Dating in today's technology craze is simply not as easy as one would think. Today's gay culture embraces a social order where everyone has their faces glued to their cell phone or, what I call "dumb phones." Dumb, because it renders the art of face to face interaction as less desirable, unless of course, the face to face interaction is in the bedroom.
In fact, when I venture in the bars in NYC, I often see a line of men all with their attention on their phones and not even bothering up to interact with one another? What is that all about? Are you ALL on Grindr or Manhunt? If so, that lack of face-to face interaction renders the venue to be no less than a sex club or bathhouse.
As a professional therapist and communication professor, I view these devices as a metaphor of a "security blanket;" similar to the one Linus had in the Peanuts cartoons. So, put the phones away and look at people in the room- you can play with your phones when you get home or leave the bar.
I guess in retrospect, I simply miss the days where guys really looked at one another and would either smile or even, scowl (a facial expression meant to indicate "hotness) at one another to signal their interest. Now, that was exciting because there was a challenge in the pursuit of your man.
In today's gay culture, I question how can one smile or scowl at the object of your affection when your eyes are directed at the multitude of images on your phone? Does the man who is standing right next to you going to have to wait for you to look up; whenever that would be?
When it comes to dating for myself, I am very close to "throwing in the proverbial towel" in trying to connect with the men at my gym, many of who seem to be always connected to their phones while working out; many with earplugs in their ears, tuning out the world around them.
So then, with all these challenges at hand, I for one, decided to hire a matchmaker to assist me in finding the right guy; whatever that means?
After having worked with two professional matchmakers in the past two years, I have made some nice connections both for friendship and potential romance. But for right now, friendship is all I feel with those men who I have now included in my social life.
I often ask myself and friends I confide in, if I am being overly selective in my choices of suitable partners, and am close to admitting, that I may have become somewhat "jaded" in my choices of men. But, I know that I do not stand alone in this "jaded" attitude in terms of finding the right guy.
For, deep down, I am a true romantic who loves watching all those romantic comedies, either straight or gay themed, on my big screen television, crying when I see the main characters find love after significant life challenges.Most recently, enjoying the movie Cinderella, someone we all know finds love despite serious stepmother issues.
For all the gay romantics out there, I have become a big fan of the new HBO series, Looking, watching all the challenges those young "hotties" go through in their pursuit of love and acceptance. Of course, I am nothing like the cute leading man of the series played by Jonathan Groff but, still viable and ready for love.
Having tried some of the multitude of online sex or dating sites, I too, as have many of us, simply become too secretive and a little too evasive while online; as if playing a game of "cat and mouse!"
Why do many of us act is such a dubious manner? Well, speaking for myself, being a man of a certain age (okay- sixties), I have experienced more than my share of both good and bad choices of partners. Now, I tend to move more slowly in making my next move when it comes to dating.
Again, I know well, that some of you also have felt deceived or disappointed in your past choices as well? Are you also a bit tired of "playing the game" of seduction and now find yourself moving a bit slower than in your past in order to protect yourself from further hurt and loss?
Unfortunately, I have learned that there is no easy way to find love nowadays, or if you have found love, what is it about that love that works for you? I am sure there are many of us who would benefit hearing your stories and perhaps, could even learn something new from you in our search for true love.
As a professor of some twenty five years, I have always found storytelling to be a wonderful tool in providing clear examples for others to learn from and perhaps follow. So, to all those men who have found love, do us a big favor and tell us so we could perhaps know what to look for?
After all, life is school and we are all learning something new every day, either good or bad, and should not always rely on our phones and computers to tell us what to do.
As a community that is only some forty-five years old dating back to the days of Stonewall, we are still little children in comparison to the world in general. And, like small children, we all have the potential to learn quickly from our mistakes. After all, we all benefited from listening to our parents at some point.
For others without the support of parents for whatever reason, our friends become our mentors, there to teach us basic survival techniques in a world that can often be somewhat cold and self-involved at times.
But to make all this as simple as possible with regards to "cruising for love," just try looking up and smiling at the next man who "strikes your fancy" (yes, an old world term). After all, your "smart phone" does not have all the answers when it comes right down to it, and a smile from one man to another can work wonders if you try it.
Face it, we have just come out of a very difficult winter and now spring is here and you know what they say about spring fever; that "love is also in the air" as well. So then, go outside and find it!