Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dating, Masculinity and Pigs with Tattoos

I began "dating" again seven weeks ago. Here's an update:

After taking a break from on-line dating, I decided to give it another try. I'm skeptical about its effectiveness (if it works so well, why are the same hot guys still looking month after month and year after year?), so my plan has been to spend no more than 60 days on any one site. The idea is to jump around and always be new somewhere.

I decided to start with Compatible Partners, E-Harmony's gay website. I chose them because about 18 months ago I answered their 12,000 matching questions (slight exaggeration) and posted an empty profile. The matches they sent at the time looked promising. My experience this time has been entirely different. Whereas Compatible Partners was relatively new and flush with customers a year and a half ago, now hardly anyone uses it.

Over the past seven weeks CP has sent me a total of 33 matches. That's nothing compared to the 1000+ local users who are on Match, Adam4Adam, Manhunt or OKCupid. At first I thought I wasn't getting many matches because my criteria were too tight. Well, I have continuously broadened them and I'm still not getting many matches. I'm at the point where I can't be any more open than I already am. All I'm getting are occasional "flex matches" for any guy, 18-100, who can fog a mirror.

The volume of matches wouldn't be a problem if just a few of them were promising. Well, they've been horrible. I mean really horrible. I seriously wonder if some of them are homeless. They look like they might be.

It took me about two weeks to figure out that Compatible Partners is a waste of time and money. Around that same time, a new guy showed up on Match who really caught my interest. Honestly, it was the first time I had ever read a profile and felt like the guy was talking about ME. I was pretty excited about him. Even better was the fact that he lived and worked in a rural area about 45 minutes outside of the City - no homo competition. And best of all, at least in terms of securing a first date, he was slightly older than me (everyone wants to date someone younger than they are) and he was pretty plain looking. Not unattractive, just average.

Because he was new on Match, I knew he was going to get some hits the first week. So I waited two weeks. Then, after debating whether I should commit to Match for 6 months or go for a one week trial, I took the trial. I loaded my pictures, completed a short profile and sent the guy a short, friendly email. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. The fucker ignored me.

Apparently I'm not even worth a polite rejection from a plain, bald, older "nice guy" who lives in Backwater, USA? Damn that hurts. Of all the outcomes I anticipated, that was not one of them.

After that disappointment, I scraped what was left of my ego from the floor and winked at (how gay, I know) two other guys. Ignored x 2. You might think I was trying to lure some Taylor Lautner lookalikes into my bed, but trust me, that was not the case. I don't bother reaching. In fact, I'm now so insecure about my desirability that I'd much prefer to be the better looking guy.

My Match profile was never marked as "new" so that sucked but in the week that it was up I got four winks and two emails. The best of the lot (and I'm not talking about looks, I'm talking about the overall quality of the match) was a 52yo who lived an hour away. He seemed like a nice enough guy, and I thought about responding positively to his wink, but I didn't. I just wasn't that attracted to him and he lived too far away. Instead I replied to him, and the five others who contacted me, and said that I was pulling my profile because I wasn't ready to date.

Off the 'net Chet has been trying to help me. He really wanted me to meet this fitness coach, a friend-of-a-friend, who "might" be bi. The guy is 47 and has a girlfriend but he's "curious about exploring" with men for the first time. "Plus he's a super nice guy!" I told Chet that I wasn't up for being someone's training wheels, no matter how hot he might be.

Chet also told me about a suburban dad he had met at an LGBT business mixer a few months back. He's divorced, nice looking, two teenage girls, lives less than two miles from me. I assume the guy has a boyfriend, fuck buddy or whatever, but I thought he would be someone good to meet. Who knows who he might know? So I sent him an email, with two pictures, and I told him the basics of my situation. I also told him that I was looking to network for gay friends. Guess what happened with him? The fucker ignored me.

Is anyone else detecting a pattern here?

A good friend has advised me not take my serial rejections personally. He says he gets ignored all the time (yet, let me tell you, he is getting SOME!!!) and that on-line dating is a numbers game. Instead of focusing on one or two guys, he says I need to hit on 10-15 guys a week and not care whether I hear back from any of them. I think his advice is sound, and I might eventually be able to do that, but right now, I can't risk mass rejection. I need to gain some confidence first.

