I’m writing to get some honest insight about casual relationships, dating, and why it seems to be difficult to get any kind of attention even with the right credentials, pedigree, personality, and the like. In more simplistic terms is it: Is it me? Or is it the dating environment that I am in?
To provide some context, I’m in my mid-20s, highly educated, am kind and attentive, funny, and love to have fun with others. However, I have found that having these redeeming traits seems not to matter much when it comes to talking with many men. I came to this observation by living in Washington D.C., and currently living in Atlanta.
When I was living in Washington D.C., I had a friend that conveyed something in a conversation that still appears to hold true. He told me that when dating other men, or even trying to casually engage on a sexual level, they don’t care about how kind I am or what type of credentials I have. They also upon first glance, don’t care about what you bring to the table. Or to put if the way he put it, “a degree won’t make you dateable.” Ultimately, he said that “what really matters is the body, how masculine you present, and how you put yourself together.”
In the few years since that conversation (and our friendship ending), I tried dating and seeking casual encounters not listening to the commentary. However, I have only been able to date successfully one time. As far as casual encounters go, nothing has materialized from the usual culprits of Jack’d and Grindr, or in-person meetings. Jack’d and Grindr are sources of frustration, purely because of the personalities I seem to encounter. Plus being stood-up seems to be a common thing for me (it’s so common that I know to order a drink within 15 minutes and go on my merry way by 30). In-person meetings, when they happen, seem to be very one-sided and often times, most men are disinterested. I demonstrate my interest, yet I never get their number or hear from them again.
It’s jarring, because I’m young, I want to have fun, and I want to be able to enjoy men and their essence. Yet, the well has been dry for a few years. I also have been told by female friends that I’m by no stretch “ugly.” But, I’m starting to believe what that “friend” told me some years ago. Living in Atlanta, the Mecca of gay black men, I have been incapable of finding any sexual partners or romantic interests, period. Disclosing this to one of my friends, he said: “wait, what… how?”
Could be possible that because I’m not in the best shape (I’m team thick), not masculine (I’m more of in the middle), and have an eccentric style, no man wants no parts of me? If that is the case, would it make sense if I (or “masc it up”) and get into model shape to start making myself more appealing? Am I bugging?
Once again, I’d appreciate your honest evaluation of this.
Quarter Life Drought
Dear Quarter Life Drought,
Thanks for writing to me. Let me start off by saying, I’m sorry you’re having some difficulty dating. I remember being in my early to mid-twenties and becoming frustrated by the process of trying to find a man. I, like you, would go on Jack’d and Grindr, discover a guy that seemed to be a romantic match, only to be disappointed by him a few weeks later. Sometimes the man turned out to be a dud in comparison to his online persona. Other times the guys’s stated intentions proved to be false. Then there were those occasions I was just too emotionally immature to develop a situationship into a full blown relationship. My point here is not to bore you with the highs and lows of my dating past, but to shed a spotlight on my own experience as it has helped me in developing the advice I’m about to give to you.
For starters, I’ve said it time and time again, Jack’d and Grindr have typically proven NOT to be go-to places for finding true love. While it’s not completely impossible, most people don’t find their Prince Charming scrolling through those apps. If you’re traveling out of town and want to experience local fun, or if you’re at home and your monkey wants a banana (or vice versa), then those apps are perfect. With that said, you continually logging into either platform in hopes of landing a relationship, is essentially you hoping to defy the odds. That type of optimism may be better spent playing the lottery or hitting up a nearby blackjack table.
I get you said you go outside of those apps looking for a bae, but my question to you is where? Where you cast your net is extremely important in finding your mate. If you were a fisherman, you wouldn’t go to the Mississippi River to catch Chilean sea bass. So if you’re seeking a particular type of man, you need to venture to the places and platforms where that type hangs out. If you only see your type on IG, then draft your DM and shoot your shot.
Now I want to touch on what your friend said. According to you he said “what really matters is the body, how masculine you present, and how you put yourself together.” Technically, there is some truth to what your friend is saying. There are many guys out here that prioritize a great body, an abundance testosterone, and overwhelming swag. And these guys aren’t wrong for that. However, there are plenty of men who don’t prioritize those things at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like you’ve come across those guys yet, and that goes back to where you’re searching for men. Also, what kind of men are you searching for?
Lastly, I want to address you about you. As I mentioned, in my early to mid-twenties I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure this dating thing out, and I admittedly was too immature emotionally to handle the ins and outs of a relationship. While I don’t really know you, I have a hunch you have some growing up to do as well. You have more encounters you’ve yet to experience that will help you evolve into a better person and prepare you to be a great mate.
Once you do some evolving, you won’t be so concerned about drastic changes you need to make in order to attract men. You won’t be pressed to “masc” it up, or change your overall sense of style. And while I commend anyone wanting to get into better shape, do it for you. Not for the possibility of landing a man. (Truth be told, there are great looking and fit guys all over Instagram who are single. Muscles don’t guarantee a mate.) When you do a little more maturing, and develop some more confidence, you’ll be more fixated on attracting men who accept you as is.
Suggestions going forward.
- As you navigate your single life and wait to be boo’d up, spend time doing some self-reflection. Think about the type of men you go after and whether that in itself is problematic. Also, think about some of your essential flaws. Are you a bad communicator? Do you have a terrible habit of oversharing when initially talking to someone? Consider self-correcting such problems if you know your flaws, so you’ll be prepared for your bae when he comes.
- Remember, there are plenty of guys out here that like team thick and prefer not to have “super masculine” men. You just have to find them.
As always nothing but love,