Savage Love Sep 11, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Gay and Lonely

Joe Newton



I read a little comic somewhere where Person A was looking at themselves in the mirror, bemoaning how ugly they were and nobody could love them and so on. Person B looks over their shoulder and says, " Nah, you're just not your type. "


UGLY, I have been a hairstylist for over 30 years. I KNOW people, lots of them, inside and out. The only people I’ve ever met who I percieved as ugly, were ugly on the inside. Honestly! With the right attitude and smile, EVERYONE is beautiful. You never know what somebody else is attracted to. I guarantee you, you are beautiful. Please accept that and be happy.


Ok I’m in these guys age range so a few things came to mind. For Grindr or whatever put your age up front. There are plenty of guys looking for older, which brings me to: consider chatting to/meeting guys who are also older.
An easy way to get laid is of course a sauna or cruising spot if you’ve got one near you. There’s a nudist beach near where I stay where the average age is over 50. There’s plenty of hooking up but also a lot of socialising too.
If your medication isn’t making much difference or your depression and anxiety is getting worse, tell your doctor, you may need to increase your dose, change medication or get more therapy.


@LAG, @AAF and @UGLY: Wishing you all the best in finding happiness and peace.


@4 I concur. I am wishing you luck, guys, wherever you are.


I had written off the chance of ever even meeting people that I truly wanted to be with, I genuinely think they didn't exist. No shit, maybe 15 or 20 minutes after accepting this 'fact,' I met the guy I'm now married to. I'm overweight, not particularly special in the way I dress or present, my interests are uncommon and not the most social, the list goes on. But I put myself out there. Actually for all those traits, I do remarkably well for myself!

My point is not (just) to jack it about how great I am, but to prove a point. You are as attractive as you feel you are. If you assume--not demand, but assume--that you are an attractive person, and that "your type" is by definition people who are into you (that is, don't be punitive toward people not into you, just let them go do their thing), you're going to see things in terms of your successes, or your potential for success.

Guys who wrote into this article: I've seen some shit in the time I've been sexual. I don't have to be told that there are people into every body type and every type of person. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who is, no shit, attracted near-exclusively to jobless shut-ins. Cute guy, too! If you are breathing (and sometimes even if you aren't), someone will find you attractive.


I'm a fan of trying a new approach if your current approach feels unsuccessful. If you've been on Tinder, try volunteering with a group that meets regularly; if bars aren't working try telling friends & acquaintances you'd like to be set up on a date; if you have no friends join a church or a hiking club.

When it all feels useless, get back to therapy to work on your mental health so you'll be in good shape emotionally if you do meet a great person.


My recommendation to anyone (having taken it myself) who feels lonely, is to volunteer. It can be as simple as making friends with an elderly person on your block or as elaborate as joining an organization, or just changing your mindset, like making it a game to look out for the opportunity to do good every chance you get. It's meaningful connection that you're craving, and that comes from stepping up and serving your world.

As for feeling unworthy in the beauty stakes, the day I stopped the internal bitching about my looks was the day I met a young man with a facial deformity. Self-talk is a habit, and when you change the habit of self-downing, you will change everything about your experience of the world. If your body works, appreciate it.

Love and best wishes to you both. These negatives are pushing you in the direction of myriad positives.
I appreciate you fielding these questions, Dan.


Lionface @7 is right, one is as attractive as one feels. And Graffig @2 is also right, there are only ugly on the inside people.
I’m sorry the LWs are all feeling so lonely. Virtual hugs to the three of you.
Posters above and Dan and his guest have made great suggestions. I’ll add, work on the physical. Exercise can generate good feelings, and tone the body at the same time. Go to the gym, pay for a trainer if the motivation is low, swimming, etc etc. Meditation and yoga also very good to strengthen body and mind.
You guys might believe all those partnered people are having never ending fun and no issue intimacy.. and it’s not true for most people. No intimacy is free from issues and issues have to be dealt with.
As Queen_of_Hurts @8 says, the bitch is the self talk. ‘ I’m lonely. I’m no good at this . I’m no good at that..’, such thoughts in a person’s mind generates little dark emotional clouds over their heads, pushing people away.
Meditation classes will help control
the thoughts and mental loops we get caught in. And one has to be vigilant watching that when they appear in the mind to just let them float on out. Don’t follow one negative self talk sentence with another. Like with any boring conversation, be polite /to yourself/ but close it down. And enjoy your self pleasuring times, go for the big and sexy stories in your head. Self generated fantasies rather than passive porn watching, can record on one’s mind as if it were true, sortof. As Dan told us forever ago, try to self pleasure every day. Keep the juices moving.
Go out and learn things, new things. Do dance or sing in a choir. Make Art and read books.
Contrary to popular belief, happiness does not come from outside us.


Poor LAG, I feel so sorry for him. One thing that jumped out at me was that he tried "hookup apps," not "dating apps." Surely there are apps/sites for gay men who want more than a quick fuck? I'm sure there are social groups too. Can he sing at all? He could join a gay men's chorus, or another hobby group. I wish him luck.

Poor UGLY, as well. I think he needs a new therapist. There ARE men who like big, bearded dudes, even if he isn't one of them. For the second time, I'm going to recommend he watch Queer Eye, episode 1 of series 1, titled "You Can't Fix Ugly," in which (spoiler alert) a large-ish, bearded man with a skin condition learns to see the good in himself and wins back the woman he loves.

