Me writing about dating is a very odd experience as it implies I am an expert on the subject but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since coming out I have had less dates with guys than I did before I came out. I don’t know why that is? You would expect the time where I am trying to come to terms with my sexuality the time when I dated less but I always did do things the wrong way round.

Dating is tough for everyone but it is stage in your life that you go through. Although it’s difficult some people do well at it they love being a social butterfly and life and soul of the party. Some people can end a relationship and then be in another a few weeks later. How do they do this? Me well I’m far from being a social butterfly it in fact I usually say no to the party which is one of my many mistakes.
So here I am in my 30’s officially ‘the single friend’ that one who awkward to place at a wedding table or any formal occasion. I had someone say to me ‘so how is the dating scene at the moment.. I’m sure glad I don’t have to do that anymore’. Great just what I need.So how do I get out and meet someone? Do I go to a club, or doing online dating, blind date what????

I have had a look at the dates I have been on and looked at where I met them. I haven’t spoken much to friends about dates I have been on and the first time I did I think some were surprised but pleased I was giving the whole dating scene a go.

70% of my dates have been from an online dating site

20% of my dates have been from social media

10% of my dates have been by a match maker

I am now going to look at the methods of meeting someone. As those stats above show some of them have been more successful than others and some I haven’t even tried.

Eye to Eye Contact

This is the most traditional one. You know the story you see a guy across the bar and you make eye contact then look away and then after a few seconds look back and see if they are looking again. If they are you then find a reason to talk to them  and see how it goes from there. Sounds so easy doesn’t is. In reality it is not so easy and is probably the scariest method as well as it often means public rejection (well in from my experience it does) and if they turn you down you want to curl up and die. The good thing about this method is you see them for real and will be able to tell if there is a physical attraction unlike with online dating. You also get to meet them straight away no waiting for an e-mail back.  The down side is the public rejection this does hurt but maybe one day it will pay off. For a gay guy though the added worry is knowing whether or not the other guy is straight or gay. Yes we have our gaydar and I have to admit mine is quite good but mistake happen or they may not be out so it is a bit of a dilemma for a gay guy. Even in a gay club where you would expect it to be easier is difficult. I have asked guys out in a gay bar and most likely they were trying to be polite in turning me down but they all said they were straight.

So where is best to meet someone face to face? The most obvious one is a bar as the chances are you are going to be quite relaxed and yes a bit of dutch courage is likely help you make that move. Other places you can meet someone are bookshops, libraries, supermarkets, coffee shops, trains basically any where you meet other people. If it is somewhere like a museum or art gallery then the chances are you have at least some similar interests so that is a good start.

If you do see someone you like though then what is the best way to ask them out in such a public place? The most obvious one is to go over to them and start talking but this only works well in some situations such as a bar. We all wish we had the courage of the song ‘Call Me Maybe’ but the closest I get to this is saying it in my head. Do you leave a note on a table for them? I like the sound of this but how often does someone have a pen on them in a public situation. I did think about a business card but then realised that would send out the wrong type of message.Man holding a note that reads 'call me'

Also what do you say to them? Chat up lines generally come across as cheesy but you need to do something to catch their attention and make them want to start talking to you. It looks easy in films but in reality it is not so easy to do.

Oh there is the other side of this method which is someone asking you. I haven’t had this happen to me but apparently it does happen.

It is pretty obvious from me talking about meeting someone face to face that this is something I am not very good at and maybe this is where my dating is going wrong.

 

Online Dating

Not that long ago online dating was seen as a last resort and made you appear desperate. Nowadays though with us all having busy lives we now see the benefit of online dating. I know a few people who have met through online dating and are very happy and have been for a long time. There are so many sites to choose from now such as Match.com, E-Harmony, Guardian Soulmates, Plenty of Fish and My Single Friend just to name a few. As well as websites many of these sites have apps for your smartphone or their are even other apps such as Grindr and Tinder although they are not always the best if you are wanting a long term relationship.

The benefits of online dating are that if you are rejected then you are not going to die of embarrassment in front of a group of people you can just press delete and click onwards. The other thing is that you can find out about the other person before meeting. From personal experience I find it the easiest way to date but it is still a lot of work especially if you want to do it properly.

For online dating to be successful you need a really good profile. You have to sell yourself on screen and stand out from the rest. It is crucial to choose the right photo or photos and make yourself sound interesting. This is where I struggle. I have always struggled to sell myself whether its dates or a job interview I become less confident in myself. For the last job interview I had I was given the advice to out on a show and for some reason in my head the song ‘Razzle Dazzle’ from Chicago came to mind. This is what you need to do on your dating profile you need to dazzle dazzle them (jazz hands are optional).

