Kathryn's Blog

Finally a site for gay men who want a partner

I met the man who’s behind myPartner.com, a site for gay men looking for long term relationships.  Pat Perrine is just the guy to do this, too.  This site fills an important niche (how come when you you start talking about finding love, everything sounds sexy?), thanks, Pat!

Single Shot: Finding Mr. Right


So I met a fabulous new man the other night.

His name was William and he was funny, handsome, smart and loaded with Southern charm. He also was gay, as were all the guys I met at the Finding Mr. Right party down at the W last week, a swanky singles mingle sponsored by myPartner.com, a relationship-based matchmaking service for “today’s gay man.”

What was a straight girl like me doing at an event like that?

Not looking for a new boyfriend, obviously, although everybody else was. And not just for an hour, a night or a weekend. Despite those crusty old assumptions about gay relationships being strictly about sex and nothing else, these guys were looking for a sweetheart, a soul mate, the old ball and chain.

And I was there to check it out—to hear a few dating stories from the other side of the fence and see if gay matchmaking events were every bit as dorky and awkward as straight matchmaking events.

At first glance, signs seemed to point to yes. There were the obligatory name tags: Hi, my name is Fish Out of Water! The corny cocktails: the Pink Twink and the Man-Trimony. And there were those all-important reindeer games—or at least the promise of them. Sprinkled around the bar and entryway were light blue “flirt cards” imprinted with icebreakers like “I could bring you home to Mom” and “Is it hot in here?” A matching blue flier spoke of a “fun, interactive dating game” to be held later that night. Men fidgeted on one side of the room. Guys shuffled their feet on the other. In the middle, a clutch of confident kids sipped and socialized.

Why is it that no matter how old we get, singles events always manage to take us right back to seventh grade?

Sidling up to the bar, I ordered a martini (straight up, naturally) and started commiserating with William and my buddy Frank about the single life in Seattle. Oddly enough, we all had the same complaints: the married guys who troll for dates on Craigslist, the annoying questions from family members about when we’re going to settle down, the difficulty of making a connection here in the No-Eye-Contact-Northwest.

“I think the best way to meet somebody is through friends or while you’re doing something you love,” said William, grabbing a couple of spiced chickpeas, the closest thing to female companions I could find in the place. “Then you just can be yourself and not put on some big PR show, which is what I hate about dating.”

The “big PR show” is what everybody hates about dating, especially when you’re dating for keeps.

And finding a keeper—via flirt cards or goofy games or whatever else might inspire that elusive thing called chemistry—was what this evening was all about.

Which, according to Patrick Perrine of myPartner.com, was sort of big news.

Two years ago, there weren’t any online dating sites specifically designed to help gay men find long-term partners. There were plenty of services that tracked down soul mates for straights—eHarmony, PerfectMatch, Chemistry, etc.—but gays hoping to meet a man and settle down either had to use a generic dating service (provided it was open to them) or try their luck on gay-centric sites where LTRs weren’t necessarily the focus (on Manhunt, the motto is a succinct and salacious: “Get on. Get off.").

Perrine, the founder and chief executive officer of myPartner, saw a niche and went for it, expanding his private yenta business into a full-blown online dating and matchmaking service that he launched last June. Ironically, the site went live the same week the nation’s best-known soul mate site—eHarmony—was slapped with a lawsuit for violating a California law prohibiting businesses from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.

From a business perspective, myPartner isn’t really all that different from eHarmony (if you scrunch your eyes just right, anyway). Both services offer a complex compatibility system with questions designed to help members find their perfect mate.

It’s just that on eHarmony they ask you about the last book you read and enjoyed, and on myPartner, they ask what you like to read and whether you’re a top or a bottom. Plus a slew of other questions that don’t apply to straights: if you’ve come out to your family, if you’re comfortable taking a partner to a work event, if you’re into bears.

“eHarmony developed their matchmaking system based on research they did with studies of heterosexual married couples,” Perrine said. “Our compatibility system has been designed for gay men by gay men. We follow a lot of the same methodology but it’s specific to our community.”

Today, the site has nearly 75,000 members nationwide, 95 percent of whom are looking for a sexually monogamous relationship. For Perrine, that number is significant—he’s not only interested in matchmaking, but myth busting.

“We’re here to debunk the myth that gay men aren’t interested in finding lasting relationships,” he said. “You don’t spend an hour going through our compatibility system because you’re looking for a hookup.”

I spent an hour at his party, then bowed out, wondering on my way home if sweet, smart William would make any love connections that night. He wasn’t my Mr. Right, nor was I his, but I was still rooting for the big lug.

The next morning, I got my answer.

“A party full of guys and I get cards from two women!” he wrote in an e-mail.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.



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