A few months ago I was on a date and the man sitting across the table told me that he could see and talk to dead people. Specifically two dead people, but I’ll spare you the hour and half worth of details. People, I hadn’t even gotten my entrée yet! What do you do in that type of situation? I’m still not sure. All I could think to do was drink more wine.

But, hey, we’re all a little crazy. I can handle crazy. But what I seem to be running out of patience for is all these timid gay men. Logically we know that every man should have two balls, but, surprisingly, many gay men don't seem to have any. How can this be? And where did all those balls go?

To answer that, let’s talk about timidity. You never know the potential of anything until you try. Of course, nobody wants to be vulnerable, but the vulnerable spots in which we consciously place ourselves can also be the most rewarding. And when it comes to human relationships every spot is a vulnerable one, particularly because we fear being disappointed or flat-out rejected. Rejection can be brutal, but it can’t kill you, which means it can make you stronger. I should know, because I’ve been rejected many times. I’m not saying that rejection doesn’t sting every single time – it’s not a pleasant thing – but being accepted or rejected doesn’t lessen or alter what you have to offer.

It’s OK if someone isn’t into you the way that you’re into them. Think of it this way: There are plenty of people who you don’t want to date or who you don’t find sexually attractive, right? The same is true for everyone. Chemistry between people is a mystery. And while attraction is difficult to understand, the lack of it on one end does not reflect poorly on the other end.

If you’re interested in someone, but you’re afraid to make a move, then you need to suck it up and get over it. If you’re insecure (who isn’t?), then you need to find a way to get a handle on that. In learning how to cope, it’s okay to accept that you’ll probably always be a little nervous, especially when it comes to talking to someone you want to go out with. The point is to not let your insecurity get to you and run your life.

Sometimes I wish a light would go on over people’s heads if you were interested in them and they were interested in you. But there is no easy button for dating, and really, it’s probably good that there is no such light. It would be pretty upsetting if half way through a conversation you saw the light turn off.

Someone told me once that you should mirror the other person’s actions. Although people can often be impossible to read, it’s a good idea to follow this rule: If you’re the one making all the moves or sending all of the text messages, then that probably isn’t a good sign. But you don’t have to learn to read the signs that someone else is putting off. If all else fails, you can just use your words. Be honest, communicate and cut out the games. Don’t make assumptions and don’t reject yourself for the other person. Focus more on communicating your desires and interest and less on protecting your ego. Egos can be ugly things, they can push people away, and they’re often used to guard against genuine human contact.

I respect anyone who has the balls to approach a total stranger. It takes courage and a sense of self, and for most people it’s very difficult. So the next time someone approaches you, in person or otherwise, and you’re not interested (for whatever reason), I hope you will communicate that as gently as possible. And if you ever approach someone who makes it clear they’re not interested in you, please remember that their reason doesn’t matter and please don’t ask. Then handle the situation with some grace. If the person you approach is rude in their rejection of you, then recognize that you’ve just been handed the opportunity to be the bigger person; the bigger person who just found out that someone on whom they took a risk doesn’t deserve you.

I know that there are a lot of good people out there who have a lot to offer, but who don’t go after what they want for various reason. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche, “Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?” So go for it, and no matter the outcome, be better for it.

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