We met through Craigslist in 1997, which was just before CL turned into hook-up central. In his ad Marc said he was married and bisexual but he hadn't been with a guy since he was 20. He was concerned about safety so he was looking for another married guy for a regular thing.
When we met in person for the first time we instantly clicked as friends, which gave me hope that we'd click even better as lovers. It turned out that he wasn't comfortable with that label or idea, so after about two weeks we settled into being "more than friends and less than lovers."
We saw each other frequently, especially the first few months after we met. As we got more comfortable with each other, our friendship naturally grew. I came to enjoy our after-sex bag lunches, which always included a bottle of wine, almost as much as the sex itself. Marc was a good guy and his friendship meant a lot to me.
Well into our fifth year together, I had every reason to expect that we'd continue to see each other for many years to come. Then, one day, after we were done fooling around and having lunch, Marc excused himself to go to the bathroom and I was left alone in his home office. Curious about how secure his computer was if his wife ever got suspicious, I did a little digging and quickly discovered that he'd been meeting other guys. That was quite a shock - and very disappointing. No, we hadn't explicitly agreed to be exclusive, but I thought that was understood, if only for the sake of safety.
When I confronted him, I was pretty low-key about it. I just wanted to know the facts so I could decide how I felt. He told me he'd been hooking-up with others for several months and he had done so because he was curious. I told him I understood - and I did - but because I had a wife and family to protect, I had to be able to trust him. I was no longer sure that I could, nor was I sure if I wanted an open arrangement.
It turned out that I didn't.
With somewhat hurt feelings on my part, but no anger, I stopped seeing him for about nine months and started seeing someone else. After that new FWB turned out to be very unsatisfying, I met up with Marc twice more. Our friendship was still strong but I was unable to sexually connect with him the way I once did, so, that was that.
Because of my experience with Marc, I learned a few things. One was that exclusivity was, and remains, important to me. The other was that friends-with-benefits relationships weren't an adequate substitute for the full-time connection I really wanted.
After I stopped seeing Marc, I half-heartedly tried to find another FWB but quickly gave up. I just wasn't motivated to maintain a sex-based relationship. Why bother when the pleasure was so temporary and the guilt about cheating was so permanent?
About six months following my last meeting with Marc I realized I was done with men forever. A good straight marriage was more satisfying to me than pursuing short-term, down low connections with men.
|A Hot Headless Torso...|
Of course it's turned out that I wasn't done with men. I would have been, had my wife not fallen in love with someone else, but she did, so there was no reason for us to stay together. That was two and a half years ago.
At this point you might be asking, what does all of this have to do with "a hot headless torso vs. a decent face pic?"
Let me explain...
When it became clear that Gabbie preferred her alcoholic, criminal, illiterate, asshole boyfriend to me, I started to seriously think about dating men again for the first time in many years. Since Marc, really.
|A Decent Face Pic|
I was deeply, deeply hurt by her decision to dump me for such a complete loser, so, believe me, when I thought about dating again I thought about what I could do to be genuinely desired. The first thing that came to mind was something Marc had said years before. He said, "Have you ever thought about working out, like, at all?" Clearly he would have found me more appealing if I had a better body. Maybe that was a reason he fucked around with other guys? Whether that was true or not didn't matter; I was not going to risk being rejected for that reason again.
Because a good body was something that appealed to Marc, I hoped it would appeal to Gabbie too. It didn't. Or at least the way I did it, it didn't. Within a few months I lost nearly 20% of my total body weight and went from being 8 pounds shy of BMI-overweight to 2 pounds above BMI-underweight. Gabbie's reaction was disappointing. She said I had lost too much weight and the thinner I got, the less attractive I was to her. Of course by that time we were separated, so I felt like she'd criticize anything I did.
Her words did cause me to reconsider my focus, however. As much as I enjoyed the challenge of seeing how much weight I could lose, she was right that it made more sense to concentrate on appearances, not a number. Because I was already so lean, I decided to go for defined abs. Every homo likes those, right?
|The body I've wanted...|
|The body I have|
I haven't exactly reached my goal of having well-defined abs. My results aren't terrible but they're far short of what they should be, especially given how much time and effort I've expended.
As I hope the picture on the right shows, I think I can present myself reasonably well from the neck down, especially on a site like Grindr.
It turns out that Grindr is evolving, at least in my area. More and more often, I see guys who say, "No face pic, no chat." I've also noticed that the guys who do post face pics (even so-so attractive ones) are the same guys who are looking for real dates, like I am, as opposed to hook-ups. While on the other hand, many of the guys who are looking for hook-ups post headless torso pics. I've noticed this same phenomenon on Adam4Adam too, so it's not just a Grindr thing. Apparently online m4m 'social networking' has evolved to the point where posting a face pic says, "I'm looking to date," and posting a body pic says, "I'm looking for a hook-up."
|Multiple dates that turn into something meaningful, or, a hook-up?|
|Either way, it's the same guy.|
So here's the thing...in order to have defined abs, you have to have low body fat, roughly 10%. And when you lose body fat, it comes from everywhere. You can do a billion stomach crunches but that doesn't mean you'll burn mostly stomach fat. You'll actually burn fat from all over your body, including your face.
|Me in a few short years.|
Well, that's me now. I *had* a relatively youthful face three years ago. Now I get daily affirmations from my daughter about how old I look.
This means that my hard-fought battle to be desirable has completely back-fired. I traded some miniscule ab definition for an older face. Smart move!!
|Average body, relationship material|
I've seen a number of guys say things like, "I know I don't have six-pack abs, but I still think I'm a good catch." They're responding to the widely-held assumption that a great body is what makes a guy highly desirable, and while it certainly doesn't hurt to be fit, a guy with a decent face pic and an average body is going to attract more long-term attention than an older looking guy with a hot body, especially if he's looking for something more than a hook-up. In other words, a decent face pic is far more important than a hot, headless torso shot.
Because I've lost too much fat in my face, the logical solution is to try to regain some weight. Unfortunately I can't do that. Not because of some physical reason, but because I'm seriously fucked in the head. After being endlessly rejected, by Marc, by Gabbie, by Dean, by every first date I go on, I've put the shredded scraps of what's left of my self-esteem into controlling how much I exercise, how much I eat and how much I weigh. I literally can't stop working out, I can't eat more, and I can't gain too much weight.. Even taking small steps is difficult. I'm afraid to lose the minimal abdominal definition I have; I think it's naive to expect that adding weight will return the fat to the right parts of my face. It seems far more likely, especially with my luck, that extra weight will make both my body and face look like a pear - thin at the top and fat on the bottom. That's something I just can't chance. I can't throw away three years of hard work, much less what's left of my self-confidence, just because I hope more weight will go where I want it to.
The alternatives are to do nothing, to use "fillers" like Restylane or Sculptra, or to have plastic surgery.
|Sculptra Before and After|
I'm actually going to try facial yoga. It's supposed to strengthen and firm facial muscles to create a more youthful look. If that doesn't work, then I'll consider injections. They can be expensive, but since the classic mid-life crisis purchase is a Porsche 911, and that has a suggested retail price of $96,200, spending a few thousand dollars for a temporary look wouldn't be going totally overboard....or would it?