November 6, 2011

Bitter Gay

I’m coming out again. The title says it all. I’m a bitter gay.

In some ways, saying that is a lot harder than saying I’m gay ever was. As someone who has no reservations in disclosing my sexuality to almost everyone (I even came out to my Russian host mother this summer… whoa), I feel like it’s my responsibility to carry myself with an air of HAPPPINESS and EVERYTHING IS GREAT-NESS. Academically, socially, and extracurricular-ly, everything is.

Romantically, however, I’ve hit a speed bump.

The realization of my bitterness started during conversation with an ex and our mutual friend. Mutual friend was talking about her frustrations with a guy she had been seeing. It wasn’t the first time we had such a conversation. I made some kind of remark that led my ex to call me bitter. I think he’s right.

I’m bitter because I have so fewer options than my friend has. I’m bitter because the way I go about meeting potential dates has to be completely different from the way she goes about meeting potential dates. In order to make a connection with someone I might be interested in, I feel like I have to be in the right context. That is, I can’t just see a guy anywhere, find him attractive, and approach him. I have to know he’s interested in men, or else I risk hitting on a straight guy (which has happened a couple of times recently… yikes). It’s great to be comfortable enough with myself to put myself out there in those situations, but it’s disappointing and almost humiliating to be wrong. When I DO meet a guy who is open about his sexuality (i.e. at an LGBT Center event or at a club), I automatically pigeonhole him into some kind of “I’m interested” or “I’m not interested” category. Don’t get me wrong; I know that first impressions aren’t always accurate, and I’m certainly not against making friends. However, even though I know that the LGBT Center stands against the idea that students only go looking to meet someone for their next date or hookup, sometimes, I am, and I’m not afraid to admit that. Where else?

I’m not looking for love, necessarily. I only want attraction and a connection, and I wish attraction and connection could surprise me more often rather than coming from someone whom I already know is an option. I am bitter about those dynamics. There are just fewer fish in the sea for me.

This isn’t the biggest deal in my life right now. Even though I feel this way and may always feel this way, I know I’ll eventually find something. I still stand by my mantra that life is better as an out gay man than a closeted one. I am a happy guy; the content of this blog post is just something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I highly doubt I’m alone in thinking the way I do, but feel free to disagree.


  1. RYA!

    We should have a repeat of that conversation that we had last year. =)

    Thanks so much for being so honest on the blog-that takes a super huge amount of courage, and I'm totally gonna bet that people find it attractive. :)

    I want to see you soon!

  2. it's not like the "dating" scene (or lack thereof) at duke is a cakewalk for non-fratstar straight guys either. of course theoretically there are a lot more straight girls available than there are gay guys, but i've heard both from my straight friends and straight friends of other gay guys that they're jealous of how much easier it is for us to get guys to hook up with than it is for them to get girls. the grass is always greener...

    as far as the center, i have mixed feelings. sometimes when i'm just trying to make friends, i feel like people think i'm trying to get with them. so i'm really conscious about not coming on too strong or seeming too interested in anyone, which probably ends up hurting efforts to make friends in the big picture. so in this regard, i like the idea of the center as an absolutely platonic space rather than where people go to find dates or hookups, but i am definitely sympathetic to the "where else?" complaint. although now reading what i just wrote, this concern seems like more of an obstacle for making/having gay friends generally rather than anything specific to how people view the center.

  3. I feel like everyone I talk to is bitter, too -- gay, bi, or straight. The success stories I know all involve people who didn't meet within the Duke culture.

    But then I start to get bitter about their bitterness -- like, sure, they have it hard, but I have it harder. Which sounds like it might be the same place that you're at; yeah, Duke can be a crappy place to date even for the straight students (even for those who are "fratstars"), but it nontheless gets even crappier for some of us.

    I personally have had a lot more success with dating and with sex outside of Duke, but it was all sheer luck -- someone approached me, and then I met more people through her. I'd love to replicate it if I could, but it all just keeps coming back to bitterness.


  4. Wouldn't it be swell if we all lived in ancient Greece?

  5. Lawrence - awesome comment.

    anonymous! if you're a gay male at the center, talk to the womyn!!! <3 haha, not that it really address the larger issue of having LGBTQ friends with no sexual tension.

    one fellow lesbian told me this once - I asked her when I was first coming out, "How can I tell if I'm just friends with another (queer) woman, or more than friends?" and not that there's every a hard and fast rule, but she said the following: "I think when we hang together as two queer women, especially at the beginning of a relationship (platonic or romantic) it's always there in the back of our minds-it's just natural to have the thought cross your path. as time goes on and the relationship (platonic or romantic) develops, it will hopefully become clearer (although not always true)." I thought that was pretty good advice!! [shoutout to the alumni if she's here reading this and recognizes it <3]


  6. Ryan,

    What a SUPER post! It's so nice to see you writing for the blog again!!!


  7. Me, too! And I hate when people tell me to not be bitter about when I have every right to.