Author Archives: ThePrairieGay

Gay on the Plains: No, I Don’t Want to Marry You

Gay on the Plains: No, I Don’t Want to Marry You

Breaking Hearts in the Heartland

road map

Meandering Paths

We are all on our own journeys, dear reader. We each have our own destination, we each have our own pace, and we’re all just doing our best to keep moving forward. We’re not all barreling along the interstate on a straight line at 80 mph. Instead its more like a meandering web of paths, like the winding, cobbled streets of an ancient European village. The good news is that those paths intersect with one another constantly. The bad news is that those intersections frequently occur at the most inconvenient times.

I mentioned before that I am entering a period of introspection and reflection. I’m working on figuring out what my priorities are for the next few years, and where I want to be. I’ve also mentioned that I am enjoying casual dating. I don’t believe that these two things are totally incongruous, however I’ve discovered that it puts my path on a collision course with a few others.

I recently started an online conversation with a gentleman who lives in a very small town, about an hour from where I live. We hit it off early on and have chatted and texted regularly since. I have been totally up front about where I am in life, and my current aversion to beginning an ongoing romantic relationship with anyone. He has said that he totally relates, because he too is taking some time to work on himself.

And then he’ll ask, “So… how long do you think you’re going to take to work on you before you start thinking about settling down?” Which immediately sets off alarm bells in my head.


Hunting for a husbear!

I’ll respond, “I really don’t know, but I don’t think that should be important right now. I’m enjoying making new friends, yourself among them. Lets not get ahead of ourselves!”

“No no, I wasn’t! I was just wondering, you know. …So… friends? Plural? Like… how many guys are you talking to? Did you meet them all on Grindr?”


Twice now I’ve had to seriously remind this gentleman that even though he’s great and I’m absolutely enjoying getting to know him, this just isn’t going to go anywhere serious anytime soon. And twice now he’s responded that I’m getting it all wrong, and he’s not at all looking for a relationship, and he just wants to be my friend and keep texting. Constantly texting. And getting just a tiny bit annoyed when time isn’t made for him. We haven’t ever even met in person!

And so, dear reader, I come to you for advice. Can a PrairieGay like me explore casual dating in an upfront and honest way without inadvertently pulling in husband hunters, and inevitably disappointing and frustrating them? Am I treading into ethical waters that bear a closer examination before I proceed further? I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments.

Gay on the Plains: Please Stop Sending Me Pics of Your Junk

Gay on the Plains: Please Stop Sending Me Pics of Your Junk

Amber Waves of Grain and A Sea of Headless Torsos

Grindr ProfileIn my experience, being a single gay man in the heartland brings challenges that differ from those faced by our coastal brethren. We live in a part of the country that is, by and large, more conservative, and more sparsely populated. That can make finding a date feel a little intimidating. The dating pool is smaller AND more likely to be at least partially in the closet.

So what is a lonely PrairieGay to do? Technology!

A million articles have been written about Grindr, and its many copycats. It’s been called impersonal, transactional, cold, and driven by our very basest instincts. And for many of its users, that is a fair assessment. You will find on these apps no shortage of pictures of muscular, chiseled, perfectly tanned, shirtless torsos… without heads. And many these guys are likely to strike up a conversation with inquisitive panache; “wut u n2?” or even “u looking?”

Charming, I know.

But, at least in my experience, mixed in with these headless, horned-up Greek statues are bunches of regular guys. They’re guys who have faces! And they work at the coffee shop, or in an office downtown, and they really aren’t looking for a quick hookup. Many of them aren’t looking for a boyfriend either, but just want to find someone interesting to chat with.

Those are my guys.

See, here’s the thing about mid-sized, Midwestern towns. We don’t have gay neighborhoods. We don’t have gay bookstores and coffee shops. Most of us have to travel to a larger city, like Kansa City, or Wichita or St. Louis or Denver to celebrate gay pride every year. In most of our cities and towns, we just lack that critical mass of gays it takes to put on a good pride. Many of our brothers and sisters have fled to the bigger cities. Many who remain stay comfortable by assimilating into their conservative suburban neighborhoods, and would be mortified by the idea of marching down Main St. waving our flag of many colors.

