Him: So tell me a little about yourself?
Me: What do you want to know?
Him: Well, why do you meet people online who are clearly lying about their age?
Me: Well. I write about it. I had a string of painful, awkward dates about a year and a half ago, and I started writing about it. People starting reading. Now, when I come across someone online who seems angry, self important, or blatantly deceptive -no offense…
Him: None taken…
Me: Instead of ignoring or blocking those people, I go out with them and write about my experiences with them.
Him: I’m not sure I like that.
Me: I’m not sure I asked for your approval.
Him: That’s why. That’s why I don’t like it.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: You’re being glib. Sarcastic.
Me: Do you think?
Him: I do. I think it’s a real problem with your generation. You roll your eyes at everything and you’re terrified of any sort of genuine human interaction.
Me: Doesn’t this particular interaction – me sitting with you on this park bench – prove your theory wrong? Isn’t this a genuine human interaction?
Him: Well it would be, except you have the ulterior motive of wanting material for your blog.
Me: And you have the ulterior motive of wanting to sleep with me.
Him: No I don’t.
Me: Come home with me and give me a blowjob.
Him: Okay fine, I concede that you’re right about that. But where did you meet me?
Me: On Grindr.
Him: Exactly! A site for guys to meet each other because they want to hook up…
Him: So – who’s worse? Me, the horny, dishonest old man?? Or you, the good-looking young liar?
Me: Jeez, Old Faggot – can’t we BOTH be awful people?
Him: HAHA. We can…
Me: And thanks for the compliments. You’re a handsome guy yourself.
Him: Thanks, can I put my hand in your lap?
Me: Twenty years ago you can.
Him: What an asshole.
Him: So why?
Me: Why what?
Him: Why put yourself in these awful situations? What do you gain from it?
Me: I don’t know. I like writing about things that are true…
Him: Don’t give me that horseshit. You’re being sarcastic.
Me: I’m not! I’m just saying it sarcastically!
Him: So you started writing why?
Me: To process stuff. I was in a long relationship that ended. About a year went by with me being single. Then I started dating again. People were awful. Defensive. Petty. Small. I wanted to write about it. Kept me from getting depressed. After a while though, I started seeking out people because they seemed a little off. It got alienating. I don’t know exactly why I’ve kept doing it. I’m compelled to, somehow.
Him: Just… Your generation.
Him: You guys all feel shy, and alienated, and lonely, and yet you’re so very hyper-connected. It’s narcissistic. Everyone is squawking constantly, but nobody is listening. Nobody cares. And worse – you don’t just urgently need to communicate your awkwardness or your ironic detachment – you guys fetishize it.
Me: I’m not sure I’d go that far.
Him: I would! What is an American Apparel ad, if not fetishizing awkwardness?
Me: Uh… It’s…
Him: Or what about those movies by P.T. Anderson?
Me: … Boogie Nights?
Him: No, that’s a great film. I mean like Rushmore and the other one…
Me: Royal Tenenbaums?
Him: Ugh. Awful. So coy, and precious, and ironic…
Me: So you mean Wes Anderson.
Him: I guess. He’s all the things about your generation I don’t understand. He fetishizes that alienation you were talking about. He urges the rest of you to indulge in this glorification of the uncomfortable. Life doesn’t have to be so labored and ungraceful, you know. We used to just call it ‘going on a bad date,’ and it happened every once in a while, but we didn’t react by being glib or sarcastic on the next date. That was considered rude. We certainly didn’t write about it for the world to read.
Me: Okay fine. I get it. You don’t approve.
Him: I don’t.
Me: Well then don’t read.
Him: I certainly won’t.
Me: You know. You spent a lot of time calling me indelicate. But that doesn’t explain why you think I’m interesting enough to sit here and waste the afternoon with. Stop looking at my dick. It’s nothing special.
Him: It looks pretty nice, through your pants.
Me: Thanks Old Faggot.
Him: Can I ask you one more question?
Me: Sure. But you have to wait until Part Three.
