Emotionally Damaging

It’s now a long time since the episode I wrote about in this post. It is with some regret that, unfortunately, the person involved is still praying on my mind. And I really can’t understand why.

I am quite an emotional person underneath everything. I do a very good job of disguising my fragility, but once exposed I am a wreck. And I am struggling to cope with it.

I can’t count any more the number of times people have taken the piss with me. I have only recently accepted in my own mind that I can and should engage in relationships with men. And yet the introduction I feel like I’ve had into the world has been shocking. I wouldn’t mind so much if people were honest and up front – if I’m not your type, then say so.

But it has amazed me how many guys not only don’t do that, but actively spend time to cause you harm. I can’t believe how many people appear to engage in forms of psychological manipulation. Some of it is relatively low level, such as blanking someone, but the fact that I have now, on multiple occasions, engaged in chats with people which have gone positively, sometimes spanning multiple days (in one case two months) only for them suddenly to either a) disappear off the face of the Earth (never login again); or b) block you.

There was one episode last Sunday morning with a guy who I’d previously chatted to a month earlier. He was nice and friendly. He appeared to be interested in building a relationship. We talked for about half an hour, getting to know each other. He seemed friendly and positive. Then suddenly the interaction ended, from his side, and nothing further happened.

A month later, he started talking to me again. And it appeared to be at a Day 0 moment. He had no recollection of our previous conversation (even though I could still see it in the app) and we started from nothing. I didn’t seek to correct him that we’d already spoken; I just wanted to roll with it and see.

Once again we got on well, even more so than last time. And the chat lasted a lot longer, well over an hour and a half. We certainly seemed to get on. He was more forward than last time, and I responded in turn by suggesting maybe it would be good to meet for a date at some point.

Then he disappeared. In front of my eyes. Blocked.

I was mortified. There was absolutely nothing I had said that could possibly have warranted being blocked. And at no point did the conversation appear to go off the rails to the degree that would have suggested to me that I was overstepping the line or was worthy of getting treated like that.

I sat contemplating my existence for well over an hour. I started to mentally replay the whole thing. What had I done wrong? Why would he behave as if everything was going really well and then block me? I was quite content, eventually, that there was either something wrong with him or he’s totally fake. But it bothered me. If that was indeed a real person, how could he be so unbelievably cruel to someone?

The upshot is this: when people tell you they like you, and are interested in you, actively, spontaneously, without prompting, then I cannot believe them. That’s pretty poor. No matter what people say to me now, I am now constantly making the assumption that it is a total lie, or that they are just “being nice”.

That’s difficult for me. I am a trusting person. I like to take people at their word. And I can’t any more. Even when people say they’re looking for friends, or relationships, or dates, they are lying.

Needless to say I am getting pretty despairing of the whole thing. I didn’t think people could be this horrible to one another. I should be less shocked… I usually have a dim view of the world, but in personal encounters I like to think people are motivated by good. But the evidence I’ve had is heavily to the contrary. Out of the hundreds of conversations I’ve had, most of them have either died in ignorance, blocking or maliciousness (as per above). I have met maybe 5 guys who I could count as genuinely nice people. And just that. Actual, normal, friendly people who you could get on with.

I am maybe going to back away from it for a bit. I feel a bit battle scarred right now. I already feel self conscious that I am not good enough looking – apparently not even for someone to be friends with me (hilarious) – and now I feel psychologically bruised by the silly games people play. I have never started a conversation and behaved in the way anyone has ever done to me. I wouldn’t dream of lying in such a bare-faced manner to a fellow human being and then dumping them. If I start something and it goes nowhere I leave it at that. I don’t start manipulating them. Or if there is no physical attraction I tell them they aren’t my type. I don’t block them.

Maybe someone needs to draw up some sort of code of conduct. Cos it seems people just can’t be nice any more.

Isn’t that what your parents told you?

Advertisements

The Seven Signs of Ageing

In the last month or so I have really been scrutinising my appearance so closely. It feels to me like there is something going on in me. It’s like my body knows I am approaching 30. It is shutting down anything that made me young and turning on the rubbish that makes you look mid-aged.

