Confession: I have never been in a committed relationship. I’ve also never held a boy’s hand in public or passionately made out under the twinkling twilight with someone I’ve had strong feelings for. In fact, I haven’t had strong feelings for another gay man in my life.
Usually, I dupe myself into liking bogus boys just to satisfy the internalized pressure that drives me to find a solid romantic connection. While I know that the guys I may be dating aren’t the best match for me, I still seek them out because I feel incomplete without a man at my doorstep or a boy in my back pocket.
Straights don’t validate queer love unless it is packaged up in an easily consumable, monogamous relationship. I definitely admit to being bitten by hetero society’s Bae bug, which has infected me with the nagging desire to settle the fuck down and stick to one dick. I’ve been hustling for a hubby for quite some time but have had no such luck. My romantic romps with men typically end in shambles.
One of my most infuriating dating demises came from a religious white boy who drove a stake through our summer fling because he wanted to date someone in a “traditional” fashion. Meaning that because I had (consensually) grabbed his D before we had a chance to grab dinner, I became unworthy of his attention and affection.
In his eyes, I didn’t meet the coveted homonormative standard queers must embody to qualify for a respected relationship. Meaning that I’m clearly not the type of guy who would run a marathon with his bae, take cutesy pictures or do stupid yuppie shit like hot yoga. My bussy is not easily gentrified. I also don’t possess the proper bring-him-home-to-mom-and-dad dating etiquette worthy of mayo monogamy.
So, when lanky white boy said he didn’t want to continue dating me because we had smashed before going out, he immediately submitted to the rigid format of old-timey straight courtship. While it isn’t as explicit as in the past, (i.e., ancient mantras of don’t fuck till like the fifth date or whatever), he still felt that our courtship process didn’t match the ideal formula he’s seen elsewhere. By being myself and defying traditional dating routes and personas, I wasn’t up to par with other more normative men.
Getting dropped like a hot potat-hoe really got me thinking. What even is the traditional queer dating route? The mere existence of gay romance clearly breaks from monogamous practices, as there is no solidified mold for dating that lies outside the dominating influence of hetero norms.
There is no handy road map I can use to navigate queer love, which is both amazing and infuriating at the same time. While the freedom to create a unique partnership outside established gender roles is certainly a beautiful thing, the blank artboard leaves me routinely anxious each time I go on a date.
Since the straight romantic formula has penetrated my mind, I attempt to conform to it by trying to stuff myself into a false gender dichotomy that doesn’t actually exist between myself and another man. My initial instinct is to assess the level of masculinity within each partner to predict which actions I should make.
Is he gonna lay his jacket over the puddle on Bancroft Way, or is that my duty? Am I paying for dinner or is he? I inadvertently try to play into what will look the most “traditional” so as to appease my desire for homonormativity.
To view queer relationships as “traditional” is to view them through the hetero lens, a distorted power structure that oppresses individuality and gendered expression. In reality, queer relationships take on multiple forms beyond just the simple commitment of monogamy. Open and poly relationships are other healthy options that allow both partners to sexually explore while maintaining whatever level of commitment they are comfortable with.
While monogamy may not be the end all be all of every partnership, it is still something that I will eventually try. I admit to craving the chance to forge a new type of bond with a fellow human being, a form of intimacy that melds sexual and emotional connections into something powerful. At the same time, all the recurring failures have taught me that even though relationships may seem to die for, they actually aren’t worth … well … dying for.
I reject the notion that I need a boyfriend for my queerness to be validated. I may be someone who has guys on a conveyer belt and hookups entering and leaving his home through a revolving door, but that doesn’t make me any less of a person.
In the words of the legendary Cher, men are like dessert: a tasty luxury but not an actual necessity. (And they may give you diabetes.)
Similarly, a relationship may be fantabulous. It could be a life-changing experience to chart some unexplored romantic territory with a boy, but I don’t need one to survive or be whole.
My shitty love life and lack of romantic enthusiasm isn’t something to pity or mourn — it’s simply the plain truth. Monogamy has never worked out for monoga-me.
But here’s the real tea: It doesn’t fucking have to.