Dating sucks. It sucks everywhere. Having a more active love life is something that I see as a to-do item that I just keep putting aside. Many moons have passed and I still haven’t gotten around to making any progress in the dating department. I’m pretty independent at this point, so it’s cool for now. But, I constantly romanticize that I’ll eventually find the right person and everything will just fall into place with my love life.
I’ve used dating websites and apps for a while now. I much prefer meeting people organically in real life situations like parties or through mutual friends. But, when I came to Korea, I didn’t have any friends. So, I decided to try online dating once again. My sister had recommended Tinder as a way to meet friends and that’s what I did at first. My first Tinder meeting turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. I met my great friend Nick through it. On top of Tinder, I downloaded Jack’d (pronounced “Jack Dee” here) because I heard it’s the most popular gay app in Korea. It’s basically Grindr. I’ve also kept my OKCupid profile current even though not many people use it here.
I was pretty insistent on my profiles that I only was looking for friends and dates, not hookups. I thought I could meet other expats living in Korea or even Koreans who could help show me around and teach me about life in Korea. After many hours of meticulous research, I would like to share with you the things I have learned about gay dating in Korea so far. (Please cite me in all academic papers.)
1. Profile pics can be…unusual.
2. Some guys are very secretive.
Being openly gay is not accepted here pretty much at all. There’s no anti-discrimination laws preventing you from being fired if you’re gay (is this the United States?), which forces many guys to avoid showing their faces on apps.
So you see a lot of profile pictures like this:
Some guys get more creative:
This guy seems looks like the perfect match for me. And he’s only looking for friends just like me!
3. Like anywhere, chatting can be difficult.
And the language barrier adds more to that. This guy starting a conversation with me just by unlocking pictures of his dick.
4. Guys can be super impatient.
I couldn’t forget the first time I got called an asshole here. Because I didn’t respond to this guy in seven minutes, he sent me (in my opinion) a very passive aggressive message, which I was not in the mood for. And of course, like Azaelia Banks, I’m never going to shy away from calling a bitch out on social media.
5. Guys can be super intense.
And here’s one of the scariest guys I’ve met through dating apps here in Korea. “Patrick” and I first matched on Tinder. Our conversation was pretty tame to start off. Things seemed promising.
One Tuesday or Wednesday, he asked me if I wanted to go ice skating that weekend. I had tentative plans with my sister and he lives pretty far away, so I didn’t respond immediately. I also didn’t want to explain why I couldn’t commit to his plan because I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go all the way across the city to meet this guy. I didn’t really know much about him. Then I started getting passive aggressive messages (this seems to be a theme here) like “I guess we won’t hang out this weekend.” “I guess we won’t ever meet…” Stuff like that. I told him he was acting very dramatic. He sent a series of utterly crazy messages that I wish I could have screenshot before he unmatched with me. He did however find me on OKCupid and wrote this rant about some (maybe imaginary) Americans who told him that I wouldn’t be a good friend blablabla.
So, bye Patrick. I will not be your Spongebob.
I met someone a few weeks ago who showed me Patrick’s picture on his phone and warned me about him, which confirmed my suspicions. Apparently, Patrick was making fake profiles using this guy’s pictures. That’s some Catfish shit and I’m not into it.
So, no love life to speak of here in Korea. Carry on posting your couples pics on Facebook and sending me your wedding invitations.
I got hooked on RuPaul’s Drag Race during its second season in 2010. Two different friends recommended it to me on two different occasions, so I felt like I had to give it a try. The show was pretty barebones back then. The winner only got $25,000. But, the concept was golden: drag queens competing against each other. Duh, I’ll watch that.
Here we are in 2015 and I’m a mega fan of the show. I’ve been to the crownings for the last two seasons (in Las Vegas and New York City) and I watch past contestants’ webseries at work. To me, drag queens on TV are bitchy and funny and I think some of them are cute as boys despite having shaved off all their body hair and overtweezed their eyebrows. But, I never thought I could date a guy who did drag. However, one queen this season made me question that because I realized I was attracted to her both in and out of drag. Ok, I mean I think she’s funny in drag and that I have a crush on her out of drag (I’m not into sex with boys IN drag).
Her name is Ekaterina Zamolodchikova. But you can call her Katya.
She’s a scrawny boy from Boston who speaks fluent Russian and does the splits like none other.
This is her boyself:
She made it to the top five of the show and was the only contestant that I could see winning. But, she was unfairly eliminated and then I gave up on this season. I didn’t even really care who won despite being in New York at the crowning. I was still on #teamkatya.
Katya came to DC back in April when the show was still airing and she hadn’t been eliminated yet. I saw her perform on a Saturday night at a gay club and then was going to see her the following Monday at a gay bar where they host RuPaul’s Drag Race watch parties. As I was walking up to the bar, I passed a Holiday Inn and saw her sitting there smoking a cigarette in full drag. I went up and talked to her for fifteen minutes or so until we both walked over to the bar. Unfortunately, she didn’t fall in love with me then, so I wrote her a love letter expressing my feelings:
I know you’re a big deal, but I hope that you’re not so busy/illiterate that you can’t read and respond to your own fan mail. A part of me hopes you don’t because I’m pretty nervous about writing a love letter to a drag queen, but I do hope that you/someone will respond.
