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Utterly Clueless


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Hey everyone,

A quick introduction first, since I just joined. I'm a gay male in my early 20s. I live in Los Angeles. I've been out since I was about 14 or 15, so you'd think I would have figured out something by now, but nope, not at all. I'm definitely not attractive, which obviously plays a huge part in my problems, but I'm also not the ugliest guy in the whole world, so that can't be the whole issue. I feel bad/awkward complaining to my friends at great length, plus I can't be totally honest, so I've turned to you, dear Internet. Please pardon the ensuing disorganized vomiting of words and feelings.

What am I so clueless about? Basically, how to be romantically and sexually happy, successful, and functional. Up til now, I've pretty much relied on meeting guys on Grindr and similar websites, but it seems pretty pathetic that I can't figure out how to meet guys in person or do most of the things I'd like to do. I've had a few boyfriends, but I've met them all online. The gay life that I hear about many many other people experiencing (and portrayed in the media, but not just that) is so much better than what I've been able to attain. I know many of you will be rightly tempted to say that my expectations are unrealistic, but I know for a fact that, at least in a liberal urban area like this, they actually aren't really.

I know so many young gay guys who have taken much better advantage of their youth as far as meeting guys, having crazy sexual experiences, etc. In college (I recently graduated), all the gay boys pretty much hooked up with each other and had lots of fun times - except me. I was somehow quite absent from that crazy web of sexual connections, and not for lack of trying. Now I feel like I missed out on a fun part of college that most others got to experience.

I've never met a guy at a club or bar (again, not for lack of trying), let alone taken someone home. Nobody's certainly ever bought me a drink. I almost never even have any luck with gay friends of friends. I've never had a threesome or orgy or anything like that. Again, I know it sounds weird to be upset that I haven't done things like that, but all of the gay boys I know who would want to do something like that, have, and with relative ease.

Straight guys love to remark how they would get to have sex all the time if they were gay. I tell them that's not really how it works, but for so many gay guys, that is exactly how it works! I try to get friends to explain to me how to meet people in public places or at clubs or bars, but it's always in the most abstract terms since it comes naturally to them. But honestly, even the logistics of stuff like that totally escapes me.

I'm impressed if you've made it this far into my rant. I really appreciate it. I don't know if I've articulated my problem well enough, since it probably just seems like "boohoo I don't have orgies". But it's more than that, and it upsets me to the point that I find myself holding back tears at embarrassing moments or fantasizing about hurting myself because I feel like a ****ing alien dropped here without being told how to interact with people.

So what the hell do I have to do to get a piece of this hedonistic free-for-all that everybody else gets to indulge in? How the **** do I meet people? How do I get to live the fun gay life that every other gay guy I know gets to experience? How do I have a gay life beyond hooking up with guys online who are too oblivious to realize how unattractive I am before they meet me?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to clarify or elaborate on.

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Do you really want a "hedonistic free for all"? It seems like you don't really, that you're looking for a connection with someone. It's not easy being gay. Do you have friends that are also gay? Maybe they can help you hook up, and come out of your shell a little. Think of how you present yourself to others, whether at a bar you seem to be expecting too much, or if you might be putting others off somehow. I used to be quite stand off-ish, and it made it hard for me to meet anyone. I never felt like online arrangements worked for me, but through my friends I found my wife and am quite happy these days. Don't kid yourself, it's not easy being gay. Many of us feel isolated even in the most liberal of cities and towns. You feel unattractive, and I am sure that shows up in a lack of confidence. Try and tell yourself that real people worth being with look beyond appearances, and if you take the best care of yourself that you can, you will be infinitely more attractive and accepting of yourself as you are. It's ok to cry, no one likes being embarrassed! Don't hurt yourself- I have been down that road and it gets ugly and beyond sad. I hope this helps at least a little.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

The tough thing about discussing issues like this is that everyone assumes the universal superiority of a deep meaningful relationship - often because people have already gotten the fun promiscuous impulses out of their system with little difficulty. Those are great, but I want to know how to obtain these other experiences too. I don't ask that people understand why; I'm just asking how to do it.

Yep, I have some gay friends. We go out to bars and clubs sometimes. But it still never ever results in me meeting anybody.

To put it simply, I just don't understand the logistics of meeting people in such places. Going from being in the same room to speaking or dancing with the person is an enormous leap, though for so many people it seems to be a natural consequence of just being in a place like that. I want to figure out this missing step, if I can.

