Category Archives: Rants

Dude, try to remember I’m a person.

I’m on a lot of sites and mobile apps for meeting guys.  Some of them are “traditional” dating sites.  Some of them bill themselves for “flirting and chatting.”  A few are unapologetic hookup sites (and apps that don’t call themselves hookup apps, but only because doing so would get them in trouble with Apple and possibly Google).

On all of them, I have a fairly nonsexual profile.  No nude or even shirtless pictures.  And while a given profile may give indication I’m open to sex (including sex outside of the bounds of a longterm or romantic relationship), I also make it clear that I’m looking for even more.  Heck even my Grindr1 profile says the following:

Just a funny, friendly, and (allegedly) charming guy who likes to chat, laugh, and see what happens.  Say hi.

For the BoyAhoy/Skout app (which is where the exchange this post is about took place), my “About Me” section is a bit longer:

I’m a wonderful guy who loves to laugh and make others laugh.  I love making new friends and seeing how we connect.

I’m a romantic and often a goofy one at that.  I’m very affectionate, compassionate and caring, but have a wild side to, if brought out by the right guy.

A sample from the book I’m working on:

“You can spend the night if you’d like.” I blinked. I looked at him long and hard. I really did like him, and it was so tempting. He straightened and said, “Maybe I’m being too forward.”

“No,” I added quickly. “Believe me, it’s a tempting offer. And part of me wants to say yes. It’s just…been a while….”

He reached up and took my chin between his thumb and forefinger, gently tilting my face up to his. I held my breath as he said, “Maybe it’s been too long, “ and leaned down. His lips met mine and I closed my eyes. My posture softened as our kiss deepened. I gave myself over to the experience, knowing that I wanted him more than anything.

He pulled back and looked into my eyes. I nodded. He unlocked and opened the door. I walked in ahead of him and headed up the stairs.

So this is the profile that a certain guy checked out a few days ago before he sent me his first message:

So what are you into

I replied with a variation of my standard reply to this question:

Reading, writing, movies, going for longs walks, going for drives, etc.

Apparently (and not surprisingly), this was not the answer he was looking for, as he made clear with his next message:

Haha ok that’s not what i meant but ok

Well,  yeah, I kind of figured that’s not what he meant.  However, it’s what I felt like sharing about myself at the moment.  (As an aside, other than a handful of pictures, his age, and the fact that he’s interested in men, his profile has “Ask Me” for ever field.  So he’s effectively shared nothing.)

I decided to reply with a simple “ah,” as I still didn’t feel like sharing the information he was clearly looking for or try to strike up a conversation when he’s put no effort into such an endeavor himself.

This is where the butthurt (or at least what I perceive as butthurt) came in:

Ok sorry to bother you I seen you on other sites but obviously your not interested in me take care

Okay, here’s are the problems I have with this response:

  1. Why would I be interested in someone who’s told me nothing about himself that might pique my interest
  2. Why would I be interested in someone who’s first message effectively calls for me to give a laundry list of my sexual interests and/or preferred sexual roles?  Experience has taught me that such a guy isn’t interested in me but merely what I can do sexually for him.  I don’t need long term commitment or love, but I do need to be seen as a person.
  3. If he’s seen me on other sites and bothered to glance at more than my profile pictures, he should’ve realized that last point might be an issue for me.  I mean, every single profile I have mentions I’m primarily looking to chat2 and connect.
  4. Since when has sharing a list of things that I enjoy doing with another person exactly communicated a lack of interest.  Sure, it makes it clear I’m not yelling “take me now!”  But it certainly indicates I’m open to conversing further.

I considered telling the guy all this, but I decided against it.  A while back, I realized I’ve grown tired of trying to explain to self-absorbed men who managed to go at least two decades without learning basic guidelines for conversing with strangers3.  So I just told him to take care and left the conversation.


1One of the reasons I chose my Grindr profile for this example is that it’s the profile that frustrates me the most, what with the app’s ludicrously small text limit.

2I’m beginning to think that most gay and bi guys think “chat” is always synonymous with “sext.”

3Note that I”m not talking about socially awkward or not knowing what exactly to talk about.  I often find those things endearing, especially if someone is struggling to be conversant in spite of that.  But I know a lot of socially awkward people who understand that “what will you let me do to you once I get you naked” is not an appropriate conversation starter.

 

Today on Rape Culture FM

[Content Note:  Rape Culture]

I’ve done a couple of posts that I’ve titled “Today on Sexist Morning Radio” after listening to the morning show on 98PXY on the way to work.  To be honest, I think I could probably write a minimum of one such post a week if I had more time or remembered the incidents by the time I have a chance to do any blogging.

Today’s gem, spoken by Duffy[1], however, goes far beyond sexism.  That’s why I’ve chosen what I consider a far more appropriate title.  After all, I can think of few statements that embody rape culture better than the following:[2]

She’s my wife.  She’s supposed to give me sex anyway.

To be honest, Duffy’s statement doesn’t really surprise me.  After all, he has in the pas indicated that he used to feel that the women he dated owed him sex if he paid for the date.

Now, I’m not saying that Duffy would actually have sex with his wife without her consent (but given that, statement, wow).  But at the very least, he’s reinforcing the idea that men are entitled to have sex with at least some women.  And that’s the kind of idea that emboldens and shields those who would take what they want regardless of consent.  And he used a radio station with a large audience to reinforce that idea.  At best, that’s irresponsible.

