Discreet City | Nicholas Delmacy
This go around, we’ll focus on the decline of responsibility by Gay men 25 and over, especially men in their late 30s and 40s. There comes a time when we need to grow up and follow the example demonstrated by the generation that came before us. Excuses are easy. You can blame the declined economy or a homophobic society, but at the end of the day they are all just manufactured external reasons to avoid looking within self for the culprit.
I could throw a rock randomly in a Gay Club/Bar and I GUARANTEE that I will hit a man with a roommate. Roommates and Gay Men go together like porn stars and the shattered expectations of parents. Speaking of parents, if you’re still living at your parents' home to “get back on your feet” and its been over a year, we better not EVER see you in a mall or club or any place where you’ll have to spend disposable money…EVER. You need to be cutting back and saving every penny possible.
To make matters even more worse you’ll see these men using odd things like old found milk/mail crates as furniture. Not in a cool “Hey, look at our creative decor” kind of way. They use them because they have nothing else to sit the Living Room television on. And that’s if they even have a television…Often times they’ll be using their laptops as the sole "television" (YouTube videos, yay! Great date night, huh?) As a man in the gay dating scene, there are few bigger turnoffs than seeing that the object of your affection sleeps on an air bed or just a single cheap mattress thrown in a bedroom corner without even a frame, let alone a headboard.
Undoubtedly, the “Hey, I live in New York City” excuse will be tossed out there. True, some cities have a higher cost of living. However they also have lower income housing. Your desire to live in a Manhattan loft near central park with two roommates is a choice. There are just as many great apartments you could afford without roommates in Brooklyn and Queens. So the solution for you: Move to a place you can afford independently. It’s so much more liberating.
Maybe I’m old school. I just remember older folks past 25 years old (like my parents, aunts, uncles and older cousins) not even considering something like a roommate at this age. To be honest, instantly after their college years they shunned the notion of a roommate. Not only for the odd perception it gives to others, but also for the self-pride in finally having their own place…to walk around naked or be as messy as they wanted. If they got lonely, they got a pet (or a relationship). They rarely lived above their means and always had enough furniture to look like an “adult” lived there. Even if their place was a tiny one bedroom apartment in a seedy part of town, they were proud of it and worked hard to be able to do better in the future.
We’re in the midst of a generation of Gay men who see poverty as not only the norm, but something to be proud of on some level. If someone is going through a rough patch, that’s understandable…those are not the people I’m talking about. We’ve seen many people with great jobs suddenly wake up to be laid off in Obama’s failed economy. When you have to still pay that mortgage on time, a roommate is a quick relief until they get back on their feet. However, those people are RARELY comfortable with a roommate and work hard EVERYDAY to change their situation. Learn from them and work just as hard to change yours as well.
Like the previous entry, these gay men don’t even see that there is a bad thing. When they don’t perceive something as a problem, they won’t work towards fixing the situation. This is why you see so many online profiles demand that guys “be mobile,” in their profiles. The problem is so widespread that it has to be a prerequisite to dating! I’ve personally been in situations where a guy initiated setting up a date, it was planned and at the last minute he said, “Hey, I’m not mobile so you have to pick me up. By the way I live on the other side of town and don’t expect to be spending the night at your place so you’ll have to drop me off at the end of the night as well.”
Okay, that last part wasn’t actually stated, but it was definitely non-verbally implied.
Admittedly, owning your own vehicle is definitely more convenient for a spontaneous rendezvous, quick encounters or errands. However, the notion that being car-less means you are this helpless butterfly that can’t actively travel without the generosity of others is just plain lazy.
Again, the solution is to get your weight up if the excuse is a lack of money or credit. There are car dealerships that offer vehicles for low down payments and people with bad credit…they have ridiculously high interest rates but at least you’ll be self-reliant again. Alternatively, you can finally shed your ego and embrace public transportation. It’s there for a reason and your tax dollars actually pay for a portion of its' existence. Making use of taxi cabs can be expensive but at least it will get you around more quickly than the city bus and you’ll give yourself an excuse to not worry about drinking and driving when hanging out with your alcoholic equivalent to Noah’s Arc.
Lastly, rent a car for the long term or just for a short weekend. Many rental companies have rate specials and you’ll always get to drive something new and no more than 2 years old. To cut down on the rental car rate even more, use your own car insurance instead of paying up to $25 dollars a day on insurance from the rental car company. Many insurance companies also have what’s called a non-owners policy for people that rent cars often yet don't own a car themselves.
