What’s A Big Boy to Do?

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately, mostly mine. I try not to think about other people’s relationships too much, as I find comparing myself to others to be lothesome, and yet sometimes unstoppable. But it’s been a few years since my last serious relationship/heartbreak and I think I’ve finally come to the place where I’m ready to try again (in large part because I think going through life with someone to share your burdens and joys with makes life easier and more enjoyable, at least that’s what it looks like from the single point of view).

Sadly I never got the knack for dating and turning dating into a relationship. I’m a jump in with both feet kind of guy. Something I’ve been working on the past few years, learning how to be patient and actually date. It’s not going well. When things aren’t going well I tend to fall back on my old standby, ie: long distance dating.

I’ve always been a believer that the odds of the love of my life living just a few blocks away or even in the same city as me are not in my favor. I also know that as a man of size the number of other men who are interested in me and not ashamed of it (more on self loathing chasers in some other post I’m sure) are few and far between. So when someone messages me from out of the blue telling me that they think I’m attractive and we have a stimulating conversation that goes beyond asking me what I’m into, I get kind of excited. This happens on a semi-regular basis thanks to the magic of apps and the internet. What also happens along side of that, is they are multiple states away.

So what’s a big boy to do? Over the years I’ve racked up enough airline miles, and logged enough time in the drivers seat of my car traveling to see these interests that I would be embarrassed to calculate the number, if it were possible. And here I sit, still single. A few of distance ventures have turned into genuine friendships and the effort made has been worth it as far as connections go. The rest have been lost to make room for lyrics to a new Britney song, or movie quotes.

I think the distance thing is possible and works for a lot of people. Yesterday during lunch with my co-worker, I had an epiphany. Aside from some of the guys who I traveled to see being assholes, one of the main reason my long distance conquests didn’t turn into a relationship had a few things in common:

  1. Lack of effort on both our parts. I figured, the first time I come to see you, the next time you come to see me. Usually I was the one logging the hours, money and effort. But why didn’t we make it to another trip? Things just kind of fade away after I return. Me expecting them to give a little more of themselves, them expecting me to do the same and neither of us do.
  2. Intensity. When you don’t know when you’re going to see each other again, you try and savor each moment. The time and effort you’ve put forth needs to be worth it, so you cram as much “memorable” things in as you can. It becomes a three day romantical experience. Know what happens when people are being romantic for three straight days? They aren’t themselves. You don’t meet friends, or family or see what their apartment looks like when they’ve had a hard week and don’t want to do anything except sit on the couch and eat pizza and watch tv.
  3. Chemistry. Getting to know someone via phone, text, email is great. There is no physical distraction from actually having a conversation, but at the same time, there is no physical connection either. No touching, no kissing, you don’t know what it feels like to rest your head on their shoulder. Maybe it’s awful. maybe they’re boney or they try and hold your hand like it’s a flipper. Maybe the chemistry isn’t there and you realize you’re not going to go anywhere so you part ways…well, on a three day date, you can’t.
  4. Projects. I love a project boyfriend. I could write a Bob Vila style book on fixing up your man to be exactly what you want him to be. For me, I see a guy who doesn’t have a job, thinks I’m hot, lives far away and says he wants to meet me and will if I buy the ticket, and I picture the ring I want to buy him and where we’re going to hold our wedding. I see red flags and think they’re showing me the way. Kind of like in a horror movie, when people hear a noise upstairs when they’re alone in the house, i’m not running out the front door, I’m sprinting up the stairs with a welcome basket full of unrequited love, anxiety and a new pair of pants I’m just sure he’ll look great in.

So…what’s a big boy to do? I’m ready for an adult relationship. I’m taking my experiences and knowledge and applying them to my dating life (I realize I’m quite old to be doing it and at this point I should just settle with anyone who will have me, but I’m still going to make an effort). Part of that means, if I like someone, I’m going to put the work into getting to know them and making time for them. I’m going to see red flags and project boyfriends and say “you know what, no. I got myself together, you should be able to do the same. If you have a plan, awesome, I’m happy to help, but I can’t be the guy who does all the work on your behalf.”

I think that’s a fairly good jumping off point. It’s not everything, but it’s a start, and I have to start somewhere.

Dating Adventures 6

As the spring days roll on, so do the hits. People everywhere unburrow and get excited about dating and all that entails. Nothing quite strikes a chord with a new person as much as insecurity paired with a sense of entitlement to a stranger’s time. Which leads us into Dating Story 6.

Now, I’ve never actually gone out with this dude (I’ll call him 6, cause, he’s dating story 6 that I’m posting about), and based on the past couple weeks of interaction, it’s not going to happen. 6 lives on the West Coast and will be visiting Chicago for Bear Pride, so the opportunity to get to know him in person is quickly approaching and I’m afraid I’m going to have to let it pass.

