August 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm EDT | by Michael Radkowsky
Gay D.C. newbie frustrated by hookup culture
hookup culture, gay news, Washington Blade

Dating anyone?

Michael,

 

I’m 22 and just moved to D.C. in June after graduating college and I’m having a horrible time adjusting to gay life here. Doesn’t anyone want to date in this city?

 

Almost every guy I’ve met online so far only wants to hook up, even when we have met for a drink or coffee. 

 

If we make plans to meet again (AKA a date) the other guy really just wants to have sex, no matter what we have put on the agenda.

 

When I feel like there’s more than just a physical connection, then the guy invariably says he just wants to be friends. As if there’s something wrong with having a physical relationship with someone you like?

 

I was waiting to get a haircut today and the guys waiting on either side of me at the salon were both going through hookup apps the entire time they were sitting there. Suddenly I had the realization that all the guys I’ve met in this town just are looking for the next sexual conquest and aren’t interested in anything other than physical connection, usually one time only. 

 

No one I’ve met really wants to talk about anything that might lead us to get to know each other, just really surface-y stuff. Or, my favorite, preferred sexual position. Really?

 

I joined a sports league hoping to meet people in some other way. All we do after playing is go out and drink. Or go to a restaurant, where everyone is looking at hookup apps on their phones while we wait for the food. 

 

I feel like I’m in “The Stepford Wives” and every other guy has gotten his brain hijacked.

 

I come from a small town and went to a small college that didn’t really have a gay presence. So I’m ready to start my life as a gay man. But it seems no other gay men have the same desire for a relationship as I do. Is this just a D.C. thing or is it a gay man thing?

 

I’m really discouraged. When I have sex with someone I just met, I feel sleazy and really unsatisfied.  And now when I go on an app, I feel like I’m participating in this weird and depressing objectification ritual. 

 

I would just like to really get to know someone!

Michael replies:

Don’t let yourself get discouraged. You aren’t the only guy who feels this way. I hear your complaint from a lot of people and I don’t know every gay man in Washington, not by a long shot. So clearly, there are many guys out there looking for more than an endless string of hookups.

At the same time, what you’re observing is real. It’s not just a gay male thing: Lots of people, especially in younger generations, aren’t really interested in dating or relationships. And what you’re describing is also a gay male thing: men (stereotype acknowledged) often enjoy pursuing and having no-strings sex and multiple partners. 

But simply because many guys want to go this route doesn’t mean that you have to give up your dream of a different path. 

OK, you’ve had some bad experiences with the sports league you joined. Time to move on. The question to ask yourself, again and again: What else can I do to meet another guy whom I might like to date?

Summer is drawing to a close but there are still plenty of group activities for gay men with all kinds of interests. Look around, find some possibilities you might like and jump in. Do you have any religious faith?  Find a gay-friendly service to attend. Take a class in some subject that interests you, at an institute of higher learning or a museum. Start a meet-up and see who shows up. Join a gay hiking group.

Don’t give up. You’ve got plenty of time.

And for gosh sakes, keep your eyes off your phone when you’re out and about. When I walk by a bus stop at rush hour, it makes me sad to see everyone staring at their phones. This is a great way to avoid the anxiety of being around people you don’t know, but totally gets in the way of real-life encountering.

If you’re aware of the people around you, you may catch the eye of someone you might want to interact with. If this happens, consider taking a chance and actually saying hi. 

These are my ideas and I imagine that readers of this column may have many more inspiring suggestions for ways you can meet guys without going online.

Request to all readers: If you’d like to share your success stories of finding gay love in D.C., shoot me an email. I’m hoping to get some more great suggestions that I can feature in an upcoming column.

 

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay individuals and couples in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@michaelradkowsky.com.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.