Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lower Your Standards

I was chatting with a friend about not meeting anyone lately.   There are 4 million people in my MSA.  Half of those are men.  Let's say 5% of them are gay.  That's 100,000 gay men.  Even if 20% are in my age range, that's 20,000 possibilities.

"Maybe your standards are too high," he said jokingly, but I knew it wasn't a joke.  That's a possibility.  I did get messages from these guys and didn't respond.  Maybe I should  I know of many good looking guys, far out of my league, who are on-line seemingly forever....maybe they've set the bar too high?

He's right.  I could meet a new guy everyday if I wanted.  Problem is, they're not guys I want to meet.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Easier Life?

I had a strange conversation with my ex-bf, Seth, over the weekend.  He's Asian and lives in Europe now.  We talk a lot on Skype.  One of my sons is becoming a real challenge to me behavior-wise.

Seth: he is 18 yo, just being rebellous...we have gone through this phase
Rob: why can't I have a respectful Asian kid??
Seth: why didn't you choose an Asian girl to fuck?
Rob: good point
Rob: then my biggest problem right now would be finding a calculus tutor
Seth: Asian son fulfills all your expectation: obedient, smart, respectful, and well-mannered, the only concern might be...he might got a small dick
Rob: why do I care about that?
Seth: big dick got easy life

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Liar, Liar

I had a quick coffee date a few days ago.  It was a guy I met on MH.  He was Indian/Middle Eastern mix, very good looking, 37, a doctor and in reasonable shape.  At least that's what I was lead to believe from MH.  I did talk to him on the phone for a while before we met.  I wasn't planning on meeting anyone....this just sort of happened.

I never go into these things with high expectations.  In fact "prepare to be disappointed" is my motto for these things.  Good thing in this case.  When I saw him get out of the car, a 15 year old Mercedes 420, I new it was him.  Completely different than his profile.  This wasn't a case of face pic from ten years ago...the face pic WASN'T him.  More than a little overweight.  I would say closer to 50...maybe older.

I was polite.  At least give me credit for that.  He stared at me.  It felt creepy.  "Take off your jacket," he urged, "I want to see you."  "Let's see your arms...flex a little."   In the middle of Starbucks??

Almost everyone makes themselves look a little better online than reality.  The legal term is "puffery."  But why do some guys completely misrepresent themselves?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great Porn Experiment

A post by the Closet Professor led me to this video.  It's more than a few years old.  Am I the only one who hasn't seen it? 

It is fascinating what porn does to the brain, and this video explains it.  The widespread use of porn is epidemic.  The web statistics for porn sites are astounding -- a huge proportion of all web traffic is for porn.

Considering that gay men account for perhaps only 5% of all men, the amount of gay porn out there is staggering.  Porn is causing huge societal shifts in how we behave.

There are movements to stop the use of porn, maybe even stop masturbation.  Ever hear of the No FAP movement?  New term for me.

The no (or significantly reduced) FAP movement claims the following benefits:

  • Higher testosterone levels
  • Increased motivation to actually go out and meet real people for actual sex.
  • More free time (yea, this is a no brainer)
  • Harder erections
  • Better real sex
  • Enhanced mood
I think there is definitely some truth to these claims.  I don't think anyone can totally go without relieving themselves, but reducing frequency probably has some benefit.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Do Unto Others.....

I was just reading a post by Cameron about his struggles with dating.  I was reading it and thinking, "I feel the same way and I've had the same experiences."  I've chatted online with guys and learned we had a lot in common...only to have them repeatedly delay and never meet me.  Endless chat and no meeting is so common.  I've also had plenty of dates that went nowhere.

This is what I hate most:  I chat with a guy for a while.  We have things in common and seem to connect.  "Share face pics?"  "Sure," I say.  Then the conversation stops.  I'm so ugly you can't keep talking to me?  You were expecting George Clooney or Brad Pitt? 

When stuff like this happens it hurts.  It's not good for anyone's self-esteem.  However, I know I'm a nice guy and it's their loss.  I do periodically run into guys who like me, but I wish I had a higher batting average.

