By Tammy Shaklee, Founder, He's For Me
Pool party INVITE!!! You receive via text, social media, email, word of mouth, or an annual holiday weekend tradition. You get an image from the first mention. You are perhaps already hearing "Shut Up and Dance" or even the Beach Boys in your head. You start to envision the tons of photos to hit the Internet before, during, and after. And while so many men would rather be a fly on the sunscreen bottle watching the whole thing, it's easy to feel pressure to get ready to attend. Men are visual. A sunny afternoon of guys in their varying degrees of skivvies provide hours of resort catalogs coming to life. Or at least that's how it looked in the photos.
Parties in swim trunks (even, "optional" in some venues); I find that gay men either love them or hate them. As a certified matchmaker for every season, I coach clients not to stress about the slew of summer speedo (I mean, pool) parties.
Do you allow your head to swirl with negative head talk about not being the right type, tan, physique, or fitness level to show up? Some men feel anxiety about the summer season itself.
Recently, however, I've interviewed quite a few professional eligible bachelors that emphasize their favorite type of gathering as home entertaining, small groups, a nice evening with dinner and just a couple of quality friends. Crowds of festive gay men somewhat wear them out, leaving them the need to recharge. Gentlemen, I'm here to tell you to be yourself, and not worry about the perception that everyone's attending the party but you. A stream of 40 photos does not mean the majority of your community was there. The beautiful people have always photographed well, and let's enjoy the view.
So whether the kiddy pool kitschy invite, or the Olympic size dream party, please know you're not alone in your emotional reaction. Before you RSVP, take stock of how you feel and make a plan.
Let me share a friendly nudge to the three types of men invited:
The Hot Tot - For the gay men who are giddy excited about attending this next weekend's bitty lifeguard brief bingo, good for you, gentlemen. Go have fun. You look great, feel great, and have your sunscreen ready. Good times, good friends, good looks, good lawd. Go for it. (Drink responsibly and have a designated driver, of course.)
The Tempted - Let me give you a little encouragement. You don't have to be a fitness model to enjoy a friendly pool party. Find a nice shirt to compliment your updated age (and body type) appropriate swim shorts or board shorts, and pop in to the party after it's in high swing. Find and thank the host(s), offer to help with a task or two that can help introduce you around. Ice needing replenished, the bartender needing a break, beverages needing restocked, sunscreens needing iced down? If the party's a fundraiser, be the first to volunteer for the registration table. Party with a purpose, while also mingling with other volunteers and organizers. You never even have to get in the water, but enjoy a fun day from a distance you feel most comfortable.
The Torchered - Give yourself permission to skip the flurry that's not your scene. Don't sit at home waiting and watching for the first photos to post live. You can enjoy them later. Instead, do something to get out of the house, be active, enjoy a different adventure that day in your community or neighborhood. Maybe a hike along the waterway, hit the trail for a brisk walk, take the dog to a new dog park. I have a client that power walks at least 6 miles at a time, working toward his personal fitness goals. In that 2 hours you've done something good for yourself and utilized those hours you can't get back. Make the most of them.
This summer, let good friends, family, and loved ones be your life preserver from drowning in a season that has much more play in party pics, but less in making a difference in your life. Instead, start planning a nice Labor Day picnic, whether large or small, upscale or traditional, with old friends and new, and....where summer shorts are preferred.
For more information on traditional introductions, courting, and dating for today's modern gay man, visit He's For Me, offline, personal matchmaking designed exclusively for select gay men seeking a long-term relationship - at www.H4M.com and like us on the H4Mmatchmaking Facebook Page for daily inspiration on finding love. #loveislove
Don’t Drown in a Sea of Summer Pool Parties
By Tammy Shaklee, Founder, He's For Me