By Branden Lee
Even before I moved to Atlanta, all I ever heard about is how terrible men in Atlanta are. Atlanta is the city of so many DL repressed gay men living a lie. Atlanta is full of sexually deviant men that have no desire to settle down in relationships. Atlanta is a city full of fuckboys, and if you want to find a relationship, you better move somewhere else.
I moved to Atlanta six months ago, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made regarding my love life. I’ve been in a tumultuous, off-and-on relationship with Zimbabwe five of the six months I’ve lived in Atlanta, but I wouldn’t trade my relationship for anything.
I’ve found a love that is more real, deeper, longer, and more meaningful than I was ever able to find anywhere else I’ve lived. I never was in a relationship until I moved to Atlanta. I never had a boyfriend or even really came close to finding one before I moved to Atlanta.
Atlanta is not a hopeless place. I do know I may have ‘fresh meat privilege.’ Whenever someone is new in an area, they’re always in demand. They don’t come with the baggage of having lived in the city for a long time. Living in the same place means everyone will know your business. They know who you’ve slept with and what went wrong in all your past relationships. New people are pure. So it’s natural to want to snatch them up before they are used, and abused, by everyone else in the city, and become another bitter, jaded, lonely, guy wishing for love.
I found love in Atlanta. I was fresh meat. I’ve still had my share of fuckboys, disappointments, heartbreak, feeling lied to, cheated on, and betrayed. These aren’t symptoms of just dating in Atlanta; it’s dating everywhere.
No matter how big of a city or metropolitan area, the gay world is always super tiny. Gays do only make up a fraction of the population. It’s easy to mistake the world for being more gay-populated than it really is when we spend most of our lives in a bubble of only gay men. Having mostly gay friends, meeting mostly only gay people, and consuming GLBT oriented things. In reality, there’s only a limited number of us. Things are also limited when we break it down into our types. There’s only so many twinks, bears, daddies, bottoms, tops, guys over 6 ft and so on. No one has an endless supply of options in their city. There are always new people coming and going, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll be your type or you’ll be theirs.
I have noticed that I rarely meet gay men that are in a relationship in Atlanta. Most of my friends are single, and jaded about finding love in Atlanta. I understand their frustration. I felt that way after spending the majority of my life in Philadelphia and never finding a boyfriend there. It felt hopeless. I felt that way after living five years in Boston going to college, and never found a boyfriend there either. If you’ve lived in Atlanta for a long time and never found a meaningful relationship, it’s probably going to feel hopeless as well.
It’s important to never lose that hope. If you emit bitterness and jadedness and never take anyone seriously because you keep expecting to be disappointed, you’ll end up disappointed. If you expect to find a perfect, baggage-free man, you’ll only end up alone because no one is perfect, and we’re all damaged and scarred from past relationships. Some of us are more damaged, scarred, and skeptical than others, but we all have our crosses to bear.
It’s not where you meet that matters, but who you meet. Options may seem limited or hopeless at times, but that can mean it’s time to start opening up and expanding our interests. Try new nightclubs, dating apps, meetup groups, social events, or explore new parts of the city. If I could find love in a hopeless place like Atlanta, I know others can too.
Branden Lee is a screenwriter, blogger, and actor now living in Atlanta. Follow Branden on Twitter & Instagram @Brandeness.