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Hey sesfm,

Believe me the grass is not greener on the other side. I know you hear about the ongoing sexventures your friends and many gays seem to experience. But as someone that was involved in many hookups I want to let you know it is not what you think it is. Im giving you my own opinion, but I wish that you think about it. I did for acceptance, a connection, validation. To me sleeping with someone meant that they ground you attractive enough to be with which gave me a boost in my self esteem.....for the moment. But then you leave the encounter worse than you came in feeling low and that all you're good for is sex. It a nasty cycle of high and lows. Then worrying about if the guy you been with was telling the truth on his status. There are guys that lie out there, just so they can be with you. Do you really want to give up sex to just anyone? You're special, your body is special and you should really think of it that way. Because the more you give up of yourself sexually the least meaning it will begin to have. I believe that you should not worry about any lines to pick up guys. But you should definitely be approvable...smile, look like you are ready to have fun, and most of all be confident in who you are. Own you're flaws and your strengths. People are drawn to a person that knows who they are. I hope that helps.

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Hey g87, thanks for your response.

I know that's what almost everyone probably wants to say in response to this. As I said in response to a previous reply:

The tough thing about discussing issues like this is that everyone assumes the universal superiority of a deep meaningful relationship - often because people have already gotten the fun promiscuous impulses out of their system with little difficulty. Those are great, but I want to know how to obtain these other experiences too. I don't ask that people understand why; I'm just asking how to do it.

I've heard people complain about how one-night-stands make them feel like they're just being used for sex, or wonder if their physical look is all people care about. But those are people who already take for granted the fact that people want to have sex for them. I find it very hard to relate to those complaints, because somebody wanting sex is certainly better than nobody wanting to have sex with me.

And I'm hardly so puritanical that I feel the need to refrain from "giving up my sex" to people to make it worth more. That's just me. I'm not saying I want to give it up to "just anyone", but there are certain experiences I want to have that I have been unable to have so far. I know most people aren't like this, or most people just go through a phase like this. And people who can find sex easily don't see the value in this because they've had it and are looking for more. It's not really fair to stand on a pedestal and judge those who are looking for experiences that you already had but now consider yourself too good for. (Sorry, I realize I'm being harsh on you here, and you're not trying to be malicious.) But this is what I'm trying to find at this point in my life.

The sit-back-and-wait technique doesn't really work for me either, because I'm not physically attractive. I'm not looking for just one individual who is in love with everything about me and wants to spend the rest of their life with me. Then, it might make sense to spend forever just seeing who comes to me without trying. I want to know how to proactively meet guys.

So the question still stands, how?

P.S., a little update: I went to San Francisco for the weekend and was able to meet a few guys when my friend and I were out at clubs. But nothing romantic/sexual came of it, and I was also only able to do it when completely wasted. Odd as it may sound, it is a little encouraging to know that I have the ability sort of somewhere in me, though it currently takes near-lethal amounts of alcohol to bring out. If only I remembered how I did it. Baby steps. But I'd love to not have to be halfway to alcohol poisoning just to have a conversation.

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I'm a girl but dude I totally understand what you're saying though. As someone who has had lots of careless sex and regretted it later, I'm still not gonna warn you against it. Life experiences, threesomes, fun times, blah blah. The only thing I'm going to say before giving you my "advice" is that you seem pretty smart, so before you fool around with every dude who looks your way, realize that a lot of people have causal sex because they are 1. drunk, 2. insecure, 3. everyone else they know does it so they think they should be doing it too or they're totally weird.

As for how, well you said it yourself. You used alcohol as a social crutch. You're insecure, that's not gonna change overnight. Hello, you need to talk to someone about that?! How long have you been using that kind of negative self talk? (Totally the urn calling the kettle black here, but I'm just saying.) If you go out, and you're thinking "well, I'm really not very attractive, and that's all people care about, so no one here wants to talk to me, so screw it," then yeah you're going to go home alone. The reason you had success in SF is because alcohol makes you feel like you look good, or at least okay, and it gives you confidence. Which is really all you need.

I really don't think you don't need tips on picking up guys. It sounds like your friends have given you plenty of those. I picture you like walking around with your shoulders hunched up and your face down or something. I don't know. Does this sound mean? Sorry if this sounds mean I don't want it to because I have these exact same problems. Part of me wants to join the bandwagon and say DON'T DO IT but most of me is like, you probably look way better than you think you do and it's time for you to have some fun. And if you regret it then you can be like whoops that wasn't for me, those internet people told me! Not gonna do that again, let's just go ahead and cancel that orgy (yeah right it's not penciled in it's written in permanent marker.)

If you're out and see a cute guy try to catch his eye, then when you see him go to the bar get up there quick and offer to buy his drink. Make small talk, introduce yourself. The first time is the hardest, but after you do it once you do it once or twice it stops being awkward and becomes easier/more natural. And if all you want is to hook up, then be overtly flirty so it's obvious. Like you said, you clearly have the ability. Just don't be so hard on yourself.