I had the privilege of meeting you in person and talking to you for a little bit when you were here in DC in April. You were going to co-host the Drag Race watch party at Number Nine and I was headed to the bar to watch with my friends. After a long day of hooking a.k.a. being a stupid DC young professional, I was walking to the bar looking a fool with all of my bags and my bike helmet. I saw you sitting outside the Holiday Inn, smoking a cigarette. My heart started racing because I’ve developed not only a fascination for your drag but a huge boy crush on you. I knew that I had to go up and at least say hi to you.
I was nervous to interrupt your smoke, but (being Mom) you were a big sweetheart and actually look good in drag in person. Drag queens in DC are typically pretty scary looking up close if you haven’t noticed. After you clocked my business casual khaki on khaki look, we sat on the bench and just chatted for fifteen minutes or so until someone came to take you to the bar. You talked about how attractive guys in DC are (which I don’t 100% agree with). We also discussed how you wear perfume in drag, which I was always curious about because how far does drag go? Do you wear boy deodorant in drag? Boy underwear?
The owner of Number Nine finally came, and we all walked to the bar together. I felt like such a groupie walking in with you. People were actually looking at me and wanted to know who I was. You also remembered my name and said it when you were hosting. It was a mega dream come true for me.
I tried to say bye to you that night but you were swarmed with fans wanting to take pictures with you, which is understandable because you’re the best. I had joked with my friends that I was going to download Grindr and scroll Craigslist when you were in town to try to hook up with you or, at least, buy you a cupcake or something. So, it was perfect to just stumble across you outside Holiday Inn.
I hope that you will come back to DC sometime soon. I will definitely come see your show and continue to dream that we will one day get together. Even though I’ve never brought anyone home to meet my family (because boys suck), I’ve already mentally worked up the courage to let them know that I’m planning to marry a drag queen. I usually think that being around queens non-stop would be exhausting, but I am 100% ready to quit my job and be your groupie/boyfriend whenever.
I will continue to watch your webseries while eating lunch at my boring office job and follow you all over Instagram and Facebook. Continue being you because your fanbase is ridiculous. Your humor is super sexy and I will hold out hope that I will get to know someone romantically who makes me laugh as much as you do.
I hope that you or a member of your posse will write back.
I sincerely love you.
Let me know if you want me to send nudes.
P.S. Here’s a picture I found in Colombia that reminded me of you.”
I got a response only a few hours later.
What the heck!!??? I would have rubbed my scabby dick all over your biz-cas khaki kombo.
You better let me do sex to you next time I’m in DC.
Ps- send me nudes”
Do I think this was really Katya replying? No. If it was, do I think she remembered me? Not really. But, I had to try to make this relationship work! So, I responded:
”Yaaas kween! Scabby dick all o’er my body. Here are some teasers. Will send nudes when the swelling goes down.”
I sent some of my modeling pics. They’re not that scandalous. I never got a response. I guess we’re not meant to be right now unfortunately. I think she might be afraid of commitment.
Since my last blog post was a huge hit (with approximately 17 views in one day), I put off writing the second part of my Date Lab experience until now. These past few months have been crazy busy for me due to the stupid classes I signed up for thinking that I would enrich myself. I mean I took a proofreading class by choice. Who does that?
Anyways, I’m back on the blogging scene with lots of new material to write about. But, I figured, it’s only fair that I finish what I started with Date Lab and Riley. For a refresher, read this.
I ended up being pretty drunk when I got home (ALONE) after our date. I woke up the next morning still with no word from Riley. For the record, I was pretty sure I had put the ball in his court. So, when I had to do a post-date phone interview that morning during work, I figured I’d play it safe and answer cautiously to avoid making a fool of myself if Riley trashed me during his interview.
I thought the lady reporter was really nice and easy to talk to over the phone. She seemed to do this a lot and understand how awkward blind dates can be. We laughed about stuff as she ran down her list of questions. I went straight after work that day to do the video interview. The Washington Post staff had told me to wear a dark shirt because it shows up better on the screen. Having been a model for about five seconds, I also dabbed some concealer on a few problem areas because you never know who’s going to see the video when it comes out.
The video interview went fine as well. It was awkward to try to look straight at a camera lens one foot in front of my face, but lady who conducted the interview told me I gave good facial expressions. I’ve never had any complaints.
Riley and I did end up texting a little bit that day about how our interviews went. I tried to move the conversation to something other than Date Lab, but it just never really happened. This being the week of Christmas also made it harder to stay in touch since we were both going out of town. I knew that the story was set to be published in about a month and a half, but I didn’t hear anything from the newspaper for several weeks. Then the print reporter had a few “follow up” questions that she wanted to ask me:
What did he say when you told him you had a blog?
