Paternity test segments on “The Maury Povich Show”.
Avert your eyes, turn it off, walk away. We know what to do, but sometimes we just can’t do it.
And so it goes with my dating quest. It was officially over in 1997. I hid for a while—too long—in what became an abusive relationship. But when I finally escaped, I reverted to an old way of thinking, believing that I needed to have a partner to share life’s journey. It was ingrained in me from the first time I heard the story about Noah’s Ark. We proceed in twos.
Hello again, dating. Welcome back, angst and awkwardness.
But the playing field changed. I’ve had three long(er)-term relationships—one beginning from answering a newspaper personal ad, the others from being introduced by friends. When I became single again, online sites entered the mainstream. Since my escape took me to a rural area, it was really the only way to go. I read in the New York Times recently that 70% of gay dating arises from online connections. Friends don’t set me up anymore. To be fair, they don’t seem to know single gay men. Or they’re keeping mum on the subject to protect these men from The Onesie, a single coffee chat with me that causes my coffee-mate untold trauma and perhaps a life-changing decision to switch to tea. (DavidsTea should be my coffee date sponsor.)
Despite the abysmal track record, I still don’t see myself as a social pariah. But obviously I’m too close to the situation. Maybe I’m the William Hung of gay dating. (Remember Hung? “She Bangs”? He was the guy auditioning on “American Idol” who thought he could sing despite clearly contrary evidence.) Maybe I think I’m a good date when I’m anything but. Maybe I have bad breath that no one has dared mention. Maybe there’s severe butt crack exposure every time I sit down. (I know, I know…how can all those plumber guys not know? It’s either that or they have misplaced exhibitionist tendencies.) Maybe I’m simply insufferably boring. Whatever the case, I’m not appealing enough for a guy to give up going back online to check out more dating profiles. I’m the poor fish that keeps biting and they keep throwing it back. Charlie the tuna.
It’s a good thing I’ve blogged many of the Onesies. I don’t ever go back and read the posts, but I think there is plenty of evidence that, if I’m a Charlie, I’m drowning in a sea of Charlies. My most recent date with an aging barfly had me chuckling as I shook my head and walked thirty blocks back to my car. But the laughter faded and what remains is another bad memory. It’s an easy equation to memorize: Undateable + Undateable (still) = Undateable.
As for the promise of the other date that day, it too faded. We exchanged messages in the week that followed and then I received the following in my OkCupid message box: “Having messages hanging over my head just feels like one more thing to do rather than something enjoyable. Clearly you like having a pen pal.”
Another What-the-F*#k moment in my personal dating history. I’d thought there was something. Yikes. It seems the guy was just being polite until he felt he couldn’t be any longer. I have virtual bad breath.
It’s time to step away from the sandbox. I’ve been playing there too long. And, it wasn’t a sandbox at all—just an oversized litter box, full of cat turds.
Time to wash my hands of the whole thing. I don’t believe in that Noah’s Ark story so it’s time to drop the whole two-by-two notion. Some of us march through life as one. We won’t all find a soulmate or a husband. Many good people live a life unmatched.
It’s the right time to move on. I’m no longer stuck in an isolated rural environment. I don’t need dates as excuses to bring me back to civilization. I am back. Just me. And that’ll have to be fine.