No, I’m not referring to the Vaseline or wet wipes stored behind your bed. Nor am I talking about the mass amounts of extra hair, face and body product you have stored in your hall closet. Even your v-neck sweaters, teeth whitening cream, scented candles, and your online dating profile can stay out of this conversation. This week I’m talking about that thing almost every gay man has developed a love/hate relationship with: Relationship limbo.
Let me share with you guys a conversation I had with a friend this week who opened my eyes to just how… complex (I actually mean confused) we’ve become. Keep in mind that my friend is 30, and I’m 22.
Me: (…) I just see it as karma getting back at me for something I did.
Him: I don’t believe in Karma.
Me: I don’t really believe a whole lot in anything. I just see different things happen and try to figure out a solution from different perspectives (…)
(I didn’t say this part, but I just think karma explains so much that happens to people. It’s one of those things that just makes sense.)
Him: It’s because you’re gay.
Me: Nah. It’s because I’m deathly indecisive and non-committal. Yet, I want a relationship … so apparently I’m paradoxical too.
Him: Again, it’s because you’re gay.
Me: So you have the same problem?
Him: Somewhat. I don’t commit unless I know I can. I want a relationship at times, but then I like my freedom.
At this point I’m thinking, hell—then I will never change. At the age of 30 I’ll still want both my freedom and the guy. So I simply respond,
Me: Yep, it’s because I’m gay.
I tried to get some logic out of his simple response, but he never elaborated. He only told me that he’s older and wiser so I should listen to him. But the older I get, the more I take that request seriously from older friends –especially older gay friends. So I just let it be and continued wondering just how true that statement really is. Don’t worry, though; I’m not that naïve.
It’s because I’m gay, you say? So is it because I’m gay that I’m so picky with men? Is it really because I’m gay that I’m not fully ready yet to settle down? Is it because I’m gay that I sometimes find the idea of monogamy sickening? If anything it just sounds like I’m rebelling against the status quo. I refuse to settle for anyone who’s less than what I deserve, and if that means being single for year after year, then I’ll do it. Plus, I have more important things to worry about right now. But wait, that’s just because I’m gay, right?
Now I do see some truth in this statement. I see a lot of straight people my age settling down quickly and happily. I work in the wedding business, so trust me when I say “a lot.” it seems the status quo among our straight neighbors is to find someone by the age of 25 or consider yourself jaded. But guess what? I know a lot of gay people like this too.
So rather than it being a gay or straight thing, I think it’s a “ready” or “not ready” thing. Somehow, though, we’ve been conditioned to think that at some certain age we should magically cross from “not ready” to “ready.” What do you guys think? Are there so many single gay men because it’s how we’re wired, or in our indecisiveness and relational apathy, are we just setting ourselves up for relationship limbo?