Do you remember him telling you about his trip to Germany for October Fest? What did you think of that?
You said personality-wise you had a lot in common–that you were both easy going. What other personality traits do you think you have in common?
He mentioned that you play for a kickball league and that he asked you if it was a gay league. What did you think of that?
When he said stuff during the date and in the taxi about your buying him a drink–did you think that was sweet or did it make you uncomfortable in that he was presuming a lot? This is where I realized homegirl was trying to sniff out a story and create some drama where there wasn’t any.
I started checking the Date Lab section of WaPo mid January to see if it was the week our article would be published. Finally, on January 23, it happened. And my self-esteem would never be the same.
I woke up one morning to see that the article had been published and I read it in bed before getting up for work. I didn’t think there was anything that scandalous about it. He hardly ever talked about dinosaurs but that apparently makes him a fucking “dinosaur enthusiast”. And I’m “looking for a hotter version of Bill Gates” which, for the record, I did say, but I feel like I elaborated on that a bit more. The whole article isn’t really a narrative; it’s just our answers to questions but without the questions included. I think that’s misleading, but I guess this is what I signed up for so I have to take it as it is. For example, she asked me if there were any dealbreakers. I said not really, but I guess him playing video games might be one because that’s not really my scene. However, the article makes it look like I brought up that I didn’t like that he plays video games. You spin that story, Nina. Spin it.
We both had to rate the date and I gave it a four because he hadn’t texted me the next day and I didn’t want to look like a loser if he gave me one star. Like I said though, none of this was really scandalous or embarrassing.
Then I watched the video.
Despite having put make-up on my face, you can still all my zits.
It’s always a little nerve-racking to watch a video of yourself or hear a recording of your voice. But this was terrible. I think I look terrible with a dark shirt and that horrible backdrop that they chose to use. Couldn’t they get some cool unicorn special effects going on back there? Using a damn WHITE background. Is the Post broke?
And then there were the comments. I was warned to take them with a grain of salt. I expected at least some to be homophobic. Although this is DC, where gay feels like the majority at times, I still have been called a faggot to my face twice (once by a crazy homeless man so maybe that time doesn’t count).
The comments were way different than that, but still not entirely pleasant to read:
“The entire episode seems kinda creepy.”
“The VERY first thing that caught my eye was how totally different both guys look from the instagram photos than they do in the video. They dont look like the same people… And I dont think Riley ever really left his dad’s garage…”
“That was so boring I don’t even want to read the comments later today.”
“He’s into dinosaurs and video games? I think Peter needed to lighten up and relax!”
“I think Riley needs to grow up.”
People get crazy when they’re able to post anonymous comments. Like when you read the comments on a Justin Bieber video, and people start talking about Nazis. You’re like, “how did we get here?” According to these anon commenters, I’m stuck up and Riley’s a loser that never left his parents’ house. And we’re both boring. None of this is true, but there’s no use trying to defend either of us now.
Here are my two favorite comments:
“good looking gay boys using date lab? this must be a prank. Peter should move to NYC, where I and all my gorgeous gay husbands are from. he is a better fit there than for DC. I don’t know a single good looking gay man who is into video games (they have no time for that) …. so, ummmm. not a good match. but then again, as the classic joke goes ‘what do lesbians do on the second date?’ (they show up with a U-haul.) what do gay men do on the second date? (what second date?)”
I think he’s saying I should move to New York because I’m hot. Okay…I’m feeling it.
Luckily for me, he didn’t say anything about how I came across as disinterested in my interviews. He mostly focused on the whole experience. He even texted me a link to his article, which is a polite thing to do. Some comments on this one were a little more scandalous because people speculated about whether or not we “banged”. (We didn’t.)
After all was said and done though, I’m still a huge fan of making fun of people including myself. I posted the link to the Post article on my Facebook and even circulated it around at my office. It was a big hit and a conversation starter for awhile. Even my landlord saw it. It did take a huge toll on my self esteem for some time though. No matter how many people told me I looked fine in the video, I still didn’t feel attractive for a good two months after that. But, thanks to more random hook-ups and boys starting and stopping talking to me without reason, I’m back at my normal personal worth level of just below average (only kidding). But, I don’t regret going on Date Lab. It was something different and good overall. Maybe someday I’ll end up famous with a huge penis like John Hamm and people will find this old Date Lab article and laugh because I’ll be beautiful and famous and in a relationship.
But most likely not. Time to invest in some more cats.
Question, Hypothesis, and Experiment (Date Lab: Part 1)
I always modeled my life around this saying any time I was in a new place. I wanted to get the most out of things and have as authentic an experience as possible. So in Turkey, I used Turkish deodorant that had 30 minutes worth of coverage before kebab starting seeping out of my pores. In Oklahoma, I stopped wearing jorts because apparently, that’s not ok there.
In DC, I signed up for Date Lab.
