Dear Richard: Lonely Country Boy Seeks Same
This journey has been a long and twisting one. Living in a small town makes it even longer. I have just about everything I need for a young man about to turn 23. Full time employment with benefits, a car, school debt is almost paid off (another year of budgeting), and I am looking for a beautiful piece of land to start building a home. I have very little desire to live in a city. There is, however, one thing missing. A man.
Call me love lorn, but I, like so many other young country guys, don't know what to do. I have tried online dating to meet a man, but to no avail. What I would like to do is meet up at a local coffee shop and just have a conversation with an intelligent guy. Not for lack of trying have I come up empty handed. I'm openly gay in my community and know much of the townsfolk because of my job.
I suppose my question for you then is how/where do you suggest I find a quality gay man in a small town country setting? Any advice would be helpful!
With hope in my heart,
Well, writing to Dear Richard is one way! I'm sure by your description alone that I will have a sudden influx of email for contact information to meet you. Unfortunately, Avuncular Liaison is not in my job description. So, let's break it down a bit:
We have heard the stories that rural life for the gay man can be a challenge. Many guys tend to migrate toward urban centers that give them a bigger pool to swim in. It is interesting that the bigger pool doesn't always yield results. The dazzle of choice often makes meeting someone and connecting a problem. This is especially true for guys who are very focussed on snaring that partner. Some men can be discouraged when a potential mate comes with the usual human flaws, and because the number of men to choose from is not an issue in the big city, they move on.
Then they complain that they can't find a husband.
The country boy has a different problem. He has made the only choice he feels comfortable with as far as a living location. But that location usually offers many fewer choices of mates, if any at all. Meeting some nice young man at a rural coffee shop is such a lovely picture, but the likelihood is pretty slim.
Some of the more complex problems the country boy encounters can be a homophobic environment, and a general lack of understanding about same-sex relationships. A tough road to hoe. These restrictions can also lead to a few common, if tragic, mistakes, the most common one being barking up the wrong tree. We have had more than a few people out there in the hinterlands tell us of aching infatuations with local straight boys. Sometimes these crushes are even consummated in some way, which can lead to further heartbreak and some painful confusion.
Brokeback Mountain was an epically beautiful film because the story was so uncommon — not because of a high probability.
So, young man, what has to happen to make it happen?
First of all, patience. There will be many hoops to jump through. Consider this, there is a whole industry with web sites and magazines for straight men to meet women willing to come to Alaska. It's like a bear jamboree! They are having a tough time connecting and they are heterosexual! Better to recalibrate your expectations, and go back to the online options with a new goal: simply to connect.
When making friends online, try doing just that. Connect with folks that are interesting to you, not just guys you think might fit your idea of a husband. Searching for a lover is like putting the cart before the horse, to borrow a rural phrase. It sets you up to not connect in a natural way with people. Besides, friends you make online that share your interests may have friends that you might like to meet. The goal is to open doors to the world in general. Then, at least, you can have some digital companionship while you stay open to the possibility of love coming through the internet.
But that's just a first step. Since you are the one that is determined to live where you do, you might need to be the one that does some traveling when it's time to meet some people face-to-face. Once again, if you meet someone online that is promising, going at them all gang-busters is not going to get you what you want.
Patience is the keyword here. You may have to be patient for a long while. Many people in areas filled with potential mates often struggle to connect as well, sometimes for years. In the meantime, keep making friends where you are, they may have a gay cousin who visits for the summer — you never know. Stay engaged with the things that interest you (and hopefully that includes some service work for other people.) Unless you keep developing as a person, you won't have much to offer when the opportunity comes around.
Best of luck (and did I mention patience?) and keep us informed of how it goes.
PS: Gay.com is a great place to post personals as it's not just a hook up site. RFD Magazine for the rural gay guy has been around for decades. Yes, it's mostly older guys, but they may have some interesting insights for you.