Tuesday, October 20, 2009


There was a time when I was a gay bar regular. Not knowing any other place where gays met, my first steps in coming out involved walking in on my own, ordering a drink and nervously studying the ice cubes in my glass. As you might surmise, it wasn’t a very effective tactic.

Somehow a few people did approach and struck up a conversation. Hell, in your twenties, you could be digging deep for a massive booger and still drum up a little interest! Over time, my gay bar trips would include friends. I always had my sights on a pretty hunk who’d finally make eye contact and dismiss me in a split second, turning to renew his gaze on a go-go boy or the bartender with biceps bigger than my waist. In that moment, I could always seek consolation in my friends and belatedly dismiss the guy who dismissed me, pointing out his uneven ear lobes or a freaky fingernail.

The online scene has replaced the bar scene. It’s back to going through the process alone. And the dismissals are just as quick., typically without explanation. I’ve had many messages initiated by gay guys in the Ottawa area, but they typically end abruptly. Things start with a short note with a vague reference to my “nice profile” and my photos. After one or two emails, the exchange dies. What happened? Did a virtual go-go boy make contact in the interim? Or is the initial message dating Spam sent indiscriminately to a herd of gays? Moo!

This week I had four guys sending me messages. I politely replied to each, but all conversations dead ended. The guy I was most interested in had a master’s degree and interests in hockey, cottaging, running and tennis—all things in common. His profile also mentioned barbecuing so I noted with honesty in my first reply that, as a vegetarian, tofu on the grill did nothing for me. Undeterred, he continued the conversation. My next message was the end of the line. Somewhere in four innocuous sentences I revealed the equivalent to asymmetrical ear lobes. I’m guessing it was my comment about enjoying a ginger cookie at a quaint bakery. Should have known. Ginger was the death of the Spice Girls after all. I’m figuring I should have stuck more to the Sporty Spice path. What’s with the Canucks’ bad start? How ’bout dem Sens?!

Ah, the things I can learn online! The bar scene may be far in my past, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find new ways to be summarily dismissed and for my self-esteem to get messed up.

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