So I am noticing I now have extra lines under my eyes when I smile. And the front of my face has distinctive lines at the side of my mouth. And I have a jowelly appearance, more so than ever. And the formation of a double chin. Which is mad because I couldn’t be much slimmer. Things are just starting to sag generally. It’s depressing.

In line with some of the posts I wrote in the past about my hair, and how I find this aspect of me frustrating I really don’t know how I will ever learn to accept what’s happening to me. I regret how long it has taken me to bother exploring my own feelings and I feel that the ravages of 10 years on my appearance is actually making it more difficult to do so. If I’d explored my feelings even 5 years ago I’d have certainly been a totally different person now, maybe more comfortable with who I am, and not lost the opportunity to interact with a whole range of other guys. Now I am finding my age and lack of youthful appearance is a barrier.

Another hang up. Another problem that I have added to my massive list of issues already. Just what I wanted. Maybe that’s why I didn’t bother for so many years.

In fact, when I reanalyse old thoughts, I am certain that was part of it. The fear of rejection has always been a massively strong presence. I never wanted to ask anyone out on a date, or anything like that, just because I was always worried about what I would feel if it went wrong. That is my life in general. Mr Unrisky.

So the age signs aren’t helping. The age is making me think I am more likely to fail. More likely to be rejected. And so I struggle on.

It’s an interesting distraction from work though. I have to be honest, I am somewhat enjoying the fact that I can often go home from work, or spend a Sunday, just seeing if my social life does actually exist. Cos sometimes it actually does. I speak to more people now than ever. That might be more of a positive note to end on than usual…

The NSA Dilemma

A few weeks ago I met a guy. As these “meet up” apps go, if you’re looking for “fun” it’s often known as No Strings Attached – NSA. It’s unfortunate that it’s the same as the National Security Agency, but there you go…

To be into NSA you have to be pretty unemotional. In my brief experiences in the Grindr “community” (hilarious) I have had a handful of so called NSA encounters. While I may also be looking to click with people, and find this aspect frustrating, at least NSA does generally live up to the promise of being “fun”. And it does give one a chance to actually meet a guy in some sort of context. I have to be honest, I am not one for dates in the first place. Especially as it would somewhat expose my cover in this very small world…

The trouble is, from time to time, you find someone who you would like to get to know better. I have only met a handful of guys, and most of them wouldn’t pass my general test as someone I’d want to spend more time with – except only for “fun” – but on this one occasion I have to admit I got a little infatuated.

I couldn’t actually believe that he’d agreed to meet me in the first place. I am 9 years older than him. He was extremely attractive, and I always have such a hang up about my own appearance – not helped by the fact that it usually makes people stop talking to me – so it really was a shock when the details were agreed.

In the flesh he was better still. And what really floored me was the fact that he was so into it. He was positive and involved. The first guy I’ve ever met who wanted to start with kissing, and we did a lot of it. Suffice it to say, I thought we both had a lot of fun.

When he left I stupidly didn’t ask for a phone number. But I felt like I shouldn’t. I felt totally lucky in the first place, and I just didn’t think it would ever happen again and I shouldn’t impose on him. He may have just been exploring.

We’re now 20 days later, and, apart from being online briefly the following day, he hasn’t been online since. He hasn’t blocked me, which is a reasonable sign, but I can only assume he’s deleted the app. It’s not that I thought we could have a relationship, but this area has such a paucity of talent, and so many guys are weird, that when you find one who’s nice you should do your best to keep them on side.

But there is a twist. Four days ago a profile appeared. Same age. Same height. Same distance. Same style. I am convinced it is him. I waited a day to pluck up the courage, and my heart was pounding as I typed in the words to try and tease out the info without looking like a total fool if I was wrong.

If it is him he denied that he has ever met me. He didn’t recognise my picture, allegedly, but he refused to send his back, so he didn’t give anything away. I am convinced it is him, and if it is I just cannot understand why someone would behave in such a horrible way. Why would you blank me for so much time? Why would you pretend to have liked me so much when we first met? What do you get out of lying to someone? I can handle the truth, and if he was just experimenting or genuinely only wanted to meet me once, then I could understand. I just want to know.

I walked away from the encounter sheepishly. The only saving grace I could cling onto was that the writing styles were different…

The following day the twist went worse. I bumped into him in the supermarket where he works. The funny thing is that I haven’t seen him at all in there during the missing period. It made me think he was on holiday, It gave me hope that the absence was genuine.

