I was 40. I was happy for the most part. I dated women and had good relationships. I never married and never had kids...and that was my decision and always stuck by it.
Then I admitted to myself I was gay. I looked forward to a new chapter in life where I was going to be myself. I looked forward to meeting men like myself and thought not gonna be a problem. Always lived by the concept that there is someone out there for everyone. Being masculine, there had to be other guys out there that were looking for the same things in life I was. I think back and realize how stupid I was.
All the stereotypes listed above tend to be the norm instead of the exception to my dismay. Been on many dates with guys that said they were masculine and tired of 'gay culture' and the bar scene to realize finding masculine gay men is harder than you could realize and you are chastised in gay life for not identifying with what society considered the norm for gay life. I work on old cars. I do construction projects. I watch sports. I listen to classic rock. I hunt and fish. I enjoy camping even though mosquitoes eat me alive. I live with integrity and do what I say I'm gonna do. I never cheated on a woman I was dating and was always honest with my feelings and never used anyone. I was raised that you took responsibility for your choices and actions instead of making excuses.
I've been on dates that amaze me that these guys called themselves men. I had a guy tell me how he never cheated on the guys he was screwing behind his wife's back and could not figure out why their divorce was nasty. Another showed me a naked picture of his 'straight cousin' he kept on his phone in the middle of a restaurant...I didn't know how to react as I was dumbfounded. Met guys that went on and on about how leather, the gym, being a bear, smoking cigar, driving a pick up or being 'vgl' just made them masculine but carried themselves like women. Had a guy tell me how he worked for the defense department but no one knew he was gay as he downed beer after beer in a restaurant only to go on about American Idol and how he had to get home to watch some finale but then pissed when we didn't go out again. Had professionals go on about their salary but I paid for dinner because I invited them out. Helped a gay couple on a flip house and made it clear we were just friends only to have them storm in the bathroom every time I had to take a leak, get jealous of one another and storm off the project after I had driven 2 1/2 hours to help them. Been told I was too fat and that I needed to get down to a 32 inch waist. Drug to a NYC gay pride parade and was embarrassed to see what I say...how is wearing a jockstap on a float fighting for gay rights? Had a date with a car fanatic that didn't know where the oil went. Numerous different dates that made it a point to talk about all the guys they slept with wherever we were. Been berated because met a pornstar and had no idea who the hell he was...and still have no idea who he was. Told I wore the wrong kind of underwear to be sexy. Got gasps of horror when I didn't know who Lady Gaga was (I saw her name everyone once in a while and just thought she was some kind of European royalty I'd never heard of). Been told I don't dress gay. Been told I don't act gay. Been told I needed to change to fit in. Been around guys that only dated married men because they didn't want any kind of commitment. Been groped at work for guys to find out if I was gay then wonder why I was pissed. Sad part is, most of the guys I dated were in their 40's but acted like they were 12. It makes it hard to take many gay men seriously. Makes it harder is when straight guys act gay with conversation about how many pairs of shoes they own or their beauty secrets....I don't get it.
Even with all this, I still try and remain hopeful that there are good men of character out there. I don't have many criteria for dating either. Be honest, be a guy that likes being a guy, have integrity, have a mutual attraction and have a job. Maybe in gay life, even this short list is asking too much....but I ain't gonna change just to fit in.
Good luck to all the other guys out there with similar values. I believe things have got to get better. Or at least I can still hope.