your partner will be able to teach each other a thing or two and perfect the art of sex. Oh, and remember that practice makes perfect so if it’s your first or second time, don’t expect it to be flawless. It’s messy, it’s sweaty, it’s exhausting but man it’s wonderful!

Image by ChuanDo & Frey for L’Officiel Hommes Singapore.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE FOR ONLINE DATING

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This article was originally written by The Modern Gay for Match.com

I have been using the internet to communicate with other gay guys my age since I was fourteen-years-old. What started as a means to explore my curiosities in the privacy of my bedroom has matured into a means by which I have met romantic partners. In the early days of internet dating you were warned not to share too much detail about your life for fear of being taken advantage of but as we have become more comfortable with this digital medium we are more open to sharing our phone numbers, private pictures, personal stories and even our home addresses.

When I was eighteen I signed up for one of the few gay dating sites that existed at the time. The internet was the only access I had to the big gay world but because I was still in the closet I was reluctant to use a real profile picture for fear of being outed. Like many other questioning, young gay guys, I established a false profile, using an image that I found online. I created an alluring persona of the ideal “straight-acting”, high school jock and used this disguise to communicate with other guys. Luckily though, I quickly realized the pointlessness in pretending to be someone you are not, both digitally and in real life. Although my fake profile allowed me to comfortably chat to other gay guys (something I could not do while I was still in school) I knew that these relationships would never eventuate into anything more than an internet fling. I deleted my accounts and stopped using the internet for chatting until I was comfortable enough to establish a profile that reflected the real me, with genuine pictures included.

Since then I have met some great guys through dating websites and apps. Along the way I have also learnt some valuable lessons about online dating, the most important of which is honesty. Pretending to be someone that you are not is pointless in the long run. Sure it may allow you to escape the reality of your life in the moment but ultimately it’s a dead end and people inevitably are hurt. I also strongly believe that we should only be in relationships with people who love us for who we are and not for who we think they want us to be. The best way to attract these people into your life is to be honest from day one, and this means being honest in your online profile too. Exaggerating your height, body type or income may increase the views on your profile but what happens when you meet your love interest in person and he realizes that you are not a six-foot-two footballer with a six-figure salary? Such superficial things as body type and salary should not even matter in a loving relationship but they will become an issue if you have lied about them from the start.

While honesty is certainly the most important rule in online dating, here is a list of 7 practical ways to improve your online profile that will hopefully lead to happily ever after.

Image by Steven Kohlstock

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THE DATING GAME: LESSONS FROM THE FIELD

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The following is an extract from an article originally written by The Modern Gay for match.com.

“The Dating Game” as it is often referred is an intricate play of tactical maneuvers, distinct rules, and pre-determined positions between two foreign teams who are brought together to achieve mutual victory. The problem though is that nobody knows the rules, the positions are ever changing and the maneuvers that are learnt in training normally don’t work on the field. What’s even more complicating is that after kick-off the game rarely goes to plan as off-sides are called, red cards are given, fouls are made and penalties awarded. More often than not, someone is bound to get hurt or sent-off and ultimately one or both teams leaves the pitch feeling like a loser. In the end, when we date as if it were a game, nobody wins.

While I don’t claim to be a love professional or a coach, I have certainly been on my fair share of dates and I feel that I have learnt a few lessons along the way.

Like many other guys there was a point in my life when I didn’t want to play the game anymore.Wait three days before you message him. Don’t write back straight away. Play it cool. Be mean, keep them keen. Don’t act too gay. Sleep with him regardless. I followed all the rules and believed that with practice would come perfection but I never seemed to score a goal. Then came a series of terrible dates. There was the guy who spoke only about his ex-boyfriend for the duration of dinner, the personal trainer who refused to eat anything that wasn’t green and the gorgeous Italian boy whose English skills were much better online. After a season of disappointing results I was ready to call a time-out or retire early.

I decided to take stock of the situation, to look back over all my dating experiences to see if there was a common problem that could explain my past failures. To my surprise, after deep analysis, I realised that I was in fact the problem. There were three mistakes that I continuously made which could explain why dating was so daunting. These mistakes turned into three lessons that have changed my entire perspective on dating.

Firstly, I realised that I was placing too much pressure on the outcome of the date, willing for it to be a ‘happily ever after’ love story before the referee’s whistle had even been blown. While I have always considered myself to be an independent person, in retrospect, I went through a stage where I was eager to be in a relationship. I empathised with Charlotte from Sex and the City who in one episode desperately exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” I shared her pain and translated it into a period of binge-dating where every failed attempt at love seemed to be one step further away from Mr. Right. One should never approach dating or love from a place of such desperation. That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was framing dates as if they were job interviews. Will he like this outfit? What questions will he ask? What questions should I ask? What if he doesn’t like me? I hope I give a good impression. Should I be myself? Should I be who I think he’s looking for?

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