16/February/2021

How Can A Gay Man Find Love in A Small Town?

by: Yanam Heche

Illustration by Yanam Heche


First and foremost, install Grinder. Make a profile. Think about your profile. Sweat over what will happen if you find a relative. Say your cousin’s friend, who is also a friend of your sister and a relative of your friend’s friend, is on Grinder; how do you proceed ahead? It’s a small town, after all.

Be selective at first, then just tap without reserve. After all, most of the profiles are fake. After you match with a couple of people, start texting them. Most are looking to hook up. Are you looking for love?

Some may ask for your number. Now, it’s inevitable that you will talk to more than two people. It’s Grinder, after all. Now, things may start to look up. You might even think that there’s a chance at love. Should you meet up? For a hookup? Love can follow, but what if it’s a catfish?

Now, you secure yourself a little away from the rendezvous because you never know if the voice at the other end of the call was a weekend joke. You wait for half an hour, because between two people, one is always at least half an hour late. It’s been an hour now; what should you do? Should you call him? But, he could have called you too. What happened? Did he crap his pants, or did he throw up a river? You have your pride, but you are curious, so you wait for another hour.

The man was a mayfly. He has disappeared.

You talk to other people, some of them are friends with each other, it’s a small town, after all. What you did not know was that the two people you talk to the most are in the same friend circle. Fuck luck. As nights fly, one has begun to identify you. He knows your cousin and is even friends with your sister. It’s a small town, after all. Fuck luck.

Would it be so bad if you came out? Why risk the comfort of home when there’s no place else to go. Is love so much to ask?

If a small town can provide a safe space for gross uncles to cheat on their wives, surely, it can allow you innocent love?

You finally meet someone who has no links with you whatsoever. And he says that the pandemic has ruined his Europe trip. Now, what the fuck. How are you supposed to relate with someone who is planning a Europe trip in the middle of a pandemic? And then, he says that Emily in Paris is stupid. Shut your motherfucking hole. You like watching pretty girls and pretty boys do stupid shit in pretty clothes. God, why? Just find somebody to love. You are not asking for much. Just someone normal. Normal as can be. Average.

“Would it be so bad if you came out? Why risk the comfort of home when there’s no place else to go. Is love so much to ask?

If a small town can provide a safe space for gross uncles to cheat on their wives, surely, it can allow you innocent love?”


What do you wish for when walking holding hands is watched through hawk eyes even with hetero couples?

Dating in a small town is like playing kho-kho. One hits the person next to one, and then the other, the other. The point is that things go in a circle, criss-cross, back and forth between a select group of people. And for a gay man such as you, the dating pool is even smaller. Fuck luck.

So you delete Grinder, install it back, tap again, take a break, go for a walk, and then tap again, one obstacle at a time.

I’ll wait a little longer. If in the coming days, my friend, my friend’s friend, or my friend’s friend’s friend figures out how a gay man can find love in a small town, I’ll let you know.

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About the writerFresh out of University to grind and make a life, Yanam works fro home for a start-up, so she is making money but not enough to be considered employed. Her last salary was spent on hair dye and a photoshoot. She writes, clicks photos, hoards things, and oscillates between killing the Author and putting the Author on a pedestal. You can check out her photography on Instagram at @yanamheche













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