Tuesday, December 4

Saving Grace

Most of the guys I've talked to who have same-sex attraction tell me that they've been approached in person by other guys. Whether in the gym, at the mall, on the beach, or in gay bars (um... that's sort of awkward. I don't suggest going to gay bars), they've had the experience.

I never have.

And I guess I find myself wondering about it. Maybe it's happened, but I don't pick up on it? Or maybe something else is happening?

On the first - that maybe it's happening but I'm blithely unaware - I think applying what I've learned from girls and their signals may be informative.

When I first started dating, I was clueless to girls' signals. I couldn't tell if a girl was flirting or being nice or being sarcastically mean. Really. They were all the same to me. The first girl I asked out after my mission, in fact, had already given up on catching my attention. She had already gone through finding a friend who spoke Italian to teach her basic greetings, sitting next to and behind me at every meeting, complimenting me on my voice and my comments in Sunday School, talking with me at ward prayer... in her mind she was pulling out all the stops. I remember those happening, but I also remember not thinking anything about it. I only asked her out because I prayed for inspiration on who I should ask out, looked at the ward directory, and thought I should ask her.

Since then, I've gotten at least a little bit better at determining when a girl is interested. Girls have told me which things are sure signs, and now I can watch for them. But it still has to be pretty obvious for me to catch on. Like if she's staring at me for an entire hour, or comes to talk with me a dozen times in a day. Or if she asks me out.

I wonder if, because I'm less able to pick up on the nuanced dance of social interactions, I suffer in my ability to understand what girls or guys intend. And since most potentially romantic approaches are nuanced instead of brazen, it just doesn't show up on my radar. What makes it hard to pick up on girls' flirting becomes a saving grace when I also can't pick up on guys. I could totally see that happening. Or not see it. ;)

Another potential modifier in the world of pick-up lines would be my conversation style. I pick up conversations with anyone. And, almost without exception, the conversation eventually turns to the gospel. I'd assume that most guys thinking about approaching another guy aren't also thinking about the gospel. And engaging in a conversation on the gospel might be a deterrent.

And then there's the fact that I don't smile much. I forget to. So I look awfully serious almost all the time. Maybe that's a major deterrent.

Whatever the reason - ugliness, social awkwardness and a somber face, a propensity for gospel conversations, or just never being around guys like that - I've never had it happen.

Interesting. And nice.

Thoughts?

12 comments:

  1. You've got all those hours in the gymn. That's gotta be attracting someone! ;)

    Seriously though, I've never been approached either by men (that I'm aware of) because no one knows that I'm same-gender attracted, other than family and close friends! Who all happen to be straight. If they don't know you're gay, they aren't likely to come on to you,unless you're in an obviously gay venue.

    But then again, I don't spend hours working out, so maybe that's why they don't pick up on me ;)

    As far as women go, they generally expect men (especially in Mormon culture) to take an active role, so you're not going to get very far unless you take initiative with the girl you think is pursuing you and ask her on a date and see what happens. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. Maybe "coming out" to a woman will give you the ability to become more intimate with her (and/or other woman), and make marriage more realistally possible for you. Transparency about your sexuality is essential in any serious relationship you develop with a woman. There are mixed orientations with willing women to marry gay men (though this is controversial)--Lolly Weed, for example. Maybe there's one for you out there, if changing your orientation isn't possible for you.

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    1. Now that I've already shared who I am here on (G)MG, I feel like it's super awkward to bring it up with people to ask if they know. And how do you just drop it into a conversation with a girl before asking her out? Or on the first/second date? I didn't expect the upkeep to be this complicated. It'd be so much easier if everyone on the planet knew.

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    2. I don't have as many friends or blog followers as you do, but to avoid the awkwardness of not knowing who knows, I just say it nonchalantly just like I would talk about how I love music. If you think about it, it's really not THAT big of a deal. It's a part of you, but only a part, not the whole you. When I just say something like, "well I don't know if you know or not but I'm Attracted to other women...." and then tie it into whatever we were talking about. I don't do this often, but if I feel like someone needs to know, I just say it.

