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Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

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Getting Through That First Date – The Gay Dilemma

by George M. Akerley

So you’ve met someone new – online, in a coffee shop or bookstore, through a mutual friend; it doesn’t really matter. The two of you have decided to go on a date. Nothing major, just a feeling out, a chance to get to know each other better, to size each other up.

But wait, Momma didn’t tell you how to snag your first man, did she? We won’t even begin to think about what Daddy would have said! All that was talked about was men dating women, women dating men. No time was spent during your growing-up years on what you should do if you are gay and want to date another man. Of course, it wasn’t even discussed, let alone taken to the dating level. What’s a guy to do?

First, you’ve got to set some guidelines – not for him or for the two of you, but for yourself. Let’s face facts. He’s probably just as nervous about this as you are. And you are both wondering just how quickly sex will rear its head. You don’t even know yet if that might be all he’s looking for in a “relationship.” Obviously, that’s got to be resolved. But what about how you proceed with conversation? Well, of course, that has plenty to do with the venue of this date.

Hopefully, you and he had enough sense to pick a meeting spot that will allow for plenty of chatting opportunities. If you’re meeting at a coffee shop or restaurant, you’ll be able to linger over a cup of coffee and chat about all your personal background and experiences, and truly get to know one another. This is so very important in establishing what could end up being a relationship. You simply must become familiar with each other. Going to the movies or a play won’t get you closer to each other, except that you might share an armrest. You need to be social with one another, find out what things he enjoys doing, what he expects from a dating relationship, how he has been living his life so far (has he been partnered, terminally single, just out of the closet (or still in).

The absolute necessity for a first date is for each of you to be comfortable. Don’t plan on a two-hour boat ride; if you don’t hit it off with each other, the last hour and a half will be one of misery. If you’re just meeting for coffee, be certain that you’re flexible enough with time that the failed effort can be determined within half an hour and you can each retire to your own homes; or for the fortunate few whose original dates go smoothly, that you can sit and chat for an hour or two at ease.

By all means, don’t try to overly impress your date with the spiffiest outfit you have in the closet. Dress casually, comfortably. After all, you both want to be relaxed and not have to feel like you’re being inspected for your mode of apparel. Besides, you want your new friend to know the real you, to be impressed by how you carry yourself when you’re most at ease. This could turn out to be a lasting relationship, after all. It might even lead to a marriage, depending on your locale.

By all means, relax as best you can. You’ll both be nervous, but hopefully there’ll be an anecdote to tell that will break the ice and provide a few laughs. Maintain eye contact and certainly don’t let him catch you gaping at another good-looking guy in the corner. In fact, make it a point to avoid cruising with your eyes unless you want to crash and burn on this first date. Be attentive to what he has to say, and try to discern how he listens to you. Obviously, his remarks about what you have to say will be a good indicator of just how attentive he is to you.

Try to maintain an open posture, which will invite him to share more of his likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. By establishing your commonalities at this point, the entire relationship game can play out quite well. You won’t want to get into controversy if you can help it. Politics, religion, even favorite sports teams can cause controversy – save that for future dates, when you know each other’s reactions a bit better.

Don’t let alcohol influence your conversation. We all have friends who’ve let their use of alcohol unfavorably affect their dating lives, and some of us have done it to ourselves, so beware. Keep sex out of the picture also, unless that’s the reason for the date to begin with. Engaging your new friend in a discussion of your bedroom demeanor may well be off-putting and you won’t earn many second dates with that kind of discussion.

When you conclude the date, be as cordial as ever, regardless of how you feel about each other. No matter what, thank him for the date and the opportunity to have met him. If you’re interested in seeing him again, by all means say so and give him a call within a couple of days to discuss a second date. On the other hand, if you find that there’s no chemistry, be honest and let him know that there’s no interest on your part, thanking him nevertheless for the date. Your friendliness and cordiality will be remembered whether you see each other again or not.

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George M. Akerley is a well-traveled and enlightened gay man, with a fervent desire to help his fellow travelers through the processes of recognition, acceptance, enjoyment and fulfillment as gay. He has struggled in his own life with acceptance of being gay, and knows that others suffer in dreadful ways. By sharing concepts and precepts, he hopes to have a powerful and important impact on others in similar situations.

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