In the last 12 months I tried a little experiment: what if I hit on any guy I thought was attractive in different day to day places?
The idea of being able to be attracted to a guy and then to try your luck - without having to be confined to the darkness of a club, an app, or a sexual orientation - had always been a fantasy of mine. To express what I feel on the inside when that feeling in that moment is so true to me. Most importantly, to express it without knowing ahead of time if the other guy was even into guys. To just… be me.
And so, I did.
You never forget that one. I was changing at the gym (and no it wasn't one in a typical gay area) and an incredibly beautiful guy came in to change too. I could’ve sworn that there was a lightening fast locking of the eyes. If you blinked you would've missed it. When he got down to his underwear my eyes essentially melted. There was absolutely nothing about him that suggested he was gay (is that even a thing in 2019?). I left the bathroom.
'This moment presented itself as an opportunity to take back control...'
At the time my mental health was absolutely shattered. I was navigating a break up that was turning my guts upside down and smearing LSD all over my insides. It was fucked. But this moment presented itself as an opportunity to take back control and do something about something I could really do something about. You know?
I stopped myself just outside so I could pump myself up on the inside. He eventually exited the bathroom and I stopped him as politely as I could.
‘Excuse me. Hey. I know this is probably a little bit weird, and I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but I think you are absolutely gorgeous. If I didn’t take the opportunity to tell you that I’d be kicking myself.’
We shared an awkward laugh. He found it incredibly complimentary, and quickly echoed the compliment right back. The coolest part? He was gay.
‘That’s really sweet of you but I actually have a boyfriend.’
And that was that. It ended warmly. Perfectly. I didn’t get the prize but I did hit the target. For the first time ever I’d walked up to one of the most attractive guys I’d seen at the gym and told him so. I’d just realised something incredibly significant: I’m not the only inconspicuous gay guy in the world. I'm. Not. Alone.
‘Random question, but have you ever been hit on by a guy?’
In the following months I proceeded to test out this new found understanding at cafes, clothing stores, the beach, bars, and even more gyms. I slowly refined the approach. It was like playing a game and looking to level up any chance I got. There was the abrupt approach: ‘Hey. Random question. But are you gay or straight?’. Then there was the addition of a ‘prep’ question: ‘Hey. Can I ask how old you are?’. Finally, and to this day, my approach is to ask the prep question, then follow it with: ‘Random question, but have you ever been hit on by a guy?’. Pause for a response. ‘Any chance that’s something you’d be interested in?’.
They very quickly figure out what’s going on.
To be honest, it’s unnerving for a brief moment if the guy has provided no hint that he’s into guys, or even returned my occasional glance in any way. There were two fit, handsome looking guys at the outdoor gym down at Bondi Beach one time. Those were a massive gamble. But, you know. Fuck it. Seriously. Just fuck it. I was sick of having to contain how I feel about another guy. How they make me feel.
The poor guys proceeded to look like they’d just been hit on by their mum... but the point is that I expressed how I felt in a civil, polite, and yet passionate way. I'll always believe that vulnerability will mean the world to the right guy. It would sure mean the world to me.
Unfortunately, of the dozen or so guys I’d hit on over the months, there were only two guys who were actually gay: that first guy, and then a stunning looking guy at a different gym. That turned into a date on the exact same day, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. He was one of the 62% of gay guys on Tinder that have no idea what they're looking for (see: 'An analysis of 500 gay men on Tinder') but who probably have a perfect idea of what they don't want. This is often described as looking for an 'adventure'.
But I digress.
I honestly believe that the most important moment for me was that initial realisation when I hit on that first guy. That feeling that I wasn’t alone. That there were others like me. Watching. Waiting. But saying nothing to each other.
'It’s kind of fun to watch a very attractive person have to deal with face to face confrontation and vulnerability...'
It seems that the problem with hitting on guys that you think are attractive is that it’s only based on their looks. You know nothing about the guy other than that you’re attracted to his face and body. Over time you realise that this approach to getting a date is a gamble - not just because you don’t know if they’re into guys, but because you don’t even know if you like the content of his character at all. He’s just hot. If I don’t talk to the hottest guys on Tinder because they’re most likely going to be a douche bag, then why would I walk up and do it in person? Though, to be honest, it’s kind of fun to watch a very attractive person have to deal with face to face confrontation and vulnerability when they can’t hide behind their phone screen, swipe you away, block you (or just ignore you), and their friends are nowhere to be seen. It’s a sight that we should all be privy to.
The other observation is that guys have absolutely no idea how to be hit on. Straight guys are so used to being in the dominant position when it comes to hitting on girls (or at least they like to think so…) that they have no idea how to feel about being socially and sexually subjugated by another person, let alone another guy (see: ‘How to get hit on by a guy when you’re a guy too’). Gay guys struggle with being hit on too, but their main shortcoming is expecting guys to approach them. Even in a gay club!
The whole experience over the last 12 months has been empowering and absolutely necessary. Looking back on how I felt after hitting on that first guy at the gym, I can’t think of many other times in my life where I felt so alive. It was intoxicating. Yes, there have been one or two guys that have responded with a confused or even threatened attitude, but it’s all been necessary.
The important part is that I did it.
Nathan helps people to express themselves at home, at school, and in the workplace, all around the world. He's passionate about thinking, and engages in it regularly. He's not overly fond of writing in the third person though. It's weird. Connect with him on Facebook to continue the conversation, make a video at colourbeat.com, or even share a dance with him at movewithcolour.com!
Sometimes you need to push yourself towards an outcome that you truly believe in.
Men really struggle with another man being vulnerable towards them.
There are other guys out there that are just like you - you just haven't said 'hi' to them yet.