Relationships seem less permanent these days. People are less likely to stay with one partner for life just as they are less likely to stay with one job for life. Modern living offers so many choices that it puts pressure on relationships.
Maybe modern people are more spoiled. They don't want boredom. The TV remote control teaches one thing; "if things get boring, change the channel." Advertising influences our psyche. They say, "you deserve better."
Many people, in both the gay and straight worlds, jump into relationships real fast. They are in love with the concept of relationships. I have often thought that folks should know each other, for at least 3 years, before they start calling their union a "relationship." That doesn't mean they have to wait 3 years for anything erotic, or becoming monogamous, but waiting 3 years before calling it a relationship is a good idea.
I have known a lot of people who go out with someone for one weekend and start calling it a relationship. They hurry to cement the "commitment" for fear someone else could come along to snap up the catch. The dating world can be a fast moving market economy. These desperate relationships seldom last. With-in a month, they've already gotten a new "lover."
For some people, the landscape is littered with ex-lovers and broken promises. Social events can be awkward when one finds one's ex-lover in the room.
If love affairs come and go this fast, people might as well admit they are into affairs.
It takes a long time to get to know someone well. When I meet someone, I usually find they have been snapped up by a lover before I get to know them very well. When they break up, they often get snapped up again. I am not real fast so I don't catch them on the rebound. It is probably just as well.
I have a wide circle of very deep friendships. Many of these friendships have taken years to develop. Some of my friends have gone through several lovers, while their friendship with me out lasts the love affairs.
While I have watched several friends go through a list of lovers, a few of my friends have been in steady relationships, with one lover, for over 3 years; some for many years. These long term relationships earn the privilege of calling themselves a "relationship."
Friendships are often more lasting than relationships and they do a lot to knit the community together. They do more than a collection of ex-lovers.
It is a good idea to take time and not rush into making promises, especially if one isn't apt to keep the promises. As for marriage and military service, there is an old phrase which goes, "be careful what you ask for because you may get it."
Rather than looking for "a lover," to posses like some material object, I prefer living by myself. The joys ofliving alone and calling one's own shots is a well kept secret. Having many good friends is a blessing as well.
Beautiful butterflies spend most of their lives as lowly caterpillars. They only sprout colorful wings for a short time.
Often the bar fly is like a butterfly. Young and handsome for a short time; but soon the ravages of time takes its toll. Some talk about "social butterflies."
One of the ironies in life is how "looks conscious" many people are at the bar while the lifestyle of the bar does its level best to sag one's looks. If people are really concerned about preserving their "young butterfly looks," they would lay off the booze and be hitting a gym. Possibly; they'd even be riding their bikes, but this is not usually the case. It's one of those ironies of life. The butterfly look is fleeting, but healthy living can grab it and make it stick around longer in life.
While stunning looks tend to flutter through life in a hurry, the mind sticks around longer. One can be a couch potato and still have a sharp mind. An intellectual mind tends to hang on for the long haul. It's a pity that the mind is not more valued in the bar scene since the mind is a resource that one can offer even when the body starts to change. When a mind shines, its light is covered up in that loud music and atmosphere of most bars. The mind is often not noticed or valued in a superficial world.
I am not writing this to put down the bar, necessarily. Bars have their fun moments. It is just that life has a tendency to highlight these ironies.
So, one asks if there is a way out of this morass of ironies? There probably is. In fact there are probably many ways out. One can find places where the mind is valued and use the mind more; discussion groups, book clubs, you name it.
Another thing that can be done is get into health and exercise. Surprisingly enough; this may hold onto butterfly wings a bit longer. Also health clubs can be quite social and even, if visual appeal counts, a bit erotic.
At the bar, many people look at life from a competitive angle. They wonder if they are "good enough" to get a date. A friend of mine once said he felt like "yesterday's left over meat loaf" when compared to others at the bar.
Meet-a-mate classified ads can lead to a competition mind set also. Ads often read like, "must be 20-30" or must have lots of money. The whole dating world can run like a market place. No wonder they sometimes call it "the meat market." Personal ads read like job listings. "Wanted gay white male under 30 for fun and possible relationship." Responses read like resumes. "I'm 5'11'' and so forth.
Some say, "No fats or fems please."
Is the dating world a giant shopping center? Can this be viewed in a new way so it no longer runs like Macy's or Bellis Fair?
Maybe we should say, "to hell with the market place." "To hell with trying to capture that date," or at least devoting too much energy toward that pursuit. People are not really commodities to be sized up and purchased.
How about putting more energy into friendships? Having wide circles of friends can be nice. One can do more than just "be on the hunt for a mate." It is nice to have a lot of different kinds of friends who serve many needs. People of different ages, races, genders and so forth all have something to offer. Maybe we could even all be in the hot tub together. Friendships are important and often undervalued.
Maybe the gay community would be more cohesive if energy was put into casual friendships. Friendships don't have to be a big deal; possibly just a smile or a willingness to listen for a short time. It doesn't have to be a huge commitment.
It is friendships that hold the community, at large, together. One can be friends with people from many walks of life. One doesn't have to be perfect to have friends. Remember, "if you are not perfect, a friend only has to put up with you periodically." A mate is more likely to be stuck with you day in and day out.
Community in the sauna?