What these men don’t have are investments in anything. All of their income goes to material objects and disposable experiences that do not grow in future. Honestly, this actually applies to lower income men as well. Many Gay men of color are obsessed with Keeping Up With the Grace Joneses. Gay men obsessively watching reality show Housewives and emulating their perceived lifestyle, even if they can’t afford it. This isn’t to say that gay men shouldn’t “live a little.” If you got it, flaunt it. However, you should only do so if you are also devoting large percentage of your income to investments in not only your retirement, but also your present self.
As we’ve seen in Obama’s failed economy (seeing a theme yet? We can’t keep blaming Bush forever, folks, Barry’s not imperfect), anyone’s financial stability can change overnight. It’s extremely wise to not only have cash tucked away for the future but also have money put towards bettering yourself to be prepared for whatever curve balls the future throws. Always wanted to learn to speak Spanish? Invest in that goal and you will feel a sense of accomplishment and create more personal value for yourself in a country with an increasingly growing Latino population. Also, being laid off from your great job hits not as hard if you’ve got a nice sized nest egg to fall back on until the new gig comes along. Imagine if you'd bought stock in Apple back in 2001 instead of going clubbing and disastrous drama-filled cabin trips every week.
Start with small goals. Once you reach one of them, start a new one. The satisfaction of accomplishing the small goal will greatly improve your confidence. Also, it’s wise to “diversify your bonds” as the GZA once famously stated on "Chappelle’s Show" regarding investments. It’s wise to put your savings/investments into more than one place in order to protect yourself in the event that a single investment has a negative performance/outcome.
Admittedly, I had a long journey to finally being comfortable enough to go to gay clubs and the such. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that I was in denial during those years. Although I may not have been comfortable at gay events, I accepted that I was gay pretty early on in my life. My journey is different than everyone else’s...but come the fuck on, its 2013…not 1983. I personally witnessed grown Gay men wave the Frank Ocean flag when he came Out all while living in denial about their own sexuality. These were not 14-year-olds being bullied, these were 30+ year old independent men.
Recently I went out to a gay club with a small group of gay friends. One of the friends said he had invited another friend of his to join us but he declined because he was uncomfortable. Here’s the kicker: That friend has been to gay clubs many times before, he just didn’t want to go with a group (if it matters, we’re all masculine guys). For some reason, the intimacy of a smaller group scared him while the idea of going to a brightly lit gay club full of hundreds of gays with only one other person didn’t.
In another instance, I once wasted my precious time dating a guy who felt uncomfortable even saying the word gay or even acknowledging that we were dating at all. Another situation had me befriending a 30-year-old (clearly) gay man for over two years that was only comfortable getting together in dark theaters to watch movies, sitting at least a seat or two away from each other. Once I caught on and said we had to meet in lit public places like normal friends, I never head from him again.
Again, everyone has his own journey but that kind of paranoid shit is for 20-year-olds, not 30-year-olds. No self-respecting gay man wants to be around that shit. It’s like going to an amusement park with someone who’s afraid of heights and doesn't want to go on ANY rides, total buzz kill.
Life is too short to live under a dark cloud of other people’s perceptions and expectations of you. You’re a grown ass man now, live your life for you not them. This website proves that not all gay people are like the stereotypes. There is a liberation that comes with finding like-minded people who allow you to be 100% yourself.
Go on any random dating “hookup” site or cell phone app and you’ll see gay men aplenty proclaiming that 420 is a plus. What this means is they’re looking for fellow drug addicts to get high with. We here in the Discreet City are not prudes, anything is fine in moderation. However many Gay men indulge in excess. No matter how “safe” a man may think marijuana is, they’re still willingly inhaling smoke into their lungs. The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption are widely known, yet gay men of color are still in denial about the problem of alcoholism in our community.
The documentary, “Soul Food Junkies” (previously highlighted on our site) deftly examined how the foods we eat slowly deteriorate our health. We freely ingest foods high in calories, fat and cholesterol just for the taste or tradition of what we were raised eating by our equally non-health-conscious parents. True a person may “look” healthy and fit, but you never know what medical and physical ailments they suffer from, not knowing it is the result of the highly processed and preservative filled foods they have been eating for years.
Speaking of looking healthy, no bigger false indicator of health is appearance, especially when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases/infections. Not only do many gay man of color risk their health by engaging in sexual activities with many different partners, often times they do so unprotected. I can almost excuse this behavior with young men, but men over the age of 25 not knowing the dangers of unprotected sex is more unbelievable than a person saying Frank Ocean gave a great performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards.