Tag Archives: online dating

Gay on the Plains: Please Stop Sending Me Pics of Your Junk

Gay on the Plains: Please Stop Sending Me Pics of Your Junk

Amber Waves of Grain and A Sea of Headless Torsos

Grindr ProfileIn my experience, being a single gay man in the heartland brings challenges that differ from those faced by our coastal brethren. We live in a part of the country that is, by and large, more conservative, and more sparsely populated. That can make finding a date feel a little intimidating. The dating pool is smaller AND more likely to be at least partially in the closet.

So what is a lonely PrairieGay to do? Technology!

A million articles have been written about Grindr, and its many copycats. It’s been called impersonal, transactional, cold, and driven by our very basest instincts. And for many of its users, that is a fair assessment. You will find on these apps no shortage of pictures of muscular, chiseled, perfectly tanned, shirtless torsos… without heads. And many these guys are likely to strike up a conversation with inquisitive panache; “wut u n2?” or even “u looking?”

Charming, I know.

But, at least in my experience, mixed in with these headless, horned-up Greek statues are bunches of regular guys. They’re guys who have faces! And they work at the coffee shop, or in an office downtown, and they really aren’t looking for a quick hookup. Many of them aren’t looking for a boyfriend either, but just want to find someone interesting to chat with.

Those are my guys.

See, here’s the thing about mid-sized, Midwestern towns. We don’t have gay neighborhoods. We don’t have gay bookstores and coffee shops. Most of us have to travel to a larger city, like Kansa City, or Wichita or St. Louis or Denver to celebrate gay pride every year. In most of our cities and towns, we just lack that critical mass of gays it takes to put on a good pride. Many of our brothers and sisters have fled to the bigger cities. Many who remain stay comfortable by assimilating into their conservative suburban neighborhoods, and would be mortified by the idea of marching down Main St. waving our flag of many colors.

And so… if you thirst for social connections and new friends among the small town, Middle American gay community, you’re gonna have to find them first. In the dark ages, before smart phones and gps and Grindr, that meant getting personal introductions from your mutual straight friends. And we all know how effective that can be:

 “You’ll just LOVE my coworker Steven! You have so much in common!”

“Oh yeah? Like what?”

“Well, he’s really cute and he goes to anime conventions all the time, and he collects precious moments figurines, isn’t that just adorable?”

“Uh… I guess.  What, exactly do we have in common though?”

“Well… you’re both, you know,” (whispers) “GAY!”

This retail approach to making gay friends took a very, very long time.  It was hit or miss, and often a lot more miss.  And then, the heavens opened up, and the gay gods brought us Grindr. Finely a wholesale outlet for meeting all the gays in a hundred mile radius!

Wow... that sure is a lot of junk.

Wow… that sure is a lot of junk.

Like I said, the apps are problematic on many levels.  A dear friend of mine refers to them as “the hoechats.” As in, “Ugh, I was just hoping maybe I’d meet someone who might be fun to take to that art opening next week, but… you know how it is on the hoechats. Next thing I knew I was being inundated with uninvited pictures of some dude’s junk. By the way, what are you doing next Friday?”

But I met that very friend, you guessed it, on the hoechats. In fact, I’ve met a number of friends there.  Some of them I’ve later met up with in real life, to get dinner, see a move or go to a party. So in my book, the hoechats are what you make of them. If all you want to do is find a one night stand, go for it. There’s a sea of headless torsos just waiting for you. But if you want to meet the area gays, and get to know your community a little better, you can do that too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have half a dozen message notifications to take a look at. Oh, and by the way, I guess a few pics of your junk would be okay. Just don’t over do it.

Ta!

Having It Both Ways: Partisan Dating

Having It Both Ways: Partisan Dating

First Couple in freight elevator on Inauguration Night. Photo by White House Photographer Pete Souza.

If you’re looking for salacious stories of romance and torrid love affairs, I might share links to some at HavingItBothWays.com.

I was out having drinks with a bunch of Okies who now live in DC because a friend of ours was in town.  We talked politics and joked about people we all knew but inevitably the conversation turned to, “So… how’s dating going?”  But then the useful part of the conversation – the roommate of an Okie asked what I knew about online dating sites.  Ah ha!  My usefulness abounds!

