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Abby H. '20

Oct 7, 2017

[Guest Post] Dating Is Hard

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

A friend of mine (whose honesty, even under cover of anonymity, is something to strive for) wanted to release this into the world, as it has been an interestingly prominent part of his MIT experience. Knowing that what's in here and what has been strategically left out could fill a few pages of MIT Confessions, I applaud him for writing more meaningful words in a few hours than I have in a few months (I'll blame writer's block). Enjoy!

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As someone who is definitely not qualified to give out advice regarding anyone’s love life, I definitely will not be giving you any advice whatsoever about your love life. However, I do hope someone out there can relate to my experiences as a wildly emotional gay boy who thinks too much.

This also isn’t a coming out story, mine is pretty boring. We’re gonna start right off the bat with ~love~ or whatever 16 year old me thought love was. I guess I figured love was being able to picture yourself getting married to that person, having kids with that person, getting old with that person, etc etc.

It turns out I do that with every boy I remotely have feelings for. So I ended up dating a boy (we’ll call him boyfriend #1) for a couple of years and told myself that, despite getting gas-lighted many times, I was still definitely in love with him because I could still picture getting married to him. So we revelled in the teenage dream that is high school romance and I was like yeah I love this dude. And then at some point I was like wait do I?

Yup, turns out I didn’t.

So moving onto boyfriend #2. I thought okay now I DEFINITELY know what I’m doing. I’m an experienced man and I am ready to begin this mature relationship with this boy I like. And then MIT happened (not getting admitted into MIT, that happened during boyfriend #1, but actually physically going to MIT). He ended up going to a school closer to home, I ended up flying to Boston and going to the good ol’ institvte, and I told myself sure, I can totally handle a long distance relationship, I’m in love.

Yup, turns out I couldn’t.

So here I am, in a new city, surrounded by people I don’t know, and I tell myself that was a great decision, I can do whatever I want now, I am a free agent. However, what people don’t tell you, is that sometimes, dating is hard. I quickly found out that when roughly 13% of a population of students identifies as non-heterosexual and a little more than half of those people identify as male, you dwindle down the pool of available men. Factoring in the percentage of the student body that you actually interact with based on the classes you take, where you live, and how involved you are, the selection gets smaller and smaller.

Of course this doesn’t suck for everyone, I commend all of you who can successfully snatch dates on Tinder or join clubs or even just go to a single Queer West event; you rock.

But for me, dating was hard. Tinder was full of people who I would match with and never speak to. Grindr was full of people I didn’t really want to talk to. And real in-person interactions only happened once in a blue moon. After experimenting a bit with apps and dates with people I had just met (safely I might add), I reached the conclusion that I was either destined to be celibate or just not a fan of apps (fortunately I’m pretty sure it’s the latter).

Then one day I had a sort of epiphany. I told myself if you want to find a boyfriend you just have to go for it…right? So I did. I messaged my friend who had a friend who wore sweaters that made me…suspicious.**

It was nice! For once I went on a date that didn’t make me uncomfortable, and I was happy, and I found a boy that I enjoyed spending time with, and all these things combined made me feel warm inside. And then I was like wait am I…in love?

Yup, turns out I wasn’t.

If you couldn’t tell by the fact that my first definition of love was based on an imaginary future that I pictured with a boy who I had been dating for maybe a month at that point, my romantic mind can get a little inflated at times. This was no exception. My idea of “love” was me obsessing over every interaction I had with this boy. I would count the minutes between every text we exchanged and analyze what exactly he meant by “hahaha” (I mean three ha’s?? Is that better than haha? Was it just a creative decision or is he trying to tell me I’m worth more than just a haha???). I would expertly position myself in the lecture we had together so he would walk by me and I could say hello. I did a lot of things that might make people question my sanity. But, as life tends to go, our “relationship” or whatever you might call it, ended along with the semester and (I’d like to think) we’re still friends.

And here I am, still a wildly emotional gay boy who thinks too much, so who knows if I’ve learned anything from my trials and tribulations. Maybe the mere fact I can look back on these relationships and say yeah that’s a little crazy is a good sign? Or maybe writing it out is therapeutic in a way. Who knows.

However! I have not given up! There is actually someone I’ve got my eye on, but that’s a work in progress.

One last thing, it turns out not everyone comes out the second they get to college and not all gay people are openly gay in the way you might hope. Apparently people don’t wear signs that say “YES I am interested” or “NO I would like to be friends”. But that’s part of the fun I guess. We’ll see. For now, my rom-com saturated brain will just hope that potential-future-love-interest-boy will read this, know exactly who I am and that I am specifically talking about him, and we’ll fall in ~love~.

Whatever the hell that means.

**disclaimer I know that making generalizations about the clothes people wear is not a great way to try and determine their sexuality, but I am by no means perfect. I was merely hopeful due to the clothing choices of said boy.

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