‘Honesty is the best policy.’ That’s one of the many gems of wisdom my gran imparted, along with ‘Watch Absolutely Fabulous when you’re sad’ and ‘It’s shoes or go barefoot, never wear espadrilles.’ The first is a bit of a blanket statement, but depending on the situation, it can make sense. The other two? Well, they’re rules I follow with an almost religious-like devotion.
Honesty is a tricky thing to get right. Think of it as a balancing procedure; applied correctly, the right amount can resolve situations with minimum upset and little guilt; but if you’re brash or too honest, then you may wind up getting booed to death or bitch slapped. When it comes to dating, feelings, and all matters love, I always prefer honesty. If you’re not in to me, that’s fine. You’re clearly a faulty, emotionless robot, but it’s totally fine. For most of us though, particularly gay men, I think honesty is a concept we struggle to grasp.
I am certainly not what one would call a ‘dating expert’, but from the moment I stopped being a virgin, I’ve had to wade through a bunch of sticky situations and flimsy excuses. Many lessons were learned through trial, a lot of error, and a little margarita. So, I’ve compiled some tips on dating etiquette; a few guidelines, if you will. Basically, it’s a list of things that guys do that royally piss me off. It’s for everyone to follow – myself included – regardless if you’re chatting to, dating, or sleeping with someone
1) A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend: How many times have you gone on a date or started sleeping with someone, only to have them hit out with ‘I’m not wanting anything serious right now’ after it? Yeah. Thanks for wasting my time. A full record of your intentions isn’t required, but if it’s just fun you’re after kindly state that prior to the date/hooking-up.
2) Being indecisive: You’re getting to know someone, your face does that cute half-smile thing whenever you talk to each other. You even felt it was tiptoeing in the right direction. You can’t put a price on that feeling, can you? Except, actually, you can – and that price is disappointment. Especially when he drops this into the conversation, ‘I just don’t want a boyfriend right now.’ You reason, sure, that’s fair enough. I mean, not everyone is ready emotionally to dive into a commitment of that magnitude. Then you notice they’ve been babbling on social media about how painstakingly awful it is being ‘single.’ What they meant to say earlier was, they didn’t want ‘you’ as a boyfriend. That is until someone else expresses interest in you, then they’re all up in your grill. Again.
3) Going radio silent: Have you ever batted messages back-and-forth with someone so frequently that you could literally feel the chemistry gaining momentum? The sexual tension starts to spike, there’s an aroma of possibility in the air – this is fab, isn’t it? Your entire world is rejoicing. The Queen called a nation holiday; councils held street parties in honour of you hitting it off with someone finally. You spend a week meticulously crafting your messages, this guy deserves high quality replies, not the usual dysfunctional rambles everyone else gets. Then, suddenly, he stops replying. The next day you message him, casually of course you’re not a total stalker, but you get no reply. The silence continues the day after that, and the day after that. It’s been a few days now and he’s still completely radio silent. You’re left wondering if you imagined the whole thing. Then, a month later, he injects himself back in your life, probably via a vague and mundane Snapchat, as if nothing happened. Then the thumping headache his flakiness causes starts all over again. Aw, you missed me too? Whatever, nutbag. Now pass the paracetamol.
4) Adding/following him on social media: If by some cosmic miracle you met outside of the realms of social media , then I implore you to not ‘add’ him as a friend before or immediately after the initial date. It is the kiss of death. If you do, you have to spend the next week working out how to disappear completely. Regardless of which side of the date you’re on, you’ll also have to suffer through that awkward choice of unfriending him or continuing to read his painfully mediocre posts, some of which may even be directed at you.
5 a) Labels: As gay men, we love to label everyone and everything. Songs can be ‘bops’, ‘jams’ or ‘bangers’. Guys can be twinks, cubs, twunks, daddies, otters, jocks and an entire galaxy of other names. We love their unique and wonderful genius. How clever we are, putting everyone in vague categories based solely on their physical attributes. However, if you’re on a date then don’t label each other. Please stick to generic terms, like ‘hot’ and ‘cool.’ And for goodness sake, try and feign surprise when you tell each other your real age.
5 b) Labels 2.0 Top or bottom: Encountering this question is part of the inevitable fatal system gays have to work out if you’re compatible on paper. I’m very much of the belief that if you like someone, you make it work sexually. You compromise. Labelling your bedroom preferences is so 2005. SIDE NOTE: Unless they can do acrobatics or tap dance in bed, if someone says they’re a ‘versatile bottom’, it only means one thing: you’ll need to take charge if things go well.
6) Meeting in real life: If you met the guy online, and this date is your first ‘real life’ meeting, please watch what you say/think/feel. Every time someone has said how hot I am in person, or how funny I am, I am gripped by an eerie sense of dread. I know unequivocally that the person he thinks he likes doesn’t exist, it’s my online persona he wants to do date. Issues arise when he realises I’m not funny outwith the 140 character limit. Within an hour he will begin to hate me; give it three days and I’ll never hear from him again. Give it a week and he will have blocked me on all social media. Then when I ask for an explanation, I’ll be branded a stalker.
7) Political gays: Imagine your romantic hopes and dreams are a galloping stallion, wild and untamed. Then imagine yourself throwing a glowing lasso of light over its neck. Then imagine someone coming over and shooting that horse in the face – that’s what happens when you bring up politics during the first date. Politics has no place during dates, at least the first three anyway. Opinionated people are asses, but not the kind you want. Not the glorious and sexy ones we send pictures of to potential suitors. Opinions on first dates are like your best friend: We know they’re important to you, and it’s good you have them; but we have no idea why you’d want to introduce them on the first date. There’s plenty of time for that, don’t put a downer on the mood.
At the end of the day, there will always be guys that have a PHD in mixed signals, but it isn’t your fault they don’t know what they want. If you don’t know what you want, refrain from booting someone’s heart in the balls. Keep it in your pants. Make sure you’re sure. Also, watch out for the type of guys that think with their penis, it doesn’t point in the direction of sense (you know the type, the ones that leave a cum trail wherever they go, kind of like a slutty slug.)
There are certain situations that no matter how hard you try, you can’t navigate easily. You could find yourself crafting an excuse to spare someone’s feelings. Your intentions may be admirable, but if you’re going down that road you need to make sure you aren’t doing or saying something afterwards that contradicts that excuse. For example, you tell the guy you’ve been sleeping with you aren’t looking for anything more than fun right now. Then, a couple weeks later, he finds out you’ve started dating someone – that’s the sort of shit that pisses folk off.
There you go. Beam an e-copy of this to all your friends.