Dating Into Oblivion #BonusTrack

The “Why Do I Even Try?” edition…

There’s a lot to unpack here.

A) I probably wouldn’t. I know this about myself, and I do feel like a piece of shit because of that knowledge.

2) This guy has lived down the block from me for almost 4 years and. just. hit. me. up.

Fuuuuuuuck that.

Just allow me my four limbed sense of outrage, here.

Here’s how my mind works: it’s not that I wanted this guy to hit on me, but knowing our close proximity over the years of me dropping into and then back off of this site, I just figured we shared a mutual disattraction. Knowing that suddenly isn’t the case made me feel like I was so unattractive to him that it took him this long to get desperate enough to talk to me.

Me being me, I mention this, of course. He gives me some noises about just noticing me and I reach for this:

…while wondering why he thinks I’d date a guy with no arms and what are obviously missing – or at the very least poorly operating – eyeballs.

He’s game. Or determined. I’ll give him that. For a guy with no arms, he can type. I get a flurry of messages before closing out and going back to my innocent chatter with my very supportive-of-my-inability-to-wrap-my-arms-around-dating-a-guy-with-no-arms bartendresses.

(Hey, you had to know that pun was coming)

Better use of my time: drinking beer with people in real life.

When I visit the site again a few days lonelier – er…later, I get a new flurry of messages from this no arms fella. So, for years he didn’t notice and now I can’t get away from him?

From scatoma to attenuated. Lucky me.

Then again, this is normally the caliber of lost boy that I get, so I don’t know why I’d complain

Not to be too graphic, but this guy led with an unsolicited pic – ladies, I know you’re forever suffering from unsolicited dick pics from guys who aren’t even senators…but there are worse body parts guys lead with, trust me – and then backpedaled to foreplay. Or what he calls foreplay.

I was having none of either.

The profile I’d created here clearly stated that I wasn’t there for one night stands – I can get those the old fashioned way, thank you very much – or guys in relationships. This guy boldly checked both boxes.

Does anyone really have time for people like this fella?

Plus, he was old. Like, younger than me, but barely. My thoughts on that would be, “not looking before you leap” is kind of a 20-something behavior that age trains you out of…and if I have to choose between an Oldie Hawn that still acts like a 20-something or an actual 20-something?

Yeah, I’ll take the 20-something every damn time.

I came away from this whole episode challenging myself to examine whether my instant reaction to disqualify someone as a date because of obvious handicaps was better, worse or the same as my response to someone who presents less obvious but likely more crippling social defects. Cuz I think I jump on those pretty quickly.

The net positive here is that I deleted my profile on this site. The ROI was becoming a moral bankruptcy.

Dating Into Oblivion #BonusTrack

Dating Into Oblivion ep8

Admittedly, this will be an atypical post for this theme.

Spoiler Alert: No Date

It’s much more like January’s no-show dates. What makes it different is that these guys couldn’t even show up virtually. That’s how dire it is with these Lost Boys, my friends.

Without further doo doo, episode 8.

The other day, on my one remaining “Why do I even bother?” asocial media site, I had occasion to quote Maya Angelou.

It was a guy that had bothered to hit me up with an inscrutable wink via their messenger function. I mean, here, a wink can fairly well be interpreted as

I want you, but haven’t the social skills to actually successfully execute an action plan to formally seduce you…so maybe this will work?

Yeah, I think that’s a pretty good summary of a the definition of a “non-verbal” greeting on asocial media.

And here’s the deal, on these types of sites, there’s tells to back up someone’s intent. They may set their statue to some version of “Looking for Now” or if they have pictures they wish to only share discretely, they may make their stinky eye pic visible to you along with their winky eye greeting.

At least there used to be tells like that that you could rely upon to clarify someone’s intentions. I think people are getting more jaded on the ROI for flashing their selfie porn to strangers. That less than phenomenal individual is called a pic collector. That pejorative moniker can be a reality if a guy actively seeks out or requests that someone unlock their private gallery or it can be restorative if someone sends unsolicited access to their buttoir pics and then doesn’t get the response they were anticipating.

Either way, it’s a sad substitute for initiating an actual conversation or behaving in a way that isn’t just a base form of selfishness. I mean, FFS, masturbate already.

Anywho…I checked his profile and his status didn’t indicate he was looking and his nudie pics were still locked up. And in a jackalope type rarity (he isn’t unicorn-cute), his profile had words in it! It wasn’t just a bunch of checked or unchecked boxes…and the words were clever and funny.

I replied.

Now, there’s a third vague tell that I employ to suss out someone’s intent…y’know, whether they are just killing time or are maybe really looking to make a connection that doesn’t necessarily involve an erection.

They’ll introduce themselves.

When I replied, I signed off with my name.

After a few traded messages, I noticed he had yet to do the same. I knew that he was off early on a Wednesday and beginning a little staycation. After a couple more, I knew that it wasn’t just a really long weekend, that he had the entire following week off and that he had plans to do nothing.

Since I still didn’t know his name, I wished him well and told him I hoped he enjoyed himself. When he asked where I was going off to, I let him know that I wasn’t really going anywhere, I just didn’t take him seriously as friend material since he still hadn’t introduced himself.

He actually replied with something I could interpret as charm and chagrin.

Another jackalope moment. Maybe just as a projection on my part. Who knows.

We chatted a but more and then went off with our respective afternoons. I’m sure I had to go drink something somewhere with someone or something.

No, that’s probably exactly what it was…I really need to go back to full-time work!

We exchanged messages over the weekend and throughout the next week, but always about 12 hours out of sync. I blamed it on my janky sleep schedule. But while I was on, I took a look to see who else was lurking around that might be worthwhile.

What did I find? Maybe a unicorn!