Date Lab is a weekly feature in the Washington Post Magazine that recounts (both in print and now in video) a blind date. My friend’s dad first mentioned it to me last November. I was asking him for advice on getting into writing on a professional level. The point he was making was to find some sort of niche or special interest that I could cater to that people would want to read. He described the concept of Date Lab and how readers in the metro area eagerly await each new story since they so rarely lead to anything substantial and because there are some super awkward encounters.
Being perpetually single, I thought what’s the worst that could happen if I filled out an application? So I did, never expecting to hear about it again. The very next week, my boss mentioned how Date Lab was her favorite part of the paper and that she looked for it every Sunday. That made me further realize how many followers Date Lab has, at least in my parents’ age category.
About a month later, I was in New York for the day with some of my coworkers on the way to our annual staff retreat. Checking my email while waiting for the subway, I saw a message from the Washington Post stating that they had someone in mind to set me up on a date with. Since when did my life become a sappy romcom? My colleagues heard my audible guffaw while reading the email and asked what was up. I could have easily changed the topic but decided to let them in on my date. But I told no one else because like any mature adult, I believe in jinxing things by discussing them. So, I tell no one about job interviews, grad school applications, and especially dates until after they are over. I guess the main reason is that I’m scared of people seeing me fail and I already overanalyze things too much myself, so I don’t need anyone else to add their perspective to the equation.
I responded to the message to let the producers of the date know that “my circumstances hadn’t changed” meaning I was still single as fuck. Although I expected them to tell me that my prospective date had bailed or worse, was now in a relationship, the process continued to move along. I had to sign a media release, which of course I didn’t read. It probably said that I have to go on the National Date Lab Registry and tell all my neighbors that I’m a registered DL alum. The Post asked me for days that I would be free because they are the ones who arrange the date. The day I came back from the staff retreat in Connecticut was my birthday and, sadly enough, I had absolutely no plans. I thought it would be too embarrassing for me to go on a blind date then and too much pressure for my date, so we decided on dinner the following Monday, the week of Christmas.
The person who scheduled the date emailed me and the other person but only used our first names. I found out his name was Riley, a pretty uncommon name for a guy. I searched in Facebook to see if anyone came up in the DC area. It turns out I have two mutual friends with a guy named Riley, who goes to Georgetown and looks like a young Jimmy Carter. I was worried that I had “unblinded” my date and that he was going to be a preppy douche.
The day of my date, I got an email asking me to answer a list of “superlatives” (my favorite music, thing I’ll never eat – stuff that you’d find in your high school yearbook). I think it was then that I realized the people who would eventually read my answers would have no context of me as a person. I doubted they would get my sarcasm, so I played it safe and answered boringly. I said that my favorite team is the Oklahoma Sooners (what?) rather than Team Little Dick (sarcasm). Though I did say that my favorite app is Candy Crush and my favorite movie is Drop Dead Gorgeous, which are both true (but sometimes, Mean Girls is my fav).
The date was for 7:30 that evening at a restaurant I would never take anyone: date, friend, or family. My mom thinks anything more expensive than Chipotle is just absurd. The Post was giving us $125, so I browsed the menu ahead of time and was aiming to do some damage because worst/best case scenario, this guy would hate me and leave early so I would get to eat for two. Things weren’t really going well for me before the date. It was raining, I hated all of my clothes, and I was running super early. I HATE being early. I like to make an entrance.
But thanks to the amazing metro system of Washington, DC (more sarcasm) I lost 20 minutes and showed up right on time. I told the hostess that I was there with the Washington Post, like I was instructed to do, and the hostess replied as awkwardly as she could have: “The uh, other person is already here”. Are you leading me to a date or a glory hole? I followed her to the table and there was a completely different Riley than the young Jimmy Carter I was expecting. He had dark hair and glasses. What a relief!
We shook hands and began breaking through the uncomfortable situation that we were in. We talked about the basics: where we work, where we’re from, why we signed up for Date Lab. He told me that he had initially applied five years ago. I had submitted the application the month before. Why had we been matched together? We picked apart our common interests to see if we could find out. We’re both tall (he’s 6’4″; I’m 6’1″). We like to travel. We have similar senses of humor. We both like to write. (He actually makes money for it though). Nothing obvious stood out as to why we were paired up, but I enjoyed talking to him nonetheless. The conversation didn’t feel forced or insincere.
Foodwise, I ordered the steak because SOMEONE ELSE WAS PAYING!
We also had a few rounds of drinks and some appetizers. The waitress was super nice. It was one of those situations where she, Riley, and I knew that this could be a super awkward situation if we let it be. The two of us were on a blind date and she was serving us and had to act like the restaurant staff weren’t taking bets on whether or not we’d “bang” later that night (stay tuned). She brought out champagne, an appetizer, and eventually dessert that was compliments of the chef. I wish the chef at Taco Bell would do the same and drop a few extra chalupas in my order.
