Rethinking The Dating Game
Cypher Avenue | By Terrence Moss
Some will say that thirty-two is far too young for such a drastic measure but I’ve already been dating online (or at least attempting to) for nine years. In that time, it has become increasingly more difficult to meet people as the wallflower mentality that infected the bars and clubs has also permeated online chat rooms as people sit and wait for someone to send them a private message because they are “too shy.”
In a real-life, face-to-face setting this is perfectly understandable. I’m quite social once a conversation is somehow initiated, but terribly shy when it comes to approaching a guy in person — even if to just say hello. And the few times I actually mustered up the courage to do so have all ended in comic disasters.
Despite the humor of those situations, there is something profoundly damaging about a guy either disregarding me to my face or simply being nice even though they are really not interested. I don’t know which is worse, but I would rather they not suffer through a painfully awkward conversation to avoid being rude.
The return on such an investment of energy is minimal since most don’t even respond but the ones who do simply say “hello” and leave it at that or offer only one—word answers to standard questions— which is far more annoying than being ignored. Since no connection was made and no emotional energy expended, these rejections barely register as such.
But it has gotten to the point where people don’t even want to meet up at all, which leads me to believe that the process will only become more and more fruitless for me. I don’t mind having time to spare and doing nothing with it, but I certainly don’t like wasting it.
I’m not suggesting that I haven’t met a good number of men online. Some of them are now great friends, a few have occupied space in my heart at one time or another and a handful simply filled a physical need. The majority of them, however, just made a one-time appearance (many for good reason) while the rest just sit in the studio audience to watch the comedy of my sitcom life unfold.
Perhaps I’m still not ready for a serious relationship, because in the years since there has been a shift in my attitude and in that of those who remain in the proverbial dating pool. Whilst I am far more interested in having a few regular friends with benefits or just a couple of playmates, I am coming across more and more people—older and younger than I— who want a relationship because it’s more of a possibility now than ever before.
But I find that a lot of guys don’t actually know what they want or are afraid to admit to themselves and prospective dates what it is they are really looking for. Some guys say they want a relationship but really just want to hook up— regardless as to the reputation of the site they are logged onto. There is nothing to be ashamed of if that is what you are looking for, but so many still attach a stigma to it as if it is akin to meeting in the bushes of Central Park.
Then there are those who want a relationship but put out a restrictive laundry list of “I want” and “you-be.” I understand that everyone has their preferred types and is entitled to them, but such preferences are counterproductive to the dating process.
The most typical response to this is:
“Why should I bother talking to guys who are not my type and therefore know I’m not going to like?”
My response is, “How do you know you won’t?”
We tend to go back and forth on these two points because they maintain that they are just not attracted to guys who don’t look a certain way. I maintain they don’t know anything until they’ve given someone or something a chance. Because while they sit (often silently) in these chat rooms for hours at a time waiting to be hit up by only the most ‘modelesque’ and ‘musclesque’ of guys, the relationship they profess they want is probably out and about meeting people. I would even go so far to say that “Mr. Out and About” will not check out on several points from those laundry lists. I will go even further to say that Mr. Out and About will fall well outside many people’s so-called “type.”
I personally blame Katherine Heigl and her ilk of romantic comedy queens with their typical Hollywood movie ending where the girl ultimately gets the handsome stud guy by some fantastical stretch of a screenwriter’s imagination that requires a major suspension of the audience’s disbelief. Like millions of single ladies, millions of gays have decided that this is how it should be for them.
What people fail to understand is that Katherine Heigl and her ilk have co-stars they have to wind up with at the end no matter how much the screenplay tries to keep them apart for 90 minutes. So while they show her and her ilk dating at the beginning of the movie; that falls away pretty quickly so that the Cinderella story can unfold.
After all, what is a coffee or a drink – especially if they wind up paying? And the fact that we’ve all spent countless hours in these chat rooms, dating and hook-up sites is proof positive that we all have the same yearning for companionship.