Me: I rarely blog more than 800 words.
Me: It’s self indulgent, Jerk.
Him: Oh man! That guy we met was so hot.
Me: He was pretty cute, huh?
Him: It’s always like that. I always meet the cutest guy, right when I’m leaving the bar.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: I’m talking about the guy we met at the bar, right when we were leaving. When I bought those shots of Jager.
Me: Right. That was the same guy you were dancing with for like half an hour.
Him: What? No it wasn’t. Was it?
Me: Yeah. It was the same guy you were dancing with and bragging about how jealous you were making his boyfriend.
Him: Whatever, I just breathed new life into their tired old relationship.
Me: If you say so. This train is taking forever…
Him: Are you coming home with me?
Me: Are you asking me back to your place for sex?
Him: Well. No. I probably won’t have sex with you. But cuddles…
Me: I don’t know. It’s been a busy week. Quite frankly I haven’t even had time to masturbate and it’s kind of building up inside me, I think.
Me: So, you pulling your normal hi-jinx might not put me in the best mood…
Him: What? How do I normally behave?
Me: You’re pretty much a good friend when you’re sober, but when you drink a lot you like to dick tease me.
Him: That’s not nice. Why would you say that?
Me: You do! You make out with me at the bar and then invite me home where you make out with me again for about ten minutes and then start back peddling about how we’re just friends and we shouldn’t act like this…
Him: That’s called expressing affection.
Me: It’s called being a tease. Maybe it’s affection if it happens once or something, but every time we hang out and there’s drinking involved…. Plus, you’re so wasted that you thought the guy we talked to at the bar was a new person, and you’d been dancing with him all night.
Him: Psssht. It was dark in there… Let’s congregate near those black people over there…
Me: Stop it. You’re in one of your moods.
Him: What’s that mean?
Me: You’re in one of your push-the-envelope moods. I can’t see why we should go over to those people when you’re in one of your instigating moods.
Him: What could happen?
Me: I’m running different scenarios and I don’t come up with any good outcomes.
Him: You’re no fun.
Me: Because I don’t want to go bother those people? Hey. The train is here. Get on the train.
(we get on the train)
Him: If you could change anything about our relationship from the past 6 years what would you change?
Me: Well, firstly, we’ve only known each other for 4 years.
Him: Whatever, what would you change?
Me: I… I guess I’d be more sensitive toward your feelings, there, in the beginning when you had that crush on me.
Me: What would you change?
Him: Oh, I wouldn’t have talked to you. At all.
Him: Yeah. You put me through a whole lot of pain and heart ache. I wish I could go back and never have gotten to know you.
Me: What a thing to say.
Me: You say the sweetest things. Really.
Him: It’s just how I feel. Sometimes I wish I never met you.
Me: Well this is my stop. I’m transferring here.
Him: Just come home with me.
Me: No… But have a nice night. Congrats again, on passing the bar.
Him: Fuck you.
Me: I love you, kiddo.
Him: Fuck. You.
Me: Please get home safe. Jerk.
Drawing by Brendan Lahey
Before we get into me, let’s talk about how amazing PIEFOLK is. It deserves to always be spelled in caps and in bold letters because it makes me smile. Your food is delicious and the friends you cook with seem like a great bunch. Thank you for being as sarcastic and funny as always and bringing joy to my RSS feed.
Now, what I’d love some insight on is my initiative with guys. I seem to always be the one to put forth effort into wanting to hang out and make plans. I’m not one to play games and maybe that’s here the problem lies? I don’t want to do some dance of withholding emotions in lieu of just saying what I’m thinking/feeling. At first I thought maybe I was just too available, even though that’s a subjective opinion but I feel maybe I just make time for people I think are worthy of it and maybe I shouldn’t hand out my free time so easily? Another thought of mine is maybe I’m not so secretly attracted to the guys who aren’t as up front about how they feel and like to play games and lead me on. Maybe I just have too many questions and am in my head too much?
