Finding True Love in a Man-Eat-Man World: The Intelligent Guide to Gay Dating, Sex. Romance, and Eternal Love

Finding True Love in a Man-Eat-Man World: The Intelligent Guide to Gay Dating, Sex. Romance, and Eternal Love

by Craig Nelson

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Overview

Nelson draws both on his interviews with other men and on his own experiences in the gay dating scene to present this revealing and often humorous guide. From breaking down psychological blocks to surviving a breakup, Nelson explores the key issues in gay male relationships and the baggage left over from adolescence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307789907
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/08/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Craig Nelson has been a vice president and executive editor of Harper & Row, Hyperion, Random House, and Villard, and a literary agent. He is the author of several books, including Thomas Paine, winner of the 2007 Henry Adams Prize. He has been profiled in Variety, Interview, Publishers Weekly, and Time Out.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
 
 
   Are You Ready, Willing, and Able?
 
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
 
Making Mr. Right
 
The most important thing about finding love is being ready for it when it happens. Very few men really are ready, because there are so many stumbling blocks inside that they can’t respond competently when the right guy comes along. By getting your act together and putting your own life in order, you’ll be a man other guys take seriously over the long haul—as well as someone who can deal with problems when they inevitably appear.
 
Many of us spend plenty of time, effort, and money to turn ourselves into hot, attractive men. We work out at the gym as much as we can; we get haircuts and clothes that are as flattering as possible; we shave our bodies, use skin creams, and even go in for cosmetic surgery if we think we need it. Our homes are decorated; our sex accessories are admired; even our pets are fetching.
 
Lots of us in fact have basically the same idea in our heads: “If I could only lose fifteen pounds, everything would be great.” “If I’d get another two inches on my chest, everything would be fine.” “If this minoxidil really works, then I’ll have it all together.” We are trying as hard as we can to become hot guys—but what about becoming great boyfriends? How much long-term spouse potential does that dreamy guy at the gym really have? Steven, one of my friends from college, looked at the difference between hot guys and great partners, and decided that there were four kinds of men in the world:
 
 Pretty, but not nice
 Nice, but not pretty
 Not pretty, and not nice
 Nice, and pretty too
 
We are all looking for the love of a good man; to get one, maybe we need to spend time working on our insides as well as our outsides.
 
Remember the psychiatrist on Saturday Night Live who only said, over and over again, “Look at yourself. Just look at yourself!” It was funny that she made a career as a shrink from just this one idea; what’s even funnier is that this one idea is completely true. By learning as much as you can about yourself, you’ll be happier with your strengths, more accepting of your weaknesses—and a terrific companion for another guy. You’ll know what you want out of life, so you’ll know faster when a relationship isn’t working. You’ll know you have weaknesses like all human beings, and you’ll be able to understand and accept weaknesses in others—including your boyfriend. You’ll be happy with yourself, you’ll be getting as much out of life as possible—in short you’ll become Mr. Right.
 
The central issue for any human being is Who am I? It all started when you were an infant and your daddy said, “Where’s baby?” and it finishes when you know, completely on your own, who you are, and you don’t need Daddy around anymore to ask the question. You bonded, and then separated, from your parents, and how this happened can affect your role as a lover for the rest of your life. If during your infancy your parents were distant, you may forever fear closeness and possible abandonment from others; if they were invasive, you may forever fear closeness and possible suffocation from others. With all this going on, it’s no wonder that many blocks to self-awareness and maturity can appear along the way.
 
Babies in perfect physical health who are not picked up and cuddled can give up living, waste away, become idiotic, lose consciousness, and die. Before this fact was known, institutions taking care of abandoned or orphaned children had an immensely high infant mortality rate. In 1915 the American Pediatric Society reported that at ten of these institutions, every child under the age of two had died. The report was so horrifying that a study was undertaken of twenty-four children. Half were left in orphanages with no care and half were taken care of by loving foster families. After twenty years all of the first group were either dead or in mental institutions; of the second, all had jobs, had finished high school, and were married (well, there had been one divorce).
 
We are born alone and we die alone and we are constantly confronted by the fact that solitude is the ur-element of human life. Trying to avoid this essential condition by determinedly fitting into a group, never leaving home, or depending blindly on the love of a good man is pointless. You have to, all on your own, establish an “I” and become a “me”—or what exactly is it, after all, that someone else might fall in love with? As Louis, one of my friends, put it, “That’s what love is all about—reacting to what is unique in a human being.”
 