A good looking guy with a few shared interests? Sure…he doesn’t maybe take his sexual health as seriously as he should, coming up allegedly on his second anniversary of his last STI screening. Maybe he just doesn’t update his profile here very often. This seems likely since he was 1200 GPS feet from me, it’s Fall and he’s not in Lancaster after a summer in Portland.

It didn’t matter, anyway, since an hour later he’d read my greeting and not replied. His profile says he liked tea, but I’m – obviously – not everyone’s cup of tea.

Or, anyone’s.

Still, it bothered me. Like this…

For me, if you’re looking for honesty and respect, ya oughta reflect it. I’ve broken off dating relationships with a couple of guys since moving back to Portland simply because they bankrupted my emotional bank account. Specifically, they withdrew my affection but never really made deposits, so eventually I just ran out of figurative fucks to give about them.

I think respect works off that same notion. If you only demand it and don’t return it, people aren’t going to give a damn about your demands.

Well, I’m not. I am a grumpy old man, after all.

So, I trotted our my bullshit buzzer and sent him a second message the next evening.

Notice the check mark in the yellow circle, that’s how I knew he’d seen my message.

What I notice about these lurking denizens of asocial media is the overprotectiveness they demonstrate for their brand. Usually, when I call out people on their bullshit, one of two things happens:

A) They posture and make excuses…your basic Crocodile Tears scenario.

B) They go on the offensive. So much energy into what just amounts to a blustering defense of themselves. It’s exhausting to witness and I really just hope this type of person will shorthand it and block me. Get it over with, already.

Well, this guy was a Type A in this case.

But what constitutes a “rather difficult evening”? It’s not really my business, but why bother offering it without context? You read my message but didn’t bother to reply until I impugned your brand the following day. If you hadn’t even read my message would that have meant that you had a “very difficult evening”?

And on a Halloween Weekend Saturday night…should I even care to believe such an excuse from someone? Halloween is generally referred to as Gay Christmas, in a fit of true irreverence. So maybe his costume just wasn’t coming together right and he read my message before deciding that he just really needed to focus on getting his Gay Vampire look just right.

I get it. Halloweekend is a struggle. Difficult times.

Almost as difficult as trying to figure out whether to indulge this fella’s response with anymore of my time.

So, I didn’t.

I had other things to attend to. Like Staycation Guy.

On Friday, I decided to just throw caution to the wind and call the guy out on his intentions. I acknowledged the awkwardness of communicating via a website and suggested we move to text for faster and easier communication.

If he was interested in continuing the charade…er, conversation.

12 hours later, I had his phone number and sent him a text.

Before bed that day, I sent him a message back on the old asocial media website.

I awoke the next day to this

…as well as the realization that text obviously wasn’t going to improve this guy’s communication rhythm.

I went and got coffee with The Fox and let his reply simmer on my mind’s back burner.

Ultimately, I decided not to say anything and just let it lie.

Until

Six hours later, he messaged me on my favorite timesuck. He was riffing on my follow up via the same routine which was a simple, “I sent a text”.

I sent one back.

Ok, I appreciate a certain wryness. But was that what was happening here or was this guy just fucking with me?

Or was he just a complete social retard?

And, yes, I know retard is not a good word. But I’m saying his social skills seemed to be somehow retarded. Like undeveloped or halted in such a way that he really didn’t know he was failing.

I’m ambivalent about training boyfriends anymore. I think I’m less enthusiastic about training friends. Shouldn’t friendship come naturally?

At the same time, I look around our country today and see how people are so divided. So readily writing people off as The Other. Declaring The Other as an enemy…

I decided to reply. On the timesuck.

In a message that would make a terrible text – it was about 3″ long – I laid it out.

Texting should have been a much more effective form of communication but wasn’t for him.

If we’d failed to successfully burst into the real world when he had no work to complicate it and no other plans for his week, could we reasonably expect it to get easier when he added the complexity of work back into his schedule?

He read it.

I guess there’s a third type of person that I failed to consider, they just do nothing when pushed. No response. Which is probably as much genuine honesty as you’ll ever get from that type of person.

Plus, I’m sure nothing makes a denizen of asocial media less responsive than being confronted with something that’s 3″ long…

Dating Into Oblivion ep8

Dating Into Oblivion ep7

Bachelor #11: The Transplant.

I know! I’m so behind. Episode 5 & 6 are stuck in draft limbo, but whuddyagunnado?

You could call this one the “Fresh Off the Boat” episode or even the “When It Rains” edition given recent events. Honestly, I think either way you argue it, it comes down to me: I just feel better, and I think the universe is picking up on that and…showering me with rewards.

Or – and this seems likely – I’m still stuck in the dating desert that is Portland and this is all a mirage.

“But, just what is it?”, you ask.

Well, Bachelor #4 from way back in January is back on the radar. He’s the “when it rains” part of this story. Over the year, as we are still connected on actual social versus asocial media, he’ll ping my radar. This has led to occasional text-a-paloozas over the last 9 months or so.

Right meow, it looks like this last ping has some staying power for my radar. And after last night, I’d really like to ping him.

๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

But, that remains to be seen. He’s still in Vantucky and based on some recent events, logistically unavailable.

That’s different than geographically unavailable, which is one of the factors working against us back in January. He lives in Vantucky, I’m in Portland and don’t drive.

Another thing working against us?

My neurotic self.

I feel like entering into a situation where the expectation is that he haul ass to Portland every time we want to hang out is inequitable. For me, that was a poor start to a dating relationship.

For those and a few other flags – er…reasons – I let it fizzle.

But the sexy lil bastard just. keeps. pinging.

So…stand by. We’ll see what happens.

But, back to The Transplant.

While my old friend, DP, is fond of embracing the relationship philosophy of “Either you go on a date and never see each other again or you go on a date and he never leaves”, I have another notion. It’s not a criteria, which is a designation worth making, so much as maybe that’s just a potentially positive attribute of his.