So to Duffy (and those like him), I would like to send out this reminder:

You are not entitled to sex from anyone at any time.  Not your spouse.  Not your significant other.  Not the person you bought a nice dinner for.  Not the person you keep doing dozens of favors for in hopes that you’ll hit the sexual jackpot in time.  And I’m disgusted that I actually have to tell you this.



[1] 
I should note that while I’m focusing on Duffy’s
particularly horrible statement, his co-hosts should not get a complete
pass on contributing to rape culture.  After all, they tried to present the
idea that Duffy should try to make up with the argument he had with his
wife so that he’ll “get to have sex” later tonight.  (It’s their
suggestion that caused him to make that awful statement.)  It seems to
me, at least, that even they are turning sex into something Duffy gets
from his wife rather than an mutually fulfilling experience that they
share.  That’s a problematic understanding of sex at best.

[2]  This is not a verbatim quote.  However, Duffy’s exact words stated the same sentiment and equally as explicitly.

Entitled Assholes Online: The Caught Liar

Today’s installment of this series is compliments of the social networking site, Tagged.  I’ve been on Tagged for a few years now and I deal with all kinds of interesting people there. As a result, I recently updated my “About Me” section on my profile to read as follows:

I’m not LOOKING for anything. I’m here to meet people and chat. If a friendship comes of it, great. If I meet someone LOCAL and we end up romantically involved, that’s fine too. But I am not on any quest to find love or anything else. So don’t ask me what I’m looking for. Don’t ask me for my Yahoo ID, my Skype or anything else. I’m not interesting in camming. And I swear, if you ask me my age, my sexual orientation, or anything else that is already listed in my profile, I will BLOCK you for failing to take the time to go through the information I’ve already provided to everyone

I suspect that today’s entitled asshole didn’t bother to read that, otherwise I would think he might have a clue that the following first message would not be well received:

hi handsomer baby, can we hook up? am single and searching. how are you today? am seriously looking for a man to be my wife your response would be an honor. regards

First of all, I’m not sure why he both asks if we can hook up and indicates that he’s looking to find a man who will be his wife.  In my experience, those tend to be two different activities.  Furthermore, while I’m sure there are exceptions, the kind of guys interested in the former aren’t generally interested in the latter and vice versa.

As for bringing up marriage in the first email:  Seriously?!  All he seems to know about me is that he finds me handsome — or possibly that he suspects I’m easily seduced by guys who compliment my looks.  He has a long ways to go with me before I’ll be ready to talk about marriage.  Unfortunately for him, the trip just got permanently canceled as far as I’m concerned.

Plus there’s the whole fact that he specifically said that he wants me for a wife.  If you’re going to use gender-specific terms like “husband” or “wife” rather than something gender neutral like “partner,” then you’d better use the term that’s appropriate for my gender.  This is particularly important because I get the strong guy that this guy is intentionally using the term “wife” to indicate that he’s looking for a guy to be the subordinate, weaker, and/or more submissive partner in the relationship.  That just pisses me off.  No person should be expected to be the “lesser” partner[1] in any relationship.

This also suggests to me that I don’t matter.  As the potential “lesser partner,” I seem to merely exist in this guy’s mind to possibly meet his needs and desires.  My feelings, my needs, my expectations do not seem to matter at all.

I noted that Tagged indicates that the guy is in Kenya (hey, I told you my profile information would come in handy), so I decide to go with a curt and pointed response that says the distance is an issue for me rather than climb the “you’re being an entitle ass” mountain that looms before me.

Try someone on the same continent as you.

He came back with the following response:

am in pensacola Jarred, why you scolding me away from your heart ?

Okay, so now he claims to be in Florida.  Given that I’m practically dipping my toes in Lake Ontario, the distance is still an issue.  But I have bigger issues than that, so let me go through them.

First of all, he corrects me and claims we’re on the same continent.  But he doesn’t say, “Wait a minute, why do you think we’re on different continents?”  That’s one big misconception for me to have.  If I were in his shoes, I’d want to know how someone got such an allegedly wrong idea.  (Frankly, I think he’s lying and he really is in Kenya.)

Instead, this EA starts asking me why I’m “scolding him away from my heart.”  Again, this is why I think he’s ultimately lying.  Rather than trying to clear up the misconception, he’s attempting a guilt trip here by suggesting that he’s just a nice guy and I’m trying to keep him at arm’s length.

Except here’s the thing:  I have every right to keep him at an arms length.  By asking me why I’m “scolding him away from my heart,” he’s implicitly assuming that he’s entitled to have my heart.  No way.  I decide who gets near my heart since, you know, it’s my heart.  And this dude has already given me plenty of reasons to put a full army battalion between it and him.

So given his total sense of entitlement and the fact that he has presented me with conflicting information and has made no effort to explain it, I decided to call him on it.

According to Tagged, you are in Kenya.  Liar.

