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.



Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

I did something today that I’ve always railed against. I feel like such a hypocrite for doing it. But something had to be done. I need a distraction — or distractions — and this was the best way of getting them.

I signed up for OKCupid.

In general, online dating depresses me. I’m still in my prime. I’m not hideous. I shouldn’t have to resort to a website to find a guy. But sadly, in the twenty-first century (and especially in New York City), online dating has become the norm.

I don’t like it!

Just last night I offended this guy at a party because I was deriding online dating, and now this afternoon, I’m a full-fledged member of the community. How desperate I’ve become.

It’s just OKCupid, though. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. It’s the least skeezy of the online dating platforms. I’m not jumping onto Grindr anytime soon. I’m looking for dates, not sex.

Even though I’m not necessarily ready to get back into a relationship, I need the bright outlook of meeting someone new and maybe, just maybe, finding that I actually like them. And perhaps I’m also hoping that these dates will erode my lingering feelings for you. Meeting new people could make me realize just how many eligible guys there are out there. But then it could also make me realize that most guys are garbage and I’ve really missed my chance by losing you…

I’m banking that the odds will be in my favor and there will be more than just one (i.e. you) worthwhile gay man in the City.

Joining OKCupid will also give me some much-needed dating practice.  (Can you tell that I had to make a list of pros and cons to convince myself to sign-up for this?) I haven’t been on a date in years! And I’ve never casually dated. With me it’s always:

1.) Meet a guy I like

2.) Have a serious boyfriend

I wonder what it’s like to date casually. To have two or three guys that you’re seeing at the same time. Lots of dinners and drinks, I imagine. And tons of stress trying to keep them all separate and unknown to each other. But all of my friends who date make it sound so fun. I really do want to give it a try. And what better opportunity than when I’m newly single?

Going on online dates also could help quench another certain craving that we gay men have. I don’t think that I’m going to meet Mr Right on OKCupid, but as someone who doesn’t like to have casual sex with strangers I’ve just met at a bar, I’m totally fine having casual sex with someone I’ve been on like two or three dates with. If I’ve been out with someone a couple of times, then they’ve passed the crazy test — and not the “I’m head over heels crazy about you” test, but the “I trust that  you’re not a klepto who’s going to sneak out in the middle of the night after stealing all of my shit” test. 

Filling out that profile took me most of the afternoon, though. God! Why do people need to know so much? It’s like applying to college, writing all those personal essays. Only it’s harder because you have to make yourself sound pithy and deep at the same time.

And then I had to find five or six acceptable pictures of myself, ones that say “I’m handsome and fun and approachable and smart and not a serial killer.” I don’t have many pictures that say all that. And I know, just as well as everyone else, that your picture is what’s going to sell you.

And then the survey questions!?!? Why do I need to answer hundreds of inane questions about myself and what I’d do in certain situations? I didn’t even know the answer to most of them and just started making things up. Is that really going to make for an accurate matching score? I’m convinced those compatibility percentages are bullshit anyways. Do people even take those into account when they click on a profile? What’s too little? Too much? Am I looking for 90% and up only? Or is it more of a 65%-85% range for the ideal date?

I guess I’ll find out. For better or for worse, OKCupid, here I come.

Friday, October 11th, 2013 (Part 2)

You didn’t ask me to do this, but on that birthday night I took it upon myself to make sure you got home in one piece. I wanted to tuck you in and make sure you slept on your side and not your back (we wouldn’t want you choking on any vomit), to make you a hearty breakfast the next morning to help with the monstrous and inevitable hangover that’d be assaulting your brain and every muscle. So I didn’t get too drunk on your birthday.

Don’t think that I didn’t have a good time, though. Because I did. It was a different kind of night for me, fun to go to new bars and to have a private table in the back. It felt a bit glamorous.

Do you remember what we did for your birthday? As a couple? I can’t really remember. I think I took you out to dinner, but I have no idea what restaurant. Your actual birthday was on a Thursday that year, so we went out after work. I do remember the gift I gave you, though, and how much I struggled with figuring out what you might like.

Your birthday was our first opportunity to give each other gifts. Sure we’d done the whole summer vacation tchotchkes thing where you brought me back this awesome wooden bookmark (I still use it in every one of the books I read) from the Outer Banks and I brought you back this cheesy shot glass and gimmicky Big Gay Dolphin Souvenir Shop t-shirt from Myrtle Beach. But those are fun gifts, unplanned things that are almost meant as throwaways. A birthday present is far more serious. It takes thought and planning. And it’s supposed to last. I knew I couldn’t make a rash decision.

To add to the pressure, we’d been dating for seven months at that point and whatever I got you would then define what you would get me two months later for my birthday and then again for Christmas. I’ve never been good at giving gifts, probably because I’m not that good at receiving them. I also had difficulty picking something out for you because I felt it would define the direction of our relationship.

We weren’t super serious yet; we’d only met seven months before. But we were more than something casual. At that point we’d already exchanged those three words – I love you. We’d also talked about the potential of moving in together, not anytime in the present, but down the road. We had already established the possibility of an infinite expiration date.

I felt weighed down by all of this pressure. Sure, you would have liked an iPad or a really nice bag. I could always have bought you a pair of Cole Haan boots or new designer sunglasses. I could have swung those on my budget. Nice labels, but nothing too expensive. But those things would just be stuff. I wanted to get you something nice, but more importantly, something meaningful. I wracked my brain for weeks, but couldn’t come up with anything.

Luckily, about a month before your birthday, I took a trip to Philadelphia for a mini-reunion with my college friends. All four of them had serious boyfriends at the time. I knew one of them would have a good idea for me. And they ever came through for me.

One of my friends had recently gotten personalized tumblers for her boyfriend. What a perfect gift for you! Imagine how excited I got at the prospect of you opening up my gift to see a pair of beautiful glasses with your monogram on them. You love going out and drinking. And there’s nothing you like more than a nice glass of champagne. I had my gift – a pair of monogrammed champagne glasses. It was fun, personal, lasting and unexpected. You’d hold onto them for years. And I could buy a bottle of good champagne to go with it and we could toast to your birthday on the spot. And then have really hot birthday sex made all the better by the awesomely thoughtful gift I’d just gotten you.

I know that it seems cheap to rely on someone else’s idea for your birthday gift, and I felt a little inauthentic in doing it. Something as important as the first birthday gift for your serious boyfriend should come from you. But my girlfriend’s idea was so good. And I had literally exhausted my brain thinking of what to get you. When I heard a great idea, I couldn’t help but take it and tailor it for you. You loved those monogrammed champagne glasses when you opened them. We had our first toast and it was wonderfully classy. At least, that’s how I felt.

We didn’t use them very often after that, though. It took me a while to remember I’d actually gotten them for you. I think you put them up in your cabinet and they got lost.

Come to think of it, that night on your birthday might be the only time we ever used them together. We should have pulled them out for our last Valentine’s Day. A missed opportunity, I guess. Maybe they weren’t as meaningful a gift as I thought.

Or maybe, and the thought makes me panic, you had an accident and one or both of them got broken. God knows you, me and your friends broke a few champagne glasses when game night got heated. Would you have told me, though, if they were broken? Shit. Now I really want to know what happened to them. If you get this far, can you call or text me the answer? Maybe take a quick picture with your phone so I can see that they do still exist. And if they do, I hope you still use them. A gift’s a gift, no matter where it came from. It still holds those feelings and sentiments I had for you back when I got them.

So that was your birthday last year. It was fun. I think I did a great job all around. I wonder what you’re doing this year…you always said you were going to do it big for 25. It’s a milestone birthday. I’m sad to miss it.