Out My League.

I never got attention from the traditionally hot guys. I was more a magnet for the socially disenfranchised; the type of guy that had a lingering online presence, but whose romantic endeavours never extended beyond his keyboard. Guys that would take an interest in me that started off as refreshing but quickly morphed into the Glen Close in Fatal Attraction variety. Some were even genuine and loving, but our contrasting brands of social awkwardness didn’t gel. And sometimes, even though I wanted to, I could never mirror their affections because quite simply they weren’t my type.

I liked skinny boys obsessed with art; the miniature philosopher types that wore sweaters so oversized they may have actually been a dress. Flirty dancers and charismatic creatives dominated my sight line. The type of guy that was not available to me emotionally but would offer the physical side of himself on occasion (mostly when they were bored or horny.) I’d spend months chasing guys that ‘liked me’ but wanted to orbit in and out of my life infrequently. You know the type, the flaky ones that have what you want, but never what you need.

I hoped I’d represent something to each of them, something outstanding, beautiful; something that lit me in the same unique light I saw them under. Even though I loved them in various ways, none of them felt compelled to say it back and that’s because they didn’t harbour the feelings I did. And just as the type of guy I wasn’t interested in was always interested in me, the boys I had affections for never reciprocated, so the archetypal cycle continued and nobody got what they wanted.

(Note: I no longer hold such an obscured view of attraction, but at that time I ran the number-out-of-ten mentality.)

However, there was one type of guy I never bothered with; I took a stand and said ‘no, never.’  I’m referring to ‘the hot guy’. The calendar model variety whose exquisiteness was universally recognised. Stereotypical, beautiful guys that dawned symmetrical features and hypnotic, demi-god smiles. Ones whose weekly routine included posting a traditional-cum-by-looking-at-it-selfie and who had faces that were a playful reminder that there may actually be a higher power. I vowed to stay away from those guys, purely to save them time, and myself the disappointment.

I tried to stick to the my fellow 5/10s like glue, chasing only the pretty arty types I knew I couldn’t have – best stick to a familiar disappointment, rather than a new brand of it, right? I ceased to even consider these toned and tanned types; like I was a sensible man looking for house within my price range. Yet somehow this one time, I wound up on a date with one. Here’s the story:

When this ‘hot guy’ first showed interest in me I approached him sceptically, as though I was being offered a dubious deal up a back alley in the bad part of town. Then, before I knew it, I was revelling in the attention he gave me like a kid that landed his first leading role in a Christmas nativity.

We met for a drink in a bar of his choosing, located somewhere in the West End of town, something which immediately caused me distress as my sense of direction doesn’t exist in this dimension. I step into the bar and there he is, like a bronzed Adonis, embodying every physical attribute I wish I had, and the epitome of everything I swore I’d never date. He walks over, gives me a hug, and says in a unnaturally soothing voice, ‘Hello.’

During our initial conversation I contributed nothing, and I don’t even think I displayed basic manners. Honestly. It was stomach-churning. The full time I was weary Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out from somewhere inconspicuous and yell PUNKED!

Still in a trance I followed him over to the bar where he asked what I’d like to drink. In a fit of panic, I ordered a whiskey coke (I hate whiskey) and stood guard like a confused animal taking in its surroundings, hunting for an exit. As I waited I caught a woman that looked like a Cruella De Vil mannequin glaring over at us; she probably thought this date was organised by the ‘Make A Wish Foundation’ I reasoned.

Suddenly incapable of making my own decisions because I was now blind to social queues, he instructed me to go find us a seat.  He ushered me into a booth and I begun to internally punch myself as if I’d just committed a serious crime or had wore a ridiculous hat on a night out. As I waited I imagined what the conversation was going to flow like.

Me: Thank you, nobody has ever bought me a drink before! (That’s a lie.)

Him: No problem! Just because you’re a former goth turned twitter troll that probably spent most his time in high school opting to help out the choir and learning show tunes, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy you a drink.