Finally he decided to offer an explanation:

am not in kenya i went there on a contract business am i have completed my contract

I’ll be honest, given the rest of his behavior, I’m considering the other experiences on the site.  I’ve heard a lot of people talk about being from the United States, yet in Africa “on contract.”  While I’ll grant that this is the first EA that’s claimed to be back stateside, I also recognize this is a common ruse of scammers.  I’ve heard the whole “I’m on contract and there’s an issue with money, please help me out” bit before.  And given this guy’s total sense of entitlement and the fact that his story reeks like last week’s roadkill already, I’m thinking it’s not much of a stretch to imagine he’s a conman as well.

Before I could respond to that message, he sent me a follow-up:

how could you just make conclusion on something so irrelevant?

I’m simply amazed that someone could consider the question of where they actually are and the fact that their profile and what they are telling me don’t even match up is irrelevant.  Again, this is a sure sign that what’s really irrelevant is me.  As far as he’s concerned, I should just STFU and be delighted that he wants me to be his “little woman.”

Like that’s going to happen.  So I made my feelings clear:

Still not interested.

The fun thing about EA’s is that they’re often masters of butthurt.  I got two final replies from him before he blocked me:

then bounce
who cares

Yeah, because he contacted me looking to get something out of me, yet I’m the one who should get lost.

As for who cares, I don’t know.  Which guy spent a lot of time trying to get the other one to just trust him and give him a chance despite other guy’s stated lack of interest?

Notes:
[1]  I actually think that this is a reason that gendered terms are best avoided when talking about people in relationships.  No one should be a “wife” if by “wife” we mean “lesser partner.”  I think it’s much better to go with gender-neutral terms[2], suggesting a more mutual and egalitarian relationship.

[2]  Though I’ll admit I have a different problem with the term “partner,” especially when it comes to same sex relationships.  It can be somewhat vague and allows some people to pretend that the partnership is something other than the romantic and sexual relationship it is.

Today on Sexist Morning Radio: Dating Games and Double Standards

This morning on my five minute commute to work, I caught part of a segment on my local morning radio show.  They were talking about relationships, dating, and the games “women” play.  (Granted, they may have talked about games “men” play too and I just missed that part.)  The part of the segment that I caught involved them talking to a female caller who talked about how she broke up with this guy and when he started dating some “hot chick,” she turned around and started dating his cousin, apparently with the purpose of making said ex jealous. She also commented that the guy still wants her back, despite it being five years later.  One of the hosts (Duffy, I believe — it usually seems to be Duffy) called her actions evil and suggested she’s just keeping him around to make her feel better about herself.

Evil?  Really?  Now granted, I would not date someone in an attempt to make a third party — even an ex — jealous.  Nor would I necessarily brag about an ex who still has feelings for me. I’d either take that ex back or encourage them to move on with my life.  I’m not big on games.  I’m also not big on calling such actions, evil though.

I’m also not big on acting as if — as the host does — that these kinds of games is something that all women engage in.  I know several women who wouldn’t do such things.  They’re much more interested in finding men (or other women) they like who also like them and enjoy each others’ company.  When it comes to exes (or other guys there’s not a mutual connection with), they’re much more inclined to cut them loose than play such games.  Tarring all women as such game players is both inaccurate and sexist.

I’m also not big on acting as if only women engage in these sorts of games, either.  Truth be told, I know guys who engage in such games, and other games.  Some guys go by the attitude that they have to “treat a women like shit” in order gain and keep her interest.  Guys are just as capable of such nonsense, and some of them engage in it regularly.

But you know what?  We don’t treat men who play games the same way.  A morning radio host isn’t likely to call such a guy or his action evil.  That’s because we live in a society where we still view guys playing such games as “men being men.”  We ignore it.  We permit it.  Hell, we even celebrate it and make televisions shows glorifying it.

I’m not a fan of games.  I prefer to treat dating and relationships as something much more direct and honest[1].  But I also prefer to be honest and note that a lot of people do this and that it’s not limited to a particular gender or other class.  Nor do I want to support or even ignore a double standard where such games are condemned when played by one group but praised when played by another.

Note:
[1]  And there’s a whole separate rant I or someone else could go into about how society tends to frown on women who are so direct and honest when it comes to relationships and their expectations, which often serves to push them towards such games.

Entitled Assholes Online: Policing Emotions and Behavior

My previous installment of “Entitled Assholes Online” involved threats involved threats of physical violence.  While this installment will be devoid of such threats, I promise that it will not be any less manipulative, nor will it be lacking in its own awfulness.

By way of background, a few months ago, I posted the following ad online:

I’m a 38 year old computer professional looking to talk and connect with guys who are mature, funny, interesting, and personable. I tend to be the shy guy who is a total treasure and keeps a person in stitches once I get to know them enough to feel comfortable around them. I’d love to meet someone who enjoys movies, dining out, conversations that range anywhere from silly to deeply serious, and just having a good time. Someone who also believes in romance would be a good thing as well.

Drop me an email and lets see if we can relate.

I didn’t really expect it to get many, if any replies.  I posted it to a site that is notorious for hookup ads.  But I figured there was the lonely section that was clearly marked “romance, NO HOOKUPS” and there was nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

This is the first message I got from one guy:

I’m 225 6ft and 6in cock.
It is so hard to meet a nice guy to connect with. I’ve almost given up.  Looking for a good good friend.
Let’s talk.  Please send some kind of pic.

