In modern gay dating, there are dozens of apps that are designed to make finding a love connection easier. The sad truth is, or maybe it’s the bonus, most of these apps really only end up in hookups. Not really bad, per se, but not ideal if you’re looking for a life partner.
When you’re coming from a small town or even just the closet, meeting other gays can seem really daunting. Because of that, the convenience of dating apps is really alluring. With instant messaging and the ability to send pics, it’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of dick that’s out there.
An alternative you’ll always hear is that you can always meet a guy at the club. Honestly, I don’t remember any couple out of all my gay friends who met at the club and didn’t eventually break things off when one or the other didn’t want to go clubbing anymore.
I like to think that I’m kind of an expert when it comes to this because my husband and I actually saw each other first at the store I was working at #retailgay. The next day he asked me to meet him at a bar where he bought me a drink, and after a typical coffee shop date, the rest is history. We’ve been together almost every day since!
Before him, I tried finding guys online or at the club, they’d find one of my many flaws and bail in search of the perfect man. I had gay wingmen who tried to help and girlfriends that introduced me to their ‘other gay friend’ and nothing really lasted.
So, if dating apps are for hookups and club relationships fizzle out, what hope is there for long term gay relationships? I’ve got six places to meet guys other than apps or the club below.
1. Find a gay sports league near you
If you’re like me, you moved to a big city as soon as you could. Most of these big cities have a wide range of sports groups you can join that are either completely gay or at least gay-friendly. They’re great places to find someone with a similar interest that you’re into. Whether it’s volleyball or soccer that tickles your fancy you can find a league to join really easily.
Facebook groups are a great place to look for these leagues but there are also sites/apps like Meetups. These teams are a really great way to let off some steam and enjoy the sport or activity you love to do. Some of the groups even organize regular nights out and parties where you can get to know each other outside of the sport or activity. Sometimes these extra activities are where you find out the other similarities you might have with someone.
Having naturally similar interests can be hard to find, but if you meet each other doing one of the things you love, then you’re off to a great start!
2. Volunteer at a local LGBT non-profit organization
There are many corporate and local organizations that help our community get and stay connected. Whether you volunteer at an organization that helps LGBT youth or a global organization like Impulse Group, you’re helping other queer people who may not have the strength you have to be themselves. We’ve experienced a lot of as adult gay men and helping the next generation through those experiences can be really rewarding.
Many of these organizations help local LGBT people find appropriate resources for their questions. They’re free of judgment for their visitors and staff because they have an innate appreciation for all human life. They are also hubs for the local community too and just because they aren’t a bar doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun! My local LGBT group offers a ton of regular activities throughout the month, including board game night and karaoke.
These organizations help you give back and gain a greater perspective for where you’re at in life. Simply by helping others who are going through experiences we have familiarity with, you’ll grow your heart and soul with this simple act of giving back.
3. Meetup Events are really fun
I know I know “yOu AlReAdY MeNtIoNeD tHaT” but for good reason! Meetup allows you to create basically any event you could possibly want. Of course, it also helps you find local events. These can be as simple as a wing night at a sports bar or a cultural book club, whatever floats your boat honestly. There are a ton of groups likely already in your city and if there’s not, why not create one?
These groups are insanely diverse, they range across a ton of interests like D&D Dyke Night to local coffee shop meetups. Honestly, I couldn’t make the D&D one up if I tried, that happens just down the street from my condo! The people that go to these are really friendly and outgoing, they’ll welcome you into their group and you could make a lot of friends out of it. And friends with mutual interests can turn into more!
It’s really about putting yourself out there in the community. If you never go out how in the hell are you gonna find anyone? Seriously, it’s great to connect and meet people, who maybe know someone who you’d be into!
4. Go to a Pride party
Not just the parade, you can try and find these through mutual friends or even when you’re at the parade. A lot of local bars will be advertising their big shebangs, and a lot of local queers host their own house party during pride. The beauty of a pride party is at the very least everyone in attendance is gay-friendly AF. So, you don’t have to worry about hitting on a straight dude who’ll blow up at you. Realistically there are mostly gay people at these events, so it stands to reason that you might find someone you’re interested in.
Pride parties are a great way to meet people at a slower pace (and with less noise) than a gay bar. You still get to have the liquid courage you might need to chat some guy up, but the host likely doesn’t have an intense sound system that drowns out your conversation. And hey, if they do, it’s a great excuse to go for a walk with your love interest. You won’t really have to worry about the crowds or getting back into the bar, just text your friend to buzz you back in!
Most cities already have well-established Pride parties that happen yearly. If you can’t seem to find one you can always look for a drag brunch or other queer activities that burst out woodwork during pride.
5. Organize an LGBTQ event for your office
If you’re comfortable being out at work this is a great way to meet other queers at your office. Maybe your co-workers will bring friends that you might not have run into otherwise. I planned my company’s Pride march, but you can plan a Lunch-n-learn or even awareness month, which is June FYI, info-blasts where you teach the children about the Stonewall Riots or you could showcase queer cinematography like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which is a personal fav.
You could start up a simple newsletter where you talk about important people from queer history. This could be a simple email you send out or even a page on your company’s dreaded intranet. If you’re the first one to organize it, you’ll be able to make a long-standing legacy within your company. Maybe you aren’t the one who thought to start it but joining one can be just as rewarding. You can even turn it into a competition with other groups your company might have to see who can fundraise the most for a joint off-theme event, like a mindfulness meditation session.
My favorite part of being involved in these events is hearing everyone’s connection to the community. Some can be tragic, like my friend losing her brother to violence against gays, but some can be beautiful, like a colleague who just wanted her son to know there are other gay people out there.
6. Attend something at your local queer coffee shop
Most big cities have a gay area of the town, whether it’s because of a tragic historic event or simply where the bars popped up. Now there’s a shift to LGBTQ coffee shops, too! The best part of these events is that they’re really sober-friendly, which is a big need in our community, and they can be great networking opportunities both professionally and personally
I’ve attended poetry readings and art shows at my local queer cafe and they’re just amazing. I grew up in an incredibly small town that was just as narrow-sighted, so being able to go to an event for my people really struck something in me. Representation matters and seeing visions of yourself on stage or featured in an art show can be far more life-changing than you can think of. Who knows, you might find Mr. Right working as a barista or belting his heart out on stage. Maybe he finds you!
These events are often super welcoming to local people, so you can bring your squad and feel comfortable and safe. Ultimately, these queer spaces could make you feel more at home than anywhere else ever has.
Finding love can be tricking, but you have more options than the bar or dating apps to meet guys. You can find tons of guys near you with similar interests by trying out some of my suggestions. Whether you’re an athlete or an intellectual type, there’s another half of you out there.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope that you can find your person, like I did with my hubby.