Man’s best friendThe Gay Boy Next Door Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Social Chaos: The Gay Boy Next Door
I’ll be the first to admit I love a man who takes charge, but the bedroom is pretty much the only place I like taking orders or would ever consider wearing a leash. I am a product of this generation after all, and if there’s anything my kind loves more than instant gratification and the ego-boost of social networking, it’s the feeling of good old-fashioned independence. Of course, there are still many of us chomping at the bit for a relationship, but there has been a clear cultural shift towards the acceptance and glorification of bachelors and those sexy single ladies. Nothing is more telling than the constant “OMG you’re like Carrie Bradshaw!” comments I get when I mention I’ve started a column.
As a boy-next-door who grew up with dreams of dancing with his mother to “What a Wonderful World” at his wedding, this provokes a bit of internal struggle. Somewhere inside me is a boy who really wants to fall in love and live happily ever after. Each day I spend sitting on the couch playing video games with my roommate and appreciating our platonic compatibility is a day closer to me giving up on my romantic ideals completely. With so many of my emotional needs being met by my best friend, it’s hard to imagine any other man or relationship that would merit a loaded title such as boyfriend or husband.
When a guy asks me on a date, the first question that enters my mind is, “What does this man have that my roommate doesn’t?” I would hope for some sexual chemistry, but beyond that and an awareness of household cleaning products, there’s rarely anything the suitor can offer to compete with my ever-present live-in best friend. Even my dream princes (romantics, singers, chefs, video game players, and movie buffs) don’t come preloaded with emotional and intellectual intimacy, so the surface talk of a first date is always enough to send me running home.
But all of this is just an act. I’ve become so spoiled by the instant gratification of my couch partner that when I don’t find a life-changing connection, I run away in the name of an empowering single life. I comfort myself with thoughts like, “How could I ever give so much importance to just one man,” but my defense mechanism fails the moment I turn to my roommate and realize I already have. While not consciously, I’ve allowed myself to be leashed by my best friend and our intimacy provides a convenient excuse for never giving other men a chance. Is this really what I want or is my fear of dating controlling my life?
When I consider the social interactions and networks of my generation, it’s not very difficult to understand why this happens. Love hunt frustration sets in earlier than ever now that we have access to so many people. Every day we come across thousands of profiles and personalities. Simply, it becomes overwhelming. We don’t have the time to wade through everyone, but we have all the time in the world to feel unsatisfied and picky. Our evaluation process of people has been reduced to a glance at two to three pictures and the inadequate, block of information Facebook showcases at the top of a page. If we’re feeling really thorough, perhaps we’ll read favorite quotations or scan 1,000 photos to see if there’s a shirtless shot buried within. But just when we think we’ve found a match, inevitably someone else will message us with even more similar interests. It’s a never-ending cycle that leaves us all feeling like failures and some of us running to the safe comfort of our dependable best friends.
But the truth is, while it may seem like we can’t pick a fish out of a sea of millions, we are not really fishing. Boyfriend or girlfriend shopping on Facebook is about as helpful as tapping the glass on a fish tank and watching the different fish react or ignore you. That is not to say online networks and dating services don’t work, because they absolutely do. We just need to remind ourselves that their function is introduction, not relationship building and intimacy. It is our job to get out there and make real connections. If my relationship with my roommate is any indication, it is those connections we are all truly after.
Try as I may to live the single life, I am human and will never escape the desire for intimacy. It sometimes feels like my roommate is the best I’ll ever do, but I’m only 24 years old and the romantic in me believes otherwise. He’ll always be my friend and no doubt our relationship will pave the way for my future marriage, but no matter how compatible we are, I don’t want a sexless or open relationship. I want a man for whom I can wear a leash in and out of the bedroom.
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