The first question to ask is “What are you looking for.”  To which they all laughed, “A moderately sized bald man…” they joked. More laughter, “NO!” I said over them, “I mean what kind of relationship.  Just a random hook up, marriage, a buddy …. what do you want?  I introduced her to several different website possibilities that are free or cheap.  But then another of our friends told me I needed to set up a profile and run my “inspection” on BlueStateDate.com.

So… I did.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.  BSD seems to be a way for political staffers and like minded activists to come together around a mutual need to keep their love in the party.  Don’t go thinking its all inbreeding there’s a Red State Date too.  It’s like the Nation Builder of dating sites…. In any case, the profile is very political, asking you to go through and fill out a series of questions on domestic, social, and foreign policy to determine your level of conservatism.  It even asks you what campaigns you’ve worked on.

The idea is a great one – I’m all for it.  Especially if you buy a premium month now you get the rest of the year for free.  The downside?  When I searched for available people within 25 miles of me between the ages of 29 and 45 I got a whopping 7 guys… no women….. So that’s a fail.  I’ll play with it more and keep you posted, but at the very least I have a free year.

Having It Both Ways: Patrick Stewart’s Bootycall

Having It Both Ways: Patrick Stewart’s Bootycall

decent manRead more about the Having it Both Ways project here.

It all started about a month ago when I responded to a lovely woman who was looking for someone exactly like me.  She talked about an existing relationship she is in with a guy who fully supports her interest in the ladies and would be eager to have the three of us get to know each other.  So she forwarded me his information and we struck up a conversation about our history and interests.  I quickly learned that she in fact is not in a relationship with this guy, who… looks like a younger skinner version of Patrick Stewart, but instead she’s basically just his booty call.  Not to mention he has her come in and clean his house a few times a week.  So, she’s his booty call and his maid.  True story.  And now she’s being tasked with finding him essentially another fuck buddy under the guise of something else.

It gets worse.  After about a week of conversation with “Patrick Stewart” he wants specifics about what I look like. He’s seeking a “fit” girl.  My response – well I go to the gym a few times a week and in the last year I’ve lost about 40lbs with 20-30 more that I’d like to lose.  “You would have to go to the gym more.  I require someone who is fit” he says.  Ok – don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!  I could see a nice pathway to emotional manipulation with a guy who would constantly pressure me to be something I’m not and be constantly failing or falling behind.  I deal with that enough to myself – and I actually love myself!

So here’s my lesson to all you women out there, especially to those of you who have hips and breasts, for the love of god, don’t let anyone ever tell you there’s something wrong with you if you’re not X or not Y.  And if you decide to make a serious investment in losing 40lbs don’t do it because some ass cactus said you needed to.  Do it for yourself.

Interestingly, I also included 50 in on the conversations and when the final blow was dealt I turned to him for reassurance.  Fifty’s response “Well The the thing about [Patrick Stewart] is he sounds like a tool.  That woman who posted is at his beckon call to cleaning and sexual service for him.  They both sound pretty lame after talking to her a little.”  When I told Sophia about it she was flabbergasted and said she shuts that down right away.  Thank goodness the people I DO have in my life are rational.  I also told Sophia at this point some of what I feel like I’m doing is find the freak show.  That so many of these people are like that PT Barnam freak show that I find so fascinating that I keep coming back for more as if I need a closer look and only then I can figure it out or understand better.  And sometimes even after a second look… no, it’s still just weird – and certainly not my thing.

Having It Both Ways: The Professor

Having It Both Ways: The Professor

To read more about the Having It Both Ways Project click here.

I am so sick of 40 year old men who wake up one day and realize they didn’t have a family.  I feel like they’re everywhere.  Somehow all of these men that I know or that I meet within a certain age group have been having fun, screwing around, sleeping around, building their own careers and suddenly are like…” oh shit!  I want kids!”  And then start acting responsible, and trying to clean up their lives.

