How do I introduce myself to you?
This is like some mutated version of online dating, except I’m not going to coffee with any of you…yet. If this were a social gathering and you were a woman, I’d appear out of a whirlwind, extend my arms for a hug, and compliment your cute outfit, accessories, and/or boyfriend (though sometimes the former and the latter are one in the same). If you were a man, I’d size you up, smile dashingly at you, and note your ruggedly good looks. Either way, I’d make sure you knew who I was before the end of the night. Here though, you get to meet me anew every week for as long as the Urban Dater wants to run my work, but I’m starting you off with some of the basics.
I’m Raul Q. – Los Angeles native, early thirties, young professional, GAY, CHUBBY, and quite “awkdorkable.” (Sorry, Zooey D., but I hijacked it and reworked it.) Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m some West Hollywood stereotype. And just because I’m gay AND chubby doesn’t mean I’m some alpha-bear ruling the streets of Silver Lake. In fact, I’ve never connected to the mainstream gay community, or even the alt-gay community (though I am what would be considered an “alt-gay”). It has always just been a community of ME. I’m like the polka dot elephant from the Island of Misfit Toys.
I do admit one thing: I’m a size queen. I like ‘em BIG – big dicks, big muscles, big personalities, big emotions, and sometimes, unluckily, really big assholes (not literally, of course). Shit! I’m BIG! I’m six feet and 240 pounds of BIG LOVE! I do nothing little… except for the occasional shorter guy.
After returning to school late in my twenties, I received my B.A. in Psychology at UCSB in 2011. It was there where I discovered my passion for promoting sexual and relational health awareness as a former Sex & Relationships peer health intern. After graduating, I utilized my knowledge while volunteering as an HIV-testing counselor, and I recently ended a two-year stint as Social Media Strategist for one of the world’s largest HIV healthcare organizations.
While there I appeared on Russell Brand’s Brand X as a condom expert; helped develop sex-positive HIV/STD awareness marketing campaigns; and microblogged to my heart’s content about how to best protect your sexual health. I continue to spread awareness on my personal social media accounts, and I speak publicly on topics related to sexual health. That’s all textbook sexual health, but when it comes to dating, I’m no expert. In fact, I’m quite the opposite – I’m one big living breathing dating blooper reel.
I’m not here to make all your dating problems go away. Hell! I think that we’re supposed to experience these issues with open arms and minds! That’s why I’m here – I’m going through it all just like you are. In fact, I’ve been going through it for almost twenty years now. It’s with that experience I’ve gained some insight, and not just into gay men, but dating and relationships in general. Love and sex transcend sexual orientation. We all deal with complications, dating ups and downs, not knowing what the hell is going on with the person we’re trying to get to know, and enjoy it all when we find someone who just seems to click… until they don’t.
My mission isn’t to be some authority who’s going to magically make all your love ills heal overnight with my advice. My mission is to be your new best friend. We’re going to take these shared experiences we have, peel them apart so we can analyze the situation, and after we talk about what went right or wrong, learn from them together so we can make it better the next time around. We’re a team, you and I – bad or good dates, sex, emotions, and all.
So I hope you like ‘em big, cute, and out of place, because I’m already Googling where to find a great French press.