Schimel, Lawrence, editor. “Best Date Ever: True Stories that Celebrate Gay Relationships”, Alyson, 2007.
Remembering the Best
Lawrence Schimel has brought together a wonderful collection of stories about gay dating. We all know that not every date is magic and not all dates end up the way we would like them to. It is so much easier to read about dates than it is to go out on them—especially the ones that just do not work. It is easy to write about a bad date and it is just as easy to find stories about bad dates to read. Schimel took a different approach here. He looks at the good dates and thereby celebrates the romantic aspect of gay life.
The stories in this anthology are all real and somewhat romantic. Through them we see love in all of its phases be it love at first sight or a special moment between two lovers. As gay men, we tend to define date differently than is done in straight society. In our minds, if there is no sex involved than the date bombs. On the other hand, sexes so much more meaningful when there is feeling involved—the kind of feeling we read about in these short stories. (I suppose that the pieces in this anthology should be referred to as essays since they are all true).
It is interesting to think about what a date really is. A date is not just going out together for an evening. Dates can happen once a relationship has already been established. All of us have dates all of the time—we just might not regard them as such. It is not easy to maintain a relationship and it is even harder to find one. Looking for the right man can be tiring and get old quickly. Schimel therefore looks at men who have managed to find in their relationships and dating adventures and who can recount their stories honestly and frankly. Some of the retellings are very funny, others are sincerely serious. But they all have one thing in common—that special sense one gets when there is fun and emotion combined. In that, Schimel provides us with a whole new look at gay life.
The book consists of twenty tales of men finding comfort in another man. They are not all first dates. We read about anniversaries and birthdays as well and also those first date when the guys are hesitant. What they all have in common is the impression they have made on the guys involved.
This is fun reading—at times wistful and at times melancholy but above all else, it celebrates who we are.