When I tell straight people I met a guy on Grindr, their response every time is: "isn't that just for hooking up?" Well, yes, it's mainly used for some casual play, but there are a ton of Grindr users who actually seeking something a bit more legit off the app. Maybe not a boyfriend, but something a bit more fulfilling than a quickie.
The same goes for all the gay dudes who go to clubs in the Village, or hit up sites ManHunt or the like. Straight folk might think gay guys just have tons of random sex all the time (some do, to be fair) but we also go on dates, just like everybody else.
Our dates just tend to be a bit different.
There's something of a formula to a first date between two dudes. In some ways it's similar to any other first date, in others, it's quite different and gay guy-specific. Either way, it goes something like this:
1. The confirmation text
No one likes to get stood up, and for whatever reason, gay guys think it's totally cool to just flake out on a date. Hence, the confirmation text. You'll probably send out/receive a few of these, one a few hours before the set time and another minutes before. This is especially important when a guy replies "yeah sure" and "why not" to you proposing a date in the first place.
2. The flipping through the other guy's photos while you're waiting
One of you will arrive to the date spot earlier, it's just how the world works. After the whole "oh, I'm just waiting for someone" moment with the serve, whoever arrives first will use the extra time to go over the others pics one more time.
This is partly to ensure you smile to the right person when they enter the venue, and partly to make sure you didn't make a huge mistake and go out with someone who can hide their fugz really well.
3. The awkward hello
99% of the time, if two gay dudes are going out on a date, they either met on Grindr, online, drunk as tits at a club, or got set up through a friend. Organically meeting someone at a party or the like is simply super rare in the kingdom of gay.
As such, the two of you are going to have a mildly-to-very awkward hello. Do you kiss each other on the cheek? Do you hug? Do you shake hands? Do you do anything beyond "hi, nice to meet you?" at all? The question will never be answered.
4. The scramble to find something to talk about
Now that you're both sitting down and are waiting on your beverages, the date really begins. The only question is: what the hell are you going to talk about?
For whatever reason, gay dudes treat any convo they had online/Grindr as if it didn't happen, mainly to allow for more things to talk about in-person, and also to not seem that into the other guy. Only a weirdo would actually remember a half-hour text-versation from two days ago, right?
5. The "what do you watch?" question
Say it's stereotypical, but there are a few things almost every gay dude watches. RuPaul's Drag Race is one of them. Other queer-centric shows like American Horror Story and (much to my chagrin) Sex and the City are examples.
Usually you can find some prerequisite "gay" show (quotes because I think the idea of a gay show is actually ridiculous) to dish about. Otherwise you can use their list to pretty much judge the other guy's entire character.
Note: if you want my panties to drop, just mention Buffy. Seriously, the Buff-ster is like a cheat code straight into my pants.
6. The inevitable "when did you come out" inquiry
This has come up on every single first date I've ever been on, and it kind of makes sense. Coming out to your family and friends is the one experience almost every gay guy can share, so it sparks a conversation both of you can relate to. Plus you get some decent backstory on your new boy.
It's just...some coming out stories are super heavy and emotional. Some guys haven't even come out despite them going on dates, which makes a whole other mess of awkward. Anyways, this is kind of inevitable, so just roll with it.
7. The moment when you're both checking out the other guys around
Again, kind of unavoidable, especially if there are some hotties in your direct vicinity. My trick is to go somewhere with a sparse population of clientele, to circumvent any wandering eyes entirely.
But even if it does happen, no biggie. We're guys after all, and it's normal to check out the talent around us, even when on a date. Just make sure to never become transfixed on some hunnie at another table, unless you're date is uber boring.
8. The awkward silence
It may only be thirty seconds, but it feels like forever. Nothing can stop a silence in a conversation, it's just how things go, even between good friends. When you're relative strangers in the social setting of a date, though, the silence is mildly unbearable.
Again, just roll with it, because it's going to happen regardless. Besides, there are a few more required gay-first-date questions to get through anyways, like...
9. The "where do you go out" question
This is actually more of a strategic maneuver than it is a getting to know the other person questions. Essentially, based on their answers, you can get a feel of the kind of person they are and whether or not you guys will actually mesh.