Rib was a FOB. He’d been in Shittatle for a couple months from LA when we met. I think my ROI on the four years we spent together is pretty solid: I see he and I being friends for the rest of my life.

Maybe catching them fresh off the boat before they get caught up in the tidal wave of lost boys is a strategy with some legs?

The Transplant has been here in PDX for a couple months, having relocated from Chicago.

He hit me up on OKStupid a couple weeks ago.

We’re a ninety-friggin-six percent match.

That 4% intrigues me. He’s a vegetarian, which I want to say is the entire 4%.

Alas.

He’s also as much as stated that his personal style is distinctly designed without and fucks given to making other people comfortable.

Admittedly, my style is kind of the same. However, my Zero Fucks Given fashion manifests itself in me wearing tee shirts that have been in the dryer for three days and wearing clothes that “used to fit” but I don’t have to look at it, so screw it.

His Zero Fucks Given style is less apathy and more expression. He’s prone to inconsistent color in his hair and aggressively ripped clothing versus pathetically burst clothing.

Who knows, though?

If that’s the sum total of of our 4%, I’d say Vegetarian = 3.5 and Very Alt Style = .5 of those percentage points.

Interestingly, that he also ends up working for…Amazon is a complete fit of What Could Possibly Go Wrongness. Fortunately, he’s a third party employee – which is the group of “Amazon” employees that really gets the severest of Rogerings since Jeff – we are not on a first name basis – has very little control over their fate aside from renewing their employer’s contract.

Or, not.

Those third party employees largely tend to be delivery drivers and this is the…third? Yeah, let’s say third such employee I have known personally.

So, there he is texting – because our last message on OKStupid was, “Here’s my number, shoot me a text” – me how much he hates his Amazon job. I try congratulating him on his recent raise to $15/hr. He counters with the fact that that did not trickle down to the most Rogered of “Amazon” employees and six hours later, he texts me that he got a new job.

In a vegan restaurant.

So, I’m guessing this 4% isn’t a passing phase.

Sad face.

But, still…for all the guys I’ve known without jobs or prospects, this guy moves to town, takes any job he can get a paycheck from and then finds another job when it turns out to be 12 hours of this

I’m totally taking credit for being the impetus for him finding vocational satisfaction, because I can.

Neverthemess, we’ll see what happens when we meet face to face. He seems like a responsible and nice young dude, a 96% match and just…pleasant.

How fucked up is it that pleasant is not a given in this dating world?

Wait.

Never mind.

I just remembered who I am.

We’re meeting up Sunday afternoon, so we’ll see.

And I’ll likely report back.

For now, just talking to a guy who is living his life with intention and drive is…nice.n

Dating Into Oblivion ep7

Life Alone With Myrtle

I was watching The Rainmaker last night, being blown away by the sorrow that greed rains down on people…as well as the inescapable parallel to the definitely pathetic so-called leadership in America.

I got up from my reclined position on the sofa to refill my dinner wine – just kidding, I had lasagna, wine was just the side dish…and dessert – and had this little obstacle to navigate around.

Heading in to the kitchen:Heading back to the couch:

I’d like to think she takes an interest in my doings, but really I know she was just on the lookout for bonus treats.

I told her she’d just had dinner, so no treats.

Going on, I chided her that given the similarities in our body types and supine positions, “Y’know, Myrt, the only real difference between us is this wine glass”.

As clearly unimpressed as Myrtle was with that comparison – her inscrutable gaze seemed to say, “I make it look good” – the brief interaction made me grin. She’s not the warmest of beings, but coming up on three years together, at least we’ve reached a point in our relationship where she’s no longer overtly hostile toward me.

She still makes attack runs at my ankles, but they are…playful?

She still sits and scratches at doors she wants open versus closed. I can count on three such acts occurring in some combination between the linen closet, utility room or coat closet each evening.

She’s still mental is all I’m saying. Just calmer.

And at three years, it’s settled into a pretty nice – using that word loosely – cohabitation. My favorite part being sleeping together at night.

Myrtle spends a good chunk of her day sleeping on the bed. Probably she sleeps about 16 hours a day, which includes my nightly struggle.

Whether my night consists of four hours or seven, she’s usually there with me for most of it. Tolerating my intrusion into her bed.

Frankly, it’s my favorite part of sleeping, having her join me. Sometimes she sleeps at the foot of the bed – I’m a restless sleeper. Others, she’ll snuggle up to my lower leg and a couple times a week, she’ll even nest between my legs.

There’s actually three stages of sharing a bed with Myrtle.

Stage One is my bedtime. Usually, she’s already there and I have to ease myself into a position that is fairly comfortable for me without disturbing her. I’m not always successful with this and sometimes she will leave the bed in protest.

Regardless of my success, she’ll usually hop down at some point. At the very least, she’ll get up with me if I wake up to pee.

She expects a treat. She expects one every time I get out of the bed…like it’s a reward for her not killing me in my sleep.

Stage Two is when she comes back to bed after her treat. I’ll usually lay on my back with a pillow over my face, legs crossed at the ankle or in a figure 4 with one ankle under the opposite knee. She comes back on her own timetable after patrolling the house and maybe playing or dispatching and insects that need killing.

In true unstable Myrtle fashion, she walks into the room – claws clicking on the cork flooring – and instead of jumping on the bed by the door, walks around the bed <click,click,click> and jumps up at the head of the bed. I think she does this strictly to terrify me. The anticipation building until she pounces onto the bed inches from my head.

Now you know why it’s covered by a pillow.

That brief terror is all part of the routine as she reminds me of my place in our relationship. Then she will spend some time picking out her spot, either against my leg or between them. Regardless, my favorite part of every night is when I feel her weight settle in against my body. I smile every time, regardless of how awake/asleep I am.

More than once during this Phase Two, her timing has been around the same time I decide I want a drink of water. I’ll roll over into my stomach and reach over to the nightstand for my glass, propping myself up on my elbows.