This is the point that we’ll enter “The Professor.”  Whose name I wish so very much I could post here and link to.  I met The Professor on an online dating site a while back – we’d talked off and on he wanted to go out.  I wasn’t ready yet (as usual) – then when I was I had to reschedule because a work thing came up and I ended up going to Phoenix for a week.  He got irritated I had to reschedule and that my schedule was so all over the place and I couldn’t say with any certainty from now until the election where I would be or what my availability would be.  So I just shut it down and said, “ya know, right now isn’t a great time to be trying this so lets just chat off and on and when the election is over maybe we can have a drink.”  He said fine.

Then about 3 days later started asking me to set another date again.  I was like… um… what part of “after the election” was unclear?  So we kept talking – email… gchat… pretty sexy flirtation.  I had a break in my schedule so I said – how about X night he says great so we made it a date.

Then he mentions something about himself that I didn’t know and he says “Oh that’s right we didn’t meet on OKCupid” (we met on another site).  And I said no but I’m on OKCupid so you could see my profile if you wanted.  He sends his link I send mine and I start looking through and notice he’s looking for a girl from 25-35 years old.  He’s 40.  So I comment to him and say “oh you like em young, eh?”  And he says something like “well, I want to have a family so I can’t really date in my own age range.”  And right there I was like… woah.  First of all – there are PLENTY of women 35-45 who are ready and eager to settle down and have a family like… NOW.  So, the presumption that those women don’t exist is bullshit.  Secondly, how nice for you that you’ve spent the last 40 years screwing around and focusing on yourself – now you want someone like me to come along who’s just starting out and you want her to start popping out babies for you?  No.  No.

So I say, “Well, I’m not interested in having children.”  And he says “Well maybe this is more like a friends with benefits than a dating thing…. because that’s a deal breaker for me.”  And I’m like – “ok take care… good luck.”  And he proceeds to get pissed with me because I somehow lead him to believe that I would – yet again – enter into a no strings attached relationship with some random dude that could just use me with no emotions involved.  No.  I have that.  I’m up to my neck in men who just want to sleep with me.  From the beginning of our conversations I was very clear that I was looking for something more emotionally intimate than a sexpal.  But I refuse to serve as some selfish asshole’s breed cow as well.  I was very clear that I’m looking for someone to adventure with to travel with to see the world and find new things and experience life with.  This does not include a picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog.  I’m not that girl.  I don’t know if I ever will be that girl.

I seriously resent this idea of some dude totally discounting all of these amazing women in his age range who are ready for that life.  Instead he wants some 25 year old who is too insecure to demand her own life.  He’s not looking for someone like me who will say let’s have fun for 5 years as a couple and adventure around the world and then maybe think about family planning.  No, he’s going to want to get married and start popping out babies before he’s 45.  Good luck finding a 25 year old in the Beltway who isn’t ambitious and wants to focus on her career less than having your kids … this town isn’t really the place for that…

And in the end – he’s turned into quite the sarcastic asshole emailing me things like.  “What the fuck?!?!  Well I’m glad you had all this worked out in your head a month ago. It’s a fucking shame you didn’t share.”  I just responded “It’s ok, I can be the adult one here and accept responsibility for starting to like you and think we could have more than that.  All my fault.”  Class act… it’s a wonder he’s still single at 40.  SHOCKED I say … SHOCKED!

BTW this is just one of the many stories I’ve been meaning to write.

READ PART 2: THE RETURN OF THE PROFESSOR

Having It Both Ways: Dating is Hard

Having It Both Ways: Dating is Hard

weird first dateTo read more about the Having it Both Ways project, turn around three times and spit.  Or just click here.

After the unfortunate experience with Mr. Crazy Pants I’ve been much more turned off by the idea of dating men.  I realize this is me being reactionary to the worst fears and anxieties I have of dating someone I’ve met online.  Still, it turns out my fears were actualized sitting on a bench on the top floor of the Pentagon City shopping mall.

Having had five first dates since I began this project one thing is certain, first dates are exhausting.  If you work in politics you know all about going to political events and having to be “on.”  Candidates have to have the perfect smile, the eagerness to shake hands and hug, the super friendly outgoing personality….. essentially the best version of themselves.  This is how every first date must be.  The best version of yourself.  After three of these dates in one weekend it can get to be a little too much.  After two weeks of staying up until midnight to live tweet the RNCC and DNCC and getting six hours of sleep… the idea of pulling out the nice dress, straightening my hair, and spending three hours trying to be perfect is quite simply exhausting.  Sometimes I really just want to come home and dust things while looking up recipes for things I shouldn’t be eating on Pinterest.

