While procrastinatingly excavating clutter from around my apartment today, I found Jim Sullivan's classic Boyfriend 101, subtitled A Gay Guy's Guide to Dating, Romance, and Finding True Love. I totally forgot I ever consulted such a thing, although my first thought was that I must have just skimmed it. But, no, I actually annotated the book, up till page 23; after that the marginalia disappears.
Here's some of what I marked up when I read the book four or five years ago. These tips may be useful to you singletons out there (a category that no longer, natch, includes me).
- "But dating is more than a means to an end. It can be an end in itself. It's a process that I ask you—and you should ask yourself—to be open to." (xi)
- "I had to tell him it can sometimes take more than a few dates to feel sexual attraction. Besides...he should not close himself off to the possibility of meeting men who might become friends." (xii)
- "Sex is a wonderful thing, but a must for the conscious dater is to get to know a man before having sex." (xv)
- "You're having a date when you meet a guy at a specified place and time in pursuit of the possibility of future romantic involvement. The operative words are possibility and future; throw the notion of immediate gratification out the window, because delayed gratification is part of the new paradigm." (Emphasis Sullivan's, 4)
- "The inner teenager is the playful, shy, sexy, seductive self-conscious, scared, and romantic part of us that wants to go out on dates, but may not possess the social and emotional skills to do it." (5)
- "If you're waiting for your prince to come, the length of the wait may surprise you. Ninety percent of men are not going to approach you—you're going to have to approach them. Even gorgeous guys need to make the first move." (12)
- "Of course, rejection takes on added weight when we've been intimate—have shared a deep part of ourselves—and then get that awful call: 'I like you but I don't think there's a match.' This can cause anyone to go temporarily insane." (16)
- "Ultimately, though, the best answer to rejection is a four-letter word: 'Next!'" (16)
- "You can keep dating fun by not focusing on the outcome—'Will he or won't he be my future husband?'—and, instead, staying 'in the moment' with your date. Suggest to your date fun places to go (an amusement park, a wrestling competition) and do (drive to the ocean, go horseback riding). Stop seeing a date as a talkathon in which each man spills his guts for an hour or two! You can talk and have fun at the same time." (17)
- "'Being' with someone, as opposed to 'being seen' with someone, takes precedence." (23)
Indeed, boys, it does—it really does. Apparently this last tip was the most impactful for me, because I didn't make another check mark in the margins for the remainder of the book. Who knows if I even read to the end? But if you'd like to, let me know—I'll give you the book for free. After all, as Sullivan observes, "Carl Jung said that when we take an action, there must be some positive payoff down the line or the subconscious will sabotage future action" (12). In other words, let me let you help yourself and snag that man!