<pounce>

Myrtle will settle between my legs as I’m on my elbows and stomach, sipping. Having instantly become settled, Myrtle will meet any disturbance with…prejudice.

This leaves me with two choices: disgruntled feline or making the most of it. Usually, I will pull pillows up under my torso until I am some sort of strange pyramid. Then try to sleep.

She’s for sure the boss.

At some point, I’ll move. This will drive Myrtle out of her nest and she’ll go prowl for a while. Sometimes I’ll be awake and just lay in bed reading, other times I’ll fall back to sleep.

Stage Three is when she comes back to bed for the final time for her pre-breakfast nap.

<click,click,click>

If I’m reading, she’ll definitely crawl onto my crossed legs and stretch out. If I’m not already reading, this is my wake up call and she’ll settle in at the foot of the bed until I get up. She’s nice enough to let me read a little while I wake up.

I think she’s just playing the odds that my old brain will forget whether she had a “midnight” snack or not. Regardless, when I get up she hops onto the table and perches in Snack Pose. If I don’t fall for it and serve her breakfast, she regards me with a look that expresses how disappointed she is in my lack of trainability. Eventually she jumps off her perch and checks out the kibble before finding a spot in the sun for her morning catnap.

It’s a fairly terrifying relationship with moments that I intentionally mistake for affection. But it’s still the most functional relationship I’ve had in the last five years. Having a cat like Myrtle has significantly curbed my desire to date, since what I tend to find in Portland are broken and lost boys.

At least the shit she gives me is literal and flushable instead of emotional and semi-permanent.

I’ll take that trade off.

Life Alone With Myrtle

Where Are They Now?

I’ve actually read a couple of blogs recently that have revived this snarky thought of mine.

It started a long time ago. Before the turn of the century, in fact. It began as a Where Are They Now for the gay “It” idols of the day – Kristen Bjorn porn stars.

Somehow this porn producer had managed to export every superficial SoCal gay attribute and imbue a cadre of Eastern European men with them and <ahem> whip out scores of videos that ruined positive body image health for gay men. Well, not single handedly, to be sure, but it was definitely a piece of the catastrophe.

Of course, the luster was short lived for me and I began to start thinking of these poor potentially exploited boys more like gayveal than physique role models.

Anyway, I just held that random “Where Are They Now” thought in the back of my mind as a reality check for the over- sexualized subculture of which I was a part.

A touchstone for reason.

This morning, one of the bloggers that I follow posted an interesting entry. His blog is a combination of short-form writing and pictorial entries. This morning’s was pictorial and caught me off guard when it included a pic of this guy

who was a gay-world famous underwear model after winning a model search competition from designer Andrew Christian.

To me, he – this model turned nobody – is symbolic of a couple of things:

First, these AC model contests were unique back in the early 20-teens but seemed to occur at the same time that Andrew Christian’s design was jumping the shark.

Suddenly, underwear styles were focused more on push up style structure or peekaboo openings and bare backsides…did we really need to reinvent thongs and jock straps? My gut told me that the marketing campaign was to distract from the functionality or even quality.

You’ve heard me bemoan people who seem to embrace the mantra, “It’s better to look good than to be good”, right?

Well, now you have.

Second, we – and I think I mean we as in American culture, not just gay culture – we’re making celebrities out of people whose only accomplishments seemed to be good genes and a rigid focus on corporeal development versus people with any appreciable skill or talent.

This is alarming in the gay community, particularly, because we already had a propensity to compensate physically for other – sometimes inequality imposed – shortcomings. It was almost like we represented our best selves using our bodies as a billboard.

No big deal.

Except

We seem to have gotten sucked into the industry of our physical selves and forgotten or minimized the importance of developing our inner selves.

Being good looking and physically fit shouldn’t be a bad thing, but somehow we found a way to ruin it.

Apologies to Michelle Obama.

Good looking men are making a living as go-go boys. Posting admittedly enjoyable pics of them in their underwear in exotic locations for Pride season all over the globe that are riddled with typos.

Redefining the phrase Peter Principle.

During the off-Pride season, too many of these guys end up shooting porn or escorting to maintain their lifestyle and – believe it or not – image.

Now, I’m no prude and certainly don’t condemn porn or sex work. It’s when either industry becomes predatory, preying on the desperate or unadmittedly stupid that I begin to take issue.

That’s not how I want my “Where Are They Now” question answered. I’ve seen too many so-called gay celebrities or community icons die after getting ground up in those industries. Yes, yes…this is all just an extension of my attraction to boys with broken wings.

How I’d like the question answered is with interviews of paunch-gutted male pattern baldness suffering men describing their post-over-exposed-beefcake successes. Six pack abs replaced by a keg sized beer belly and a story of how they built a successful local charity helping homeless gay youth off the street. Flawless skin overrun by a network of telltale drug-addiction scars but an inspiring long term relationship that saved a life by returning someone to not just sobriety but reality.

That’s a documentary that I’d watch.

Remember how this “Where Are They Now” throwback was credited to two recent blog posts that I’d read?

Yeah, well that was the easy one.

The second blog – and more challenging, to be honest – was a piece about good looking guys being shamed.

Didya?

Be honest…did you see that twist coming?

I hate to keep using that meme, but it’s so friggin’ perfect in so many instances.

And I really was not prepared for my thoughts after reading this blog post.

It is short, but in its brevity managed to take to task the people who troll people online that are simply showing off their physical accomplishments.

My thoughts – you know from reading above: slippery slope.

I came away from reading this blog with a yellow flag on my thoughts. I needed to remember that maybe the people who fall down that slope are the tip of the iceberg.

Sure.

I can admit that there’s just a lot of people in the world that are at a more disciplined point in their lives than I am. I’ve been there, I am not there now.

