Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ At 30, I felt inadequate, unsure of how I was expected to act, not trained in how to talk or flirt or do whatever I was supposed to do to connect with other men. "
I had only been officially out for a couple of months, and never went to gay bars without friends, still pretending they were like the bars I had known in college, hangouts where you have a drink and joke with people you know. Gay culture scared me, and although I thought I should immediately feel as though I belonged, my coming out and going out was having the opposite effect. At 30, I felt inadequate, unsure of how I was expected to act, not trained in how to talk or flirt or do whatever I was supposed to do to connect with other men. I questioned everything about myself, from my jeans to my drink, adrift on a strange new planet of colored lights, muscles, and dance music. It all felt so hard, fast and judgmental, my fledgling independence squashed by my own insecurities. I moved around, changing poses, until I settled into a corner where I could look unimpressed and, I hoped, sexy. Finally, I saw two young guys watching me, looking away and back just in time to catch them pretending not to stare. This went on for twenty minutes, until finally the cuter one walked over. My heart beat faster but I tried to seem unphased by his approach. “Hey,” he said, sweetly, “My friend thinks you’re probably really mean, but I said you were just having a bad day. Which is it?”