The lifelong search of Who am I? can never be ignored; in fact every significant relationship you have will take you to a greater understanding of who you, as a human being, really are. While being in love makes us truly alive, having close intimacy with another man makes us, paradoxically, see ourselves with new clarity. But the only way to meet a wonderful man and have a great relationship is to develop yourself first—and isn’t it odd that the most important aspect of romance and relationships can only be achieved on your own? Isn’t it even odder that the more an individual you and your lover are, the closer you can be together?
 
We would like to think that, by finding the right guy and spending the rest of our lives with the perfect companion, our essential aloneness in the universe will be overcome. What happens, though, is the unexpected. Say you’re with a guy and he’s done something you think is inhuman, something so seriously against your principles, it makes you waver about staying with him. There you are, on your side of the bed, seething and mulling and feeling trapped and trying to decide what exactly your ultimate response will be, and there he is, on his end: The Enemy. The Creep. The Embodiment of Loathsomeness.
 
You will never again, for the rest of your life, feel as utterly alone as you do right now.
 
With that in mind the first question to consider is: Should I even be with another guy? In America singledom is grossly underrated and coupledom completely overrated; it seems like everyone has to have a damn spouse or else. If you’re unhappy being by yourself, however, you’re still going to be unhappy being with someone else; you’re just trading one set of problems and difficulties for another, and it’s not like he’s going to give you a personality transfusion or something.
 
Single men are utterly free, and too many crazed husband-seekers forget all about this. When you’re single,
 
Your mood isn’t dependent on someone else’s indigestion
 
 No one else’s ignorant opinion and bullheaded stubbornness has to be taken into account when you make living or job or apartment or sex plans
 
 You don’t have to ask permission to do things in your own home
 
 You don’t have to spend hours listening to a lot of whining, huffing, nagging, teary declamations and stone-cold dead silences over issues you don’t care two cents about
 
 You don’t have to negotiate what you’re going to eat and when, and what you’re going to do in bed and when, and what you’re going to buy at the grocery store and when
 
 You never have to hear such lines as “I don’t know if you need to have another piece of pie” (as if anyone ever needs another piece of pie)
 
 You don’t have to waste lots of time and effort ignoring another human being’s irritating habits and overwhelming personality disorders
 
If none of this sounds so bad, then maybe you are indeed ready to get hitched—so let’s go back in time. When you’ve had relationships in the past that didn’t work out, whether they lasted for years or even just a few dates, what happened? Don’t claim it was always the other guy’s fault (and don’t say that every single time “it just didn’t work out”). What did you do, what expectations did you have, what problems arose that you couldn’t solve? If you really have no idea what happened, ask your friends to honestly tell you what they think. By looking closely at your own behavior in trying to spouse up in the past, you can unravel clues to what’s keeping you from establishing a relationship now, and in the future.
 
Later on in this book you’ll learn tips for writing a personal ad in case you want to try to meet guys that way. But if you were going to write a long, long ad that said who you really were (and wasn’t based on sex talk and “warm, sharing, caring” clichés that could apply to anybody), what would it say? What, specifically, are the most attractive and interesting things about yourself? If your friends were setting you up with a blind date, how would they describe you?
 
If you join a gay computer bulletin board, singles organization, or dating service, you’ll be asked to fill out a form describing yourself and your interests. The following questionnaire, when answered as honestly as possible, can help to give you some self-definition and insight about yourself. You may even want to have a friend check it over to see if your answers are on the money.
 
Educational background:
 Face: handsome, okay, less-than-attractive?
 Body: muscles, okay, skinny, flabby?
 Hobbies and interests:
 Pets, owned or wanted:
 What is your job, and do you like it?
 Do you smoke, and do you mind if others smoke?
 Do you drink, and do you mind if others drink?
 Do you use drugs, and do you mind if others do?
 What are your favorite types of food?
 What do you like to do for fun?
 What kind of sports do you enjoy?
 What kind of books and movies do you like?
What kind of vacations do you take?
 How and where do you meet people?
 A perfect date would be:
 How romantic are you?
 How many dates do you usually have before sex?
 What are your sexual tastes?
 What is your attitude on dating and HIV status?
 How out are you?
 In the past have you fallen into roles? Are you a daddy, a brother, or a son?
 If you had to pick a “type,” what type would you be?
 In what ways are you passive? In what ways are you aggressive?
 In what ways are you flexible? In what ways are you rigid?
 What are the best and worst things about you physically?
 What are the best and worst things about you mentally?
 What are the best and worst things about you emotionally?
 The things I like most about my life right now are:
 My obituary/tombstone will say:
 The things I like least about my life right now are:
If I could change myself in any way, I would:
 

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Finding True Love in a Man-Eat-Man World 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was alot better than ''MOVING ON'' by ''DAN HAZEL''.I liked how they outlined the book in helpful chapters and gave great advice.