My hunt for Prince Charming on gay dating apps is in full swing but I think I may have overcommitted…How many conversations can I have at once across Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder?
My hunt for Prince Charming on gay dating apps is in full swing but I think I may have overcommitted…How many conversations can I have at once across Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder?
I’m giving gay dating apps one more shot but this time I’m applying a strategic method to hopefully find love. I’m also going into this experiment with an open mind, shifting my intentions slightly to see if it changes the outcome.
Inspired by a TED Talk given by a very intelligent and humorous woman named Christina Wallace, I’ve decided to apply five criteria to finding the perfect gay guy on Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder. Watch the first instalment where I lay out the criteria that will hopefully lead me to find my gay Prince Charming.
The article was written by The Modern Gay for Match.com
When I was twenty-three years old I moved to Milan to study at university. Within a month I met a guy. He was the most striking human being I had ever seen. He was slightly taller than me, long brown hair, voluptuous lips, golden tanned skin, a strong Roman nose, beautifully lean body and the most impeccable style for which Italians are famous. He was the epitome of an ‘Italian Stallion’ and an example of the way that I had imagined all Italian men to look before I had moved to Italy. The first time I locked eyes with him, I felt his gaze reverberate through my entire body and I remember thinking to myself that this was what love at first sight felt like.
Milan being a small city meant that we frequented the same parties and places and on the weekends I would regularly spot him walking the streets of my neighborhood. On one fateful evening in my favorite club, Plastic, I finally gathered the courage to approach him. We spoke and danced and drank and immediately the sexual chemistry was palpable. That evening began a year long ‘relationship’ (and I use that term loosely) that taught me lessons to which I still refer today. He triggered a range of emotions inside of me that I had never felt before and as a result I behaved in a way that was completely out of character for me. Instead of being the confident, stable minded person I had always been, I turned into a lovesick puppy that craved his attention and affection. I thought of him as a drug. When I ‘had’ him I was on a blissful high but when he left me, the euphoria faded and I would crave him until I could have him again. It would often take days or weeks before I could have my next fix of him. Occasionally we would unexpectedly cross paths in a club or restaurant and I would spend the rest of the night pining over him and watching him from across the room. If we left together then I would be content but when we didn’t my heart would shatter and I would punish myself by listening to depressing love songs and crying myself to sleep. I’m not sure if he knew the power he had over me or the way that I felt about him but I imagine that the song lyrics I emailed him or the way that I looked at him were clear enough indicators. In retrospect, the manner in which I acted makes me cringe with embarrassment but at the time I was convinced that I was in love. But it wasn’t love. It was lust. I was in lust with him and it took a broken heart to come to that realization.
It is so easy to confuse love and lust, especially when we are younger, as they are both powerful feelings that can be easily mistaken for one another. Love and lust make our hearts beat faster, they are similar feelings that can overwhelm us so much so that we do things that we would never do and much like love at first sight, so too can we fall in lust at first sight. The difference between the two is that lust grows stronger the less of it you receive back from the person with whom you are in lust while love grows stronger the more of it you receive back from the person with whom you are in love.
Lust is sexually driven while love comes from a deeper place within one’s soul. Lust speaks to our egos, our bodies, our animal side and our insecurities. Love speaks beyond the physical, transcending… Continue reading here.
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
I have decided that dating like a gay boy has been quite unsuccessful thus far. In a bid to improve my romantic prospects, I’ve undertaken informal ethnographic research into a subgroup of the human species, a group that has long been committed to the procurement of suitable, long-term companions. Henceforth I have decided to date like a straight girl.
Straight girls, being a very goal-oriented species, know how to locate, persuade and secure a potential mate. As such there is much that we can learn from this mysterious group. First though, we must look at how straight girls and gay boys differ in order to broaden our understanding.
Straight girls feel the pressure of time in their late 20s. Gay boys feel like they’re 20 for the rest of time.
