Let me first disclaim that this is an account of my own experience and others may not find it applicable to their own lived experiences.
Durban is a wonderful city situated in KwaZulu Natal. One has to love the warm but erratic weather and the cool beautiful beaches. The people here are also quite friendly and welcoming although one does encounter a few grumpy individuals now and then. Durban is quite a vibrant upbeat city with an average paced life. It is characterized by rich racial, cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. The city itself is quite stunning at night, with the beautiful coloured lights but also surprisingly quiet and peaceful in the late hours of the night. It is also booming with the LGBT community and many young gay or lesbian people find it easy and perhaps comfortable to express their sexuality in this great city. What is interesting about Durban is that although it is a modernized upbeat city, it has managed to hold on to some of the values and morals of old and it is still conservative to a certain extent. For most young individuals, especially from areas in the North of KZN, Durban it a place to be!
When I came to this city about 5 years ago I had two goals in mind – education and finding love. I come from a rural and quite conservative community from the far North of KZN, and in my community, gay relationships are unheard of. So when I came to Durban I felt liberated and excited at the possibility of meeting Mr. Right. I had believed Durban to be the city of love, to be the hotbed of gay relations and thus anticipated no difficulty in meeting the right people. I always imagined that I would be approached by a nearly perfect person (that I had constructed in my head) and ask me out and from there we would live happily ever after. I am quite conservative you see, and I believed that top gay guys should approach or make the first moves at bottom gay guys and not the other way around; much like in traditional heterosexual relations (perhaps I still harbour this mentality). However things did not turn out the way I expected.
During my first years in Durban I was very much involved with my studies and perhaps created little room for meeting new people, sure I made a lot of good friends who are still in my life up to this day, but I never actually met Mr. Right. But I did not despair as I thought it was still early and I had all the time to ‘man hunt’, but months passed and they eventually turned to years and I was still single. Eventually I started being more active and went to different sites that hosted gay and lesbian people who were looking to meet other people, mostly for sex anyway. I did meet a few people but things did not work out, and I consoled myself with the belief that one has to kiss a few frogs before getting to prince charming. However, time went but no Mr. Right. I then started questioning whether my fuller figured body made me less attractive to Durban boys, in fact I eventually came to believe that most if not all top gay guys are only attracted to slim and sexy bottom guys. I fell into despair quite a number of times in this journey but somehow managed to pick myself up only to be embraced by more disappointment. I oscillated between hating myself for not being attractive enough to hating boys for being jerks, but as one can imagine that did not prove to be healthy both for my self-image and for my interaction with other people, particularly males. Perhaps one of the grave traps that I seemed to repeatedly fall in was falling for straight guys, or self proclaimed straight guys. My only mistake was allowing my fragile and easily deceived heart to fall for them. Either out of desperation, stupidity or courage, I sometimes I told them how I felt about them and one can only imagine how that ended.
The more I got rejected and disappointed is the more I withdrew and became bitter. Surprisingly I never lost hope entirely, and even though I had convinced myself that I will never be loved, I never stopped looking for love. Against all odds I continued to look, to search, up to this day but with no avail. As a result of these experiences I have arrived at certain conclusions pertaining to gay love – that there is no true love among gay people, at least in Durban anyway; that Durban tops are only interested in sex and not commitment and that tops do not find ‘chubby’ bottoms to be attractive. But to be fair, my own individual attributes, characteristics and acts should also be taken into consideration. I may have acted in ways that were a turn off for other people, I may have certain characteristics that are not appealing to others people, and my conservativeness might be hindering me from going out and meeting good people in good places. Truth is, finding true love as a gay person is very difficult, more difficult for others such as me.
For me, finding love in the big city has been a losing battle. My hopes of being happily ever after seem to shrink with every passing day, I only find some temporary delight in my fleeting fantasies, but that is all that they are, just fantasies. A few years back I was an optimistic young men who believed in true love that sweep you off your feet, however that optimism and that belief seem to be as pointless as my attempts of finding love. For most young people, whether gay or ‘straight’, Durban still harbours hopes and dreams of finding love and happiness; others find it and others don’t, however it still remains a city of hope. At least one of my dreams came alive in Durban, I finished my studies.