Being Ugly, Chapter 3: Going to my happy place

So, this post is going to be really short… but… I am really excited that tomorrow I’m heading to Chicago for IML weekend! IML, for those of you who don’t know, is short for International Mister Leather, and the basic gist of it is that every Memorial Day weekend, a couple thousand people, the vast majority of whom are MSM, gather at a hotel in Chicago for good times.

Now, usually, I am not a fan of crowds, but the leather community that I’ve experienced at MAL (Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend, in January in DC, same idea) and IML is by far the most accepting and welcoming community that I’ve encountered. There are people of all shapes and sizes and ages, all spending time with each other (various interpretations of “spending time with” apply here) and having fun. Both IML and MAL are welcoming to beginners and experienced kink folk alike.

I say that I’m going to my “happy place” because I’m going to get to have a good time for a weekend without being stuck in my head about what I look like, or what other people think of me. And that is going to be awesome.

Add to that that I actually have friends in Chicago, and I am so excited I can barely hold it together! Time for some good old-fashioned fun and friendship! I’ll write another post when I get back!

The Hook-up App guys…

Ran across an interesting article on Huffington Post titled “Notes From The Hook-Up Apps: 9 Guys Who Take All the Fun Out of Them.”

After all – the apps themselves aren’t necessarily the problem.  We’ve all been on them or some internet incarnation of them at some point in our lives.  The problem is certain people who use them… and ruin them for the rest of us.

As contributor Jeremy Helligar points out, it’s not the guys who ask the cliche questions like “Looking?” but the following nine guys that are the true problem

1. The Validation Seeker: He’s the app equivalent of the bar queen who brags about how many boys he kissed last night. Quantity over quality… or anything else. He leaves the distinct impression that he approaches guys/swipes right just to see how many of them will respond/swipe right, too. He’ll rarely actually talk to any of them. He’s like a social media addict who obsessively courts Facebook “likes” and Twitter/Instagram “followers” and uses them to measure his/her personal worth. The more, the merrier he might be, but everyone involved ends up sleeping alone.

2. Mean Boy: He’s the one most likely to list restrictions (No oldies, no fatties, no fems, no blacks, no whites, no Asians…), anything to make himself feel superior to everyone he’s rejecting. Even if you make it past his velvet rope, he’ll find ways to make you feel inferior, too.

About a year and a half ago, a work colleague introduced me to a guy who snubbed me to my face while gushing about me behind my back. He went on to have a one-and-a-half-night stand with a very good friend of mine, to whom he revealed his (and Mean Boy’s) dating mantra: “Treat ’em mean, keep ‘em keen.” Yep, he actually said that, and he eventually put those words into action with my poor pal.

Alas, I don’t play that dating game. “The more you ignore me, the closer I get,” Morrissey sang on his biggest U.S. solo hit. Great song, but I can’t relate. Neither pining nor stalking has ever been the best use of my time.

3. The “Polite” Responder: For some reason, some guys insist on being rejected outright. No response doesn’t send a clear enough message, so they follow up with question marks until you block them. Defeated but still defiant, they add a familiar request to their profiles: “If you’re not interested, just block or say so. It’s only courteous.”

Oh, the beasts these Mr. Manners have spawned. Personally, if a guy ignores me, unlike Morrissey in the aforementioned hit, I move on to one who doesn’t. But not so fast. Just because he responds, doesn’t mean he’s interested. A lot of them are just being “polite,” offering curt, blase responses to your follow-ups without making any discernible attempt to keep the conversation going.

I once called out someone on it and asked him why he responded if he wasn’t interested. He said it wasn’t me; it was his exhaustion from work. It apparently depleted his energy and ability to offer an online tone that couldn’t be interpreted as gruff and slightly annoyed. So why was he on Grindr and not in bed at 11pm then? I’d rather be ignored.

4. The Compulsive Chater: On the plus side, this one might be blessed with the gift of gab. It’s always nice to bypass sexual positions and penis size, but if smallish talk isn’t going to lead anywhere, shouldn’t you at least be near an open bar? Even though he’s probably the one who approached you and may actually live only blocks away, it’s near impossible to score a date or even a hook-up, because he’s all talk, no meet.

5. Bored/Boring Guy: Hey… How r u… What’s doin… Where you at… If communicating in three words or less is your thing, here comes your man. He’s not really looking for anything. He’s just here because he’s got a phone and functioning WiFi, and there’s nothing better to do. Good times, right?

6. The Pic Collector: Like I recently told one suitor requesting XXX pics, if you’re dying to see a big black c—k, Google “big black c—k.”

