It all began in January, when I was sitting in my East London flat thinking to myself, "Next month is February, and yet again I will be alone and single." To most, Valentine's day is a holiday fabricated by the greeting card industry, but I've always wanted it to be some sort of magical, Hollywood evening. This year I was determined to do something about it. It was while sitting on this extremely comfortable Egyptian-/Greek-themed couch that a lightbulb went off: 29 days, 29 dates, 29 chances to find love. Surely one of them would be boyfriend material! It was my mission, and I created a blog to document the experience: 29days29dates.blogspot.com.
Once I started posting the date entries, I quickly gained a following of my friends. It wasn't until about Date #7 that I started getting tweets from random gay guys from all over the world telling me, "Who needs a morning newspaper when they can read the blog on their way to work every day?" and admitting that they couldn't wait for my next posts. It was all just so exciting, and I felt like I was on top of the world!
In the beginning there were quite a few duds, but I didn't let that stop me. I certainly did not realize how exhausting it would be. I turned into a machine, constantly pumping out dates. Do you know how boring it is telling my story to 29 strangers? I was off work the first week of February, so it was smooth sailing. After that I went back to working full-time, rehearsing a musical, and house hunting, along with dating every single day. That's when reality slapped me in the face. What had I gotten myself into? I had no room to breathe. It all seemed to be going nowhere. Then #13 came along. It just clicked. We spent three hours over a bottle of wine and didn't stop talking. It ended with a kiss, and I thought he might be the one. A week later, I got a text saying he'd like to meet again -- "as friends." If I had a dollar for every time a guy said that to me, well, it wouldn't be worth much in London, but I'd be rich in the States! I may have cried a bit, and I may have drunk away my sorrows with my friends, but I had to keep going. Then came date #16. I had never met a Slovakian, let alone dated one! I went on the date not expecting anything special, and then it hit me: 16 was my lucky number, and he made my heart flutter. I couldn't stop thinking about him. He texted me before I even arrived home. I knew this guy was second-date material.
The following Saturday evening, I was off work at 4 p.m., but I hadn't schedule a date. I should have gotten on that dreaded GPS app and found one, but I didn't. Not only was I exhausted, overworked, and spread too thin, but I think subconsciously I didn't want to find a date. I'm one of those people who tends to put my eggs in one basket when it comes to men while spreading myself way too thin when it comes to my career. It sets me up for failure every time. Then #19 and #20 came along. Two amazing dates in a row. I was so conflicted that I just didn't know what to do. One was the "Hollywood hottie" type that I have always dreamed of, and the other seemed to be on my wavelength, but a bit young. I ended up seeing #20 again on my way to another date, and for the life of me I could not remember his name. I took that as a sign that we were not meant to be. However, I still wanted to see #16 again. We went on a second date, to the opening of a play. He really fit in quite well with my theater friends. In the end I chose him to be my final date. I won't give away the ending, but let's just say this: I'm still single.
I think what hindered me most was that I was constantly in writer mode. Analyzing and dissecting every single moment really held me back from going with the flow and just being myself.
It took me a few days to figure out what exactly I'd learned from this experience. I think it's simple: you can't force love. For the past few years I'd been doing the whole online dating thing, and nothing worked out. Then I decided to do this blog, but it wasn't anything new. It was just 29 days of the same old thing. It's like trying to impose a connection in an hour instead of letting one evolve naturally. I need to let life happen instead of constantly being "on the prowl." Grindr, OKCupid, and PlentyOfFish have now been deleted, and I would really like to keep it that way.
This journey was a complete roller coaster ride. I'm not the typical gay man, and I don't identify with the gay world. I feel lost in the "sea of gays." It is very sex- and celebrity-obsessed, and I wanted to present a different viewpoint on gay dating. I don't think I completely thought it through when it began, but I don't regret it one bit. While it may not have ended the way I wanted, I think I've grown in the process. A little added bonus I didn't count: going on 29 different dates meant I didn't have to worry about wearing the same outfit twice!