Monday, June 6, 2016

Moving forward

Letting go and moving on is hard.

Especially when the love is still there.

And especially when the connection is was extremely deep.

And even more so when he still haunts you, because you focus on why you should be together instead of why you aren't.

And when guys you meet just don't come up to the standard he has now set which, admittedly, will be nearly impossible to surpass.

Nor do they touch my soul the way he did.

Pathway, Franklin Canyon
I guess I just need to try harder to focus on the last thing he said to me, "I'm just not ready."

Which leaves me in limbo, because he may never be ready for a relationship with me. Or if he ever decides he is ready, will he have the courage to find me?

And will I then have the courage to trust him?

I could just allow life and time to take their course and see what happens.

And as long as I'm true to myself, I see no harm in that.

In fact, I see it as healthy.

But, I also struggle with the other question: if no one meets the very high standard he has now set, will I be settling for someone just to be with someone? Yes, I know each relationship is different, because each person is different, and each set of people interacts differently based on numerous factors; age, past histories, upbringing, self-image, ethnicity, national origin- and the list goes on.

But, as a human, it's only natural to question and wonder.

And if I move on, and if I meet someone, and if I start something, and then he comes back, what then?

I'll just have to cross that bridge...if I get to it.

Bridge, Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Online Adventures

Online chatting is becoming interesting.

I've noticed a pattern among those responding to my profile. They seem to fall into a few groups:
  1. Men who are horny and say so in the first few messages;
  2. Men, mostly from Asian countries, who are seeking a boyfriend/husband and say so in the first few messages;
  3. Men whose picture doesn't match their description in their profile who are seeking a long term relationship and say so either in their profile or their first few messages;
  4. Men who just want to chat and maybe see where things go.
The first group is self-explanatory.
  • Him: "Hi, horny?"
  • Me: "Nope"
And that's it. Though sometimes they come back and try again. And strike out again. And, once in a while, I see them on my "Recent Visitors" the men who keep circling in the bar, hoping for a different answer the third or fourth time they ask.

The second group seems to be comprised mostly of Asian men, primarily from the Philippines, India or SE Asia, who are seeking love/or a long term relationship and are quite direct in saying so:
  • Him: "Are you looking for love or an LTR (Long Term Relationship)?"
  • Me: "No"
  • Him: "Would you take me for a husband?"
  • Me: "If I'm not looking for an LTR, why would I want a husband?"
  • Him: "Okay, bye"
And some are quite determined.
  • Him: "But, I know I'm the right man for you!"
  • Me: "And how exactly do you know you're the right man for me?"
  • Him: "Because I can make you happy!"
  • Me, thinking: (and you know that because we've been chatting for all of three minutes, yeah, right.)
Two weeks later they message me, "I miss you," like the one night stand who won't go away.

Um, yeah, okay.

The third group is interesting. I'm really beginning to spot them right away. For example:
  • The physical description does not match with the picture; Eye color: Brown (yet, in the picture they're blue or some color other than brown.) Or, they say no facial hair while they sport a full beard in the picture; or they don't have tattoos while the arms in the picture are covered with them. (Not the sharpest pencils in the box.)
  • The ethnic description does not match with the picture; Yes, I know I am generalizing or stereotyping, but some times things just don't add up. The ethnicity says "Middle Eastern" and the picture is of a blond haired blue eyed man? Perhaps, but my guard will be up. 
  • The description of what they're looking for is too damn perfect. E.g., "I am an honest, caring and reliable man. I am also a good listener and I seek a loving man that shares these same qualities. I believe a relationship is built on the loving foundation of trust, appreciation and mutual respect." Or this, my personal favorite: "I want a man who can handle me like the tender fragile egg that I am. I love from the depths of my heart and soul." And you are 25? Yeah, right.
  • The photo is of a man in a military uniform. And for some reason, they are all mechanical engineers stationed in Afghanistan, ending their tour of duty in the next six months and are absolutely sure they are the right man for me, and why wouldn't I want a military man. And they tell me all this in about five to six messages.
  • Their English is not quite correct enough.
  • They usually only post one picture.
  • And after a few chats, it hits; they all need money.
These are the hustlers in the bar scene.