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  2. I'm with you entirely. I've never even had anyone come out to me at all. I know of friends from high school who left the church to pursue gay culture, but they never told me about it. I just heard about it through the grapevine. Maybe I'm just not all that attractive to other guys. Ironically, I've had girls flirt with me until they find out I'm married. What they don't know is that I'm not just married, I'm not even interested in girls. But guys never approach me. Maybe, since I do tend to wear my Mormon-ness on my sleeve, I'm considered a threat, or untrustworthy. Or perhaps I'm just clueless. (Those girl situations I mentioned before were all pointed out to me by others -- I didn't notice by myself.) So I totally get you there.

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  3. We all have a certain countenance that identifies us to a greater degree than we would like sometimes. It appears that you and others who have commented have a greater radiance that shines from the gospel light than you do that shows an inclination towards guys. That's a good thing, and, yes, it does intimidate guys who would otherwise come on to you.

    Your looks don't matter nearly as much as you think. I've seen some guys that I considered BUTT ugly develop relationships with decent looking chaps, so it happens. AND, I've seen your picture, Chris, and you wear a smile very nicely! You are a good looking guy. The girl that did everything but floss your teeth for you in order to get your attention would agree with that sentiment.

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  4. Hey you're a good looking guy, don't be so hard on yourself! Please try not to have self-esteem issues. I know it's hard but slowly we find things we love, especially as get older, if we allow ourselves to.


    And be honest with girls up front if you can. It's ok, it will take time but you will find somebody. You're still young and in school, work on that first, love will come at the right time.

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  5. Hey Guy. I can relate to what you're saying here... I really can. I hope that's believable to you even though I'm coming up on 14 years of marriage, in six days from this writing.

    I was socially awkward, in quite a few ways that didn't necessarily have to do with my attractions towards men. While I also have attractions towards women, it was still difficult picking up on those social cues, as you described. Sometimes I got it, but more often I didn't. Dating was easier in group situations, with friends I already respected and admired, where the pressure was less.

    It seemed to work out when I met my wife, but it was still awkward. First, I didn't expect her to say "me too" when I told her about my orientation. Somehow, in explaining this to her, she had a way to identify and define her own orientation as well (yes, it is similar to mine, so we don't really have a "mixed-orientation marriage". Our initial dating and courtship wasn't smooth sailing; she acted in ways she considered friendly, but I thought was "she's putting the moves on me". When she relaxed that physical expression, and we both concentrated on the friendship aspect of our relationship, then the deeper intimacy grew slowly and surely on its own. It was still awkward, but I really liked that. It was like a warm comfortable campfire instead of big fireworks that often turned out to be damp squibs.

    The others here have some good advice, IMHO. I would add: Be patient with yourself.

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  6. The people in the comments make some good points, and you yourself make some good points in your blogpost as well. I just wanted to point one thing out. You said: "I'd assume that most guys thinking about approaching another guy aren't also thinking about the gospel. And engaging in a conversation on the gospel might be a deterrent." I beg to differ! The gospel and homosexuality can be combined. You don't have to be godless to accept your homosexuality, and vice versa. :)

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  7. Hey GMG,

    My wife and I have talked about the diminishing number of people who hit on us. We both agreed it has more to do with us than them. When we were younger, and admittedly, even after we were together, there was still a part of our make-up that was more "open" to being noticed by outside people. We weren't acting on it, but we were certainly encouraging the gazers. I mean, it's gratifying to be appealing to someone else. As time as gone on and we have found ourselves more and more ensconced with each other, I think somehow that has been reflected in how we are seen in the world. When someone looks at us, we are not looking externally for affirmation.

    In the same way - though you have SSA, you are making a concerted effort not to act on it. I believe that changes the vibes that you emit. People approach when they think they might have a shot. No one wants to be rejected. I'm guessing that the lack of hitting on is a sign that you are being successful in controlling yourself.

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  8. why are you dating women? Women deserve to be with someone who is attracted to them, not a man who is more attracted to men. It is so selfish.

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    1. Anonymous: I think that your statement is far too general to be accurate. I think women deserve to be with someone who treats them with respect, dignity, and who can help them become who they really want to be. Does a woman deserve to be married to someone in love with her? Every woman deserves a husband who loves her. But dating is a totally different world. Saying that both parties need to be in love, or even experience subjective levels of attraction, for the experience to be worthwhile doesn't take into account the more lasting longitudinal effects of relationships themselves. Do you need to be attracted to your friends? No... and what began as dating can move into friendship over time. Almost always (unless it moves to marriage or lifelong enemy), it does.

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