Being a gay man with lots of girlfriends, I've had a chance to date on both sides of the aisle.
I've come to the monumental, sometimes even magnanimous (depending on the boy) conclusion -- that dating the same sex or the opposite sex, is sort of the same thing.
Gleaning these dating war stories, over cocktails, either bloody Marys or martinis depending on the time of day, all the men, women, pansexual, ambisexual people I've talked to, seem to have the same ex boyfriend/girlfriend stories. Only the parts have been changed for greater fun and fabulous genetic programming. There's a pattern to the search for the instant partner.
Delving deeper into the various reasons people give for the free love:
Guys are in it for the sex, which shouldn't shock anyone reading this post; some women are in it for the good times, too. There's the serial dater and monogamist: There's Kelly (names have been changed to protect the guilty) who's been with her boyfriend for over a year, yet doesn't have keys to his apartment and has no desire to marry him, every once in a while she makes out with a random boy. Bobby feels the same way about his fella so he goes on manhunt and adam4adam to find some perpetual distraction, his profile always says single, yet he's not.
Jane for instance, the career-minded gal. She wants to make sure that everything's 'right' before she partners with a guy and is content to have fun, until the perfect golden mean between: life, career, apartment and beau come together. By 'right' she means she's been promoted a few times, has a stable career and can send her future tike to the 92nd Street Y. While simultaneously having a house account at Burberry and a Hampton's retreat, Tyler is gay and has the same priorities as Jane.
Michael is looking for 'relationship ramen': he's complaining, that there are really no available men in this city. Yet he keeps on dating the hunky variety that looks good on the arm, while he bar hops, cocktail party mingles and shows off his Prada something or other. He's older and is particular drawn to the younger, very nubile or just almost legally blond variety. For some reason he expects these 21-(or younger)-year-olds to be emotionally mature and stable. Kevin is into women and acts the exact same way. Kendra is also into hot younger guys because she's been divorced a few times and likes the eye candy that doesn't talk.
Keith is looking for a sugar daddy, just like Jodi who just broke up with a rich banker who decided to go to Bermuda with his wife instead of her (they're both disappointed); Jim has fantasies of a MILF (man, that term weirds me out) or a sugar mama. They both complain about not having relationships.
I think most of us in the land of the single think that gay relationships or straight relationships are different, because there's seldom crossover and once we stumble upon a couple, we always tends to look at the gleaming, shiny goodness of the holding hands and the pecking of the lips, with a happy hopeful vibe. Yet love is love and relationship dynamics are relationship dynamics no matter what plumbing is below. Couples have problems and a variety of relationship types exist (I know this shocks you).
Yet in this television ad age, where we're encouraged to search for the perfect partner, just like we search for the perfect toothpaste, the skills to build relationships are often never taught and orientation has little to do with coupling.
Gay people have needed to assert their freedom and right to exist through sexuality. Stonewall was a rebellion lead by drag queens and hustlers. Now sex is ubiquitous -- you see it everywhere; one can't stop looking. Without sex in some form or another very little is sold, even the absence of anything sexual is an advertising moniker. This is neither good nor bad, it's just the way we've created our society and respond to advertising.
So, we're drawn and sometimes exemplify various stereotypes to guide us, because sometimes stereotypes are easier to understand then the true complex persona of a person.
For both straight people and gay ones, we're drawn by some definition of our sexuality, because it's easier to understand people and in a crowded room, we've trained ourselves to make snap decisions.
Ultimately we're all looking for security, that uncertain something in a city of rising and quadrupling rents and ever changing jobs and career paths. We seem to be keenly aware that in four years everything might be totally and completely different, the once hot industry is over-saturated, or the building that was once rent-stabilized no longer is. As my priorities and the priorities of economy and society rapidly change, the question becomes; when picking a partner, in the back of my mind anyway, will the partner I pick now change with me? Will we grow?
Maybe that question will never be answered and we change our dating pattern to reflect our ever changing priorities and life.
As society changes, with the help of technology and the mingling of people, the worlds will become smaller and relationships will be understood as relationships and bonding, as not just gay or straight, or for one set of people or another. That the stereotypes portrayed on Will and Grace or Everyone Loves Raymond will be just that, caricatures. At least that's my hope, but in the mean time my generation simply searches by hooking up, based on momentary priorities.