Attached to this message was FOUR PICTURES (or four copies of the same picture, I’m not sure which) of said cock.  And we’re not talking about this kind of cock, either:

rooster-j.jpg
I was flabbergasted and reviewed my ad, wondering what I said that would give any indication that this was the kind of reply I wanted.  After reassuring myself that I had made it pretty clear I was looking for romance and a chance to get to know a guy and just not what he was hiding in his pants, I sent a reply:

Wow.  Four pictures of your penis, but none of your face.  You told me how tall and how heavy you are, but not your name.  You say you’re looking to connect, yet you’ve told me nothing that might help us find a point of common interest.

I think it’s safe to say you responded to the wrong craigslist ad.  Your actions make it pretty evident to me that we’re looking for different things.

I figured that would be the end of it, but I got a reply from the guy:

Yea I know sorry.  It’s hard to figure this out.  I’m not really ok with sharing face pic right away.  It’s ok.  Never mind.  Just trying to connect with someone.  🙂

Okay, I could get that he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing a face picture right off the bat, though it did leave me wondering if he was another closet case.  I figured he responded, so I’d offer some admittedly unsolicited advice:

Bit of helpful advice then:  When answering an ad that talks about romance and never mentions sex, try starting with, “Hi, my name is ___.  My hobbies and interests include _____.”  Go from there.

If you’re just looking for sex – and that’s how your email came across – then don’t respond to ads that talk about romance and never mention sex.  Instead, respond to ads that have titles like “looking to get fucked tonight” or “nsa fun.”

I figured that would be enough to make it clear that he really should either revise his approach or stick to ads that were more geared toward casual sex and anonymous anyway.

He replied:

IC.  Ok thanks.  Good point.  Well that’s why I responded to the add.  I do want romance and not just sex.  I need a guy I can hang out with and play golf or basketball with.  But I do want sex…  I just now it’s not all about sex.  :). Well Im am also married and need discretion.  Anyway….

FYI,  you sound univiting and angry.  Did mean to set ya off.  Just sayin…

At this point, I was livid.  Note that it took him three emails before he admitted that not only is he closeted, but he’s married.  So he’s looking for someone to sneak around with behind his wife’s back.  I saw nothing in my ad (go read it again) that suggested I was interested in being some married man’s dirty little secret.  Quite frankly, I pretty much find “Gee, thanks for letting me fuck you, now I got to get back to my wife” the antithesis of romance.  Others are free to disagree, of course.

And that bit about “sounding uninviting and angry”?  Pure manipulative and entitled bullshit.  (And agin, I suspect this is something my female readers could write entire dissertations on and lecture me on for hours.)  Did he really expect me to be grateful for any attention from him or any other guy?  Was I supposed to simply bend over for whoever expressed interest?  It sure seemed that way.  I shot off my final message, deciding it was time to remind him that he’s not the only one that has expectations, wants, and needs:

Ah, so you’re looking for a friend wirh benefits that you can hang out with and have sex with before going back to your wife.

Did you see the part where I said I was looking for romance?  Have you considered what I want at all?  Have you considered how your current situation runs contrary to what I said I’m looking for right up front?  Because it sure doesn’t look like it from where I’m sitting.

If I seem angry, it’s because I am angry.  Frankly, I think it’s an understandable emotional response, given how you approached me compared to what I said I was looking for.  Wouldn’t you agree?

And if I seem uninviting, it’s because your every action so far has left me finding you an unlikely prospect in terms of what *I’m* looking for.

He got in the last word:

Right.  Friends with benefits.  But friends can be romantic too.  Anyway.  I see we are not a fit.  Thanks and good luck.  🙂

Now, I don’t know.  Maybe some people do act romantically toward friends.  That’s just not my experience.  And quite frankly, this guy hadn’t shown any indication that he was capable of romance or even understood romance as I understand it.  Like I said, I don’t find it romantic to get all sexed up and then abandoned for the wife.  (And that’s really not cool for the wife either.)

I’ll also note that he didn’t even acknowledge my question about whether he thought my anger was understandable.  Once again, he demonstrated that he didn’t want to even consider my point of view or my needs.  He simply wants someone to give him what he wants and feel satisfied with whatever — if anything — he feels like giving in return.

And I loved how he mentioned that he saw weren’t a good fit.  Gee, I’m pretty sure I said that five messages earlier in the exchange.

I seem angry?

Hi.  Thanks for telling me that I seem angry.  I’d like to take this moment to clear your misconception up.  You see, I don’t seem angry at all.  I actually am angry.

There are actually reasons that I’m angry.  I tend to get angry when I feel that someone, anyone, is actively hurting me, people I care about, or both.  I think that’s a perfectly valid emotion to experience under those circumstances.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Wait, no, you don’t agree.  That much is obvious from your behavior.  You see, you haven’t bothered to ask me why I’m angry.  You haven’t bothered to listen to me explain why I’m angry.  You’ve simply tried to shut me down by telling me that I “seem” angry — which I don’t, because I am angry.  You’ve effectively tried to emotionally manipulate me into feeling guilt over my anger, which makes it perfectly clear that you don’t think I have a right to be angry.  You think I should just bend over and take whatever someone — maybe even you — has done to wrong me.  And now, I’m not just angry, I’m fucking pissed.

I hope that clears things up for you.  But just so we’re clear, if it doesn’t, I’m too fucking pissed to fucking care.

