“So where do you go to meet men around here?”
No telling how many single gay men have had that conversation. Meeting eligible men is an essential part of the dating scene, but many guys find it tough. Straight society promotes relationships in all sorts of ways: singles groups at churches, family members and coworkers who are eager to help that son or friend. Gay men don’t always have access to these resources — although it’s certainly a good idea to let friends know that you are available, should they know someone you might find interesting.
Probably the easiest place for gay men to meet one another (other than online, which is a separate conversation) is in the bar or club. The reasons are obvious: every city in America with a population of more than 50,000 or so has a gay bar or two; unless the establishment is on the verge of going out of business it is likely to be frequented by large numbers of potential dating partners. If someone catches your eye, asking him to dance is a simple enough ice breaker.
Bars also have their drawbacks. They are often noisy and it can be difficult to talk. Also, most men who are successful in playing the bar game tend to be younger, conventionally attractive and extroverted. Shy men, men who are older than 30 or 35, and men whose personalities are greater assets than their looks often find that bars aren’t environments that show them at their best advantage.
Assuming you are interested in meeting someone with who has interests related to your own, consider involving yourself in community organizations. A city with a large LGBT community like Atlanta has more than 200 gay groups; bigger cities have more, but nowadays even small cities have many. Groups abound for those interested in running, swimming, outdoor activities and the like. Professional organizations exist for all sorts of people.
Volunteer opportunities and inexpensive classes can be found at many local organizations. Plenty of opportunities exist to involve yourself in activist organizations working for social or political change.
While the church you grew up in may not have had a “gay singles” group, many progressive congregations have large networks of gay and lesbian members. Joining a church for the sole purpose of meeting a man is probably not a great idea — but if you are inclined towards formal spiritual organizations anyway, you might want to consider your options.
If your tendency is to hang back in new social situations and wait for someone else to initiate conversation, understand that this strategy is not likely to work for you in finding men to date. Taking the initiative increases the chances of meeting someone interesting who is also a little shy about taking that first step. Even if the guy you approach isn’t interested, he’s likely to be flattered rather than put-off by your attention. And taking the initiative is a masculine thing to do in our society — it may make you seem sexier.
Too busy working to try any of the above options? It may be time to take a look at yourself. Maybe you’re letting work serve as a cover for feeling anxious about putting yourself out there and meeting people. If you have something going on every night of the week, isn’t there some way you could carve out an evening or two a month to add some new friends to your life? Consider whether you may be using work or other busy-ness as a cover for facing up to your own loneliness, fear of rejection or discomfort around intimacy.
I have been licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years. My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression. My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships.
I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems. My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate. If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.
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