Originally posted on NextGenJournal.com. For original, please refer to: Gay, Catholic College Student on Dating- NextGen Journal.
I’ve been told countless times after a particularly bad date or a frustratingly fruitless night out on the town that dating in college is incredibly difficult. It’s meant to be comforting – it’s not me, it’s the system! – but in reality, it’s about as helpful as “It Gets Better” is to a seventh grader: great to know for the future, but not really benefiting me in the present.
Of course, I’m not just trying to date in college – I’m a gay man going to a Catholic school. Now, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a private Jesuit school in Los Angeles, is as progressive as they come, and I’m certainly in better shape than many others. But that doesn’t change the fact that, surrounded by straight couples and single heterosexual students who have no trouble finding options, I’m growing increasingly despondent about finding someone each and every day.
The problem is threefold: the gay population of my school, the gay dating scene in general and my age. If I had one wish for LMU, it would be that more students could be honest about their sexuality. I’ve visited friends at other schools and been shocked at how casual students are about sex.
At LMU, while students are accepting and progressive on gay issues, you’d be hard-pressed to find many out students. With such a small community, everyone knows everyone, and most have decided whether or not they’d be interested long before ever meeting someone. Students usually go off campus to find successful relationships, to neighboring USC and UCLA. Of course, how to find them is part of my second problem: the gay dating scene.
How do you meet a fella who likes fellas? It’s a conundrum that has plagued gay young adults for decades. Sure, there are the parties and the clubs and the gay neighborhoods (LA’s is West Hollywood), but what if you’re the type who likes watching “Bridesmaids” on a Friday night? Gay hookup apps masquerading as ‘dating’ apps like Grindr aren’t the solution, either – though they are becoming increasingly more accepted not only among those in the gay community, but in the straight one, too. Good luck, though – if you can wade through all the headless torsos and find a quality man, you’ve accomplished quite a feat.
Even if you do like going out and having fun, woe to you if you’re not 21! West Hollywood has exactly one gay club open to those 18 and up, Rage, and that’s only on select nights and draws an eclectic crowd. (There is another gay ‘night’ in Los Angeles, TigerHeat, but it’s an event rather than its own club, on a Thursday, and constantly moves venues.) Other than that, you’d best wait until your 21st birthday to get in anywhere.
As a result of all this, my dating experiences in college have been disappointingly limited. I’ve done my best to put myself out there, but my only good experiences have been back home over the summer (ironically enough, considering I’m from Texas – a much less gay-friendly place than LA). Unfortunately, other than waiting until you hit 21 and continuing to try to break a bad streak, there isn’t some big solution to dating gay in college, much less at a smaller Catholic college. But ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,’ the old saying goes. Plus, ‘it gets better,’ to quote a slightly newer saying.
So if you’ll excuse me, I must be going. I’ve got a date to meet.