This post was originally published in November of 2007 and turned out to be one of my favorites as well as one of the most discussed topics on black gay blogs around that time. It's almost been a year since I had the original conversation with "Roger" and after speaking with him last week a lot has changed in his life. I truly believe there's someone out there for all of us if we're just willing to be patient and work on ourselves so we're ready for him when he comes along.
New postings will resume on tomorrow. I'm still recovering from my weekend in Mexico City with Trey.
The Politics of Dating & The Reality of Being Alone
Black gay men are incapable of being in long term monogamous relationships. If you believe that statement then you're not alone, but if you don't then you're probably just as upset as you were the last hundred times that you heard this fiction disguised as fact spoken aloud.
It seems that many SGL men that I have come in contact with whether online or in person are convinced that their sexuality will only afford them meaningless sexual encounters, random online hookups, and loneliness. The potential to be involved in a committed relationship doesn't seem like an option for some when you're black and gay, but embracing the fear that one will be alone for the rest of his life is a reality that I think too many of us easily accept.
Allow me to illustrate further. One of my readers, let's call him Roger (not his real name) began instant messaging me on Yahoo a couple of months ago with a dilemma. Roger is attractive, educated, employed, masculine, HIV negative and a single father of a beautiful adopted boy, who's been successful in every area in his life except dating . In a world where internet hook-up sites have replaced old fashioned human connections, the lies, trickery, fake profiles, grammatical errors, and diminished hopes of genuine connections on sites like Black Gay Chat and Adam 4 Adam are all too common.
This is a conversation we had last night word for word that prompted me to address a topic that I think many gay men are grappling with, the politics of dating and the reality of being alone.
Roger: "I feel like many black gay guys that I almost dated would rather I be HIV positive, than be a father...just thinking that floored me."
Darian: "Damn that's messed up."
Roger: "Its like when I tell a guy on-line I'm a single dad they get all freaked out..."
Roger: "And I never thought guys would have this reaction."
Darian: "Those are the guys that you want to run from anyway."
Roger: "Yeah, I know. But it sucks being alone, especially when I have women hitting me up all the time."
If I'd been paying more attention to that last line then what happened next wouldn't have surprised me as much. Enter the beautiful heterosexual female who's looking for a husband and a gay man who desperately wants to settle down.
Roger:"So she said she was looking for a husband and I mean she is FINE !"
Darian: "Are you attracted to women?"
Roger: "Like...if I was ever going to be with a woman she would have to be a Beyonce looking chick."
Darian: "Oh Roger !"
Roger: "Really. I could be with an average guy and be attracted, but I have no attraction at all to average looking chicks."
Darian: "I'm about to lose my mind over here!"
Roger: "I mean on a scale of gayness, I'm like a 9." But she is a doctor, professional, educated, great conversationalist."
Darian: "But you do know that she doesn't have a penis?"
Roger: "I know. That crossed my mind."
Darian: "Are you bisexual?"
Roger: "I have never had sex with a woman...ever. I have never deeply kissed a woman before either."
Darian:"Neither have I and that's probably because we're GAYYYYYYYYYY!"
Roger: "I never really had the desire to do so." I'm just going through it emotionally right now. I'm not confused at all regarding my sexuality."
Darian:"Why are you even considering dating this woman?"
Roger: "I'm just SO tired of the superficiality and selfishness that many gay black men exhibit."
Darian: "You've been meeting the wrong gay men."
Roger: "For years now."
Now I'm no Dear Abby or Carrie Bradshaw but I know what it feels like to be alone and how easy it is to invite the wrong people into your life just to fill a void . Trust me...I've been there.But I don't think the answer to Roger's problem is to ride off into the sunset with a beautiful female doctor whose ideal mate is a heterosexual male. But how do we keep Roger and other black gay men from making this mistake that ultimately affects more people than the person that made the poor decision?
How can we as black gay men find suitable mates who want to share their lives in a committed relationship with another person? Is this a priority for black gay men? Does gay=loneliness ? Are black gay men built to maintain long term relationships? Or is it just a white thing?
To be continued...