I think it's funny that the religious right always think that gay men are all about sex 24/7. If that was true, you would think that would be a large percentage of the inquiries we receive, but it is hardly ever asked about. Not never.... but very rarely. Instead, people most often want to know about issues that relate to love and family. And among those, there is always one question for which I have the hardest time answering and...no, it is not, "what is the meaning of life?"...it us actually:
"How do I find someone to love?"
I hear it in a variety of forms from someone who is starting out at square one in the coming out process and wants to know where to meet good men(aka more than a hook up)...to people who have heard Jay and I go on about how we met and fell in love and ask us how they can do the same. After all, we work to help those who reach out to us realize that being gay is what we each make of it and that it does NOT mean that we have to give up our dreams of love and someday making a family....and now they want to know how to take the next steps.Well...that parts not so easy to give advice for.
When asked about how to find love I struggle for a reply that doesn't come from some pat answer self help book...or pop psychology. I want to answer them in a way that sets their heart at ease and lets them face a new day with a sense of hope for what might be. The problem is I feel like I suddenly turn into Dr. Phil and what comes out of my mouth is more pop psychology then honest answer. Dr. Phil would say it happens when your ready for it to happen....but what does ready mean? Dr. Phil might say that love happens when it's meant to and that we can't rush it....but that is cold comfort for someone who is looking for someone who stays for snuggles and breakfast in bed and only finding rejection or hook ups.When someone asks me how to find someone to love my own heart skips a few beats because the only honest answer to give is, "I don't know."
But when you are looking for something and want it so badly, "I don't know" can sound a lot like "never". I remember, because that's how I felt when I came out. I had been fighting this gay thing for a long time...from my teens and early twenties and now here I was finally able to accept who I was and not having a clue about what to do with it. I had twenty years worth of pent up frustration and loneliness and that only served to turn my into a heat seeking missile for for one thing...a boyfriend. The problem was that I was the only gay person I knew period, full stop. So I looked into my future and thought the only place I was ever going to find somebody was at the one bar my town had then and that was not an encouraging thought. Finding someone who I liked....and who liked me and wasn't going to take advantage me at a bar sounded like an impossibility to me then. Prospects did not look good. But life had other plans for me that it didn't see fit to let me in on and a fateful trip to my local bookstore led me to my first gay friend...who then led me to a gay youth group...and my first relationship as a young gay man. None of it did I see coming.
So I know that if I could go back in time now and talk with my 21 year old self, the first question the younger me would ask is..."will I find somebody?" That same question I here today coming from deep wells of loneliness. The same loneliness I knew then. Had I not decided to go to a book store and read up on gay topics on that day 20+ years ago...I could still have been in the search to find someone right for me and standing in front of someone else right now...with my heart in my hands, and asking when it was going to happen for me. What could anyone tell me then that wouldn't sound like complete and utter bullsh*t?
I guess the best thing that I could tell anyone is to keep an open heart to what lies down the road because, while many of my friends in long term relationships have met through various dating sights....just as many are still looking. In the end, it may not be the bar you went to, or the dating service you signed up with....but a trip to a bookstore....Hell, maybe even an ER. You just never know....sometimes it doesn't happen because of our concerted efforts but is something we just stumble into when the time is right. But we never give up because you never know what life holds in store for you..."I don't know" does not mean "never", only that your path is going to be uniquely yours and no one can see what that will be.
But given all that I have written here, this is the single hardest question I can get from anyone because the answer requires powers that I just don't have....and because sometimes we kiss a lot of frogs looking for that prince with only warts to show for it. But when someone is emailing you with a heart full of hope I want to water that seed and let it grow...because it did for me.
But now I open it up to my readers. How would you handle that question? In the face of that kind of personal pain and loneliness and no good answer in sight. How would you answer?
Until next time dear readers.....