Crossing Paths

I saw Phillip walking towards me from across the courtyard. He wore a grey shirt with matching slacks that made me envious. The clean-cut style never suited my scrappy nature. Frayed jean shorts and midriff shirts mesh well with the hipster places I like to visit off campus.

“I like your outfit,” I said to him. He thanked me before inquiring about my day. I told him about the hours spent prepping for a presentation. He told me about a job interview that would take place the following day. We continued this banter until the subject of love popped up.

“I met someone,” He said. cc9e8c9cc85ef28eb6d06bd717a43e2as

“On Grindr,” I said and nodded.

“No, in real life. Not everyone meets on Grindr,” He said and laughed. I felt a hard lump in my throat. Of course people met in real life because only shut-ins, like myself, rely on technology for romance. This might sound sarcastic but I assure you that my love life depended on both OkCupid and Grindr in the past.

In fact, my first boyfriend and I met in a chatroom. We exchanged flirty texts before exchanging emails. The fifty-miles between us seemed the length of a shoelace with modern technology. I spoke to him every day until the breakup happened. Then I switched to Facebook and found someone new to write to.

Fast forward to present day and I still rely on text-message-introductions with men. Meanwhile, Phillip told me about meeting this guy in a club via eye contact. The idea of two people meeting because of an energy exchange confused me.

“He saw me and we started talking,” Phillip said. The simplicity of this sentence made me feel envious. I swallowed the lump and curled my fists. We soon parted but I carried the feeling with me to work later that same day.

I served couples their food with a firm hand. Glass plates clacked against the tape tops. Silverware pelted against the wall above the dishwasher. The shift ended with me slamming chairs on top of one another outside the restaurant.

“Excuse me, is this place any good?” a square faced man said to me. He stood a foot away with another man behind him. I nodded and continued stacking.

“Do you think my friend’s cute?” He said. The other man laughed and walked closer. His bubble butt and thick arms interested me.

“Come on, he’s not gay.” the friend said. I rolled my eyes. This comment might flatter some macho-homosexuals but I’m fully aware of my flamboyancy. My graceful walk and soft voice come at the expense of being “outed” everywhere I go.

“Yes, I’m gay.” I said and stacked another chair on top. flirting.jpg

“Would you go on a date with my friend? He’s a great guy but he always goes out with assholes.” the square faced man said. I smiled and told them to come back next week.

“Is something wrong?” the friend said. I wanted to tell them that they both seemed drunk.  They kept touching my face and elbow. Only drunk or insecure men think I’m incredibly sexy. Of the which I prefer the insecure because then at least they’re being sincere.

“Oh my BMW just pulled up,” the square faced man said and climbed inside with his friend. They rolled down the window and asked me my name. I told them. They told me theirs.

The night ended like any other with me coming home alone. I logged onto Grindr looking for a conversation. Profile picture after profile picture zoomed by. No one said hello. If maybe I could learn how to play the game outside of this app then I would find someone. Someone a little drunk. Someone a little too touchy. Someone a little bit more than no one.

Logging Off

When I first started blogging my attention was immediately drawn to gay blogs. I wanted advice on finding romance because I reasoned that gay romance is different than heterosexual. Experiences can be similar but the pieces belongs to a different cultural-puzzle.

A piece of it is the Grindr App, one that has helps spark conversations between non-heterosexual (I say this in light of transexuals, bisexuals, etc.)  men since 2009. It has personally helped me gain the attention of men that were perhaps too shy to meet in person. Not to say all pursuits were welcomed.

Recently, I had an encounter with someone whose profile expressed honesty. He wanted a person to be direct with their wants. I thought to myself, a reasonable request. Not all men can be straightforwards and thus has been a problem in previous relationships. I’d rather someone tell me they are “looking” rather than have me type twenty texts thinking we are “connecting.”

Me:Looking? 

Him: No.

Me: Cool. Neither am I. 

We continued small talk. It was all me telling corny jokes. I wasn’t trying to impress him but ya never know when a corny joke might hit a sweet spot.

Him: Let me be rudely honest I don’t care. I am looking but not for you. You are too short for me.

I logged out leaving a few bitter words which I now regret. The conversation hadn’t been my first turn-down but it left me wondering why I logged on day in and day out. Entirely, the app is a community of  men that choose to log on. They are NOT the only men. I think this is a good phrase worthy of being slabbed on some LGBT pamphlet.

Coming out of the closet wasn’t easy so I turned to Internet Cafes instead. There I promptly made as many fake names as someone named Madonna wishes she could. In the end though there was nothing to gain except fake boyfriends that didn’t make me feel any more loved or accepted. So I deleted them all and found a GLBT center called Compass with the fortunate help of my parents.

It’s been eight years later and I’m sure boys soon to be men are turning online to come out. As I’m sure men are turning on to “get off”. They both are looking for something that probably lies within the same arena. Quite frankly though I am not concerned about either at this point. Somebody different is who I am becoming with online anonymity. I don’t like that person.

I’ve logged off.