opinion

Single & Fabulous? | 'I thought I wanted a 'normal' guy - until I dated one'

Anthony Gilét learns that reality doesn't always live up to the dream...

2020-03-04

“So how was the date?” Excitable Laura was a cheerleader for our pursuit of gay happiness.

“Awful”, I replied, letting her down gently. However, it wasn’t so much that the date was ‘awful’, but more just that his most attractive quality was his membership to Soho House.

Noah and I had been chatting for a week and a half; approximately four days longer than the actual conversation lasted. His real name is obviously not Noah, but he was wearing three-quarter length jeans so I assume he was expecting a flood.

Part of what attracted me to Noah was that he’d seemed like a genuinely sweet and rather wholesome guy, but that turned out to be just the problem.

It’s become relatively standard for people to whinge that there are no 'normal' men out there, especially on the gay scene, where unconventional characters are commonplace and circuit culture doesn’t seem to be going under any time soon. And when you’ve spent most of your 20s in clammy gay clubs and nose-down in a baggie, there comes a point when you crave something more stable than a dealer who turns up on time.

However, when online dating is often a prerequisite of meeting men, we often have to make assumptions based on how they convey themselves, (or how we want to see them). It makes it easier for us to romanticise them, and you know what they say about counting your chickens before they’ve bought you dinner.

But there were, of course, tons of 'normal' men. I don’t think I’d realised just how many I’d dated until Noah went to the bathroom, secretly ordered the cheque, and then scurried off to meet his friends to watch The Greatest Dancer.

Now, I’m not sure what exactly my future husband does on a Saturday night, but it’s not nibbling cheese and crackers while he watches Cheryl Cole kick her career down a quarry.

Noah had a very nice face - the kind that would never raise its voice and instantly please your parents - a good job which afforded him the privilege of owning property, amazing travel opportunities, and he was over six-foot (a fact that had clearly escaped his tailor). Which all sounds great on paper, but is pointless if the chemistry is as flat as said piece of paper.

So it turns out the ‘sane and sorted’s had flaws too… Sure, you probably don’t have to worry about them cheating on you, but that’s only because they’re in bed by 8pm. And yeah, they may own property, but what’s the point in having expensive sheets if he won’t f**k you like a dirty little b*tch on them?

There are two types of men in this world: the ones that turn you on and the ones that don’t. ‘Normal’ men often fall into the latter category. I couldn’t even picture Noah choking his own meat, let alone my neck every Full Moon.

The dictionary defines the word normal as “conforming to a standard”, which clearly outlines why normal men a not a match for non-conformists. For example, Sleeping Beauty's Aurora was a bad b*tch that touched the spindle when everyone told her not to, and she would definitely still be napping if Prince Philip had turned up in pedal pushers. And likewise, he wouldn’t have made it past the first thorny branch with his pale ankles exposed.

So why was I desperate for something normal when I was anything but? We hope these men can provide some sort of calm into the chaos of our lives… but you don’t stop a tornado by reading it the Radio Times. Not to mention that we’ve encounter so many dickheads in our lives, we end up sacrificing things like sexual chemistry and long-term prospects for men who we think will treat us well…

We hope they’ll stroke our self-esteem instead of batter the shit out of it, but they only end up stroking our hair.

And that’s the problem with ’normal’ men; they’re just that… normal. And if we wanted that, we’d have it. We’re surely looking for a man who is different from other men, otherwise we’d be married already.

Normal is cute in theory, but it’s all fun and pedal pushers until your boyfriend has trench foot...

You can follow Anthony Gilét on Instagram, or listen to more dating disasters on his podcast Cocktails & Confessions.