And so… if you thirst for social connections and new friends among the small town, Middle American gay community, you’re gonna have to find them first. In the dark ages, before smart phones and gps and Grindr, that meant getting personal introductions from your mutual straight friends. And we all know how effective that can be:

 “You’ll just LOVE my coworker Steven! You have so much in common!”

“Oh yeah? Like what?”

“Well, he’s really cute and he goes to anime conventions all the time, and he collects precious moments figurines, isn’t that just adorable?”

“Uh… I guess.  What, exactly do we have in common though?”

“Well… you’re both, you know,” (whispers) “GAY!”

This retail approach to making gay friends took a very, very long time.  It was hit or miss, and often a lot more miss.  And then, the heavens opened up, and the gay gods brought us Grindr. Finely a wholesale outlet for meeting all the gays in a hundred mile radius!

Wow... that sure is a lot of junk.

Wow… that sure is a lot of junk.

Like I said, the apps are problematic on many levels.  A dear friend of mine refers to them as “the hoechats.” As in, “Ugh, I was just hoping maybe I’d meet someone who might be fun to take to that art opening next week, but… you know how it is on the hoechats. Next thing I knew I was being inundated with uninvited pictures of some dude’s junk. By the way, what are you doing next Friday?”

But I met that very friend, you guessed it, on the hoechats. In fact, I’ve met a number of friends there.  Some of them I’ve later met up with in real life, to get dinner, see a move or go to a party. So in my book, the hoechats are what you make of them. If all you want to do is find a one night stand, go for it. There’s a sea of headless torsos just waiting for you. But if you want to meet the area gays, and get to know your community a little better, you can do that too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have half a dozen message notifications to take a look at. Oh, and by the way, I guess a few pics of your junk would be okay. Just don’t over do it.


Gay on the Plains: An Introduction

Gay on the Plains: An Introduction

Editor’s Note: Gay on the Plains is a new section for the Having It Both Ways project that talks about a beautiful wonderful dear friend and his own dating adventures – but this time on the mid coast.  ENJOY! 

I don’t know how it happened. I woke up one morning and my twentys were gone.  And they’d been gone a while. It’s okay, though, because I spent them working on building just the kind of life I want to live, and everything is awesome now.  Wait, what? That’s not what happened at all? So now I’m a 33 year old single gay man in the plains states; recently separated and totally clueless on how to proceed? Well… what the hell, fate?

The quick and dirty life story is that I have repeatedly raced into long term relationships, and then, a year or so later, I find myself totally invested, and mostly miserable.  Determined to be a beacon of a healthy and happy gay relationship for my mid-western neighbors to marvel at, I put on a brave face, I tell myself that everything is great, and I press on. Until, over the course of a few years, we gradually come to despise one another; or worse, to simply ignore each other.

And so, my adult life to date has been spent in three serious relationships. Over the last 15 years I have spent part of 2004 and part of 2009 single. That’s it.  Having made this realization, dear reader, I’d like to invite you to take a journey with me.  Over the next year, or more, I’m going to do some introspection. I’m going to focus on aspects of my life other than being one half of a couple. Personal growth, career growth and building connections to my community are all goals for this year. Finding a husband is not on the list.

That’s not to say I won’t someday find the man of my dreams, and marry him, buy a big house and adopt a hundred babies from all around the world. That could happen. Just, not this year. Not today. It’s neither my goal nor my focus.

“But, PrairieGay, if you’re not looking for a relationship, then…what are you doing on this dating-focused blog? Is this gonna be some kind of Eat, Pray, Love BS? Because that’s really not what I’m here for,” you may be thinking.

Well I never said there wouldn’t be dating. I intend to go on LOTS of dates. I intend to meet all the eligible bachelors (and probably my fair share of ineligible ones as well) and have dinner, get cocktails, go dancing maybe. From time to time a lucky gentleman suitor may even be invited to come upstairs and look at the etchings. (I have an excellent and extensive collection of etchings).

I’ve only just dipped my toe into the pool of datable (and undatable) men of the high plains, and already I have so much to tell you about. Stories of excitement and heartbreak. Of new friends and old flames. Of new ways of meeting and communicating that I could never have even imagined the last time I was single.

It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m the Prairie Gay, and we have so much to talk about!