I hope Dan put these men in touch with each other!


Lionface @6: With respect, you are twenty-five years old. You cannot possibly know what it is like to be well past your prime, and know it, and know that statistically the odds of ANYONE in your age range finding their soul mate are tiny. My guess is that LAG, AAF and UGLY "wrote off the chance of meeting people that they truly wanted to be with" years if not decades ago, and did NOT magically meet Mr Right shortly thereafter. Great that it happened for you, but it's not an inevitable consequence of stopping looking, and to say this to people who have stopped looking multiple times over the course of their lives and not found Twoo Love is bound to ring hollow.


@6 Some people are jobless shut-ins due to poor health/ mental health, through no fault of thier own. It also doesn’t change who they are as a person.


For those who are saying "just have a positive attitude" - they are either young or not a gay male. It's better to be realistic. My opinions on dating/sex as an overweight 45+ gay male

Accept that you won't pull down the action you once did. (Or that you won't get the same action you would have had you come out younger).
For some weird reason, other overweight middle aged men will be chasing younger guys. (I personally prefer middle aged overweight men unfortunately they don't always like me back). There is a surprisingly large percentage of men who would rather be single than date someone their own age.
If you have a fetish, that is probably your key to getting laid. Get one if you can. If you are overweight, try the bears (although they have become surprisingly cliquish).
If you are willing to support or be generous, you can get a better looking boyfriend. There are many underemployed men who might be willing to compromise.
If you can top, you will be more successful than as a bottom. There are tons of middle aged bottoms looking for a top, they will not be as picky.
Losing weight can help - but it's not a cure all. And there are plenty of chubby chasers (I'm one).
Learning to accept being invisible is the hardest part. People are generally attracted to youth.


I am a 69-year old man, fairly athletic and educated. Just over five years ago, a hunk 11 years younger than me responded to my OK Cupid profile. As we dated for 2 1/2 years, I had some of my most intense experiences ever, emotionally and sexually and desperately wanted to hold on to this easy on the eyes, likable man. But it could not last.
Instead, he disappeared on me - vanished. Although I still hooked up, it felt like eating a McDonald's burger when I had grown accustomed to filet mignon. I thought life would consist of memories.
Still, I could not forget - emotionally or physically - my hunk. I had had something profound and real with him.
Although I had deleted his phone number, I still had his e-dress - and reached out. We needed to talk, see if we together could find a way forward. He came over, and we talked honestly, uncertainly, unsure of the result.
Turned out we had had different interpretations of the same events. Neither was trying to hurt the other; we had misinterpreted the why behind the other's actions.
With misunderstandings dispelling - and yes, our new communication is ongoing - we are together again.
Or perhaps we are really getting to know each other for the first time - with one other difference. I no longer try to hold on to him. Rather, I now come from a place of being willing to let go, for this is what I have learned. My best chance of getting what I want is not grasping for it, but a willingness to let it go. Grasping does not work; approaching with an open hand does.
My two cents of feedback, then: build up yourself emotionally and physically so that you like yourself. Then go out into the world with an open hand.
The results might surprise you.


Great collection of letters regarding body image and LGBTQ aging and loneliness in America. I'll be 64 soon and haven't even dated in years, much less been in a relationship. I came before the hookup apps and don't feel comfortable with them. I am living again in a tiny town in the South so no local bars or organizations to meet people. I feel like I'm living a monastic period of my life, just without that pesky religion thing. I certainly understand the feeling of loneliness, levels of depression, etc. The aging subject in our community is something we need to see more attention addressed. Thanks and hope we see a little more attention to these subjects in the future, even if it means a few less BDSM letters.


I don't think I've seen it specifically addressed here, but it seems like part of the problem is how men in general are socialized to leave relationship building to somebody else (i.e. women) and thus gay men are particularly at-risk for lacking those deeper relationships. The gay men who wrote in here sound lonely the same way straight men who fail at attracting partners often sound. I would suggest these men find therapy in building good relationships - although it may be more difficult to do that for men trying to build relationships with other men, who are also likely to have the same problem.

I'm not a gay man so I lack direct experience here; my apologies if I'm wildly off-base.


I have many gay male friends in the same predicament, and having been on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic for about the first half of my adult life, I remind them of something that I think is being forgotten in the mists of time. Gay men in their 40's and 50's have lost an ENTIRE GENERATION of potential partners their age to lovingly settle down with, to the worst epidemic the world has known. The numbers of gay men in the middle aged group just aren't here with us anymore, and it's way harder for them to find partners because of it. Not impossible; just give yourself credit. You're the Survivor Generation. The odds were skewed a long time ago through no fault of your own.


@17 That is true for 50s and 60s - I'm 46 and was 25 when the cocktail came out, so most of my generation made it.

I'm more prone to believe that men (gay or straight) value looks most of all. That's why straight women and gay men who are middle aged, overweight and single are likely to stay that way.


LAG, AAF, and UGLY may


Is the problem that these guys don't want to date other older and less conventionally attractive guys? Or that they are having trouble meeting anyone? I don't think any of them said specifically that they were just looking for hot and young?


