A sex ed blog with more
Today, I asked a guest writer to write about gay male courting rituals. Being that I am a hetero female, it seemed most reasonable to have someone with personal experience in that particular dating realm to delve into specifics. Exciting stuff!
On August 26th of this year, my partner Joshua and I celebrated our two-year anniversary. To this day I still laugh about how we met, and sometimes I even contemplate the ‘what-ifs’ of that evening. What if Joshua didn’t go to the bar that night? What if Josh didn’t ask his friends to drunkenly approach me on the dance floor? Why didn’t he just approach me first, without his friends acting as a buffer?
The dating rituals of gay men in Ottawa, and I suppose those of the gay community at large, have always slightly confused me. There are rules which outline how and when you can make a move, how and when you should act, and how and when you should feel. In fact… there are way too many technicalities in gay courting.
Below are some of my favourite gay courting rituals and rules – ones that make me chuckle, ones that make me wonder, and ones that make me shake my head.
The Five Ways in which gay men Approach one Another:
(1) The Stare and Glare:
This is probably my favourite technique used by gay men to signal that they have an interest in you.
The stare and glare technique is most often used at bars and on dance floors. Generally speaking, there is usually a ‘considerable’ amount of distance between the staring individual, and the man he is staring at. The use of the word ‘considerable’ here is to be taken very lightly. The stare and glare is simple and easy to perform: the interested individual glares across the dance floor, above the head of every other bar goer, and he fixates his stare on the man he is interested in. Gay men do this in hopes that the man they’re interested in will glare back, thus confirming a mutual desire to talk/kiss/hookup. If your eyes lock with those of another man for an extended period of time, that means go! In an effort to assure themselves that the mutual glare was not a fluke, many men will quickly look away, and then come back to their target in the crowd. If the same man is still returning the stare and glare, there is a good chance for physical interaction to occur between the two individuals.
In my dating experience, I have found that gay men will sometimes move closer to you after an affirmative mutual glare so that they can have another affirmative interaction before actually making a full-fledged move. This final and more affirmative response may be a nudge, a smile, a quick dance, or another mutual glare. On a funnier note, sometimes the stare and glare goes horribly wrong and you attract attention from the wrong man! Other times you are the recipient of a stare from a man who resembles a deer caught in headlights, which makes for an uncomfortable yet funny scenario.
(2) The Bump and Grind:
The bump and grind technique is sometimes a fool proof way to make a move on the man you are interested in. It involves no real upfront interaction, and in many cases, has no awkward consequences for either individual if there is no mutual desire to pursue the connection.
After having scoped the dance floor for eligible bachelors, you and your friend group will shift on the dance floor towards the man (or men) that has caught your attention. Once your group is positioned beside the man in question, you can gingerly back into him and dance against him. Most often times your ass will be touching his ass while you dance away to the music. Ultimately, the man you are interested in will feel you dancing against him, and can either turn around to properly grind with you, or he can simply move away if he isn’t interested.
I’ve had my fair share of both reactions in the past – I have turned around and began grinding with the men bumping into me, and other times men have had no interest in turning around to dance with me. I would say, though, that this is the least intrusive way to approach someone at the gay bar, and the one way with the least amount of personal consequences if things do not pan out in your favour. If someone doesn’t want to acknowledge your casual dancing advances, no matter, as you’re surrounded with your friends and can continue dancing the night away! You can simply blame the casual bumping of asses to the fact that the dance floor is packed with people, or to the fact that you’re an awful dancer. WHATEVER YOU WANT.
(3) The Fag-Hag:
The fag-hag is a gay man’s female friend who accompanies him to the gay bar, and who often times does his preliminary sexual bidding.
Side note: Joshua recently told me that many gay men have begun calling their fag-hags ‘fruit flies’ in an attempt to stop using the word ‘fag.’ The name ‘fruit fly’ doesn’t sit well with me either, as it equates gay men to ‘fruits’ – anyway, that’s another blog entry completely. Also, flies are annoying… I doubt girls would want to be called flies.
The fag-hag will act as the gay man’s agent – if a gay man is interested in someone, he will tell his fag-hag and they will discuss. Is he cute enough? Do I have a chance with him? Etc. The fag-hag will boost her male friend’s confidence in regards to scoring this hot man, and then will approach the man in question. She will casually talk you up to the man you’re interested in, point you out in the crowd, and will test the waters. Your fag-hag will see if the other man is interested in being introduced to you. If the man is receptive, your fag-hag will most likely bring him over to you so you two can chat. If the man is not receptive, your fag-hag will courier over the bad news. She will deliver the bad news but in such a way that you probably won’t feel bad about being rejected. She’s you’re friend, so she will do everything in her power to lessen the blow to your ego. Your fag-hag is a buffer between you and others; she will buffer you from the hurt that comes from rejection.
My fag-hags have always reassured and comforted me after a deal was not brokered between them and the man I was eyeing – they’ve said that the guy was actually ugly up close, or too short for me, or not really my type. Having a good and trustworthy fag-hag by your side is essential. In other instances, my fag-hags have succeeded in introducing me to some great people, which resulted in some good fun.
Sometimes fag-hags will take the initiative to approach one another to broker a deal, unbeknownst to either gay man. The fag-hags from each respective gay male will discuss the potential for their friends to meet, and then will pitch the idea to their home base. The gay men are uninvolved in the deal until they decide to either accept or decline the proposed meeting.
Peacocking is a tactic that can be used by a gay man when he wants to grab the attention of another gay man, or a large group of gay men. Let me illustrate the situation using a quote from Wikipedia: “The male peacock is predominantly blue with a fan-like crest of spatula-tipped wire-like feathers and is best known for the long train made up of elongated upper-tail covert feathers which bear colourful eyespots. These stiff and elongated feathers are raised into a fan and quivered in a display during courtship.”
Thus, when a gay man wants to court another gay man, he can flaunt his assets in order to grab the other’s attention.
Peacocking is not new, nor is it limited to the gay scene…. It is quite common in the hetero bar scene as well. Gay peacocking, though, can be quite hilarious since it is most often times an over-the-top display of twerking, grinding and bend-and-snapping.
(5) The Secret Pinch:
I have been the victim of the secret pinch far too many times since first coming out five years ago. The secret pinch is very straightforward: if you find someone attractive, you wait for an opportune moment to pitch their ass, and then quickly look away so as to avoid their curious reaction. Some men are bold enough to look you straight in the eye after pinching your ass. It’s fine. It’s a direct way to grab someone’s attention, but at least be upfront about it – don’t look away! That’s lame.
6 Months Means you’re Married:
One other point I would like to discuss is the longevity of gay relationships.
I have always been a relationship kind of man – I have had three serious relationships, the one with Joshua being the longest and the best, but I have also had my fair share of one-night-stands, and casual hookups. One thing that I will never understand in gay relationships, though, is how fast things progress. I like to take things slow. Very slow. Painfully slow when you compare it to the usual gay relationship.
After one week, if you haven’t had sex, you’re weird. Your relationship is weird. I am unsure whether that is a standard, or just the pressure I have felt as a gay man in Ottawa, and with the gay men I have dated in the past.
There is a ton of expectation, sexual and emotional, because we as men need to be virile and constantly horny. That isn’t reality. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have sex. I like to have a lot of sex… but it doesn’t all have to happen within the first two weeks.
After 6 months of being in a relationship you shouldn’t be considered ‘married in the gay community.’
If that is the standard in the gay community, after two years of being with Joshua, I have figuratively married him, had a family and raised kids with him, and now we’ve finally bought a condo in an old age home.