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Friday, February 5, 2010

Adventures in Internet Dating, Part 2

The Plunge

plunge_by__fenrir The construct of dating sites is one that took me a while to come to terms with. I really was lonely and perhaps even desperate as I went into it. Living in a small community and being relatively new to the gay world was intimidating, so the online experience seemed rather logical despite the stigma associated with not meeting guys in-person.

Hunter suggested a particular site to allay many of my anxieties associated with the predatory nature of the online dating world.

“Connexion isn’t like ManHunt or Craigslist,” he said. “They have rules on the kind of pictures you can post, so you don’t need to worry about running into porn where it doesn’t belong.”

“I just don’t feel like I’d be comfortable sharing everything that would be expected of me.”

“No, no, no. You don’t need to worry about that. If you’re not comfortable using your name, don’t worry. You don’t need to post pictures. You don’t even have to say much about you. The point is to start up a conversation and see where it goes from there. You feel your way through these things like you would anything else—minus the face-to-face.”

There was little arguing with that (and that’s coming from someone pretty skilled at constructing written arguments…), so the next day after work, I got online and pulled up the site.connexion

Sure, I was a bit intimidated by the shirtless, speedo pics, but all-in-all it still felt right at the moment. I trusted Hunter and his tastes. I trusted my own discretion.

I had nothing to lose.

Cautiously entering the information the site asked for, I entered what information I deemed practical. Enough, but not too much.

Name?
G.M.B. My initials are safe, no?

Age?
23

Height?
6’

Weight?
165

A little superficial, Mr. Connexion, no?...

Relationship Status?
Single

Politics?
Left

Religion?...
For the first time in my life, I doubted what box I was supposed to check. Who I was supposed to be. Would someone look down on me for being a gay Mormon? Or would some zealot track down everybody who labeled himself as a gay Mormon and turn us in to church headquarters for prompt excommunication?
I simply left it out. I wasn’t sure what to put, so I left it blank. By no means was it a glaring omission, but it was a struggle in my heart of sorts.

This is the first time I can’t be confident, I can’t represent myself in writing, I can’t be sure of what I actually believe.

Interests?
Um…Research, Poetry…

Favorite TV shows?
That took a while…

Movies?
I’ll try not to sound too gay.

Books?
Try not to show off too much.

Music?
Show off that you’re both cultured and hip.

Then finally…
About me: & Looking for:
I explained where I was coming from: …ambitious and caring. …figuring things out…more satisfied with life than ever. Seeking…someone who I can share everything with…love and be loved back. A mess that’s been shaped of the last year.

I’m not sure why I felt comfortable including a picture, but I did. Like ripping the proverbial band-aid off, I quickly clicked on “Submit Changes” and went to bed

onlinedating

The next morning, I awoke to about a half dozen messages and began sifting through them.

End, Part 2

7 comments:

C.J. said...

Have you tried Match.com? I think a lot of pretty normal people (gay and straight) use it. Most of the internet love connections I know of have been courtesy of Match.com.

As for what religion to check...to me, it's really two issues: one is self discovery (do I self identify as a Mormon at this point? What does that mean for me?) and one is perception. As far as self discovery goes, it seems like you're doing a really great job of that. As far as perception, for what it's worth, my two cents is this: if someone looks down on you, or has a problem with you, for who you are, then **** them! Seriously! Someone who'd look down on you, or have an issue with you, because you have a complex relationship with your faith...you wouldn't want to date them anyway, 'cause they wouldn't be at your intellectual level, or capable of appreciating all the awesome things you'd bring to a relationship.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

C.J., thanks for the very kind comment. Any gay Mormon boy could use a friend like you. I've figured out a lot since the events of this post (set a year in the past like the rest of the blog) and I've come to terms with the foundational Gay Mormon issues. I must admit that being confident in who I am took a while not only to figure out, but also to be proud of because many guys out there (the ones not worth dating) make it their mission to bring others down.

P.S.--Keep being awesome. Those dating posts are hilarious.

C.J. said...

Thanks :-) I have hope for the church, re: gay rights, even though some would say I'm being ridiculous. The Heavenly Father I have a testimony of, and the Gospel I've read, is loving and inclusive--of everybody (and the handful of supposed anti-homosexual references are a) mistranslations, and b) taken out of context, I wrote a monograph on this very subject but have yet to find a major publisher, which is horrendously frustrating). Honestly, I think there's room in the Mormon cannon for accepting our gay and lesbian Brothers and Sisters--just like it turned out there were room for our African American Brother and Sisters. I guess that's the joy (and the pain) of continuing revelation. But I prefer to fight the good fight from within. I actively support gay rights, and equal marriage, and it's never stopped me from getting a Temple Recommend.

And, yes, there are definitely lots of guys (and girls), gay and straight, who make it a mission to tear other people down. Mainly, people tell me I'm boring, repressive of alternative lifestyles, and "too Mormon". Apparently my vague resemblance to a certain "Molly Mormon" stereotype means I'm not actually a real person.

My last dating story (for awhile) is appearing tomorrow--the cliffhanger ending. There are plenty more horrible date stories, but I hesitate to write about some of them, because I don't want to unintentionally embarrass anyone. Although, I did have someone tell me he didn't want to be friends with me anymore, because he disagreed with my (astonishingly wonderful!) political analysis.

green and purple said...

Oh, you leave us in suspense! I'll have to check back tomorrow!

seandmc said...

When I think about all that was involved with dating pre-"internets" I think everyone has it easy now with the online resources but everyone I speak to that is doing it has the worst stories. I don't understand people misrepresenting themselves because you are eventually going to see them, corexion? Can't wait to see who makes it through the initial sifting. Sean

Evan said...

I love your style of writing. I want to know what happens next!

As for Connexion, I do have a profile there and have had a little bit of luck as far as finding actual gay friends who aren't looking for that hook up. I have never dated anyone from there. The actual discussion boards there have a couple of whackos (militant gays, if you will). If you disagree with their perspective, they will look at your profile, notice you are Mormon, closeted, etc and insult you for it. I don't let it get to me though. If you are comfortable, feel free to add me!

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@CJ: Very interesting take on the whole cultural conflict. I think what is most interesting on the gay side of the issue is the advocacy of acceptance, tolerance, and diversity when accusations and stereotypes such as that are thrown out there.

@green and purple: Sorry for the long wait for the next part.

@seandmc: It's definitely interesting to think about. I've had good and bad experiences, and really it doesn't make sense to lie.

@Evan: As you know, I'm still on there, so I've had at least some good experiences.

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