If I count the month or so I tried to date in the Spring and add that to my current seven week total, I've been "dating" for 11 weeks and in all that time I've been on ONE date, nine months ago. And that wasn't even a real date. He was a teacher and all we talked about was education reform and how much he hates Michelle Rhee (former DC School Superintendent). Seriously, it was like I was at a school conference for one of my kids. It was about as undatelike as anything I could have imagined.

A few weeks ago, on this blog, I posted a picture of myself wearing a pair of mid-thigh swim trunks. I asked for your opinions about how they looked because my 17yo called them "kind of gay." Not one person who commented agreed with what my kid said. Somewhat reassured, I used that same picture on CP and Match. It was also one of the two pictures I sent the divorced guy with kids. Given that I've been 100% ignored, I'm wondering if using that picture was a mistake. I think my kid was right, the trunks are gay.

The importance of appearing as masculine as possible in every profile picture never really occurred to me. But now that I am paying attention, I've realized how essential it is.

I will be moving to a new dating site soon, but because the first week that you're "new" on any site is crucial, I'm going to wait until January to do so. In the meantime, I've been thinking about fooling around with Grindr. I'm absolutely, positively not looking for hook-ups so choosing Grindr might seem pointless, but I'm thinking of using it to experiment with marketing myself. Mostly I'd like to know, based solely on different pictures, what kind of men I attract. If any.

It's true that blaming my poor results on one picture could be a case of wishful thinking, and maybe using different pictures would be no better than putting different tattoos on a pig's bicep (he's still a pig) but, at this point, I'd prefer to be delusional and positive than realistic and negative.

On that happy note, wish me luck. I need it.

11 comments:

  1. Sorry this dating thing has been so rough on you. Maybe you should try some other tactics, like pursuing some of your other interests off-line in hopes of meeting some great guys. Or go to the hookup sites because you never know what you might find....

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  2. Reading this I couldn't help but feel your desperation. Please don't be offended. It does make me wonder if the messages you send to people are coming across this way too.

    you are definitely over thinking the dating profiles, making sure you are new and getting the most 'new guy' hits as possible.

    If you message a guy and he doesn't respond, just assume he is not interested. If they were interested they would message back, its rather simple.

    Do you really need the verification that they have read the message or the reply that tells you they are not interested, which might be damaging to your ego. It's best just to move on when this happens.

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  3. Hmmm. This may sound counter-intuitive, but I'm worried about your strategy of lowering your standards. Maybe you should try reaching. Go for that hot 30 year old 5'3" 125lbs defined guy that you've always wanted. I'm being serious here.

    Most of my experience with guys is hook-up centric, but i've been rejected by people i thought would be "sure bets" before. Plenty of times, actually. I've also gone home with plenty of guys who I never thought would give me the time of day. You never know what floats someone's boat. Don't rule out the cute guys just because grandpa didn't reply to your wink.

    And Paul is right. There's plenty of guys on the hookup sites looking to date. Like you (and the rest of us) - they don't know where else to look.

    Hopefully Grindr will work out for you - but i think it's had it's day in the sun. Although - the profiles are brief. If Mind of Mine is right, and you're over thinking your profile strategy, maybe Grindr will be a good thing for you.

    Keep in mind - there are plenty of hookup sites. Adam 4 Adam, Dudesnude, and Daddy Hunt, just to name three free ones.

    Stick with it.

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  4. I'm 23, relatively good-looking, masculine, 'nice', and I don't look for perfection in my partners, just reasonable standards ie someone around my age and and my weight range (but thinner preferred, you know how that is...) I actually kinda like someone obviously gay, not bitchy though.

    And I've been routinely ignored by people. Not people I shouldn't be messaging anyway, incredibly hot guys, but people who are "down to earth" "nice" "looking to make friends" "you like to talk" "you found something interesting in my profile" essentially people, I was in the same league in if not lower. I realize how shallow that sounded but really, I'm nice and down to earth, just looking to make friends.

    So fuck dating sites, they're bullshit. The few people I've met from there were nothing like their profiles. The dates I went on just fizzled and nothing ever came from any of it.

    I've gotten some hookups on grindr, even some that have had some traction...but it's somewhat the same thing. Although, hookups could be the start of a real relationship.

    Sex first, date later.

    I've been on some hookups where people wanted to date afterwards etc...never took them up on it, but hey, I'm the one lonely because of it.

    I feel like face-to-face interaction is still the best way to go about meeting people, no matter how mortifying and scary they are. That way, your personality and humor comes out if you're not nervous, and completely babbling your words liked I've done...