My personal stance against misogyny in pro-gay speech

The other day, I was reading a blog post about one of Linda Harvey’s recent anti-gay screeds.  As I read through the comments, I found this doozy:

Man, she must be a dud in the sack.

Given the commenter’s name (Ted), I’m going to assume he’s a man.  Given the comment was left on a blog that focuses on LGBT issues, I’m going to assume that it’s highly likely that Ted is a gay man.  This leads me to several thoughts, in fairly random order:
What does her ability in bed have to do with her awful and erroneous statements about gay people?
Why does a (presumably) gay guy care how she is in bed?
Why is a (presumably) gay guy placing a woman’s value on how good she is in bed?

I do not care for Linda Harvey.  I have major issues — and I’d argue rightfully so — with the horrible things she has said about gay people and how she constantly fuels the anti-gay fires in our society.  I do not, however, feel that this gives me any right to speculate about her sex life, how satisfying she finds it, or how satisfying her partner or partners may find sex with her.  It’s none of my business, and it would be downright rude of me to speculate.

Furthermore, it would be downright misogynistic of me to suggest that her ability in bed in any way reflects on her value as a woman.  And that’s exactly what the above comment is intended to do, as far as I’m concerned.  It’s a sexist way of dismissing the (admittedly awful) things that she says on nothing more than a personal attack framed in “women are only good for one thing” mentality.[1]

This thing is, this is not a one-time thing.  Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of gay men make personal attacks against anti-gay women.  I’ve sen many call Maggie Gallagher ugly, fat, and similar things.  Again, Maggie Gallagher says plenty of ugly things about gay people, and I don’t like that.  But I do not take that as an invitation to fall into the sexist mentality that because she’s a woman, I can simply dismiss her because she doesn’t fit some standard of beauty.

Please, my fellow gay men.  These anti-gay women give us plenty of ammo with their words and deeds to discount, discredit, and shame them.  Please stick to that and don’t fall into the pettiness of name-calling and misogyny.

[1]  And again, I cannot stress enough that I find this particularly bizarre and disgusting coming from a (presumably) gay man, because on the whole, gay men aren’t interested in getting that “one thing” from women!  I have plenty of reasons to value the women in my life, and their sexual prowess does not make that list.  Ted’s comment makes me wonder if he has any female friends and if so, what exactly he values about them.

Revealing messages.

Honk if You're Single

Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I’m a couple of different online personals sites, including one dedicated to gay, bisexual, (and even closeted “straight”) men.  The sites are often fun and prove to provide me with a lot of interesting experiences, and a few good friendships.

Every now and then, though, I get a reply like the following one:

hiya – thanks for you message – I hate to write this – makes me sound shallow, but its important to be honest – I’m into thinner, twinky guys. Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch. Good luck!

Now, let me say up front that I totally get that guys are attracted to certain kinds of guys and might choose not to get involved with a guy because of a lack of attraction.  I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that (unless a narrow definition of what you consider physically attractive is the only factor in your decision-making process).  In fact, I’ve been known to turn down a few guys who expressed interest because I didn’t find them physically appealing as well.  (This is especially true if they come looking for sex rather than expressing an interest in friendship or relationship building.)

However, my advice is that if you’re going to turn a guy down because you don’t find him attractive, do not reply with a message like the one above.  To be perfectly blunt, such a message makes you look like a complete douchebag.  Allow me to explain my reasoning there by going through the email as a writer and a witch piece by piece, offering my own interpretation.

I hate to write this

This is a phrase that I find completely disingenuous.  I don’t know about you, but as a rule, I don’t do things that I hate doing.  To be blunt, if you start a message to me by saying “I hate to say this,” finishing that message makes you a liar in my book.  Harsh?  You bet.  But try and argue with my logic.

 makes me sound
shallow

So you’re worried about sounding shallow?  But are you worried about being shallow?  Let’s face it, if you feel like what you’re saying or doing might make you appear shallow, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re saying or doing and acting less shallow.  But no, your actions make it clear you’re only worried about how you’re being perceived, not whether you actually need to do some uncomfortable soul-searching and attitude changes.

Again, I don’t mind if you turn me down because you don’t find me attractive.  But don’t insult me by then worrying that I’ll think less of you because of it.  Quit thinking about yourself for five seconds.

but its important to be honest

I agree.  Too bad I haven’t found you to be very honest.  Sure, you’re being up front about not being into me and that’s quite cool of you.  But I find the whole “please understand that I’m still a nice guy so I’m going to say all kinds of things to make myself feel better about shooting you down” less than honest.  So you might want to work on being more fully honest in the future.  (I’d recommend starting by learning to be more honest with yourself.)

 – I’m into thinner, twinky
guys.

This is probably the most direct and honest part of the entire message.  If you said exactly this and left out the other “trying to be nice” bullshit, I’d probably respect you more.

Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch.

These kinds of statements always drive me nuts, because there’s an implied phrase missing from the statement that you hope I’ll forget about.  Let me rewrite the full sentence for you:

Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch, as long as you’re someone else’s catch.

Telling me I’m a great guy who would be a great catch while you’re turning me down is again disingenuous.  What you’re really trying to do here is make sure that I still feel good about myself and continue to think that you’re really a nice guy, rather than that shallow guy you’re worried about sounding like (but not worried about so much that you give me a shot).  Let’s face it, even when you’re throwing me a compliment, it’s really all about you in the back of your mind. 

