What's it like to live in a big city as a gay guy?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 12, 2014 8:42 AM GMT
    I don't live in a small town, but I do live in a city (Edmonton, Alberta) that does have a vibrant GLBT segment of the population. Yet, we don't really have a solid 'gay area', and there aren't a lot of queer hangouts. Just random events here and there and knowing people through friends of friends. The gays are here, they're even out (though rarely obvious by appearance), but they're also spread out as fuck. The city is pretty gay-friendly though. Getting a date is a bit of a slow process. The metro area is about 1.1 million, but really low density.

    People in Alberta seem to generally get up early and go to bed early, because many jobs here are industrial/oilfield/science and engineering related that pay big money, but leave you with a tighter schedule. You're fucked if you don't have a car in this city unless you both live and work downtown (rare). Public transit is pretty inefficient in this city (although it's slowly changing), and the roads are flooded with semi-trucks all day, sometimes even going straight through downtown! I've never been anywhere else that happens. The major shopping areas are all on the extreme south and west of the city instead of downtown (downtown has the little shops, and pubs and stuff like that). There are lots of pickup trucks driving around (even by gay men - a gay buddy of mine has a diesel F350).

    I could only imagine how much easier it would be to socialize in a big city like NYC or LA, or Toronto. What's it like living in a dense city? What's fashion like? Here it's jeans and a t-shirt (or sweater/heavy jacket, or tank depending on season). What do the gay people do for fun in those big cities? I'm going on vacation to one this year so I'm kind of poking around a little.
  • TheMadKash

    Posts: 126

    Mar 12, 2014 8:53 AM GMT
    I encourage almost any gay man from a small town ( i grew up in one) to experience life living in a big city at least once for at least 6 months to a year.

    As with anything there are pros and cons. Give and Take. And whether you cope well depends on your personality and a little bit on how well you adapt.

    You do learn that gay life in a big city and especially living in a city with a gay mecca such as SF or Los Angeles or New York, is very visable. Sex is easy. But the surprising benefit in my eyes is that you see more diversity in the type of gays you meet. There are gay bikers. gay punks. mainstream interior designers industrial worker gays gay geeks theatre queens... gays who collect baseball cards.republican gays.. gays who listen to art bell and go to spaceship conferences.. grunge gays... Jesus loving gays....athiest gays you will find your niche represented in some form there.

    In a big city sex is as easy as walking down the street on a sunday at noon to get eggs and waiting at bus stop innocently. Walking cities are my favorite.

    There are pitfalls.. like for me the abbundance of sex became overwelming.. i became bored and really just wanted to live normally. But DO go to the big city...experience the liveliness...and sense of community. Sometimes the city can be so big that you do feel alone.
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    Mar 21, 2014 12:56 AM GMT
    That's a pretty good answer. Can anyone else elaborate?

    Theatre would be totally new to me. The diversity of the gay population and their visibility must be pretty interesting.

    I wish I could live in one of those cities for awhile but I have a house here that I'd have to sell, move all my stuff, AND find work. Geophysics jobs aren't too common in big cities I don't think.

  • Mar 21, 2014 4:26 AM GMT
    I've lived in Los Angeles (just over 18 million people in the Combined Statistical Area) for over 6 years and I came from a very small town in the backwoods of Pennsylvania (less than 5000 people.)

    I say that you have to try it.

    Geophysics would probably have a good career in Southern California. We just had an earthquake this week. Not really sure what your specialty is, but you're likely to find a job.


    With that being said, large cities do have their pros:

    Always something to do.

    Gay life is abundant and people are more open. I was waiting on the subway last week and a gay couple in high school were holding hands and smooching, and the thuggish-looking guy

    International cities like LA expose you to travelers (gay or straight), thus exposing you to culture outside of the country.


    The pitfalls are that the mindset is that everyone is less likely to be interested in a relationship, or monogamy, for that matter.

    There are more gay guys in an area, so a lot feel like they'll just be able to find something else. So...they'll kind of treat you like, "just another guy," or not call back. I'm talking about dates.

    You become...disposable.


    But...it depends. I love living here. When I go home to PA, I get so bored with nothing to do and the conservative atmosphere means I can't really talk about dating and everyone expects me to be straight...ugh...