Some of you of course are thinking, “oh Royce, as usual, over thinking reactions and keeping your standards impossibly high means no one will ever do anything right by you.” I assure you, they can, have, and will again one day…one day.

But I digress into the nitty gritty of this particular exchange. Allow me to flow some information your way. 6 and I have been chatting on and off for months, pretty standard, I don’t hold random dating website/app chatter in super high regard, so it’s always off and on with me. But, 6 and I did make the jump to phone number exchange, a bit more personal since a direct line could be had and there was no excuse of “I haven’t logged on for a few days.” Here is where our story gets going.

I’m pretty good when it comes to texting, I like to think I’m a good communicator (overall I mean, sometimes feelings are hard, but that’s different, when it comes to witty text banter, I’m about it). I have been working pretty harsh hours lately, and 6 knows that. He knows what’s on the line, what my schedule is like lately and how stressful and exhausted it makes me, and that only pertinent information in my life will be responded to when I’m under such duress. I laid that out on the table from the get go. I’ve also informed him that it’s not personal when I don’t respond to texts, sometimes, I just don’t because there is nothing to respond to.

This is a screen capture of a portion of our text conversation which has led me to just stop and be done, because I just can’t anymore.

Image

“Oh well…take it EZ”

Seriously 6? Seriously? Mind you, this is NOT the first time in the past three weeks that we’ve been texting that he’s gone the “oh well guess you’re not into me” freaking Eyore syndrome, which is why I’m done. Insecurity, not sexy. Also, just cause you send me a text message of a smiley, or the word “Sexy” doesn’t endear me nor require me to follow up in anyway, that’s not a conversation, nor a conversation starter.

Interactions like this happen all the time to me and they are just awful. I understand not being a super confident guy, hell, I’m insecure with the best (or worst) of them. That doesn’t mean that I automatically go all self depreicating and “woe is me” if someone doesn’t respond to me, in what I feel is a timely fashion. Their timeline, is not my timeline. I do not feel entitled to a person’s time or energy if the only thing tying us together is a few weeks of banter over text messaging, so I’m not sure why they do. And it exhausts me.

So sorry 6, moving onto 7, whomever that may be.

Dating Questions

Know what sucks? When you’re out with a guy and he starts asking probing questions or makes those statements that sound like a compliment, but are really not, at least to me. I’m totally guilty of it myself. I can’t help it, sometimes I’m curious, mostly it’s habit. I’m learning to stay away from them, but there is only so much inquiring minds can do to silence themselves. At the same time, I’m making a vow to myself, and the guys I go out with not to say stuff like this:

“Why are you single?”
Easily the worst question to ask and answer. Apparently, if you post slutty photos and accompany them with a grammatically correct basic profile of yourself, you’re not allowed to be single.  Even when it’s pillow talk, it’s inappropriate. It’s kind of none of your business why this person you’re currently spooning,   isn’t spooning with someone else right now. Just deal with the moment and don’t over analyze.
I’ve been answering this question a few different ways lately.
Stock answer: “I just haven’t found the right guy yet” of course followed by a wink and a smile, followed even later with never calling them again and having a very awkward moment in a bar months later.
Non-stock response to someone I feel like I should be open and honest with: “I’m an emotional cripple when it comes to dating. I have a massive fear of commitment based on being dumped over and over again by guys who play with my heart and lie to me. Breakfast?” After the initial shock of too much information wears off, and before we set a date to see each other again that he’ll cancel the day we meet, more questions come…

“I just don’t get it, how could anyone leave you? You’re a great guy!”
This one makes me want to throw up in my mouth, sometimes it does. I’d love to be able to answer that one, but I’m afraid I can’t. Due to the fact that guys who no longer wish to date me don’t stay in my phone book until I’ve made sure I’ve got my toothbrush at home, I can’t answer that.
There is only one response anyone gets from this question: “Apparently I’m a jerk magnet, but it looks like my luck is changing.” Followed with another wink and smile, cause even though I don’t know i do it, it works, and lets be honest, guys love it.
Of course what they’re really asking is “what’s wrong with you that I don’t see yet?” It’s like the standard “what is your biggest weakness” question during job interviews. Useless, rude and can never be really answered without disqualifying yourself from the job/relationship.