I plucked up the courage to say hello. He replied. He wasn’t talkative. He clearly remembered who I was.

Cos that’s the thing really. Guys on these apps like to act like they will never bump into anyone ever. So you can treat them as rudely and as ignorantly as you like. But actually, we are real. If you’re unlucky, you will meet them in an environment where you have to behave like a human. Suddenly the block button is no help.

I asked him how he was. He said he was OK, and he asked me back. I said I was OK too. I carried on walking. I could tell he was nervous and maybe wanted to be out of the situation.

I really wanted to ask him if he could just be honest with me and say if he would ever want to meet with me again. If he doesn’t I would have closure and could move on. If he does then I’d be happy, but I’d also be concerned that he was just saying it.

The funny thing is that this new profile, which may or may not be him (though I think it is), has now also not been online for two days. If that grows longer, it fits a pattern of a young guy going through phases. One who doesn’t know what he wants, and is terribly awkward at expressing himself.

That’s all OK. That’s all understandable. But it just makes me even more endeared to someone, because I love understanding people and learning who they are. If I like them. Which is not a good thing. I have to remind myself, it’s supposed to be NSA.

It’s just the unknown I hate. And we are now 23 days into the unknown.

NSAs need closure in my mind. They need to either end with a “don’t want to meet him again” – or they need to be a “would like to meet him again”. This one has an unresolved feel. It has been praying on me for too long. I thought I was starting to get over it until this mystery profile appeared a few days ago.

All this tells me is that I have a fragile personality. I need to be stronger.

Day 2

WARNING – this post is, again, off track compared to everything else here. See previous two posts for context – The Complicated Feelings and The Gays of Grindr.

In my last couple of months trying to be a bit more accepting of my bisexuality, I have now established something of a pattern. I’m sure others have observed this too – but it frustrates me incredibly…

It is possible that, just once in a while, whilst browsing “meet up” apps like Grindr and Hornet that you will either start a conversation with someone, or someone else will start a conversation with you, which clicks quite well. You have a decent chat with them, getting to know them a little bit, and revealing a bit about yourself, with mutually positive reactions. It all seems to go so well. You add them as a favourite.

Then Day 2 happens.

There is something very odd about gay and bi guys on these apps, in my experience. Most of them are entirely arrogant and ignorant. They behave in ways that you would never get away with in person, because if you did you’d be the most hated person alive. It is routine for guys to not even acknowledge a hello. It is standard for guys to block people if they don’t fit their perfect conception of what they’re looking for. Imagine if someone said a perfectly innocent hello to you in a bar and you turned away from them and acted like they didn’t even exist. You’d get a load of abuse!

But what’s even more bizarre, and actually more hurtful, is when guys don’t even bother on Day 2. Why even give the other guy some hope, some acknowledgement, in the first place? Is it really that hard for people to say, “Thanks man, but you’re not my type”. Or “I’m really flattered but I don’t feel the same, sorry”. Because that’s the only conclusion I can draw… they just pretended and went along with the conversation on Day 1, with the knowledge that on Day 2 they’d be able to just completely, totally and utterly ignore your messages.

I can count the number of incidences of this now in the dozens. It would be different if they were all initiated by me, but actually they are about 50/50. Yes, I know everyone isn’t compatible, and maybe the other guy has since had a better offer, but – again – is it really that hard to communicate? “Thanks but I’m seeing another guy now”, “Sorry mate I don’t think I want to meet you, but we could still chat and maybe be friends?”

Friends. The concept that doesn’t even seem to enter into people’s minds. Just because you aren’t physically attracted to someone, maybe they could still be a platonic friend? We may all be horny from time to time, but, please, get over yourself if you think I couldn’t contain my physical attraction and convert it into ordinary friendship. Sure, some guys aren’t looking for friends, but I’m willing to wager that many of them are pretty lonely…

I almost feel uncomfortable with all of this, because I feel like I don’t belong in such a group of horrible people. I usually give people a couple of attempts, one message, one day; another message a couple of days later. And then if they still don’t respond, I give them one final spiel a few days later: “Don’t understand why you’re being so ignorant, man. Doesn’t take much to have some manners and say you’re not interested, surely?”

