Monday, April 26, 2010

Online Dating

It can be a real challenge: finding people to date. If you ask me, it's even harder for gay people because there are so far fewer of us. And trying to find an intellectual equal, an okay-looking gay male who's also into me - well, it hasn't happened yet. Okay, that's not exactly true. I've dated okay-looking guys, attractive guys who have been generally smarter than average, but ...I still kinda felt like I had to go out of my way to communicate with them...frequently. It's really exhausting, filtering my words for the benefit of others, and I probably do it much more than I should, but none of those guys would've tolerated me if I hadn't. I'd still be a virgin. There was always a point in the relationship when I felt that I could stop treading so carefully, ease up on the filtering, but as soon as that happened, every thing would implode, usually quite rapidly. I've had 3 more-than-dating guys, but only one of them could be characterized as a relationship relationship. All very different guys: none of them, or any of the other guys with whom I've gone on dates, would ever get along willingly.

A few weeks ago, I went on a date with a really nice guy. I was actually nervous, like 'going to play a concerto in front of 5,000 people' nervous. The date went well, even though my nervous flirting was probably a little over-the-top. We went to an okay Italian place, and then saw a movie at an independent theater. He and I had tons in common, so much so that after a while, I had to force myself to stop adding "me too!" kinda comments. A week later, however, he texted me saying that he was trying to focus on creating a relationship with someone he already knew. I wasn't offended - I could relate to that. Before I had gone out with Travis, I hadn't been on a date in a full year. I went almost my entire 20th year of life without seeing one person. I should probably note that I met Travis on a gay dating site. I was reluctant, as many people are, to try such a site. My first question is, what does it say about these people if they have to resort to a dating site? I assume many of them feel desperate just like me. And again, there are fewer of us, so it's a matter of practicality. I could settle for someone in town, but why settle if all I have to is sign up for an account with one of these sites? I've always had this intuition (or delusion) that I'm never going to find any soulmates close to home. Dating sites aren't too horrible after all. But I've noticed that the better you look shirtless on a particular site, the more friends you have. So yeah.

This last weekend, one of my cousins, who's in her forties, recommended a site that she uses, and I like it. It's also free, and it's really easy to use. I become so critical when I'm looking through guys' profiles though. The following things are deal breakers (à la 30 Rock):
  • smoker
  • anything in the job category other than "student"
  • doesn't want to have kids
  • more than one spelling mistake
  • overuse of quotations
  • anyone who talks too much about their art projects
  • their main activity is singing in a choir
  • their favorite music is "LADY GAGA!!!!!!!!!!!" (I like her, but not that much)
  • they "don't like drama"
  • they don't like "fems"
  • their favorite music is Lil Wayne
  • they haven't yet grasped the differences between their, there, and they're.
  • they're an aspiring tattoo artist 
  • they only listen to local bands
  • they're a manager...anywhere
  • they don't like to travel
  • they date men and women (just pick one)
  • they like to hunt or fish
  • they're married
  • they like to "watch the game"
  • they drink more than socially
  • they are "just looking for friends" (what are you doing on a dating site?)
Also a deal breaker if any of their pictures feature the following:
  •  thumb rings
  •  2 piercings (You get one. Choose wisely.)
  • Hollister
  • unflattering hair color
  • bathroom mirrors

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Break

So, I talked to one of the guys on 9th Street asking people to write letters to Claire McCaskill expressing support for green energy technology...I sat down to write a letter and was genuinely amused by the responses of other passers-by when they were asked... I at least try to form a somewhat polite response when declining to sign a petition. I at least try to throw out a calm "No thank you" and a smile. But these people could only muster rude no's and disapproving, hardly meaningful grunts. It was a wide variety too: men, women, young, old, stylish, shabby. I can see why someone might not have enough time, although it is a worthwhile cause, but at least attempt some civility. He wasn't odd looking or anything, the guy I talked to, though he did have a hippie-esque quality to him, with his tan and unkempt hair though that was probably from just being outside all day. He asked if I was writing in calligraphy. "No, just my normal handwriting." He talked to me all during the 4 minutes it took me to write a little letter to the senator. I crossed my legs and set the tablet on my right knee - the toe of my right foot touching his leg now didn't seem to bother him. I didn't want him to think this was a flirting tactic, almost sure he was straight, so I shifted a couple more inches away. He must have been thankful, with all that enthusiasm in his voice. I wanted to ask him more about his personal motivations for standing outside in the sun so that he could be rebuffed by people who think they can't afford to lose 4 minutes of their time. But I left, only returning his polite "have a good day" wishes.

This is the best Spring Break I've had in years. I went back to St. Louis for the weekend and ended up spending all of Monday with some of my cousins just driving around the city. It was so much fun. We went to the Zoo for a bit, had a delicious pizza (called Cherokee Street) at Pi on Delmar, and did a ton of exploring (being lost with me driving). Lyndsey and Sarah said it was the most fun they'd had all year. I have to say, I don't think I've laughed that much in a long time, a LONG time. They live on Olive Street now, so there's no reason I shouldn't see them more often. I just have that fear that if I see them too much, it won't feel as special.
We originally met up with them on Sunday at Chesterfield Mall. Mom and Dad had took me there to see what H&M had to offer. After the stores closed, all of us went to the Cheesecake Factory for appetizers and cheesecake(!). We had the bitchiest waitress, but we had so much fun laughing about her that I'm glad she took my plate from under me when I was still eating. Jordan, their brother, was much quieter than he was the last time I saw him a few years ago. Lyndsey and Jordan stopped going to high school when they moved to St. Louis. It seems they spend a lot of their time reading library books, which it alright by me. Sarah works as a nurse with kids in the city. Jayne, their mother, works as an RN at a veterans hospital. They have a nice town home (1400 a month), and they seem really happy.
Now back in Columbia, the weather is beautiful (85 degrees on April 1?), and sometime it feels like I have the city to myself. I've been walking all over. It's so much fun. I feel like I'm really on vacation.