So make it easier on yourselves to actually find it. As for me and my happily single house, we are going back to meeting people (all sorts of people) “the regular way.” If something comes out of it, great. If not, my life will in no way be diminished. In fact, deleting those online dating profiles was quite freeing.
Terrence Moss is an independent writer based in Los Angeles. He operates a website at www.terrencemoss.com, a place for long-form online content that consists of media commentaries, reaction pieces, articles, essays, actor/actress profiles and an ongoing short fiction series.
Thanks Robbie, I appreciate that. The dating game is getting progressively harder to play — especially when you don’t like to play games.
I’m genuinely glad you found a great guy. Hold on to him. 🙂
I agree. While reading this I deleted my own accounts as it appears that there are too many of ‘us’ out there who hide behind these screen names and pictures of dicks and asses. It would appear that while we all have at one time or another expressed a desire for companionship, most of us don’t know any other outlets except the online sites. For example, there are PLENTY of guys I know who would probably like to date me, the thing is they are all girls (fem queens, butch queens….QUEENS). And while there’s nothing wrong with someone expressing their sexuality in whatever way they desire, I know that for me, I want someone who is masculine. However, the challenge is actually finding them. The online sites give you a lot to look at but you can never tell. I’m on the same path right now to where I don’t mind if I have to be single, as the only thing on my laundry list is that you are not feminine, and if that’s too much to ask then….I’m doomed.
I learned the hard way by looking for dates online smh dudes lie about what they want far too often. Strangely I’ve found it easier to date offline because one you have one gay friend it opens up the door to meet more guys. And because my friends and I are private about our orientation and we’re masculine, you tend to meet brothers who carry themselves the same way. One of my friends went to Blatino Oasis and met a bunch of masculine guys all over the country. So now I can network and meet guys like me discreetly without playing those ridiculously games online. Its 2012 online just isnt the same smh
This is a good piece. It is thoughtful and insightful in so many ways. I learned a great deal about myself while reading this article. Great job Terrence….I await to read your NEXT ARTICLE posted on Discreet City .
I don’t do on-line profiles or dating for much of the same reasons noted by Terrance and others here. And, to pull a quote from Terrance’s story: “I’m quite social once a conversation is somehow initiated, but terribly shy when it comes to approaching a guy in person — even if to just say hello. And the few times I actually mustered up the courage to do so have all ended in comic disasters.” Those two sentences describe me perfectly- and almost each and every-time I’ve gone out somewhere. It’s very frustrating to know that there simply has to be – and I know that indeed there are- other masculine guys like me, who are not simply looking for an overnight hook-up but for friendship and maybe even a potential LTR. This for me is a high priority. I would love to meet more bruthas in my area who are down but I’m also open to meeting ANY guy of any ethnicity (and whom I would consider attractive) who is intelligent, can give good, stimulating conversation, and has a great sense of decency and humor about himself. I would also hope he has good personal hygiene, his own means of transportation, sources of income, and his own [clean] place to live. I would hope for him to be STD-free and careful about such things where his personal health is concerned, and that he knows how to be discreet, and how to respect my need for certain discretions, and how to be patient, understanding, and forgiving of both me – and even himself- when shit in life fucks up. Now, all of these are things (and perhaps a few more) are traits I carry within me and that I tend to look for in a guy with whom I would want a long friendship and perhaps even a LTR. I am not expecting perfection but at least I know what I want and feel that I shouldn’t be judged for that. As I get older in this life, I don’t have the time to “raise” a man into manhood and to teach “manly things”. While there are many things that we can teach each other about life, etc, considering that we would have come from different paths of life, there are just some things that a man… ANY man …should know and/or ought to be aware of in order to be, to function, and to survive in this world as a man! And so, I remain single, continue to keep myself looking as good as possible, continue to seek ways to better my life, and continue to get out of my home more often with the hope that perhaps THIS day will be THE day when some fyne dude will walk up to ME for a change, and start a conversation (and perhaps have the same goals in mind as me) so that I don’t have to do all the work… which has been the case in my life for far too long! Shyness plus shyness equals nothing! Yet, I am so tired on feeling that it’s always gotta be ME to make that “first move”, ESPECIALLY when it comes to meeting and talking to other [masculine] men, particularly the bruthas! Damn. Anyway, wish me well, guys and I’ll do same for you!
