Related Articles: LGBT, All

The Dating Game, The End

Room for Squares

The Dating Game, The End
Room for Squares

The funny thing about every story is that there’s always a beginning, middle and an end. For the past two weeks in this column, I’ve been trying to tell the story of the gay dating game, albeit from a somewhat jaded and detached vantage point. The way I see it, we spend our lives on some everlasting quest to find and rope Prince Charming. Therein lay the storybook beginning and middle, but what about the end?

Clearly, considering my dating history, of which I’ve given scant glimpses, this happy ending to end all happy endings isn’t exactly my area of expertise. Therefore, in the interests of honesty and credibility, I can only look to the examples set by those who are actually at this, for lack of a better term, end stage.

My expectation and hope are what all single gay men want -- that after completing the rigmarole of the dating game, there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…with a big, hunky leprechaun sitting on top of it. Okay, maybe not leprechaun, maybe some other fine specimen of Irish folklore, if one exists. A four leaf clover with a really long stem?

Anyways, so that’s the fairy tale we tell ourselves, but what’s the reality? I set out to find out. Enter my first couple. They’ve known each other for 15 years, been living together for half of that time. That’s pretty end stage, wouldn’t you say? Seven and a half years spent as boyfriends, and the next seven and a half spent as domestic partners. It’d be interesting to see how the next seven and half years pan out.

Feeling as though they’ve gone through enough relationship building when I spoke with them (they’ve taken enough “breaks”, thank you very much), they expressed only excitement at what the future might bring. For them, a post dating game lifetime of couples cruises and holidays spent at rotating in-laws seems most probable, and it wouldn’t be far from what they themselves envision and, more importantly, want.

So that’s one couple who, for all intents and purposes, is done with the dating game. They’ve gladly retired their numbers and hung their midriff baring jerseys in the gay couples’ hall of fame. Hats off to them, but they are in no way indicative of all end stage couples. Enter couple number two, the fighting, swearing, bitch-slapping couple. Here are two people who can’t seem to get enough of each other. It’s just a shame that they can’t seem to get enough of other people as well. Luckily for them, they’ve had a semi-agreed upon open relationship for the past 10 years, and surprisingly, it’s worked.

Alright, so they fight and swear and throw a couple of tantrums (not to mention vases), but what’s important is that they’ve realized through it all, though their eyes and hands may wander, they still eventually end up right back where they started. And it works for them. They are the consummate daters. The quintessential players of the dating game, for whom rules and regulations apply insofar as they don’t get in the way of the “playing.” Hell, we can’t all be regulars on Rosie’s family cruise…and couple number two knows that. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t still hop onboard every once in awhile, whenever it’s off season.

If you took a look at these two very different couples and saw no similarities, nobody could blame you. But if, like me, you weren’t looking for the similarities but for the morals of their stories, then what you’d see (cue the violins) are two couples who’ve gotten out of the dating game exactly what they’ve put in. And that’s all anyone can realistically expect. I went into this exercise hoping to find assurance that if we played the dating game to the end, we’d get the prize. I didn’t expect to learn that the end, however long it may be, was the prize.