Birds of a Feather

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Dear Sophie,

I’m a gay male student at UMass and I am having trouble dating others. Guys here are either too conceited or slutty—how do I weed through the crowd? I see cute guys around campus all the time, so how do I get a date without seeming creepy?

Well, if you just wanna dance, there are lots of LGBTQ dances and such that happen on campus. There’s always Diva’s Nightclub in Northampton. However, if you want to actually have relationships with other guys and not just rub shoulders (or whatever) with them at a club, you’ll probably be wanting to make friends in the LGBTQ community first. If you make gay friends, they’ll introduce you to their gay friends, and if you have lots of gay friends, then you’re bound to meet someone you like.

One way to make gay friends is to join the UMass Pride Alliance, which is an RSO that holds biweekly meetings and social events. Another thing you might think about is getting involved with the Stonewall Center, which hosts LGBTQ programming and also provides general support. This year actually marks the Stonewall Center’s 25th anniversary, so they’re having a lot of speakers and panels over the next few months. You can join the Facebook groups for both the Pride Alliance and the Stonewall Center to get updated on their upcoming events.

You also shouldn’t rule out joining a dating site—I know that there’s still some stigma attached, but in reality a lot of very cool people meet online and build great relationships. The thing is, you’re not the only one with this particular problem, and it’s possible that guys like you will be looking online for, well, you.

As to weeding out the conceited or slutty ones…unfortunately, you’re on your own with that one, pal.

Dear Sophie,

I’m a fetishist. Do you know of any ways I could meet other fetishists at UMass?

Are you serious? You’re not even going to tell me what your fetish is? Didn’t you know that not telling me would make me agonize about what it could be? Now I have to spend my whole day going, “What is it, is it feet or SM or tentacles, WHAT IS THIS PERSON INTO?” I bet you did know that. Tease.

Sadly, I am not the gatekeeper of the Fetishists’ Society of UMass, so there are basically two options open to you here. One is to go online; no matter what your fetish is, I can pretty much guarantee that there’s an online community for it. If you choose to go this route, you can probably find someone to meet up with, although it’s obviously of utmost importance to stay safe. Meet a few times in public spaces before you do anything in private, tell a friend where you are, don’t be stupid, etc. If you do find someone that you have chemistry with (and you feel safe with them), the next step is to make sure that both of you are very clear about what you’re looking for—otherwise, you’re going to end up in an unpleasant situation.

If you don’t feel comfortable meeting someone online, then you’re stuck doing what the rest of us do, which is to find a reasonably open-minded person to date. Even if they’re not personally interested in your fetish, you can hopefully convince them that it’s worth trying every once in a while, if only to keep you happy.

Got a problem of your own? Tell me about it at my Formspring.

Sophie Kaner can be reached a [email protected]