Women are well aware of aging and for those who want to have children, there comes a time in their 20s when they realize that their body clocks are ticking. This pressure to find a partner and have children before it’s “too late” encourages single straight women to take stock of their lives, mentally mature and make any necessary changes to find a proper mate. Gay men on the other hand have no such pressure and therefore feel that time is limitless. As a result, we are never forced to really grow up and spend the rest of our lives acting like we’re still in our 20’s. Not having that moment in time to take stock of our lives means that we don’t stop and think what it is we are really looking for.
Straight girls are looking for men who can be daddies to their children. Gay boys act like children who are looking for sugar daddies.
Straight girls look for a partner that will be a suitable father to their children. They wonder if their man will be able to provide for his family in the future. Does he share the same values? Is he patient? Is he loving? Gay boys on the other hand are looking for guys who can provide for them in the moment. Does he turn me on? Is he hot? Is he good in bed? Personally, I would like to have children and hope to find a man that not only satisfies my needs now but who will also be a loving father in the future. I’ve realized that these kinds of men can’t be found amongst the headless torsos of Grindr.
Straight girls look for men with big ambition. Gay boys look for men with big…
Sexual chemistry is an important part of a relationship but it’s not the most important part. Many gay boys place too much importance on physical attraction, dating men with big biceps, big chests and big egos. After a while though the attraction wanes and the relationship fails. Then they repeat the cycle, finding a man of similar ilk and wonder why that relationship disappoints too. Long-term relationships are built on shared values, friendship, mutual understanding, love and patience and straight girls understand this. Straight girls look beyond the purely physical and are attracted to men with ambition, goals, intelligence, humor and other qualities that exceed the peripheral.
Straight girls look to build a home with their partner. Gay boys look for partners at clubs that play house music.
As a gay boy, there comes a time in your 20’s when you realize that gay clubs are all the same. Wherever you are in the world they tend to be filled with the same people (10 people you meet in gay clubs), play the same music and leave you with the same feelings at the end of the night. Sure, they can be fun on the odd occasion but when you make clubbing the primary means by which to pick-up men, you are bound to be disappointed. Straight girls have realized that their future partner probably wont be found on a sweaty dance floor and those that have already found their significant other can attest that staying home is far more enjoyable than shooting tequila in a crowded club.
Straight girls know that promiscuity doesn’t lead to love. Gay boys think that being promiscuous will make them feel loved.
Many straight girls use their early 20’s and college years to experiment sexually so that by the time they are in their late 20’s they’re ready to settle down. They have learnt that one-night stands and drunken hook-ups don’t lead to long-term relationships; they lead to hangovers and heartbreak. It takes much longer for gay guys to realize that sexual intimacy doesn’t equate to love. Unfortunately for some guys that realization never comes. They find themselves in an endless loop of short sexual encounters, hoping that the next one will be the one that makes them feel loved.
As Albert Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”. If you’re looking for love and haven’t had much success in the past, then it’s time to rethink your approach. Straight girls certainly have the right idea, probably because they’ve had much more time to perfect the art of dating. Maybe it’s time then that you too dated like a straight girl?
The Modern Gay Guide to Life is a platform to share ideas about what it means to be a gay man in the modern world. We all have different experiences, come from different backgrounds and therefore have different perspectives. In the following two part true story a gay Muslim man shares his experiences with dating, the gay scene, religion and Grindr.
I have a heavy heart tonight. I can’t help but feel sad and lonely as I write this but before I get into the cause of my heartache, I’d like to start from the beginning. I’d like to talk about another kind of gay man.
I was born in Pakistan to an orthodox Muslim family. My childhood was typical; I had a loving family who provided me with everything. I was like every other kid, but as I grew older I noticed my attraction to men. Something, which I didn’t understand because homosexual orientation as it exists in the West is not understood at all in my culture so there was no one to speak to. I didn’t think much of it until in high school all I heard was boys talk about girls but I couldn’t relate. I rationalised it to myself by saying that I was raised by a strong maternal figure and had close female friends so I looked at women more for their personality than their looks. I did, however, explore my sexuality a little thanks to online groups and met guys who were going through the same thing (even if such guys were hard to find since most Pakistani men, like other men seemed to be using such groups for quick sex).
