The prospect of dating again…or not…is the best and worst part of being single again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not interested in settling down or getting tied down in the near future. Frankly, I don’t have the time. If you don’t believe me, just ask my ex.
Be that as it may, as a lifelong serial monogamist, the chances of me going a year without getting involved with someone are slim to none. I love falling in love. Shoot. Back in the day, I fell in love six or seven times every weekend. And in my experience, each love is 100 times better than the one before.
Besides, I’m far too social an animal to live as a hermit. My friends are great and I love them all. But every now and then, well…I need to know somebody I find attractive wants to jump my bones. I would also suggest, gentle readers, that this is very much a man thing.
I’m aware that the vast majority of folks who read my blog are women. Yes, I know everyone wants to feel desired. The difference is that women can get this whenever they want. Want to know you still got something men want? Wear high heels and tight-fitting clothes around a construction site. Whoomp. There it is.
The unfortunate truth is that, on some level, all men are players living in a world where every woman he meets wants to have his baby. Well-trained specimens have learned to keep such thoughts to themselves. Wilder varieties attempt to multiply with reckless abandon. This is why porn works so well for men. In his mind, she wants him even more than he wants her. For most, that she’s not there to laugh in his face is a real plus.
Regardless of gender or sexual preference, age matters. Older folks have a harder time finding someone to bump uglies with than younger folks. Money offsets the age disadvantage a bit. With enough money, aging can be…postponed. With enough zeros in the net worth, age becomes just a number.
Despite all the facts I just made up, I’m optimistic about my prospects for finding love in the future. Half the battle is putting yourself out there. Being open to the possibility helps, too. Toward that end, I started researching dating options for a 54 year-old gay man. But first, a quick review of the history of dating in my lifetime–as I see it, anyway.
When I was in junior high, dating involved cozying up to whoever struck your fancy, getting the object of your affection’s telephone number, and after a few endless and totally pointless calls, an exchange of cheap jewelry. Cars, corsages, and jewelry that wouldn’t turn body parts green were part of the senior high dating scene. All my relationships in junior high and high school involved a phone cord running down the hall and under my bedroom door. I had to lay in the floor because the cord wasn’t long enough to reach the bed. Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about.
Coming out in college changed things a lot, but dating was still primarily initiated by a face-to-face contact. Phone calls for first dates were rare. Blind dates were anathema. The only other option–and a popular one for a lot of gay men in the early 80s–was to place or respond to a personal ad in national magazines like Blueboy and Drummer. Everyone I knew read the ads. Some even responded. A friend had a shoebox full of correspondence from guys he met via personals. The best included grainy x-rated Polaroid photos of the sender.
In the late 1990s, AOL and online chatrooms were the way to meet people. Flirting took place over the keyboard and if things progressed far enough, x-rated pics were exchanged via email. Personal ads moved from print to 800-number telephone lines with per-minute charges to listen to anyone who’d responded to your ad. Countless specialized dating and hook-up sites sprang up on the internet throughout the early 2000s. Instead of sending x-rated pics, cam-to-cam became the rage.
Not for me. If I’m going to watch naked people on a video screen, give me professional models and actors with perfect bodies, gorgeous faces, and full heads of hair. No grainy, home-made crap for me, thank you very much. Give me HD or nothing at all.
Which brings us to today. Now there are dozens–probably hundreds–of smartphone Apps for meeting people. I downloaded several a couple of weeks ago to give them a trial run. They all work more or less the same way. The biggest difference is the type of people who tend to use each one.
Here’s how they work. You create a profile and insert a picture. Rules for the kind of pics allowed vary, with many giving you the ability to selectively grant access for x-rated pictures you might want to post. Fish you catch with that kind of bait ain’t keepers, in my opinion, so I don’t go there.
What makes these Apps very different from the old methods–and a little frightening–is the use of GPS to pinpoint your location. Thumbnail pics of other users of the App show up in a grid based on how far from you they are. I’ve seen guys show up as close as 500 feet away. This feature obviously facilitates a lot of illicit behavior, particularly among travelers and folks who like to sneak around.
Spontaneous isn’t really in my vocabulary. At my age, I need a couple of days notice for just about anything. What about next Thursday is apparently not the right answer.
I exchanged text messages with a guy on one of these Apps for several days. He lives about an hour north of here and we agreed to meet halfway at a restaurant. He turned out to be better looking than his pictures (you have no idea how rare that is) and even nicer in person. We said we’d go out again, but I think maybe I scared him off.
But that’s okay. The important thing is that I ventured out, and it wasn’t a horrible experience. In fact, I enjoyed it. Besides, I need reasons to do more than spend all my spare time here in…
My Glass House