But thanks for the compliment.  And I know I’m a quality catch.  But I’m certainly wondering about you.

Now don’t worry, if you’re actually dumb enough to send me a message like this, I will just reply with a “thanks” and move on.  So you can go on patting yourself on the back for being such a “nice guy.”  You’ll probably even never know that I’m actually shaking my head and smiling over what a douchebag you are.  Because quite frankly, after reading your message, you being “shallow” for turning me down is the least of my criticisms of you.

So yeah, we’re definitely not a good match.  I deserve better than you.  Thank you for making that so obvious so quickly.  🙂

“Dating” Disasters and Lessons Learned

anger. hostility towards the opposition

Image by assbach via Flickr

Since my nine month relationship with Michael (I apologize to those who never knew about this) fell apart, I’ve been surfing Chemistry.com and expressing interest in various members whose profiles the site brings to my attention.  I’m not sure that I really expect something to come of it, but I figure that I’ll never know unless I give it a shot.  And I’ve had one or two people express interest in return, so it’s not like I’m coming up completely empty.

One such person, a thirty year old man in Niagara Falls named Marty, expressed interest in return on Tuesday, March 2.  So the two of us each spent a bit of time that day running through the process that particular dating site requires to members to go through before having direct email communications.  So I sent Marty my relationship essentials, received his in return, compared them, submitted my list of short answer questions I’d like him to answer, and answered the list he sent me in return.  I then went around the rest of my day and took care of personal business.

That evening, I finished my tax returns, submitted them, and ran over to Chemistry.com.  I discovered that Marty had not only answered my questions, but had sent two emails to me.  I read through his answers and read the emails.  I was formulating my answers to the first one in my head while I opened the second one.  He included his phone number and indicated he was normally up late.  I glanced at the clock, noted that it was only 8:30pm (several hours before his stated bedtime), and grabbed the phone.  What the heck.

Marty proved to be a delightful, charming, and funny guy, and we seemed to hit it off real well.  In fact, he asked me multiple times when I’d be in Niagara Falls the next time.  After the third time, I simply pointed out that I don’t really have any other reason to come to Niagara Falls, but I could make a trip any time.  He suggested we meet halfway instead, and I suggested we meet in Buffalo.  Buffalo is actually closer to him by half an hour, but I’d prefer to drive the extra distance just to ensure there’s something to do!  So we set up an afternoon date for that Saturday.  We also set up plans to talk on the phone again Thursday night.

We ended up talking that Wednesday night as well, since my plans to go to game night didn’t work out so well and I decided it’d be more fun to go home and talk to the funny and charming guy from Niagara Falls.  So that week, we had three wonderful phone conversations, and we were both looking forward to our date that Saturday.

That’s when things started falling apart.  In hindsight, I can also say that it’s probably the point when I should have bailed out of the whole situation.  (We’ll get to the lessons learned portion in a bit.)  Saturday arrives and I drive to Buffalo.  I find Allen Street and Q Bar and I go in to have a drink while I wait for Marty to arrive.  He doesn’t.

I spent the next half hour or so waiting and making the occasional phone call or sending the occasional text message (all spaced at least ten minutes apart) to try and find out what happened.  Being the kind of person who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt, I expressed concern that something came up and repeatedly asked if he’s okay.

After going to eat at the Falafel Bar (fantastic food, by the way), I headed back to my car.  I tried calling Marty one last time, and he answered.  He sounded tired, confused and out of it.  He explained that he had gotten a nasty stomach bug (possibly food poisoning) and didn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning.  As a result, he slept through our date.  I said okay and we agreed to talk in a bit.  I drove home.

He contacted me both on Facebook (he may consider it an act of mercy on my part that I don’t publish a link to his profile) and via phone, apologizing profusely.  Again, being the kind of person who gives people the benefit of the doubt (though that may be changing soon), I let it slide and agreed to his suggestion that we try again.  After all, he’d been quite anxious days before.  (And besides, I have this bizarre history of first dates that fall through, only to meet on a second attempt.)  He suggested he might here to Rochester the following weekend, since I had driven to Buffalo this past attempt.  I indicated that would be fine, though I wouldn’t mind driving again.  He told me I was such an awesome person and wondered aloud where I had been all his life.

Sunday evening he calls me and we talk for five or ten minutes.  He told me about the day he spent with his neighbor, Wendy, who is going through some terrible stuff in her life.  Then he got a beep from Wendy and he asked if he can call me right back.  As someone who understands what it’s like when a friend is in crisis, I told him okay and let him go.  He never called me back that day.

That set the pattern for the next week.  He’d eventually call me in the evening.  After about five or ten minutes, he would tell me he needed to go for one reason or another and promise to call me back either “right away” or “in five or ten minutes.”  The second call would never come.  He also quit responding to texts during the day (something he had been quite good about and even initiated the previous week).  I became concerned and asked him about it.  On numerous occasions, I asked him if I needed to back off because I was bothering him.  Each time, he assured me I was okay.  I also made numerous inquiries about making plans to try meeting again, which he ignored.

