Vancouver
3 min

Find yourself and your prince will follow

Still looking for love

Dear Dr Ren,
 
People keep writing to you with questions about dangerous and foolish sexual kinks, as if they’re so jaded that they need to almost kill themselves to make sex exciting enough. But what about those of us who are still interested in (and looking for) LOVE?
 
I came out of the closet a very long time ago and have been ready ever since to find Mr Right and settle down. Already, some guys are thinking I’m past my best-before date. That’s hardly fair. So where is Mr Right?  
 
I feel like a guy at a banquet table who hasn’t received his dinner yet. All around me, people are enjoying their delicious meals — or worse, they are complaining about them or sending them back. And some are even getting second and third helpings, while here I am, getting hungrier and hungrier with still no food in sight.
 
I seem to be reasonably attractive, judging by the number of guys who have been interested but never seem to be my type.
 
The guys who really are what I’m looking for are either spoken for already or aren’t interested in me. It’s very frustrating. 
 
Most of the time, I’m fine with being alone. But when I see happy couples, I feel a growing anger that I’m being shortchanged in life and denied something others don’t deserve but get anyway and take for granted. So how do I either find Mr Right or get over the feeling that I’m being cheated?
 
Where is MINE? 


 
Dear Where is Mine,
 
I love your letter. You so eloquently express the frustration that single folk feel intermittently when they compare their lives to those of couples. I can’t find much to argue with in what you say. The grass does indeed look greener on the other side of the fence.
 
You are correct, too, in your complaint that those who make loving commitments often fail to pay those relationships the attention they deserve. They complain rather than communicate and sometimes leave rather than do the hard work required to mend a broken place.
 
Nevertheless, from where they sit, you’ve got it made in the shade. You don’t have to accommodate anyone else’s unreasonable requests, you have your freedom and independence, and you answer to no one. Your options look sparkly compared to their time-weary domestic boredom.
 
You mention being past your “best before” date. It is more difficult to find love as you get older. For one thing, our society erases you from the image of sexually desirable subjects. Secondly, you are fishing in a much smaller pond.
 
Compare your situation with that of an 18-year-old arriving on a large university campus. Almost everyone he meets is single or potentially so, peer-aged and youthfully beautiful. By the time you hit 50 or 60, that cache has shrunk considerably — and you’re gay, so your “supply” is already limited to only about 10 percent of the population!
 
But let’s wipe our eyes and figure out what you can do about this situation. You tell me that a number of guys have been attracted to you but they weren’t your “type.” Conversely, you set your sights on men who are unavailable or don’t want to shake the peaches off your tree. Perhaps that bears some examination.
 
Have you fallen victim to the “Not perfect; I’ll pass” philosophy? Might you be eliminating potential mates because they pursue you, and you thrill only to the chase and not the capture?
 
Are you overly critical of others’ differences? Examine realistically who and what you are actually seeking. 
 
At what stage of courtship do you stall? Do you refuse even first-date invitations, already convinced of the futility of the venture? Do you do well for three (or six or nine) months and then bolt or sabotage the relationship?
 
Have you experienced a great love affair that failed and been looking ever since for its non-existent replacement? Do you have a pattern?
 
At the end of your letter you remind me that “Most of the time, I’m fine with being alone.” You may be stuck in one of those inescapable human conditions in which you long for what you do not have, but not quite enough to change things sufficiently to get something else.
 
We all bitch and moan and wish for more. Still, we’re winners when we’re happy “most of the time.” 
 
If you really want to change your status, do everything in your power to do so. Design a riveting personal ad, tell your friends you are open to set-ups, take classes and join varied social clubs where you will meet other gay men. Take some chances.
 
You are not alone in your longing. Others are looking for Mr Right just as you are. Your job is not so much to find him as to become him, and make yourself available.
 
If you are irresistible, your prince will find you. 
 
A line from a song fits well here: “When you play guitar the way he do, you know that sooner or later, somebody gonna dance.” 
 

Got a question for Dr Ren?