Now that marriage equality is legal in 38 states, I find myself wondering whether I'll ever walk down the aisle. At one time in my life, I fantasized about getting married in matching white tuxedos. I envisioned a handsome groom, spectacular reception, and romantic honeymoon. We'd live in a beautiful home with a white picket fence, have two children and a two-car garage; a queer utopia.
These were the dreams of a man in his twenties. As I approach 40, though, my thoughts have changed drastically.
I’ve spent the past 15 years kissing frogs, having my heart broken by emotionally non-committal guys, some with seemingly insurmountable drug or alcohol addictions, or some in “relationships” who proclaimed their love but were unwilling to leave their boyfriends.
I’ve tried the internet and dating apps with no luck. It doesn’t make you feel great either if no one likes your photo; rejection is rejection, no matter the form. I used to enjoy going to a bar, meeting guys and exchanging numbers. It was fun to meet for dinner, engage in conversation, and maybe even sleep together. These days I find it difficult to get a guy to commit to a coffee date, never mind spending a lifetime together! The moment I express a semblance of interest they think I’m ready to put a ring on it and run in the opposite direction.
My friends keep telling me “he’s out there” or “he will come when you least expect it,” but I’m tired of all the usual clichéd affirmations. Maybe they're tired of my single sob stories.
It makes me even more angry when I hear “your standards are too high.” Shouldn’t they be? I want to be with someone I find attractive but I’m also looking for someone emotionally and financially secure. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Finding a husband is no longer for me about emulating an image of a 1950s nuclear family — it’s more about finding someone who I truly enjoy spending time with. Someone who respects me, makes me laugh, someone I could travel with. I go to sleep every night alone, with my cat. I go to the movies by myself, and dine out at a table for one.
You might think I’d be bitter at this point, but I’m not. I remain hopeful. “He’s just lost,” I tell myself. My soulmate simply needs a GPS.
When I look at the marriages of my friends and family, I understand it’s not easy. It’s also not easy doing everything on your own, not having anyone to support you, not having someone to lean on when times are tough, split the rent, or help carry the laundry when your back goes out. I’m pretty self-sufficient but it would be nice to have an extra set of hands once in a while; a true partner in life.
And speaking of extra hands — sex! As a single gay man, my options are bleak. Go to a bar, you say, and drunkenly pick up a stranger. Go on some app, you say, and invite a stranger into your home. Well, what if you don’t want to do that?
I'm done with one-night stands and casual sex. I can’t even remember the last time I slept with someone I actually cared about. Emotionally-connected sex would be refreshing.
Seems like the odds are against me. But when I decided to live my truth as a gay man, thankfully generations that came before me had already fought for love, marriage and equality. I can now go to City Hall and marry anyone I want. That is a blessing and I am grateful for that right. Yes, in most states, same-sex marriage is legal but it’s up to us to create the lives we dreamed of.
As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser), the world has changed, and my wedding fantasy might have changed, but to finding love, I still say “I do.”
DAMON GONZALEZ is a business manager at Bon Appetit and an actor, writer, and commenter.