Tag Archives: Modern Gay

RULE NO.22: THERE ARE TOO MANY BOYS

 Abercrombie Modern Gay Dating

It’s hard to find “the one” when there are so many choices.

There’s a marketing theory that suggests that when we’re given too many choices we experience anxiety and buyers regret. This is called the “Paradox of Choice” whereby more choices leads to less happiness. One would think that the opposite is true, that the more choices we have the happier we will feel but this is not the case.

Lets look at an example. You’re in a restaurant with a friend and there is a huge selection of dishes on the menu. You see many different options that look appealing and finally after much deliberation you make your selection. Your friend chooses the schnitzel while you choose the steak. When your food arrives you instantly feel that you may have made the wrong decision. You look around at all the other tables and see the variation of delicious meals being consumed by patrons seemingly more happy than yourself and  you regret your decision. As you bight into your steak, you wonder “what would life be like if I was eating schnitzel?”.

This theory is ever present in the modern world of gay dating. Through the power of Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr we are exposed to images of thousands of gorgeous men from all over the globe. From the beaches of Brazil to the clubs of Tel Aviv, the internet has created a virtual gay community comprising of men that we never would have known without physically visiting those cities. While its fun to perve on these guys from your phone or computer it has created the “the anxiety of choice” conundrum – more options equals higher regret. Being aware of all these men who appear to be better looking and having more fun than the men in our immediate communities has created this anxiety of choice.  The most troubling thing about this anxiety is that the choice is not real. In a restaurant you can choose your meal from a finite selection and that choice will be served to you. In the online world, chances are that you’ll never meet those men about who you fantasise and yet you compare your attainable options to those which are infinite and unattainable. You might even be waiting for Mr Right who’ll hopefully appear in the form of some American adonis with gorgeous friends or worse still, you might be in a relationship treading water, until something better comes along. Having too many choices, whether they be real or imagined is affecting the way we date.

Couple this with apps likes Grindr and Scruff and you have a selection of 200 men at your fingertips. These apps are supposed to help you find potential mates in your immediate area but when there are so many options, how do you know that you’re going to make the right choice? If you’re like me then you probably keep pressing ‘refresh’ hoping that someone even more exciting than the last will magically appear.

This technologically advanced world has brought the universe to our fingertips and created digital communities which have helped countless gay men seek advice, solace and information but it has also given us too many choices.  In this restaurant of life, with its countless dishes and delicious choices, I wonder if we’ll always keep looking around at what everyone else is eating and never be satisfied with whats on our own plates.

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RULE NO. 20: YOU ARE BRAVER THAN YOU THINK

Jean-Francois-Carly

Nobody said that being gay is easy. You are constantly confronted by people who tell you that what you are doing is wrong, sinful, immoral and disgusting. You may have faced rejection from people important to you and all because of something that you had no control over. And yet you are still here.

You are much braver than you think.

Before you’ve even had the chance to “come out” you had to confront those daunting feelings inside of yourself.  The feelings of confusion, isolation and shame. You had to ask yourself “Am I normal?”. That took a lot of bravery.  As you grew older you may have been picked-on or bullied because other kids could tell that you were different.  It took inner strength to shield yourself from the taunting and to recover from the physical abuse.

Once you decided to share your feelings with another person you had to find the coverage to expose yourself, to be absolutely vulnerable without certainty of how they would react. That took courage that heterosexual people will never understand.  You then had to deal with the consequences of your coming out. This may have meant rejection from family, losing friends or being shunned by your community. That too, called for immense inner courage. And all the while you had to forge your own path with little empathy, guidance or direction from anyone else.

With all of the other crap that you have to deal, it’s important that you pause for a moment and realise the bravery and courage that you possess to have made it to this point. You are much braver than you think.

Image by: Jean-Francois Carly

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RULE NO. 19: DON’T WORSHIP FALSE IDOLS

TOM FORD STEVEN KLEIN GAY VALLEY OF DOLLS

We are surrounded by false idols who we unwittingly worship but at what cost?

False idols give us nothing in return for the attention and praise that we give them. They present themselves to the world and tell us that they must be worshipped without considering what they really have to offer or what their followers really want. False idols do not engage with their followers. They yearn to be seen as different, elevated, better and divine. They are disconnected from the rest of us. It is only through this disconnection that their false sense of power exists.

