Photos play an integral part in online dating success, and the photo of “Ed” left a lot to be desired. I could see a camel, a lot of sand and a little spot of a man riding the camel. It was the only picture “Ed” posted in his very well written profile. Because of his ability with words, I decided I would respond to his email.
“Ed” was a good conversationalist in the online chat, however he seemed to be very guarded and rather nervous. My experience told me that when a man exhibits extreme cautious communication, he’s most likely in a relationship and looking for some side action. “Ed” swore he was single; his challenge is that he is deeply closeted. His guard was up stronger than the Royal Guard on point at Buckingham Palace. In spite of holding his cards closely, I learned that we did have some things in common and he was within the age range of my dating pool.
Is the fact that “Ed” was so deeply in the closet a reason not to go on a date with him?
I agreed to meet him for a drink at the rooftop at the Peninsula, one of my favorite hotel bars in Manhattan. The spot of a man riding a camel turned out to be quite dashing, complete with a winning, welcoming smile. The conversation with “Ed” was very pedestrian- travel, food, and Manhattan neighborhoods. Nothing too deep, until I decided to grab my trusty shovel.
“So “Ed”, you seem to be rather guarded. Witness protection, huh?”
“Oh no… I’m just not out. Nobody knows I’m gay,” he responded with a nervous chuckle.
“You might be surprised. Good looking single man in his 50s can set off the “bet he’s gay” alarm”, I responded. “Besides, it really doesn’t matter because you’re on a gay dating site and it’s 2016 so there’s really no reason to be fearful.”
“I disagree. People think I’m straight, and I like that.”
“I see. And you like that. Is your name really “Ed”?”
He didn’t answer, which I believe was an answer. “Ed” didn’t budge in his resolve; he set up residency in his closet and he wasn’t coming out for me or for anyone.
As we wrap up Pride Month, it makes me sad that there are some gay people out there that still can’t publicly own the fact that they’re gay. It makes me sad to acknowledge that there are some people- regardless of sexual orientation- that aren’t fully embracing the magic that is them. It just makes me sad that people don’t embrace their own personal truth, whatever that truth may be.
If we can’t love ourselves, how can we fully expect to find someone to love us?
I know I’m sounding a little like RuPaul, but it’s a message that needs constant repeating. When beginning your journey in the dating scene, you need to do so with a full arsenal. By that, daters need to enter the arena knowing with certainty that they’re already in love with themselves. Daters need to embrace every facet of themselves, from their looks to their career. Self-love leads to confidence, and confidence is key.
Dating is really no different than selling. You’ve got to believe in the product that is you, or you’re going to remain on the shelf.
“Ed” obviously doesn’t fully believe in his product. He doesn’t accept himself on a basic level, and with that he will likely remain alone on the long term. Unless he finds someone identical in mindset, I believe he will likely remain single.
My hope is that all daters believe in the product that is them. Believe it so much that you deeply want to shout it from a rooftop. Trust me, it may take some time, but the perfect customer will hear.