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Gay, single and looking for love
Tips on how to find the right one for you

by Beverly Michaels
Are you single? According to the most recent U.S. Government Census, an estimated 40 percent of our population is. If you’re gay or lesbian, the dating pool is sufficiently diminished simply because there are more heterosexuals in the population than LGBT folk.

Not too worry — I stand whole-heartedly behind the old adage, “there’s somebody out there for everyone.” Sometimes it just takes a little effort to find the right one for you.
Let’s assume you are gay or lesbian, single and looking for something more than spinsterhood, anonymous encounters or the occasional boring date. If that’s the case, here are a few tips that should ease your trip on the road to romance and happiness.

1. Size yourself up.
Let’s be honest with ourselves — would you date you? Take a good look at yourself in
‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.’
— from Nat King Cole’s, ‘Nature Boy.’
the mirror. It’s true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Are you the best that you can be? Guys don’t have to be Brad Pitt and girls don’t have to be Portia DiRossi — but it does help in your search for romance to present as palatable a marketing presentation as possible. Not just in your appearance, but in your overall life. What have you accomplished? What are your interests? What are your creative outlets? All these things are the stuff that make others interested in you and open the door to potentially finding a person to share your life with. If you’re truly happy and comfortable with yourself, others will be, too.

2. Be realistic.
Don’t forget who you are. Chances are — if you’re a 45-year-old man you’ll have a lot less luck if you’re chasing after 22-year-olds. If you’re a chub that only likes chasers, or a femme dyke that only likes other lipstick lesbians your pool is even further diminished. Open yourself up to other possibilities. Two men who are both in their 40s will share a lot more in common than a seasoned world traveler and someone who’s never stepped foot out of their own hometown.

3. What are you looking for?
Just what kind of individual are you looking for? If you’re open to the possibility of a relationship with any type of individual, then the world’s your oyster. Most of us, however, have at least a few parameters when it comes to what we’re looking for. Try to envision the kind of person you’d like to be with (don’t get carried away here — remember — be realistic). Think about what kind of qualities you’d like he or she to have — then you’ll have some frame of reference when you encounter potential new romance.

4. Where to look.
In larger cities like New York, San Francisco, Atlanta or Los Angeles, the gay and lesbian dating scene is thriving. In the Carolinas it’s not always as easy to find another individual to connect with — again — simply because there is not as large of an LGBT community. In all of the larger Carolina cities and towns there are a number of gay and lesbian watering holes (a fine place to start but proceed with caution) and there are numerous social groups (check out websites like www.outcharlotte.com, www.scglpm.org, www.outtriangle.com and www.affa-sc.org for social group listings). But those outlets aren’t for everyone. For example — a beautiful femme lesbian I know in Charlotte has had trouble finding romantic interests here because she only wants to date other femme lesbians. Charlotte’s lesbian community is relatively sizable — and decidedly butch. A handsome, young gay Asian man I know in Columbia says he feels he doesn’t fit in because he doesn’t know any other gay Asians in the area and most of the individuals he meets of another race don’t seem to be interested in dating him. So what to do? If you feel like you’re limited by who you are or what your specific tastes are, then consider relocating somewhere that meets your requirements. You’ll want to check out the job market and housing affordability first, of course, but Seattle is packed with gay Asians and New York City is overflowing with femme lesbians.

5. Other options to consider.
I’m a huge fan of the internet and there are gay and lesbian dating sites for just about every taste and region you can think of. It’s true — many of the sites are frequented by individuals looking for quick sex hookups — but the bigger sites, like Gay.com or Yahoo offer designated areas for individuals looking specifically for potential relationships. Plunk out a few extra bucks to put up a singles ad with a photo (always include your face or people will automatically assume you’re hopelessly homely or using somebody else’s body pic) and a bio of yourself with what you’re looking for. You’ll be surprised at what kind of response you’ll have - but be sure to use proper wording. Stay away from phrases like “no fats, fems or old trolls,” (that just makes you seem insensitive to everyone regardless of their characteristics) and use friendlier phrases like “young and fit seeking similar types.”

Remember — don’t despair — there really is someone out there for everyone!

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