False idols are committed to superficial pursuits and are driven by their egos. They appeal to the negative qualities inside of us such as greed, envy, vanity and feelings that we are not enough. It’s easy for us to be tempted by false idols, because much like the golden calf of the bible, they appear shiney and beautiful which is attractive to the superficial and egoic mind. The superficial mind however is never fulfilled hence why we continually partake in pointless worship.

When we worship false idols, we are left feeling empty, demoralised and worthless.

On the other hand there are role models. Role models contribute to our lives, they inspire us to be better, motivate us to improve and engage in two-way communication with the world. We learn from role models.. Role models appeal to our soul needs and although our soul needs are sometimes muffled by the noises of the superficial mind, they are much healthier and positive and when met lead to true fullfilment. You’ll know when your soul needs are satisfied because you’ll feel uplifted, loved and joyous.

Who are these false idols? They are reality TV stars (and their families), half-naked “Insta-celebrities”, social climbers, the “popular” group at school and anyone else who is worshiped based on superficial qualities.

The choice is yours who to praise but my advice to you is that if you’re not left feeling uplifted by the people who you worship then perhaps it’s time to shift your attention from false idols to role models.

Image Credit: Steven Klein, “Valley of the Dolls”

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: A MUSLIM MAN’S STORY (PART TWO)

Modern Gay Guide

In Part One of his story, our author describes his experiences as a Muslim man coming to terms with his homosexuality, dating and the gay scene. In the final chapter we find out more detail of our author’s relationships as well as an incident that he shamefully regrets which was the result of his previous dating experiences.

A few weeks later, I met someone else. We connected over our shared interest in spirituality. It also helped that he was extremely handsome but jaded by my previous experiences, I couldn’t understand why he was interested in me. We hung out, got along and got intimate and it was nice and the attention made me feel special. Obviously, there had to be a catch. He was an escort. While I don’t judge him for his choices, I couldn’t imagine myself being in anything but a monogamous relationship so I ended it.

A few months later I met someone again. By now, I had completely given up hope of dating someone but when it happened, I thought I should have an open mind. We went out for a few weeks and seemed to get along well but then he decided to break things off as I wasn’t “gay enough” for him. I still don’t understand what that means because for me as a man who’s attracted to other men and sees myself in a relationship with a man, that is what being gay is about. What it meant for him though was that I didn’t frequent the scene and he felt that if things became serious then he would never be able to meet my family. I can understand the latter but in retrospect it also showed a lack of empathy. My family comes from and still lives in a very conservative part of the world, which has no understanding of what it means to be gay. Homosexuality as it exists in Muslim cultures currently is not about orientation but sex. In addition, if you’re doing something that is not acceptable to the mainstream, the idea is to do it within the privacy of your home and not publicise it. This is also a culture where even admission of heterosexual pre-marital sex is disapproved so me coming out might not only mean complete rejection but also possibly assault (as has happened to someone I know by their father when he came out). Explaining my orientation and getting them to understand it requires time and patience. While I’m not there yet, I think by slowly coming out to people from my own generation I have made progress and allies for when I inevitably come out to them.

These recent dating experiences had left me distraught and emotionally exhausted. I had also drifted apart from several close friends, and was caring for some other friends who within a few months of each other had lost a loved one. Having no one else to speak to and feeling quite lonely and depressed, I slipped up and found an unhealthy outlet. I still can’t understand how it even happened but I created a fake profile on Grindr to find an escape. It’s too uncomfortable for me to even admit but all the loneliness helped me create an alternative reality quite easily, which I was easily able to sell to others on Grindr. Most of it was nothing more than harmless flirting; but there was one exception. As I admit to this, I am almost in tears. I started chatting with this amazing guy, N.T. and we connected over our love of Trance music. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s so funny, kind and incredibly sweet that my alter ego and him became good friends. I could just unwind, joke and be someone else that I conveniently forgot that this would only cause both him and I pain in the long term.

However, as time went on I couldn’t ignore what I was doing. It was out of character, unhealthy and disgusted me because I was deceiving someone the same way I had been deceived. I sought professional help and it was suggested that instead of telling the truth, I disappear. But my sense of accountability prevailed and I finally came clean to him. Even in his anger and disappointment he was so kind and gracious to me and he listened to me as I tried to rationalise and explain my behaviour.

