iDating: Results

If you’ve been following posts about my field research on the dating habits of contemporary gay men, by now you should have a pretty good idea how the smartphone apps function. No doubt, you’re also curious about my experience. Have I met anyone?

Good question. But the better question, given my current state of mind, is what do I want? The answer is… I don’t know. I’m open to possibilities, but currently have no interest in anything serious. This is uncharted territory and I’m trying to sort out what it means.

For most of my life I’ve been a die-hard serial monogamist, rushing into relationships for all the wrong reasons. Like a gay Zsa Zsa Gabor or Elizabeth Taylor, I wanted a commitment when a good romp may have been the wiser choice. At least Zsa Zsa and Elizabeth got a lot of nice jewelry. All I ever got  was screwed over.

When it comes to picking men, I have some kind of learning disability. Two of my exes moved in with me because they didn’t have anywhere else to go. Yeah…two. My most recent ex — the Finest Man on Earth — wasn’t one of them. He was an exception, leading me to believe maybe I’ve finally fixed my broken picker. Time will tell.

Or maybe not. Living alone agrees with me quite a lot more than has ever been the case before. That FMOE and I have stayed close helps. I suspect living with Toodles, my constant companion, is also a factor. But my contentment with the status quo is mostly about being set in my ways, having everything exactly the way I want it, and not wanting another person around to eff things up.

For the first time, single is my preferred status. Getting involved with anyone would complicate my life in ways that, at least for now, don’t appeal to me. I’m not ruling anything out, but getting into a serious relationship is the last thing I want or need right now.

In the last nine months, I’ve chatted with dozens of guys — maybe even hundreds — from all over the world. The vast majority of these exchanges were no more than a few words. Some conversations lasted for hours. Quite a few are ongoing, including with guys I’ve talked with long enough to actually get around to meeting in person.

Those of you who are texters know that messaging via smartphone isn’t really conducive to conversation. Chatting is the same way. Questions and answers lean toward pithy and to the point. Keeping the ball rolling is sometimes a challenge.

On numerous occasions, I’ve spent an evening chatting with someone who shared an interest in meeting, never to chat with them again. Sometimes they vanish. Maybe they blocked me, went offline, or deleted their profile. Who knows. Just as often, they’re still around, but for whatever reason, have no interest in chatting again. I suspect alcohol.

With others, eventually conversation turns to meeting somewhere. Face-to-face is the acid test to find out if the virtual attraction is real. Meeting someone for the first time is a butterfly-producing experience. Will he look like his pictures? Is he really as nice as he seems? Will I like him?

Usually, no.

Perhaps the pictures I’d seen were more than a little misleading. Unless I’ve been warned and the reason holds water — unlikely considering the very phone they’re talking to me on has a camera —  this kind of deception is a deal-breaker. One guy went so far as to act like he’d just snapped his picture. When we met later that day, I wanted to ask how he’d managed to gain so much weight in just a few hours.

With the exception of damn liars, I’m interested in all kinds of guys. Fortunately, many undesirables readily identify themselves. Maybe they have DL in their profile or are quick to say in messages that they’re DL. I know they mean Down Low. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Sometimes the virtual attraction shatters for other reasons. The chemistry just isn’t there. Maybe the conversation falls flat. Or perhaps his interests and mine are like oil and water. The disappointing meeting is often the end of chat conversations. Sometimes not, but if we stay in touch, the tone changes for sure.

Every now and then, he turns out to be even better in person than I’d imagined. But you won’t read about him here. I’m saving those experiences for my novels.