It's the fourth group that has been the most interesting. And sadly, the smallest. But, definitely the healthiest men in the bar.

Me, on an Alaskan adventure
I have met some genuinely nice men who simply want to chat. There has been no mention of sex. I have had some deep spiritual discussions with a Native American man, several compliments on my Spanish from a Peruvian, a Colombian, a Mexican and a very cute Chilean. A couple of men were interested in my writing or photography and inquired about my work, and a few retired teachers have asked how the profession has changed. One immense drawback, none of them are local. Well, one is; and he may turn into a writing buddy. 

Several friendly chats have started off nicely, yet have gone nowhere. They would start off in general conversation, but then we seem to miss each other. I guess the idea of chatting is to do it live, rather than leaving a message. Maybe live chatting is more important with gay men in case the messaging takes a, um, more, um, discreet turn. I don't know.

A couple of these men have led to the foundation of a nice friendship, however geographically challenging it might be. One even virtually held my hand while I was in Urgent Care for a recent appendicitis scare. (Turned out to be a torn, overworked muscle, but in the general area of my appendix. Better safe than sorry...and I'm grateful he was "there" when in reality he was about 250 miles away.)

Yet, whatever direction any of these conversations take, it will all be one new adventure.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Catfishing Questions

Catfishing, according to, is "The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time)." Possible motivations for catfishing are: revenge, loneliness, curiosity, boredom.

I've recently discussed the idea that people only say what we want others to hear. Following that idea, I'm also suggesting we hear only what we want to hear, but maybe up to a point. And both ideas together are ripe for catfishing or falling prey to one.

I've also discussed my recent online chatting adventures and that one man in particular seemed to have expressed more of an interest in me. And I in him. And now, based on the ideas above, some questions have come up to start me questioning his behavior.

But, first, what are the signs of a catfisher? According to, there are twelve signs:
  1. They appear too good to be true.
  2. They get too serious too soon, or they appear to care too much too fast.
  3. They have very broad interests that could apply to anyone.
  4. They don't know what Skype or FaceTime is, how to use either, or seem to avoid it.
  5. They travel excessively for business, especially to the Middle East or Africa, usually under the guise of being a contractor or an engineer.
  6. They ask for money too soon.
  7. They initiate contact via email or chat, as opposed to a social medium, to start a relationship or romance.
  8. They have bad grammar, as if English is their second language.
  9. They have pictures of friends on their profile that are not in their list of friends, or those who comment are not their friends or seem to not know them.
  10. They look like they could be a model or someone famous.
  11. They seem unattainable, far-fetched, or unwilling to meet in person.
  12. Something just doesn't add up.
Any one sign by itself does not necessarily constitute a catfisher, but the more there are, caution is advisable.

As a disclaimer, this guy and I have been chatting on and off for just about a month. So, some of what I may suspect is still very superficial at this time. But, I'm going through the points above. I'll skip number one as it seems more summative.

Point 2: He didn't seem to get too serious too soon, but did express his concern for me over a couple of rough days I had. We also spent several hours chatting the first couple of days, focusing on how much we enjoyed chatting. And after a few more chats, seemed to suggest we'd be a good match.

Point 3: It seems a bit early to know his interests. But what I do know seem broad; reading, gardening, painting art.

Point 4: Here he is guilty on not using Skype, but is curious about FaceTime. 

Point 5: I would hardly call one trip (that I know of) excessive. And it was to Toronto, Canada. (As far as I know). And he's not a contractor nor an engineer.

Point 6: He has not asked for a dime, so far.

Point 7: Well, we connected via a social medium many gay men use for romance, relationships or just hooking up, whether in person or sexting. 

Point 8: Nope, so far perfect grammar, except for typos which he corrects.

Point 9: Not applicable, as this site is not Facebook-like in that you can't post pictures of you with friends. And only on the website, not the app, can I stalk see who his friends are.

Point 10: Yes, he is very handsome, and sexy. Not sure I'd see him modeling.

Point 11: This is possible, as we chat daily for a few days, then a few without. Again, it's still a fairly short time that we have been conversing, and he owes me nothing at this time, nor do I owe him any explanation. But, still something to keep my eye on.