7. Mr. Catch Me If You Can: For me, this guy is the most frustratingly unattainable because he’s so good on paper. He’s typically handsome, quick to respond (and not in that detached “The ‘Polite’ Responder” way), engaging, and he’s often online, which would seem to indicate availability.

Don’t get it twisted, though. He may be seemingly free and presumably “looking,” but he’s not available. He’s never available. So busy, he keeps reminding you, though he’s rarely too busy to be on the grid. Grindr may very well be the only place in the world where someone who’s working part-time at a backpackers hostel while looking for a full-time job has a more jam-packed schedule than someone who runs a Fortune 500 company.

8. The Ghosting Gay: He’s the one who actually meets up with you, maybe even goes on a date with you. He might even call out your name during sex. He acts like he’d love to see you again and might even tell you to stay in touch, breaking the unspoken “NSA” rule. But after his clothes are back on, he disappears from your life as abruptly as he entered it, possibly blocking you once he’s safely out of sight.

On the rare occasion that you do hear from him again, he’s probably only seeing if you’ll respond (see “The Validation Seeker” above) before the ghosting begins. And if you reach out to him first, he might respond once, maybe even twice (see “The ‘Polite’ Responder” above), before the ghosting begins.

You may see him weeks, months, a year later. If he doesn’t pretend he’s never met you, he might actually go home with you, beginning the ghosting cycle all over again. An accidental hook-up is as good as it’ll get after the first one. He’ll never be a dependable f—k buddy, much less a friend with benefits, because that would require him to stay in touch, and he’s just not that into you.

9. “Wired” Guy: While he’s typically a nocturnal animal, this one lurks during daylight, too, particularly if you live in a tourist-heavy city. He’s drunk on life, love, whatever controlled substance he can get his sweaty, shaky hands on. He’s pretty easy to spot because he mangles simple words and sentences in ways Autocorrect/Predictive text could never dream of, and his profile is typically suspiciously bare.

The good news is that if you’re too busy sleeping or living your offline life to catch your window of opportunity, you’ll probably never hear from him again.

Those People

When you’re in a long distance relationship, the weekends you spend apart are often spent watching TV/Netflix/Hulu.  Or maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, on Saturday night I watched a movie on Netflix called Those People.  The movie wasn’t the greatest – yes, personal opinion, you can all judge on your own – but the story is about a “young gay painter who is torn between an obsession with his infamous socialite best friend and a promising new romance with an older foreign concert pianist.”

You can probably imagine some of how the film goes based on that brief synopsis, but here’s the question.  Have any of you out there struggled with a crush on a really close friend? Did that ever drive a wedge between you and a new significant other?  Have you ever had a hard time letting go of a former significant other?

50 First Dates

To be fair, I don’t know that it was 50 dates, but Kevin Atkinson, one of our amazing contributors, talks about starting back into the dating scene – particularly with online dating.  The snippet below is from his post “I wanna love somebody (Go find me somebody to love)” – and honestly, how many of us have felt the EXACT same way at some point in our LGBT dating lives?

About two months ago, I threw myself head first into the on-line dating world. I’m happy to report that in those two months I’ve gone on multiple dates, met many new people, questioned everything about my self worth and value as a human being. I’ve compared myself to every person’s body as not quite good enough, not quite thin enough, not quite strong enough, and not maintained enough for someone to really date. My personality was still genuine but consciously groomed to make sure the weird pet peeves I have didn’t surface, or how my long-term expectations were something that mattered to me. Remember, though, having expectation conversations early with someone is really forward and too serious. Because God damn it, I just wanted to make we’re on the same page for 5 year plans but I can’t ask that because THEN I’M FUCKING DESPERATE AREN’T I?!

Being Ugly: Chapter 2 – Taking Up Space

Hi, me again. So, this will be fairly short, as its mainly a reaction to the fact that I’ve been in a number of crowds of late and noticed something that fascinated me:

I’m pretty sure that many thin/good-looking people are not aware of the space they take up like fat or ugly people are.

From a VERY young age, I’ve always been cognizant of my volume – the amount of air I displace, and how that affects things around me. My instinct has become to always be against a more solid, immovable object – a wall, a column, a stately manor home, what have you – so that my volume and its will meld together and I’ll seem to take up less space. This usually manifests itself in me hanging around the perimeter of crowds, or, if in conversation, trying to be the one furthest from whatever walkway or path may be near.

I bring this up because OH MY GOODNESS I don’t think many [skinny] people have any idea that they, too, take up space. While attending a networking function last week, a group of very good-looking, thin people clumped right in the main passage between the main space and the bar, which, due to the space’s architecture, was the narrowest choke point in the room.