Geometry of a first dateThe one reason I hated doing fundraising so much for electoral campaigns was that need to constantly be “on.”  The perfect version of yourself in the nice outfit and the beaming smile might be a version of yourself, but the strength of the V-Chip filter is tuned up to the max.  Don’t talk about the crazy ex-girlfriend who was a pathological liar.  Leave out the fact that the love of your life was a cat that died in your arms two years ago.  Probably shouldn’t mention you occasionally play with men until the… second date?  But then you end up not being completely honest about who you are and letting yourself go.

Does that fear come from a need within all of us to be accepted and liked regardless of whether or not we are interested in the person across the table?  My first Mixology date I was absolutely myself, and she wasn’t interested in me.  To be truthful I wasn’t exactly interested in her either, but it’s always nice to be the one to say “no thank you” or ignore the email.  The second Mixology date I was much more guarded but there was something about her that made me feel comfortable and safe and more willing to express who I am.  She turned out to be the best so far.  So the standard becomes that there is no standard.  The rules don’t always apply.  The same ingredients don’t always get you that nutella cheesecake you saw on Pinterest.

So in the end, dear reader, I’m left rolling my eyes the night of the next first date.  Wondering if this one will be another distraction from a night better spent doing laundry.  But the most powerful of emotions keeps me going out:  the hope that the next will be just as perfect as Sophia… or even the infrequent Fifty Shades of Grey has become.

 

Having It Both Ways: How not to get a girl with your opening line

Having It Both Ways: How not to get a girl with your opening line

Read more here about the Having It Both Ways project. 

Today’s lesson is a special one.  The opener.  When you message some girl on a random personals site is the first thing she sees because… well… chances are your photo is probably too small.  But more than that the first thing she sees is important is your opening line.  If that opening line sucks then its game over.  An example of a bad line is one I got today:

“So how do I go about meeting you?”

So I tweeted about what a bad line it is and said that I wanted to ask the guy “Really?  This is your opening line?”  And then I decided that I would just say that.  Why not, right?!  He responded:

“Lately, the normal openings don’t seem to be getting attention.”

I responded asking what was normal.  His Response:

“Hello. How are you. You look pretty. Stuff like that. I barely get any response with stuff like that.”

So I responded to him – in efforts to help … really.  You gotta come up with a better opening line!  Here’s what you do if you should find yourself in this position… ever….. Look at the girl’s profile and find something that stands out. Don’t go to looks right away – girls hate that. Just because she has nice breasts or is wearing a slutty outfit doesn’t mean she wants some dude to be all up in her “looks” that’s likely just to draw in someone to their profile. Women like that get responses talking about how they look all the time.

So show you’re goal is to not be that guy and did your homework. Glance through the profile and find something. “I really loved the latest Batman movie but I felt like it didn’t hold a candle to the previous one. Saw you liked superhero movies so I thought I’d ask your thoughts. Best wishes, XXX” Or maybe “I saw that you have a photo taken at the Botanical Gardens – the Hershorn is one of my favorite museums in Washington have you had an opportunity to check it out?”

Think outside the box – but individualize it.

His response…..?

“I see you’re into movies. It doesn’t appear to be the same kind of movies, but similar. You live where there is a lot of history, as do I. I’m sure that alone gives us something to talk about. It may not be your normal conversation, but it’s our start.”

Hey… at least he tried right?

Best pick up line according to my mom’s friend LaDonna to a total stranger with all of his buddies around – TOTAL STRANGER when she was a little… er… um… intoxicated: “So um… how come you didn’t wake me up this morning before you left?”  The dude kept saying “No no!  That wasn’t me!” But it didn’t matter… the damage to his cred with his surrounding buddies was already done.  HILARIOUS!

Having it Both Ways: FINALLY a Normal Response on OKCupid

Having it Both Ways: FINALLY a Normal Response on OKCupid

Check here to read more about the Having It Both Ways project!