If I do manage to get a guy who shows up for another date without having to “work on a project that has to be done before next week,” and we end up at dinner or hanging out in my apartment, I get the kiss of death.
“I just feel like I can be myself around you.”
Fuck. You.
Oh yeah, it sounds like an amazing compliment, I assure you, it is not. On the outside, it means that you’re a great person who is able to put people at ease and have a knack for making them feel comfortable. My crazy, insecure brain spins it a little differently. When a guy says “I feel like I can just be myself with you,” I hear, “I like that I don’t have to try to impress you anymore. You’re cool, but I’m not seeing the effort pay off anymore than it already has, so I just want you to know that I’m going to stop trying now.” And usually they do. Hello, I’m a decent guy, I’d like it if someone felt like they had to keep up a modicum of basic appearances for at least a week or two. It usually stuns me into silence for a quick second before I can squeak out a “thanks…”

Which of course brings up “so, what are you thinking about?”
I hate this one. I try not to ask it unless dude has some very puzzled look on his face (see me at any point during the day while deciphering messages at work) and I think there is an interesting thought trying to make it to his lips.
Stock response: “nothing really, just how nice this is.” Cause this question is always asked while you’re in a compromising spooning position and it is the sweet/cute response that everyone wants to hear. When you’re cuddling with someone they don’t want to hear that you’re thinking you’d rather be snacking on that leftover pizza on the counter than having his legs wrapped around you and fighting for a cool breeze under the blanket. One of these times when dude asks, I’m jut going to say “I’m thinking about how long I’ve been holding this fart in cause you’re new and I’m trying impress you, but something tells me giving you a Dutch Oven right now won’t go over well.” Then he’ll be horrified for a second and laugh and I’ll fart while he’s chuckling, cause you know, I’m playful like that.

There are of course a plethora of these damn questions that come up, each more inane and annoying than the last. One day I hope to stop asking them out of habit and hope even more to stop being asked over and over again. Until that day comes, winks and smiles for everyone.

Dating Adventures 5

This actually isn’t my dating story, at least not the side I heard. But I feel like it has to be told, even though it makes some random stranger I was evesdropping on look awful. In his defense, from what I heard, he really was awful.

Friday night, my buddy Matt and I were heading to a bar for some post Identity Thief drinks on the Red Line. Oh the Red Line. It’s the veritable cross section of Chicago, which means, everyone rides it, all kinds. The kind of person we were accosted by that evening, was a shrieking theater gay (yes, I know this is an awful stereotype, but the description seriously serves a purpose and an essay describing and outlining gay-male masculinity from the point of view from a chunky “bear cub” who trots around Vegas in heels is long overdue, but just go with it for now). If you don’t know what i’m talking about, please watch the clip below, the guy on the train, was basically Derrick.

Yeah…I tend to think of myself as, Max reincarnated and actually gay. Like Max, I get seriously annoyed by the stereotypical homos who feel the need to prance and flounce (Yes I know I do my fair share of it once in a while, but I don’t end conversations with “draaammaaaa!” unless fully necessary, of course).

Anyway, back to the gay at hand, er, at ear. Matt and I stayed on the train an extra stop to hear more of the absurdity, because it was SO good, we couldn’t help ourselves. Apparently he was on the phone with one of his BFF’s giving him the full scoop of the date he had been on. While we couldn’t hear what the friend was saying, it apparently just egged him on. Here, is the transcript (he got on mid conversation, so we didn’t hear the beginning, but it took shape quickly. Also, I have NO Idea how to format a one-sided conversation and I don’t want all the lines to run together, so…I’m just going to italicize every other line, yeah, that’ll work.):

No, it was awful
Seriously, no, do you know what he did. I mean, he invited me to Sidetrack on Sunday night. Hello, I’m an actor and it was musical theater night. So like, I’m totally not going to be able to pay attention to him or talk because obviously I’m going to paying attention to whats playing on the screens.
Right!
No seriously, so that was strike two. Yeah. I mean, and then we are there and he’s trying to talk to me DURING Oklahoma. Can you believe it? I mean, I was really trying hard, but he should have known better, he knew I was an actor. I mean, so that was really strike three.
Well, you know, he tells me he works in a jewelry shop, so of course my ears perk up.
Haha! Right!?
But no, cause then, he tells me he has to go to London for three weeks for work, but then tells me he wouldn’t be able to go if work wasn’t paying for it. That was totally strike four, I mean, if i can’t anything from him and he’s not going to take me anywhere, why am I even wasting my time.
No, totally!
(at this point Matt and I had totally stopped our conversation and were busy being horrified by this little menace and were intently involved and enraptured by what was unfolding)
So then, wait for it, strike five coming up. Then he looks at his phone and is like, “well, it’s getting late, I should probably get home, I have some homework I have to get to.”
So then I ask if it is due tomorrow, and he says “no, Wednesday, I just want to get an early start on it.”
HELLO! Are you kidding me right now? I mean, you’re out with one of the hottest guys in Boystown.
No, I know, right!?
Yeah, MAJOR strike. So we walk out. And on the sidewalk he is like, “well, have a great night. Text me sometime.”
WHAT THE FUCK!? Thats not a date! I don’t even know what is wrong with him. A first date to me is like, you take me somewhere nice for dinner, pay for it and then at least sex.
Like, hello, I’m a total catch. So that was strike SIX! I’m never going to text him, you don’t treat a guy like me like that…

Luckily, our stop came up after we heard strike six. I was tempted to stay on the train to continue listening to the rest of the story, cause I’m sure there was more and a few more strikes hidden up this guy’s sleeve. Alas, Matt and I were both on the verge of crying from holding back laughter, so we exited the train.

