“Hey there. I’m 47, in great shape by going to the gym and playing hockey. My health is excellent (I’m HIV negative). I’ve got a tenured job and I’m financially miles ahead of people my age. I’ve been told countless times that I’m a great looking guy, well-read and educated and such.”
“The big problem is that I don’t seem to be able to attract another guy for anything meaningful or long lasting. I’ve had my share of one night stands but that is getting pretty stale with me.”
“Why can’t I get a man for me?”
I have found that sometimes people want boyfriends, but they are not willing to be a boyfriend. Networking consultants will tell you that the most interesting people you will meet at a networking event are those people who ask you about yourself, and forget to tell you about themselves unless asked. If you start off every date by telling your date about yourself the way you told me about yourself, you may be inadvertently turning a potential suitor off. He may see you as selfish, conceited and uninteresting. Make sure that you are asking him about his life, his interests, and his goals.
While you are out dating, don’t discount the people whose health may be outside your definition of “excellent.” There are very wonderful men in the world who happen to be HIV-positive who are very dateable. Research shows that a person living with HIV today, and taking care of his health, has an average life expectancy which matches a person living without HIV. Advances in treatments and prevention can be utilized to keep your health “excellent” even while engaging in barrier-protected sex with your sero-discordant mate. Furthermore, don’t rule out your one night stands as undateable. Just because someone is willing to go home with you and sleep with you the day he met you, does not mean that there is something wrong with, or undesirable about, him as a person.
Be willing to date. Many people have a list of qualifications they expect their mates to meet. Make sure that your standards are not impossibly high, then narrow down your choices in the dating process. Many people believe that you should only go on a first date with the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, and conversely, you should be willing to spend the rest of your life with someone you go on one date with. I disagree. I think you should go on many first dates; as many as you can reasonably go on. If you like a guy, go on a second date, and a third or fourth. Make sure you tell him (on the second or third date) that you are dating other people too. This way when the two of you are ready to “get serious” he can take the other people that you are dating into consideration. At the same time, refrain from comparing the people you are dating, at least out loud. This includes gossip with your friends, trust me, they will be making their own judgements; and anything you say out loud is something the universe can smack you upside the head with later.
Look for dateable men where you are. When I was a stripper, it was not uncommon for a man to ask me how he could see me outside of work. My common response was, “be where I am.” I was not telling guys to stalk me; I was merely saying that if we had common interests, we would run into each other in our day-to-day lives. If there are no dateable men when you are, go somewhere else. But make sure that you’re not going somewhere that you are uncomfortable, just to find a mate, because chances are if he met you there, he’ll want to go back there with you at some point in time.
Above all else, getting a man for yourself involves being a man for someone else. Find out what that means to him, and whether you are willing to do it.
Send me your questions for “Ask Daddy” and I’ll give my best answer in a future column.