As a guy in his 50s who has no problems hooking up with good-looking guys much younger than me (and I ain't rich), I find myself at odds with Dan's advice in this instance. You can't do anything about your age or being bald (unless you want to go broke and embarrass yourself with a hair transplant), but you sure can take it upon yourself to control your weight, and your body, and I have found that a huge many guys in all age groups find physical fitness a turn-on that transcends age, facial features, and thinning pates. So for one thing, you should prioritize that. That's just icing on the cake, however. More importantly, it helps to have an outer-directed, extroverted personality with a purpose-oriented life. Telling a lonely guy to hook-up with another lonely guy is - I'm sorry Dan - nothing short of a recipe for disaster. You'll both wind up seeing your worst traits - insecurity, especially - in each other and the relationship will result in nothing but misery.


@16, Kasatka: yes, I believe it has a lot to do with how males are socialised, which luckily is changing. It’s a big downsize of being the gender in charge, having to keep softer emotions in check . Girls are allowed to natter away to each other like birds, sharing their real selves. Boys, something else goes on. Not being a male I don’t know what that is. Being a mother of sons, I see how it plays out.
My youngest son just on twenty one, seems to have got the balance right. He and his girl have time together and he and his mates do too. And the males share intimacies with each other. For my older sons, in their thirties.. balance is not so good.
For the first LW, he needs to move fast. He’s tolerated this state he’s in for way way way too long. Are there men’s groups around? Every community centre seems to conduct ones for women.


Loneliness is a tougher problem than horniness, you can't directly give yourself a hand with it. But as with happiness in general, your own actions can greatly influence social acceptance. You can improve your relationship skills, get to know your own weaknesses as well as strengths, so you can appreciate the different strength/weakness pairs in others, learn to show your interest in others and it's easier to stimulate their interest in your own strengths/preferences. I recommend the book "how to win friends and influence others" to illustrate the power of taking an interest in the interests of others. & Get to know people of different background & culture if your having trouble id'ing your own weaknesses.

Craving partnered sex is another separate problem that the these lws seem to struggle with. I don't know a word for that sex craving that is not satisfied by masturbation or lots of friends or family. Maybe it is a combo of loneliness & horniness. I think romance has a lot to do with learning how to care for another and teaching them how to care for you as well as a lot of sex.

And all lws have problems with self acceptance, at least dealing with age. I got a head start on this when I lacerated my face due to some idiot's driving over a decade ago.. some effects were much worse than aging to 40, at least. One nice effect has been that I get better looking as I age though. Long story short, it takes time to learn to love your body when it changes in ways you don't like. Try to focus on your interests, be the best person you can without lingering on impossible dreams like eternal youth, and try to believe people when they say they like you, and try to be around people so they can tell you they like you!


Oh Philo, you have conquered though. And aging or accidents or whatever befalls these bodies, it is about acceptance.
LAG, depending how long you’ve been doing therapy, why hasn’t the therapist worked with you on your social patterns? Taking meds is an aid, they don’t replace actual movement towards what it is you want. Friends, male ones. A lover or two. Close in and further out intimacy. If your therapist isn’t and hasn’t got you searching thru why, then change therapists. Exciting work is being done, so look for a therapist with a dynamic interest in you changing.
Pick one thing you could see yourself enjoying. One activity or class you could attend over the weekend. Bush walking group. Art Class. Tai Chi Class. Etc. pick one and join or enrol. You will meet people thru an activity, intimacy can grow in these conditions. Friendships can grow. You just have to turn up.


@23 ‘I don’t know a word for that sex craving that is not satisfied by masturbation or lots of friends or family’
The word i would use is ‘ew’.


@17—people currently in their 40s were in middle school when the AIDS crisis hit. We are the ones who grew up with ubiquitous condoms, and an overdeveloped sense of fear. It’s men now in their 60s and 70s who saw all their friends die. Larry Kramer is 83!


@17: I don't want to pile on, FerretMom, but while absolutely awful, the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and '90s is far from being "the worst epidemic the world has known." I would give that dubious distinction to the Black Death, which wiped out between one-half to two-thirds of much of the world's population in under 3 years.


I love all the pedants in Dan's comments. It makes me feel among my people. :)


@25 Lol OK.

I don’t know a word for that horniness that is not satisfied by masturbation or that loneliness for a partner that is not satisfied by lots of friends or family. Like a need for romance. Maybe romance is nothing but an overlap of a need for friends, creating a family somehow (loneliness) and need for sex (horniness) ... and not a separate universal drive.


AIDS did rather decimate the ranks, though differently from how WWI did so for the British women whose most likely husbands were casualties. The "find someone else lonely" advice seemed a little odd when addressing the gay perspective; my mind jumped to the Misses Murgatroyd and Hinchcliff in A Murder Is Announced, a pair of fifty-odd spinsters sharing a home in 1950. They've been portrayed both as a closeted couple and as a pair of friends who decided to throw their lots in together due to the lack of eligible men and grew to develop some couple-like characteristics as a pair.

To all three LWs, well done for addressing this now rather than later. A particular downside of there not being as many gay elders in the current crop and for those of the next batch or two in line as there ought to be is that it's a market that's drawn almost no attention, even though I remember the issue being brought up in the 1980's.

