By CB Jones
You are a gay man who has been single far too long. You are good looking and smart, have a great set of friends, and take care of yourself: A “real catch,” you tell your buds. But something deep inside is telling you that the way you have been going about finding a man isn’t working.
As you check yourself in the mirror before getting ready to hit the bars again, you think,
“There has got to be a better way than the gay bars! I keep going week after week and no luck. Will it happen tonight? Oh crap, is that a pimple?”
Seriously, being a gay man and trying to find someone to date is a real chore. There are tons of hurdles to overcome that can make it feel like the deck is stacked against us. One major barrier can be figuring out where to meet someone. While bars can be a fun place to hang out with our friends, they are not always conducive to romantic connections. And let's face it—as time goes on, the inability to meet a quality person can take its toll on our confidence.
After speaking with a number of formerly single gay men who are now happily partnered, I will now reveal seven places to find your next boyfriend that are not a bar.
7 Places to Find Your Next Boyfriend That Are Not a Bar
What follows are seven suggestions for places for gay men to meet a potential boyfriend that do not include a bar or nightclub.
You'll find suggestions you've heard before, some of that are unconventional, and others that may even be silly. But if you're trying to break out of the bars, you may want to give them all a chance. I will add that this list is by no means exhaustive—please feel free to add ideas in the comment section at the end of this article.
You have tried everything else–so what else do you have to lose? Okay—let's look at the list!
1. Dating Apps and Web Sites
You may be thinking that using apps and websites seems silly, but many gay men have met the guy of their dreams by using these types of platforms. Popular ones include OKCupid and Gay.
Others that are not as well known but nonetheless effective include the apps VGL Gay, Mister, and Tinder. Some of these are free while others cost a small amount (or charge a nominal fee for premium services). The great thing about apps and websites is that most all of them nowadays allow the user to input certain search criteria or filter out folks based on user preferences. You can also check MeetUp for gay groups of common interests in your area. If you like outdoor activities, check out Gay Outdoors.
Tips and Pointers:
Some report feeling “desperate” using apps and websites for dating purposes. If you are one of those people, you need to rethink this and do so quickly. According to recent research, there are 41 million people in the US who are currently looking to meet that special someone online. This statistic does not speak to the number of single gay men specifically, but we make up a fair amount of that number.
If you have tried dating using apps and sites before with no luck, consider using a different app. Scroll through your smartphone's options and pick something new. The idea here is to create change. Remember, dating is a numbers game. You have to put yourself out there in order to make it happen.
And here is one final point on this suggestion—while Grindr, Scruff, and other apps are great tools for meeting people, keep in mind that some of these platforms are more sexually charged than others. There is nothing wrong with this but if your goal is to date, using the right app is important.
Keep reading this, and don’t skim because it is important. Reflexively, some may turn their nose up at the thought of using Facebook to “mine for dates,” but here is the thing you may not know: there are tons of gay people on this social media platform. We are talking millions! There are a number of fan pages and groups on Facebook that are specifically designed for gay men who are single and relationship-ready. Type “gay single dating” into Facebook's search box and see what comes up–lots! Remember, the people who are putting themselves out there are doing so with the same motivations that you are–to connect with someone for romance.
Tips and Pointers:
Did you know you can search Facebook for people on your friends list that are single? You sure can! Just punch in “single friends” or “my single friends” in the search box and see what comes up. You might be surprised. Of course, identification as single on Facebook depends on what the user indicates in their profile. But using this approach does allow you to see potential candidates. If they are an acquaintance, why not consider going out for a coffee? Later on the both of you might figure out that was your "first" date. Again, what do you have to lose?
3. LGBQ Events and Fundraisers
As a population, we gays are very giving. Plus, many of us like to get all dolled up and go to events, like fundraisers for the different causes we support. Some examples include cancer-related events, HIV/AIDS-related causes, civil rights galas, and the list goes on. And if you are thinking that you won’t go to one of these events if it means having to go alone, please reconsider! Many gay men make the mistake of bringing a +1 to an event because they are embarrassed to be alone. The problem is that your +1 may be sending a glitchy signal to your potential next man that you are “with” someone. Get rid of the wing-man. Why confuse folks?