Hit me with your best remedy for a summer of less time given away to those not interested and possibly your thoughts on how to avoid the pattern in the future?
Thanks for all your nice compliments. It’s really encouraging to hear people talk like that about my site. Thank you. Sincerely.
Okay, so you pride yourself that you’re not the type of person to play games. Great, that’s refreshing to hear. But most people like to play courtship games. They like the subtle mating dance that seems to go along with dating someone. It’s okay for you to opt out of that, but that just means you’re going to have to search a little harder to find the person you’re looking for: another person who doesn’t play games.
Are you making yourself too available? I’d suspect that you’re probably telegraphing your availability too much, too soon after meeting someone. Mind you, that’s only a feeling I’m getting after reading a letter. But you might be sending out ‘I like you – let’s give this a try’ vibes that are being interpreted as being more needy than you intend them to be. You don’t want someone to feel like they’ve nailed it down by the end of the second date. Because most people want more of a challenge than that. They want to discover they like you slowly, over time.
It could be that you’re really good at pinpointing the type of person/personality that you gel with, but if you really want to keep from screwing the pooch, err on the side of making yourself the commodity. Make the other person prove to you that they would be a good boyfriend. Take a month and play the field. Kiss as many boys as possible, and see who’s calling and what your options are.
Why zero in on one person and make them the object deserving all your affection? Make the person that eventually gets all of you prove they deserve it. Remember. You’re the commodity. You’re the hot ticket item. I’m not saying to act arrogant (I’ll take care of that for both of us), I’m saying to act confident. You’re a strong, vibrant young man.
When it becomes apparent that the right young man has manifested in your life, take a deep breath and take it slow.
Until then, play the field.
Place: The L Train.
(What appears to be a Homeless Man is talking very animatedly to a creeped-out stranger. He is speaking gibberish. He looks terrified.)
Homeless Man: Otamad Krik. Ayulac! Niwre! Enialb Sonaj!
(This goes on for a long time, the whole train ignores it. Then suddenly:)
Him: Yes brother! Let it out! Let her hear the pain!
(A couple of people titter)
Him: He’s telling the WORLD!!!
(pause, nobody laughs)
Me: I think we’re witnessing aphasia.
Me: When someone has a stroke they sometimes can’t speak right. I just thought you should know what you’re ridiculing.
Him: Oh are you a doctor? Can you go and help him?
Me: No. I’m not a doctor, smart ass.
Her: Don’t talk to him. You don’t have to talk to him.
Me: You should know what you’re making fun of, at least, right? I think it’s aphasia.
Him: I was just being positive!
Me: You were ridiculing him.
Him: Yeah. Well. Yeah. I…
Her: You don’t have to be such an asshole. You don’t have to turn the whole train against my boyfriend. The guy is (whispers) homeless.
Me: And therefore less than human: I get it. Sure. He’s had a stroke or brain damage, but let’s consider your boyfriend’s feelings here! You’re right. I’m an asshole. In this whole situation, I’m the asshole.
Him: Hey, if you’re such an altruist why don’t you go help him? You have a chance to prove how good you are!!
Me: Oh no. You’ve got it wrong. I’m not an altruist. I just couldn’t process my shock and anger at your behavior without pointing out that the man is clearly brain damaged. I’m just processing it.
Her: Are you taking photographs? DON’T TALK TO HIM. (then, to me:) He was just having fun. You made everyone on the train uncomfortable.
Me: Did I? Did I do that? Was it me?
(The train stops.)
Me: I believe this is your stop.
Conductor: Bedford Avenue.
(They leave the train.)
(I try to gather the courage to photograph the Homeless Man, but I feel icky about that, so I don’t.)
(I get off two stops later and tell the station agent there’s a sick passenger on the train.)
Sometimes people ask me on dates. They tend to go horribly. These are their stories.
(Law and Order Sound Effect)
Him: Come home with me.
Me: No. Do you think this sweater is too heavy for the springtime?
Him: Come on. Come home with me.
Me: No. It’s late and you’re drunk and I’m not and I’m tired.