Point 12: As he's told me he was badly hurt by a romance before, he might be running scared, which could explain the on-again/off-again chatting. He's opening up slowly, as he told me he was, and then taking a breather. Or, it's his way of keeping me guessing. So, I can see both sides of the coin-not always an advantage. 

So, the points somewhat in his favor seem to be Nos: 5, 6, 8.

Points decidedly against: 4, 11.

The rest are a draw: 3, 7, 9, 10, 12. 

So, it's all inconclusive, and partly because it's still too early.

Which means the only path to find the truth is to continue to move forward. I'll stay the course and focus on his actual behavior-and push for a bit of video chatting. And soon.

I'll be comforted by the Buddhist saying, "Only three things can never remain hidden for long; the sun, the moon and the truth." 
And just maybe, he might be a needle in a haystack.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


I am not sure I heard what I think I just heard.

A colleague just wished her most profound hope for me.

She hopes I can get to a point where I entertain the thought of exploring a relationship with the possibility of getting married again.


What was that? Did I hear you right?

You hope I will get married again.

I see.

But a few years ago, you said with heartfelt conviction, as you pointed heavenward, you believed marriage was a God-given sacrament reserved for one man and one woman.

And now you are hoping I will entertain the thought of a relationship with the possibility of getting married again.

To another man.

I am floored.

Deeply touched, honored and moved; yet floored.

We had been discussing the end-of-schoolyear frustrations when we segued into our end-of-career aspirations. I explained that, due to my personal post-divorce financial collapse, my financial adviser suggested I not retire due to my soon-to-be-fixed income and projected inflation rates, unless I found another source of income. My colleague, who I should say is recently married, suggested (for about the umpteenth time)that I get a roommate, "you have such a big house, and don't you live near a college?"

The thought of someone I don't know in my house when I'm not there was enough to send shivers down my spine and I told her so. And I was visibly upset as well, as I literally shivered as I explained myself. Yes, literally.

Then she expressed her hope. And it took a minute or two to realize I heard her use the 'm' word, "married."

About four years ago, when the topic of same-sex marriage came up, she went ballistic and expressed her very religious convictions about marriage being reserved by God for one man/one woman. This astounded me as she had always been on my side once she'd heard of my divorce; "You're too good for him", "He doesn't deserve you", "You have a lot to offer the right guy".  Once, she even told me she dreamed I brought my very handsome, also-writer husband to a staff retreat. She would occasionally ask if I was seeing anyone and I would confide in her I had several issues to overcome before I felt comfortable entering the shark-infested gay dating pool. And yet, her recent use of the 'm' word, in regards to her hope for me, signaled a very big change from the last time we'd discussed the topic of same-sex marriage. I remember those earlier comments, and then her follow-up, "It's nothing personal." And my retort, "You just made it personal" as I stormed off to my classroom to prepare for the day ahead just as the office manager had entered the room due to our raised voices. 

And now she hopes I will entertain the thought of marrying again.

I'm deeply touched. 

I guess attitudes can change.

And sometimes we may never know why, or what caused them to change.

And I guess that's okay.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Some words recently came back to haunt me. 

Kind of.

I was sharing my recent heartbreak over the ending of my relationship with my young friend, when a friend offered this unsolicited piece of insight: "I think he's only saying what he wants you to hear."

And yet behind those words, I heard, "Don't you realize he's only playing you?"


And that was my initial reaction. After a few weeks, okay months, of reflection, I have come to believe that is what we all do in the majority of our conversations. We say only what we want/believe the others to hear.  I teach my students what they need to know for that lesson, only what I want them to hear. I share details with friends about my life, but only what I want them to hear; certain friends get certain details depending on our type of relationship and where it is at the moment.

Which takes me back to my friend; she, too, only told me what she wanted me to hear, as well. Or, perhaps I am projecting. But, what else could she be thinking? 

As I have begun to anticipate the possibility, no, the probability of re-entering the gay dating pool at some future point, these very words from my friend came back to reverberate throughout my mind. They became a giant caution sign. Almost a nuclear warning sign. Any guy is only going to tell me what he wants me to hear; all the good stuff. That makes sense, who would lead with his faults? Bad habits? Tell me what he doesn't like about me?