Me: *Phantom of the Opera theme plays in my head*

Me: I bet you have dozens of offers from guys, but here you are buying me a drink!

Him: Me? Well, I’ve been sexually active since my mid-teens and mostly hooked up with guys that are models and on occasion a B-list celebrity. But you know, we keep it casual.

Me: So, how come you’re out with me? Did you lose a bet?  *Awkwardly snorts in gay*

Him: Well, I don’t do much charity work so us hanging out together makes me seem like a really good person who works with the less fortunate.

Me: That’s really good of you to give back to the community.

Him: Hey, even though you’re a 5 and I’m a 9 (on a bad day) I quite enjoy the geeky-indie energy you have. We should go to a party together and sleep in the same bed but totally not fuck.

Me: Honestly whatever you want. *in my head*  Yes. nailed it.

That is not how it played out at all.

Turns out I was being a total dick. And the conversation? It was delightful. Within twenty minutes it flowed effortlessly, and it was as though we were old friends sat in a nice bar. The romantic connection wasn’t there, even though he said he found me attractive (a statement that I feel was muttered in politeness, which I deem admirable) I still had a good time and, more importantly, I left armed with a two new life lessons:

  1. It’s not good idea for me to spend time around ripped men with chiselled features that look like they should be underwear models because it turns out they make me totally fucking stupid.
  2. You can’t judge people based on your own perception of self – especially if it’s warped. What you see and what they say will very rarely mirror.

I judged him. I took my own insecurities and projected them onto someone else. Just because I felt he was out my league I wound up perceiving him in an altogether incorrect way. This did not mean he sported a similar outlook on dating or harboured the same view himself. This was me putting my anger on him; putting words in his mouth. I unfairly pinned a preconceived idea of what a hot guy acts like  to his chest; painting him out to have a bad personality simply to make myself feel better about not being comfortable in my own skin.

For so many years I categorised guys according to my own belief that people were out of my league – but after that day I realised that I’d never let anyone be in my league because my issues, my singleness and lack of date offers, were born from my own hang-ups about my appearance. I didn’t like myself, so I assumed nobody else would. It was easier to hate them for it than accept accountability for my own self-loathing.

That was a two years ago, and it popped into my head today after I subconsciously wrote a guy off because I thought he was ‘out my league.’ I soon retaught myself the lesson I learned that day. I realise that so many of us let self-doubt have a tyrannical hold over our happiness, and that it’s easier to sink away from opportunities than risk being disappointed, or worse hurt.

I’ve since worked out that this is all our own issue; and sure, sometimes ‘hot’ guys may have the mentality that they are above you, but you know what? One day they’ll have a face that resembles heavily wrinkled scrotal tissue that’s been soaked in tea for the past five decades. And if that’s the mentality they have, they aren’t worth dating. 5/10, 9/10 these are just boundaries our confidence levels and society sets us – fuck them. You’re a miracle , you’re a needle in a haystack, you’re a god damn unicorn. Remember that.m before your next date.



3 thoughts on “Out My League.

  1. Good points, all. I love the message that personal growth isn’t a necessarily a fixed destination and you will revisit certain areas of growth in a cyclical fashion.
    I’ll have you know, though, that I’ll spend the rest of my day imagining your Adonis date worked out and you’re now in an LTR with a gorgeous, thoughtful man who is religiously buying/making you whiskey cokes because you haven’t figured out how to tell him about how you originally choked when ordering a drink. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Gen – Thank you so much for your great column on older gay men being judged. I am 62, but still go out, even though I have been fortunate to have been married for 37 years to the second man I ever dated (yes love at first sight does happen). I run into this kind of prejudice from time to time, but for the most part, I just ignore those people. As you indicated so masterfully, the best people are those who don’t give a whit about their age. I guess I am one of them. The mirror may say senior citizen, but my heart says “young man of 25 with a hot ass”…ha!
    It was refreshing to read your words about a part of life that too many younger gay folks don’t want to think about.
    Me? Too busy enjoying life. Thank you.

    – Ron Gilmore, Houston, Texas


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