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
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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.
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!