Posts Tagged acceptance

Match.com: Singles in America

Continuing with this week’s Valentine’s theme, I want to highlight a study I had the privilege of learning about this weekend while attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition.

SinglesinAmericaMatchcom_zps167573c9107 million Americans are single, and match.com is trying to understand them. Under the guidance of Dr. Helen Fisher for the third year in-a-row, match.com has commissioned a national relationship study, Singles in America. After asking 200 questions to a perfect cross-section of the U.S., they learned fascinating new things you may or may not have heard in the news as of late.

I was shocked to learn both men and women judge each other first by their teeth, followed by grammar. It’s refreshing to know that in this day and age, communication is still important. Still, I’m surprised to see teeth topped the list (as well as proud of my pearly whites).

As a gay man who wants to one day get married, it was also refreshing to hear that commitment is back in style — 90% of those open to marriage believe they can stay married to the same person forever.

As Dr. Fisher reported the results, she was most-surprised by the increased emergence of friends with benefits. As a 28-year-old, I didn’t find this particularly surprising, having had my own FWB relationships.

In related results, virginity is no longer a core value in the dating world — If anything, it’s an obstacle. Gone are the days where the first instance of intercourse between couples occurs on the night marital consummation. I think it’s only natural that people want to test-drive the car before they buy it these days, even though women are less likely to admit it.

Sexting was a particularly interesting territory in the digital age. Although most singles believe sexting could jeopardize their careers or privacy, they still partook in this social taboo, proving love conquers all (including reason).

JustMarriedGayMenMy favorite statistic was that gay men fell in love more often than anyone else. We were more romantic, more experienced in “love at first sight” and more likely to be “deeply in love” with a long-term partner. Lastly, we had sex with the same frequency as other singles, finally proving the stereotypical perception of gay promiscuity is outdated.

I’m curious if this is due to wider acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, or if this has evolved naturally. Dr. Fisher made a point about not making a point of discussing homosexual responses as a separate entity because there are very few differences from the heterosexual responses. We’re not all that different after all.

The most shocking results were that women desired independence and men sought commitment. Single men fall in love faster and want to “move in” together sooner, while women still want to hold onto their girls’ night out.

Hear Dr. Helen Fisher’s own interpretation of the facts from Saturday’s event below:

This post was sponsored by the fine folks at match.com. Be sure to check out all the fun, fresh video clips at Singles in America.

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Mom & Dad Turn a Deaf Ear

Mother’s Day crept up on me this year so quickly I didn’t get a chance to buy Mom a present. It should be easy. It’s always my birthday weekend. I decided quickly, I would take her out to dinner in New York City. I also thought ahead to Father’s Day and suggested they both come stay with me for a weekend. I would take them both out to dinner for Mather’s Day whenever they could find the time to visit. They always look forward to visiting my sister and I in Hoboken and venturing into the city, so I thought it was a perfect gift. I told them to check their calendar and get back to me.

That never really came to fruition. Weeks passed , and they never picked a day. That was the case, until they were coming into the city on a bus trip my aunt was running to see Rent. Every time they come to visit for a show, they go to Carmine’s. I always get an invite to join for dinner or lunch even though I’m not going to the show. This time, my parents wanted nothing to do with Carmine’s. They have a lot of complaints about how my aunt orders a lot of family style pasta dishes. “If we’re coming into New York City, I want something better than pasta, especially at that price,” my mother exclaimed over the phone. I didn’t blame her. The city had a plethora of great restaurants to offer. No one should be going back to the same place every time they visit, no matter how convenient.

I agreed to take them out for dinner following the show and asked them to pick a place. Once again, this was a whole ordeal. I helped them out by picking a few great restaurants in the area to choose from. Even that was like pulling teeth. Finally, they left the decision up to me, so I chose City Lobster and Steak. In the days leading up to the visit, I learned my sister would also be joining us.

I met my sister in Hoboken and rode the bus into the city together. We met my parents at the restaurant and got a nice table by the window. It had been some time since I caught up with my parents, even though I call several times a week just to chat when I’m bored and walking somewhere.

We talked a bit about the show before the topic of conversation shifted elsewhere. At one point, my mother asked me what I’d done over the weekend. I explained my successful date with Smiles and discussed how I finally had a successful third date. “What does that mean?” she replied. I said, “I have had a lot of unsuccessful first dates, but I finally found a guy I liked. In reply, she said, “Oh,” and smiled.

After the ten seconds we spent talking about my love life, she immediately turned to my sister and asked if she was still dating the doctor she had been seeing. I was a little infuriated. This was at least the fourth time she’d done this to me. Every time I brought up a guy I was “dating,” she changed the subject to the guy my sister was dating. She still wasn’t comfortable talking about my dating men. I don’t know why this is. She has gay friends. She’s very accepting of them. Why isn’t she comfortable with mine? I know these things take time. Trust me, I’m not taking that for granted. However, I came out to my parents over a year ago, and they still weren’t quite okay with it. I know I’ve concentrated on my mother’s reaction to this and not my father’s. He didn’t really react much at all. Just head nods. I only single out my mother because this is something I would talk to her about and rarely my father, even if I was dating a woman. I wanted to be able to talk about it with them. It is an exciting part of my life at times. Maybe I need to change that. Maybe I’m not giving him a fair shot. Maybe he could become an ally to bring my mother to terms with my sexuality. Only time will tell.

I discussed this exact exchange with my sister on the bus on the ride into the city. I predicted this would happen when I told her I was going to mention how things were going with Smiles. She suggested I not cause a commotion for dinner considering it was a gift. I explained I wasn’t going to attack them or anything, but I wasn’t going to shy away from the issue anymore. I was going to bring it up, whether they liked it or not.

After dinner, my sister and I went to the bar to meet some of her friends. As we walked, I told her how p*ssed I was. She conveyed I was probably hurt, but I corrected her in that I was p*ssed. She understood. She tried to keep the conversation going when I was talking about Smiles, accentuating the fact that I had gone on so many unsuccessful first dates, and this was a big deal. But, it didn’t exactly work. I asked her to go to bat for me a little. I asked her to tell my parents how disappointed and p*ssed I was about the issue and to ask them why it was happening. It wasn’t an easy conversation to have with them, but I was hoping they’d be a little more forthcoming with my sister, since it wasn’t her feelings they’d be hurting.

Those test results have yet to come back from the lab. In the end, I understand they’re going to have a hard time with it. I would have a hard time if my son came to me and told me he was gay. My heart would go out to him because it’s not an easy lifestyle to live. However, I know it’s not a choice one makes, and I would accept my son completely as the person he is. I would be thrilled he found the confidence to be himself, and I would fully support him and the man he chooses to stand by. I’m not looking for miracles. I just want them to take an interest in my love life. Growing up, they always pressured me to find someone. In a twist of irony, when I finally did, they want nothing to do with it. Only time will tell how this plays out, but when the time comes when I want to bring someone home for a holiday, it’s going to be like ripping off a band-aid, when it could have been an evolving process…

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