For LW1, I'm not sure how many activities your social anxiety puts out of the realm of the practical. I'd likely advise changing your therapist even if (s)he hasn't done anything "wrong". To try a new angle, is there anything you have on a Bucket List you could pursue? In a situation not terribly unlike yours, it was accomplishing something I'd always wanted to do that put me into a frame of mind to appreciate and even prefer being alone much more than most people.

I am retiring early with a cold, and will see if anything for LWs 2 and 3 occurs to me when I'm not sleeping. I bear nobody among the assembled company a grudge for hoping the cold turns to double pneumonia,


For all 3 letter writers-- I'm middle aged, in a relationship, female and straight. I'm not going to speak to your looks or your efforts to find a life partner or sex or a relationship with a sexual component. I think I can say something about loneliness. You all mention your looks, but that's not an impediment to finding friends. You all seem to be looking only to the gay community for friends or to single people for friends. That's the limitation right there. Try looking to middle aged straight people whether single or coupled. Become the quirky gay friend who has great taste in movies, is a terrific cook, or has the best azalea garden in the neighborhood. Meet these friends in a religious congregation, volunteering on a political campaign, or get a puppy. EVERYONE loves puppies.


Mr Venn, nobody wants you getting real sick. Have hot fresh lemon drinks with honey and grated ginger.


My heart goes out to the three letter writers featured in this week's column. I'd like to hope that everyone finds their someone, but I think that unfortunately, that's not always the case. As a lonely, overweight woman in her mid-fifties, I can empathize, though I don't pretend to have an intimate knowledge of gay dating mores or conventions. And I'm not going to offer advice that I'm sure you've heard before (and perhaps tried. And dismissed for any number of legitimate reasons).

Nope; I'm just offering a virtual hug to each of you and saying, "I'm so sorry; that really sucks."


But these men wrote in nocute because they want suggestions, they want help. And lonely is a state of mind.
As adults we have choices, and one can chose to make moves to get out of seeing oneself as less than whole.


I’m with Venn. I love my solitude. I know I’m missing out on positive experiences a partner could bring, I’m also enjoying the freedom from the difficulties. And they are there. Waiting to pounce as soon as a man gets his foot in the door. Yes, being with myself after a thirty yr marriage was so painful for the first few yrs, as I came face to face with what my own projections had been in the marriage. I had a thirteen yr old kid still to raise and an ex being like a devil.
Then it all lifted, and I could feel what a peaceful place I was in. Intimacy takes work, it takes compromise. It’s takes having arguments about stupid shit. So no, I don’t feel lonely. And I do think the key to attracting others is feeling whole and content and responsible for one’s choices.
I’ve been reading The Fortsyte Saga, again. This time I’ve fallen in love with how John Galsworthy writes. Intimacy comes in all shades. Here I am feeling intimate with a man who died in the late 1930’s.


Jodo @25: Did you misread the concept? What's "ew" about missing having a partner for sex and companionship? "Hornliness" sounds like a good portmanteau for what Philo is describing.

Lots of great advice. Kasatka @16 makes a great point: In the opposite-sex world, women are forever complaining that we do the lion's share of emotional labour in relationships. Men just aren't socialised in the ways of nurturing a relationship and it makes sense that gay men founder because nobody is doing this work. I do agree that men prize looks, and no one seems to want someone less attractive than they are. If these lonely men haven't adjusted their physical standards to meet the reality of who's going to be attracted to them, they should.

Venn @30: I hope your cold is better soon!


What about sweat lodges, where men bond. Are there gay men who run these somewhere. Sometimes jumping in the deep end is the way to go.
Iron John, is the only male liberation book I know of, and that was written decades ago.


@10 BiDanFan: I agree. Dan---how about getting these three men in touch with each other?
@34 & @35 LavaGIrl: Like you, I, too am enjoying my solitude (my only difference being childless, of course. Otherwise, I divorced a real devil, too). Peace is indeed, precious.


I'm a gay guy in my 50s and am lucky enough to have a husband I met in my 30s. And, you know what, when he goes away for a week on business or to visit family, I'm ECSTATIC to have the house to myself. Not to fool around or anything like that--just to turn off all TV, music, devices, etc. and hide out. My point is that, to an extent, we all want what we don't have.

Also, even though we met when we were younger, I never thought I was particularly attractive. I'd go to bars or online chat boards (before Grindr) and then get depressed when no one was interested. Then I'd go biking, or volunteering at the SPCA, and, when I wasn't so caught up in myself, I'd meet genuinely interesting people and, eventually, my husband.

Finally, being partnered only lowers your odds of being alone in your old age. There's still a 50/50 chance I won't be the one who dies first.


@LavaGirl: I'm very busy: have lots of friends; participate in many activities; am active. I feel lucky in the number of meaningful friendships I have and the things I get to do with my friends. I'm far from a hermit and I know how to promote myself socially; yet I also love peace and solitude. I frequently relish being alone and answerable to no one: I don't have to make the compromises I know are necessary to live with another person or even to be with another person, and I am appreciative of that autonomy. I travel solo, go to events alone if no one else wants to go, and enjoy being alone with my own thoughts. I don't know whether I'd ever want to live with someone again.

