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10 Ways Your Gay Dating Profile Sucks!

by Jamie Banning 5. August 2014 16:59
Putin demonstrates bad gay dating profile photo

Sorry to break the news, but your profile probably sucks. It's sending out all the wrong messages, attracting all the wrong guys, and putting off the lads you really want to get with. I'm going to list 10 ways your profile (probably) sucks. 

1. Photo me bad

When it comes to profiles the picture is often the first and worst offender. See this picture of Vladimir Putin (right). It's a good way to kick off our discussion of what makes a bad dating photo. Moobs? Check. Hint of things below the waistline? Check. Distant macho look? Check. All adds up to creepsville though. 

And another thing ... please don't put up a picture with you and two hot guys you met in a club. Yes, it depicts a lively social calendar, but to the rest of us it is plain confusing. What happens if I'm attracted to the guy on the right, but the man in the middle just isn't my type? How can I message you and ask which one you are without causing offence? I'll probably just skip over your profile, without even getting to read the witty mildly self-deprecating blurb that took you an entire weekend of procrastinating and gin to lick into shape.

2. Cover me stupid

Another profile picture bugbear of mine is people in sunglasses and/or hats. It looks like you have something to hide. If the eyes are the windows to the soul then I need to see yours before I offer to buy you dinner at Qype. As for hats, personally I like a guy with a distinct widow's peak but a hat just implies you don't like what;s under it which makes me keep scrolling.

3. Pissed off, or just pissed?

It is truly hard to take a good profile picture. You want to look fun, but not sloshed. You want to look natural but not like you have no grooming routine whatsoever. You want to portray that you can be passionate and sexy without looking cheap, yet intelligent and sensitive without resembling Hannibal.

My advice is to simply get a friend to take a picture of you on a typical day out, in natural light and make sure the picture just looks like you. There is no point being overly flattering with profile pictures, because if you do happen to meet that hottie, he is going to be sourly disappointed by the actual goods.

4. Selfie hell

There are some spectacularly bad ways to take a selfie. In the mirror with your unwashed clothes lying about behind you. On the lash with ten pints inside you. With your footie mates. Sitting in front of your laptop with the camera pointing right up your schnozzle. The possibilities for bad selfies are endless, and I've seen them all. Consider having somebody else take your photo. 

Gay Pride
Great for Facebook, not so much for your dating profile

5. Pride cometh before a fall

These days it's trendy to put up a photo of you larging it up at one of the dozens of Prides around the country. Don't get me wrong, I love Pride as much as anyone, but if I wanted to see a semi-naked man in his pants, well I'd (let's not go into that). 

6. When content isn't king

The same can be said about the content of your profile. If you loathe the gym, then don't even pretend that you go. If you get fit clubbing or dog walking or simply prefer sitting around watching art-house films and scoffing homemade delicacies in your Calvin Klein;s then put that on your profile! You're looking for a man who enjoys the same things as you do, and no-one wants the pressure of living up to an impossible profile.

7. Pants on fire

The biggest mistake that most people make is that they don't give an honest opinion of themselves. The glistening profile that portrays a toned Adonis with a Mensa-worthy IQ, a penchant for saving lives and a killer sense of humour is far more likely to put people off who are simply looking for someone genuine to share their evenings with. No-one wants to feel inadequate next to their partner, so the majority of people will skim over the too good to be true profiles. In a mass of people desperately selling themselves with the same clichés, your best bet is to be honest and down-to-earth.

8. Hobby horse

When it comes to hobbies, only put down things that you have done in the last fortnight or the last month at a push. When it comes to personality traits you're better off asking a good friend to fill it in for you. Your dating profile shouldn't depict the person you are working towards becoming, it should represent the very person that you are right now.

9. International man of mystery

It's good to be a bit sexy, after all, in the dating scene, we all expect that a certain amount of bodily fluid will be exchanged at some point. It's OK to be open about your quirks. Anything too personal can come later, when you message one another. Being honest doesn't mean you need to expose every part of yourself just yet, hold on to some sense of decorum and shroud your profile in just enough mystery to make people want to know more.