When I was 19, I moved to Australia to study at university. Living away from home and everyone I knew gave me the chance to explore my sexuality but my social and cultural indoctrination got the best of me and I remained closeted. I did, however, meet someone and fell in love (or what I thought was love). He had a similar background but was older, more open and confident than I was, which I couldn’t help but admire. It was unrequited love though and while he enjoyed the attention he wasn’t honest enough to tell me up front that nothing was going to happen. Obviously, it ended in heartbreak, shook my confidence and I retreated back into my own world and explored my feelings once again discreetly through the Internet. At that time, I was still convinced that I was bisexual and still dated women but it never went anywhere. I end up seeing a counselor at unviversity, who provided me with a space to explore my thoughts on my orientation, especially what it meant for someone who was Muslim. I went through periods of rejecting either my Muslim or queer background but with her help I was able to realize that I could be both, I just had to find a sense of balance within the two.
Around that time, I discovered an American organisation called Muslims for Progressive Values, that works on various issues such as the lack of support for LGBT Muslims, which is where I found my spiritual home. Listening to these people (even if they’re a minority) and striking a friendship with a prominent Imam, Amina Wadud, and hearing her thoughts on equality for queer Muslims helped me reconcile my faith and sexuality. I took baby steps and I came out to my brother, a few cousins and friends. The reactions I received varied from total support to severed relationships. My brother and my cousins while not entirely supportive evolved and tried to understand my position. I am still grateful for their response as they grew up in a conservative and sheltered environment where they never had to deal with an openly gay person. My Australian friends who I came out to couldn’t understand my need to be discreet because of my Muslim background but were supportive nonetheless.
That also gave me the boost to go out in the scene and try to make gay friends. In my naivety, I thought it would be easy and that for a minority, gay guys would be quite open-minded and accepting of each other. However, I didn’t realize how superficial the scene was and how I wasn’t considered “worthy” to befriend because being a person of colour and “unfit”, I didn’t fit the image of a desirable gay man. Some guys laughed in my face at the idea of me trying to be friends with them because of my looks. I was also ridiculed because I followed a faith most of them did not understand and considered violent and archaic. My experience in gay settings was almost entirely negative because I found guys to be cliquey, bitchy, shallow and snobby. I still persevered for a while and tried to make gay friends. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful. Slowly, I realized that I didn’t need to be a part of the scene and while gay friends would be nice, they didn’t have to be a priority. I have since met a handful of really nice gay guys through work and friends who have become good friends.
Eventually, I met guys who were interested in dating me but it still hasn’t been easy and at 28, I find it slightly disappointing that the longest I’ve been with someone is a couple of months. My first substantial dating experience was only in September last year, when I started talking to a guy on Grindr. He was intelligent, witty and funny and I couldn’t help being attracted to him. We got along well and started dating. Things, at least in my head, were going well and I could see myself being with this person long term. However, I didn’t know that he had a secret of his own. A couple of months later I realized how interconnected we all are. I was out with a few friends and met someone who was talking about his boyfriend who seemed suspiciously similar to my current flame. The similarities were so striking that the next time I saw him I mentioned it to him. He initially was in shock but then admitted everything; he had been with this guy for 5 years and while he still loved him, he also had strong feelings for me and wanted to explore things with me. Disgusted by the dishonesty and hating myself for being the other one, I ended things.
Stay tuned to The Modern Gay Guide to Life for Part Two when our author bravely admits the lengths he went to in order to try find love and the consequences of his actions.
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Recently engaged interior designer couple, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are in my opinion the world’s most stylish gay couple. The announcement of their engagement in April 2013 caused universal disappointment amongst single gay men throughout the world who were hoping to snatch one of the two for themselves (myself included).