One stipulation of the date is that we had to take at least six pictures each to document our time together. So, we received a manila envelope with two DISPOSABLE cameras. As if this situation weren’t already tricky, we had to draw further attention to ourselves by pushing the battery button and snapping some cool shots with these things:
The three inches Riley has on me must make his tolerance for alcohol much higher than mine. I was good with one maybe two drinks, but followed his lead and made it up to three or four. We stayed until the restaurant closed around 10 and realized that we had better get going. It was a Monday after all. I had planned on metro-ing home to be my frugal self, but Riley mentioned taking a taxi and I thought we could share it because my place is on the way to his. We continued talking during the cab ride, and I eventually worked up the guts to ask for his number. I texted him mine and thought that put the ball in his court to make the next move after the date. When we got to my place, I didn’t have exact change but he said that I could buy him a beer our next time out. Ok, sure, I thought. I’m down for hanging out again. We left things with a hug. Once home, I discovered that I was tipsier than I thought (which would explain my face in that photo above), so I quickly feel asleep without giving my mind the opportunity to replay and analyze every aspect of the night.
The morning after the date, a writer from the Washington Post was going to call me over the phone and ask how the date went. I also had to go into their building to do a video interview with another staff member. I still hadn’t heard anything from Riley, so when I got the phone call, I thought the date had gone well but how could I be sure that he had felt the same?
***Warning: Graphic images and language used below. Not suitable for children or lame bitches who can’t stomach a harmless dick pic. Do not read the Grindr section on a work computer.***
Dating isn’t something that has really come naturally to me. I say that not to feel sorry for myself but rather to show that the few brief relationships I have participated in have not been initiated by dates. So how have my relationships started? I fell in love with my best friend. I slept with my Guatemalan friend’s bestie on spring break because he was hot. A guy left his live-in boyfriend (maybe just a little bit) because of me. You know, the usual.
After moving to DC, I decided to put myself out there and try to date seriously. This was not Norman, Oklahoma where the gay population is incestuous and options are limited. This is not Armenia where the gay bar gets fire-bombed. This was the gay Mecca, where all the short, pretentious boys of all races flocked to realize their political dreams of working on Capitol Hill, and end up temping at a random law office and being a part-time barista.
I started using OKCupid at my friend Courtney’s suggestion. She met her current beau on it and the pair have been together for about two years. The site is a like an eHarmony or Match.com for younger people who don’t want to pay for dating or haven’t reached that level of desperation yet.
I assumed there was no harm in putting myself out there. OKC’s clearly for dating and not hooking up in terms of the questions it asks users. I had to list “the six things I could never do without” as opposed to my “tribe” (see Grindr below). After having a presence on the site for a little over a year, I think it’s a smart concept but DC gays have yet to figure out how to use it effectively. Or maybe, it’s not them; it’s me. From my recollection, I have met up with four guys that I started talking to on OKCupid. None of them went past the first date and that’s cool. I just wanted to put myself out there and meet new people. Find out what I’m looking for in a guy. All that Bridget Jones shit.
Not for hookups
Shows height of guys (I’m a tall glass of water and like my prospective significant others to be the same)
Others can see if I viewed their profile (awkward when you accidentally do it multiple times)
Guys decide their body types. That means even though I can see your gut and man boobs, you can still call yourself “fit”. Sure, you are.
Overall, I rated a lot of guys. A lot of guys rated me. Sometimes, we messaged back and forth. More often than not, one of us gave up responding and that was that. Of the guys I went out with: one was too pretentious, one was a terrible kisser, one had an annoying voice, and one was a hot Turkish guy that stopped talking to me. Two out of five stars.
This app became all the rage at the end of last summer. I learned about it by glancing over my friend’s shoulder at a bar while she was using it. For those who don’t know how it works, you browse through prospectives’ profiles that show their name, age, picture, and a little blurb about themselves. You can choose to either swipe right if you like the person or left if you’ll take a pass. If you and the prospective both swipe right, you’re matched and can begin messaging through the app. It uses your location and tells you how far away the person is from you. Some people think it’s a superficial concept but I’m in favor of it. If you’re at a bar, you want to go up to someone who’s attractive and who looks like they have their shit together. Tinder just mirrors that logic.
Does awesome things for self esteem. If you feel ugly, just open up Tinder and swipe right a lot. Someone else will do the same thing and then you’ll both feel a little more attractive that day.
The app can be connected to your Facebook account, so it shows if you have any mutual friends or interests. This can be a good judge of the person’s character. He’s friends with a cool girl you know from college? Might lead to something. He’s friends with that pretentious asshole you met at a networking event? Probably should swipe left.
Doesn’t show height or weight. Have to assume that if someone only shows photos from the neck up, a soft body is lurking out of frame.
I swear to god if I see one more picture of a guy who did the Color Run or holding some random baby, I will lose it!
NO ONE TALKS TO ME!! I have come to the conclusion that guys here just use it to boost their egos. Over the course of almost a year, I have matched with 311 people. I’m guessing that over 200 of those guys have not messaged me once. It should come as no surprise then that I have never met up with anyone from this app not because I didn’t want to. I have found the guys on here, like many in DC, to be flaky, non-committal, and just overall douchey.
