About four years ago, I accepted/admitted to myself that I was gay (I was 38 at the time). Although I consider myself a pretty normal guy (I’ve graduated college and grad school, have a professional career, have friends, good relationship with my family), I’ve never had a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I’m not sure if I have a boring personality or am simply physically unattractive. I am overweight and have recently started working out for the first time in my life, so hopefully that will be corrected soon. I’ve been trying to figure out how to find someone to date. I know I have some mental baggage with whomever I meet…I’ve never had a boyfriend, never kissed anyone, had sex, never even held someone’s hand, I’ve never done anything with anyone, I swear there are times when I feel pathetic and like a bad movie. Do you have have any advice about how to find someone? Should I try online dating sites? Just try to go to bars and clubs?
I think they’ve already made that film, actually. Except, by my tally, you’ve got two years on “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. I tease, of course, especially since you seem to be able to make light of your situation at least a little bit. Trust me, that’s a good thing. Humor is one of those things that helps nurture any good relationship (and not just a romantic one, either).
First off, it’s good that you’ve decided to start hitting the gym. I’d be lying to you if I said that the gay community doesn’t have a reputation for being fickle. Mind you, if you spend enough time rubbing elbows with other gays, you’ll find that we are actually a pretty diverse bunch. Look at photos from any Pride festival and you’ll see that we’re a pretty diverse bunch. Our ranks are filled with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Furthermore, if your husky physique makes you feel self-conscious, pay a visit to any bear bar. Chances are you won’t feel so shy anymore. Nevertheless, I would still advise to keep with your gym regimen. Sure there are some aesthetic benefits, but I would recommend it more for the sake of both your health and your confidence. When it comes to meeting people, that confidence is key.
Note that I didn’t say “cockiness”, either. Instead, you simply need to make sure that you are comfortable in your own skin. If you can’t love yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to? There’s a quote from The Nutty Professor that I use all the time: “no matter what, you got to strut”. I think Will is a perfect example of how confidence is attractive. Granted, he is very handsome (although I am biased), but go to the right Tumblr blog and you’ll find tons of men who have better looks, better bodies, and so on. Yet while those guys are packed in the gym around the clock obsessing over every calorie, Will couldn’t give enough shits to count a calorie. Sure, he works out, but he’d just as easily finish a pizza as hit the elliptical. He just does his thing and doesn’t bother dealing with anyone putting him down. Let me say that, in a sea of fickle gays who constantly stress over their appearance, that kind of attitude is incredibly sexy.
As for what you would consider a “boring personality”, let me just say that “boring” is a relative term. Judging from your pseudonym, I’m guessing you’re a bit of a self-described nerd. So what? We live in an era where that sort of thing doesn’t matter anymore. In the old days, it might have been difficult for D&D enthusiasts, for example, to find each other unless they frequented the right comic shops and bookstores. Nowadays, though, no matter what your passion, you’re just one message board away from finding your people. Would this be the best place to find a date? Maybe not, but my point is that we live in a time where geeks aren’t necessarily uncool anymore. Even if you’re into some hard-core nerdy stuff, all you have to do is show up to the right convention and you’re bound to find hundreds if not thousands of people who share your passion. My point here is pretty much the same one I tried to make earlier, you shouldn’t let anyone make you think less of yourself because of what you look like or what you love to do. Is every single person out there going to accept you for who you are? No, but then that just means that those people aren’t worth your time. So the last thing you should do is dwell on that rejection and let it drag you down.
As for where you can go to meet the right person, there really is no right answer to that question. Couples meet everywhere: through mutual friends, in classes, in bars, social networking sites, dating sites…every couple has a unique story about how their relationship began. However, I can say that the only way that you are going to be able to find someone is if you start putting yourself out there. Go out and socialize! Seek out some places that look like fun and go! Be friendly and meet people (and not just potential dates). Hell, maybe even create an online dating profile. You have nothing to lose but time. If you see someone who has potential, say hi, start up a conversation. The worst case scenario is that they say no and you’re right back where you started. The worst thing you can possibly do is nothing.
In the meantime, I’ll let you in on a little secret. While it may not seem like it right now, your lack of experience can be seen as endearing by the right guys. A lot of gay men your age, especially the more experienced ones, can be a bit jaded. Thus, as a result, they tend to gravitate towards men who give off a more fresh and innocent vibe. So, insider tip, if you walk into the right gay bar in a major city looking all fresh-faced and innocent, you’d be surprised at how much attention you’ll get. Granted, you’ll need to keep your wits about you, and don’t let anyone talk you into anything you don’t want to do. With that in mind, if you play your cards right, you could be the proverbial “prettiest girl at the ball”. I don’t know where you live but I’m sure if you ask around to some of the local gays, they can point you in the right direction. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s at least a place to start.
One last thing. While you’ve been single your entire life, I would caution you not to put relationships on a pedestal. I’m not saying that relationships aren’t great. They can be, provided that you’re in one with the right person. Just be sure not to rush into something with the first guy you hold hands with or share a meal with. Dating isn’t just about finding The One. It’s also about enjoying yourself, and just because you enjoy someone’s company doesn’t make them right for you. This can go on for longer, so I’ll just sum it up quickly: don’t be clingy, don’t rush things, and above all, be as chill as possible.
Best of luck, and let us know how you do!