Is internet dating for homosexual men living up to the stereotypical behavior that has long been associated with gay men? Does it portray gay men in a negative light and make us look as if all we are concerned with is sex? Is there really a possibility of finding Mr. Right, their Prince Charming, or Mr. Right Now online and will it turn into a loving meaningful relationship? Do chat rooms which cater to “m4m” ‘s hurt or help?
These are all questions that I asked myself recently when I decided to try out the free 90 days of AOL service that came with my snazzy new HP laptop.
The experiment was simple. I would log online at AOL, fill out my “buddy” profile and start cruising the chat rooms and dating sites associated with AOL. I know… not a very original idea but since I was not into internet dating much and had tried it in the past (very disastrous experience), I thought that this could give us a glimpse into the possibilities abounding.
I went to AOL’s community pages where you can find chat boards and chat rooms. I decided to try out a chat room so I could speak to live people and get their feedback. There is a TON of options (rooms) you can choose from. There are area specific m4m rooms like St. Louis and Chicago, ethnic specific ones like blackm4m and latinom4m, and even type specific like daddym4m and quickplaym4m. I saw too many opportunities so I stuck with an “easier” choice. I went to the relationshipm4m room. I assumed that these men would be more interested in finding or having a serious oriented relationship and not be one to want a “quickie” or to find an “f” buddy. Much to my dismay, there were both types here.
I asked the members of the chat room what they were looking for in coming to a web chat room like this and if they were serious about finding a relationship or just serious about finding any type of relationship. The most common answer was that internet dating was a farce and that people just wanted to get their jollies off and there is no such thing as a gay decent person online who is looking for a relationship. It blew my mind. I had heard stories of the happenings in these chat rooms but I was just downright floored. There were people who were serious and others who were not. This should not be surprising since that in “real life” men are just the same way. Some want a quickie while others are interested in long term dating.
I have conducted this “research” since the 5 February 2009. It’s been two weeks and what have I learned? I don’t know really what I have learned other than the fact that there are people out there looking for love in any place they can find it. I don’t fault them for looking online because for some people, this might be their only real hope of finding someone in their area, especially in the rural areas where there is little to no glbt community to speak of. Do I fault them, not at all. I am sure if I hadn’t grown up in a major metropolitan area I might not have had the community I did nor have the opportunities I did to interact with many members. And, now that I live in rural America, I understand just how hard it is for these individuals to find Mr. Right Now, let alone Mr. Right.
Therefore, my advice… find love wherever you can, but remember to be on your toes, for no matter where you go, there is always going to be someone who might take advantage of the situation, and you might end up getting hurt.
Jason P. Ruel
Gay Lesbian Relationships Editor