Men

I went on three dates with three different guys in the past two weeks. The most recent date took place in a bar in Cambridge with the first white guy I had gone out with in a few years. He graduated from Harvard, worked as a political consultant, and bored the heck out of me. The date itself had been pleasant enough and I got him to pay for my drink, though I still felt disappointed as I left the bar and walked back to my apartment.

A few years ago, I think I would have experienced a more extreme reaction to this mediocre date. I used to feel so frustrated by my attraction to men, a gender socialized for the most part to lack active listening skills, not to mention the additional weight of racism, femmephobia, and fatphobia within the queer community. Since I started going on dates around 2015, I have encountered a range of men – some who I found genuine and kind even if we lacked romantic chemistry, and others who carried unresolved issues (e.g., insecure attachment, colorism) that harmed themselves and others. For the most part, though, I felt annoyed by my lack of control over my attraction to men throughout this period. While I have always loved my gayness, the lack of certainty about whether I would ever find a man worth dating reminded me of traumatic situations in my past where I also lacked autonomy.

In my second to last session with my current therapist this past Wednesday, she said that I have gotten better at differentiating between my past and my present. Even just a year or two ago, the pain of my attraction to men felt equivalent at times to the suffering I underwent living with my home before I left home for undergrad. Now, though, I feel more okay with my attraction to men. While I still feel annoyed about my attraction on occasion, I remind myself that I have so much more freedom now than I did as a child: to invest in my life-giving friendships with women, to play tennis and jog to K-Pop, and to read books and overdisclose about my life on the internet and engage in meaningful work. While I needed to get out of my childhood home to heal and build the life I want, I can tolerate my attraction to men, because I have cultivated a rich life for myself whether or not a datable man ever [REDACTED]s my [REDACTED] shows up.

After the date with boring Cambridge boy #3, I walked across town and bought myself some delicious chocolate chip cookies from my local grocery store. I ate a couple as I responded to a super sweet message I got on Goodreads and journaled about my day in a 140-page-long word doc. Before I went to bed, I scheduled a tennis match for Saturday morning and read a little. The next morning, I rolled out of bed to get ready for a research meeting, feeling fresh and ready to take on a new day.

Yes these cookies brought me closer to self-actualization than any m*n I’ve ever went on a date with. Peep at my notes for a peer review I’m currently completing on the bottom right.

Is there anything that used to upset or trigger you in the past that now does not anymore? Or anything you’re currently trying to understand and remedy? General reactions to this post? Hope everyone who reads this unless you endorse white supremacy, patriarchy, or the glorification of the wedding industrial complex is well and until next post!

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5 Comments

Filed under Personal

5 responses to “Men

  1. I rarely take issue with your writing but I must raise something here. You went on a date with 3 men but only share a bit of details about the boring Harvard guy. There’s a very brief mention of the boring Cambridge guy. None about #2. So this isn’t overdisclosing at all. No strikethroughs, no redacted – just erased from history. I guess I’ll have to file another freedom of information request to get to the bottom of this. (pun intended)

    Your handwriting is interesting. I think my penmanship is worse than yours. I was hoping to glean more secrets from that bit of paper. But you also place it beside those yummy cookies and disrupted my concentration. The only other thing I noticed is the air freshner – you have a pet?

    But on a more serious note – I fear I have the burdens and weakness of so many men that you have described. It’s not easy to unlearn them but I’ll keep trying. As an example, if you’re a gay man, you need to have that perfect body. The closest I’ll ever come to having a six-pack is going to a beer store.

    Have a great week Thomas!

    • Hahahaha so many humorous elements to this comment, thanks Matt for the laughs. Yeah I feel like it would have been excessive to go into #1 and #2 so I left them out intentionally though you did pick up on it! Maybe another time I’ll share about them.

      Omg my handwriting is rough so you stating that your handwriting may be worse is quite self-deprecating. The air freshner is funny – my roommate is actually the one who brought it. The tenants who occupied our unit previously owned a dog so my roommate wanted to eliminate the scent for sure.

      I appreciate you doing your best to unlearn things that may be self-defeating or problematic, and I am also engaging in similar efforts! Yeah the perfect body/six-pack thing is so toxic and male gazey, yikes. I hoep your week is going well so far!

  2. You know what? I was at my friend Claire and Sam’s wedding last weekend and although we did kind of work out on our table at the meal that my husband is in fact a lesbian, based on his love of cats and a herbal tea, it did slightly annoy me that there were all these fabulous women around and I have the misfortune to be attracted to men! (we used to have political lesbians when I was in my 20s and I still know a few, I don’t think that happened so much with men, where straight women decided to eschew men and only have lesbian relationships out of choice, not actual sexuality; I wouldn’t be able to do that myself). So there we go. I also wish to know about #1 and #2 boring date guys, by the way. I tend my husband’s diabetes rather than going out on exciting dates these days; we need to live vicariously through you young ones!!

    • Haha Liz I love your sentiment about the slight annoyance about being attracted to men, so so relatable and so appreciate you sharing that in solidarity with me! Yeah you sharing about the political lesbians reminds me of how I took a vow of celibacy in undergrad as a protest against my attraction to men which, lol, I also grew out of even though I find the attraction to men still annoying at times. I hope tending to diabetes is going as well as possible and maybe one day I will share more about #1 and #2. (:

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