Friday, October 30, 2009

Damsel in Distress Dot Com

When I was a little girl growing up in Surigao, I'd often find my self sitting on some boulders in the beach and silently wishing for a sinewy boy to emerge from the depths of the sea and who'd whisk me towards the sunset on his little boat.

What was I thinking??? I wonder who gave me the idea that Prince Charming would come from the water instead of say riding a white horse or a more gallant mode of transport other than a a shaky boat with outriggers and propelled by a small oar.

Also, one time I'd thought that Prince Charming would appear from behind an imposing column in a construction site, all sweaty, and wearing a helmet and a smile (and nothing else). Oh that was the time I discovered porn.

And why do they have to appear with such theatrics anyway?

Don't worry though, I've a long time ago abandoned such fanciful thoughts.

He doesn't have to come into my life with a spotlight shining on him, in slow motion, and with a Barbra Streisand soundtrack. Lady Gaga would do, no?

When I was in the university I fantasized that I'd meet my man in the library. Say we'd bump into each other while searching for the last copy of a William Golding or Graham Greene novel, those massive shelves crammed with yellowing books witnessing the first few seconds our eyes meet.

Or how about brushing against his arm while I closely examine a humongous landscape painting inside a cavernous museum. He wouldn't notice me at first coz he's equally mesmerized by the same painting. Seemingly annoyed by my intrusion on his concentration, he will make a quick glance at me and realize that he's looking directly at a true masterpiece. Buwahahaha!!!

Is it just me or do many other gay men think about the scenarios of how they'd meet their man? (Gosh, I'd avoid putting "ideal" and "man" together, OK?)

At one time I wished we'd bump into each other in the bookstore. Or perhaps meet him in one of my travels. Or something a bit unexpected and, say, uhm, romantic.

But not meet him on the internet, puhlease.

I have nothing against meeting men on the internet, per se. But really it's not the most romantic thing on earth, don't you agree? It's just way too deliberate and tinted with being a bit too cruise-y. Not exactly charming no?

In as much as I didn't envision my self to actually meet potential dates on the internet, I do have a fair share of experiences along that line. Which brings out some inner conflict coz it runs against the grain of my, ehem... fantasies.

Fantasies aside, however, the internet is no doubt one of the most convenient places to meet men. Honestly, I could not think of any other platform of doing so, having ditched the idea of randomly bumping into them in less-obvious places, i.e. bookstores, museums, or while traveling.

Am I putting such "venues" on a scale then? That it's more respectable to meet men in places other than the internet? Maybe so, although it does sound judgmental, no?

But really, the internet is sooo obvious. It's a marketplace where you blatantly put your self out there for the highest bidder (whatever that means) and where you likewise bid for that boy with the cutest smile but with a badly-written profile, hoping that somehow you could work something out (again, whatever that means).

Maybe I'm still stuck with the perception that the main motivation for gay men to be on these dating sites is just sex. That there's hardly any decent guy in a site where there are more torso shots and cock pictures than real faces. That there are no date-able guys in a site where 90 percent of the people are "looking for no strings attached hook-ups" or "I'm up for some high sex" (meaning there's some drugs involved) or "me lonely, looking for someone to take care me", and all those asinine profiles.

God knows I've a number of good friends whom I met in some gay dating site (you know who you are, bitches). And no, our meetings were not based on the premise of dating nor some mindless hook-up (God forbid!). It is clear enough for me that a few men on the internet are just out there to meet friends.

One time I was with a group of friends whom I met on the net and I was introduced to one of their female friends whose first question was "so how did you two meet?". I swear I just went red on the face and quickly threw a "help me out here, bitch" look to my friend who did not have any decent lie to say either other than, "why don't we sit down?" until the question was forgotten eventually.

A message to women: Never, and I mean NEVER, ask your gay friends where they meet their gay friends, OK? It's a rather sensitive question. Hmp.

This happened on more than one occasion. With such frequency of the question being asked I still do not know how to handle it other than, "that's a nice blouse you're wearing (you nosy cunt!)".

I'm truly aware that there's a prevailing stigma against meeting people on the net. In as much as I could prove that such perception has its many exceptions, I still wonder why I cannot shake off feeling disgraced.

And that's just for meeting friends. How much more if you solely concentrate on searching for a potential date, and say you find one, and realize later on that you did not meet in the most "decent" of venues.

Fuck decent! Is it me or just good-old Catholic guilt kicking in?

I guess I have to accept that there's nothing "indecent" about the internet. I can put it this way... before the internet people (and not just the gay kind) found ways of putting themselves out there for those who were also looking for potential dates.

I don't know, perhaps they go to a club or a dance hall. Or search through the pages of magazines headlined as "date finder" (remember them?). There would have been other venues, i.e. at parties, in school, at the workplace, etc.

So the internet comes in the picture and makes sifting through people essentially more convenient and even efficient (less time consumed, more comprehensive, etc.).

At the heart of these platforms, including the net (or any other more "decent" places), is that unrelenting hope that somehow, behind all those faces, behind all those ill-written profiles, behind the profusion of all the photoshopped abs, is someone who could be Prince Charming. And no, there's nothing "in-decent" about that.


BB said...

really nice article. couldnt agree more....I've met some important people on the net...such as you and the bf, and we couldnt call our relationship sleazy at all.

I think it's in the numbers...if we meet 50 people on the net, we are bound to find some gems...and we pre-select already through our choices of meeting...

however I do's not romantic and I too hate saying it...people always assume things...

Was Once said...

It will happen when it is meant to happen, and all the wishing and thinking won't make it happen any faster.
Meanwhile have fun. It is not much fate as timing.

Lyka Bergen said...

I met my first bf at a newly-opened fastfood chain. He was at the counter, i was ordering spaghetti. It lasted 7 years.

The rest: In a karaoke bar, a gay bar, and the internet! These three didnt last at all.

Id just realized Ive been waiting since then to find a love that would look and sound like a movie. No wonder, am still single at this time.

A Big Tse! to all of you!

fuchsiaboy said...

we attract the people who react to the vibes we give off, non? maybe it's time to put at the back of the closet those gucci pekpek shorts. try some oscar de la renta or valentino, perhaps?

Ochre said...

You're right. There's a certain level of stigma involved, simply because being on the internet still implies a lack of social skill or presentability: "s/he must be retarded, or s/he could just go out and meet someone". It's like everyone assumes that meeting online is predicated on the idea that you're either a moron or desperate. And profiles like the ones you've mentioned don't help matters any either. But I live in Pakistan--I came to terms with the internet as the source of my non-hetero social circle ages ago!

kawadjan said...

BB: OMG, I thought Hye Kim Park and you met in a more romantic setting. Gasp! Jing jing. Seems like in most cases it's not how you met but what you make of it, chai mai?

Was Once: How true...

Lyka: Gaga, another waiter!? As in it all started with that damn spaghetti! How cinematic!

Donita: I'm so wearing the DP Kawadjan cardigan every day. Let's see if it works.

Ochre: Thanks for dropping by. True, I forgot to mention that sometimes the net has shades of desperation to it. In these situations Pinoy gay men would just say: deadma (who cares?).


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