Episode I: Clean States

Last semester, I took you, my loyal reader, on a tour-de-force of my dating life, and some of the more colourful characters I have met along the way. Through anecdotes and situational shockers, I painted a story that garnered me much feedback and conversation. As much as I enjoyed sharing these bits, I realize now that I had been only scratching the surface. Not only of my dates, but of a whole culture surrounding dating, gay lifestyle, and the concepts of love. Well, not only have I left these other concepts on the sidelines, but also the other facets of what I presented.

This time around, I’m hoping to give a more round and expanded scope of not only the situations I’ve been in, but ones that examine an entire subculture that, as reluctant as I may be, am part of. As I have explained in the past, I’m not exactly a walking stereotype of Mr. Gay 2010. Nevertheless, even though I don’t let it define me, I still am attracted to men.

The world of gay dating is everything that I mentioned in the past: quirky, ridiculous, and filled to the brim with oddballs. But there are also other sides, with nice people and genuine behaviour. On the opposite of that, I have also found “love” and its surrounding areas a dangerous place, both physically and emotionally. While the media whitewashes the gay lifestyle into either the clean cut Ellen DeGeneres mold, or the “don’t ask don’t tell” bedroom tactics, there is a lot more to be said.

While I am not exclusively here to air my dirty laundry, I do feel a need to cover all sides of the story. Until last year, I had never experienced the concept of what is known culturally as the “one night stand.” Though commonplace and nothing new to most, I had found the idea of going to bed with someone could only be something experienced paired with the foundations of emotional investment and more than a mere physical interest. Through shows like Queer as Folk or Sex and The City I’d seen characters walk in and out of each others’ beds as if it were a trip to the coffee shop: quick, painless, and not worth batting an eye at.

At the end of last summer, I was fresh off a relatively painful breakup, and feeling pretty pathetic regarding the state of my affairs. Most of my friends were coupled off, and I was feeling the lonely, terrible pangs that accompany any broken heart. While in the past I had moved on to other equally unsuccessful relationships, I decided it was my time to try what every other gay man my age defaults to in such situations: the hook up.

In a flurry of quick footed and irrational thinking, I accepted the first offer that was presented from my well-trafficked Plenty of Fish profile. In hindsight, I am lucky that the person who I ended up with was a decent human being. That said, I knew absolutely nothing about him when I accepted his offer to “come hang out.” (If that isn’t code, surely I don’t know what is.)

Although I played most of my cards right (telling a close friend exactly where I was going, ensuring I had my phone nearby), I still entered someone’s home on not-so-honest intentions. Even before anything happened physically, I told myself how uninterested I was in this person’s personality. He was young, immature, and freeloading off his parents who he trash talked to no end. Yet in my mind, it still made sense to make more of my evening. When it was said and done, and I put my shoes back on to leave, I thought I would feel like one of the empowered, go-getter characters from one of those sex-driven TV dramas. Instead, I stared into the Vancouver night ashamed of my own actions, and feeling like I’d let myself down. This was not “me.” Sadly, I had gone too far in an unfamiliar direction, and now had to pay the price of my own self loathing and guilt. Bummer.

While I was physically fine, my emotional status was beat down. I had wandered into dangerous territory and left it in a worse state than when I started. Had I spoken about this last semester, I would have had a funny story to tell, about a tiny little American guy named after a certain Purple Rain pop star. But in the context of this new spin, I am more interested to know why I felt this need to pursue this. With all the red flags in my face, such as walking into an unfamiliar home, looking past blatant personality turn offs, I still felt it in me to indulge that evening. I guess I haven’t found my answer of why, and maybe that is the most dangerous answer of all.

//JJ Brewis


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