On Friday, I decided to lay it on the line.  I left him a voice message informing him that I thought he was a great guy, but that I couldn’t keep putting myself out there if he wasn’t going to be responsive.  I told him that it seemed like his life was too chaotic to really pursue anything.  So I told him that I was still interested, but that the ball was in his court and I was going to go away until such time as he decided to lob it back in my direction.  I figured this would give him the perfect out.  If I never heard from him again, that would be that.

He didn’t take the out.  The next day, he called me, once again all apologetic.  He assured me that he was usually better and more responsible than this.  (I must say at this point that the preponderance of the evidence I am aware of is in direct contradiction to this claim.)  He promised to do a better job, and even did a better (if imperfect) job of keeping that promise that night.  He also told me more about the situation with his neighbor Wendy, and I expressed both understanding and a clear message that while I understand and sympathize with her situation, he needed to set boundaries with her and still manage to keep his commitments to me.  (I pointed out that this was not only about what’s fair to me, but what’s ultimately healthy for both him and Wendy as well.)  He agreed with all of this and went on talking via phone through Monday night.

Our last phone call ended much the same way as previous phone calls.  Wendy tried calling him, and he promised to call me right back.  He got a bit defense (but also sounded rather guilty) when I responded to his promise to call me right back with a skeptical sounding “okay.”  He never called back that night.  I sent him a couple texts later that night and even left a voice message expressing my hopes that everything was okay.

The next morning (that would be yesterday, for those trying to keep track), I got a text from Marty apologizing about not getting back to me and promising we’d talk later in the day.  I texted him back and told him I was looking forward to it.  I also suggested I could come up to meet him after work (I had made the same offer Monday).  That’s the last text I got from Marty.

I worked all day Tuesday and got out of work at 4:30.  I grabbed my stuff, went to my car, and started it.  I then called Marty and got his voicemail.  As I was leaving a message, I got a call waiting beep and checked the caller ID to see a Minnesota number.  I shrugged, finished my message and hung up, only to immediately get another call from the Minnesota number.  I answered and the conversation went something like this:

Gravely voice:  Is this Jarred?
Jarred:  Yes.
GV:  This is _____.  You know Marty?
J:  Yes?
GV:  I’m calling to tell you that he wants you to stop calling him.
J:  Why isn’t Marty telling me this himself?
GV:  Look, Marty’s going through a lot of stuff right now.  And I’m calling you on his behalf to tell you that you need to stop calling him.
J:  I understand what you’re saying, but you still haven’t answered my question as to why Marty isn’t telling me this himself.
GV:  Look, the fact that you would even ask that question means that you’re calling Marty’s motivations and his character into question.  You need to leave him alone.
J:  I see.  Well, you’ve given me something to think about.  Have a good day.

Call me crazy, but I’m not the kind of person who takes the word of a perfect stranger (presumably) calling from several states away about the desires of someone else.  This is especially true since Marty had already told me about at least two other guys who allegedly turned into creepy stalker types on him.  For all I knew, this guy was just a trouble maker.  So I called Marty and left a voicemail:

Hey Marty.  This is Jarred.  The weirdest thing just happened to me.  I got a call from someone from Saint Paul, Minnesota telling me that you don’t want to talk to me anymore.  I’d appreciate it if you’d call me and tell me what’s up with that.  Bye.

While I was leaving that message, I got a beep.  It was Marty’s number, but I didn’t get to it in time.  However, within seconds after hanging up from my message, I get another call from Marty’s number.  Imagine my surprise when I answer, only to be greeted by Gravelly Voice (again, a paraphrase):

GV:  Jarred, I just got done telling you not to call Marty again, and you turn right around and call him anyway.
J:  Well, yeah hon.  You see, when I get messages through someone using a Saint Paul, Minnesota number, I tend to verify them with the alleged source.
GV:  Well, you’ll note this call isn’t from Saint Paul Minnesota.
J:  Yeah, I saw.
GV:  Look, I tried to be nice last time…
J:  Oh?
GV:  You don’t know who you’re dealing with.  I used to live and Brooklyn and I’m not the kind of person you want to play games with…
J:  Excuse me?  You think I’m the one playing games right now?
GV:  Well, if you call him again after this conversation…

At that point, I begin to shout “shut up” to try to break through his obvious attempts to intimidate me and speak my peace.  When it quickly becomes apparent that he’s only interested in acting like a bully and a goon, I just hang up on the asshole.

So there you have it.  In two weeks, this guy went from telling me I was a great guy and practically begging to meet me ASAP to not wanting to talk to me at all.  After passing up multiple opportunities to call the whole thing quits that I explicitly offered to him, he calls on some Gravelly Voice to tell me to fuck off and threaten me if I don’t do exactly that.

Well, no worries there.  If someone doesn’t have the basic human dignity to deliver the “I don’t think this is going to work out” to me in person, then they are too much of a coward and an asshole for me to deal with.  Quite frankly, I haven’t even processed through the hurt of being told to go away because I’m still dealing with the rage and disbelief of the callous, thoughtless, and honor-less way in which that message was delivered.  In my mind, Marty is nothing more than a tease, a game-player, and a Grade A Jackass.  So yes, a message was received loud and clear.  I just doubt it was the message he intended to send.  But the end result is the same, so I guess it’s all good.