10. Keeping it real

The basic rule is, don't make anything up as it won't end happily. Yet don't feel the need to be too self-deprecating or modest, everyone else out there will be selling themselves a little so add a touch of sparkle and show your best side but hold on to your integrity and your prince will come.

Now, log in and go and review your profile and delete anything that sucks and replace it with stuff that's irresistable. I know you can!


dating | gay

Is Your Boyfriend a SpaceMan?

by Jamie Banning 16. May 2013 10:03
Gay relationships - together but alone
Dating a "SpaceMan" can be frustrating

“Jamie, I like being with you, but you know I need my space.”

These words, spoken by my then heartthrob man, struck terror into my heart. I knew then - on some level - that our relationship was doomed. Coming as it did, after 9 months of intense dating, and many hints of moving in together being dropped (by me), I could tell that the relationship was not going to move smoothly onto the next phase. For me that meant moving in, and becoming an established couple.

Why was the ever-increasing closeness important to me? I felt (like most people) that relationships have to move forward, have to have some momentum. I wanted us to go out into the world standing side-by-side facing forwards, not as two separate men struggling with life’s ups and downs, together, but separate. Without momentum relationships slow down, stagnate and get cold. Eventually, the grass on the other side of the neighbour’s fence starts to look enticingly lush and healthy.

But Andrew (as I’ll call him) obviously didn’t feel the same way.

No – not only did he not want to move in, but he “needed his space”. What did this mean, exactly? It wasn’t easy to find out. He wasn’t a man to articulate his feelings in a clear way; preferring to use hints, innuendo, and behaviour as his way of telling me things. I was just as bad - at the time – I hope I do better now.

Here are some signs I should have picked up earlier, but love blinkered me to the reality. If you’re dating someone who shows the Spaceman signs, beware!

  • He wanted to be with me, but he wanted to be in control of when we saw each other. It’s not that he rejected my suggestions for places to go, things to do, it’s just that somehow he managed to always get his way, without me even realising!
  • I found it difficult and frustrating to get clear answers on when we would meet, and the length of time we’d spend together.
  • He would sometimes stay the night but sometimes (especially after sex) disappear, sometimes in the middle of the night! 
  • He would not answer my texts immediately, but would get annoyed if I was not there when he rang or texted. 
  • After a couple of days of intense and wonderful companionship (I thought) he’d be straining at the leash to get back to his own flat 
  • He invented what I thought were artificial problems with his sister and brother that he just had to be there to sort out – no matter that they were adults themselves and old enough to sort out their own problems
  • He delayed and procrastinated on the question of moving in together.
  • I was not invited warmly into his circle of friends - he insisted it was healthier to keep our separate groups of friends. Hmm. 

There were many other signs that my boyfriend was a Spaceman - just little things that pulled him away from me, when we should have been getting closer. In the end, the inevitable furious arguments began, as our relationship slid away from anything that I could control. 

Eventually I had to let it go, to avoid being damaged by this unhealthy relationship. We are good friends today though and I don’t regret our relationship, having realised it wasn’t right for either of us. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and it was time to see if I couldn’t hook one or two of them. Next time, I vowed, my boyfriend wouldn’t be a spaceman, and our close encounters would be really close – for all the right reasons.

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dating | gay | relationships

How to Deal With Being Dumped

by Jamie Banning 26. April 2013 09:45
Gay man
It hurts, but it don't last

"I was on my way home from work, when I got the text message. "I don't think I can come down this weekend. I'm not going to be around much from today. See you when I see you." I knew what this meant. It had been building for weeks. So there I was, dumped, by text, on a Friday afternoon."

Jon is relating a tale to me of how one relationship went sour. And it's a scenario we're all likely to be familiar with. The shock and pain, or sometimes the relief and closure, of being dumped.

There are many ways for a relationship to end. Some come to a full-stop overnight, never to be revisited. Some judder to a horrible train-wreck explosion. Some fall into to a slow, whirling, inexorable decline. Some simply fade away. Sometimes, in a sea of changing and shifting relationships, it's unclear whether there's a permanent relationship present at all. 