At the same time, I had to admit that I do unfairly criticize these people at times, even if it’s only mentally.

But.

While I’m internally committing to being more generative and appreciative of these physical accomplishments that I envy, I’m simultaneously struggling. Struggling with the reality that there are people who ignore me in my daily online and real life interactions because I am not one of them.

That’s tough.

I know when it’s happening. My less mellowed-with-age self would call it out. If someone ignored me online, I might have sent a final accusatory message that suggested they were bad people for their superficiality.

It wasn’t rewarding because I got to bitch someone out. It was rewarding because the response was usually one of two things:

A) I get so many responses, I can’t reply to them all

Poor thing.

I think the price of entry into the world of social media really should be that one is socially competent. Or at least…social.

It’s a lame excuse and one with an eight keystroke counter argument.

1) Hit Reply

2-7) Hit T H A N K S keys

8) Hit Send

This acknowledges the effort and largely discourages a response by closing the door to further conversation. In doing so, though, it remains social and even more importantly, preserves the self-worth of the sender. Sure, you’re gonna have those few people who don’t speak hint fluently, but that’s the cost of internet fame, eh? Everyone shouldn’t be treated like that worst case scenario.

Alternatively, if that’s too much of a burden, many apps allow you to turn off responses…maybe use those. Problem solved.

B) I’m only here for sex, not friends

Ok, that problem will just take care of itself eventually. Except it will perpetuate the negative and impersonal app-tastic culture we’ve cultivated over the last 20 years in the process.

So the hate and trolling that this guy mentions is familiar, I get it.

Is it a situation where one party bears the blame?

No…not at all.

It’s collateral damage to psychological warfare people don’t even know they are engaged in. I’d wager the majority of the trolls this guy is mentioning didn’t start out as trolls. They probably started out perfectly reasonable and over the course of being ignored repeatedly built up an intolerance that manifests itself by lashing out preemptively at the next sexy guy they see.

How screwed up is that?

Guys aspiring to a physical form that attracts social media attention ignore attention from their less attractive audience building up resentment that manifests itself as what then gets described as trolling or bullying.

Ok, first…make sure you aren’t calling someone a troll because they correct you on the not-overwhelmingly complex correct usage of there/they’re/their.

Second, maybe what we all need to do is infuse our social and real life lives with more compassion.

Point A above goes a long way. Be grateful you’re getting the attention you may not have admitted to yourself you seek. Know enough about interacting with humans to gracefully stop a conversation from progressing. Ignoring a conversation doesn’t make it go away, it alters it’s course.

On the flip side, maybe just stick to correcting real life friends on their grammar. Using the excuse, “They need to know” isn’t any less an abdication of responsibility than “I get too many responses to reply to them all” is when it comes to dealing with people online.

And…after all is said and done here? I realized that I don’t really care where most of these people end up. The great lot of them are Kardashian-esque Lost Boys, so maybe I should just do a little virtual housecleaning and make sure that I’m surrounding myself with people that enhance my happiness versus highlight the things about people that make me unhappy.

It’s been an interesting week in my head, folks.

Love and pizza, yo!

Where Are They Now?

Xtopher’s Rib

This here, ladies and gentlemen and all-gendered readers, is the oldest draft I presently own.

May 24, 2016…if you’re curious.

It’s been back on my mind because of my commitment to wrap up my open gay-jacent writing projects during Pride month. Also, Rib graduated Flight Attendant College last week and this was his first full week working as a Flight Attendant.

I sent him a text when I realized he had finished the 8 week course, which seemed to go on forever from where I witnessed it. I wonder what it felt like to him…although his occasional social media updates suggested he enjoyed his time there.

His response was, “Thanks, Dad!”

Classic Rib.

I should note that Rib actually provided his own blog identity after briefly wanting to change his name to Rib during Culinary School.

It is a name that has stuck with him, at least with my friends. The Silver Fox spied this restaurant on a trip through Spain and Portugal and demanded I forward it to Rib.

I initially started this post after I participated in a Writing Workshop that the original Fabulous Baker Sister had suggested to me. ย It was my first such experience and I found that my ex had been a topic that came to mind during a couple of the assigned exercises.

Not knowing what to expect of the workshop, I arrived just the slightest bit anxious. ย Also, the teensiest buzzed thanks to a spontaneous happy hour with my parents. ย I love my mom and dad. The pre-funk helped me relax into the exercises.

I had been thinking about what – or if – to write about that experience. ย It was really amazing. ย There were four exercises we did and two of them had ended up involving the best of my ex boyfriends. ย Later in this same week, he moved into his first home with his partner, so he’d kind of been center stage in my consciousness for several days around the week of the workshop.

Regardless of how readily he sprung to mind after the prompts given at the Writing Workshop, the blog entry kind of stalled.

Limbo.

Truth be told, I had actually started this draft the year before the date I quoted earlier…that was just the most recent edit.

The summer before, Rib and his boyfriend had come down for a spontaneous visit. I think it was near the end of Summer. They live in Seattle and had been to dinner at one of Rib’s former classmates from Culinary School. She lived in Olympia and when I got the call, he said that they had decided to pop down to Portland since they were so close.

Ok

Seriously, though, that type of spontaneity in a relationship is just fun.

They checked into their hotel and then popped over for a nightcap. We may have gone out for a Spanish Coffee at Huber’s that night because that’s what you do with out of town guests in Portland.

It was a fun evening, connecting with them as an actual couple, like adults. I admit that when we all lived in Seattle and ended up together, I’d recreationally by the boyfriend shots just because I knew how he suffered the next day.

To his credit, he was at least a willing sport, borderline good sport about it.

The day after their surprise visit, we went wine tasting in the valley. They had just bought a humongous orange Jeep. I was kind of jealous, never having really gotten over getting rid of my own Jeep at Sacha’s urging back in ’02. He hated it, granted it was a piece of shit…but the boys’ Jeep was certainly enviable.

