My friend Sam is a "confirmed bachelor," and I'm using air quotes as I write this. Years ago, before you could swing a dead cat in a Banana Republic store without hitting an openly gay man (which I would not recommend), that was code for being gay. But, I'm using the phrase quite literally here. We both recently turned 50 and Sam hosted a large birthday party. An inebriated woman sauntered up to me and wailed "Why is he still alone?"
"He's not alone. He has us," I replied and gently lifted her chin to close her mouth.
She squinted to focus on one of me and slurred "You know what I mean."
I used to know what she meant, but after years of trying to set Sam up myself, I finally realized something. Not every gay man wants to be in a romantic relationship. Also? Just because we have marriage equality moving in our direction, not every gay couple wants to walk down the aisle. If, however, you feel compelled to try and set up your single gay friends, let me dispel some common myths.
Myth 1: He's single, so he must be lonely.
My friend Sam is particular, some might say opinionated and a few might offer obsessive. Serve him a drink with an off-brand Cranberry juice and he'll spit it out. Hot water for his tea must come from a kettle (never a microwave!) and don't even think of touching his headboard. He's perfectly happy living with these quirks. He loves his life and the ability to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, without consulting anyone else. His social calendar is filled with family, friends and lovers. Alone? Yes. Lonely? Never.
Myth 2: Every single gay man you know is a potential match for each other.
We were at an art show recently and I pointed out a single gay guy that I thought Sam could be interested in. He screwed up his face as if a bug had just hit the windshield. "That preppy dude? He's your type," he said and then continued, "When you look at that guy, that's what I see when I look at my guys." Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and thank goodness we all have different eyes.
Myth 3: There is only one type of guy he is attracted to.
Sam has used the phrase "He's adorable," a few times when referring to Asian guys, so every time an Asian man walks past us, I point him out. "Dude, I don't find every Asian man attractive," he said to me once, to which I replied, "Huh, that's weird." I was joking, of course, but it made me realize that I was shoehorning him into a mold, a stereotype. Stereotypes are not good things.
Myth 4: There is something wrong with him.
I met Sam in group therapy. He hates it when I tell people this, but it's a great conversation starter. We know each other. We've buried dead bodies together. So, I can tell you that I am crazier than Sam, but because I somehow won the super lotto of love, people think I've got it together. Let me tell you about the nights when I was alone and Sam had to babysit me. Being comfortable enough to be alone is a strength and ain't nothing wrong with that.
Myth 5: All that he wants is sex.
This one's true.
I'm kidding, sort of. Like any red-blooded American male or female, he enjoys some sexy time. It's natural. It's biological. But, he gets what he needs from all of his relationships, not just one.
As you can probably tell, I'm fond of Sam, heck, I love him. That's why I tried to set him up for so many years. I thought that true happiness could only come from being truly in love. There is the family you're born into and the family you choose. Sam's got the love of both and if that's not true love, I don't know what is.
William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life.