And there are many means: the huge fight, the text message, the ever-lengthening silences which one day, unnoticed, become permanent. The best dumpings (if there can be such a thing) are clear, face-to-face, and upfront. Reasons will be given, but no blame or recriminations.

Bad dumpings occur through text, email, voicemail, or even worse, Twitter or Facebook message. Then there are passive-aggressive dumpings: silent treatment, not turning up for dates, or changing one's Facebook status to "single" all qualify.

One thing's for sure, the pain of being dumped is equal to the amount of emotional energy you have invested in the relationship. A Monday morning text from the guy you had a Saturday-night hookup with, saying "I don't want to see you again" is more likely to elicit laughter than tears. "What a tosser! As if!"

But the long-term relationship that comes to a sudden end, or (perhaps worse) a slow, spiralling death, is an experience that requires all the fightback we have in us. Somehow we have to muster our internal resources to deal with the pain of rejection, guilt (was it me?), suspicion, and confusion. Then in the maelstrom, there's the small matter of real life to cope with. It goes on day after day, work continues, family need attention, health - mental and physical - must be looked after too. 

Karl, a radio technician from Liverpool, was dumped after five years of a close relationship: "I met Graham at Liverpool Uni. I had come up from London to study music. Gray was one year ahead of me at the time. We shared a flat together and things were going well, but he was suffering from various illnesses, which I supported him through. But then he graduated, and moved back to the suburbs where his family and friends were. I was kinda abandoned for a year, not really knowing what to do. I felt the relationship had all but ended. But when I came to graduate, he suggested moving in with him again back in his home town. By this time I was the one who needed support, and not really knowing what else to do, I agreed. Living in somebody else's territory, and being out of work, left me feeling vulnerable. When he ended it (he broke the news in the street one day as we were out shopping - broad daylight!) I lost so much more than a lover. I lost a friend, I lost contacts with the world around me, I lost any sense of purpose! Five years of effort and compromise were "thrown back in my face". At the same time I felt betrayed and frankly, conned, having moved away from my roots at his bequest. My whole world collapsed."

Being dumped brings a whirlwind of emotions. Pain, guilt, loneliness, fear for the future, betrayal, jealousy, suspicion to name a few. Most breaks are not "clean", so there is likely to be a period of uncertainty and fighting to get your man back. The most important thing to do is try to stay on top of all these feelings and not them completely overwhelm you. Taking some time out is a good idea. A day or two off work, some quiet space, some alone time, are all ways to create a sense of separation from the maelstrom that's just hit you. 

Now is the time when friends and family come into their own. Those of us with supportive families know all about being dumped and will try to rally for you. Let them. It doesn't mean you have to  tell them every excruciating detail, but just allow them in, and let them be there. Friends too can be lifesavers. But not all friends are good for you right now - many men can be rather brutal when it comes to other's ex-boyfriends. They may be pumped to tell you how much they hated your ex, all the things that were wrong about him, why he was no good for you. Perhaps they're right - but now is not really the time for recrimination, it's a time for healing, and negativity doesn't help. Ask for help from the friends you know will help you hurt and help you heal. They will be delighted to be valued. 

Looking back on a past relationship, it can be tempting to dwell on every aspect of the "failure", and to obsess on blame. Blame and recrimination are wholly negative emotions. They only diminish your ability to function, and if allowed to fester, can get out of control and take over your life. 

"The relationship with Gray went wrong. But looking back, I can see that perhaps it was never really right. We didn't wholly love each other, but found pleasure and comfort in each other's company. At different times we were both in need of some looking after. We cared for each other, but that was not really enough. When we broke up, it broke my heart, but I now see it as a something we both needed to go through."

Despite the heartache, there are often many positives to being dumped. Now is the time to try to see them. A sour relationship that is terminated is often better than one which staggers on without going anywhere. Relationships change as the people in them change. Breaking up can be the catalyst to move forward with your life and explore new territories. I'm not suggesting going out and shagging anything in a tight pair of jeans. I mean taking stock, looking forward, and moving on. There are new freedoms, new opportunities. And who knows, maybe that perfect guy is just around the corner. 


dating | gay | relationships

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