I spent most of last month shamelessly fishing for dates, and let’s just say that the only pieces of meat I caught frantically jumped back in the water. But I’m not bitter. September is the month of sex at a college campus. After the wave of end-of-summer break-ups, everyone spends the last warm weeks of the year hunting for a lover before the cold sets in. I just caught a bunch of duds.
But the “why” question always creeps up on you. There are many reasons why things don’t work out: bad breath, athlete’s foot, Republican Party membership, a wandering eye, a wandering hand.
Some of the most important reasons, however, are mostly overlooked: tight pants and baggy pants, skater shoes and pointy shoes, black belts with brown shoes, Gucci belts with Dior shoes and so on.
My theory: Style counts. People are deathly afraid to court outside of their “style circle.”
It’s all too simple. Take, for instance, what happened to a guyfriend I’ll call Funny Fashionista. Funny Fashionista, a small man with a flair for style, crushed on someone I’ll call Mista Cagey, a big guy who matches light blue T-shirts with light-blue jeans. (Ick, what Funny Fashionista sees in Mista Cagey is still beyond me.)
My friend asks Mista Cagey to the movies. He replies, very matter-of-factly: “October is a bad month for me. I’m really busy during the week, and all my weekends are taken up by other people.”
This is the most common kind of style-sorting: straggly guys never ask out fashionistas, and this campus is full of straggly guys.
Now, Funny Fashionista already has a long distance boyfriend, and it’s no surprise that his European lover is as fashionable as him.
Take, on the other side of the coin, Alex and Alex – yep, those are real names. Alex and Alex are like unrelated twins. They’re so fashionable that I once saw Alex wearing Prada pants that accidentally matched the other Alex’s Prada shoes. Their relationship is solid. No wonder. Each is too modish to date anyone else on this homely campus.
(This happens in the straight world, too, from what I’ve seen, but not as often. I think straight women have, wisely, given up. Straight guys are going to look like crap until the end of time, or at least until Old Navy and all related companies file for bankruptcy.)
What is going on here? I find myself attracted to all sorts of guys: men who can dress, men who need a little help, and men who can’t tell the Gap from D&G, a cardinal sin punishable by makeover.
But in most of the (gay) world, likes, not opposites, attract.
Perhaps this happens because gays, often so marginalized and singled out, don’t want to stand out. They cling to what’s similar to be a bit more normal, a bit less like an outcast. If you can “pass as straight” – a phrase I use just for convenience – why date someone who dresses like a female Carson Kressley?
I’m obviously oversimplifying, and I don’t mean to demean any relationships. People like to date people with whom they have something in common, and style can be a reflection of someone’s personality. So it makes sense, in a way, to look for your stylistic twin. Besides, you can double your wardrobe at the same time.
And there are exceptions. I once liked a guy I’ll call Manic Depressive Anonymous Sex Seeker, and took him out to a bar. It was cold out and he had wanted to borrow some of my clothes. So I gave him some and for once I was out with a guy that looked like me. By the end of the night, I was talking to my friends. Manic Depressive Anonymous Sex Seeker