If the guy answers "always the Village," he's probably a mildly slutty party-gay. If he says "mainly Mile End bars and underground events," he's probably a politically rad-queer. If he says "whatever bar my guy friends are going to" he's a complete bro-mosexual.
All answers are acceptable, just so long as you can picture heading out with them to wherever they usually go.
10. The "are we getting another drink" dilemma
Otherwise known as the "are we still doing this date thing" if you're not at a bar.
Be warned, because a yes may not mean the date is going all that well, it could just be the other person forcing themselves to make the date longer than 20 minutes to not make you feel bad, or just a way to get you (or him) more drunk.
11. The ex-boyfriend bomb
Sometimes it can just slip out of your mouth, other times it's a decisive action to showcase you've been in a committed relationship before, but no matter the reason, a mention of a past man (otherwise known as "dropping the boyfriend bomb") on a first date will almost certainly happen.
Again, this isn't really a bad thing. You can get a decent idea of how they are in a relationship, especially when you follow up with the "how long were you two together" and "why did you break up" questions, which is almost a necessity.
12. The bathroom break
No matter your sexual orientation, if you're drinking on a date, your bladder is going to get full and you'll need to take a potty break. Now is your chance to assess the date and judge his character entirely! If it's all good, then you can walk out and move on with the date.
If not, now's your chance to plan your escape route, and that works both ways. One time, while my random date was in the washroom, I totally texted my friend to call me, screaming about some emergency and needing some help. No, I'm not proud, but it worked like a charm, so there.
13. The "what are you doing after this?"
Don't assume this happens at the end of the date, because if a guy is actually into you, then he might want to feel out exactly how far this first date will go. Great, if you're into him too, otherwise this could get you into a sticky (not in the good way) situation if you say you have no plans then want to dip out on the date.
My go-to solution: say I have work early in the morning. Then, if the date is going well enough to continue post-bar, I say "ah, who cares about work, I'll just deal with it tomorrow." Not only do you get to continue the date, you even get mild bad-ass points. Win-win.
14. The paying of the bill
There's really no gallantry in the gay guy world. I've never been on a date where the other guy snatches up the bill to pay for me. To be fair, I've never done the same, because f*ck that noise. Oh well.
15. The "you want to come over and watch a movie?"
For any straight people reading, "watch a movie" is gay-code for coming over and fooling around to some degree. If your guy (or you) pitch this classic phrase, and you're both down, go ahead and have a good night together.
But if the date doesn't go so well, be prepared for...
16. The awkward goodbye
Much like the awkward hello, the goodbye has the whole "uhh, how are we going to do this?" vibe to it.
You could do a cute kiss goodnight if the date was a success and you seriously need to leave. Otherwise there's the super-quick-emotionless-hug, so they don't get any wrong ideas, or a painfully formal handshake, the sure sign you're never going to see the other person again.
One time I totally just grabbed the other guy's shoulder and said "see ya," more in an effort to make sure he didn't go in for a hug or kiss, because f*ck that, he sucked.
17. The follow-up text
No matter how the date went, or how you sad goodbye, one of you is going to send a post-date text, usually along the lines of "great meeting you!" or "have a good night, let's talk soon!" Yes, it's totally unnecessary, but it can't be helped, which leads us to...
18. The pity text-back
They texted you, and now you feel bad, so you're experiencing the need to text them something back. Yes, you don't plan on ever seeing them again, but you're a decent human being and want to spare at least a few of their feelings. At least that's what you tell yourself before pulling the douchiest move of all.
19. The complete ghosting
You've fully come to terms that the date was a total bust, but that doesn't mean the other guy has, and so, instead of actually giving them some sense of closure, you just ignore them entirely. The sad part is, this is the easiest way to end what never really began.
If you're on the other end of this, and get ghosted, my feels go out to you. It happens to the best of us.
20. The pretending like you never met
Unfortunately, the gay community can be kind of small, and there's a pretty good chance you'll run into your one-time-date at some party, club, or event.
Thankfully, there's the standing rule to just kind of ignore each other and pretend like the whole thing never happened. Or, the other guy is bold enough to try reignite whatever nonexistent spark you two briefly shared, which is a struggle unto itself.