Edit: I know the saying, it changes the word p.o.t into urn because apparently that's naughty around here. Also I'm laughing so hard right now.

Edited by choirgirlssing
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Haha I was gonna say, is "urn calling the kettle black" some regionalism? Hilarious. I LIKE TO SMOKE pan!

And no, you're not being mean at all! You've definitely pointed out some issues I know I have. I do have a total lack of self esteem. But it's really hard to pretend like I do, you know? Though it'd help, for sure. And it certainly manifests in how I carry myself. I try my best to seem happy and approachable, but it's damn near impossible for me after every guy I try to talk to is a total d**k to me. There sometimes comes a point in the night where I'm too worn down by how horrible people are to enjoy myself.

I like the intercepting-at-the-bar idea. I should definitely try that. (Though I'd probably reach my credit card limit buying guys drinks before I found one who actually didn't just want me to **** off.) But these are the kinds of suggestions I need - less "be happy with who you are blah blah" and more "do this and say this" etc. You're wrong though; I do need tips on picking up guys! That's what I'm asking for. It's just that, the few times I've worked up the courage and seen an opening (when not totally drunk off my ass), I've been dismissed so cruelly that I can't imagine it going any other way.

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It's incredibly hard to just approach someone, especially because you sound like you are probably an introverted person. Extroverts have it easy because they can usually just approach anyone, and even if they get shot down they can still bounce on to the next person. Realize that you are probably going to have to approach a lot of guys. I know in movies, the guy walks up to the other guy guy and they just look at each other and it cuts to a scene with them in bed together but I promise you that is not how it works in real life. If you strike out, don't let it be a blow to your confidence, just move on.

A thing to do in a crowded area is by touching someone (in a non creepy way) like fixing a messed up tag, picking "fluff" off of someone (there doesn't even have to be fluff you can just pretend) etc. and when they look at you like you are totally weird for touching them just say "oh you had some lint there on your shoulder" and smile, make eye contact, and look interesting. If they smile back and say thank you in a way that you get a good vibe from, you can sort of brush the spot where you got the lint from and be like "no problem, I always notice stuff like that and just have to fix it!" or some variation. You can find a way to make it sound flirty and fun and not awkward like it might sound reading it. Tell them a funny or interesting story about how you pay attention to detail. Another one you can do is pretend to bump into someone and when you apologize, put your hand on their forearm or shoulder when you apologize. Apologize for your clumsiness. Eventually you will run into another clumsy person and you can commiserate in your clumsiness. Tell a funny story about being clumsy.

Another good way to get someone's attention is by complimenting them. This is an easy way to strike up a conversation. "I love your watch, the battery in my favorite watch died but I'm thinking about getting a new one instead of replacing it. Where did you get it?" Or any other reason to compliment them, but don't just leave the compliment there, find a way to keep the convo going by asking a question or saying how you have something similar, etc. (Most people love compliments, and will go back to their friends saying "some guy just told me how much he loves my watch!" with a smile on their face.) Then you can try to keep them engaged and talk to them more or just go for it and say something kind of cheesy but effective like "I have to admit that your watch wasn't the only thing that caught my eye." And voila! From ask if they want to sit at a more quiet table and talk, or ask for their number. Or if you've chatted with them for just a few minutes you could just say "I'm _________ (your name.) I've really got to get back to my table but I'd love to talk to you some more. Could I get your number?" Any variation of this. And even if you just talk to someone while standing in line waiting for you drinks and they get away from you, you can always approach them later and say hey, I thought you seemed cool, then introduce yourself, and if they seem receptive then keep talking.

If you don't mind me asking, what have people said to you when they have told you they weren't interested? You mentioned that guys have rejected you in ways that were cruel. Obviously this has had a pretty severe impact on how you feel about your ability to talk to men, so I'm just wondering what happened.

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Thanks, those are really good suggestions. You must be a mistress of seduction! ;)

"Cruel" probably makes it sound more dramatic than it is. For example, there was some hot dude who had randomly added me on Facebook a while back. I saw him on the patio outside a club, and I thought finally I had a good reason to talk to a semi-stranger, so I went up and said, "Hey, I think we're friends on Facebook." He said "maybe" super dismissively, put his hand up, and walked away. Or I saw some guys dressed as cats (kinda) so I asked something about their costumes, and one of them gave me some dismissive one-word answer and turned away. It's just that their responses always carry the tone of, "Who the **** are you to come out of nowhere and talk to me?" So that validates my assumption that it is indeed weird to go up to a stranger and talk to them out of the blue.