It has become sleazy. I know it has pretty much always been that way for straight guys looking for girls. But a casual conversation about something very important for me (height) can turn into this:
Yeah, Connor. It was. That was the end of our messaging. Lately, I’ve only used Tinder for when I’m riding the porcelain throne and have a good internet connection. One out of five stars.
The king daddy of all gay apps. It is known for being purely a hookup app, although some guys attempt to find dates or friends using it. Others, seem nice enough and then just send you a picture of their dick like, want it?
There’s not much to describe in terms of how the app works. It uses the location of your phone and finds other guys nearby. You can post a picture (must be approved) and enter basic information like height, weight, age, etc. Funny story about profile pics: I tried to use my main modeling pic, and it got denied TWICE!! Really? Half of the people on here use a shirtless torso pic, but I’m restricted from having a tasteful undie shot? What’s wrong with this gay world we live in? My Amer-I-Can Take it off photo, on the other hand, was ok by their standards.
On Grindr, you can also choose your “tribe”. Some of the options include bear, clean-cut, daddy, jock, leather, otter, rugged, and twink. Despite all of the progress that gay activists have made in previous decades, fighting for equal rights and acceptance, the gay scene has deemed it necessary for gays to be categorized into tribes, many with animal names. How are we supposed speak out against being treated like second class citizens, when as gay men we identify both ourselves and the type of guys we are attracted to as “bears” and “otters”? Ugh, one of my many frustrations with the current state of gay affairs in America. I also don’t see myself as any of these tribes so that could also be the impetus for my bitterness.
Lots of people to talk to. In Armenia, there were about ten guys within one hundred miles who used this app. After that, the closest guys were in Georgia (the country) or Turkey. In DC, you can’t walk fifty feet without running into another gay guy. But, with so many poodles in this city, you get a lot of weirdos.
Guys really don’t know how to make conversation. Like, I just…can’t.
I eventually gave up trying to find anything serious on Grindr and jokingly made my profile headline something along the lines of “Will put out for pizza”. My personal goal when I go out is finding a guy who will buy me pizza at the end of the night. We don’t even have to hook up. That would even be preferable because who feels sexy after eating pizza? I noticed a significant decrease in the number of people that were interested in messaging me for either no strings attached hookups or otherwise after this profile transformation, which was kind of a bummer. My faithful blog followers (all 7 of you) know I like attention, both romantic and weird.
Most people either took it as a joke or stopped talking to me immediately. Then there was Roberto: For the millionth time on Grindr, I was left at a loss for words.
Nothing can compare to my convo with this 19 year old from Bethesda, Maryland though. While having a little kiki with my friends by the pool, I drank a little too much and decided to mess with this guy. His response though makes me embarrassed, both for myself and for this guy who #1 not only thought that a guy would believe he could get pregnant but #2 was still interested in dating that guy.
Someone needs to give that boy a lesson in self respect. You are worth more than that.
Grindr, I can’t even use the five-star scale to rate you. I hate you and love you at the same time.
In the end, none of these apps have brought about any positive change in my life. If anything, they have lowered my self esteem because I have made passes at so many seemingly attractive people that have gone mostly unreciprocated. I have also become dependent on these apps and constantly look at them for gratification. Oh, no matches on OKCupid or Tinder and no one’s messaged me on Grindr today? It must be because I’m unattractive and don’t deserve anyone. FALSE!!! I don’t like preaching but this needs to be clear to all the single people who feel they are not good enough: Dates, dating apps, and other people do not determine your worth in this world. People in relationships are not better than you. Being single is not the end of the world. You is good. You is kind. You is important.
A couple of weeks ago, I tried to talk to my mom about relationship stuff. (She was actually very understanding when I went through my Oklahomo drama.) I had gone to the club and met a boy who was tall, handsome, older than me, didn’t have an annoying voice, all the qualities I look for. We exchanged numbers, but after a few back and forths, it became clear that things were never going to move forward. Being the sensitive little bitch that I am, I took it personally and just needed to talk about my feelings. Despite wanting to talk about my sister’s menstrual cycle, my mom did offer a few key words of advice: “If he’s not interested, fuck ’em.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is my mother Carol Ann and I will make her words my life motto. (I recommend you do the same.)
I will be sending a link to this blog post to all users mentioned here and then deleting these apps. I know that I will miss them, especially when I come home drunk and like to aggressively flirt with random guys in my vicinity while aggressively stuffing my face with anything in reach. But, even though I receive instant gratification from my browsing/rating/messaging these random guys, I always wake up the next morning, hungover and ashamed for not being able to resist the temptation.
Goodbye, OKCupid, Tinder, and Grindr. I’m over you, at least for now.
My sex life is nothing to brag about. Although I do have some good stories about a Turkish Airlines flight attendant whose name means “dolphin” and a guy who literally ran out of my house pre-hookup, my sexy times aren’t great. Like any good Midwestern boy, I pledged my virginity to God until I started dating a dude. Since then, I’ve had some short-term relationships but mostly one-time things that happen after nights out. My special friends and I don’t really end up doing too much sexually. I typically am really tired at this point in the night and gay sex requires so much preparation! Not something you can just do spur of the moment, in my opinion.
