It’s no secret: dating is hard. While this is true for everyone, it’s even more so for the LGBTQ community — and a pandemic can make it nearly impossible. Enter the Gay Dating Coach. Lamont White is helping gay and bisexual men navigate the world of dating through coaching, professional matchmaking, and couples counseling. He’s working one on one with men to find love in a socially distanced world and achieve their relationship goals.
Meet the Gay Dating Coach
When White started his dating business in 2014, there were no others like him. He wanted to address the lack of visibility when it came to gay dating by addressing the needs of gay men like himself directly.
“Gay men, we really didn’t have role models or a blueprint [for dating men],” he told Georgia Voice. “We didn’t have images of how two guys see each other. When I started this back in 2014, there was no one doing this for gay men specifically.”
White is based in Atlanta, but as of last year he offers his services to men who love men nationwide, with clients in D.C., Texas, Los Angeles, and New York. Across the country, he’s pairing up successful couples by sticking to the basics.
“I do really old-fashioned matchmaking,” he said. “I meet with guys face to face, via Zoom, to learn who they are and what they’re looking for … I see who’s in my database that could be a good connection for them, where there’s mutual interest and I think there could be some chemistry. I then arrange a first date.”
The Gay Dating Coach prides himself on the out-of-the-box first dates he sends clients on, which include the likes of axe throwing and indoor rock climbing. Above all else, White believes there’s no better way to connect than by having fun together.
“I think a first date shouldn’t be like a job interview,” he said. “You should do something fun and interesting. Guys have really been enjoying a different way of meeting outside of a bar, club, or app.”
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, dating looks a lot different.
“With COVID, depending on what city you’re in, your city could be completely shut down, so there’s really no way for guys to connect [like usual] by going to bars, church, or a restaurant,” White said. “They’re lonely.”
Because of COVID-19, men are turning to White to help them meet new people and organize safe, virtual first dates. They’re not only getting matchmaking; they’re getting dating tips, as well. “I also teach guys how to date: this is how you flirt, this is how you present yourself if you want to get a guy,” he said. “[Many gay] guys just weren’t taught that.”
Self-love and dating
Dating for company and dating for love are two distinct (although equally valid) processes that require a distinct set of skills and finesse in order to find what you’re looking for. White specializes in the latter; as a recently married man himself, he’s an expert in dating with the goal of a serious, long-lasting relationship. The secret? A heaping dose of self-love. If you’re ready to move away from casual dating in the pursuit of love, you’ve got to be your best self.
“It starts with you, with self-improvement,” White divulged. “It’s easier said than done, but I think sometimes guys try to get into relationships without doing the work they need on themselves. When I say work, I mean making sure you’re mentally stable, financially stable, physically healthy, and in a positive mindset of dating.”
Dating can be exhausting or potentially destructive to your ego, especially if you’re emotionally insecure or fragile. By first being happy with who you are, you avoid the cynicism that can come with dating and recognize the good in rejection.
“You have to understand that rejection is a part of dating,” White continued. “It’s a good part of dating: if a guy isn’t interested in you, then you can move him out of the way and find someone who’s definitely interested in you.”
From like to love
You did it! You finally met someone you click with and can see a future with. How do you make sure it doesn’t fizzle out? Of course, clear and open communication is key. But the key to making it work is being bold and unafraid of making the first move. Now’s not the time to be scared of rejection.
“You can’t just wait for the other guy to plan a date,” White said. “Take the initiative and say, ‘Hey, I want to see you. Let’s meet up.’ Don’t wait for him to text or call you. If you want to see him, pick the phone up and plan the date.”
For more information on the Gay Dating Coach and to book White as a matchmaker, dating coach, or couples counselor, visit betterwaytomeet.com.