But yes, I'm still lonely; I still wish I had "my person"--that person you share the funny and infuriating stories of the day with as they happen or later that night when you reconnect; I would like an automatic date to accompany me to parties, weddings, holiday events. I would like to have someone to cook their favorite foods for, to make up little silly songs for; I would like someone who could look at me across a crowded room and we'd understand what the other wanted to do based on a glance; I want someone to have private jokes with; I want someone to tuck me into bed and bring me glasses of water, to go to the pharmacy and pick up my prescriptions when I'm sick. I want someone to hug when the day has been full of frustrations and I want to be there to hug that person when his day has been full of frustrations. And I want a lot more partnered sex than I have.

All the good stuff that comes with being partnered in life. (And yes, I understand that it's not all good and that even the best things end and endings are hard and painful and sad.)

I didn't offer advice to the three letter writers because I sometimes think people just need to be heard and their feelings acknowledged. Many people here, including Dan and his guest, are offering good solid advice--and these men don't all have the same exact problem. For example the first lw seems to be really socially isolated and long for different kinds of human interaction and contact, while the third lw pulls away the moment someone seems interested in him and appears to have a good deal of self-loathing to overcome. But even if the advice is good, I think these men have probably heard a lot of it before. There's nothing special I could add--if I knew how to partner up lonely people, I'd be a zillionaire and I'd be partnered myself. And Dan's guest, Michael Hobbes is correct and being realistic when he says that there's no guarantee that these men will ever become partnered. I am pretty sure that I won't either. It's a supply-and-demand thing, I guess, and there's not enough demand for what I can supply.
So sometimes I just want to vent to a sympathetic ear, and I thought that if that was part of what these men wanted when they wrote, I could hep be that ear and offer, not advice, which they'll get plenty of, but empathy. They are free to ignore me.


If therapy "does nothing," find a new therapist. There are a bunch of different modalities and not every therapist's approach will work for every client (also, there is such a a thing as a bad/unskilled therapist." If you struggle with self-esteem, consider one of the online text-based therapy services, where you get a daily check-in with someone who can help you re-frame your self-talk.

Also, good luck. I felt ugly most of my life. It sucks. But it is subjective. Personally, joining a gym and building strength (not so much loosing weight) helped me feel good about my body, because I saw what it could do and that it could change.


What I see is these LWs don't state exactly what they want. LW3 says he'd like to get laid, but no one else says exactly what it is they are looking for. Do they want a relationship? Companionship? More friends? Dating? Sex? A more meaningful social life? Changing your life requires loads of different strategies. First they should idenitfy what it is they actually want - Therapy might work better if you approach it from the POV that you have a specific need/desire/skill that you'd like to work on and not a vague "why am I lonely? Why am I unhappy?".

I'm not discounting the good therapy does for some people- it really can be life transforming for some and life saving, and it sounds like LW1 in particular could use all the help he can get. So I'm not saying don't go to therapy, but it's sort of a pet peeve of mine when people talk about "find a therapist" or "get help" or "go to therapy" as if this is a fix when it does not help most people who start it. Also it's expensive and tied to insurance and you have to book in advance so it's not so easy just to shop around changing therapists until you find the right fit.


Having a partner isn't all it's cracked up to be. I was married for 20 years and absolutely miserable for 16 of those years. I'm now single, and have no intentions of changing that. I have friends, I have family and I have lovers. When I get tired of the lovers, I move on. If my friends become otherwise occupied, I make new ones. It's really a liberating way to live and I highly recommend it. I'm nearly 60 but I keep in good shape by eating right and being physically active. "Daddies" seem to be a thing these days ;)


I think the main thing the LWs need to deal with is self confidence and a positive attitude. no one wants to be with Debby Downer. I broke up with my gf of 13 years last year and have gotten back into the dating world. I am in my 50s, overweight, balding and ok financially but not rich. I am having more and better sex than any other time in my life and I find that there's a lot of women, younger, thinner and hotter women, who like big guys with facial and body hair and who like having kinky sex with guys like me and who are a lot of fun to be with.

You have value as a person and whatever you look like, someone out there is into you.


I'm not gay but I'd like to share a story with AAF and UGLY about a friend of mine who also considered himself unattractive. He decided to have fun with it, when asked to describe himself online he'd say he was green, four feet tall, balding, with bad breath, covered in warts, and lived under a bridge.

And it worked, the hookups started happening. My theory is that humor did the trick for him, lots of people value a great sense of humor over superficial qualities like 6 pack abs. Those can fade with time and gravity but a good sense of humor usually lasts a lifetime.


Hey BDF, awesome to read you as always. But I do think I sounded garbled like I was supporting incest :)

LAG- Lead with major strengths AND major weaknesses. Lead with your age, which means you have less years left but more experiences under your belt, and hopefully some skills or wealth as a result of those experiences. And befriend men.

AAF - when you say you can't get action, is it that no one has shown interest in you, or that no one you consider acceptable has shown interest in you? And either sincerely try to pinpoint this feeling of wrongness about your behavior, or dismiss it as paranoia. Not good to ignore problems.

UGLY - Honesty is a virtue. But so is consideration of others' feelings. As is being gentle with your own feelings. I believe you when you say you don't like your body and that's important and sad but I also value others feelings and believe they may be genuinely attracted to your body. To the healthy and unhealthy things about you. And if you want to hook up and have fun sex with someone it won't hurt them and your main responsibility is not to hurt yourself.. and maybe with some planning you can accomplish that?

