Sunday, May 25, 2014

GAYS AND THEIR DOGS

Even with its middling reviews, I had to see “Must Love Dogs” when it premiered in theaters. I’ve always been a fan of the underused Elizabeth Perkins, Diane Lane does adorable effortlessly and John Cusack’s acting typically fascinates, but this movie about dating had me at the title. Must Love Dogs, indeed. My kind of flick.

Really, any guy who wants to connect with me—there is a hypothetical such guy isn’t there?!—has to have an affection for canines. Must love dogs is right up there with non-smoker and single as the non-negotiables.

Or so I thought.

But these are desperate times. I haven’t had a second date in two years. The last (semi-)passionate kiss came six years ago. And sex? I blogged that once. I shan’t repeat that embarrassing disclosure. Go back and search my prior posts if you must. (Okay, I know you won’t. You’ve got better things to do. Like vacuuming behind the sofa. But this ought to make you feel better about your own sex life. Always know, it could be worse.)

And so as my recent brunch date wound down, the guy sitting across from me threw caution to the wind, bemoaning the lack of appealing single men our age. Yes, yes, I thought. I can relate. “Almost all of them are out of shape,” he said. True. And I had just lost ten pounds I didn’t need to lose. Surely, I came across as fit. Yippee.

He didn’t stop there. You know where this is going. “And some men are way too attached to their dogs.” Hmm. I forced a smile. Surely, he’d seen that older photo on my profile with me and my two schnauzers. He qualified things: “All they talk about is their dogs.” Okay, nice back-pedaling. I had not made a canine comment during the entire meal. I was safe. I still had a shot. But why would I want one?

Well, this guy was unquestionably attractive. Another wannabe writer. Like me. And, yeah, fit. As you read this, you’re thinking I am a fool. What next? Would I light up a cigar if he offered one?! May I remind you of that embarrassing blog post about my sex life? If you are still judging me, perhaps you should give the link a click. It’s the entry with nuns as the main photo. ‘Nuff said?

Truth is I am dog obsessive. I remember a line the wonderful Janeane Garofalo spouts in another must-see dating movie, “The Truth about Cats and Dogs”: “You can love your dog. Just don’t love your dog.” Not a problem. It’s not like I am single and have seventeen cats. Keepin’ things normal.  

When I drove to Boise in March, I chose not to fly because of my dog. He had to be with me. We were off on a road adventure, like Thelma and Louise. (Hey, “normal” has a huge spectrum. It’s not like I’m that guy on Dr. Phil.) Once there, my friend Robert and I booked grooming appointments for my dog Hoover and his bitch, Lisa Marie. (Yep. His previous dog was Elvis. Before Hoover, I had Lincoln. Maybe this is what happens when gays don’t have kids. Standard dog names like Rex and Max won’t do.) Robert and I had a great time exploring Downtown Boise, but everything stopped when the call came that the dogs were done. I’m just glad Boise doesn’t have major traffic issues.

Gays and their dogs.

After my date, with Mr. Anti-Dog, I messaged the guy and indicated that I’d be interested in seeing him again. Gasp! It is true. I should be ashamed. Oh, what the desperate will do! If you read that post, you know he declined. “No sparks.” He’d done everything to shoo me away. Clearly, he didn’t give a damn or he wouldn’t have said, “Hey, I like animals. I just don’t think they should be in someone’s home.”

I really should learn to read the signs. But then I’d never get to the point on a date where we ordered food.
Hello, goodbye.
 
I’d spend life eating alone. Or alongside a dog.

Let me refill your water bowl. Does my wittle doggy want three or four ice cubes?

It’s okay. I’ve come to the conclusion there are a lot more good dogs than good men. I should follow a few simple commands: Roll over. Sit. Stay. And now it’s treat time. I’m craving an oversized bowl of ice cream. What’s so great about being in shape anyway?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

GAY ARTIST APOCALYPSE?

I try to look on bright side. Really, I do. But sometimes there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Last Saturday, I ventured out to an artsy community a mere twenty minutes from home. A ferry-less destination. There, that’s a positive. This community was having a weekend-long arts festival, a big bash with multiple locations hosting artists, musicians and several pop-up food stands. I figured I needed a boost in creativity. Get out. Connect. Feel inspired.

I also figured it would be a great people-watching experience. This is the perfect event to drive the gays out. How nice to feel less isolated. If my life were a movie, this would be the time for me to chance upon a date. Maybe we’d be oohing over the same abstract painting of a pack of hyenas enjoying a Serengeti sunset (or perhaps that’s a bed of marigolds in someone’s garden—that’s the beauty of abstract; describe it how you’d like). Perhaps Mr. Eligible and I would catch a glimpse of one another as we each suppress a laugh as a performance artist tries to blow bubbles in sync with the banjo player. You just never know.

Sure, such an encounter is remote, especially in a rural environment, but this seemed to be my best local shot of the past six months. Go. See Be seen. Wish for a little Meg Ryan/Mindy Kaling karma.