    Big cities in general, aren't for everyone. But they're great, if you love new things.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Mar 21, 2014 4:47 AM GMT
    I grew up in a rural setting and although I have, I don't really like living in a dense urban city. In the San Francisco Bay Area it is possible to have both urban and not so urban, if you can afford it. I live in Berkeley which is really a very culturally diverse college town but only about an hour from the Castro (by car or public transit). It's also fairly easy to get outside the urban centers altogether (beach, hills). Downside is SFBA is *not* LA or NYC, quite provincial by those standards.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 21, 2014 4:56 AM GMT
    xmikeyxlikesitx said
    But...it depends. I love living here. When I go home to PA, I get so bored with nothing to do and the conservative atmosphere means I can't really talk about dating and everyone expects me to be straight...ugh...

    Big cities in general, aren't for everyone. But they're great, if you love new things.


    It's not actually that conservative here. I see junior high gay couples holding hands in the mall sometimes, and myself I've held hands many times in public with a boyfriend (when I had one). I'm totally out. A lot of the guys are out here, just not...centralized at all.

    I've visited LA but I didn't really know what to do in my short trip there besides going to the beach and going out to eat (beaches are a bit of a novelty for me, coming from a very landlocked region...we have mountains on 2 sides, plains on one side, and the arctic tundra to the north). I didn't know where the gay area was and I only had 2 days there so I just found the nearest beach and went to that for both days.

    I think it wouldn't be that hard for me to immigrate because my profession is covered under NAFTA. But yikes, the costs sound insane money wise. I make decent money but I feel that NYC could drain me dry (plus I wouldn't have work there - I do near surface geophysics).

  • Mar 21, 2014 5:27 AM GMT
    SeismicMuscle said
    xmikeyxlikesitx said
    But...it depends. I love living here. When I go home to PA, I get so bored with nothing to do and the conservative atmosphere means I can't really talk about dating and everyone expects me to be straight...ugh...

    Big cities in general, aren't for everyone. But they're great, if you love new things.


    It's not actually that conservative here. I see junior high gay couples holding hands in the mall sometimes, and myself I've held hands many times in public with a boyfriend (when I had one). I'm totally out. A lot of the guys are out here, just not...centralized at all.

    I've visited LA but I didn't really know what to do in my short trip there besides going to the beach and going out to eat (beaches are a bit of a novelty for me, coming from a very landlocked region...we have mountains on 2 sides, plains on one side, and the arctic tundra to the north). I didn't know where the gay area was and I only had 2 days there so I just found the nearest beach and went to that for both days.

    I think it wouldn't be that hard for me to immigrate because my profession is covered under NAFTA. But yikes, the costs sound insane money wise. I make decent money but I feel that NYC could drain me dry (plus I wouldn't have work there - I do near surface geophysics).




    The gay areas are West Hollywood and Silver Lake, but those are just "gayborhoods," because you can live in other places and still find gay clubs, stores, etc.

    But, what I say is a city is always best to explore if you make friends who live there to show you around.
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    Mar 21, 2014 5:45 AM GMT
    Living in Montreal and the attitude towards LGBT population is pretty non-chillant. Honestly, most people don't give a crap about your sexuality. As long as you're not "in your face about it" then you'll be fine. Also, I'm not implying that you have to be straight and masc acting in order to be a part of the flow. A generally quiet, mind your own business and respectful attitude is more than enough to enjoy your stay here.

    Apart from being a big city in-of-itself, Montreal has a LOT of universities, which definitely contributes to the open-minded and generally secular outlook on things like homosexuality. (Here, the individuals persecuting gays on religious ground are usually the ones to be mocked and ridiculed). This added with the fact that we have one of the most established Gay Villages in the world definitely helps with public acceptance.

    In terms of the social life and fashions and all that, I guess I would say there's a time and place for everything? Montreal has a lot of districts and boroughs, each having their own identity and cultural minorities imbedded into them. The downtown core is anything goes really...general lifestyle just depends on how much money you have and are willing to spend. As for meeting other people, it's really easy. A lot of users are on the gay Apps and are within relatively close distance, ESPECIALLY downtown. If you're not into that, then the village would be the safest way to go. Like I said, not all bars and clubs are tolerant of gay PDA, but the ones that are can be found in the village. In terms of the language, most people speak english and aren't hesitant to do so, especially if they see you're an out of towner.
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    Apr 09, 2014 5:20 PM GMT
    Thinking about moving to the city. This thread has been really helpful.