Thursday, November 19, 2015

KEEPING MY OPTIONS OPEN

Last I'd written about dating, well, I wasn't really dating at all. I was hooking up, only hooking up felt a lot like dating. Here, I try to settle in and figure out how to hook up properly.


When a relationship is undefined--does an encore hookup constitute any kind of relationship?--it is best to keep one's options open. And so after two dates/hookups with Clive, I continued to "cruise" the Manhunt website.

I must admit, I found the site fascinating. Look at all these men! Or, at least, all these select body parts of men. Patterns emerged. People didn't write about a love for walks on the beach. Really, they didn’t write much at all. They skipped all the extreme sports photos that predominated conventional dating sites. (Seriously, how can every single gay man be a bungee jumper?!) And, if someone chose a penis pic as their main profile photo, they had no facial image. (Did that sort of thing work? What if it's an imposter penis, lifted from some porn site? By the time the fraud was discovered, could you back out? I think I was overthinking, well, everything.)

I was clear with myself that I would not fall for a dick pic. But that didn't mean I couldn't swoon over a man's chest. Indeed, one such photo caught my eye. Pecs apparent but not too defined. And when I clicked to see the full profile, I ogled an image of a man reclining in a chair with a starched white shirt and black dress pants. Yowsah! I've always been a sucker for a simple business attire. Unfortunately, the photo lacked a head. (Selfies can be tricky.) I knew I should be suspicious. To be honest, the only photo that included a face didn't appeal to me, but I reminded myself that this wasn't about finding a match or playing Cupid. This was about some quick fun.

And so we exchanged some naughty messages and agreed to meet. That's when Mr. Starched Shirt got a little stuffy. The conversation veered from my-place-or-your-place to let’s meet for coffee. Fine. A café near my place. In a to-go cup, I figured.

I’ve had far too many coffee dates. I didn’t join a hookup site just to engage more awkward chitchat.  

How's it going? What do you do? Uh,…who photographed your chest?

Someone’s got to move things along.

I arrived early, as I always do. Prado Café. Ordered the pumpkin space latte, a recommendation from my physiotherapist. (You’ve got to talk about something as a guy tries to pull and twist your finger back into place.) Not the syrupy sugar-coma blast you get at Starbucks; made with actual pumpkin puree. The verdict? Yum.

And then Jerry walked in. Okay, not so yum. Nothing wrong, just not my type. Had the clean-cut look of an Oklahoma preacher. Unfortunately, I don’t have any creepy clergy fantasies. After hello, he got in line to order. It gave me (too much) time to sit and think. What now? This was supposed to be a hookup. Can you back out? And how?

I decided stop questioning things. Isn’t that why I’m a single man? Hadn’t I passed on perfectly decent men? And this wasn’t ever going to be a relationship, right? Wasn’t this about keeping busy before Clive deliberated and realized he wants a real relationship?

Ahem,…stop questioning!

And so Jerry sat down and we fell right into that comfortable discomfort of a regular coffee date. We searched for common ground. Found some. But there were too-soon pauses when we seemed to be in freefall (without even a bungee cord). This was work. I’d thought hookups were supposed to be anything but.
Twenty minutes in, Jerry abruptly called time. “Sorry, I don’t see this happening.” I knew he was right. I felt relief. But I also felt like I’d failed. I got the hook instead of the hookup. Jerry rambled something about being friends and I nodded even though I knew neither of us wanted that. And then, as I lifted our coffee mugs to load them in the dirty dishes cart, Jerry bolted. Exit, stage left. It was the first time I’d ever seen a “date” literally run away.

As I stepped onto the sidewalk, the man had vanished. I was simultaneously humored and humiliated. No-strings-attached became an emphatic no-thank-you. I tried to smile as I made an unexpected kind of Walk of Shame home. As I neared a traffic light, a woman walked alongside me. “How’s it going?” she asked.

“Fine,” I lied. I continued to walk but she kept pace.

She added, “You look good, by the way.” We shared a smile before going separate ways at the corner.

And there it was. Perfect timing. A prostitute, sure—I live in a sketchy neighborhood—but why consider the source? These were the words I needed to hear after being abruptly rejected on a hookup coffee date. He’d said no.

It's good to know she would have said yes.

For a price.

Details, details.

3 comments:

Thom Burkett said...

Oh my lord what a great post. He ran? Oh my!!!

Rural Gay Gone Urban said...

Yes, he ran. Can't make this stuff up! My life is a comedy.

oskyldig said...

The irony is strong with this one...

Much of what happens to me recounts wonderfully as a fantasy story and "What, did that really happen!?"

Some of us are blessed, I suppose.