Have you ever tried to play chess with yourself? I think I saw someone do that in “Searching for Bobby Fisher,” or “Finding Forrester” (how come Forrester got found, but Fisher stayed lost? Anyone?). I’ve tried it. It’s really frustrating because you always lose. I guess you always win, too, but my glass is half-empty.

That’s what it’s like trying to date someone of the same sex: It’s a psychological minefield. The superficial setup is just foreplay; once you’ve found a man with whom you can physically match yourself without feeling superior or inadequate, the real games begin.

There are, of course, a few highly-touted advantages to dating another dude:

1. The Equipment

He knows how to use it. Everyone’s heard this argument, and it’s probably true: We spend every waking hour with these pesky organs hanging down to our knees (wishful thinking). And we spent much of our pre-teen tutelage figuring out how to make our new toy’s batteries outlast the Energizer Bunny. We know what makes them salute their master, and we know what puts them to sleep faster than a Clay Aiken concert. We know that you should NEVER (well … never say never) use your teeth (come on girls, really now). We’ve been playing ball since there was grass on the field (and not in a pedophilic way, Congressman Foley), so we know how to hit a homer (or at least a triple) almost every time we step up to the plate.

2. Getting Preggers

Unless I accidentally bring home a Drag King, there’s no field to fertilize. No labor pains, no shotgun weddings, and no alimony. And of course no hormone pills (though some mo’s I know could certainly use a bit of estrogen regulation). It keeps the Catholic Church from sanctioning our sex, but it also keeps the neo-Malthusian overpopulation prophets singing our praises. Perhaps this is why a large cross-section of gay culture is stuck in the free-loving 60s. Monogamous heterosexual tradition developed from the very robust embryo of reproductive potential. Our sex does not demand fertility, nor does it mandate the typical conventions of a nuclear family. We don’t have to keep it together for the kids … so it’s just that much cooler when we choose to do so anyway. There’s no chance that progeny become an accidental responsibility for homosexual couples; for us children are always an active and loving voluntary commitment.

3. Conversation

We’ve all got at least one thing in common. For gay men, it’s the follow-up question to “What’s your sign?” and “Aren’t you loving this weather?” Almost every first date, the question arises: “So when did you come out?” And of course, if the answer is, “I’m working on it,” you know you should probably think twice before bedding the boy. Otherwise, the coming out story should last at least as long as the walk back to my place.

The advantages speak for themselves, but people often overlook the brain-bending mental quagmire of over-similarity:

1. The Equipment

He knows how to use it. And he knows how he likes it done. So you’d better be good. The standards are raised, so there are no excuses for sandpaper hands and dry-mouth. And there is certainly no excuse for an overuse of teeth. Well … there was this one time, but damn was he the exception. You, however, are not the exception. You are the rule. And while it takes two to tango, a lot of mini-mo’s only know how to play solitaire. The rules change when you introduce another player. He plays to different music with different rhythms, and maybe even different rules. I play Sinatra, but I’ve had to learn to sight-read Bob Marley, The Killers, and even a bit of Britney. So, you may both be the same rule, but you’re written in a different language.

2. Getting Preggers

The stakes may be lower, but the condoms are still necessary, people. A lot of gays think everything is A-OK if he promises that DUH cleared his blood-test earlier this afternoon. What he’s not telling you is that between his 4 p.m. blood-test and your 6 p.m. dinner date, he got gang-banged. And DUH doesn’t test for syphilis. It’s like mutually assured destruction: If we’ve both got nuclear weapons (metaphorical stand-in for threat of pregnancy) aimed at each other, both sides are going to do everything possible to avoid triggering the explosion. Gay men definitely aim their missiles at each other, but ours are just dirty bombs instead of nukes. After those scuds do their damage, though, and you’ve got to live with those weird radiation boils for the rest of your life, you’ll wish you’d used a condom.

3. Conversation

We’re really good at keeping quiet. We can keep major, life-changing secrets. We’re fantastic at lying and covering things up — we’re devious dandies. In a homosexual conversation, everything has at least three layers of subtext. For example:

CHAD: Hi, Billy.

BOBBY: Hey, dude, what’s up?

Subtext (A):

CHAD: I’m using the nickname Billy because I like you.

BOBBY: I’m using the straight-boy term dude because I want to be platonic and friendly, because I think our date went poorly on Saturday.

Subtext (B):

CHAD: I really hope Billy is your actual name.

BOBBY: It’s okay, I don’t know your name either. Dude.

Subtext (C):

CHAD: I can’t call you Bill because that’s my ex-boyfriend’s name. Or is your name Bobby? I also have an ex named Bob.

BOBBY: (after removing headphones) But yeah, dude, getting high sounds great. I’d love to smoke up later.

And, this, of course, is where the differences end and gays end up just like breeders: “Ooh, maybe if I get him high or drunk, he’ll sleep with me.”

CHAD: We should get drinks later. But just so you know: I listen to jazz, I have a deluxe (unopened) box of Trojans, and I came out in high school. Why don’t I tell you about it … By the way, do you play chess?

BOBBY [FISHER]: (lying) I suck at it.

CHAD: Thank God.

Chad Callaghan loves getting checkmate, and his bishop beats your pawn.