It's the other kinds of comments that make me freeze up and wonder: "You're very sexy", "I always play safe", "I think we'd be good together."  It could be he is being sincere. It could be otherwise, only to get what he wants. 

It will only take time.

And my gut instinct.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Latest Foray...

My latest little chatting adventure has left me a little, no, a lot disappointed.

After the African Gold Mine marriage scam, (see my prior post, Snake Oil? ) I decided to just see what happened, and kept chatting, though more guarded.

One Saturday morning, I awoke about my regular time, ~5:30 AM and for kicks decided to see who had visited my profile overnight. A few guys, but no one who really grabbed my interest. I returned a few innocuous messages, "Hi, handsome!", deleted a few others, "you horny?", when a new one came through. It merely said "Handsome" but there was no profile picture to accompany it. Oh, lord, I thought. I checked the profile page: he lived in Chicago, 5'9", 180 lbs. with brown hair and eyes, and a goatee. Sounded dreamy, but with no profile pic, I was skeptical, and the distance was undesirable. Then I got the notification he was sending me a pic. I prayed it wasn't a dick pic. I waited for the picture to load, anticipation building. Which head would I see, big or little? Finally it materialized in front of me. 

OMG. If I thought Scam Guy was hot, or at least the guy used in the fake profile pic was hot, this guy was even hotter. OMG. Where Scam Guy was very attractive in a clean, masculine preppy way, this new guy was hot in a rugged, masculine way. He was not naked in this typical bathroom mirror selfie, but in a tight yellow t-shirt, hugging a nicely toned chest and biceps, and blue jeans. The baseball cap on his head gave him maybe a bit of a country redneck look to him. But, still, OMG!

Not him, but close
A second pic notification soon followed and again I found myself hoping it was not the seemingly required pic of the little head. It was full frontal, but of his face. His neatly trimmed beard-not a goatee, soulful eyes, and a different baseball cap only stirred my attraction and a few other feelings as well. I mean, damn! He was hot!

And I told him so. 

We ended up chatting a total of over 6 hours that first day.

Three hours into this first chat that Saturday morning, he told me he had never chatted this long with any guy on the site before and he was enjoying himself. He did get a little flirty, commenting we were both sort of in bed together, how sexy that was and that he was in his briefs. But he needed to sign off the site and get his day going.

Me: Okay, I enjoyed our chat, let's have coffee in bed together sometime soon. 
Him: I'd love to.
Me: I'd love to keep chatting to get to know more about you.

Two hours later, he replied: I'd like that too. And besides, thinking of you makes me all warm and fuzzy.

I actually think I blushed.

And we chatted again for a couple more hours, until he said he had to go and take a nap. One hour later he was messaging me again. It seems his dog woke him up! (Good dog!) And I still made him feel all warm and fuzzy. We chatted two more hours until I had to get ready for my evening date with Adam Lambert.

And we ended up chatting for almost nine hours the next day. We set up his iPad so we could chat there instead of on his work phone (he's not out at work) and not through the original site gets bogged down with all the guys looking for hookups, virtual or otherwise. And maybe eventually, FaceTime. I asked him what he did for fun and he replied "reading, building stuff, and painting."

Me: Do you paint buildings or pictures?
Him: Art.
Me. Damn, you just got sexier.
Him: Can you receive a text? (this was pre-iPad)
Me: Yes

A few seconds later I received a text bubble saying "My Rooster." I sincerely hoped he wasn't being coy and meaning something else. Soon the picture came through and it turned out to be a painting of a rooster. A real painting of a real rooster, not his own personal "rooster." A barnyard rooster.

He told me how much he enjoyed our chats, both when we got a little flirty and when we didn't:
Him: Damn, you are so hot!
Me: Thank you, so are you.
Him: I bet you're fun to cuddle with.
Me: Too bad we can't find out in real life.
Him: I know. Big spoon or little spoon?
Me: Either, depends on my mood.
Him: love that
Me: I'd also love to sit and just talk over coffee.
Him: Oh, I'd love that too. I just love chatting with you.
Me: I'm enjoying getting to know you.
Him: I'm yours in so many ways. (A phrase he'd repeat at least twice more) Are you seeing anyone?
Me: No one. Are you?
Him: No. No steady. Could I see a picture of your house? 

