Gay Dating & "The Average Joe"
Gay culture highlights youth, muscle, and good looks as valuable assets and commodities when it comes to sexuality and relationships. All one has to do is turn the pages of your favorite gay newspaper or magazine (that doesn't necessarily have to be sexual in nature) and you'll be distracted by photographs and advertisements of attractive men with chiseled bodies oozing sex appeal to titillate the senses. Or log on to any dating or personals site on the Web and you'll find hosts of men demanding youth and rugged masculine good-looks as personal requirements in their profiles to consider even corresponding or chatting with them.
The harsh reality of the worldwide gay community and society at large is that physical attractiveness is deemed a significant value and those who fit the mold of how this description is defined are admired and rewarded with social privileges and positive reinforcement. This isn't to say that being a "hottie" is all it's cracked up to be...they can struggle in the dating realm as well as they are often times pigeonholed with superficialities or viewed solely as sexual objects. Dating hardships for the "very good-looking" (VGL) could be a whole separate article! But it can often times be a different experience for those who do not espouse the redeeming qualities or status awarded to those labeled as "beautiful" by cultural standards.
So what if you are a single gay man who might be lower on the "hotness scale" because of your physical appearance and looks, your age, your weight, or because you may have a disability? It can feel like your worth in the gay community means nothing and it can undermine your confidence in your dating efforts...but only if you let it! This article will offer some insights and tips for helping the Gay Average or Not-So-Average Joe navigate through the sometimes cruel dating waters of the gay community to maximize their success as single men on the hunt for Mr. Right. This isn't intended to be a Pollyanna approach to the situation because the cold reality is that it is unfortunately more challenging and competitive for those that don't necessarily fit the prototype of "VGL". But it's also not a lost cause! As you will see, developing and accessing a positive self-esteem and sense of sexiness that we all embody, no matter who we are or what we look like, goes a long way toward attracting the attentions and affection of a significant other.
Top 10 Dating Guidelines & Tips for the Gay Average Joe & Compatriots
1. Give Off Those Good Vibrations
I get handfuls of letters from men voicing their disdain at not being given a chance by other guys because they feel they don't "measure up" in the looks department. While it is true in many cases that an attractive face can get one noticed and "in the front door" more quickly, don't underestimate the power of your personality and presentation. Many men who feel jaded and frustrated by their unfruitful dating efforts tend to unwittingly emit a negative vibe in their interactions with others. They wear their hopelessness on their faces and in their body language and end up sabotaging themselves because people can smell this kind of negativity a mile away and will retreat from making contact, reinforcing the sense of alienation they then feel and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if you're not feeling particularly spunky, work hard at making sure you project a positive self-image and energy. It's all in how you carry yourself. While a cute man can turn heads, there's nothing more magnetic than a man with a jovial spirit and great sense of humor. It makes you want to get to know him.
2. Confidence is a Turn-On
Along the same lines, there is nothing sexier than a man who exudes inner strength, confidence, and self-assuredness. It shows that he has his life together and enjoys being alive. Even if you have self-consciousness about your looks, have confidence in something-anything! And then don't be shy about it. By feeling proud of yourself and/or your accomplishments and then by finding ways to express that security intrinsically and through your actions and demeanor, men won't be able to help but take notice.
3. Repeat After Me---"I Am A Good Catch!"
Attractive men, inside and out, possess a healthy dose of positive self-esteem. They like who they are and recognize that their worth is not dependent on their appearance. They have many other parts to themselves that make them who they are. The cliché statement, "You must love yourself before anyone else can" is very true. Negativity and pessimism are men-repellants, so start work immediately on countering any negative self-talk and recognize the unique talents and gifts that you possess that make you a good person and a good date. Internalize the affirmation, "I am a good catch!" and start acting like it rather than focusing on your unfulfilled dating card. You become more attractive to men when you believe in yourself and consider yourself to be quality boyfriend material.
