I’m dating a guy who just graduated from high school. And although only a

few short years stand between us, our perspectives on the world and our

experiences as gay men are vastly different.


He came out to his family and friends when he was fifteen; I was in my early

twenties. When he came out, his family welcomed him with open arms; when I

came out, my dad didn’t speak to me for several days afterwards, and questions

from my extended family about my romantic life suddenly vanished.


He’s the same age as my brother, and I have a strong desire to protect him. I

want to fuck him, and yet, I want to make him a sandwich with the crusts cut off, and

pack it into a Batman lunchbox with an encouraging note inside.


He hasn’t dated much, and he often tells me how sweet I am, how he’ll be so

sorry to leave me when he goes to school in the fall.


I feel like it’s my job to warn him. Dating isn’t always going to go as well as

dating me has.


But I’m not that much older than him, and I know dating like I know

cunnilungus: I don’t. (By the way, do people still use that word? It sounds like one

of Voldemort’s snakes).


In my pre-coming out days, I don’t think I thought much about what dating

would be like. I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen.


Maybe I thought it would be like jumping into Brokeback Mountain without

all the sexual frustration and death. Or Rent without the AIDS and poverty.

Basically, any classic LGBT film without the central conflicts.


I had no idea that, primarily, dating as an LGBT person in a teeny tiny

Midwestern town would be about compromise. Statistically, you probably weren’t

going to find your Chris Hemsworth, but you might be able to take home, I don’t

know, maybe one of the Baldwin brothers, current day.


When I came out, I only had a couple of gay friends, and I had no idea how to

meet others.


So I decided to use Grindr.


If you’re not sure what Grindr is, it’s probably because you’re a decent

human being. It’s a little like that scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, where the

Hobbits are at the inn waiting for Gandalf, only Gandalf isn’t there, so they’re just

sitting around surrounded by guys with no teeth, and someone in the shadows is

just smoking a pipe and starring at them. The situation may be slightly different, but

the feelings are similar.


When I first encountered Grindr, I thought, “Wow. This is it! This will lead

me to the boyfriend I’ve always wanted.” I chose a picture that I thought said, “I’m

nice, cute, and smart, and I want a nice, cute, and smart boyfriend too!” And Grindr

overwhelmingly responded with, “Nah. I just want to eat your ass”.


Maybe it isn’t ideal for me to be dating someone younger than me. I mean,

not that young. He’s legal. We’re at different stages of our lives. But when the

dating pond only has a limited amount of fish in it, you have to make compromises

with yourself. And as far as the age thing goes, maybe it isn’t perfect, but it could be

a lot worse.


It isn’t as uncomfortable as having a one-night stand with someone and running into

him the week after while you’re both waiting on your STD test results at the doctor’s



It isn’t as difficult as going on a date with someone that consists of driving around

aimlessly in a van with his best friend and her two dogs that went after your feet

like they were something to write home about.


It isn’t as difficult as hooking up with someone who you seem to be in a who-can- be-

the-bigger- douchebag competition, frequently whispering sweet little nothings in

each others’ ears like “God, your dick tastes terrible,” and, “Hey, you can find your

own ride after this, right?”


At one point, the guy I’m dating had mentioned, in passing, that he hadn’t lost his

virginity yet, but when he did, he hoped it was with someone special, someone who

would treat him right. And my heart swelled when he said this because it was so

endearing and innocent, but I also felt anger and jealousy, and my immediate

thought was, “Fuck no. You lose your virginity while closeted and drunk. And then

after you realize the sex is so bad you can’t stand it, you leave without bothering to

look for your other sock. Do your time”.


Eventually, he’ll go away to school. We both know that this won’t last forever. We’ll

be thrown back into the dating word to fend for ourselves.


I hope we’ll stay in contact after we go our separate ways, but if we don’t, that’s okay

too. I know I’ll think about him sometimes and wonder if he’s alright.


There are bigger problems in the world for the LGBT community than my dating life.

I mean, not a lot, but one or two maybe.


I want the world to be more accepting. I want for all of us to be in a massive,

endless, puddle of love, all of us twisted around each other to the point where you

don’t know where your own elbow is, or why the spot you’re sitting in is now wet.

I want more members of the LGBT community to be out, so I can fuck them or

befriend them.


I want more members of my tiny midwestern community to be accepting towards

these fuckable, befriendable LGBT members.


I want this young guy I’m dating to lose his virginity to someone nice, as much as my

jealousy may say otherwise.


I want things to keep getting better for all queer individuals.

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