As much as I don't like being rejected or blown off, when I look at my own behavior I am often doing the same things.  I don't cut people off when they show me a face pic I don't like, but I'll politely exit the conversation.  When a guy messages me and I'm not interested, I usually don't respond.  Often the reason I'm not interested is based on my personal preference and nothing against them.  I prefer guys who are around my height, so when a guy who is 6'4" contacts me I am not interested (btw, I'm 5'8" and wish I was taller).  I also tend to ignore guys with huge cocks - while they look great in porn they are not so practical in real life (and I don't want to have an inferiority complex in bed).  Sometimes I'll look at a face pic and I'm just not interested, it's an emotional gut reaction.  This could be the perfect, nicest guy and I just blew him off.  Maybe I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.  When I do these things it's no big deal, and I'm not recoiling in disgust, it's just that I have this gut reaction that I'm not interested for whatever reason.  This is a problem because I'm not giving some guys a chance and most likely missing out on some good guys.

So when guys blow me off I guess it's my karma.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

I cam across this video by accident and thought it was interesting.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Neutral

A primary theme of this blog finding happiness.  I don't feel unhappy.  But I don't feel happy either. 

I found a website on happiness.  It was created my Martin Seligman, who is one of the foremost experts on the psychology of happiness.  The site contains a battery of different tests.  One of the tests is the Authentic Happiness Inventory.  This test is supposed to measure our overall happiness on a scale of 1 to 5.  I scored 3.33.  That is the 62nd percentile for all test takers, and 54th percentile for those with my education level.  Middle of the pack.  Perhaps confirms my own impression.....I'm neutral.

If you take this test I would appreciate a comment on your impression.  Do you think it fairly represents your present state of happiness?

I know I don't need a test to determine if I'm happy.  I can determine that for myself.

Research has determined that 50% of our inherent happiness level is inherited.  Yes, it's genetic.  Oh shit, I'm doomed....just kidding.  Some people are just naturally happier than others, and we all know people who are naturally unhappy.  This is called your happiness set point.  We gravitate to this happiness set point.  You're not doomed if you have a low happiness set point, you just have to work harder to influence your level of happiness.  There are twelve intentional happiness activities you can engage in to improve your happiness level.  Something to write about in another post.

Trying to influencing my level of happiness. That is what I'm trying to do.....with mixed success so far.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First Date - Lessons Learned

What's the other key takeaway from my date with Ross?  Don't be passive.  Be aggressive in getting what you want.  This is an important lesson for me.  I'm too passive sometimes.  What's the worst that can happen?  He says no and I feel rejected.  Not the end of the world.  I should be confident....he might say yes.

Ross is an average guy, and really nice.  I'm sure he doesn't have guys knocking his door down.  He took the lead that night and it worked out.   

A few years ago I went out on a first date.  The guy was a little younger than me, good looking, and I would have done more with him.  He was shy like me.  We had a light dinner, walked around town a bit, and then got a beer.  I was waiting for something to happen.  Would he invite me back to his place?  He seemed bored, but he was asking questions like, "how far away is your place?" and "where is your car?"

He didn't ask me back to his place.  I didn't ask him back to mine.  Why didn't I?  Not sure, I was too shy I guess.  He was shy like me.  I could have, should have taken the lead here.  Eventually he said good night. Lost opportunity.

I was telling a friend about this.  "Rob, you are so f--ing dense!  Of course he wanted to go back to your place!  Why would he spend three f---ing hours with you?  Why would he ask those questions??  Dude --If he wasn't interested he would have been gone within 20 minutes."

Yea, I guess you're right.  Have a little sympathy for a socially awkward guy.  I'm trying.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Date pt2

A friend sent me this note.  It got me thinking about first dates, and is the reason for my last post.  

Think about all the dates you've had and then think about the guys who became special.  I'll bet all *those* first dates were better right away.  It's a very rare thing that two people will ambivalently go on multiple dates and then suddenly find themselves drawn to each other on  date five or six.  First dates, meetings, pictures, etc are all coin tosses.  They either naturally work or they don't.  Don't you think?

He's right.  In my experience, either we hit it off right away or we didn't.  The date went well and I saw the guy again.....or it was over.  I can't remember going on multiple dates to "get to know each other" before anything happened.  My date with Ross was the best example of a date I've had in the last year where we quickly clicked.

This is a situation where we are making a decision emotionally.