4. Unattractive Re-defined
So you don't think you're attractive enough? Wrong! Everyone has something about them that is attractive. Capitalize on what is attractive about you and recognize that which is truly ugly---ignorance, superficiality, mistreatment of your fellow gay brothers in any form or fashion, low confidence, self-degradation, cocky attitudes, excessive and superficial focuses on physical appearance, depression, etc. These are the things that are the epitome of unattractiveness and will send men running in the opposite direction. Rather than focusing on looks, try to work on identifying any personal "undesirables" you may possess and aggressively work to eliminate them from your personality and behavior to catapult you into interpersonal sophistication and savvy.
5. If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
Being an "Average Joe" in guy/guy relationships tends to be more challenging than our lesbian and heterosexual counterparts because men are more visual creatures. Whereas women traditionally may be more prone to "overlook" physical attributes for more qualities of substance, men in general are more attuned and turned-on by what they see. Invest in your health and body by exercising and eating right, getting enough rest and relaxation, and integrating more wellness into your lifestyle. Not only will you be taking better care of yourself, but you just might secondarily be adding more appeal to the male tendency toward the visual with your healthier appearance. Nice clothing, a trendy haircut, and sharp accessories can also help to turn heads. Accentuate your looks with things that speak to your unique style and personality. We men are competitive by nature, so making yourself stand out in a way that is authentic and genuine to who you really are can go a long way toward getting yourself the right kind of attention from the right kind of men who will appreciate those particular attributes.
6. Embrace a Sense of Gay Pride
Many men, average or not, struggle with dating because of issues with their sexual identity and masculinity. Internalized homophobia and common male deficits in dealing with feelings and sensitivity can be huge barriers to attracting and maintaining healthy intimate relationships. These things can get in the way of becoming more emotionally intimate. A gay man who is proud of his homosexuality and not afraid to express this part of his identity adds a whole new element to the definition of attractiveness. Having good social skills, emotional intelligence, and effective communication skills are additional assets to drawing in the right kind of men you may be looking for.
7. Stop the Comparison Game
Another symptom of the "Average Joe" syndrome is that these men commonly compare themselves to other men and judge themselves critically in how they "measure up" to Adonis-like guys. This is extremely self-defeating because it's unfair to compare one aspect of onself (looks) to someone else's physical appearance. We have to look at the whole person, the entire package. There are some very physically-pleasing-to-look-at guys out there who are very unattractive in spirit and personality. Stop objectifying yourself and others and becoming prejudiced by looking at things as being "good enough" in only one capacity or human trait.
8. Different Strokes for Different Folks
Never forget the fact that not everyone is attracted to the model-boy or porn-star type. Everybody has different attractions, tastes, and preferences in men. While you may feel like you're in the minority a lot of the time, it's important to have faith that there really is somebody out there for everybody and it's just been a little more challenging finding the right timing, situational contexts, and geographical placements to put the two of you together.
9. Bring Out the Sexiness Factor!
Every human on this planet is and has the capacity to be sexy, no matter what one's appearance. If you can tap into this feeling, it will radiate and charm the pants off of people (figuratively, and sometimes literally too!). A good heart and a healthy mind are totally sexy. If you can integrate all of these tips into your repertoire and express them, people will be drawn to your energy. Just like "The Law of Attraction" states...you will attract what you put out there. When you feel good about yourself and what you have to offer and can translate that in your mood, spirit, and behavior, your appeal to others will increase. While looks can certainly be a component, sexiness is really about attitude. If you give yourself permission to access and unleash it, it can really be a guy magnet.
--and in conclusion--
10. Live Life to the Max!!!
Finally, and most important of all, live your life! Stop dwelling on your appearance and don't make your happiness contingent solely on your dating life. Make the most of what you have, develop your inner resources and social capabilities, and enjoy your life. Recognize the things that you do and don't have control over and practice the art of self-acceptance. By taking the emphasis off of your looks and channeling those energies into living a full life, you'll definitely be living with more meaning and passion that will likely bring about more good tidings for you. Your inner beauty and magnetism will shine through when you're having a blast living your life. You are beautiful!
© Dr. Brian L. Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: "I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right." To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, program and teleclasses, please visit http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com