This is why I have such a heavy heart right now. If I had been less lonely and had the courage to be more open, I probably wouldn’t have done this. Writing this is my way of trying to articulate and explain to him what happened. N.T., I am so sorry that in my desire to forget my problems for a while, I lied to you and hurt you. You’re one of the few gay guys who made me feel like I was more than just my background and while I disappointed you, talking to you made me so happy and allowed me to share our love of music, be lighthearted, funny and laugh again. I can’t thank you enough for that. It couldn’t be more bittersweet and ironic that as you lifted my spirits, I damaged yours.

Sharing my story is also a request to gay culture to be a little more understanding and less harsh on its minorities. Yes, there are people who don’t fit your perceptions but they’re a minority within a minority. After dealing with cultures, which reject them for lack of understanding or tolerance, when they face another blow in what they assume is a safe haven damages their self worth even more.

If you would like to share your story, please email josh@joshvansant.com

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MODERN GAY STYLE: CELEBRITY SEXINESS

David Beckham Gay Guide

Gaydar.net has released the results of a survey of 4,000 of its male members in a bid to piece together which characteristics respondents find the most attractive in male celebrities. Members rated various celebrity body parts and personality traits from David Beckham to Zac Efron.

According to the poll, the sexiest man would have a combination of former English ruby player Ben Cohen’s chest, Taylor Lautner’s stomach, Ronaldo’s behind, Hugh Jackman’s biceps and personality, and David Beckham’s legs, tattoos and wealth. In terms of facial features, the most attractive combination as voted by Gaydar members would include Brad Pitt’s smile, Gerard Butler’s voice, Jake Gyllenaal’s eyes and nose, Zac Efron’s hairstyle, Tom Hardy’s lips and  actor Jason Statham’s jaw.

Personality and talent were also considered. Respondents chose Gerard Butler’s personality, David Beckham’s sex appeal, Amir Khan’s sporting skill and Jude Law’s dress sense as qualities they would love in a partner.

The sexiest celebrity overall was David Beckham. While David was also the celebrity gay guys would most like to introduce to their parents (13%), a similar percentage of guys (12%) said they would actually avoid him, suggesting that although sexy, not everyone thinks Becks is relationship material.

For full results of the survey including a picture of what the “perfect” man looks like when all these features are combined, visit Gaydar’s Blog

Image: David LaChappelle.

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RULE NO.15: THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS IS SELF-LOVE

Happy Boys - Modern Gay

The secret to happiness is self-love (and not the sexual kind).

It may have become evident that I often discuss “self-love”. I believe that self-love is the hardest thing for gay men to achieve, the lack of which is at the root of most our dysfunctional behaviour. Many gay men still hold onto the shame of being gay, remnants of their closeted days which makes self-love even more allusive. But it’s not just gay men who suffer, all of humanity experiences feelings of fear, self doubt and self loathing; these are universal characteristics of the human condition.

Gay men, however have found excellent ways of masking these fears. We create fabulous and flamboyant personas, engage in regular sex and devote our time to aesthetic pursuits all in order to mask our true feelings. I’ve always thought that those people who display extreme traits are often masking the exact opposite. The loudest and most confident people are often the most scared, the people having the most sex are the loneliest, the most popular are afraid of not being liked and the most vain are never content with their appearance.

So how do we overcome our self loathing and fear? How do we find happiness within ourselves? I’ve been fascinated with these questions for as long as I can remember because I truly believe that only when you are happy does everything else fall into place. Only once you love yourself, can you be loved by others, romantically or in the broader sense. We try change external factors (jobs, partners, friends, cities etc) to make ourselves happy when all we really need to do is change ourselves.

Last night while trawling Youtube I found a video that offered a very simple answer to the happiness question. It proposed the easiest approach to finding fulfilment that I’ve ever come across (and I’ve done a fair bit of research!). Ask yourself this question:

“What would someone who loved themselves do?”

In whatever situation you may be, ask yourself “what would someone who loved themselves do?”. I can assure you that your whole perspective will change immediately. If you’re feeling upset, confused, enraged or bored ask yourself again  “what would someone who loved themselves do?” – the answer will come to you instinctively and those feelings will be quashed immediately.

Try this with me for the next week and let me know how it works for you. To watch the video Click Here.

Photo Credit: Diana Scheunemann

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FRIDAY MUSIC FIX: MR LITTLE JEANS

Currently fixed on “Oh Sailor” by Mr Little Jeans

Sounds Like: A merry-go-round of musical goodness

Enjoy while: Baking cupcakes

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