Monday, April 1, 2013

BARRY PICKING

I’ve been trying online dating for the past four years.  When I began, I knew I had to do it. My ex and I had broken up years prior and, while the first year of being single and setting my own agenda proved blissful, I realized I might be missing something. Face-to-face connections and set-ups from friends were not going to happen. During my first few years living in this rural setting, I discovered that gay men did not make the hour long journey from Vancouver. (Okay, maybe ninety minutes,...two hours when your schedule does not mesh with ferry time.) Yes, online dating had to be the way to go, a long shot but my only shot.

I filled out my Plenty of Fish profile, putting more thought into it than most of internet desperados. In addition to photos, a quick checklist (Smoker? Drug user? Car owner?), I filled in my interests, a bio and my thoughts on what would constitute a first date. (Being past my twenties, I went with the standard “coffee and a walk” instead of skydiving. Relationships have to build, you know. And as the guy gets to know me, he will (hopefully) come to accept that jumping from planes will NEVER be an option.)

There was one last requirement before hordes of desirable single gay men could begin wooing me with online roses and dazzling me with artful usage of LOLs and ur cute. I had to type a title for my profile, something like “Smile with me”, “Men are from Mars and I am hunting Martians” or “Have a thing for nerds—glasses/freckles!!”, all real headings I pulled from a quick search just now. (Darn, I have the freckles, but no glasses. How ‘bout if I squint a lot and ask you to read the fine print on the menu for me?)

I chose “Ready to Take a Chance Again” as my heading. I felt it characterized who I was and where I was at. Enough time had lapsed from my abusive seven-year relationship that I believed once more that love might be possible. The dreamer in me had been restored, jadedness replaced by some of my standard naïvité and my conviction that people are good. And far more importantly, I felt no embarrassment in giving an open nod to the fact I still listened to Barry Manilow music. Let it be a small window to my mysterious, lingering connection to the smiley-faced ‘70s.

Years later, I have changed my heading a few times. One must appear to be fresh in the fish pond, even if starting to resemble one of those prehistoric looking bottom feeders. For awhile, I stole Michael Bublé’s “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet”. Currently, I’ve taken on some truth in advertising with “I should be on clearance by now.” Sure, it’s not exactly a prudent means of self-promotion, but I am a self-deprecating soul and, well, nothing else seemed to be working. Surprisingly, it triggered new interest from guys who say they can relate...which may or may not be a good thing.

After two months of hobbling around in a cast, on crutches and in a clunky gray air-cast boot after haplessly breaking my foot, I am ready to peek once more at the fishing hole, even if my sedentary body should steer clear of a pool party. It starts with a new heading, but what does one do after “CLEARANCE” isn’t enough of a lure? Should I throw in a Ronco spatula and a patented Slice-O-Matic apple corer? It’s something to think about, but I am leaning to my fallback guy, Mr. Manilow.

Clearly, “Mandy” and “Oh Julie” are out. “Could It Be Magic” might work but it has always bothered me that the song title lacks a question mark. (Yes, all you texters and tweeters, punctuation matters!) “It’s a Miracle” clearly oversells myself and I have no idea how to create a segue for the beloved “Weekend in New England”. That leaves the truest title of them all to reflect where I am at: “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again”.

No, the lyrics still aren’t a perfect match. (I am so beyond seeking such a thing.) My woman is not “comin’ back home late today”, thank goodness. Seems I’ve done something right. (I suspect poor Barry could fully relate to the lyric.) Still, the song fits.

'Cause the feeling is gone and I must get it back right away
Before (s)he sees that

I've been up, down, tryin' to get the feeling again
All around, tryin' to get the feeling again
The one that made me shiver
Made my knees start to quiver
Every time (s)he walked in

And I've looked high (high), low (low)
Everywhere I possibly can (high)
But there's no (no) tryin' to get the feelin' again
It seemed to disappear as fast as it came.


 Something is missing in me. As I spent the last month blogging about crushes, a sense of melancholy seeped in. As silly as it was to long for Antonio Sabato, Jr. or a guy at the gym who was too sweet to tell me to stop staring, the infatuations arose from hope. Misplaced hope, for sure, but still hope is a good thing.

I haven’t blogged as much about my online coffee dates over the past year. They may be infrequent, but they do happen, one as recently as last week. I muster up my optimism, smile a lot, listen, chat engagingly and I feel nothing.

I recall once being infuriated after a daytime coffee date when the guy said the fireworks weren’t there. I don’t expect that. (Even oohs and aahs can feel forced.) All I want is to hope for a Next Time. Sure, there is disappointment when I email a guy after what I think is a promising first meeting and he never responds or gives the “It’s not you, it’s me” brush-off. But how wonderful to email a guy, hoping he too thinks something just might be worth building on!

Even when a second date is likely (as seems imminent after last week’s date), I am wholly ambivalent. I say yes, thinking maybe something can be stirred up, but I know the date is D.O.A.

And so I limp along—in a week, hopefully without the stupid boot—waiting for a reawakening within. It takes effort to fight off a feeling of resignation that I will remain alone in this world, that this is what really is my Meant to Be. I keep smiling—it’s genuine—, I continue to laugh over every little reaction of my dog and I stop to appreciate the natural beauty of my once-chosen rural setting. But hope takes kindling to stoke it. No fireworks, just the tiniest of sparks will do, thank you very much.

Here’s hoping for hope. And, if all else fails, I might have to call a travel agent to book a Weekend in New England. I can’t rule out anything.

2 comments:

wordschat said...

For us gently seasoned gays it is comforting to know we're not alone even if we are single. I have friends of over a dozen years. Yes a boyfriend would be nice but so too is a Mr. Right Now one night stand if the chat room posers can get bast a post forty year old. Chin up pal, I'm here, there's people out there hopefully totally out for us both. In the meantime keep writing and check out my latest musings to. Later...

Rural Gay said...

Thanks for the recent comments, Wordschat!

I do try to keep my chin up, but Right Now doesn't have an inkling of appeal. Not right now, at least!