I never really thought too much about contracting something from my limited sexual encounters. I always used protection and went to school in a college town in Oklahoma. There are a fair amount of homos in Norman, but the group is quite incestuous so if you’ve slept with one person, you’ve indirectly slept with everyone. Of course, STDs and HIV exist even there, but I thought that my standards would help me avoid ever contracting one of those diseases/viruses/skin conditions. I didn’t meet up with people from Grindr, Adam4Adam, or Craigslist. That was too risky for me. So, I thought that I was, without a doubt, clean.
My sexual promiscuity peaked during my year-long study abroad in Turkey. It was nice to be in a city of 15 million people where I got more attention for being a foreigner. This was all fun until I came back to the U.S. While I was at home for the summer, I decided to get my first STD/HIV test to make sure that I hadn’t picked anything up. While I waited two weeks for my results, I convinced myself that I was dying from AIDS. I remember watching a movie where there was a funeral. I started bawling because I thought of how embarrassed my family would be burying me (after I had died from AIDS) knowing that I had contracted HIV most likely by having a mediocre one-time sexual relation with someone whose name I couldn’t remember. I didn’t want to die in general, but death by AIDS seemed to be the absolute worst scenario at the time. On the day I was to pick up my test results, I was babysitting my 11-year-old sister and decided to take her with me to the clinic. To my relief, everything came back negative. I celebrated by taking my sister to Wal-Mart and letting her pick out whatever she wanted as long as she didn’t tell my parents where I took her. She chose chicken nuggets.
After that, I pushed my fear of STDs to the back of my mind for a couple of years. I returned to Norman to finish college , dated a couple of guys, hooked up with a couple more, and didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t sick. I didn’t have pus coming out of my penis. Life was ok.
After graduating, I moved to DC and thought things were going to look up for my sex life. A new study from Gallup found that 10% of DC residents identify as LGBT. I had been going through a dry spell of almost a year and wanted to get some action. Like a prepubescent girl, I still hadn’t gotten over the last guy I was seeing the summer before. My drought finally ended, but not in DC.
I went to Puerto Rico for Labor Day weekend by myself to take a break from everything and randomly booked a hostel online. Later on, I learned that all of the staff there were gay. What luck! I then kind of hooked up with the hostel manager in a back room on a nasty-ass mattress. “Live a little,” I thought.
But once I returned, paranoia set in that my tropical tryst might have been riskier than I expected. Although most of this was the result of my anxiety, I also blame the epidemic levels of HIV in the city I live in. Although this article is a little old, it shows how DC has HIV/AIDS Rates Higher Than Some African Countries
I also have met (not in the biblical sense) more people here that either live with a sexually transmitted disease or virus or have been treated for one. I’m scared that it’s inevitable that I’ll get one too.
So, I am 100% in favor of HIV/STD testing and prevention but it seemed like an omen that I started noticing a million signs for HIV testing and living with HIV all over DC. I could brush my paranoia aside for awhile but after a month, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know. With trembling hands, I went to the local community health clinic after work one day, sweating bullets. What if I was HIV positive? Could it really happen to me? While waiting, I saw all of the other gay guys checking Grindr. I don’t use that, so I should be fine, right? When my number was finally called, the nurse drawing my blood had to use a smaller needle because I was so nervous that my veins had constricted. I tested negative that time as well, so I audibly breathed a huge sigh of relief and patted myself on the back. Then the nurse told me that there is a window period of 1-3 months where HIV antibodies develop. This means that I couldn’t be sure that I was HIV-free until December. Wait…what?
As I celebrated my negative status by treating myself to (read: gorging on) frozen yogurt, I started to realize that for two more months, I would be living in sexual purgatory. I would sit at work and look up all of the symptoms of HIV: flu-like sickness, rash on the chest or back, night sweats, mouth sores, weight loss. Then I would go home and convince myself that I had these symptoms. So, I would get tested again. And again. Over the last four months, I have been tested for HIV EIGHT times. I went to two clinics twice, bought two home testing kits from CVS (took one in the bathroom at work), and got tested by my doctor twice. I was a mess to say the least.
And the condoms! Everyone wanted to give me condoms. One lady gave me a bag with 62 condoms and 28 packets of lube. Really? I doubt that I’ll have sex 62 more times before I die at the rate I’m going.
Here are some photos to guide you through this terrifying time of my life:
What am I supposed to do with all these condoms???
All praise be to Jesus, all 8 tests came back negative for HIV and I’m well outside of the three month window period. I can now return to my normal DC sex life of not having sex because no one is interested and because it scares the shit out of me.