I thought it was an odd, yet very different than what many men ask to see. And I obliged, as did he. 

He later shared he was packing for a business trip and leaving the following day, Monday, followed by a pleasure trip. He made it clear he would be alone while on business but with a friend on the pleasure portion that weekend.

Me: Safe travels.
Him: Thanks. We'll chat next week after work.
Me: Sounds good. (I interpreted 'next week' to mean after this week when he was back in Chicago.

I was wrong. He messaged me Monday evening when he was in his hotel room.
Him: Hi, sexy.
Me: Hi, stud.
Him: Sweet talker. I wish you were here with me.
Me: I do, too.

And then Tuesday morning: Hi, sexy.
Me: Good morning, handsome.
Him: How long before you leave for work?
Me: A couple of hours, but I still have to jump in the shower and get dressed.
Him: Hot visual
Me: Oh?
Him: You all wet and soapy...(I have to admit, I'm not used to hearing this kind of talk from a man I think is extremely handsome and very sexy. But, I was indeed enjoying it...)
Me: And I'm picturing you that way too...
Him: Mmmmm

And he messaged me later in the afternoon, but sadly I had an engagement so we chatted again Wednesday morning. And later that evening...

I knew he was going on a pleasure trip with a friend following this business trip, so I didn't expect to hear from him. And only five days into whatever this was going to be, he didn't owe me any explanation.

I gave him what seemed like a reasonable time, two days, to get back home and into his routine when I messaged him:
Me: How was your trip?
Him: Hi, sexy. Great. Back home. How was your week?
Me: A bit exhausting, all my students wore me out.
Him: Oh, you could use a back rub!
Me: Mmm, yes. Or just a cuddle...
Him: Yes
Me: Feels good to be in your arms...
Him: The best
Me: Mmmmm

And there it ended...he never replied. 

And I'll never know why, or what happened...
Though I have my suspicions...

Oh, well, moving along...

But, damn, he was hot!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Snake Oil?

Why is it we are such skeptics? Is it that we, as a people, have become so used to being taken, swindled, deceived, tricked, and lied to, that we believe when something too good to be true comes along, we believe that it is? Too good to possibly be true?

I recently did something I SWORE I'd NEVER do again.

I put up a profile on an on-line gay chat site. Not one specifically meant to be a hookup site, but more of a chat site. With the abrupt end of my prior relationship, I felt the deep loss of chatting with the other man who I'd been conversing with for four years, and wanted the social interaction, even if it was only virtual. And just maybe, I'd meet a nice local guy to hang out with. I knew the possibility, okay-probability, of being hit on was a foregone conclusion. After all, I was recently hit on on Goodreads, a Facebook-like site for book lovers and authors. I'd simply use the 'block' function as necessary on the chat site.

To check out Goodreads, click here.

In a matter of a couple hours, I had some hits. Several in fact. Yet, not one over 30. Not one from Southern California; but South America, Asia, the Eastern US. Some were cute, some were less so. Some were nice and wanted to chat, some wanted to jump right to it; "Hi, you horny?"

And my personal favorite: "Hey, you a dom? I'd beg to service you behind my boyfriend's back."

A few men my age also visited my profile, some said hi, some floated by-I felt like I was in a bar, but without leaving home.

The next day, one particular message caught my eye. A strikingly handsome man (I mean actor/model good looking) messaged me asking me how I was doing and how was the weather by me. I replied and we continued chatting, and he shortly suggested we move to Skype. We have been chatting nightly since then.

During our very first chatting session, he put all his cards on the table stating what he was looking for and what he brought to a relationship. His words sounded so familiar, it was as if I could have written them myself; he wanted honesty, truthfulness, open communication, monogamy, acceptance of both what he is and what he is not, a partner willing to work on the relationship when it gets a little stale, someone who would nurture him to be himself and a partner willing to be nurtured to be his best both within and without the relationship, a partner willing to support him to achieve his goals and dreams as he supported his partner to to do the same.

All this, and a willingness to take it slow and not rush anything.

I mean, what more could I want? I began lowering my defenses.

Yes, I did find his abruptness a bit intimidating, while refreshing at the same time. I looked at it a couple of ways: He wasn't into game playing-if I wasn't looking for a relationship, let's cut the losses now and not waste time, energy or our emotions, and he had been hurt and wanted to avoid it again.