And please be gentle and understanding with your own feelings, as you are with other guys' weird attractions to yourself!


Shortly after my 30th birthday, my mom sat me down to let me know that she wanted to give me some of her retirement savings "just in case" I wanted to have IVF "before it's too late." I was trying to hold out hope in the face of a lot of loneliness only to find out that my own mother thought I probably wasn't going to meet anyone to share my life with. It was somewhat of a low point for me emotionally. Have you considered getting a dog? They're wonderful companions that make the tough times less tough and the lonely times less lonely.


Congrats in advance to this week's Lucky @69 winner!

Okay---Griz is doing her part to help keep the comments flowing..........


Have you done any therapy EmmLiz? It is beneficial if one finds the right sort of therapy and therapist. And there are lots of different approaches out there. LW1 is already in therapy, it just doesn’t seem to be helping him shift.
Therapy in my twenties didn’t get rid of my neurotic patterns, it helped me better see them. The work to change has gone on ever since. And the deepest changes have occurred thru buddhism and it’s focus on training the mind. And still I know I’m stuck in many ways. Patterns of intimacy are set when we are children, by our caregivers. How we see ourselves how others see us. A caregiver who constantly with holds affection, is verbally or physically abusive, etc, will set the patterns for how intimacy works. And a therapist can help a person see these patterns and help them find new ways to be in the world.


@49 LavaGirl: Amen to therapy. Music, classic Volkswagens, cats, and laughter are my best sources. A good supply of red wine helps, too.


Now that I can breathe again for the moment, L2 makes me think of the QAF plot line in which Ted, tired of chasing people who have no time for him, decides to Settle. He goes to an event where everyone gets a number, talks a little, and submits a list of date-acceptable numbers, and makes a match with someone with whom he has tastes in common and about equal standing in the fabled Hierarchy of Beauty. They get on well, but put off sex. When they eventually try, Ted can't go through with it. He holds that sex OUGHT to be shallow and superficial, tells off Mr Appropriate, and then still wants to be friends.

I wonder if LW2 wants someone just like himself, someone to complement him, doesn't care or doesn't know. What to do next might depend on the answer.


As for LW3, he makes me think of Mr Angel. I wonder whether he would choose to be loved because of his particular characteristics, despite them, or by someone who didn't care. That would direct the approach recommended.


Yes Grizelda, music. I would be lonely if I didn’t have the music.. I’ve been listening to a bit of Patty Smith lately, I love her. And food, good food is important.
Yes we are social animals and it’s sad so many people have no close buddies or lovers or family. So you gotta get out there and make connections. These guys could join fetlife, lots of social gatherings organised and groups to join.
This culture of ours is fucked. So we have to push back to get our needs met.


Nocute, when my marriage ended I knew I couldn’t jump into a new relationship. That one had seen such dislocation inside me from my truth. I was all twisted up like a pretzel. The pain in those first few yrs was overwhelming, I’d been with men without much of a break since I was twenty years old. I needed to break the dependency. I wanted to break the dependency. Also I though given I was just on sixty yrs old, going thru men o pause in my body as well as my life, I thought I’d be fine going with out sex. The companionship can come from lots of others in different ways. It was the sex I thought I was finished with. Turned out to be not true. But you know, I can help myself with that. And I’ve got so good at it, my orgasms last long. Yes it’s no substitute for being with a man, and it’s not supposed to be.
I’m open to being with a man or men, I just don’t need it. To me that’s an achievement, to feel I’m whole and ok and can enjoy all sorts of experiences in the world I’m in, and not be pining for a man.


@LavaGirl: I'm not pining; I am busy and fulfilled and have a couple of fwbs, as well as other friends. And still I would prefer to be partnered in some way.


Yes, nocute. And it will come. Or it won’t. Yes you have a full life and are a strong and beautiful woman.
When that thought comes up or that feeling, just watch it. Don’t feed it. And don’t think of yourself as overweight.. heaven’s, curves are sexy.
I stay away from mirrors, I see my body in the shower and enjoy it. I use a lipstick mirror. Mirrors for middle and above aged women are so hard to cope with. So I don’t. I see where my flaws are, my age. So what. I’m still alive and interested.


You know nocute how relationships work. The fantasy of one you carry, is not how it is in reality. And it’s important to stay aware of that. Not to romantize patterned life.


And then he’d probably die before you nocute. I met a ninety yr old woman recently, who was waiting for a taxi to get some groceries home. I asked her if she had carers and she did, she just wanted an outing by herself.


No doubt you're right about all of that, LavaGirl. I'm glad you've got your perspective. I'll try to borrow some of it!


Swimming, that’s another good way forward for these guys. Singing as well. Can sing at home.
Each summer I promise myself swimming. Gyms are not my scene. How weird. Walking on treadmills when there’s perfectly good free ground outside. I love walking, except right now it’s magpie/ a bird/ breeding season. Like the Hitchcock’s birds, they swoop you if you too near their nest. Even if you’re way up the rd.
Evil Little Shits. So there’s one around our place. And has swooped me in the garden. I’ve got a sweet cloth umbrella I’ve now started to use as I go out.