We hit three different wineries and had a wonderful afternoon tasting at the different estates, two of which were simply breathtaking. I can’t believe I don’t have pics from that day at my fingertips…checkout my last post for a little insight as to how those might have gone missing.

Anyway, after the Writing Workshop, I was all jazzed up to share my Rib relationship story. Then I saw an article in the Huffington Post suggesting that people who were friends with their exes were either narcissists or psychopaths.

Great.

Here I was, 45-plus years on, feeling proud to finally have an ex that I was able to remain friends with. I’m off brand for friendship with Sacha. The Mulligan has the bad manners to die.

So, yeah, no pressure, Xtopher…but I felt Rib was my one last shot at exercising the concept of actually maintaining a post-relationship relationship with an ex.

You see, here’s the deal, Rib and I were never supposed to date, anyway.

We’d met in a bar one night when I wandered out for a solo beer in Seattle, as was my weekday ritual. There was this ginger nugget of a guy siting at the corner, right near where I ordered my beer.

We chatted while I waited to be served, so I ended up sitting next to him. Rib was sitting around the corner of the bar and occasionally interjected during our conversation.

Sassy.

He eventually drove the other guy away. As I watched him leave, I realized that he was actually meeting the bartender, Rock, at the door and they left together.

Glad I could help pass the time. Hehe.

Then it was just Rib and me. He’d still blurt out random conversation as I sipped. Eventually, I realized that hidden by his hedgehog hairstyle were earbuds.

“You’re listening to your own music?!?”, I said realizing now why his additions to my earlier conversation had seemed so erratic, they had come as he overheard our conversation between songs.

Seems he didn’t appreciate the bar’s music. When I asked why he didn’t go to a bar that was more his style, he admitted that the bartender gave him free drinks here.

“The one that just left with the guy I was talking to?”

We chatted a little more, learning that he’d only been in town for a few weeks, having moved from SoCal. He liked it ok, but had not yet adjusted to how hilly it was, gesturing to his feet, where there was a large pair of high laced combat style boots.

Apparently, they were pretty heavy to lug around, especially after a few drinks. He admitted to having fallen just recently and blamed the terrain.

It was cute.

He ended up coming home with me that night – nothing happened, you pervs! I’d gotten him – with Rock’s help – a little too relaxed to safely haul his boots home.

Interestingly, and DP will tell me that he told me so, he never really left after that first night. DP’s relationship philosophy, as he’d described it to me once, was that you meet someone and take them home…they either never leave or you never see them again.

It’s admittedly jaded, but also truer than I’d like to admit.

However, while Rib was right up my alley as far as my tastes in guys go; I wasn’t ready to blindly accept DP’s sage dating advice at face value.

Over the coming days, I learned that Rib had chosen Seattle because his sister lived here and he’d wanted to get out of his mom’s house and onto his own two feet without totally forfeiting an actual safety net.

Made sense.

In SoCal, he’d gone to college for a while and then dropped out and moved back into his mom’s house. For the time before deciding to move, he’d been taking care of the family cats and cooking meals for his mom while she worked.

I asked what he was doing since getting to Seattle.

“Oh, y’know…taking care of my sister’s dog while she works and cooking dinner for her”

“Good thing you got out from under your mom’s skirts”, I joked.

Obviously, we weren’t a good match. I’m grumpy old me and he was just this endearing Lost Boy. I told him that and when he asked why, I told him that I expected a boyfriend to have a job.

Dating younger guys, I hardly expected them to have similar professional accomplishments, but I expected them to at least be working toward something.

Thinking that was that, I was surprised that he went out and got an interview at a local candy shop-slash-tourist trap.

Go, Rib!

Ok, that was kind of impressive and before you know it, we’re six months in.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We’d have talks about serious stuff – how to continue his upward trajectory toward being an adult – that would end in big, slow rolling tears. It was strange to navigate those talks. They usually started with a Rib mini-tantrum, something like him hating his job.

He’d just blurt out, “I hate it! I’m quitting!”

I’d counter with something like what he hated about it and he’d yell “Everything!” or complain that he didn’t get paid enough for what they expected him to do. He’d eventually settle down and pull his knees up to his chin as he gained an understanding of what he was struggling with, arriving at the realization that he needed to be able to stick it out at a job he “hated” until he found something else.

He didn’t like it, but he understood it.

My rule of thumb when dating younger guys has always been “leave ’em better than you found ’em”. Rib surprised me by being pretty open to the perspective I had to offer – despite occasional tough conversations like I described above – when he encountered challenges, either at work or just in getting his feet under him in a new city.

Like I said, he’d grown frustrated with his job and somehow – I think through another co-worker – gotten hooked up as waitstaff for the private club behind my condo.

It was a challenging job jump because it was a pretty exclusive, high touch club. But he took to it.

He really got excited about the environment, from learning about high end wine to serving in a fine dining environment.

At some point in those first years we were together, education came up. I’m not sure how. Probably, I was a bossy jerk about him completing a degree.

Given his enthusiasm for cooking – for his mom, then his sister and now me – and food in general from his experience at the club, he was thinking about Culinary School.

It made sense, too. The boy was a complete geek whenever he came to my kitchen store. His passion and enthusiasm were obvious and my team loved seeing him pop into the shop to explore or take a class. Soon enough, we were having Thanksgiving dinners at the condo with his mom and aunts visiting from SoCal and the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.

Rib actually managed to complete his culinary degree debt free because of his Native American heritage. It was a big plus for him an took a lot of the stress out of his decision to finish his education.

His graduation was a big deal, as it should be. It was shortly after his Chef of the Day project. His mom came up from SoCal, his Seattle-sister was there, obviously, and my parents and sister drove up from Portland in what turned out to be the winter storm of the century. It had turned their three to four hour drive into a nine-plus hour affair.