But in all seriousness, HIV and STDs are scary things that I do not wish to ever have to deal with, either physically or emotionally. I’m pretty sure that I’ve traumatized myself just by thinking that I have something, so I cannot imagine what it would be like for that to be a reality. But for a substantial amount of people, it is. This little scare episode led me to learn a lot about these health conditions as well as to accept that an STD or HIV is not the end of the world. HIV affects men seeking men disproportionately more than heterosexual men and women, so it is a real concern, especially in a large, gay-friendly city like Washington, DC. But, along with all of these statistics that I can now spout out in my sleep, I’ve learned that tolerance is just as necessary as education. Before all of this, I had assumed that all HIV-positive people slept around and were dirty. If I were positive, people would probably start to think the same about me. But this isn’t true and it isn’t necessary. People are people are people. Some are black; some are white; some are purple. Some are HIV-positive and that’s ok. Not ideal, but ok.
Another big lesson I took away from this is that it’s alright to be picky about who you have sexy times with. I always thought that I had been, but there are nights when I definitely lowered the bar and went home with some questionable characters. And no matter how desperate I was for a some sexual healing, I now know that a one-time hook-up can have some serious consequences. So, be safe. If you need a condom, I’ve got 62 that are up for grabs.
The juicy shit is coming, but I want to recap a lil’ bit right quick.
A week and a half ago was the Istanbul Marathon. This is really cool because for that one day the Bosphorus Bridge is open to pedestrians. It is normally closed because so many people have committed suicide off of it (drama). Thankfully, there are different race distances besides the marathon, including 15 kilometers and 8 kilometers. There is also a “fun run”…so we participated in that one but without the “run” part. After an early morning wake-up (6am), two bus rides, and some unhappy campers, we made it to the race. It ended up being an awesome day and I’m so glad I got to walk from Asia to Europe. I’m like Bono or something! It must make all the people who decide to hook up the night before and oversleep jealous. You know who you are! (They jealous)
This is what Mr. Bosphorus looks like when you’re on him. Then my camera died 🙁
Let’s get to some rull drama. I mean DRAMA! Like I have mentioned previously, the boys in Isty have been lining up the block just to watch what I got (can’t compete with “Angel” though). The first guy of importance was Turkish and looked like Gael Garcia Bernal, or at least that’s what my drunken self thought. He didn’t speak the English very well, and by very well I mean, he knew maybe 10 words. He also kept telling his friend in Turkish that he wanted to speak “body language” with me…We’ll fast forward a little because you don’t need to know ALL those details.
I swear he looked like this
Guy #2: My friends and I went to a party for Erasmus and Exchange students in downtown Istanbul. There was this guy with his one girl friend (not girlfriend) who I saw move closer to me. I thought, “Ok, I must be looking purty good tonight” to myself, and by myself, I mean, I told all my friends. So, they attempted to work their magic and figure him out. Their not-so-good detective skills found out that he’s not gay. What a bummer! Ok, I’ll find someone next time. But he kept standing there, right next to me! And then everyone started pushing me towards him, saying, “Go, Peter! He’s gay!” I thought they all just wanted to make fun of me, but it ended up being true. His name’s Robert and he seemed like a really nice guy. FAST FORWARD!!!
So, we kept texting back and forth the following few days. He invited me to meet his friends and I invited him to dinner with my friends. Everyone was nice blah blah blah.
DRAMA: This past Friday night, I was out with my slutty friend (shoutout to mah gurl!) who I knew was going to go home with someone (who looks like Frodo). And I was like, “Shit I don’t like being the third wheel, I gotz to go!” I texted Robert and he invited me to go to a gay club with him and another girl friend (not girlfriend). I met them there and we went inside. We’re all dancing. It’s fun. Next thing I know, I turn around and he is making out with some guy. AHHH HELL NO! NOBODY BRING ME TO NO CLUB AND MAKE OUT WIFF SUMWUN ELSE. NAHAAA! What did Peter do? Well, I went up to him and told him he was a “big asshole” and left. When you’re drunk at four in the morning, you don’t have a lot of common sense, so I started walking home, which is like five miles away. I made it maybe a mile (maybe) then gave up and took a taxi home.
These are the texts from the next day:
“hey peter. hope u r not angry with me?! I’m sorry if i’ve hurt ur feelings last night, i didn’t want that.”
and i said yeah, you hurt my feelings. i thought you liked me, etc.
“i’m so sorry for that. didn’t know that it’d hurt u so much, sorry! and yes, i like you, but yesterday i just wanted to have fun, was drunk and didnt think abt you, this is my fault, sorry”
i didn’t forgive him, but i started feeling like the fat, low self-esteem girl that i normally am and asked him what he’s doing that night, trying to get invited. he told me he’s going out and that i should come BUT then he tells me he’s going to a gay club and i asked him if he was planning to get with someone else again and THE BITCH SAYS:
“if i go to a gay club i’d like to have a choice that’s why i go there u know. my feelings acc. (?) to u r not that strong. do u understand? :-)”
he likes emoticons. i told him he seems like an asshole right now and THEN:
“believe me i am a nice guy but i just need my freedom to do whatever i want 🙂 this is erasmus”
THIS IS ERASMUS???!!! THIS IS MOMMA’S HOUSE AND NOBODY MAKES MOMMA FEEL LIKE SHIT!