Monday, January 01, 2007

Dating

A new year is here and as I always say, "New Years' resolutions are for losers"... well, maybe I don't always say that, but I am against the whole idea of deciding to go to the gym or quit smoking simply because we are another year further, making promises we intend to keep until the 10th or so of January, only to put them on the shelf and dust them off the next year, repeating the same cycle, dangling the goals we don't really want to accomplish like carrots in front of our friends and family, so everyone can think we are making steps in the right direction, tell us how brave we are or wish us success on our never to be started journey... I did decide, however, to look back over the last year and examine a few things...

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, let me just say that this entry is the result of numerous conversations I have had with friends both gay and straight over the past couple of years, and as I am making the transition from being decidedly single to being open to a relationship, I find these particular thoughts, fears and desires to be popping up with ever increasing frequency. I am writing from my own point of view, but this is a composite of many hours of conversations, tears and Janis Ian.

If I have discovered anything the past few months, it is that dating has become something of an Olympic sport and I am just completely unprepared to compete. I had been in relationships since I was 20, so the past 2 years is my first time ever being truly single. I had been single, but never for longer than a couple of months... This time it is 2 years and counting. And just for the record, I think it sucks. It was nice in the beginning, the excitement, the possiblity, the adventure of it all. Embracing my inner Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and of course, Samantha. Why choose one when you can be all four and all the more fantastic for it. It didn't take long for the glossy sheen to wear to a dingy grey and suddenly adventure became lonely nights, waking up wanting to feel someone's arms and settling for the pillow instead. The phone seems to forget how to ring and suddenly life is about reruns of Desperate Housewives, relating to the drama of Bree, Susan and Lynette, while secretly wishing some of Gabrielle Solis would start happening to us. Nothing a hunky gardner wouldn't cure.

It used to be you met someone, made a few phone calls, had a drink, had dinner and got to know each other... People flirted, people put effort into getting to know someone. Now, there is the whole online space to meet people. How wonderful it is to put up a few pictures and a blurb of text that may or may not even be true or reflect someone's actual personality or intentions, but then you have the added pleasure of having those very things judged by people who give you a 2 second scan (if you're lucky) and then decide whether you are or not worth contacting.

Occasionally, I do send a message to someone and 95% of people can't even be bothered to say thanks. I even had someone tell me that my pictures were "the most unappetizing" they had ever seen. Nice. Don't get me wrong, I have met some amazing people online, some of whom are now my closest friends, like Marco, but that is an exception, not the norm. This for me seems to be just one more way for people to feed their insecurities and I too have gotten to the point of deleting my online profile just because it only made me feel bad about myself and my life. And a lot of gay men seem to be wanting the steady relationship and companionship yet at the same time keeping that eye open for someone better to come along. Bigger pecs, flatter abs and whiter teeth are just around the corner, a click or a party away. Why is it that we let total strangers determine how we feel? When did we turn over that control?

Add to that the email, SMS, phones, and it quickly becomes so confusing and complicated it hardly seems worth all the effort. When do you call? When do you text? How much is enough? How much is too much? What is the right combination? The part that I find very hard in all of this is knowing when to do what. Am I supposed to send a message and then wait for a reply before sending one back? If I send more than 1 a day, am I being pushy or controlling? And what about feelings, how much should one reveal? It feels like there are rules out there, but I guess I was doing something else when the rulebook was handed out...

My problem is that when I like someone, I like them 100%. I let my feelings go. I throw myself into the moment, I get caught up, I throw all caution to the wind, once again blind to the dangers lurking just around the next corner, the next message, the next call that proves to be too much. When I have one of those moments when it feels like there is a real connection, I just want to take it in, as far as I can, like a deep breath and never let it out. I want to savor every moment and hold on to it for as long as I can. I want to take it into the depths of my soul. I want to be able to let myself go without worrying that the next step could be the one that breaks through the fragile ice, into the dark, murky waters below. Then combine that with the fact I love to write and everything I have inside of me just seems to always be pushing itself out... Seems to make for a bit of a dangerous combination for me... People say they want communication, they say they want romance, they say they want honesty and as soon as it is there, they either stop like a deer caught in the headlights or they run as fast as they can in the opposite direction.

I personally find it all frustrating and confusing and demotivating. I sometimes wonder if I still have it in me... well, I know I have it in me, but I often wish I didn't. I wish I could turn all of that off, know exactly what to do and play by the rules of the game. And then, of course, you hear the line Ït's not you, really, it's me" Like that is supposed to make everything all better. It doesn´t, it makes it more frustrating it makes it all more abstract. Tell me I am too communicative, pushy, demanding or that I don't phone enough or bring you flowers anymore. At least if it was me and I knew what the issue was, then I would know what to do different. A leopard may not be able to change it´s spots, but it can certainly tone them down.

Well, perhaps 2007 will be different, perhaps we will come across the one that sweeps us off our feet, throws our world into delicious chaos and teaches our hearts to fly again.

1 comment:

  1. French girl in Mexico1/1/07 17:58

    Robb stay as you are this is why we love you!
    Society will change once again to the true value of people and hearts... one day. In the meantime because you are as you are someone will recognize your value and will take you into a magical relationship. This is what I wsh you for 2007: a lot of LOVE!
    See you in Mexico
    Ton amie Laura

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