What this is, and isn’t
This is an exposé of sorts. This is an incredibly personal regalement of my romantic endeavors— or lack thereof. There are aspects that will remain private and details undivulged. But know that, in truth, this isn’t for you. This is for me— so that I may continue the journey and grow in a new light. I’m not prowling for pity, and I’m not looking for “the one” to rear his beautiful head from such a revealing post. This also isn’t to discredit any past attempts at romance on my part or any other’s; all of my experiences, for good and for bad, have led up to this moment, and I embrace this part of the rocky road to love.
Bold assertion: I don’t think I’ve been in true, romantic love before. I might’ve come close, and I don’t doubt that the emotions I felt tended toward the romantic side— but I’m unsure if I’ve actually felt that deep, intense, pure romantic feeling for another person. Connection, sure. But love? Likely, no.
I’ve been on this earth for a quarter of a century (in this lifetime, at least), and since I came out over 12 years ago, I have never had any sort of substantial relationship that didn’t go past the range of one night to a month and a half. And I’ve also been very prone, tragically, to the delusion that my feelings with someone else were requited, when in fact they weren’t. It’s a touch embarrassing not to be on the same page. It’s also a touch embarrassing not to have experienced this— yet.
There have been a few instances where I’ve felt a pure, romantic connection with another person— one was extremely toxic, the other went absolutely nowhere, except The Friend Zone™. The first lasted years, with random meetings and ultimately felt like having my heart dragged behind a truck down an empty highway. He wasn’t there for me, but I couldn’t be told otherwise; nearly all of my friends and family were dismayed time and time again when I would keep this person in my purview. But what did I know? All I felt for him was a yearning that he never reciprocated— and he knew that. Perhaps it was manipulation, and perhaps I wanted to let myself feel some sort of twisted view of love, despite the tricky strings around it. (The latest one is too much of an open wound to explain.)
The problem is that I’m extremely loyal— I’d make an excellent boyfriend or an even better dog.
Scrolling. I find myself doing it mindlessly, passing by hundreds of faces in search of a friendly one. And oftentimes I don’t click on a pretty face because I think that I know that they won’t message me.
This catalogue of potential mates is overwhelming— swiping to exhaustion, hoping to find a glimmer of a match somewhere within an abyss of endless profiles. It truly doesn’t matter about the specific app; Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, Bumble, all that jazz— it’s the same people.
One way to thwart all of this negativity is to delete them and find people “organically.” But queer people have rarely met organically— always in the back alleys and dark, seedy bars unbeknownst to the public. And in a charming way, I like that. This subculture within the gay culture is fascinating to me. So, I guess I’ll keep them for the time being, because it’s still a way to meet new people— so long as I have the mindset that not every person who chats me up is my long-lost lover, and not every person who ignores me is a giant asshole. All in all, they’re useful.
My dear friend, mentor, and yoga instructor once asked me, “Do you want sex? Or do you want love? Because the two are very different.” And those questions have plagued me for years. Of course I want both. And I’m sure it’s mind-blowing when the two can be combined— and if that isn’t a euphemism, I don’t know what is.
Non-monogamy amidst monogamy: Is one guy even worth it?
There’s a satirical article floating around entitled, Experts Warn That This Polyamorous Relationship Could Expand To Cover All Of Seattle By 2021— and if that ain’t the truth! It seems as though almost every online profile touts of an “open relationship” or “I’ve already found the guy of my dreams; we’re just looking for a third.” My textbook response is, “I can’t even handle one relationship, let alone several at the same time.” Plus, I’m an only child, so I need the attention on me, thank you very much. It’s not that I’m against polyamory as a whole. Dear friends of mine engage in it, and it works out for them. I just feel, at this moment, incapable of opening myself up to more than one person.
If and when I find him:
Maybe I’m under an illusion that a relationship has a sense of finality, that you might spend eternity with your beloved. After all, isn’t that how movies go? Those blissful, cinematic moments do happen in real life.
And that is mostly how I’ve pursued romantic endeavors— why go after you without the intent of something long term? Now I know that this is a mistake. Living in the moment and loving wholeheartedly, regardless of the duration of the situation, that’s where the sweet spot is. It’s opening up and handling vulnerability and uncertainty with care and curiosity— but it also means leaving yourself stranded in unbridled emotion and despair when it doesn’t work out in your favor. Love is, as I’ve been told, what remains when the lust is gone.
I’m not unique or alone in this destitute feeling of a romantic abyss. I know for certain that there are just as many gay (and straight) people in my predicament. As convenient as dating and hooking up are in this technological age, the more overwhelming and vapid it has become. I will never have a porn star body, nor will I be a knight in shining armor. I will have my pitfalls and breakdowns just as any other human being will— but I’m throwing it out to The Universe that I might have this chance for unrequited, butterfly, feelings.
When I was a gaybie, my adopted gay uncle told me, “You’ll have your heart broken. But you’re also going to break some hearts.” I didn’t believe that I had that capacity. But I know I have over the years, without intentionally meaning to do so. Being rejected is no fun, and I used to be bitter about it. Now, I’ve cultivated a sense of softness and curiosity about rejection— and I don’t take it to heart anymore— mostly. It used to mean that I was the inadequate one, that I was somehow lacking. For any number of reasons, though, rejections happen. The Friend Zone™ is an awful place to be. My friend in college noticed this about me early on and said, “You need to stop being everyone’s best friend.” The problem is that I don’t know how to not be friendly (however, don’t confuse that with not being a bitch. I’m perfectly capable in that department).
If I had to choose an ideal partner, he’d be reserved, stoic, charming with a bit of an assholish flair. Like Billy Eichner, except quieter.
The Dating Scene:
I abhor the institution of dating. Quite frankly, it’s nerve-wracking and boring. The mere notion of going out to dinner to engage in small talk about menial things, all the while being surveyed for sexual compatibility— it’s nothing more than a job interview for the bedroom. Because I am so friendly, I don’t have an issue conversing; where I fall short is letting people in, giving away my insecurities and letting go of their expectations.
I’m not opposed to it overall. In fact, I’ve gone on a few dates since moving to Seattle— part of that whole looking your fears head on tactic. It’s not that it went poorly. It’s just that I didn’t connect with them and disliked the hype.
Of course, there are logistical challenges in dating, due to my industry. But I also refuse to date within said industry— most of us are insane. The only feat that would prove to be beneficial is that air crew would understand the lifestyle, schedule, and lingo.
I’m an enigma, an extravagant (and downright extra) personality, and I’m a lot to handle. Hell, I can’t handle myself most days. And I know that finding a partner is neither like shopping on Amazon (but HOW nice would it be for a husband to be delivered in two days?) nor signing up for a gym membership. It’s not that easy, I never thought it would be, and I definitely haven’t experienced ease in this entire journey.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it shows when my friends ask about my love life. I am humbled that they have a genuine interest in seeing my happiness through a romantic partner (and I swear to god— if someone tags me in one more thing about Anderson Cooper’s breakup!). They want me to be ok. I want to be ok. But maybe not being ok will allow me to dissect and disassemble what is years’ worth of angst and hope and worry— and through that crumbling, I can renew a positive direction in what is the State of My Heart.
Soundtrack, sappy yet profound: