Sunday, November 24th, 2013 (Part 2)

I’ve always been good at first dates, though. Our first date certainly turned out well. I have the habit of extending them beyond their expected life. Our getting coffee turned into getting dinner as well, a previous first date (in my sluttier days) moved from dinner right into a night cap at the guy’s apartment. After a first date guys always want to continue dating me. I really don’t know what it’s like to fail at a first date, and I guess that’s why I like going on them. I don’t know what it is about me that makes guys want to date me. I just go with it.

Some of my girlfriends hate going on dates, especially first ones. I don’t really understand it. Even if a date doesn’t go well, it’s still fun to get out and do something, meet someone new and put yourself out there. It’s all good practice. And you should always have an exit plan for truly horrendous dates.

Something I like to do on first dates is ask “What’s a good story that defines you?” I know it sounds super cheesy, like something a college admission’s councilor would ask, but when you’re talking to someone for the first time, it gets awkward and feels like an interview. Why not try to make it a little more interesting? I feel like everyone has that one story they like to tell at parties, or that one story their friends tell when introducing them. Usually it’s something funny that hits at the core of a person’s personality. You’re actually the reason I have my story.

We were over at my friend’s apartment drinking before going out for someone’s birthday. And one of my girl friends gets there, and she’s wearing this truly unfortunate outfit. (It happens to all of us from time to time.) She was wearing this like white t-shirt that was made of jersey or some similarly cheap-looking material. And it had silver rhinestones all over the front. Nothing terrible, but nothing good for going out either. When she asked me what I thought of her outfit, I, being my bitchy self, told her that it wasn’t really a going out kind of shirt and that it was something that I’d “clean my apartment in.” (Luckily my friend has thick skin and I think takes some sort of pleasure out of my harsh critiques because she continues to ask my opinion.)

Now you and I know that the whole “cleaning my apartment” line was something you said. And I have tried to give you credit when my friends re-tell that story (which happens more often than you’d think). But they don’t believe me. And now that we’re not together, I’m going to take full responsibility. It is something I would have said. I’m sorry I’ve stolen it, but really, my friends stole it for me and it makes a great and funny vignette about who I am, my bitchy judgy-ness and all. Maybe not the best first date story, but I’m sure it’ll play well with the gays.

Have you been on any dates yet? In my previous relationships my ex-boyfriends have always moved on more quickly than me. It drove me crazy, my overly competitive side rearing its ugly head. I think the feeling was amplified back then, though, because at my college there was such a microcosm of gays. It was all so incestuous and once someone had hooked up with one of my exes that pretty much crossed them off my potential rebound list.

If you are dating already, I wouldn’t hold a grudge. I don’t necessarily want to hear about all the details, but I’d be happy to know that you were happy. Or I at least wouldn’t feel gut-wrenchingly jealous if you’d moved on first. The one good thing about our break-up is that you ended things because you didn’t want to be in a long-term relationship. As long as you weren’t lying to me, that means that I don’t really have to worry about you showing up with a new, serious boyfriend anytime soon. Because that is something I don’t think I could take. Not yet, at least. It’s only been three and a half months. It’d make me feel awfully replaceable to see you’d moved on so soon.


Sunday, November 24th, 2013 (Part 1)

I have my first date this week. My first two dates, actually. Drinks tomorrow night and then on Tuesday, dinner with a second guy. Don’t worry, there aren’t any fun and amazing stories behind meeting these two guys. Not yet, at least. They’re OkCupid dates – the only place where I can seem to find guys who might be interested in me. And even then it’s a slog to find them.

I have a theory about OkCupid guys (and I think it applies to guys in general). Take attractiveness and put it on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most attractive model types and one those sad ogres who shouldn’t be let out in broad daylight. (Thankfully, there aren’t many of those ones, especially not in the gay world. We at least have the wherewithal to pull ourselves up to a two or three…with the right products and styling.) Now you and I fall solidly in the six to eight range, allowing for fluctuations based on good or bad hair days, acne breakouts, the number of gym days in the previous week. In general, we are attracted to other six to eights. Nines and tens are probably too pretty for us. They know they’re incredibly good looking and usually act like douches. And they don’t go after other guys; enough guys flock to them that they have the pick of the litter. So those guys are disqualified. Then there are the five and belows. They’re five and below for a reason. They’re in the bottom fifty percent, and we both can do better than average, or below average. Which leaves us with the six to eights, those desirable guys which I’d estimate make up a good thirty-five percent of the gay population.

The problem, and here’s where my theory comes in, is that these six to eights who we want to talk to, they’re usually pussies when it comes to dating. They don’t reach out to you ever – at a bar, online, not anywhere. And it’s so frustrating. In my first month or so on OkCupid, I’ve had plenty of guys message me, but not a single one that I’ve found attractive. Zero. How depressing is that? All five and belows. Which begins to get insulting because after a bit it makes me start to think that maybe I’m a five and below. Maybe I’m below average on the attractiveness scale and everything I’ve ever been told is a lie.

But then I hear back from someone that I’ve messaged, a six to eight, and my theory is reinforced. I am in their range! But they’re shy so I have to do all the initial work.

