If you ask any black woman you encounter, they will tell you all of the available, eligible black men are either married or gay. If we are going by that narrative, that means that black gay men should have more than our share of eye candy and prominent men to choose from. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case if you ask any single gay black man. More men find the prospect of dating frustrating because apparently, “a good man is hard to find”. I think we all know dick and ass comes a dime a dozen. But if you are really having difficulty finding a man, chances are you just may be the reason why.
In the summer of 2006, I met a charming and handsome Washingtonian who found me to be a breath of fresh air. Like clockwork, we’d finish each other’s sentences, laugh at each other’s corny jokes, and skipped the gym several nights a week because our conversations would last for no less than seven hours. I thought about dating not much longer after we met. He was a prospect I was not going to let get away in a city so dismal when it comes to dating. I thought to myself: if I don’t lock him down, someone else would. But I’d have to be subtle about it. I had to be strategic. At the time, dating for me was all about “maintaining the mask”. It was not about transparency which was something I had always struggled with.
After a month of getting to know each other, we decided to have a nice dinner at the Palm on 19th Street. It started as a typical night where we discussed sports, entertainment, a couple political anecdotes, and catching up on our families. We even made plans to go to ESPN Zone right after for our usual fun and games. But I realized it was now or never and I had to lay my cards on the table. So I asked, “Damon, we’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks now. Would you be open to dating seriously to see where this goes?” To my relief, he said yes. And in my mind, what’s a yes without a celebration. In my youthful 20s, liquor was something I was still getting used to. Being a pro at having a sip WAS NOT IN MY LANE and we both had a few more drinks to toast to the occasion. The only difference was he was cool and down for the case, but I was drunk as hell!!! We made it to the car and I decided to put on a little Christina Aguilera (DON’T ASK) and blasted “Without You” to show off to my horrible singing chops. Unfortunately, I was too drunk to notice the screw face he was giving me and the disdain on his demeanor as he quizzically wondered how to put a stop to the evening. Damon dropped me off at my apartment and was never to be heard from again.
I learned a lot that evening. In fact, there were a few takeaways that have stayed with me over the years and I’d like to share the with you:
1. Never buy another Christina Aguilera album. Although she is a stellar singer and I am not a fan of hers today, blasting that screeching voice is enough to make anyone put you out of their establishment.
2. Always be transparent and open when you meet a guy. If you focus too much on waiting until the right time, you’ll miss out on the realization that there is never the right time to communicating your feelings. Just know that there are boundaries to how fast you should allow yourself to go in any relationship.
3. Just because you have chemistry with someone doesn’t mean they are ideal for a relationship. Explore your partner’s interests, needs, aspirations, personality traits, and deal breakers. Although they may tell you some of these attributes, you’ll need time to see how they respond when faced with them and be watchful to see if they left a few more qualities off the list for modesty.
4. And last but not least HAVE FUN!!! I used to go into the dating someone with a list of do’s and don’ts. The truth is, no human alive is going to live up to your individual, narcissistic list that meets only your standards. It is disrespectful to even project that on someone else. Instead, focus on the fun you two can have together. With men, if we know we can have fun with you, you won’t be able to get rid of us. We want a ride or die we can laugh and have a good time with…and believe me, if you can have fun with you, he’ll definitely be down with you!