Rethinking or abandoning all serious thought will/is most likely the smartest thing a GBM attempting to date other GBM can do.
The ones able to achieve success you rarely know exist. And the rest never sign off online websites…its hopeless.
As I read the article and the comments that followed, I couldn’t help but to feel a rush of emotion. As a 36 yr old Blk Man , I am now finding myself increasing lonely and frustrated with the prospect of dating. I’m educated, I have a gym body, and I’m genuine and compassionate. Yet my interests and finding someone suitable to parallel them seem fruitless.
I don’t go out to clubs (as the nightlife has never been my thing). So online sites seem both comfortable and familiar. However, it’s frustrating! It doesn’t matter how good my abs or pecs look in my profile pic, because it seems I only attract the same ole sh!t on each site.
“Sup/ Wats Gud / Wassup” etc…
Even the days when I just feel like getting nut, I just can’t get myself to take these guys seriously. By the time I’ve extended the time and energy dealing with the fragile egos online, I am no longer interested in “hooking up” or going out on a date. Each day I try not to take myself so seriously, yet my HAPPINESS is a serious matter.
I wish life could be like those damn romantic comedies.
For the most part I do agree with you, and I completely understand exactly where you are coming from, but I also still believe that there are some compatible matches for you in the online dating world (after all, you see yourself as quality material and you are up there). I think that you may need to change up your profile a little (starting with those pictures of your delicious abs and pecs) and clearly reinforce exactly what it is you are looking for, whether it be just for sex or a serious relationship. Based off of my experience with online dating and fucking, what I noticed is that when you specify what you want, nine times out of ten you will probably get it, but if you don’t know what you want, then it clearly shows and therefore you get a mixed bag filled with bullshit. I hope that you don’t give up on finding yourself a suitable match, because you deserve to be loved and appreciated and someone deserves to receive the love and affection that you have to offer.
Drewski_ (formerly AndrewJS)
YES. Man, heeeeell yeah..lol
Online “dating” for my generation is almost always ALL about the aesthetics..the one-nighters..aaaalways about the sex & the face…ugh!! Deleting my BGC account was one of the best things that’s happened to me this year. Although it was fun & I met a decent variety of characters, majority of the time, it was a superficial ass, visual trap for many, including myself, that can lead to emotionlessness, messy endings, and an assortment of stuff. Another not-quite-good thing, since black Milwaukee is small, I’m preeetty sure a lot of “us” guys round here “kno each other”, IMO.
Freeing? Yes, indeed…
Yup. I deleted all my online “hook up” profiles in December. It has been said that like attracts like, so I’m certain that it will yield results. Most of this has been part of a natural progression that has been occurring in my life over the past 7-8 months. I didn’t really have to put much effort into it. It just started happening. No resistance on my part. So I’m guessing my dude is right around the corner. Not sure how long it will take for us to meet, but I’m hopeful.
All my online experiences have kind of mirrored yours. Although one interaction actually lead to a two year relationship, I was never really seeking companionship online. More or less looking for a quick fix. I will admit that I often turned down dudes who hit me up that weren’t “my type.” But that’s because I’d already caught enough catfish dudes looking for a mercy f*ck to know what I was into and what I wasn’t. Bottom line is there has to be a physical attraction to get me started. For some other guys, that’s not a priority.
I decided to delete my profiles and stop looking on those sites because I know that I’m now ready to start dating seriously. And many of the dudes online are only in it for a quick fix, like I was. Being DL for so long, I’m pushing myself to start interacting with dudes in the real world. I’m tapping out on the virtual world.
I’m surprised you’ve had so much trouble Terrence. You’re a handsome kat. I would totally date you bruh.
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Now this is the type of article writing I’m talking about. Terrence, my brutha great job. The dating game is complicated and very tiring, but it’s because of the hangups and standards many set for a mate that causes them to still be single at the end of the day. Thank God I got over those same issues and found a great guy. I wish the same for others.