It’s all about how we see ourselves, nocute. If you see yourself as overweight then others will too. If you see yourself as curves and cuddly, then that’s what you project. It’s from the inside how we attract others.
And I don’t think men are any more into looks only than women are. Good looking men are often vain and hard work. An interesting man who has had his ego knocked down a bit, his looks are not what is prominent. And some men seem to go off for older chubby men, as we see from comments above. If you inhabit your beauty, others are out there to appreciate it. It’s getting caught by definitions of how we should look because the ideal... Like we can only have a rich life if we have the dollars to pay for it.
Glad you’re feeling better Mr Venn. Good comments. Not a whole lot of gay men jumping on to help these guys.


Lineliness is not ONLY a state of mind. Humans have hard-wired attachment needs including the need to be seen, validated, cherished and touched. When these needs are not met in babies, they die. When not met in adults, we experience a drop in serotonin, and also immune response, ,leading to feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Medications, support groups and hobbies can help, but still do not fill our ultimate need for daily human contact, support, and love from a core person or core group. The problem in our culture is massive disconnection, which is worsening with the iPhone age. The reason we long for and hold on to our romantic partners is that without that person, we may not have anyone else in our day to open up to, eat our meals with, or hug. When I was single, I would spend entire weekends at my friends houses, never home between Friday-Sunday. I was lucky to be close enough with them to be able to do that. Still, I remember many lonely hours and dinners Monday-Thursday. In other cultures, people are embedded in tightly knitted extended family structures so that no one is truly ever alone. Loneliness is the steep price we are paying for our fixation with independence.


Ms Lava - I noticed that as well. I could get us to post #100 theorizing about why.

Another thing that seemed applicable came to me this morning when I was watching the Columbo episode with Robert Conrad as the guest murderer, exercise magnate Milo Janus, who murdered one of his franchise owners and made it appear to be a workout accident with weights. Around the time in the episode when he made Columbo run from the beach to his house, Milo characterized the victim as the kind of older man who'd been sitting in his office for years, getting flabby, abusing his body, then deciding to put things to rights and wanting to do it all just like that.

How many any of these LWs may have been not keeping up regular maintenance and be looking now for a massive fix in one large swoop is another thing to consider.


Yes Tania, we have let go of the extended family, our blood, for what. I’m sure I stayed in my marriage past it’s use by date because yes who would be there for me.
Culture is responding and adjusting to these forces, the traditional nuclear family structure is being challenged by non monogamy structures.
Communal living arrangements could be created in the buildings put up, so even if people have their own space/ apartment, they would share a communal kitchen.
Thoughts go out to those in the paths of all the hurricanes/ typhoons hitting land. May they stay safe.


True Venn.. keeping the body fit and healthy is important.
Can’t picture Robert Conrad, though I know the name. Used to love Columbo. Finally a reference I know!


Now I know who he is, Mr Venn.


And this week's Lucky @69 winner is...........!!!


@53 LavaGirl: I'm sorry my emailed links couldn't download. I will try resending them again this weekend to send them to you or my latest and largest orchestral work in three movements.
If you get them, listen and enjoy. I'd love to have your feedback.


So ... this is something that I think all three LW might benefit from. Schedule a massage with a RMT (registered massage therapist, not someone at a body rub parlour).

The massage with help with two things: 1) assuaging the skin hunger that creeps up when we're not touched in loving/caring ways and 2) being treated respectfully during the massage, especially as each part is uncovered in turn while the rest of the body is draped with sheets.

The massage should also bolster self-confidence that has suffered severe erosion in these men's lives. It's also a lot cheaper and less drastic than running off to a gym (that can be a threatening, hostile environment to anyone who isn't already buff, especially in a gay gym) to spend hours trying to regain what they may have never had in the first place.


@16 came here to say something similar about men being the common denominator. @62 interesting post. This whole column was really interesting to read about.


@69 Helenka (also a Canuck): Congrats on scoring this week's Lucky @69 Award! May there be an abundance of riches bestowed upon you like never before.


Yes Helenka.. big win for you this week and with a great suggestion. Massage, perfect. Following on from that, why not a few weeks on a health farm. Are there any gay male run health farms.
It is often hard pushing back against laziness re exercise. I wish I could pay someone to do it for me.


I've seen more gay men comment on this thread than most. I guess gay men comment when gay men are involved; we regulars comment regardless of the LWs' demographics.

Gym is a great suggestion. When I am physically fitter I feel more powerful, which translates to confidence, which is more attractive than appearance alone. If gym leaves these men feeling judged they could try a more solo activity like running or cycling. Gym or another physical activity could also have the added bonus of meeting new people.


Ms Lava - Robert Conrad was presumably best known for starring as Jim West in The Wild Wild West (opposite Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon; Mr Martin also played a murderer in an earlier episode of Columbo).


To those recommending the gym, I shall advance a stereotype as a reason for why what seems to be a simple solution is not implemented more often.

The assembled company may recall the stereotype of the woman desperately cleaning her house before her cleaner arrives. Containing even more truth would seem to be the image of the gay man who thinks he's not fit enough to go to the gym.

If you are going to recommend "the gym", please advise that the LWs patronize a STRAIGHT gym, where they are - perhaps - a little less likely to be below the standard, and where at least they won't do their dating prospects any harm.