Luckily, Rib went all out for his CoD and the menu included baby octopus. Prepared as obvious octopus. Everyone forgot the travel journey and seems to only remember that. But in having so much of our respective families present, it really felt like a family affair.

After graduation, he floundered. What he’d realized in college was that he didn’t want to be a cook.

Ok

When pressed during conversations about it, he’d articulate how he wanted to use his education to be able to design menus, but he was getting more and more interested in the front of the house experience he was picking up at the club.

His boss at the club ended up connecting him to a restaurant in Pike Place Market. It was fine dining and Rib was pretty excited about the change. It ended up being a good change for him. He was working part time hours and with the tips he earned he was making high $40k a year.

Waiting tables.

I was a little jealous!

This Lost Boy that I’d picked up in a bar a scant few years earlier that had had no job or inclination was now a college grad and making a respectable living for himself.

I was proud of him.

Even not realizing what was ahead for us.

Oooooh, foreshadowing!

So…right, even with all this growth, the boy still had quite a bratty streak in him. It was a constant in his personality and part of what I loved about him, but occasionally he’d take it too far.

Frequently, we’d be out with friends and – depending on the situation – he’d get bored because my friends did boring “old people” stuff and he wanted to dance and carry on or we’d do stuff with his friend and I was too much of an “Oldie Hawn”. We each enjoyed the others friends, but when he wasn’t into it, it could really get stressful.

It was on one of these nights out, us and DP, where I don’t remember what exactly was going on, but he wasn’t enjoying it.

Oddly, we were headed to his favorite late night food spot for some pozole, but he was still not having it. He was literally dragging his feet and bitching from a half a block behind us about how lame we were.

It was then that I realized that for all of his growth, this was as far as he was going to grow with me. I sent him home and went to dinner with DP.

I don’t know what he did when he left, but he was home when I got there, sitting on the floor somewhere between a pout and guilt. I told him that his behavior was unacceptable.

He knew, he flashed a couple of those big, sad, trauma tears and I told him we should break up. I could see that he was maxed out on growth, having taken a big step in moving from SoCal to Seattle, but he hadn’t really given up the security of having someone else in his move from Mom to sister to me. My thinking was that until he had to really bear the burden of his own responsibilities, this was as close as he was going to come to becoming his own man.

It was a super hard conversation. Flashing through my mind as it was happening was another conversation. We’d run into a friend of mine at The Cuff and he was chiding me about Rib being so young. This was early in our relationship, they were just meeting for the first time. In response to his trading, I’d said, “What? He’ll be 30 before I turn 50!”

It earned me a laugh and an eye roll at the time, but in breaking up with Rib it was playing in my mind as I admitted to myself that this could be the last relationship of my life.

I know…so dramatic.

Still, I knew that Rib would eventually get bored stagnating in this almost state. He’d come to this same conclusion eventually, then he’d leave me. Whether it was six months or six years later, I was certain it would happen and then I’d resent him. I’d react indignantly and overemphasize the sacrifice of my leveraged happiness that I’d made by selfishly staying with him.

Y’know, like I did with Sacha.

It took me a long time to get over my anger at him for leaving me. Part of that was the way that he’d left me, the other part was jealousy that he’d had the balls to leave me when I’d stayed with him out of fear of being single at the time.

So, I knew what I was talking about in this situation.

We set up a timeline for finding him his own place and within a few weeks, he was looking at furniture and settling in. I sent a lot of good kitchen stuff with him that we’d accumulated over the years together, but I knew that he’d get better use out of it than me.

His sister – unhelpfully – set him up on a date about three weeks after he moved out. She’s a serial dater, so I wasn’t surprised. However, I thought he really needed time to get to know himself as an individual before really dating again.

That disagreement – and Rib’s subsequent sudden new boyfriend – caused me to lay down a six month embargo on contact.

I needed time to heal and adjust myself.

Well, not “adjust myself”…y’know, just get an answer to “Who is single Xtopher?”

At the end of that timeframe, we found ourselves drawn together on occasion. Sometimes randomly, running into each other at a bar, cue shots for the boyfriend! Others, I’d get a request for a solo lunch date and we’d talk about struggles: work, boyfriend, what have you.

The boys still come to town – not enough in my opinion – and I’m happy to let them treat me to a $300 dinner…has anyone seen my pride? Usually, though, I see them pop up on social media. It’s a pleasant vicarious surprise, seeing them post from Flushing Meadows or Australia as they attend an Open. A sudden trip to Germany with the fam for Oktoberfest.

I’m glad to see him thriving with his new boyfriend. Now, particularly seeing him become a flight attendant after trying to get into the program for three years. That was something that came up seemingly out of nowhere, but he didn’t let the first two experiences discourage him.

And now he’s done it.

Anyway, I can’t think of a better way to wrap up Pride month than completing a project about a person I was lucky enough to spend some time with and am privileged enough to still be a part of his life, albeit just as a friendly little narcissistic and/or psychopathic sliver.

Right, HuffPo?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go be alone forever.

<dramatic sniff>

Xtopher’s Rib

The Motion On The Ocean

As Pride month draws to a close, I feel the pressure mounting to mark complete a commitment I made to myself at the beginning of the month:

Finish up my thematically Gay drafts.

Having posts in draft status is part of blogging…at least for me. I haven’t found a great alternative for maintaining an idea pipeline for my writing. I know that my memory is probably only a slightly better option than scribbling ideas on toilet paper and storing them in the city’s waste management system.

So, I have drafts.

And they make me absolutely crazy!

I started this month with nearly 20 drafts. I like to keep the number of drafts around half that. It makes me feel like I’m both productive and in control. But put a cap on creative ideas, right?

Bad idea.

So, I allow myself latitude.

