Dating is fraught with dead ends and disappointments. While searching for “the one,” you will come across many who are not The One — or the second or 33rd in terms of desirability or compatibility. Whether you find them on Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, or at the local bar, the taxonomy of gay male dating experience tends to break down to twelve major categories. Dating these guys makes you appreciate the normal ones so much more.
1. The Flake
This guy always seems to have something better to do than commit to a date. You may have something down on the books and then the day of, he’s come down with tonsillitis and a house fell on his grandmother. He might flake so flagrantly before you meet that you will never even give him another chance. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
2. Hot but dumb
You were instantly attracted to this person at the bar when you caught each other’s eyes; unfortunately, they had to ruin the moment by saying something completely inane. You could be with this guy if they only used their mouth for non-verbal exchanges or had a lobotomy. If they spent even a fraction as much time lifting a book as they do weights in the gym, they might have something more to offer. You’ll probably go out with them a few times, and by “go out,” I mean invite them into your bed. As soon as the deed is done, you’ll want them gone.
3. 0 attraction but you’re bored and desperate
Sometimes you just want to go on a date and there aren’t any exciting prospects lined up so you’ll accept an invitation from a guy who looks like Janet Reno’s nephew. He’ll probably be really nice and want to see you again, but the lack of chemistry and the Tinder message from the hot but dumb guy will pull you away.
4. In the closet
They could be single on the down-low or married with kids and living in the suburbs; either way, they will not be inviting you to meet the family for Thanksgiving dinner, ever. This relationship is bad for your self-esteem and has no real future, unless you’re comfortable with being known as “the roommate” for the rest of your life.
5. One and done
You think everything went really well on that first date. Conversation was stimulating. They were attractive. Maybe they even paid that tab at the end. But a few days pass, and nothing. You check in for a sign of life and silence prevails. You resign yourself to the fact that it wasn’t meant to be and harbor a secret hope that they fell off a bridge.
6. The obsessive
Be careful not to mistake obsession for love. This is a guy that, after a couple dates together, is already shopping for matching wedding bands and talking about honeymoon destinations. They’ve probably been starved for love for a while and are desperate for a relationship with any shadow of a compatible human partner. Let this one down lightly if you don’t want to get phone calls about them standing under your window at 2AM (seriously, this has happened to me).
7. Way older guy
At first you’re enthralled by his worldliness and stability — so this is what a mature relationship feels like you think as you cozy into his well-decorated abode, complete with HBO and cable on demand. He’ll teach you a thing or two about life and love. But the man is old enough to be your dad, and ultimately, even while you enjoy his wise companionship, you can’t stop yourself from doing the math in your head…when you’re 35, he’ll be 60. You don’t want to responsible for cleaning someone’s colostomy bag that early.
8. The younger guy
One doesn’t typically start dating younger until mid-30s, upon the realization that you are no longer always the younger guy and insecurity about thinning hair and frown lines pushes you to look for validation among younger suitors in reassurance that you’re still attractive. The younger guy will expect you to pay for them most of the time, but also not be a boring old man that never wants to leave the house.
9. The slut
Creeping in the casual encounters section of Craigslist and lurking hungrily on Grindr all hours of the day, the slut is a common species in the genus of gay men. They seem to have been placed on this earth with the sole objective of sexual intercourse with as many partners as possible. You might take one home on a lonely, drunken night and the next morning the only memory of them is the burning sensation while peeing.
10. The asexual
The mythical unicorn of the human sexuality spectrum, the asexual may in fact be attracted to men, but they so seldom act upon non-existent impulses that they are basically sex-less. They are often handsome and great conversationalists, but it seems like they were assembled in a Ken Doll factory without working anatomical parts. The asexual ultimately makes a great friend as their chronic lack of romantic partners gives them ample free time.
11. Mr. Perfect-on-Paper
This guy went to prep school and an Ivy League college, and has a great job that affords him all the accouterments of success. You can see marriage, a home together, vacations to exotic beaches with matching luggage sets from Valextra. Unfortunately, as perfect as this guy is on paper, he harbors some massive flaw that will eventually come to surface and ruin your picture-perfect fantasy. You’d at first be willing to overlook it, but eventually it becomes unbearable and you have to recycle Mr. Perfect-on-Paper. After all, hello: why do you think he’s still single in the first place?
12. The normal guy
Also known as the “nice guy,” who is so often overlooked by gay men and women alike, the normal guy seems to be free of most hang-ups, is gainfully employed, and someone your mom would like. They may not be the most handsome, or the most successful, but you find you can talk to them like you would your best friend. Depending on what stage you have reached in your life, you may or may not appreciate the rarity of these qualities and recognize the datability of this guy. Snatch him, and fast — the normal guy is woefully rare.