I was utterly aghast when I saw this… Why on earth would they choose to be located right there?! It actually made me nervous for them.

But then it dawned on me that they may not have ever been conscious of their volume – they were used to slinking through crowds without begging apologies at every brush-past, immune to the disgusted looks that an “I’m sorry, excuse me, I’m sorry…” and a shoulder-tap brings; to walking down narrow sidewalks without pressing themselves against a building every time someone else came the other way.

What must that be like?

What must that be like, to see a friend across a crowded room and go to them without hesitation, not hope they’ll come to you because you’d have to ask like 30 people to squeeze by…

What must that be like, to avoid angry looks while waiting for an airplane, everyone hoping that you aren’t seated next to them…

What must that be like, to walk across a room, and not around its perimeter…

What must that be like?

[Apologies, this was less “fairly short” than I had intended… I promise, next time, I’ll stick to 150 words or less.]

Honesty in dating

Yes, I’m stealing another of kevinatkinson’s posts.  What can I say – he writes good stuff.

The post below is titled “No more than just a one night stand, no regrets no future plans” in which Kevin discusses a guy he met on Grindr that ultimately turned into a one night stand.

But Kevin brings up an interesting theory – that in his experience, two men who prefer the same sexual position aren’t compatible.  Curious to hear some other’s thoughts on that.

But the last paragraph is why I love Kevin’s writing and why I asked him to join our team here at Sex, Love, and Labels.  Stop being the right person for someone else, and start being the person you already are.

 

Alright. So, in my return to writing, which happened earlier this week due to me having feelings and the life…I return to actually writing. About stuff, and things, and whatever blah blah stuff. Today I get to write about dating, and how no matter what people say…you can’t just change to make things work.

So. A guy on Scruff about 5 months ago messaged me. Hot in that way that you ALMOST question why they’re so interested in you. Either it’s an end to a means or they’re just desperate levels. I don’t ever say no to really attractive people messaging me, so I responded. Through very few messages we determined that we were the same sexual position preference. He was very inquisitive to whether I would ever date another top? What if we found bottoms to top together? I was very honest to him: I’ve dated other tops, and it hasn’t worked for me. Dating someone who is the same as you sexually often times doesn’t work. You both gravitate to the same moves, same desires, same tendencies. So you’re left with a lot of moves that no one is satisfied by. Or half of the routines done on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

I ended the conversation after making it pretty clear that two tops dating hasn’t worked out well for me, at least in my experience. Months passed. Seasons changed. The Gay High Holidays came, rose, and set. Fall actually came to San Francisco. And suddenly a message appeared on Scruff from this same very hot guy. Saying: I really think we should try.

Bold. I was impressed. Bold says a lot about a man. He was clear: maybe it’s worth being sexually incompatible to find a man that you connect with. What if beyond sex it was actually about that spark and down the road hope you can find which makes it worth it, not whether you’re a top or a bottom? He dared me to think: well, why not?

So I said yeah. Why not. Let’s meet for a drink.

We met for a drink. He a beer, me a gin and soda. We connected. We talked. Laughed. Kissed over our drinks. Kissing was good, so we went back to his place (conveniently a building over) and hooked up. The sexual interactions were awkward yet genuine. Two people jockeying for dominance. Decent orgasms, and then a delightful cuddle: quiet, close, and comforting. I left, we kissed at the corner, and I made my way home.

Jump two days. I ask how his week is going over text. A quick and simple response:

It’s going well. In kindness, I’m not interested in moving forward.

In my wonderful me, I say “Cool. Kindness is appreciated,” when all I wanted to tell him was “DIDN’T I FUCKING TELL YOU MONTHS AGO THAT I DIDN’T THINK THIS WOULD WORK?!” Fortunately I didn’t. I like to think I have enough decorum left in me to not make that misstep.

Ultimately, this moment is essential for me. It reminds me to trust my instinct. The moment we talked, I knew this guy and I wouldn’t work long term. Or at all. And through determination (from him) and desperation (from me) we met and all of that was confirmed. From both sides.

I’m not hurt or devastated by this, thankfully. If anything it’s fully steeled me to be exactly me. Changing one’s self to match a person has never been high on my priorities, and this revealed very clearly that I should never do so.

Ultimately, dating is a test of just how honest you are to yourself. Who are you? What do you stand for? How do you bring that authentically to the world? I think that’s the part of dating we all forget. We get so intent on being the right person for someone else, not the being the person we are. Which ultimately leaves neither party happy, and in the end leaves us bitter and sad.