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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Column: Gayting’s tough

It’s hard finding someone to date. You hyperventilate and get all panicky when the person you’re interested in merely smiles at you. How the hell are you supposed to muster up the courage to ask him or her to dinner, let alone form a complete sentence? Then there’s that chance he or she might crush you and say no – and no one wants that.

So if you’re having trouble working up the nerve to ask a guy or gal out, I totally know what you’re going through. But to be fair, the heteros have it a lot easier than we gays do.

Like I said, it’s hard enough finding someone to date. But try adding an even bigger obstacle: uncertainty. If you aren’t a resident of Gayworld, U.S.A., here’s your round-trip ticket: It’s a lot more difficult to find someone of the same sex to date because, for some reason, society likes to keep “alternative sexualities” on the hush-hush.

We’re not all Hester Prynnes; there isn’t some scarlet letter “Q” on us queers making it easier to distinguish a potential same-sex partner.

Almost every guy I’ve ever been interested in, I’ve had to question whether he was a “big, flaming, feather-wearing, man-kissing, disco-dancing, Vermont-living, Christina Aguilera-loving, Mykonos-going” queer – to quote the great Karen Walker – before I let myself pounce on the poor shmuck. And to be honest, it’s exhausting and the perfect set up for heartbreak.

Take “Tom” – my first failed crush on a straight guy. If it weren’t for him, I’d be a lot more reckless when diving into the deep end of the dating pool. He was perfect in every way – just what every girl (or gay boy) would want in a guy. He was sweet, made me laugh, had amazing arms and hazel eyes. (Oh, and here’s the cherry on top: He opened every single door I came across.) But you know how this barely-a-fairy-tale ends: heartbroken Mario.

This whole ordeal could have been avoided if I had known of his sexual orientation from the very get-go. I wouldn’t have fallen so hard for the dude if I’d known it’d get me nowhere. I wouldn’t have spent countless hours thinking about him and his scent, wishing for him to ask me on a real date.

Remembering Tom got me to thinking: Why don’t we make it easy on ourselves? Shouldn’t sexual orientation be one of the first things we mention when we introduce ourselves? Our sexuality – who we really are – and to whom we’re attracted shouldn’t be kept taboo. Come out, say who you are and make dating easier for all of us!

Now that I think about it, I’d appreciate a scarlet letter-type indicator to mark out potential suitors. That way, this queer-or-straight guessing game wouldn’t be necessary when we’re simply trying to get a person out to a movie, for fro-yo or for casual sex.

Think about it. This system could really work: The straight gals would know which guys to avoid, the gay gents would know which guys to keep an eye out for, lesbians can easily spot their own choice girls and everyone will be happy to know they at least have a better shot at dating this person.

Gay dating – or gayting, as I’m going to refer to it – takes one more step than dating in the heterosexual realm. Gayting is less simple, more complicated. There’s that one burning question we have to ask before continuing with flirtation – and that question could yield to an array of reactions from the askee.

Take the following scene I’m about to present to you: Guy One, who happens to be gay, is in the library looking for chemistry outside of textbooks. Cute Guy Two strolls by and guy one finds him magically delicious.

Don’t we all agree Guy One shouldn’t have to sit and wonder whether he should make a move on Guy Two? Should “are you gay?” be one of the first questions Guy One asks Guy Two? What if Guy One comes on to Guy Two and unintentionally offends him? Imagine how traumatic of an experience that could be for both parties involved.

Gayting should not be more difficult than dating. With my scarlet “Q” approach, we can avoid this discomfort altogether.

We all deserve the chance to be happy with anyone we choose. Whether we’re searching for Mr./Ms. Right or just Mr./Ms. Right-Now, we are entitled to stress-free dating practices.

So take this message with you: If you’re queer and looking to dip your toes into the dating pool, make it easy on the rest of the swimmers and label yourself with a giant “Q.” You – and those interested in you – will be more than grateful you threw them a lifesaver.

MARIO LUGO wonders how many of you will actually have the courage to wear his scarlet “Q.” E-mail him at mlugo@ucdavis.edu if you’re a brave soul.


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