Did I say he was handsome? And from what I could see in the pictures, (all very G rated) he had a nice, hunky muscular body.

Because of my skepticism and recent heartbreak, I started looking for cracks, finding flaws and faults. One little one stood out; his profile picture showed a neatly trimmed beard, while the profile description said "No Facial Hair." Okay, maybe he shaved and hasn't changed the picture or vice versa-he grew his beard and hasn't changed the description. No big deal. I'm hoping for the latter.

In chat session two, he began expressing some vulnerability, exhibiting some pain. Vulnerability can be very sexy. He described his issues around body shaming, how people had made fun of and make jokes about his body. I had a difficult time comprehending how people would make fun of his body if he was a muscular as the pic showed. (I should say only his head and shoulders were visible.) At times, I did feel he was expressing too much too soon, and felt a bit scared, but found his openness refreshing. And I was responding with similar answers. He was asking mostly deep questions-what past mistake(s) would I change and why, and a few superficial ones-my favorite color, my favorite flower; we talked life, we talked our approaches to relationships. We talked how we'd been hurt, and how we'd let ourselves be hurt. And, maybe he just wanted to avoid any game playing up front. Defenses falling a bit more. Heart opening up, but just a tad.

I'd noticed some other small things. When we were chatting, there were some grammatical errors, mostly minor, and as a teacher/writer they glare out at me. People don't text/chat as we speak, so I was willing to overlook them. After all, texting on a phone with it's small keyboard can be a challenge at times.

My self-esteem started to rise along with my general mood. Here was an extremely attractive, kind, decent, hardworking man (he owned his own business) who shared very similar, if not nearly identical philosophies of life, love, and relationships with me, and we were chatting, now nightly. He was looking to love someone and be loved, ready for a relationship, to give his all. It was nervously exciting, yet eerie to be in this position barely a few days after posting my profile! My heart is now more than just a tad open.

It all felt too good to be true. Something seemingly so perfect, right after such a devastating heartbreak. Was the Universe bringing me some happiness at last? Someone who was ready to love me as I deserve to be loved? My defenses were falling with each and every chat, while my attachment was growing.

Yet, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. There has to be something amiss, here. But maybe not? There must be someone else out there like me. Surely?

We chatted a few more days, developing a bond, a desire to meet, to visit each other. I began wondering which of us would end up having to relocate; he had a successful business in the Midwest, and I have a house in Southern California. Yes, I knew it was early to be thinking this, but I'd prefer to cut my losses early rather than late. Especially, if I felt a very deep possibility of something good here. A very attractive sexy man, espousing the same values I have, wanting to move slowly as he gets over his pain and acknowledging mine really paints a good picture of the possibility of something good. I couldn't help but start falling for these beautiful words, from such a gorgeous man.

In one chat session on a Wednesday night, about two weeks later, he dropped the bomb; he could wait no longer to meet me, he was flying out. That weekend. Panic set in. Fear followed right behind, with a dab of excitement entering as well. My mind was in a twirl. I'd heard of people connecting very quickly and wanting to pursue it and could I be honest with myself regarding him-or was I merely a sucker for a handsome face attached to a gorgeous body who saw life, love and relationships as I did, especially when the last man I loved was too insecure to FaceTime with me?

What more could I ask for? Defenses down even more, while remaining guarded, yet becoming quite hopeful.

He wanted to ask one question before he'd make the plans to come see me. It concerned his late father.

Uh oh. Not sure what this has to do with anything...defenses steady, yellow alert.

He wanted to know if the barrister covering his late father's estate could contact me.

Bells are going off. Red flags beginning to rise.

He needed someone to say he was married to him in order to receive title to the gold his father had lest in West Africa.

I was crushed. It had all been a lie. A fake profile.

With marriage equality, it seems the infamous Nigerian email scam has now emerged on the gay dating/chatting scene.

Defense shields back on full alert.

And yet, there is a lesson here. Somewhere.

I could simply retreat fully from chatting online. Again.

Or, I could go on. Ever more cautious this time, especially if it sounds too good to be true.

Which it probably will be.