I think what gets me is that due to this game-playing and this duplicity, I find myself wondering how much of what he ever told me was true.  Were the guys who allegedly turned creepy stalkers really bad guys?  Or were they just decent guys who, like me, got played and then tossed away.  Or maybe they acted less than honorably simply because they finally reacted badly to the psychotic mind-fuck that is the experience of interacting with Marty.  Granted, that wouldn’t excuse inappropriate or creepy behavior, but it certainly would make me at least a little more sympathetic towards them.

In the end, I find myself wondering if Marty is just some weak-willed guy who can’t deal with his own issues without involving others or whether he’s a truly nasty game player that likes to fuck with other people’s heads.  I suppose I’ll never know.  In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter, either.  Either way, it’s best to take this out he’s now offered me and be thankful for it.

But as the title of this post says, I think I’ve learned a few lessons.  I think I give people the benefit of the doubt way too much and for way too long.  That needs to change.  I think new people in my life should only get one “mistake.”  After they make that mistake and make their apologies, they shouldn’t get a “third chance” until they prove themselves.  If they fuck up again, I think they need to be shown the door.  No excuses.  No apologies.  Once is a mistake.  Twice is a pattern.  The third time is a lifestyle, and I don’t even care to know about it.

I also think that if they start sounding like a liar or that they live in an alternate reality (and in hindsight, I admit I should have seen the signs of that with Marty), I’m going to assume it’s because they are a liar and/or live in an alternative reality.  And that means walking away fast, because I need people who live in plain old normal reality.

Hopefully, it’s a lesson well learned that will turn into a lesson well applied.  Actually, I take that back.  I hope I never have another reason to apply that lesson.  But if I do, I pray I’m ready.

The false dichotomy of gay life.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Rainbow fla...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Misty Irons reposted the “gay lifestyle” of the (In)Famous SMT.  After reading both her post and his original, I decided I wanted to make a similar post and offer some commentary on the underlying topic.

So an average weekday looks like this for me:

7:00am:  The first alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
7:30am:  The second alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
8:00am:  The third alarm goes off.  I hit the snooze button.  I keep hitting it each time it goes off.
8:30am:  The third alarm won’t let me hit the snooze button any more.  I turn it off and get up.
8:35am:  I wash up and get dressed.
8:45am:  I check email, visit my social networking sites, and read my favorite blogs.
9:20am:  I hop in the car and head to work, stopping at the 7-Eleven to grab something to eat and something for lunch.
10:00am:  I arrive at work.  I spend the next eight hours attending meetings, writing code, answering emails, and fielding the occasional technical question for the sales team.
6:30pm:  I leave work.  If it’s open, I run to Psychic’s Thyme and hang out with friends for a bit.
7:00pm:  Dinner time.
8:00pm:  If I’m curently dating someone, I ask my boyfriend if he’s free.  If so, we get together, watch a movie, talk, make love, and cuddle.  If I’m very lucky, we spend the night sleeping in each others arms.
8:00pm:  If I’m single or my boyfriend is busy, I check email, respond to any outstanding ones, read blogs, do some blogging of my own, and/or or work on my writing.

In my life, there’s no such thing as a typical weekend.  I may go see my parents for the weekend.  Or I might head up to Toronto for a dance class and a show with Marina for Saturday.  Or I might go back to Psychic’s Thyme to hang out with friends.  I may go to dinner with friends.  I may go dancing Saturday night.  If I’m dating someone, I may spend time with my boyfriend (going to a movie, staying home and cuddling, making love, talking, going to a party together, whatever).  Trying to fit that into a single “daily schedule” would be impossible.  There’s just too many possibilities.

What inspired me to write this, however, is that I’ve notice something about many “gay lifestyle” posts:  most of them say absolutely nothing about sex.  In many cases, that’s perfectly understandable.  There are a lot of gay people out there who are not sexually active for one reason or another.  They may simply be too busy right now for a sexual relationship.  Or they may be waiting for that one special someone they want to spend their lives with.  I totally get that and respect that.

What I don’t get or respect, however, is the underlying message (or so it seems to me) that the only way to prove that all gay men spend their weekends at the bathhouse or bring home a different guy every night is to show that we’re not having sex at all, or at least hiding the fact that we’re having it.  I’m sorry, but “total celibacy” and “having 100 sex partners every year” are not the only two possibilities.

In many ways, I’m reminded of the first American Pie movie.  I loved that movie because it was a great commentary on the pressure (heterosexual) guys feel about having sex in their teen years and how it can become an obsession.  The other thing I like about that movie is that the way the “quest to lose their virginity” ends differently for the various main characters.  Two of them end up having what basically amount to random hookups (though the one ends up falling in love with his partner and marrying her in future movies).  One ends up having sex with his long-term girlfriend (who breaks up with him in the next movie).  And the fourth ends up in a relationship and he and his new girlfriend decide to put off having sex for a while longer.  The movie ends up demonstrating a diversity of responses to human sexuality.

I think we need more of that in the gay community and how we present ourselves to the outside world.  We need to get rid of the “celibacy/promiscuity” dichotomy altogether.  There’s a far more complex range of choices when it comes to human sexuality and human sexual behavior, and I think we need to start demanding that our detractors acknowledge that in our own communities.

I won’t pretend I’m a sexual prude in order to get acceptance.  But that doesn’t mean I’m totally devoid of a sexual ethic or standards, either.