[oasis] [columns]

Blake Kanewischer

November 1996

The Dating Game

Yes, it's a game. A game of hardball. No rules. No holds barred. It's the dating game.

I've lived in Calgary now for close to two months. During this time, I've seen many more gay couples than I ever had the pleasure of seeing during my life in Medicine Hat. This has its benefits, not the least of which is getting to see how the dating game is really played.

Sure, dating in Medicine Hat was no real big deal (at least, not for me). I dated three guys (not overly publicly, but...) but it was more a matter of them being the only fish in the sea at that particular point in time. I never really had a choice in who to date. It was just "he's here...he's queer...I'll date him!" Which, needless to say, is not a recipe for a successful relationship!

So, fast forward three years from my last boyfriend. I'm now living in Calgary, Alberta. I joined the university GLB club my first day on campus and have watched three couples and three people dating rather surreptitiously. The couples have a happy symbioticism about them. When they happen to be in the office / "veg" area, they cuddle up in one of the chairs, arms draped around each other, lips pressed together every so often, but just generally relaxed, happy, and warm. They've cleared the hurdles of the dating river run, unlike the majority of the salmon.

But what about those who are dating or searching for dates? There's one woman who's in a neat situation. The person she's interested in is interested in her, and they both know that each other is interested, but they're going through intermediaries to communicate. As of this point, they have yet to take the plunge and ask the potential girlfriend outright, both for fear of being too brassy or too pushy.

Sure, you say, this happens ALL the time in the straight world. Yeah, right. In the straight world, you just ask. If you're rejected, so what! There's TONS of other fish in the ocean. In the gay world, you can't just ask...you have to be careful, because if you're rejected, you suddenly would find it very uncomfortable to date friends or acquaintances of your potential significant other. There just aren't that many fish in the gay ocean.

So, I said, there were two people I'm watching besides this first one. Well, the second guy is actively interested in another, and seemingly so is the other fellow. This is good and poses few problems, except for one tiny one: "Rick" is not out to his family, and his brother is also a university student. So, needless to say, this causes stress just being IN the glb club's office, and causes stress in the dating relationship. Rick is handling it well, but I fear the stress may get to him.

And the third person? She was turned down in a rather rude, bitchy, and just generally insensitive manner by a potential girlfriend. She was told she "didn't count" because she was a girl (and the potential girlfriend is bi). To see her in the office that day was very saddening and very upsetting. We could feel every bit of the frustration and anger that she felt towards her. It was awful to have to sit there and not be able to offer anything to her.

So, in short, the dating game is a dangerous one. Play it carefully, and put on your armor before you go out to play!

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