But yeah, the main problem is just not knowing how to start things. And even when I see a guy who I'd be interested in, if I'm out at the clubs in West Hollywood, I'm definitely in the bottom 10% of desirability so I feel like there's absolutely no way it couldn't result in something embarrassing and depressing. And I'm proven right every time. So I feel like it's not even worth trying unless I have a six-pack or something.

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Hi sesfm -- You have great repsones here.

I'm in the same boat as you although a tad different.

I'm 24 and have been out for about a year or so, although I've known I was bisexual is 15/16ish as going to an all boys school give me hints not only to my bisexuality but to my problems of a depressed, parnoid anxiety self.

I too suffer from low self confedence and have only had one sexual experence with a guy who was my first ever which went well. Although it was a one night stand in London I wouldn't advise casual sex as it can make it difficult to find the joy in sex and romance in later life if your depression makes you that way inclined.

It has made me think more about the sexual aspects of relationships and I fear I'm turning out to feel (rather then think) that it's all meaningless.

This however, is something I'm managing to work on thankfully.

Tungsten.

Edited by Tungsten Aromatics
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I know how in the moment things like that can feel incredibly cruel. I had something similar happen to me awhile ago, I met up with my friend (who happens to be incredibly gorgeous) and some of her friends and these guys were talking about a filmmaker and some of his more "obscure films" and I jumped into the conversation because I'm a fan of his work and the guy sitting next to me was just totally uninterested and dismissive then when my friend started talking about his stupid new movie suddenly he was all ears. It was pretty much the same thing you're describing, I felt like he making it perfectly clear he did not want to talk to me at all. (And I didn't even want to sleep with this dude, so I can't imagine how much it would have upset me if I had lol.) Like the whole rest of the night I felt awkward and awful and wanted to cry, I even still think about it even though it was ages ago. Literally every person has had this happen to them though, the thing is when you are insecure it just hits 100 times harder and sticks with you for longer. Try to remember that.

I thought of something else! (lol I swear I do things other than have casual sex with random people, and most of the time I'm not coming onto them...) Something else I do is just do the "I'm hopeless at this" thing. It can be endearing. Like, I'm bisexual right, and I totally have a hard time talking to girls because apparently I don't "look like someone who would be into girls." Or whatever, that stereotype that girly-girls can't like other girls. So I'll just say something like "I don't usually do this, approach random girls because I'm reeeally bad at it, but I couldn't help but coming up to you to say hi." You never want to like, make someone feel obligated to talk to you, but if they realize you're nervous they will 1. flattered, 2. probably more forgiving if you act a little bit weird, and 3. nicer about letting you down if they're not feeling it.

Apparently it's become my personal mission to help you get laid. No but really, I would say I'm "average" looking, I think I have a cute face and good style but I'm overweight and I've still gotten plenty of people to sleep with me, haha. It's possible trust me!

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I'll chime in on this post if you don't mind. First I'm an older gay guy in his late 40's. I'm not what you would call unattractive, in fact in my late teens and 20's, I was what they term a "twink". I stood out though in the gay culture in many ways though so I think I know how you feel. From the outside I believe there is the assumption that all guys are into the young, good looking, finely chiseled body. This is simply not true. In act, there are many subcultures within the gay culture. I'm somewhat different in that I was never into guys like myself. First off, I don't relate to guys my own age. I've always been into men that are somewhat older. Secondly, I don't like to snuggle with someone who is thin. I find guys that are heavy to be much more attractive. So you see, as a young adult in the gay community, I was seen as somewhat of a weirdo as generally speaking, gay guys are pretty shallow and superficial. I'm going to really go out on a limb and say that west Hollywod is definitely more shallow than the San Francisco area which is where I'm from.

Now I'll be brutally honest. If what you are looking for is a hedonistic lifestyle, like threesomes and orgies, then you are not going to find it by approaching strangers and telling them how attractive you think they are. Even the most georgeous of hunks don't sit around in clubs planning sex parties in hot tubs. What you need to do is go to places where such slutty acts are taking place. You need to go cruising. Have you ever been to a bath house, adult bookstore or porn theater? When guys talk about their conquests, this is where the most hedonistic acts take place. Believe me, if you find yourself unattractive then the darker the better. Have you ever been to the Dore Alley or Folsom Street fairs in San Francisco?

I hope you haven't found me offensive. There really is no polite way to show someone how to be cheap, which is what swapping sperm with multiple guys on any given night really is. There is nothing glorious about it, but if that is what you want, then go out and have fun, get it out of your system. In years to come you will have stories to share and probably meet someone who is equally screwed up and you can share you life together.

Send me a message if you want to talk.

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