I may have met the perfect OKCupid corespondent!  After all of the INSANE comments from men on these personals sites, I got one over the weekend from a guy who truly let his geek flag fly.  It started out by just saying the regular things like “hi” “you seem interesting” “good to meet you…” yada yada.  But quickly devolved into discussions ready for a DC Comics movie!

We exchange probably 5 messages including me talking about seeing Batman FINALLY this weekend and the preview for the new Superman in 2013.  After a few graphs of response he says

“I worked on a campaign back in high school, but fate lead me elsewhere. While I have worked on the Hill and at the Pentagon, now, I am just a mild mannered XXXXX for XXXX. But secretly at night, I take on a new identity. That of Mr. XXXX XXXXX, sleeper, because I work hard and need my sleep. That duel identity, no sleep, get into harms way stuff, that is for the comic books. ;-)”

I literally laughed out loud.  My response a few sentences blah blah then

“My nightlife is merely an extension of my day life filled with facebook and twitter and various other forms of new media. The internet is my playground and I must use my charms to garner favorable reporting by the bloggers. With cunning and guile I manage to obtain approval for meme graphics with kittens.”

His response …blah blah

“Oh the sleep is dangerous! But I eat danger for breakfast, or at least I sleep late and miss breakfast, if you get my drift. And I face danger all the time, especially in the afternoons during nap time. Watch out world!”

I respond – blah blah

“I love a little danger in the morning. Danger for brunch is always nice too – with a hollandaise sauce….. YUM! :)”

So let this be a lesson to all of you crazy dudes out there who are sending me messages asking me if I wear pantyhose or stockings…. it turns out being who you are might actually be more beneficial to you in the long run.  As momma would say – this dude’s a winner winner chicken dinner!

Having It Both Ways: Which photo is best for a personals site?

Having It Both Ways: Which photo is best for a personals site?

For more on the Having It Both Ways project click here.

When I set out on this experiment and adventure I had no idea I had the potential to learn so much about attraction.  When I was in college I took Dr. Dailey’s Human Sexuality in Everyday Life class.  I needed another 3 hours and someone recommended to me in the registration office (this was before you enrolled online) that it always sold out.  There were 3 spots left in the class so I did it.  He taught us about the “attraction template” which is basically in the form of an onion or bull’s eye.  At your center is you – and each outer ring is the level of attraction you have to a specific type. Dr. Dailey always said that all long-term relationships with individuals MUST have the partner at the center of the attraction template.

Via an interview with my college paper earlier this year:

Sexual attraction, however, Dailey says, is just one component of overall attraction – an umbrella term which includes values, intelligence, money, religion and power all as things we consider when evaluating someone’s attractiveness. Our attraction templates, Dailey says, will alert us if a possible mate has enough of these qualities that we desire.

So, my quest on these online personals sites has been to figure out what best practices (if any) are perfect for both the profile and more importantly the profile photo.  What is the difference between what women are seeking in other women vs. what men are seeking in women and how can I alter each profile to capitalize on this?

I’ve tried to uncover some of this using two contrasting OKCupid profiles.  One in women seeking women one in women seeking men.  The two contrasting profile photos below:

Someone find this girl a man!Someone find this lesbian a date!

I used a lot of facebook and twitter commentary to get recommendations from friends on which photo I should use.  The crowd on both were split between these two photos.  Both felt like the photos showed off my … er… um… assets… so to speak.  And both said they made me look fun and lively.  So I posted them and then entered into the OKCupid profile photo voting system. They basically show your photos to several groups of people who vote on which one is better compared to other people’s profile photos.  BOTH profiles  voted the purple dress picture as being better.

Women seeking men photo analytics first – women seeking women photo analytics second.  Click to make them larger.

Vote on which photo is best

Here’s the troubling thing – the results aren’t spread enough.  59 to 65 votes doesn’t really give me a large enough sample vote.  Also the gender breakdown isn’t done in the voting process.  So, despite my second profile being in the women seeking women section, men vote on the photo as well as women.  So there’s no real way to calculate whether a photo is better for women or for men.  Also it only calculated results for 3 photos – not all 4 so the hiking photo didn’t get any data, and that was the photo many men suggested I use on facebook and twitter.  NOT helpful.

