To be fair, this is not a problem just for gay men – it affects us all. We live in a high-tech age when we’re better connected than ever. Gone are the times when your parents didn’t have a phone in their house and had to walk to the end of the road to use a public phone box. The horror!
But, like zombies, we’ve collectively embraced a new horror. We’re constantly stapled to our smartphones. Texts, app messages, emails – with just one swipe we make a new introduction and with yet another that person is duly dismissed. We live in a throwaway society. When people are that disposable, why waste time and effort getting to know them? Because you’ll end up horrendously disconnected and lonely if you don’t.
We live in a throwaway society
But why are we so quick to dismiss those we often never even bother meeting? Or those we meet once, perhaps three times, and then run away from with some shamelessly feeble excuse like, “it’s not you, it’s me.” Yes, people do still use that one.
Fear. When it comes down to it, we’re frightened of just about everything. Terrified of being hurt, frightened of hurting someone else. Leaping for the hills at the prospect of opening ourselves up to others, making ourselves vulnerable – and, heaven forbid, desirable. Another rule that many gay men don’t get: vulnerability, in the right balance, can be damn attractive. Why? Because it shows you’re human.
We fear what we don’t know and what we’ve known. Gay men who push love away have usually been hurt in the past – dramatically so. The wound continues to seep like those on the legs of Marlene Dietrich in her later years.
But at some point, you need to park the Louis Vuitton baggage in the hallway of lost chances and lousy lovers. Adjust your slap, tweak your feather boa and re-join reality. Not everyone is like that rancid queen who unceremoniously dumped you over cut-price champagne and a prawn ring on New Year’s Eve at the last millennium.
You overthink every scenario. What happens if it’s a disaster of biblical proportions when you whip his knickers off? What happens if he’s got a micropenis? Or the utterly unthinkable, he takes one look at your schlong and mumbles something vicious about being able to fit it on the back of a packet of Marlboro Lights.
The inevitable solution to the endless mental anguish: you reject him before he can do the same to you. You kick him to the curb before you’ve even established who’s occupying bottom bunk. At least you can then walk away with your pride intact and proclaim to all and sundry “I did the dumping! I always do the dumping.” Oh, you big, mean man!
You reject him before he can do the same to you
But is it him or is it you? Depending on whether you’re one of those gay men with an ego the size of the sun or not, you’ll either conclude that he’s not good enough for you or that you’re not good enough for him.
This pattern will play itself out in dalliance after dalliance. Ultimately, it comes down to one of two emotions: fear (again) or arrogance. In both cases, those feelings are catastrophically misguided.
The impossible is perfection. And this – just like our first rule (connection vs disconnection) – is one of the great curses of modern humankind. But if you’re a gay man the problem is multiplied thousands of times over. Can you think of any other group of people who are as harsh on themselves – and one another – as gay men?
Get a grip and face the cold, hard truth: Mr Perfect does not exist. So, quit focussing on one minor perceived fault and blowing it out of all proportion. So, he laughs a little loud. He’s thinning a little on top (you’ve triple checked under every conceivable shade of light). He’s wearing last year’s fragrance. His Botox is dodgy (ok, perhaps this one could be a deal-breaker). But does any of this really matter? Stop being a stereotypically superficial gay cow.
Your job sucks. There’s rising damp in the frankly shameful sub-let shit hole in which you slumber. You’ve got a vast outbreak of acne vulgaris on your forehead. There is always an excuse to end what could be a wonderful opportunity – or, worse still, never even put yourself out there to seek one.
You’re a long time dead. Keep your nerve – and live. What’s the alternative? Crying to Judy Garland’s ‘The Man That Got Away’ when you’re pissing your pants and watching a third-rate drag act down the gay retirement village?
Are you one of the gay men who push love away? Which one of the rules do you find the most relatable? Join Gays.com for free, and share your experiences.
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