It usually gets no reply, but at least I feel better.

I am not a rude person. I was brought up with manners. Even if the online world is different to the real world, we should still be kind. It’s another human out there reading your text; it’s not a fucking emotionless robot. I reply to nearly everyone, even the guys who are of no interest to me. I have had some nice chats with them, and everyone is an interesting character with different stories to tell.

I just wish others could repay that compliment.

Otherwise, you’re just a rude, arrogant, ignorant fuck.

Someone should start a campaign to make people behave a bit better on meet up apps.

Give your fellow human a break, please.

The Gays Of Grindr

WARNING – this post contains explicit topics. For further background on why I’m writing this, please see my previous post.

I shouldn’t give Grindr so much credit in the title, but they were the first app that introduced me to the world of social “dating” apps. As per my previous post, this was something I was a little unsure about getting into, but I did feel that if I was going to do it I really should do it now. Time waits for no man…

I have found it extremely difficult to put myself into the marketplace. If you’d read my previous post (I know you haven’t, but you should), you’d know that I am a somewhat reluctant bisexual. I don’t like all of the stereotypes that attach to being gay. I don’t wish for people to think of me differently because I tell them that I am gay. I would rather live a lie – a lie that hurts no one and has no effect on me personally – than to have to suffer people’s outdated prejudices, or stupid cultural associations. No, I don’t like Shirley Bassey.

But into the marketplace I went anyway. I’ve had some interesting experiences, despite never actually meeting anyone, and may never do so.

For archive purposes, and maybe because someone somewhere might find this amusing, here follows a non-exhaustive list of the categories of guys you might meet on social apps…

The “Straight” Guy

Despite all available evidence, insists on being straight, but just so happens to like you. Usually youngish, aged 18-29, spends most of their time trying to get you to send your most private pictures, and sending very few of their own. Very unlikely to actually commit to any form of meeting. Probably actually a 50 year old. Usually disappears after they’ve got your pictures.

The Cheating “Bi” Guy

The guy who is married or in some form of relationship with a woman and wants to “explore”. Pleads that you should ignore their questionable morality, but usually moved quickly to aggression if continually challenged. Can be quite aggressive in wanting to meet, and will attack relentlessly if you deny them. Will send dozens of pictures freely and willingly.

The “Straight Acting” Guy

Guys aged 20-40 who are aggressively anti-gay, despite being gay themselves. Will often come out with outrageously vitriolic or bigoted statements if backed into a corner. Won’t meet unless you can also confirm your non-gay gayness by behaving in a macho/butch fashion, whatever that is. Into muscles, roughness, the gym, usually tattooed, probably wants you to do drugs with them.

The Picture Curating Guy

Can be any age, but never into any form of meeting ever. Goes straight in with the picture chat, and adds them to his personal conquest collection. May actually block the minute the deed is done. Possibly a 14 year old searching for pictures, more likely a 60 year old getting their rocks off.

The Not Out Guy

May be bi, “straight” or curious, will only show you their face reluctantly, and will often ask questions and be very frank with you regarding their feelings. Often unwilling to meet.

The Surly Young Guy

Aged 18-21 and won’t even countenance a conversation with anyone 22 or older; assumes everyone beyond this age is a paedophile. Forgets that age will hit them too. Extraordinarily arrogant and cocksure, will block or ignore you if you attempt to speak with them. Has presumably blocked so many people that their “marketplace” is empty bar three other profiles.

The Shy Young Guy

Incredibly socially awkward, unable to hold any conversation or reciprocate small talk in any way. Is a step up from the surly young guy because at least they have an open mind, but they will not show any interest in meeting in any form. Immature.

The Arrogant/Rude Guy

Curt and impolite, doesn’t do small talk and gets straight to the point. Thinks they are God’s gift to men but actually aren’t particularly physically attractive, and have very few mental attractive qualities. Will usually block or ignore you if you don’t meet their standards.

The Incredibly Attractive Guy

Like the Arrogant guy, but actually is undescribably attractive and looking for same. Blocks the minute you talk to them if your face does not meet their ludicrously high standards. Socially inadequate.