Thinking about this rationally it doesn't make sense.  Suppose you meet someone, there's no immediate spark, but you wouldn't totally rule the guy out.  You're tentative.  The date doesn't end in bed, so the guy thinks you don't like him.  Sometimes people can grow on you.  What's wrong with a second date?

In the hetero world sex on the first date is not universal.  Often there are a few dates before things get physical.  A little more time to get to know each other.  What's wrong with that?

I guess my point here is that guys might have more success meeting if they didn't just jump to this snap judgment about other guys.  Too quick to dismiss a guy they've just met.  Sometimes you meet someone and you just know it won't work -- I get that.  But what about the other times -- when you're tentative?  I'm guilty of doing this, so I'm not throwing rocks here.  Something to be more cognizant of I guess.     

Friday, October 11, 2013

Best First Date

No first date is perfect, but this one was close.

Summer 2012
I saw a profile on Manhunt.  Really hot ass pics.  I messaged him to complement the picture and we started chatting.  The next day we talked on the phone.  For an hour.  His name is Ross and he is 37. He seemed like a really nice guy.  We exchanged face pics.  We agreed to have a date on Saturday.  We would meet at 6pm.

He lived about thirty miles away, but I felt good about our phone conversation and really wanted to meet him.  I was a few minutes late and he sent me a text.  There he was in front of the restaurant.  His hair was starting to grey a little and he looked a few years older than his picture.  My first impression:  kind of nerdy, but that's ok.  Introductions and we talk about finding a place for dinner.

"Do you have any dietary restrictions?" he asked.  I almost started to laugh.  In his defense, he's a doctor.  This is his language.

We had dinner and a good conversation.  He seems really nice.  Very smart.  The bill comes and he grabs it.  We were engaged in kind of an intellectual conversation.  Honestly, the question of whether I would sleep with this guy never entered my mind.

"How about we go back to my place," he asks.  You know what this means.  Just to give you an idea of how dense I am, that question didn't trigger me to think, "he wants to get me naked."  I was just thinking ok, we go back to his place.  It's early....only like 8:30.

We sit down on his sofa and he gets some wine.  We talk some more.  He excuses himself to go the bathroom.

When he returns I can tell that he has used mint mouthwash.

He starts to kiss me.  "Let's play," he whispers.  After some makeout he leads me to his bedroom.

He starts to unbutton my clothes and then stops.  He lights candles around the bedroom.  "Don't undress," he says, "I want to undress you."

The lights are off. We undress each other in the candle light.  He drops down in front of me and sucks my cock for what seems like a really long time.  For the next few hours the sex is passionate and intense....pretty awesome.

We lay next to each other naked.  He seems to have lots of questions for me.  When did I first have sex with a guy?  And the like.  All of a sudden, "Will you spend the night?"  I didn't need to be talked into that.

This date happened during the time the Olympics were going on.  When we woke up Ross said, "You are really a cuddler.  Cuddlng could be your Olympic sport!"

It was Sunday morning and he had to work.  He pulled me into the shower with him....more sex.  It was pretty obvious, since last night, that he really likes me.

"Let's go out to breakfast," he says.

He took me to this popular cafe, but we were there early enough that it wasn't too busy yet.  I had apple oatmeal pancakes.  We talked some more.  I'm still thinking he's kind of nerdy, but I also think he's a really nice guy.  He was running late for work.

We walk out to the parking lot and he gives me a hug.  "I want to see you again," he says.  I remember him standing there looking at me, like he had doubt that he'd see me again.  We part.  It's around 9:30.

About 2pm I check my email.  He wants me to come to his place for dinner on Thursday.  Later I notice an sms on my cell phone.  It's Ross telling me that he sent me an email.

It's nice to feel wanted.

I've said before that my litmus test for sex is how I view it after the fact.  Now more than a year later I still look back on this first date with a fond memory.  Some may disagree, but a successful first gay date ends in sex.  Doesn't have to, but they usually do.  There's some lessons learned here that I want to write about in future posts. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Grindr's ROI

Here's a problem I have:  I am wasting too much time online.  Know anyone else with this problem?

