Lost and feeling a little inadequate in a sea of Masc 4 Masc
By Adam Segal
I’m 25 years old and don’t have much relationship experience at all. I’ve had some casual sex and false-start relationships but nothing has really panned out. I know that a lot of people my age haven’t found a serious relationship yet, but I’m especially concerned because I don’t feel like I fit the gay ideal. To put it bluntly, I am a super queeny femme person.… I’m the opposite of whatever “straight acting” is, and it seems like I’m lost in a sea of lumbersexuals with beards who only want to pair up with someone like them. I got teased a lot in school for my look and the way I talk, and now I feel rejected as an adult by other gay men who only want some kind of macho guy. What gives? —Benjamin
A quick look at any of the dating sites and apps will confirm what you’ve outlined in your question: an endless sea of profiles where guys express their preference for masculine guys or, more aggressively, provide a laundry list of characteristics that they disapprove of, or express their need for a “real man.” It can be downright harrowing and offensive—and very discouraging to anyone who, God forbid, displays any traditionally feminine characteristics.
There are a few points to keep in mind that will hopefully conquer your woes and keep you afloat as you keep searching for a love connection. Firstly, there is a lot of posturing on display online—guys who feel like they need to emulate some kind of über-dude gay persona precisely because they are afraid of the same rejection that you are. Think about it: the Internet is like taking all the insecure closet queers from high school and putting them in a room together where they can infinitely seek out validation and avoid re-injury of their adolescent selves. Also, who people say they are online, and even what they say they are searching for, is partly a fabrication meant to seem palatable to other femme-fearing homos. In reality, there are all kinds of guys in all kinds of relationships, and you have to turn off your laptop and step out into the world to see that with your own eyes.
You are one of the especially brave ones because you haven’t felt a need to mask your true femme self to appease the masses or live up to a homophobic standard that demands you compensate for your queerness by being as manly as possible. Wear that bravery proudly and you’ll attract someone who likes strength—whatever package that comes in.
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions @firstname.lastname@example.org.