A few days ago a friend of mine (we’ll call him Tom to conceal his identity) met a guy (we’ll call him Lorenzo) for their first date. They met online, both local guys from Sacramento. They met at a trendy coffee shop downtown (Starbucks) and as they sipped on their green tea infused drinks and smiled nervously at one another, their conversation dove into what a normal first date might lead into: the ex-factor. Not a big deal, right?
As they begun to discuss their dating lives and interject funny anecdotes about past loves or one-night stands, Tom’s date mentioned that his previous ex didn’t like to hold hands and had a weird last name. Tom recalled he had briefly dated (2 dates) someone with similar characteristics and asked Lorenzo to give more details about this ex. As Lorenzo trickled more details about this guy, Tom began to connect the dots. It was the same guy…Tom smiled widely with his lips twitching nervously and avoiding eye contact with Lorenzo at all cost. Lorenzo caught on to Tom’s awkward smiling and nervous laughter.
Lorenzo asked if Tom knew who Lorenzo was referring to. Being the honest guy that Tom is, he said yes and told him they had ‘briefly’ dated. Lorenzo then asked if Tom knew him biblically, and of course, Tom knew him biblically. There was a moment of silence between them and Lorenzo finally said, “I need to move out of Sacramento because everyone has slept with everyone else or dated everyone else.”
Lorenzo words are exactly what you feel when you are gay and date in a small city such as Sacramento. The degrees of separation between someone you dated or slept with are zero to none. The gay dating scene is tough enough as it is and when a relationship ends, you want to start fresh and rid of whatever toxicity your ex might have brought you. But when you date in Sacramento or in small cities, it seems that the ex-factor will, in doubt, be right around the corner or, in this case, in the new guy you are trying to date.
There is no six degrees of separation in Sacramento’s gay dating world. You sleep with one guy and you might as well add the whole lot of gays you see every week at the same clubs in downtown. The scenery doesn’t change unless some poor soul is visiting or passing through and everyone wants to sleep with him too. I was immune to this clustered dating phenomenon in Sacramento as I was dating someone form a WHOLE different country. But after the relationship ended, and I started to date locally, I began to see that in one way or another, everyone was connected. It sort of freaked me out for many reasons: no fresh start, moving forward might be harder, seeing the ex at the club with another lover was likely to happen, rumors, and more importantly, STD’s.
This clustered dating phenomenon is not easily escapable in Sacramento. So what do you do in such circumstances? Not date at all? Date someone from a different country like I did? (Not recommend) If you really want to avoid such phenomenon, maybe try dating someone from a nearby town but you also run the risk of the same dating phenomenon such as in Sacramento. My advice is, if you really like the guy, it really won’t matter who he’s dated as long as in the end, he is faithful. And just in case you are wondering, Tom and Lorenzo are going strong and have moved on to a second date and survived that as well.