The results on both accounts thus far are

Views on seeking men: 328

Views on seeking women: 34

Is this just a user problem?  Meaning, are there more men seeking women on OKCupid than women seeking women?  Who knows…

OKCupid also posted extensive amount of data on the best practices for most compelling photos likely to attract the eye of a woman or man.  Again, however, is the problem about same sex data.  For women seeking women – which type of photos tend to do better?  Could we get some good data on this community, please?  Or are we to once again assume that what works for the straights works for the no-so-straight?

Having it Both Ways: Oh the things men say on the internet

Having it Both Ways: Oh the things men say on the internet

Lot has been going on at work this week so I haven’t had a lot of time for dating or working the profiles.  That said, I do have my first data ala Mixology with “the librarian” on Aug 3rd.  Part of me wants to livetweet it – but I’ll refrain out of respect for her.

What I have done is collect a number of messages, comments, and emails from folks that are too good not to share.  This is a list of things people ACTUALLY SENT ME on a personals site, social networking site, or commented.

  • “Did I lose you, my dear? What a shame. You could have made the best late night company…” (Received this after I stopped responding)
  • “Well so far I am have NOT been comprised, although I wouldn’t say that about any of my past lovers. Delish!”  (I don’t think he means to use the word “comprised” here)
  • “I’m a fan of Midwestern girls…” (I’ll bet you are)
  • “Kittens and pie eh?  I hope you don’t put kittens IN pie…..” (reference to my profile on OKCupid that says at the end I also like kittens and pie)
    “Do you find me attractive and would you let me kiss you when the time is right?” (really?  this is what you open with?)
  • “Never before in my life has a picture of sprinkles on ice cream made me so interested in fucking the woman eating the ice cream.” (Is it wrong I actually really loved this one?)
  • “damn girl! you look stunning! didn’t know I had sexy ass neighbors like ya on here :)” (the smiley face makes it ….. ok?)
  • ” Hello and good morning beautiful. Please give me a chance. …. your eyes are so beautiful” (I’m wearing sunglasses in the photo)
  • “Be a good girl and call Daddy at (301)XXX-XXX” (Yeah… seriously….)

Having It Both Ways: Lesbian Online Dating

Having It Both Ways: Lesbian Online Dating

The HelpIf you haven’t read the introduction to Having It Both Ways please feel free to read more about the project.

I have a lesbian friend who just moved to Chicago and has been trying to meet new friends and date women in a city where she knows no one.  We both created our “How About We” profiles together a few weekends ago me for DC her for Chicago.  She’d never tried online dating sites telling me “a couple people I know had met some total fucking psychos and also I think I still saw online dating through a 1997 lens.  It’s weird and seemed like not as “pure” as meeting someone some other way.  Then there was just the total crippling fear of being rejected in yet ANOTHER medium.”

So she’s been working on another profile on OKCupid because she says we’ve seemed to be early adopters to “How About We” which has a lower number of users.

The key to online dating sites is basically selling yourself.  Think of it like a virtual personals ad.  But you can’t extrapolate too much, otherwise you’ll end up with some person who figures out who you really are and has no interest in seeing you again.  In my very limited experience and my friend’s – be honest about who you are.  Always… be honest and think positively about your positives.

“I feel like I’ve tried to be pretty honest about myself and who I am” she told me via GoogleChat “But then I feel like that is prolly why no one has messaged me.  Like if I had a different “persona” I would have better luck.  In general I feel like there are certain personas that go over really well with lesbians and I am not it.”

I told her that lesbians work in cycles.  Right now there are a dozen women out there that are breaking up with partners or girlfriends.  Finding the perfect person isn’t like turning on the channel guide and finding something to watch for the evening.  It took me 3 years before I really fell for Dude #3 and clearly that didn’t go well, so it’s all about being brave and trying new things and giving it time.  And for the love of God – know that you’re perfect the way you are, own your own awesomeness!

Read more about insane dating options for lesbians or straights (but neglects bisexuals).