The Fake Picture Guy

Pretends to be young, attractive and looking for same. Is using the pictures of a young, attractive guy, but is actually old and unattractive. May be a sexual deviant. Looking to speak to young guys and enter into their confidence. Pathological liar. Hard to spot until you realise they refuse any meetings, and never send any live pictures.

The Uncommunicative Guy

He spends all of his time surfing through pictures and never responds. May occasionally send an xD or similar if you try to flirt with them, but appears to show no interest in ever taking things any further. Possibly underage. Possibly with Asperger’s Syndrome or somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

The Intellectually Impaired Guy

I hate to say this one, but there are some guys out there who are looking but may never be bought. Unable to hold any sort of conversation, may often come out with non-sequiturs or seek continuous reassurance as to their attractiveness.

The Lurking Guy

Just looking, as they say. Never does anything more than that. Never replies. Never starts conversations. Presumably nervous and anxious, or not 100% confident in their sexuality.

The Unavailable Guy

You spend a whole day talking to them and you both seem to like each other, and yet there just never is quite a window in the diary for you both to meet. Presumably either a workaholic, with an active social life, or a liar. Don’t waste your time, give up now.

The Flashing Guy

Prefers to open conversations with a picture of their equipment. Can be an effective tool in getting straight to the point, but usually results in ignorance or blocking. Many of these people can actually be surprisingly normal if you give them a chance.

The Fun Guy

Aged 20-40, just wants to meet for “fun” and nothing else. Surprisingly difficult to pin down to an actual date and time. Issues such as travelling and accomodation are usually the stumbling blocks, but may resort to suggesting “going for a drive” or “outdoors”. Sitting in a car at the side of the A1 is hardly the most romantic locale.

The Fanboy Guy

Seems to like you, and you seem to get on with them, but in reality you don’t want to meet them, though they want to meet you. You feel awkward about letting them down, but let them down you must, or they will keep begging you. One step away from stalking.

The Stalking Guy

Makes creepy comments about how close they are. Usually doesn’t actually do anything, but if they take a shine to you can try to track you down. Some variants of this guy will actually spot you in public if you’re in a busy area like a train station. Then they’ll message you to say “I’m behind you!”. Beware.

The Horny Old Guy

Guys 50+ who are into younger guys, but don’t realise how desperately unattractive they are to them. Can be very good pen pals if they’re into that kind of thing, but usually want to meet for “fun”. It might be fun for them but not for the other guy. Are usually very polite.

The Freaky Fetish Guy

Into chains, whips, leather, but usually worse, probably involving bodily evacuations. Will plead with you to join in but often won’t take the hint. Sometimes into wearing adult nappies. A real eye-opener. (PS: that’s probably another fetish they like)

The Aggressively Out Guy

Won’t talk to anyone who is bi, is as camp as Christmas, and wonders why every other guy can’t be the same. Fundamentalist. Blocks relentlessly if you don’t meet their criteria.

The Rentboy

You chat them up and they appear to reciprocate. You get excited about just how well the relationship is developing. They appear to be extremely open to the idea of meeting. Suddenly money comes into the equation. Blocked.

The Normal Guy

Believe it or not, they actually exist. In my experience, out of hundreds of conversations, I can honestly say that I have found someone normal once. By normal I mean they exhibited no signs of deviancy, utter social or intellectual inadequacy, or were extremely blessed in the physical goods department. Just normal and sane.

 

Conclusion

After all the time I’ve spent on these apps, I start to wonder why I even bother. I have resorted to not even starting conversations any more and seeing what happens.

Some guys exhibit characteristics of multiple categories, of course. And it’s even possible to exhibit different categories to different people. It’s the beauty of the internet. Reinvent yourself every time.

I think that, ultimately, is the reason why they can be so addictive. And to guys who are used to having difficulty even identifying who is gay and who is not, they are a real breath of fresh air. Suddenly everyone is a victim, erm, I mean target.

All I can say, having the benefit of my experience, is that I wish people were nicer and more polite. Manners cost nothing. Honesty is always the best policy. If someone is not attractive to you, just say – “Sorry mate, not my type”. Don’t just ignore them or block them. You can’t do that in real life. You have to actually speak to people. We know it will happen all the time, so be confident that you can say “sorry” and they will move on.