That said, since the start of June, I’ve gotten the number of drafts down to 13, including this one. It’s a memory lane type of piece about a bar that I used to go to: Ripples. So, completing it would be a double whammy achievement; crossing a draft off of the to-do list and completing my gay themed pieces during Pride month.

I was a little surprised to see that I have five gay oriented drafts in my pipeline still after publishing 10/27 days this month. The oldest is from May of ’16…I’ve told you, I put the “pro” in procrastinate.

So, shall we?

When I lived in Long Beach, CA – an important designation given so many states’ pride in the length of their oceanfront municipalities…WA, MS & CA are just the three that come readily to mind – I had two bars that I frequented: Ripples and Silver Fox. I’ve written a little about (a lot, TBH) the Silver Fox – the bar, not the bestie – since it was the first gay bar I went into as an adult. You can get a taste of those entries here and, well, here. Since my best friend is nicknamed The Silver Fox and is an unwitting star in so many of my exploits and (mis)adventures, I thought I’d give you a couple links versus making you scroll through the hashtag results. However, I’ve never really dedicated any significant time to recalling Ripples. Just a random thought here or there.

And it was such a formative piece of my coming out process. I mean, in the first place, this was back in the days when being gay was still kind of an underground experience. You came out, but frequently that was met with a grudging acceptance versus a celebration. People tolerated my sexual orientation and said things like, “I don’t care, just don’t rub my nose in it”.

So, the obviously cared.

Gay bars were places where we could let our guard down and be comfortable. I imagine that what I felt walking into a gay bar back then was similar to what a woman feels when she takes her bra off after a long day.

Just guessing.

But on top of that, it wasn’t just a bar, like the Silver Fox. It was a venue.

I was lucky enough to live across the street from it. Situated at the corner of Granada and Ocean in Belmont Shores, I had it made – across Granada, Ripples; across Ocean, the gay beach.

So, what’s this venue all about? Well, it’s been 20 years since I set foot in the place, and I started this blog post when I learned that the bar was up for sale…for something like $5 mil.

That’s the price of oceanfront commercial property in Cali these days, I guess.

But that’s the joint: Ripples, aka: the motion on the ocean. A basic bar on the main level; tables and chairs on one side, pool table on the other, his and hers-turned-his-by-circumstance bathrooms and then an enclosed patio. The upper level had another bar and then a huge parquet dance floor.

The best possible start to any week or end to any weekend was their Sunday Beer Bust, even older gays called it a Tea Dance. Pay $5 at the door, get a wristband and plastic party cup and drink all afternoon. I think the beer bust was something like four hours, maybe 2-6? Plenty of time for brunch, gym and/or the beach beforehand. But you wanted to get there early, before the line went all the way down the block…but not so early that you were too early.

In a fit of coincidence, both of my favorite bars in the LBC were owned by Johns. One was literally a Silver Fox, the other was a stocky, jocular Hispanic guy. When I met Barbie – the owner of Purr in Seattle – she reminded me of John. They both provided this space that was an extension of their generous and caring spirit.

That reinforcement of the feeling of a safe space for gays was taken a step further here – you felt like part of the family. As a matter of fact, John’s sister set up each week on the patio with a Mexican buffet dinner. Grilled (right there on the patio) chicken, refried beans, rice, salad fixings. Not a bad way to end the beer bust, right?

For all of us gays, watching our straight counterparts dating, marrying and starting a family, this weekly ritual provided us with something alien to our lifestyle: family. We certainly weren’t likely to be starting one of our own, so this situational family – chosen family or logical versus biological as Armistead Maupin puts it – provided a tether to a normal type Sunday dinner with the family.

Albeit a Sunday dinner with an admittedly debaucherous edge!

I think it was this tether to reality that afforded my generation of gays to have their Peter Pan Syndrome and not grow up without becoming full on Lost Boys in the process. Anymore, what I observe of gay men barely even resembles a Lost Boy and is careening dangerously toward Lord of the Flies type madness.

But I digress. Go figure.

Think about it, Friday and Saturday nights, you come to the bar and have some drinks with your friends, cut loose on the dance floor, shoot some pool…unwind from your week. Maybe you connect with someone and have some sexy times. Maybe you don’t, but come 2 a.m. you hit the sidewalk sale after the lights come up for a last chance at getting your rocks off.

Come Sunday afternoon, you’re back to end the weekend as a community. Delighting in sending your friends back to their 9-5 closets for another week. Not missing a chance to see who shows up with their Friday or Saturday night trick turned possible relationship.

And if you aren’t ready to call it a weekend when beer bust ends at 6, there was usually a show upstairs after. If you didn’t mind paying for drinks, well…the entertainment was always worth the price of another drink or two. At least once a month you could count on seeing The Campers, a bearded drag troupe that would play out scenes from camp movies, lip syncing the lines while hilariously acting them out. My favorite were their Baby Jane scenes.

So good.

Also, familiar. Or, fagmiliar if you’ll allow the Chrisism.

The standing room crowd would usually recite the lines along with The Campers.

One of the other faves, although less frequent, were the Del Rubio Triplets.

Edie, Millie and Elena…this was the late, late 80s and early 90s, and these sisters – born in 1921 – were in their late 60s and early 70s serving up acoustic guitar covers of Devo’s Whip It in sequin and lame short skirts and cowboy boots to a raucous crowd of buzzed and tanned beach boys.

God, it was so awesome! I think all three sisters survived into their 80s. If I recall correctly, Millie even lived to be 90. They were famous for their Christmas shows, appearances on evening talk shows and cameos in movies like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but I’ll always remember them for their shows at Ripples.

And, while I could always stop in for a cold one after a long day at work or hard day of sunbathing across the street and rely on some friendly chat with the bartender or other transient barside resident, it’s those events like beer bust and the shows that set it apart from just being a bar for me and made it a haven.

I could go on and on about the motion on the ocean, but maybe those are stories for another time. The month is nearly over, after all…

The Motion On The Ocean