Dear Reader, I lied to you. In my last column “People Who Need People”, I lied to you and I lied to myself. I related a hook-up I had with Colin, a guy who looked just as hot in reality as in his pics online. I said that we connected. I said that the sex was electric. I said I wanted to see him a second time and that I was going to message him online and see if he was interested in getting together again too. Well, I did message him – and he never responded.
Here’s the truth about our hook-up. I knew in some place deep down that he wasn’t as impressed with me as I was with him when we finally met face to face at my door. There were red flags. While we sat and talked on my couch, I would find reasons to touch his arm or his leg. He did not do the same. When we had chatted on line, he seemed so excited to meet, using lots of exclamation marks in his messages to me. In person, he was reserved, and withholding. When the sex happened, it was piggy – we 69’d, we ate each others’ asses, we licked our pits, he let me fuck him. I chose to believe that he was really into me. But looking back, I knew better.
I couldn’t tell you the truth about my misgivings in my last post because my ego wanted you to think I was hot shit. And it got me thinking about “leagues”. Was Colin ultimately out of my league? What league am I in? Am I doomed to only want men who are “out of my league” and therefore unavailable? If I am totally honest with you (which I will be from now on), I fall somewhere smack dab in the middle with reference to which league I fall into. If I hit the bar on a Saturday night, I am hit on and ignored by an equal number of men. But my question is: are our leagues set in stone? Or is there more to it than meets the eye at first?
I know the answer, and am grateful to have learned this kernel of wisdom which I will share with you now.
Back in 1998, I was the door man at a gay bar near the Rockies. I’ll never forget the night that I first laid eyes on Corey, a tall blond god, who entered the club with his much-older boyfriend. He didn’t appear to pay me any mind when he paid his cover charge, and I chalked that up to him being out of my league. He and his boyfriend came irregularly, and when he paid to enter, there wasn’t a sign that he knew I existed. Since he had a boyfriend, I let it go. But when he started to show up alone, I took a chance and engaged him in conversation – and he engaged me back. I learned he was now single. I dared to flirt with him and lo and behold, he responded in kind. By the end of the night, I had his phone number safely tucked into my pocket.
While his attention boosted my self-esteem a million fold, I immediately began to suffer from the “I-wouldn’t-want-to-be-a-member-of-any-club-that-would-have-me-for-a-member” syndrome. Corey was surprisingly no challenge. The tables actually turned and I could feel him pursuing me harder than I was pursuing him. I had not had to ask for his number – he gave it on his own volition.
On our first date a couple of days later, we went to a restaurant. He proceeded to tell me about his troubles, blaming everyone else and their dog for his problems while appearing to take no responsibility for them himself. He was self-pitying. And I panicked. I could feel my interest in him waning right away. Even his Hollywood idol looks began to melt before my eyes, and it seemed that the emperor had no clothes. But I refused to listen to my inner voice because I had wanted him for so long and his attention was supposed to be the panacea for my aching self-doubt. I refused to listen to my inner voice for four months, while we dated and I tried to keep him on the pedestal I had originally put him on. When I told him on a park bench one summer night that it was over, I cried harder than he did. But I also felt relieved. Corey, however, would show up at the door of the bar with tears running down his cheeks, asking if we could try again, make it work, he loved me so.
So often, I see gorgeous, rich Hollywood couples divorce and I think, if they can’t make it, what hope do we mere mortals have at having a happy relationship. But this notion that some people are above or below our league is a mirage that can be altered. When the object of your desire is unavailable, that too is an aphrodisiac. At first, it looks good on paper. The Wizard of Oz seemed all powerful, but then Dorothy saw that the Wizard was a fallible man behind a curtain. But it was then, when her notions of the Wizard were shaken, that she finally found a way home.