Bullshit is what I think of that. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a date or one-night stand or whatever where I wasn’t the initiator. One of these days I’d like to be the lazy one and have everyone come to me. (And by everyone, I mean guys I’d actually want to date. I’ve had my share of unattractive guys come up and talk to me at bars, as I’m sure you have, too. Just as important as initiating, you’ve got to be able to ruthlessly pull that plug.)

So I have my first two post-you dates coming up. Michael and Karl – both guys that I reached out to first on OkCupid. They’re very different from each other and different from you. I don’t know if you knew this, but you were not my usual type. Which I think is a good testament to how much I liked you. I’ve always gone for dark-featured men, usually skinnier than me and shorter. You were my height, blonde, pale and muscular. You were the first blonde I ever dated. (As long as you don’t count my high school girlfriend who I “dated” the summer after my junior year. She had long blonde hair. And we never even kissed. Someone was gay and didn’t know it yet.) Blonde and pale and muscular worked on you, though. It worked on me, at least.

Now that I’m trying to date again, I’m looking to expand my scope. Michael (I know, this’ll make five Michael’s, but I didn’t even know that until after we’d been talking for a while), my Monday date, is my age, tall, skinny, peroxided hair, a waiter. I know it might not seem like a good combination, but it works on him. He’s cute. And I’m not looking for my soul mate right now. I’m letting myself explore. I’m trying not to disqualify guys based on silly things like their jobs, or lack of holding a stable one.

Then I’m having dinner with Karl on Tuesday night. Karl is like 5’10”, the oldest guy I’ve been on a date with at twenty-nine, dark hair with an attractive amount of stubble. Good cheek bones. My type to a tee, minus the twenty-nine bit. I almost never date guys older than me. He works in the theater in casting and seems like an interesting enough guy. Of the two, he seems like the most promising. This weekend my friends told me that it’s a good thing to have Michael first. Good to get a bit of practice in before going out with the more promising guy.


Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

One good thing that’s come from you breaking up with me is that I’ve stopped thinking so much about death.

I don’t believe in a higher being. It seems illogical that such a God exists. And as hard as I’ve tried, belief isn’t something I can manufacture. So the idea that we only have this one corporal life freaks me out. I get claustrophobic seeing the scope of my life narrowing each day. And I get minor panic attacks and have trouble sleeping. Usually three or four nights a week.

For some reason, I’ve always believed that my life is going to end tragically and at a super young age. Call it a macabre paranoia.

When I was in high school, I was convinced that I was going to get testicular cancer and die before I was twenty. I used to feel my balls in the morning to make sure I didn’t have any lumps. At sixteen that’s psycho to do, I know. But I’m the worst kind of hypochondriac. I worry that I have everything but never go to the doctor to get anything checked. So I had to administer the check-ups myself. The whole turning your head and coughing that they make you do when you get your physical. (Though I’m not even sure what they’re testing for when you do that. Probably not testicular cancer. Those were the days before Web MD, so I just did what I saw and didn’t ask questions.)

Then when I came out, testicular cancer was the least of my worries. Now I had HIV on the brain. And boy did I freak out about getting that. I was convinced that because I slept with men, I was going to contract it. Never mind that I always used protection. (Okay, all but once with the first guy I ever had sex with. I know, it’s bad. But I trusted him and I didn’t end up getting anything. Let’s just say I paid for it with a couple months of panic attacks that only ended when I finally got up the courage to get tested at a free clinic. I didn’t have anything, thank God. And I haven’t had risky sex since. Lesson learned.) But that didn’t stop me from freaking out.

What if I have an aneurysm? (Those are sneaky killers.) What if I’m on a runaway subway train that crashes, killing everyone on board? (I can’t very well avoid those in the City.) What if I get hit by a car or a bus or a bike? (Crossing the street is always a trial.) What if, God forbid, I get caught up in a terrorist attack? (Remember when we went to watch the fireworks on the Fourth? Just a few months after the Boston Marathon bombings? I couldn’t stand still I was so nervous. Big crowd, celebrating our nation’s birthday in the biggest city in the country…You tried to calm me down, and I pretended to be cool as best I could. But hearing those firework bangs echoing off the buildings behind us for twenty minutes, I kept thinking there was a bomb going off.)

I know that I’m crazy. And that I can’t predict the future. That I can’t live under a rock my whole life, either. But that’s so hard for me to do. I can’t compartmentalize my fear of death. My fear of absolute nothingness. (How boring would that be?) But you always helped me forget it.

You were the only thing that kept me from worrying about my death. Whenever I’d sleep alone in my bed, it took me a whole hour to escape my dreary thoughts, my anxieties about becoming nothing. I’d wake up panicked in the middle of the night or I’d listen to my pulse beating wildly in my ears, wondering if after I went to sleep I’d wake up the next morning.

This all went away when I slept at your place. The weekends and the one or two nights a week I spent with you were grace periods. I guess having you there comforted me. Made me feel unalone. Or maybe with you I felt like my life had a purpose, a driving direction. We’d eventually get married and have a family. A meaningful life, unwasted.

I guess that’s really my fear about death – that I could pass on without making an impact.

When I was with you, I at least knew that you loved me. That I’d made a lasting impression in someone’s life.

Funny that your presence warded off my fears before and now it’s your absence that’s gotten me to stop thinking about my mortality. I guess this break-up has given me more relevant things to worry about. I just hope my old fears don’t creep back in when I get over you. Who’s going to be there to cuddle with me and help me feel safe then?