The Hell You Endure For a Free Meal

218674_10150189005594153_6377810_o“So… I knew he wasn’t the one when all he kept doing was talking badly about himself,” my sister Robyn said. “Out of nowhere he started telling me things like, ‘I have uncontrollable gas;’ ‘You should see my hair when it grows out. I’m almost completely bald;’ ‘I have a tiny penis.’”

“I wanted so badly to say, ‘Wait! You had me at ‘tiny penis,’” Robyn recounted.

I laughed as I listened to her bemoan her stream of bad dates.

“Are there any single guys who: A) Are not living with their mother? B) Have had at least one serious relationship? C) Are gainfully employed? D) Are not socially inept?” she vented. “The last guy was socially retarded – and I mean that in the nicest way. He laughed at things that weren’t funny. He bought me an engagement ring on a necklace after only a month of dating. I was able to brush the red flags out of the way for so long. The final straw was when his mother grilled me on the health of my reproductive system.”

I inquired as to how she was meeting these guys and she said online.

“No, no, no, no, no,” I stressed. “The guys that I’ve dated long-term, I’ve always met while out in public places. That way you get a first-hand sense of their red flags.”

Then again, I’ve had some traumatic experiences in that arena as well.

Creeps

As soon as I saw him walking towards me in the bar an intuitive alarm sounded. Before I could draw back, he was already telling me his name. Too late. While I was desperately trying to snuff the conversation, I envisioned myself trying to make a run for it. Knowing my luck, I’d trip and fall over my Robert Wayne pointy-toed boots like in some bad horror movie.

Snapped back into reality, Jai was still talking. The thing is, Jai, along with most creeps, don’t care if you’re uncomfortable. They just want your attention and see you only as a recreational project. He kept asking personal questions that not-so subtly tapered into, “Is there somewhere we can screw?”

To shake this leech without resorting to an equal amount of rudeness, I was polite but I continued to move along the conversation. I was sure not to answer his questions with my own for that would’ve shown an interest. I simply began being passively agreeable. Eventually, he decided that I wasn’t worth the trouble and went off to bother someone else.

The next day, I was at Barnes and Noble looking for my favorite gay author, Brad Gooch‘s new self-help dating book. Lord knows I could use all the help I could get. As I perused the aisles, a cute, twenty-something, preppy boy caught my eye in the American Literature section. I walked by to go grab a coffee in the café. Apparently, I had caught his eye as well because he soon followed. While in line, I noticed the copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone in his hand. I rolled my eyes. I must not have been too discreet.

“You’re not into J.K. Rowling,” he inquired.

“Sorry,” I recovered. “Not especially. I prefer non-fiction.”

He glanced at the book in my grasp.

“Gooch, huh,” he questioned sarcastically, cracking a smile.

“He’s actually a really great writer. He writes about personal experiences in the gay dating pool.”

“Yeah,” he questioned, interested. “But his name is Gooch.”

We smiled. And he invited me to sit down. We took our coffees to a table and continued our conversation. It seemed to be going great until he took it into a whole new direction.

“So, what’re you into?”

Trying to clarify, “What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m into vanilla to medium kink.”

Not wanting to be a total wet blanket, and having no idea what that meant, I asked, “What does that entail?”

He leaned in and whispered, “I’d love to see you pee on me.” He leaned back in his chair and winked at me.

Oh, my God. “I’m afraid I can’t do that,” I said with a crack in my voice while still trying to keep a smile on my face.

“O.K.,” he insisted. “Will you come out to my car and get naked? I’d love to give you head.”

I had to admit I was more willing to do that but still I declined.

“How about a bathroom stall?”

“Um, I don’t think so.”

Having had enough, I smiled politely, stood up and walked out. As I drove home, I wondered when the hell did I get so out of the loop? And what happened to the gay men of this day and age? Or has it always been like this and I’m just getting old?

Stalkers

I was at an airport bookstore in between flight transfers and decided to pick up yet another dating how-to book. I was strolling down the aisle when I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over to see him giving me the once-over. I get that on some level, our gaydar is always working. And when someone trips it, especially someplace where we’re the minority, it’s exciting and we unconsciously cruise them. First off, he wasn’t my type. Second, I knew he wasn’t looking for a soul mate and hooking up in an airport bathroom has never been my style, so I went back to browsing titles.

Unfortunately, he didn’t take the hint. Every aisle I walked down, he would pop up at the other end, never saying anything; just blatantly giving me the come-hither look. Does he really think I’m just going to go up to him and say, ‘Excuse me. I’ve noticed that you’ve been following me. I really like the persistent, shy type. Let’s do it’?

After a few more minutes of feeling my ass burn from his gaze, I was finally able to lose him in the Women’s Studies section. I made a dash for the cashier, paid for my book and darted for the exit. Granted, even though I didn’t feel any real danger, there is always that chance when you have a stalker. Mostly, it was just incredibly unnerving.

There are many ways to handle rejecting someone and every situation is different. I’m not saying mine were the best but they worked for me at the time.

My sister Robyn, on the other hand, decided to take the brutally honest route. When she could no longer take her self-depreciating date, she stopped him.

“Look,” she said. “I can deal with the fact that you may be balding or that you may have uncontrollable gas. I can even deal with you having a tiny penis. What I can’t deal with is the fact that you have THE WORST self-esteem of anyone I’ve ever met.”

We’ve all been there. Either we meet someone that we’re not interested in and he asks for our number or we go out with someone, have a horrible time and he asks if he can see us again. Whichever way it transpires, we’re faced with the challenge of having to reject someone, a challenge that is never easy.

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