Tips and Pointers:
Several gay men have reported that they met the guy of their dreams by offering to be a “Table Captain” for a given event. In this capacity, you help to fill the table by soliciting people for donations. As captain, you have control over who is seated at your table—which is a huge advantage for you! Plus, you get to network with others who may be single and thereby expand your circle of available men.
Go to the fundraiser with the mindset of supporting the cause you care about, but be open to meeting someone new. Attitude is everything. It was the famous French philosopher Renee Descartes who said, "I think –therefore I am." What do you think?
4. Local Community Classes
This particular suggestion has worked well for many gay men who were formerly single. Do you like photography? What about painting, fitness, biking, aviation, cooking, horticulture, and so forth? One of the great things about about taking a class is the built-in advantage of a shared interest! Many classes are free or at little cost. You can find them by doing a Google search using your hometown or county in the search terms and seeing what pops up. Throw in the word “gay” as part of your search and refine your choices even more.
Tips and Pointers:
Chose a community class you are genuinely interested in and not just one where you think all of the hot men will be. We gays come in variety of shapes, ages, and sizes and we aren’t as cookie-cutter as many of the stereotypes people sometimes believe. Remember, it is only a shared interest if it is genuine.
This particular suggestion is a twofer when you think about it. First, you get the benefit of giving the gift of yourself to a cause you care about. Second, you will undoubtedly meet new people. More than a few happily partnered gay men have reported that they met their man through this approach. And so if you care about the environment for example, why not contact your local Greenpeace? If your passion is supporting your local LGBT community center, why not call them to see how they can use your gifts?
Tips and Pointers:
Some people worry about the time commitment required to volunteer for an organization. This is a very valid concern. It helps if you are up front about what you can and cannot do when you speak to the volunteer coordinator. Even if you can only be a greeter for an annual event or work the coat check, for example, it is something. And hey, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
6. Professional Organizations
Yep, you read that right! A professional organization to which you may already belong likely has a chapter dedicated for LGBT members.
Are you a pilot? Why not join the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA).
Are you a lawyer? Do a search on gay lawyer associations and see what pops up. In New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles for example, there are city-focused professional associations for lawyers.
Are you a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, or therapist? Guess what? There are gay chapters just for LGBT folks.
The point here is that whatever you do for employment, there is likely a professional organization with a gay-focused subdivision. Almost all of them hold events, including socials, mixers, and fundraisers. If you belong to one of these associations, great—your work is half done. If not, why not look for one that fits your particular background?
Tips and Pointers:
Use your professional organization’s LGBT subchapter as a way of networking and expanding your circle of available, single gay men. It is completely okay to let people know you are “on the market,” so to speak. As mentioned earlier, dating is a numbers game. But if you don’t play it, you can’t win. It’s all about attitude and knowing what you want, right?
7. Local Gay-Friendly Church or Spiritual Center
Some may recoil at this suggestion, but guess what? Many partnered men have reported meeting their husband at their local gay-friendly church or spiritual center. There are a lot of gay men who are deeply spiritual—and not just the bat-crap, self-loathing types that we often hear about, either.
If you have a local place of worship or other community-based venue for spirituality and you identify with what is offered, why not give it a try? More and more, religious organizations are recognizing that LGBT folks have spiritual needs. You might be surprised at what you find when you do a quick Google search on “gay + spiritual” in your area.
If you are one of those people who are not sure what you believe in, consider taking the Belief-o-Matic self-assessment. It’s free and you will likely learn something about yourself that perhaps you did not know before. Did you know there are gay communities of Agnostics, Quakers, Pagans, Humanists, and so forth? There sure are! And there are gay atheists who congregate, as well. Take the self-assessment to see where you fit in.
Tips and Pointers:
Obviously, going to a local gay-friendly church or spiritual center should be about your spiritual nourishment and well-being. Think about this first before you decide which venue for spirituality is best for you. However, this does not mean you can’t also meet new people, enjoy deeply meaningful connections, and perhaps bump into your new boyfriend!
The dream that one day, you will meet the guy of your dreams is a wonderful thing to dream about. But fantasizing and doing something to make it happen are two different things.
If you want to meet your next boyfriend, then you will have to take control of the process. The Promethean spark of love only happens if there are two available people who happen to be at the right place at the right time.
Gay bars are great but let’s be real–you are over them and have been for a long time! That’s why you read this article, isn’t it? Why not try something new? Tomorrow could be a great day!