I explored five venues. I purchased pottery. Sadly, a cute guy didn’t vie for the same lovely bowls. I strolled about, gazing at some really awful splatter painting. (Jackson Pollock’s legacy remains intact.) I heard a lame rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind”. The cuisine was limited to craft beer and perogies. The local lesbian contingent was well represented among artists, altos and amblers. But I was the sole gay representative.

There were a couple of false sightings. I ogled one artist, a talented furniture maker with broad shoulders, a deep tan and salt-and-pepper hair that glimmered. (There’s a fine line between glimmering and greasy; undisputedly, he glimmered—and there was plenty of grease to which to compare. I’m talkin’ about you, Mr. Bob Dylan Wannabe.) And then I saw the occupied ring finger. And the wife. And the two adorable children. Oh, yes. I’d seen the family profiled a few years ago in a local magazine. He was eye candy as much then as now. At least I am consistent.

Then there was a guy shucking heirloom tomato plants. (Is that art? Never mind.) Our eyes met for a moment. I tried to lock looks once more but to no avail. He seemed to stare a little too much to the left. And then I had the sense to gaze over my shoulder. Ah, yes. Silly me. The object of his affection was someone else—a lovely woman with long, flowing purple-streaked hair and a collection of nose rings. I felt only a moment of disappointment. Yes, she seemed a much better fit for the tomato grower. Every such plant I’ve nursed has succumbed to blight.

And so I headed home, with a gurgling stomach, feeling no more socially connected. I felt no vindication in having my isolation affirmed. It’s a good thing I gave it a go. That’s something, right? But, really, how is it possible to have a sizable artsy event with no other gays present? Gays have to be at an artsy event. Bring back my stereotypes! My gosh, as good as it gets, is even more depressing than I’d thought.

This is why I trek onto the ferry again and again. Clearly, this is not where the boys are.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

NOT FEELING IT

Haven’t written here in a while. That’s a story that I’m not ready to tell. It may go forever untold. (You’re welcome.)

For better or for worse, things are back to normal. Why not kick things off with another coffee date? Actually, in this case, I went out on a limb and suggested brunch. How bad could it get? Eggs benny to go?!

This date arose from match.com instead of that dried-up pond known as Plenty of Fish. Despite being one of the top dating sites for straight folks, match.com shares my track record with the gays: we just haven’t attracted them. Since joining at the beginning of January, three interesting men have messaged me. Sadly, one lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Another lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the third lives outside Denver. Apparently match.com gays are unfamiliar with Google Maps. Needless to say, I passed on this trio. Thanks for the interest. Unfortunately, we’re a ways off from perfecting teleporting. Oh, what could have been!

The bright side of all this is that it makes a ninety-minute trek into Vancouver seem like a mere blip for a brunch date. Messaging Kevin seemed perfectly reasonable while I await an email from some guy in Cleveland. Admittedly, Kevin’s main profile pic was the original enticement. What’s not to like about a fit fifty-year-old whose body and smiling face belong in a Land’s End catalogue? His profile expressed an interest in meeting a similarly aged man who keeps in shape and enjoys an active life. And then there was mention of his passion for writing. Hey, match.com, maybe this could actually be a match. Anything is possible, at least until the waiter announces the breakfast specials.

And so I hopped on the ferry this morning, full of anticipation, moderated by a track record that contains a glaring absence of second dates. Somebody’s got to break the losing streak. Why not Kevin?

Brunch passed nicely enough. Interesting conversation easily digested with some particularly tasty pancakes. Hmm, what’s that added ingredient? Butter?! Oh, to think I’ve banished that from my fridge at home. I may have to do some rethinking.

In the meantime, I am left to rethink the date itself. It seems that I have failed miserably in accurately gauging these first dates. Seems I’ve become less picky and blinded with an optimism that a second date shall come to pass. And, as I’ve already noted, my feelings have been all wrong or at least entirely one-sided.

In replaying parts of the encounter, I can’t recall Kevin flashing that smile that had originally dazzled me in his photos. Was I too serious? Did I fail to convey a sense of humor? Gosh golly, what are the chances that he was just nervous?

As we parted outside his condo building, shielding the rain with our umbrellas, there was no kiss, no hug. Such a gesture is plain awkward with our parasols, is it not? I should not read anything more into the lack of affection, right?

“I’ll be in touch,” he said. Not a lot to go on. Still, it’s a tad more promising than “See ya” or the monosyllabic “Bye.”

There’s a glimmer of hope isn’t there? Or should I start to look at real estate in Baton Rouge?

I just don’t have a clue anymore.

 

UPDATE: It’s early evening and I am waiting to board the ferry to head home. I texted Kevin to see if he wanted to get together again. Kevin replied by saying, “I enjoyed our conversation. I like you and think we have a lot in common. But, to be honest, I’m really looking for that spark of chemistry. I did not get that.”

So there you go. Mrs. Redmond, my high school Chemistry teacher, has come back to haunt me. Of course, this is all code for a lack of physical attraction. Makes me wonder what the point is in swearing off butter. Think I’ll make a trip to the grocery store as soon as I get home!

And then I’ll go online again. Maybe someone’s hiring in some part of Louisiana.

Drat, drat, drat. (And that’s putting it kindly.)