I myself tend to take hints really well, at least to go away. I have been subjected to many over the years. The hints that I don’t see coming or have any idea what to do with is when people are actually interested in going out with me. I just chalk all of those up to people being nice. When hints are applied aggressively, it scares the hell out of me and I end up withdrawing and usually exiting with a quick witted line, like this.

Yeah, so there’s a dating story for ya. Poor thing. His skinny ass had either never been on a date with someone who ended up not being interested. I mean, homework that is due in four days…should have taken the hint then that dude was not interested and moved on. Then again, I don’t consider myself the hottest piece of ass that ever trolled the gutters in Boystown, so really couldn’t relate with this poor, poor soul.

Dating Adventures 4

Although I could probably write one of these stories a week, I try not to. I do post some of the ridiculous and lewd things that people write to me on dating sites, block their names and post them on tumblr on a pretty regular basis though. One of today’s interactions struck me as just rude and unnecessary, so of course you get to hear all the sordid details, well, the transcript of our interaction at least. Ready? GO! (also, I’m going to type it just as I received it, as I don’t believe this dude deserves the dignity of me punctuation his text for him)

Him: Woof big fella interested in playing
Me: Thanks man. Nah, I’m not much of a ‘play’ kind of guy.
Him: what type of guy are you then
Me: The kind that goes out on like 4 dates a year and gets laid even less than that LOL
Him: if that works for you great
Him: at least i tried
Him: you afraid to enjoy men?
Me: Yup, that’s it. You got me.
Him: whatever have a good life

I…I can’t.

First off, the reason I only go on 4 dates a year, is because I get these types of offers. Do I think anyone would ever say something like this to my face? They have before, but the incidence rate is much lower I assure you.

Anyway, yes, my initial response was a direct ‘no’ to hooking up. I just can’t be bothered, honestly, there isn’t anything a stranger isn’t going to be able to do that I can’t do much better than I can do myself. Just sayin’. But my second response was actually an opening for this dude to step up and ask me out to dinner, or drinks perhaps? I didn’t think that it warranted a judgement about a supposed fear of men. I mean, anxiety here and there, sure, but I don’t go run shrieking and hide behind a fan when one says hello to me. But I don’t think dude ‘tried’ very hard, or very well. I mean, if asking someone out for sex, and then responding once is trying, what the hell have I been doing? I don’t think I know anymore.

Oh well, the adventures continue…Even if my response to dude didn’t. While I love to have the last word, sometimes the effort of dishing at people who can’t fight in a battle of wits, is just not worth the continued subjugation to text sans commas or punctuation in general.

Dating Adventures 3

In order to pass the time between buses while standing on a windswept Chicago street corner in the middle of the afternoon, I occasionally take to the chat apps, like Scruff and Growlr. I’ve had some great conversations and interactions with people which has resulted in dates and mostly good times. I have also come across more than my fair share of jerks whom, thankfully show me who they are right off the bat, instead of making me figure it out down the road.

This weekend’s interaction with an apparently new to Chicago Loyola student, didn’t go over well. A little bit of small talk then led to the following interaction.

Him: Damn it’s cold out
Me: Haha, it’s not that bad
Him: I’m from Los Angeles… It’s pretty extreme ahaha
Me: Lol, I’m from Santa Cruz
Him: Eww.
I’m sorry.
lmfao jkjk
SC is still considerably cooler than LA
Did you go to UCSC?
Me: Gross, no.
Him: Where did you go to school?
Me: San Jose State
Him: Ok, I guess, ahaha kidding
Me: Oh that Southern California humor, so tactful and attractive
Him: LOL it’s an acquired taste I apologize
Me: Just go away.

Seriously, just, go away.

I realize this isn’t wholly reflective of Southern California, as I have plenty of good humored friends there, and by no means think they all have the same sense of humor. I almost called him out for that lame ass Latino sense of humor (but didn’t feel like getting in an online argument with a stranger, because I’m not on the YouTube comments section).

I feel like I come across the “I’m going to make fun of you, then say I was just kidding and you should be ok with it” thing all the damn time from Latinos. I’ve seen plenty of girls tear down their best friends outfits, pull the lollipop outta their mouth when she gets all butt-hurt about it, and break into this big fake-ass smile and give her “just playing girl” wrap around the neck hug. Then they both go about their business.

Bitch, you can’t hug up on my neck in Scruff. Go away.

Oh the joys and pitfalls of dating in 2012