Him: Come home with me. We’ve been flirting with each other for a long time now. Come on.
Me: No. 9 months is a long time?
Him: Come on. (hails a cab) Get in the cab.
Me: No. I’m going home.
Me: Okay fine.
(Montage: Snuggly cab ride. Surprised cab driver. Deli visit for food and beer. Fumbling with keys.)
Him: Do you want a beer? I’m having a beer.
Me: Yes. I’m going to start drinking at 3 am. Good idea.
Him: Great, I’ll open you one.
Me: No, wait. I changed my mind.
Me: More like, sarcastic.
Him: I like that.
Me: I like you.
Him: I know.
Me: Don’t worry. I don’t get weird. I let things develop naturally. We’ll have two kids, one Korean girl named Ellen, and one African boy, named Sh’Africa.
Him: Sounds like you’re telling Africa to be quiet.
Me: I’m not. I like the names Sean and Africa. Sh’Africa. If anything, I think Africa should be louder.
Me: All that suffering? Isn’t there a lot of suffering and economic inequality?
Him: I’ve never been.
Me: Me neither. I’m operating on what I’ve read in liberal news media and what I’ve seen in movies like Congo.
Him: Take your coat off.
Me: Certainly. I’ll just throw it on the floor here.
Him: You’re funny.
Me: You’re pretty.
Him: Make out with me.
Him: Take your shirt off.
(We take our shirts off. Bitchin’ make out session.)
Him: Take your pants off.
(We take our pants off. Bitchin’ make out session. It’s getting hard to contain ourselves. Get it?)
Him: Let’s get naked.
Me: How dare you. No, wait. I changed my mind again. That’s a great idea.
Him: Are you a bottom?
Me: What? Oh. Sex? Oh! Sex! Okay. Yes. No. I’m versatile. I’m the opposite of whatever your favorite thing to do is…
Him: Then you’re a bottom.
Me: I am indeed!
(We get naked. Bitchin’ make out session. Then, suddenly – he loses interest entirely. The evening goes limp.)
Him: I was afraid of this.
Him: I was afraid that this would happen. My penis stops working after a while.
Me: No! Stop it! It’s okay. Cut yourself some slack. You had a lot to drink. I watched you.
Him: No. What? No. I don’t have whiskey dick. Hahaha. No.
Him: I have a thing that happens. Once I get someone naked and it’s obvious that I can sleep with them, I lose interest.
Me: Heh. You’re funny.
Him: Please don’t make fun of me. It’s a real problem.
Me: I was going to say, why don’t we just go to sleep and give it a shot in the morning.
Him: Ha. Right. No.
Him: I think you should leave now.
Him: It’s like this. I already got you naked. You already said you’d give me what I want. It’s kind of like I’ve already figured you out. I’m not going to be interested anymore.
Me: What? Heh. Ha. I uh… hm…
(He starts putting on clothes. He starts handing clothes to me. I start putting on clothes.)
Him: Yeah. It’s best if you just go home.
Me: I’m much farther away from home now than when you talked me into the cab.
Him: I’ll call you a car. You should go home.
Me: No. I’ll take the train. I should never have come here.
Him: Oh stop. I had fun.
Me: Yeah it was a blast. You’re a real great host. Thanks for having me over.
Him: It’s a real problem, okay? I have a problem with sex. I’d appreciate some sympathy.
Me: Awww… Sweet baby… Hey. I’m going to say something – please don’t take it the wrong way, okay?
Me: You’re an asshole. I don’t mean like self-absorbed like me and my comedy friends. I mean for real. You’re a real, true, asshole. I’m going to leave my card.
Him: What is this?
Me: I want you to check out my site, but wait a few days…
Me: Because when people act like assholes on dates with me, I put it on the internet. Is that my coat? Thanks.
Me: Yeah! You’re famous! Congrats! And hey.
Enjoy playing mind games with someone else, Jerk.
(Surprise ending: I laughed about him the whole train ride home. I didn’t feel bad about myself.)