Gay Dating: Love After Lockdown

For Auckland playwright Dick Richards, self-isolation meant contemplating what he wants in life and his new normal means searching for something deeper than a hookup.

I know for a lot of us, who we are now is different from who we were pre-lockdown. It was like a forced social experiment where we were sent to our rooms like naughty children with no playtime. Pre-lockdown life was all-good. I was very social, going on dates, hitting the ‘town’ (aka Family Bar) had a couple of creative jobs lined up, and 2020 was looking to be a busy year. I was the hare, and now I’ve become the tortoise. 

I think what it is, is that I’ve never really been aware of my own bubble. Who I let in and what I do in it will affect my quality of life. I was forced to slow down and sit with myself, eventually asking “who the fuck is Dick Richards?”, a question I usually only reflect on at the end of December. The point of keeping within our bubbles was to protect our health. But what about our hearts? 

It totally affected my sex life. The first two weeks of lockdown I was basically on heat. If a guy just looked at me, I was ready to take my pants off for him. I have never wanted a dick so badly in my life. I had the hoe mentality without actually getting to act it out. It was torturous.  Now, I’m basically a nun. I feel like a born-again virgin. I haven’t seen a dick for months, and I’m ok with that. For a time, my value was coming from my sex life – which is ridiculous, because let’s be honest gays, who we are on Grindr is not really who we are IRL (in real life).

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve set a little goal for myself, one I feel is achievable post lockdown:

The next guy that gets to be inside me, is going to be a guy who cares about me, and vice versa.

And yes, I would like a cracker with that cheese; and no, I’m not dissing hook-ups. I’ve had many great hook-ups, and some I’d like to forget. But for now, I’d like to try having a bit of meaningful sex, because the meaningless sex is distracting me from what I really want, which is a relationship. 

I’ve become very aware of what happens in my bubble. Is it making my life better or worse? Does it bring out the best in me? Is it helping me become the authentic person I’ve always strived to be? They’re not questions I particularly like asking myself. But I think that means they are questions worth asking. Because not everyone deserves to be in your bubble.

One of the things I love about being gay is there is no expectation on the type of ‘man’ I have to be. We kind of get a free pass to try new things, dress however we want, have the types of relationships we want, experiment sexually – and it’s all ok. When it comes to authenticity, the world is our oyster. When it comes to dating and sex, we are the innovators. We’ve all been the hare when it comes to sex, but sometimes we need to be the tortoise. The question is… what is best for you right now?