But don’t just say sorry and get rid of them without giving them a chance. In fact, sometimes, you can find people who will be friends, even if they are not attractive to you. Friends don’t have to be attractive, remember? I think some guys forget that.

If you are looking for fun or chat or mates or whatever, just say it. No one should be offended, and if they are they are prissy idiots not actually worthy of your effort.

We’re all in the same boat. We’re all looking for something. It’s better to be really clear about it, and save everyone time.

There are nice people out there, and there are nasty ones. The only way you can tell them apart is by talking to them.

Have fun out there.

The Complicated Feelings

I’ve never directly addressed anything like this on this journal before – in 10 years! – but I feel like this is a good moment to do so.

When I was in school I used to fantasise about girls. They were definitely the object of my desires. I have numerous distinct memories of being attracted to girls in my class, and girls in the school. This made me happy, because boys are cruel. It was very difficult for anyone who had any sort of camp/effeminate nature. I used to feel sorry for those who were, and in fact I counted a couple of the ones who were constantly accused of being “gay” amongst my friends.

So I was just normal, and so I kept under the radar. I was pleased. I don’t think I’d have survived any type of bullying or victimisation. I put up with the most moderate stuff, and that was bad enough for me, because I’m so sensitive. I take everything to heart and over-analyse it.

The complicated step was around the age of 16, when I also started to develop attractions to boys as well. As you can imagine, this totally confused me. I had a rather strange phase just before my 16th birthday when I very definitely went through a phase of being gay. It was weird. I accepted the feelings because I felt they were clearly just passing. I’d heard of getting confused by hormones and other tales of teenage woe, so I just went with it. I felt they would go away again, and I’d return to being heterosexual.

They never did.

But neither did the other feelings.

Being teenaged and hormone-filled, it didn’t really feel bad to me. It just felt like I was being horny regarding both sexes. But I did worry. I did worry about being gay, because a) I had no desire to go through such a stressful period with family and friends explaining it; and b) I was most definitely not someone who acted or behaved gay. I have my camp moments, as, in fact, all men do – because we sometimes do it very well for comic effect – but, in the main, I am pretty much just an ordinary guy. The thought of being gay and being associated with all the negative stereotypes worried me greatly.

My life path has wound forward some years since then. Since early dalliances in my teens, I have never “done anything” regarding my homosexuality. I have repressed it to some degree. I have always looked at (some) guys and thought “yeah, he’s nice” – but I have never thought “I should ask him on a date”. I have thought “he’s cute” but never “I’d like to…” – fill in the blank. It’s never appealed to me. Perhaps it’s repression, but I think it’s also that I just don’t feel 100% that I’d like to be intimate with a man.

On the other hand, I feel completely comfortable with being intimate with women. Not that it happens very often (I don’t write about everything on here) but I am happy speaking to women and getting to erm know them better. It is tragically all too rare, especially since Uni days are over, but that aspect of me feels normal.

So I’ve always thought that I’m pretty much a heterosexual, because the homosexual side of me just doesn’t feel all that comfortable with existing. I am certain, though, that it’s part of my unintentional repression. But if I became an exclusive heterosexual, then it wouldn’t matter. I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing anything.

In the last year or so, however, I’ve began to accept that I’m actually a bisexual. Of course, this was obvious from day one, and I should have thought about this when I was 16 ish. I like both. Not equally. And not in the same way. I’m genuinely uncertain that I’d ever actually enjoy a long-term relationship with a man.

My new accepting mindset was an attempt to try and smoke out whether that too was a repression. And after the last few months of testing out my feelings quite extensively (utilising social apps…) I am reasonably confident that it’s not. Gay guys are incredibly difficult for me to get along with. They are extra fussy, they are a little untrustworthy (but that may just be the nature of the people on social apps) and they are almost universally not my type – i.e. they are too effeminate/camp.

But it’s been an interesting experience. The crap chat and rubbish banter, and the incredibly dismissive, arrogant and downright rudeness is enough to tell me I may be onto a loser here. I think I’m an ordinary, normal person, who shows genuine interest in others, and as such am really easy to get along with. But none of it was reciprocated.

I’ll write more extensively about my experience in the future. I just wanted to set a benchmark here that it may be a future topic…