It truly is wonderful to see two talented men who are in the public eye, openly displaying their love and affection for each other (pictures in the gallery below). Although these pictures show a very happy couple, Nate has experienced devastating loss in the past. In 2004 Nate’s partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea was killed in the Boxing Day Tsunami while the two were holidaying together in Sri Lanka. Nate has publicly spoken about the intense sorrow that he endured for months after his partner’s death.
Outwardly I wish the couple all the best and thank them for their demonstration of what gay, successful, famous, “out” couples can look like. Inwardly, I wish they would break-up and that Jeremiah would come over to my place so we could “redecorate”….
It was a Sunday afternoon in summer. A female friend of mine had asked that I entertain a friend of hers while he was in Sydney. She assured me that although he was ten years my senior, he was handsome, charasmatic, successful and friendly. Obviously I was sceptical but being the friend that I am, I agreed to do her a favour. I met him at a popular Sydney restaurant for drinks and we hit it off instantly. He was handsome and charismatic, just as she described. The conversation flowed and we were getting on like old friends. After a bottle of champagne we headed to a local gay venue for a few more drinks. Being a Sunday, this particular venue was wall to wall with gay men.
“Is there anyone here you like?” he asked.
“Not really” I replied after scanning the room for potential. “I’m very picky”.
“You’re not picky, you’re insecure” he responded instantly.
My blood began to boil.
How dare this guy presume to know me after one bottle of Clicquot and an afternoon of small talk. Couldn’t he tell that I’m confident and self-assured? That I’m successful and intelligent. That I’m the whole package. That I’m just waiting to find the right guy. That I’m…. insecure.
As I tried to reach for a defensive response I was stumped because in that instant it dawned on me, he was right. I wasn’t picky at all, I was afraid of rejection. I was insecure. Behind the confident facade, I was a scared boy, afraid that nobody would love me. For so long I had hidden behind a vail of protection disguised as “pickiness” in order to dismiss guys before I even had a chance to make a move; before I had the chance to be rejected.
He’s too short. Too buff. Too skinny. Too gay. Too butch. He dresses badly. He’s too old. Too young. Too tanned. Too many tatooes. Too clean cut. Too hipster. Not hipster enough. He’s not successful. He’s not my type anyway. I doubt I’m his type.
There have been so many excuses.
I realised that I had created a defense mechanism which had protected me for so long from facing rejection. Before I even had the chance to be rejected, I would justify reasons why I shouldn’t approach a particular person or give them a chance. This is such a limiting view of life. In retrospect, the greatest loves I’ve had have come from finding the courage to approach the handsome guy across the bar. But I’ve missed so many moments too due to my insecurities and unjustified justifications. I think about the times I wished I had said something to the guy who made eyes with me in the supermarket, or the boy from Canada my friends brought to the party. What could have been if I just had the courage to say “hi”?
A heart that is never broken dies of dystrophy. It’s only thorough the broken heart that light shines through. Without risk there is no reward. So instead of pretending that you’re just picky or waiting for someone to approach you, recognise your insecurities and try work on them. We need to have faith in ourselves and what we offer to the world.
A friend of mine who worked in marketing for an energy drink company (let’s call it Energy X) once told me a story that changed my way of thinking. She said, “Josh, at Energy X we don’t try convince people to like our brand. Some people drink Coke, others like Iced Tea. We have enough faith in our incredible brand that we appreciate those that love Energy X and it is those people who we pursue. We don’t try convince someone who only drinks Coke to drink Energy X too. You are like Energy X. Have faith in your incredible brand. Know that not everyone will like you or be attracted to you but appreciate those that do. Pursue them“.
This has stuck with me till this day and has helped me overcome my insecurities and my fear of rejection (a fear that we ALL share). We cannot convince someone to like our drink if they only drink Coke. Just the same as you aren’t attracted to everyone you meet, not everyone will be attracted to you. Be brave and be honest and realise that all this time you haven’t been picky, you’ve just been insecure.
Photo Credit: Steven Klein “Games and Restrictions”