I'm a numbers guy.  That's what I do all day long.  I tend to look at things from that perspective.  Spending a lot of time online and rarely meeting anyone is NOT an efficient use of time.  Poor return on investment (ROI).  Manhunt, A4A, Grindr...these are the worst.  Log on and browse through generally have to be there to connect.  Guys on these sites tend to have a singular focus on one thing.  It's not like I'm skipping work to cruise A4A.  I'll watch TV in the evening and pull out my laptop.  But I could be using my time better.  

I could delete my profiles on these sites.  That would solve the problem.  It's just that I've met some great guys on these sites.  But I'd liken it to diamond mining.  You sift through tons of dirt to find a handful of gems.  I don't feel like it's efficient, but why do I keep doing it? This is a great excerpt from a 2008 Out Magazine article:
Manhunt is, according to marketing director Henricks, 'addictive, like a slot machine. You keep hitting next, to see another screen of profiles, thinking you're gonna get lucky sevens.' This drive, according to Alan Downs, a psychologist and author of The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, lies at the core of the appeal of online cruising: 'Variable payout schedule, which is used in slot machine designs, is the most addictive form of psychological conditioning, because you never know when you'll get paid. It could be every 10 times you play, or every hundred.' In the same way, Downs adds, 'every time you log on, you never know what you'll find. That's why it expands to fill a person's time. Last night was a bust, but who knows who will be online this morning or tonight.'

What other options?  Craigslist?  At least there you only invest five minutes upfront to create an ad, and then wait to see who replies.  I've actually met a few really good guys on CL, but again, it's diamond mining to go through all the emails.

PoF or OKCupid?  Certainly more civilized and also likely the guys are looking for more than just sex.  Again, just have to invest the upfront time in creating the profile.  Unless you want to actively contact other guys.  This option is harder if you are discreet -- if you don't put up a face pic forget it.  However, I have seen some pretty innovative ways that guys got around this.  A pic from 500 feet away was one.  I did spot my friend George on there -- he had on a hat and sunglasses, and the pic was from a distance.  Ok, I'm making the out people angry, I need to stop.  This is probably a better option for me.  I just haven't done it lately. 

Anyway, this psychology of the "variable payoff schedule" has fucked with my mind.  I can't bring myself to delete these sites.  Maybe I should choose just one and delete the rest?  Maybe I rationalize this as a fun vice, like smoking and gambling, instead of a serious means to meet guys.

Now to get serious --  friends have told me that I talk about things I should do, but then never do them.  I haven't acted to make real change in my life where it is needed.  Agree, fair statement.  I need to make some changes here.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Depraved Sex

I've never had sex in a men's room, or in park, or in an adult bookstore, or the backroom of a gay club.  I've never been to a bathhouse.  Oh my Rob, what a pathetic, boring life you lead.....I'm sure some will say.  But I'm proud of this.  I've done some things I regret, but nothing like this.

I call this "depraved sex".  Sorry to seem judgmental if this is your thing.  I just don't know how I would feel good about this kind of sex after the fact.  If I see no possibility of feeling good about it, then I shouldn't do it.  A few weeks ago there was an article in the NYT about a gay couple in NYC who had been together for fifty years.  They talked about how gay sex had changed over the years.  "A day without sex was a failed day," one of them said.  They talked about men's rooms in subway stations all over the city.  This is disgusting to me.  Was this ever the norm?  If gay sex has changed since the 1960's, and not even sure if that is true, it seems to me to be for the better.  Again, this is my preference.  If this kind of sex is your thing, I can respect that.  I don't understand why, but we're grownups who make our own choices.

During my trip to Toronto I was at the gay village several times.  The entrance to Steamworks is in an alley right in the center of the village.  I walked by these steel doors and saw a few guys go in.  I thought about going in, just out of curiosity to see it one time, but decided not to.   It's not what I'm looking for.  A friend asked me if I would go to a bathhouse with him because he was curious to see it.  I agreed, with the condition that the only sex we would engage in would be between us.  We never went.

This blog is about finding happiness.  The lesson here?  Focus on what will make you happy.  If it's not going to make you happy then don't do it.  If you're doing it and it's not improving your life, then stop.

I Look Like Who?

A few weeks ago I met a guy.  Within fifteen minutes he said, "You remind me so much of Gordon Ramsay."  I had never heard of Gordon Ramsay so I immediately rushed to Google him.  He is a British chef and has some cooking TV shows.  He is actually very close to my age.