Gay men aren’t bad at dating, we are just out of practice.
As little boys, many of us know that it was absolutely not OK to to tell another boy that you like him as this wouldn’t serve us well on the playground. So we don't. We don't tell anyone, and most times not even to ourselves, that we think boys are cute and feel good about it. However straight peers were afforded the opportunity to openly experience lust, and love, attraction, heartbreak, jealousy, and a full range of physical affection that we are closed off from. Leaving many of us feeling cheated by the lack of heartache we would have experienced.
The fact that we aren't allowed to openly have heartaches at an earlier age, hinders us and throws us behind the relationship 8 ball. Many of us are less fluent in how to cope with each other. And being restricted by life in this way, we are bound to be bowled over by love when seek it. When we first start dating we might feel we need just that one person, but I am of the opinion that many persons that come into our lives teaches us about ourselves in so many ways. Aside from finding out who you are as a gay man, you also learn how to differentiate feelings. Is it a crush, genuine attraction, do you just want to make out for a little while, or would you actually consider bringing this person home for the holidays?
I’m painfully aware of our tendencies to fall for people quickly. Sure, the feelings typically pass through as quickly as they arrive, but what can I say? I think we just love the possibility of love. Having said that, it would be so wonderful for many of us to have that level of self-awareness at 21 and saved ourselves from the embarrassment of telling your best friends you pretty much fell for every guy that you made eye contact with.
Maybe, just maybe, this is why gay men often project on one another a bad reputation when it comes to relationships. Tired old stereotypes, like gay men never want to settle down, hurt us so much more than we are willing accept. What if it has nothing to do with identifying a specific way and rather, some gay men are just out of practice? I didn’t even know what it felt like to be truly, romantically in love until I was in my late 20s. We owe it to ourselves and to our future to get it right. One day, fingers crossed, little gay boys the world over will have the opportunity to safely and openly experience the myriad emotions of the human condition just as early as their other friends on the playground. But until then, here’s to being patient with each other as we figure it out along the way.