Life in any city can be tough when it comes to finding love. No scratch that, life in any city can be tough when it comes to finding anything. Of course I’m not talking about hooking up with a cute guy in a nightclub. I mean finding one of those rom-com moments where two people meet in a bar or on a street and instantly click.
Being a 90s boy, like many of us out there, I base there entire romantic knowledge on the show that taught us it, Sex and the City. The show taught all of us who watched it that even though you can get dragged though a war zone of un-datable guys, horrible one night stands and countless failed relationships, we can eventually find that one Big Love.
The issue nowadays is that like everything else, the dating world has moved into the technological era.
We now live our lives on Facebook and Grindr and it can feel like no one actually goes on a date any more. It’s a sad and depressing thought, but it seems the new millennium brought about new rules and regulations when it comes to relationships.
I like to think about it like this. For the last six months I have lived in my flat, I have enjoyed that very 90s tradition of sitting at a window to enjoy a cigarette. In all that time I have never once seen anyone else in my neighborhood do the same. Instead they go for a walk or stand outside. A huge part of cigarette etiquette has literally been thrown out of the window and onto the street, where there is almost no chance at all of catching the eye of a fellow smoker for long enough to establish an attraction.
This is the same in the dating world. Because we live our lives with our eyes fixed on the screens of our phones, we are missing the multiple opportunities that are walking right past us.
That hot guy you were looking at on Grindr just walked right by you. The guy in Starbucks who you think is oh so your type, he doesn’t recognize you because you look different from your online profile. The opportunity to click with someone has literally removed itself from our daily lives. And it sucks.
I feel like we should all know better. I mean come on, it was hard enough in 2004 to muster the courage to ask a flesh and blood guy on a date, now we completely remove the chance to practice it meaning our confidence is even lower than it was back then! Its madness!
How the hell are we supposed to have those moments when we let the chances fade away? More to the point, why is no one else up in arms about this? Surely I cant be the only one?
Just as I was about to give up all hope that my dating knowledge will ever find me a nice guy, something strange happened. About one week ago I was sitting on my windowsill, enjoying a cigarette, when the unbelievable happened. One of my neighbors was doing the same.
I knew that this was a new practice for her because she had lived across the road from me for as long as I had lived in my building, and never once had I seen her do this. It seemed she had seen me and thought “why not?”
It is a long shot I know to think that it was 100% me who influenced her, but then something more amazing happened. Last night when I was sitting at my window, there he was. The cute guy who lived one block down from the girl (and had a very nice right up on Grindr) was smoking at his window and looking at me.
This was it; this was my first Moment since 2010. Could it be? Surly not?
Just as these thoughts are flying through my mind he smiles at me, looks down and giggles a little before re establishing eye contact. A classic move. I smiled back, oh god I think I’m actually blushing.
As I allow myself to get caught up in the moment, I hardly realize that my cigarette is now only a filter. So I look at him one last time and smile before going back into my room. The rush was better than I remembered. And it got even better.
I opened my Grindr a few moments later to find a message from cute smoker neighbor himself.
“Hey you, I didn’t know you were so close… next time you should let me know when your smoking and we can sit outside mine?”
We have a smokers date tomorrow. It seems 90s influence can still serve you well, as long as your prepared to show it off in real life.
As my years as a teenager are entering there final stage (that’s right, the big 19 is right around the corner…HELP) and I look back at the last few years of my life, I cannot believe how drastically things have changed. For a start, this blog would never exist, because 2 years ago I wasn’t out of the closet and the fear of being discovered, as its author would have stopped me writing it.
It was as I pondered back through the last 4 years, I had a sudden realization; I used to be so very lost.
I was living in a world where I felt like I was the only boy who liked other boys. A world where the possibility of disappointing my friends and family because of what I was stopped me from being happy. It was a world filled with loneliness.
I knew what I was, and at the time I hatted myself because of it. I was terrified, I grew up in a small town where the world ‘Gay’ was used to describe things as silly and irrelevant, where boys are supposed to love girls, and the norm (at the time) suggested gay kids get bullied for being themselves.
My universe when I was 14 was a dark and scary place. It was around this time that I decided to type the words “I think I might be gay” into Google – I still have no idea what I was expecting to come up, but I can tell you this, I got a very good answer.
The first few results displayed articles by publications such as the Times and the Guardian, the next few had links to ‘Bebo’ pages, and then there was one for a YouTube channel. It was at this point I met Davey Wavey.
The Google link took me to a YouTube channel, which belonged to a guy named Davey. He was 23, and made video blogs about his life, his experiences and his sexuality. When I the opened the page, a video appeared titled “when I knew I was gay”. This video changed my life.
I watched the video about 20 times before I went to bed that night. It was the first thing I had ever seen which made me not only proud of what I was, but happy. In the video, Davey talked about his own experience and I could not believe how similar we were.
He talks about how – like me – he knew he liked men from a young age, but only found out there was others like him when he was 12. I’m still not too sure what it was about the video that made me so happy, perhaps it was simply finding out that I was still ‘normal’.
After my first experience with Davey Wavey, I regularly watched his videos, kept up with his blog and ultimately became an aspiring biggest fan. Since that day 5 years ago, many other gay YouTubers have made their voices heard and given advice to other young men who are lost in their own identities. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had It not been for YouTube. Would I still be lost? Would I still be depressed? Would I even be here?
All I know is this, thanks to the invention of social networking I was able to not only discover part of who I am, but meet other people who have been through the same trials as myself. On this occasion, when it comes to us gays, Social networking is most defiantly a friend, because it has placed not only myself, but also thousands of worried gay teens on the right path.