Saturday, October 8, 2011


Looking back at my earlier dating years, (gods, that was over 26 years ago!) I am terrified to re-enter the dating game for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons of all is sex. Now, don't misunderstand, I enjoy sex, but not until I feel some connection to the guy. And that usually doesn't happen for me on the first date. And maybe not for a while.... And sex is how many men audition their next husbands, if the sex is good, the relationship will be good. But, I don't, because as some point the bloom is off the rose, and what then?

And with sex comes the whole STD question....another discussion to have.

And, all the electronic media have changed the rules. I'm told over and over that a text is more intimate than an email or a phone call. It seems there is a hierarchy of intimacy in how your date contacts you. I would have thought a phone call would be the most intimate. But, no. The trouble I find with electronic non-verbal media is you can't discern the tone of the voice in the message, was he being serious or sarcastic?  Call me old-fashioned, I prefer voice to voice communication for important matters.

Back in those early days, I was looking for love in the bars and clubs. Where else was a newly-out young gay man of twenty-three to find love since he was new to the community? I wondered why I was striking out so much. Maybe I was trying too hard, or maybe it was partly due to the intimidation factor, but maybe there was something else, as I was not having much luck. I mean, I could get laid, but I couldn't get a second date. During a session with one of my therapists, we went over the qualities I wanted in a partner; honesty, integrity, a 'connection.' He came back with "You do realize you are shopping for Tiffany's at a K-mart?" So, I stopped looking for love in these places. But, I still went to have a good time. Occasionally.

Ok, yes, men of integrity do go to the clubs. I was in one two weeks ago. But it was wrong. It was too soon after hearing, was just too soon.  So, how do you meet a man of quality if the bars and clubs aren't the best way to go?

Ask friends to set you up? That was awkward 16 years ago. But, it worked for a while. (And I didn't ask. They insisted.) And, their idea of what you're looking for might not match your definition.

An online site? It works for many, but there's always the chance of someone not reading your profile correctly. I mean, on my profile I did put "No Hookups" but many took it as a challenge. I actually got this  message on an app for gay men I once belonged to: "Could you use an oral versatile, hairy, hot Mex bottom? I'm close by." WTF? Didn't he read my profile? And if you end up chatting with someone and decide to meet, I imagine the actual meeting can be awkward. Did he live up to his photo? Do I have a 'connection' with the living person?

Social groups? That's a possibility. But, it can also be difficult trying to discern the relationship-status of the man who catches your eye. Is he single/dating/coupled/partnered in an open relationship? Asking him directly gives you away, and what if you don't catch his eye? The next club meeting might be uncomfortable. I am reminded of a friend who was very interested in this guy from a club they belonged to. After some flirting and talking they went out and ended up back in the other guy's bedroom in his apartment. After a nice, sensual massage, and some other relief, my friend was startled by the sound of the apartment door opening and was shocked to find it was not a roommate but the lover who was returning. My friend never returned to the club again out of embarrassment.

Coming of age in the 70s and 80s I was bombarded with all these messages of self-esteem. One that stuck with me was "Happiness is like a butterfly. Chase it and it will elude you. Wait for it and it will come and rest on your shoulder." So, now I had come to the conclusion that the best relationships are the ones that come to you, building on a friendship first. But that also brings a problem. When and how do you let a friend know you have fallen for him? that the rules have now changed? And what if the feelings aren't reciprocated? Talk about uncomfortable, awkward, and a whole myriad of other feelings....This was my friend from the Bible Study. After having that conversation, I never returned, rationalizing I had gotten what I needed from the group and no longer felt the need to participate. The truth is I didn't want to run into him again. It was too painful. It was still awkward about six years later running into him at the memorial of a mutual friend.

But, I digress from my original point. The real reason I am afraid of entering the dating scene again is mixed signals. Trying to decipher what he really means from what he just said, and trying not to send mixed signals myself. As a teacher, communicating my lesson is my utmost priority. I have to make those 32 kids understand what I just taught them. Sometimes it takes 4-5 times and ways to get my message across. And after 29 years of teaching children of all ages, academic levels and language abilities, I can usually figure out what they are trying to ask. But I still can have trouble getting my point across to them. I delivered the same lesson to three classes this week, and two of them understood it in 15 minutes, the third group took the whole hour. And they were the mid-ability group. And they still didn't get it. I thought I had made myself as clear as could be. I guess I didn't. As a writer, I want my readers to follow my scene as I write it, be it a tender love scene to courtroom drama to this blog. My recent post, 'Intimidation' brought several comments, mostly private and off the mark. I thought I was clearly referring to an initial first impression of me based solely on my looks. I guess I wasn't as clear as I thought. As an Aquarian, our need to be understood is inherent within us; it physically pains us when we are misunderstood. So, I am plagued with a tri-fold need to be clear.

Recent experiences have taught me I need to be more explicit in the dating scene. And what does 'dating' mean anyway? I mean, many people can go out socially with more than one person at a time; to play the field, separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. Not me, I tend to focus on one guy at a time, giving him my undivided attention. Otherwise, it gets too confusing for me. And expensive. Dating also implies, to me anyway, you want to get to know the other guy maybe to see if a relationship is possible for the two of you, not necessarily focusing on being friends first. I don't necessarily go out looking for a relationship, I prefer to let one develop over time arising from a friendship first. I thought I had made that clear. I guess I hadn't.

And it physically pains me that I wasn't clear.

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