Unfortunately for those who do not match up to this crudely drawn diagram, the stereotype is so pervasive as to be potentially damaging. Those gay men who are not interested in the club scene's rampant and promiscuous sexuality may feel ostracised within gay society and can find it difficult to know where to look for a partner who feels similarly. Bearing in mind that gay men make up something between 1/18 and 1/14 of the total population (if you believe the statistics), being a minority (or at least a perceived minority) within this minority group does not exactly offer the best statistical probability of finding the perfect partner. Add to that the fact that romantic success does not simply mean finding someone with the right characteristics but requires finding a single special individual with the right ‘je ne sais quoi’ required to make the perfect romantic union. As the saying goes, there's no smoke without fire, and certainly many gay men do enjoy a promiscuous hedonistic lifestyle which being the more flamboyant and commercially exploitable side of gay culture is naturally the most visible. For many gay men this exaggerated sociability can perversely present a difficult barrier to negotiate on the way to an active and fulfilling social life.
Fortunately all is not lost; as gay lifestyles in general have become gradually more accepted in mainstream society a more rounded and balanced image of gay male demographics has begun to take root and with it, a number of grass roots gay organisations have begun to come to prominence which cater to a more relaxed and less hedonistic gay lifestyle. Fortune and Friends, a new group, offer courses in activities such as wine tasting and public speaking, aiming to give gay men “the chance to express themselves in ways that day-to-day gay life doesn't always offer”. The London Gay Men's Chorus, an inclusive organisation offering gay men the chance to meet and share the elation of singing together, their website (http://www.lgmc.org.uk) states that “The Chorus has evolved to become like a supportive family, providing a non-threatening environment in which friendship and companionship can an does flourish. Chorus members have a sense of belonging to a community where the only judgement that will be made of them will be of their commitment to the group, and not of their lifestyle”.
With the rise and rise of organisations like these, hopefully mainstream society, gay and straight will wake up and realise that it's not all glitter, hot pants and cheap sex.
Croydon J Hounslow works in online dating and chat