On apps and social media, it can feel all too easy to keep several guys on the go at the same time, says Alex Protopapa
It’s sometimes more satisfying to consume ‘treats’ in larger quantities than it is to just limit yourself to the one. Chocolate bars, glasses of wine, episodes of Sex and The City … the list goes on and on.
Can the same be said for dating men? After all, for gay guys, isn’t an attractive man the biggest treat of them all?
It’s human nature to always want more. We over-indulge in what we convince ourselves is a positive thing, until we find ourselves back where we started with no tangible improvement in our situation. Gay men, in particular, have a reputation for doing things to excess.
My name is Alex and I am a date-aholic.
*pauses for monotone “Hi Alex” response*
I am your typical metropolitan millennial gay that makes use of social media, dating apps and tacky clichés like they’re going out of fashion. Friends have been known to refer to me as ‘the one-date wonder’.
Because I’ve been known to jump from man to man, never managing to find the one that’s just right. I’m a bit like Goldilocks with her porridge.
This isn’t helped by the fact that in London there is a constant stream of men at your fingertips. Presented on apps like a catalogue, but instead of products and clothing there are tribes and charming questions like ‘Top or bottom?’
Let’s take three random individuals that I’ve encountered within this catalogue. I’ll call them James, Billy and Simon. Each of them offer different, yet unique qualities that can be very hard to choose between – so why choose immediately?
I met James after work for drinks. True to form, he seemed perfect after the third glass of wine; he dressed well and had a good sense of humor.
Billy was cute, shorter – a preferred trait of mine – and he had interesting stories to share over coffee. Simon was older and was a gentleman. We went on a day trip to Greenwich and visited the food market. It was the most romantic date of the three.
James lasted two dates. Billy one date. Simon one date, though we remain friends.
I’m not judging others, or requesting your judgment, but my attitude has been why date just one man when you can date three and find ‘the one’ all that quicker? If I’m guilty of anything, surely it’s just of being efficient. None of us are getting any younger, right?
I reckon, at some point, 90% of us millennials have been guilty of dating multiple guys at once, Hun, be honest: you’ve been there.
Big city blues
The thrill of having a busy social calendar and somebody’s hand to hold when you hit your local ‘gayborhood’ is an alluring concept. For me, skipping gaily around Soho in London with a boy in tow created an illusion of contentment.
But at the same time, it dawned on me, that I wasn’t feeling connected.
That sense of disconnection is rampant in London – a city where the art of conversation can feel very last season.
I’ve recently come to realize that this hunger most of us have for connection cannot be satisfied by a string of meaningless encounters, even if that guy from three weeks ago, whose name you can’t remember, was a good kisser.
London can be a lonely place. When your friends and work colleagues are all in relationships, it makes you eager to hunt someone down for yourself and the only way that’s looking possible these days is by using a giant butterfly net.
Somewhere down the line, I lost the ability to form quality connections because I was online apps trying to form several at once. I know I’m not the only one.
It wasn’t until an older friend had a sit down with me that I realized the only person that was really losing out here was me. I guess that’s called an epiphany.
Investing in people
So, next time your version of Billy messages you wanting to meet when you’ve already got plans with James, tell Billy to take a cold shower. Don’t even think about sending your location to Simon.
If we spent less time talking to lots of boys just for the sake of it, and more time really getting to know just one, we might see a different return on our investment.
Maybe the New Year is a time to go back to basics: Quality over quantity.
My New Year’s resolution is to commit to one guy at a time, in the hope it might lead to the quality relationship I deserve.
Dating is fun and doesn’t have to be a string of awkward/unsuccessful first dates.
Disagree? Feel free to ignore my relationship advice and carry on as you were. I mean, what do I know, right? I’m still single!