    Gay Dating World is brutal and sometimes brutally honest, that's realistic enough but you can still be positive about your chances, I try to be.

    So good luck! We all need it.

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  5. Could it be that the problem is with your essays or answers to multiple choice questions and not with the photographs? And how do you handle your domestic situation? There are some people who won't date someone who is separated, no matter what the reasons for the separation may be. And there are others who don't want to date someone with children under the age of 18.

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  6. Dude, nothing is wrong with you! I think your expectations are a little off. The other guys are right.

    I've been testing these homo waters for three years now.

    Of the guys I meet, I click with less than 10 percent. I'm sure it's the same for the guys that meet me. So, the odds are about 1 in 100 that you'll meet someone online, where both of you might feel mutual attraction.

    So, come back with this same story after you've met up with 100 dudes, and then we'll let you throw the pity party.

    Until then, get out there and get through the 99 guys it takes to find "Mr. Right."

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  7. There is going to be some rejection....especially when you are over 40. You have to accept that. I think it's good that many people here commented about their low batting averages -- because maybe your expectations are too high.

    Also, I think that so many older guys only chase younger.....no interest in anyone their own age. Many of them are the ones you see online year after year.

    Remember, it only takes one. It may happen when you least expect it.

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  8. Dating is the shit, no doubt about it. And really, you might think about a few hook-ups thru Grindr. No really, maybe your desperation is showing thru into your posts. Remember way back in high school, it was the guy that could care less if a girl said yes to a date were the ones who seemed to score the most? Yeah, that whole attitude of, "so what?" can really work well. Or you could pull together your hottest outfit and try the meat market that is a gay bar. Why? To flirt, to dance, and its much easier to see what people are thinking in person.

    Follow Newleaf's advice, really. He is the guru.

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  9. I feel your pain, bro. Same here. I finally learned not to take it all personally. There are dudes who I DID connect with but figured I wouldn't and a lot who I didn't but figured I would.
    Just, don't give up.
    And, BTW, that pic of you in the swimsuit....hot man. I would be waiting at your door. You see, it is what a guy sees and what turns him on. And to me, you look a lot nicer than some of the guys on porno sites...just a matter of what turns a guy on.

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  10. I went through a lot of rejected e-mails and rejected winks until I met Paul. Honestly, I was looking for quality and a lot of guys weren't. If someone sent me a wink, I pretty much ignored it. I wanted an e-mail that made me laugh, was unique (and not all of the same BS, like waist size, penis length, blah, blah, blah). I also put the same heart and soul into my e-mails and when they went unanswered, it stung, no doubt about it.

    Keep putting yourself out there and make it known exactly what you are looking for, it will work.

    BTW, if you sent me a picture of yourself in those I would respond :)

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  11. Paul - I'm always open to interest groups. I've tried some already and I will continue to try more. I'm enjoying Grindr much more than I would have guessed. Thank you very much for your suggestions.

    Mind of Mine - You're right, desperation and neediness are never sexy. I am venting in this post. I try to be casual with the messages I send. Being "friendly" could come across as needy so I will be more mindful of that in the future. As for over-thinking, that's just who I am, for better or worse.

    NL - Thanks for your encouragement. Grindr has been a big positive for me after getting no results with anything else. I'm amazed by the age of guys who start conversations with me; I am feeling much more confident about reaching.

    HC - Your comment was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the time I needed to hear it. You really made me feel normal and not like a complete reject. Thank you.

    Anonymous - You are right to question my essays and multiple choice questions. But, given my lack of success I have to start with the basics and go from there - hence my experiment with different pictures and an empty profile on Grindr. There are many hurdles ahead, there's no doubt about it.

    Jack - If I'm still a loser after 99 more meetings I'm coming back to you for a full refund. You've made a promise, and it's permanently captured here, so you'd better be prepared to pay up.

    RB - Thanks for the encouraging words, I need them!

    Biki - NewLeaf is the guru, that's for sure. He needs to start keeping notes for a book. I'm happy with Grindr so thanks for your encouragement to give it a try.

    Tom - Thanks for the compliments!! It's great to hear that someone would be waiting at the door because, so far, I keep knocking and everyone just pretends they're not at home.

    Bill - You've made me rethink the wink/smile approach vs. email. I completely agree with you. I only bothered winking when others winked at me; I assumed that was a common form of communication on Match. I much prefer receiving an email and it's likely any potential match of mine would too. Your success in meeting Paul gives me hope!

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