Once you have your profile set up you can start searching for someone yourself. It is quite ruthless just clicking through profiles dismissing them so quickly but it does save time and also if you saw someone in the flesh you would likely make a quick judgement as well. If someone does catch your eye then sending that first message is just as difficult as starting a conversation in person. A simple ‘hi how are you?’ is often not enough to make them get back in touch with you so what do you. I have tried to comment on something that stuck out in their profile of maybe their photo just to try and break the ice this does’t always work but at least it shows you have read the profile and you are showing some interest.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????There is no set rule on how many messages you should have with someone before you meet. You will know when is right for both of you and only then should you meet and of course tell someone else and meet somewhere public. You will be nervous for that first date but it is worth remembering that chances the other person is to although I know myself that doesn’t make it any easier.

I can’t say how many clicks it will take for you to find the right one. I am after all still looking or should that be clicking but it is worth doing. I have met some really nice guys through online dating and some of them although it didn’t work out we are still friends so not all lost. Maybe even ask a trusted friend if they will help you with your profile after all they know you and another opinion is also a good thing. Mmmm maybe I need to ask for some help on this myself.

 Social Media

I have social media separate from online dating because although there is an over lap between the two they are different. Most social media is not designed as a dating site it is about networking really. Maybe someone who went to school with you has always had a crush on you but never said anything until they saw you again on Facebook and now have the courage to tell you. Or maybe one of your followers on Twitter finds you really interesting and wants to meet.

I must stress be sensible if you do use social media. The basic rules of meeting someone apply especially telling someone else where you are going and meet in public ideally during the day. Safety has to come first remember that. With this in mind though it is possible to meet genuine and decent people through social media. It might sound odd but look at it from another point of view many professional people use social media such as Twitter to network other professionals in their field and they are likely to meet up after talking for a while on Twitter. There is no differences really between this and meeting a possible date, you just have to to be sensible.

Speed Dating

This is the speed of online dating but with a more personal touch. Well that’s what I expect it to be like anyway. It seems to be more for straight relationships though as I haven’t seen any gay speed dating events advertised anywhere and also usually it is the female dater who sits at a table while the men move around the tables. I would probably give this ago but as I have said I haven’t seen any advertised.

The Matchmaker

The characters of Yente from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ or Jane Austens ‘Emma’ come to mind when I talk about matchmakers. In theory getting a friend or family member to set you up with someone should be a good idea because they will know both people.

I think the key to matchmaking working is down to the person making the matchmaking and are they doing it to be helpful or are they just interfering and should really keep their nose out of it. I have been on a date many many years ago but it was before I ‘came out’ and I went along with it because I new the friend was keen on doing it. The girl was lovely but I knew then I was gay but couldn’t make the move to ‘come out’. I remember saying I would be in touch and then left it a while before saying maybe we should be just friends. I wasn’t proud of this I can tell you. I was also worried how it would affect my relationship with my friend as well. Luckily it was OK but there is always the danger it won’t work out. Now though I am happy with ‘me’ and would actually welcome some help so I would give matchmaking another go.

Work

Apparentley 14% of people who meet their partner at work marry them (according to survey in the Daily Mail). Obviously you don’t have to get married but the reason I have used this statistic is because it shows that meeting someone at work can be successful.

Many people have probably had a crush on someone they work with at some point (be honest with yourself you have).  Well think about it you spend lots of time with these people and know the type of person they and what good and bad points they have and you get to know them and sometimes you might you suddenly see them in a different light and you will say to yourself “Oh there you are…I have been looking for you all my life” . Now I know people are often different at home compared with what they are like at work but you will still get a good impression of what they are like. I know so many people who met through work and have been together a long time.

I suppose the down side is that if you have an argument at home then it would be difficult to suddenly be nice to the same person at work. There is also the awkward situation of being rejected if you do ask that person out and the possible awkward feeling you will have afterwards. From a gay mans point of view there is also the question whether you are open at work about your sexuality. For me I am open about my sexuality but I know some people may not be for various reasons.

Some companies do have policies that clearly prohibit relationships between staff so before asking that colleague out you may to find out if this is the case where you work.

Whatever option I choose there’s one thing that I have to do and that is make the effort. A wingman would be good but maybe I need to reinvent myself and transform from the caterpillar into the butterfly . My friends all did it and I didn’t realise they were doing it. Now they are all settled down and they want me to be (they just want a wedding to go to… and so do I) and it’s time I moved on as well. For the first in forever I’m starting to love myself and it feels good and that’s important because I need to do this before I can expect anyone to love me back. I wasted so much opportunity in in teenage years and twenties by not ‘coming out’ I have the ideal guy in mind maybe that’s one of the problems I have. Maybe I just need to see who is out there and give them a try.  Most of all I have to get off my sorry arse and get out there and blossom.

In part 2 I will talk about dates and hopes for the future.

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