@75: Good point. It applies to straight women as well, who may not risk as much sexual rejection at a gym, but (often correctly) fear they're being judged and therefore don't want to go until they're in better shape.


I'm at my healthiest in 25 years and balk at the very idea of going to a gym. That would most likely be the first place I'd experience sexual rejection, ridicule, and scorn.


Anyone for a Hunsky?


@77: That, and that I'd simply prefer not to hang around jocks. After going K-12 to public school in a tiny rural town where athletic programs got all the scholarship money while the music department routinely got the biggest cuts in funding, I feel I've already sufficiently served my time.


@79; But that's just me. Anyone strongly disagreeing with me can refer back to comments @75 vennominon and @76 nocutename, regarding gyms--and more workout power to ya.

No HUNSKY this week......? everyone waiting for the next Savage Love installment?


Griz @80: I went to a gym for a few years in my late 20s/early 30s, and despite having similar traumatic experiences of PE at school, I loved it. But I'm certainly not going to "disagree" with you, Nocute or Venn that it's not for everyone! That's why I suggested alternatives such as running or cycling. There are lots of options, from weight training or zumba at home to joining a tennis or soccer club with people of one's own age and ability. After my own "bad at sports and bullied" past, I was surprised I enjoyed the gym, but feeling fitter and healthier made it worth pushing myself, and that's why the "join a gym" folks are pushing.


I was also "bad at sports and bullied" at school but I enjoy the gym now. It's good for your wellbeing but in my experience it's not where you make friends, though. But that may just reflect my particular situation (I'm not looking to make friends, I'm a lot older/weaker than the average gym visitor, etc.).


Ms Fan - An activity also has the benefit of providing one with at least an opening into conversations about a particular sport. Being able to converse competently about at least one topic can be a confidence boost in and of itself.

It reminds me a little of the converse, and how people who are socially self-assured can just sail through committing howler upon howler. Yesterday I heard a female news anchor pronounce Sr del Potro's second name MARtin instead of MarTEEN and refer to Carlos "RAYmos", while another woman, passionately taking Ms Williams's side in a debate (even going so far as to claim that Ms W would have won the match without the penalties), insisted that nobody ever penalized John "MickENroe".


Ms Cute - Would you accept a Harville Award?


Well, I think "join a gym to get fit" and "join a gym to meet people" are being conflated a bit here. I was in the "get fit" camp and if these guys are out of shape, as Venn says, separating the "get fit" and "meet people" functions may make getting fit more appealing, as they won't have any reason to care what the other people at the gym think of them. Join up, work out, feel better, then hit the bars or social clubs with their newfound confidence.


No Cute- "there's no guarantee that these men will ever become partnered. I am pretty sure that I won't either. It's a supply-and-demand thing, I guess, and there's not enough demand for what I can supply."
I have some thoughts I hope may help. My first thought is that you can control your supply more than you can control your demands(needs, feelings). What you can supply to a relationship is much about time and effort, I think more than about the things/body you have. It might help to narrow your search to the people who desire a similar amount of time and effort that you do, with children or not, whether you want daily interaction or monthly, someone out there will want the same thing. Or, it may help to think of the sort of guys who have what you need as requiring too much time/effort at the moment and this may change when your kids have established themselves?

I don't think a partner is nearly as important as friends in general. But I think that trying to care about people is often a healthy goal. You may not find someone to care deeply for and vice versa but the journey probably feels better than video games.

My framing of mate seeking is more cost/benefit. So long as there is some basic attraction.. everyone has their price. The question becomes, do I choose to pay it. Sometimes it's hard to meet someone who feels well worth their price.

And then falling in love feels a little like selling my soul so that's good to be careful with.


Thanks, Philophile, for your thoughts.
Mr. Ven, although I quite like Captain Harville, I don't know what a Harville award would be for.


The first letter has been reposted on the daily thread, just the one letter and no response. It is such a sad letter. I hope it gets better for him.


This man is well established, he has the funds. Why not get a life coach to help, along with the therapy. Also, a cruise. Have a holiday where gay men will be.
Heavy thread this week Dan. Hope some of the focus has helped these guys.


Ms Cute - I have no desire to disparage the genuine suffering of out-of-shape women; I just think they have a slightly easier time of it managing not to see or be seen by those they desire while resorting to gymnasiums for self-improvement than gay men. I couldn't go to a women's gym or attend most women's exercise classes, nor should I be able to, which makes me feel just a little like Anne Elliot.

It does make me think as well of Rumpole and the Right to Silence, in which Soapy Sam Ballard, who in the previous season/story collection had married the Old Bailey matron, is keeping a secret from his wife, and sneaking a tartan bag in and out of the house. Rumpole, in trouble with She Who Must Be Obeyed for having opined that people are entitled to a bit of privacy even in married life, sees Ballard leaving Chambers with the tartan bag one evening, and tracks him to an address where he observes Sam in the middle of an aerobics class full of women. Having been hectored by his wife to keep his "naughty tummy" in check, Ballard had seen an advertisement for the class, and found exercising with young ladies very jolly, as well as conducive to losing four inches around the waist and having his trousers hang loose. Rumpole advises Ballard to boast to Matey/Marguerite that he'd done it all for her, an admission that defrosts both marriages, at least until Hilda observes that Rumpole's trousers don't hang lose and that he should take up gymnastics himself.

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