Aug 14, 2011

[Technicolor Musings] About Being Single

Over at PG4M, a local queer-centric forum, a contact asked about posts related to being loveless and single. And looking back at past Technicolor Musings posts,  have to admit that I've written a lot about relationships and the concerns around them but I haven't spent that much time talking about being single.

Flickr: nettsu - 365.107 - reflections (a melancholy self-portrait)
365.107 - reflections (a melancholy self-portrait)
by Michael Verhoef / nettsu via Flickr.

I admit that I'm probably not a very good expert on the subject, mainly because a lot of my thinking has already adapted to being in a relationship and thus the focus remains there. But if anything, maybe my insights can help those who want to be in relationships, if only to act as a point of comparison and maybe even a possible peg or target to attain. While I know my geeky gay relationship is not necessarily typical when it comes to local queer circles, it should still provide some degree of insight, right?

So let's take a stab at this, shall we?

Now a lot of my statements here are largely based on my interactions with my single friends and the kind of advice I end up giving them. I'm not claiming these are universally true - just that these ideas may prove useful for certain readers among you. And admittedly for others, it'll probably seem like a bunch of crap, if you catch my drift.

First, Don't Let Your Social Status Define You. More often than not I've encountered single gay friends who seem to have reorganized their life around the fact that they are single. It's all the ever talk about, rant about, whine about, cry about or what have you. Their depressions are about being single or having just left a relationship. You should be familiar with this kind of situation by now.

While being in a relationship is definitely important, great and wonderful, it is not the be-all, end-all of your existence. You are not your relationship status. As an individual, you are so much more than that. And when you continue to wallow in the fact that you are single, chances are you're going to stay single for quite a while.

So what's the alternative? Focus on the more important parts of your life like advancing your career, furthering your education, supporting your family and bettering yourself, to name a few. And as you grow more successful in other areas, your self-confidence will grow as well. Then you'll find people more interested in you since let's face it, a lot of attraction stems from envy.

Flickr: N!(K -- loveforphotography -- Hot guy walking on beach in San Diego, Cali
Hot guy walking on beach in San Diego, Cali
by Nick P / N!(K -- loveforphotography -- via Flickr.

Second, Don't Let Physical Parameters Limit You, and this is a two-way street. Far too often I find that members of the community put too much stock on appearances despite how our physical traits are probably the most volatile parts of us. The hot stud that you see today will still grow up to be a balding and pudgy older man. Genetics are against us so let's not use such a shallow parameter as one of our primary metrics for measuring the worth of other guys and even ourselves.

On the one hand, learn to accept who you are and that includes the body that you have. If you're unhappy about that, then be ready to put in the work for your own sake and not to put yourself into a meat market. It'll be a lot more fulfilling to watch your progress as you get more and more fit because it's something you're doing for yourself instead of working out to somehow compete with younger, more fit members of the species.

And on the other hand, don't use physical traits as your primary filter for people. A guy is a lot more than his basic statistics and the number of abs that he has showing. Physical beauty does not indicate what a person's personality will be like, how funny they are and whether or not they'll appreciate the quirky habits that you have. While I'm not saying you should aim for people who instinctively repulse you, but I am saying that it's important to broaden your horizons and look past the physical. There are some amazing guys out there who a heads and shoulders above the rest in the personality department even if they'll never succeed in a modeling career.

Flickr: sea turtle - Pleased to Meet You
Pleased to Meet You
by sea turtle via Flickr.

Third, Sex Is Not A Handshake. While I'm not being unrealistic enough to argue that single guys should not have sex - that's admittedly part of the program. However sex on the first date, one-night stands and hook-ups are all activities that have a lower-than-average hit-rate when it comes to finding a relationship. Sexual compatibility is indeed important, but this is more of a skill rather than an innate aspect of their personality. Thus two partners can learn to work better together sexually while they can never get over differences in personalty without great difficulty.

Thus it helps to really think about how you go about meeting people. If you wait for the sex to be mind-blowing before you even consider a relationship, imagine all the great, decent and truly "relationship-worthy" guys you're turning down since you may not have connected sexually right off the bat. If anything, a lot of guys require some level of familiarity and comfort before being open to an activity as intimate as sex. Plus it makes a heck of a lot more sense to want to be with that kind of a guy who puts value into the sexual act instead of the next guy who treats it as common as scratching an itch.

Lastly, Have Fun. There's a lot of good things to be said about being single. It means more time to explore your other interests outside of school or your job. It's a chance to be more creative like work on writing, photography or even cooking. It means time to enjoy having pets or getting into athletic competitions like marathons and the like.

When single guys get too hung-over on the mere fact that they are single or that their partner left them before, it makes them rather gloomy and depressing to be with. And nobody wants to date a guy who spends all his time talking about his exes or how sad it is being single and how glad he is that he agreed on this date or whatever.

Admittedly, this may not seem like much, but I think these are the big ticket items that need to be address first. We can deal with more specific cases like post-break-up recovery or those sorts of things in time. Although it would help me a lot of you guys tried sending in questions to help me understand what parts of single life that you think I might be able to help with. If anything, you know that I'm more than willing to try.
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  1. Nice post. Kudos for advocating individualism and on applying a humanistic touch on things.
    As what the Holstee Manifesto suggested:
    "If you're looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you once you start doing things you love."
    Most single people seem to forget this.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the read. I feel I still need to spend more time thinking about this further and putting my thoughts together, but I thought this was a good first discussion on the subject.

  3. I would like to believe that the key to this is to love yourself.

    Like what I always say:
    We try to find people to complete us. Dapat buo at kumpleto na tayo umpisa palang.
    We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our friends. We owe it to the people that we will meet.
    Nobody wants to carry excess baggages especially if it's not yours.

    Mga Pagpapatotoo:
    Once you begin this path to self empowerment, you'd realize that there is a lot more into this world than being single, by choice or otherwise.

    If you've been around and hooked up or dated half the population of a small city, you'll definitely agree that looks is just a bonus.

    I've reconnected with some of my contemporaries in the Public Rooms of Yahoo and agreed that there should be proper compartmentalization with the youth today, especially if you can't handle complications. Keep your ONS's as so, friends as friends and dates/boyfriends very clear.

    Being single isn't really that bad. At the end of the day, it all boils down to character.

  4. Your last line captures it best, I think. Thanks for taking the time to comment - very much appreciated.