Gay Dating in a Straight World: John Boughton’s Guide to The Gay Dating Game

Trying to find that perfect match in a society where we’re “swimming against the stream,” is like attempting to complete a 1,000 piece color spectrum puzzle.

It’s not easy, but all we want is that one special loved one. So we sit at that table, organizing pieces by the candlelight, and one-by-one, the puzzle (might) start to come together. As a gay man who has been single for almost 2 years, I know the game a little too well. So I’m here to impart some of my wisdom and share some interesting experiences that can hopefully help all you lovely people in avoiding what could potentially be a sad, forever alone life.

Nowadays, the game has been made easier. This is due to technological advances and of course the acceptance that being a homosexual is not out of the ordinary, (though we’re still kind of workin’ on that one). So, we don’t have it nearly as hard as the sad villagers in the middle ages. Bless their gay souls. But that does not invalidate the hardships we have to go through in 2018 when all we’re trying to do is find the perfect match. Now before we dive into this rainbow colored goodie bag, it’s time for a small disclaimer: Most of this article is geared toward gay men. I am sure bisexuals, lesbian, trans, etc have their own hardships on dating apps. But those hardships I am not familiar with and I do not wish to talk about your struggles without personally understanding them. If you fall under any of the aforementioned categories, just know I love you and I am here for you. I do think this advice can be universally applied no matter who you are or what your sexuality is. So please keep reading if you feel so inclined. 😊

For the first segment in this series, we’re gonna talk about dating apps. Not just any dating app – but the most popular of them all: Tinder.

The hands-down, no-doubt-about-it, easiest way to meet people and find your soulmate is through a dating app. You can meet people just like you very easily and very quickly. There is no guessing game as to whether they are gay or not because they’re on the app just like you. You can also use the apps anytime during the day, so you don’t have to put your life on hold or go out to meet people. Plus, most apps go up to a one-hundred-mile radius, so even though you may be able to travel that far, the pool of people available to you is exponentially larger than if you were to play it old school. This is all especially true with the most common dating app: Tinder. Tinder is where you will find the most traffic and the most options. It is almost impossible to run out of people on Tinder unless you live in a rural area or set your distance to a low mileage.

Now, although dating apps are fun and convenient, they also have their drawbacks. Not everyone is on the app for the same reasons you might be. Some people are looking for a long-term relationship, some people are looking for a one-night stand and some might just be looking to chat. Hell, some might just be bored and are swiping for the thrill of it. When you go on the app be sure you know what your reasons are for being on them and specify that to the person you are talking to. You don’t want to waste their time or yours. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are A LOT of creeps and liars out there, so be cautious. But if the guy seems “too good to be true,” he most likely is. Be careful when sharing information like where you work and where you live. I always just say what kind of line of work I’m in, but never the exact place where I work. Same with where I live. I don’t give them the exact suburban town I’m from – just the city that it’s near. Be wary when you go on and keep your wits about you, but don’t forget, life is not lived if lived in fear so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there just as long as you use common sense. Another drawback is not getting too attached too quickly. You might be surprised if you match with someone who is “out of your league,” – but that’s bullshit. “Leagues” are social constructs that do nothing but tear people down. Remember that you’re better than a “league” and are worth every person in the world if you believe it. If that “out of your league” person never messages you or never responds to you – don’t get discouraged. It might be for the best. There are plenty of other gay fish in the sea.

With Tinder, there are a few rules I like to follow to make sure I find the man of my dreams. These can differ depending on who you are. But for me, this is what works for me and why:

  1. One photo? = Swipe left. If you only have one good picture of yourself, you’re most likely a catfisher or just lazy. None of which settle for me.
  2. Snapchat filter pictures? = Swipe left. Most of those filters distort your face shape and trick your eye. There’s nothing wrong with a little editing for fun or confidence’s sake, but you aren’t going to have dog ears and sparkles flying around your face when I meet you in person, so I’d like to get acquainted with an un-edited version of you. You’re beautiful just the way you are, so show that off and let me get to know the most authentic you!
  3. No smiling photos? = Swipe left. I get you’re trying to go for that whole “sexy, mysterious, cool guy” vibe. That might butter some people’s biscuits, but it ain’t working with me. I want a man who seems like he enjoys life! So why not show off that fun, joyful side! A few smoldering photos never hurt anybody (I know I am GUILTY of that), but I always like seeing someone showing off their fun, joyful side – so throw some smiling ones in too!
  4. Just pictures of your head? = Swipe left. You gotta have an array of shots of your entire body. While your head is beautiful, I want to know what’s up with you. I want to see a portfolio of your personality – tip to toe. I want to see you skipping through a field, chilling on the beach, up in a tree, eating an orange, petting a squirrel. Whatever it is that is you – that’s what I want to see. You only want people to swipe right on you who are interested in you anyways – how can you tell that from a single selfie?
  5. Pictures of you with family members = Swipe left. This rule is completely personal (I know selfish), so I’m giving you permission as the author and ever-present voice in this article to skip it. But I’m including her anyways in case you’re curious. If you have a picture with your grandma, I’m not looking to date your grandma, am I? No. So don’t put her in your profile! I understand that you love her and she’s your best friend, but I’m just not about it. Some people may think, “oh wow, he’s a family man,” and that’s all cute and hunky dory. But don’t use your grandma, or dog for that matter, as a crutch to get my attention. You should be able to sell yourself on your own hunty.

Those are my “make it or break it” rules. Did you notice a through-line between all of them? That’s right hunny – authenticity. People are most attractive when they are themselves, so if you don’t fit the bill of my rules – that’s okay. We probably aren’t meant to be *tear*. However, if you absolutely love snapchat filters and you believe you are showing your most authentic self by having every picture on your profile a different filter – dog, angel halo, and all – then live your fricking truth cutie. There is somebody out there who probably also loves those snapchat filters as much as you and will be ready to take selfies with you all the live long day. As long as you are authentic, you are doing dating apps right. If you go on the app, you’ll probably come up with your own set of rules and they’ll probably be totally different than mine – and that’s okay. I know that my set of rules have helped me narrow it down, and your set of rules (or mine!) can help you do so as well.

That’s all I got for now! Check back in for the next series where we’ll talk about another great Dating App called: Chappy. But before we go, I wanna leave you with one tip of advice. DO NOT SETTLE. Swipe right because you genuinely think this man is cute/for you. Unless you’re looking for a hookup, be selective! Know your self-worth and what you’re worthy of in a relationship. You are an amazing man and deserve to be with an amazing one as well.

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