It’s Sunday night, I have to work tomorrow and it’s already 10pm, but I’m hunting men online. There is one guy, Nick*, who has been trying to arrange a hook up with me for three weeks. “You’re fuckin’ hot – I like your look man,” he tells me. He gives me his phone number and I text him my address. He responds by saying he entered me on his phone contacts list as “Stud”.
I moved to the big city from a small town to search for a connection, and I’d be lying if I said that the connection I sought wasn’t sexual. Whether that connection was to be found with one man, or the whole crowd at the Eagle on a Saturday night, it didn’t matter. I’m a self-professed sexual adventurer - a nice way of saying I’m a slut. I never bought into the word “slut” as having a negative connotation. Was I ever thrilled when those Slut Walks were happening in 2011 all over the world. Should I condemn myself for seeking connection with others through sexual means? The world at large would say yes. But of course that world is all too often hypocritical. Try looking at it this way: Sex often brings disparate people together in an intimate way, people who might otherwise never have met.
But any realist will tell you that sex, and the hunting for it, doesn’t always bring joy – that’s why this column is subtitled “Cautionary Tales from the Quest”. First off, hunting for sex is time consuming. For all the time I spend on line, I could easily do a part-time evening job, and I sure could use that job to pay for the drinks I consume at the bars. Whether online, at a bar, at a sauna or at the grocery store, hunting for sex is fun...and tiring...and exciting...and disappointing. It’s hot. It’s desperate. It’s an affirmation of one’s sexuality, but the ego can be bruised faster than it takes to click “send”. Hunting for sex is a game that has no end. And would you want it to end? It can be an addiction. How far you spiral into that addiction depends on so many factors. But my question, as I walk down the street and wonder about the sex lives of the non-descript people who pass by, is: Aren’t we all touched by this addiction in some way, gay or straight?
Back to Nick the Trick. He’d been eating away his time by cyber-chasing me for 3 weeks, as I mentioned. He suggested that we get to know each other – naked. My pics are recent and are body and face, me in all my naked glory save for the black underwear (he didn`t request the naked ones). But I waffled with Nick – was I really attracted to his pics? But it was time to shit or get off the pot and not be an internet player. Then he writes: “Are you masc?” It should be a rhetorical question, because how else can I answer but with “ Yeah man, masc here”. I’m pretty built, have facial hair, and like to fuck to heavy metal. And I think Liza Minnelli is grand. This can go either way here, folks. He says he’s on his way.
He buzzes, I let him up, open the door and see it right away. It’s a look I’ve seen before, and a look I’ve no doubt given before when meeting a trick – disappointment. Something right away isn’t living up to his expectations. So before I can decide if I even like him, I am challenged to change the look on his face. He comes in and I offer him a beer. I grab one for myself – it’ll be my fourth drink that night (on a work night). He steers towards my couch which is covered with clothes and newspapers, and says “So, you live in the gay Village”. Strike one – he is one of those gay men who abhors the Village and what it represents to them. Undaunted, I suggest that the bed might be more comfortable to chat on. He doesn’t look convinced but follows me in, where my computer is playing some good ‘ol rock n’ roll.
And we talk. Or he talks. Once he gets going, I find it hard to get a word in edgewise. More to the point, when I do speak he has a tendency to cut me off. But I’m a pleaser, and so let him have the floor, showing a keen interest, hoping this makes him like me – sad, but true. But an hour passes and finally – he yawns. He says that he should probably get going. In five minutes he is out the door and we both know that that is the end of that.
The door closes and there is a deathly silence in my head, even as the metal continues to play. I hold my head in my hands and think these thoughts: What did I do to disappoint him? Was I not masculine enough? I wanted him to want me, but am acutely aware that that is my ego talking. I was in truth only mildly attracted, but his distance made me want to pounce on him.
At this point, you have two options. You can turn out the lights, go to bed, curl up like a fetus and feel sorry for yourself, but I chose something different. After holding my head in my hands for 30 seconds, I decided to reclaim my bruised ego and my sexuality. I poured myself another drink, opened up a porn site, and proceeded to jack off. Pathetic you say? Oh no, dear reader, it’s called reclaiming your sexuality. If Nick didn’t want me and my sexuality, I would satisfy myself. My self- worth and vision of my sexuality wouldn’t be extinguished by one guy saying no. The lesson here was that my sexuality, my sense of pleasure, was in my hands, not Nick’s. In my late thirties, I was no longer willing to hand over my sexual self-esteem to anybody. And yet...I run into Nick on the streets of the Village from time to time (he, who apparently condescends about the Village, sure seems to be spending a lot of time in it). And usually we ignore each other, or quickly nod. Invariably, a feeling of shame, of being “less than”, creeps up the back of my neck. I valiantly try to resurrect my self-esteem. Then, an act of God: The next guy that passes by smiles flirtatiously at me. I say a little prayer of thanks for this boost from an angel and continue down the street, on a chilly Fall day in the Village.
*I don`t really remember his name. How the hell am I supposed to keep track of names?e`sHehHHHHHHjjj