Chappy, the app of choice for single gay dadsIt’s 8:52 am; I’m rushing into work, I’m smiling thinking of my failed (and overly embarrassing) attempt at doing the ‘floss’ at a busy bus stop, the intricate secret handshake I partook in, and the ‘yes, yes I know you love me; love you too – bye!’ that got yelled back to me, as my son ran through the school gates to join his friends.
I am that well less known species of ‘gay dad’ and even the more elusive 'gay divorcee with a kid'. Yes, it does happen just like in the heterosexual world.
So back to my smiling and indulging in reminiscing about this awesome little man in my life, who yes, adds stress and challenges at the best of times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. From a very young age, I always wanted to have a family and raise kids. When I came out, that was not a possibility, and I remember the tears I shed for the loss of something that I wanted and was told was never going to be possible. But look at me now, I couldn’t be prouder!
I’d like to think my son is just as proud. Perhaps, because I’m CEO of a diversity charity, maybe he has diversity fatigue hearing me always go-on about standing up for what’s right in the world. But I truly have a little diversity champion who proudly sets people straight (no pun intended) about letting people be who they are. Only a few weeks ago on our last holiday, I got told off when correcting the use of a female pronoun to refer (to my knowledge) to a boy. I was told that his friend feels like a girl, prefers a female pronoun, that he supports that, and that I should know that that is OK. I was clearly put in my place; very proud dad moment!
So, how do I try to manage it all? That’s a very good question. I try to be the best dad (but like all parents, I have regular moments of failure), I juggle a city career, being a charity CEO, and my fitness obsession — I have my first half Ironman coming up in September, and let me assure you it’s not easy. But I’m trying to set an example that if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. That’s what parenting is about right? Setting a good example and teaching your kids that they can be and have anything they want in life if they work hard enough at it.
Yes, I do get asked regularly if what I want from life is to remain a single dad or whether I miss being in a relationship. I definitely miss having a true partner in crime. I’m so family oriented that I miss some of the basic things about growing a family together and doing those activities that may seem banal and just ‘normal’ life, but somehow are the best moments; the ones that make you laugh and smile. That’s what makes for a truly happy soul. But dating as a gay divorcee with a kid is not easy. Not to say it’s impossible, but it becomes a question of time, and where to meet, and will guys actually understand and be aligned in my values. And after I was off the market for a decade, dating seems a scary thing some days. I’m not exactly having some JLo ‘Maid in Manhattan’ moment.
Chappy is different to other apps, and allows me to possibly connect with a guy who is focussed on something substantive, has family values and who himself is multi-faceted. Chappy respects the values a modern gay man like me has, and brings opportunity for me to potentially meet an awesome guy who will want to come on this journey with me, and hopefully, eventually, my son too. So, let’s keep swiping.