A 21-year-old opened up about his struggles with “gay dating standards” & found he’s not alone after all

A 21-year-old opened up about his struggles with “gay dating standards” & found he’s not alone after all

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After scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to start believing that everyone else is perfect… especially this time of year. Timelines are awash with acquaintances and influencers alike enjoying vacations at gay beach destinations, with pics of their ripped bods and bacchanalian nights out.

The whole scene seems very intimidating, never mind unwelcoming. But as one ages, he realizes the Instagays and their six-pack abs are just an illusion. A frustrated young gay man in London is learning that valuable lesson from some elders in the community, or at least, people older than 21!

On Sunday, “Josh” expressed disappointment with his perception of the superficial gay dating scene. “I honestly hate gay dating standards so much,” he posted. “I don’t have a six pack or jawline. I don’t go clubbing all the time. I don’t listen to newer artists much. I don’t have a skin care routine. I don’t travel cos I’m broke. I eat junk food. I’m a nerd. I like comics and video games.”

Of course, gay men are far from the only cohort who struggle with self-image. Dating is hard for everybody, as many commenters mentioned. “I know this doesn’t help, but str8 women can relate,” someone replied. “There must be guys out there with the same nerdy hobbies who don’t have superficial standards! Keep looking – you’re young!”

“I definitely relate to this but as a black trans woman,” added another commenter.

Statistically, there is truth to the notion that queer people are more likely to be single than their heterosexual peers. According to Pew Research, 47% of gay, lesbian or bi adults say they’re single, compared to 29% of straight adults.

But those numbers aren’t a reflection of unattainable standards. Instead, they indicate a different track of development. When a 28-year-old posed the question on Reddit, people pointed out that LGBTQ+ adults often start dating later in life. Thus, it may take longer to find a partner.

“Many gay people find it difficult to meet other gay people when they’re teenagers, so they miss out on the opportunities their straight peers have as teens,” someone mentioned.

Others agreed.

“This was it for me. I was 24 before I ever even tried dating,” a person added.

Unshackled from societal expectations, gay people can afford to grow romantically at their own pace. Perspectives shift with time, as “Josh” was soon informed.

“One of the most freeing things you can do as a gay adult is leaning into yourself,” someone remarked. “We think everyone is partying, hooking up, traveling 24/7 bc you can’t really talk about the bars you don’t go to, the sex you’re not having, the trips you’re not on. Embrace what you are enjoying!”

As a person makes more trips around the gayborhood, they begin to realize that everyone is flawed… even those with tens of thousands to spend on a house share in Fire Island (sometimes especially so)!

Coming out is a journey, and relationships are always evolving. It can take time to settle in, and find the right group of friends.

Soon enough, you begin to realize the men in your phone are just that… men in your phone! As Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler and others mentioned, it’s a big gay world out there.

“If you think you need to have a six pack and ‘jawline’ and ‘go clubbing’ to date gay guys, you’re running in the wrong crowd” Cyd wrote. “Yes, in some circles you do. Find another circle. There are plenty of gay nerds who like comics. They just might not have a six pack or ‘jawline.’”

Though there are many, many downsides to social media (as previously mentioned), one of the positives is the ability to reach queer folx from across the world. If Josh gained one takeaway from the experience, it’s that he’s not alone.

“So many replies omg. I didn’t expect this to leave my circle but anyway. Thank you (most of you) for being so kind. I’ve been working on my authenticity for a while to battle the co-dependency I’ve had,” he replied.

Oftentimes, opening up is all it takes. If you have a particular insecurity, chances are another person has it, too.

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