If you’re a gay man and you have Internet access then I’d be prepared to put my ‘cock on the block’, as it were, by betting that you’ve tried online dating at some point in your many no-doubt interesting online adventures. In fact, I’d probably be more correct than not in stating that you have an active profile or two on MeetMarket or Gaydar right now. Yes, someone could well be assessing your vital statistics and messaging you sweet nothings at this very moment.
Posting a profile is rather like having a gay business card. It seems to be about staking a claim of sorts on a small piece of virtual land, stating: “I’m here and I’m queer. Hear me roar!” For horny or lonely guys, online dating has replaced or augmented the local gay bar, dark alley or neighbourhood park.
For those of us that are more interested in meeting someone on a more meaningful (ahem) basis the Internet has only added to the messy minefield of man-on man interaction. It remains a confusing business and after three years of meeting people via this digital playground of ones and zeroes, I’m still puzzled by a good number of things.
I’m forever baffled by the “happily involved” characters. You know these types. They lure you to their profile on the basis of a rather appealing thumbnail image. You get to the profile and read something along the lines of, “I’ve already met the love of my life and am not looking for a relationship – only friendship”. Oh bugger off already; join a book club! I’m never sure how honest these smug people are. Is this some kind of code that really means, “but if you really blow my socks off, I might just dump my rather boring boyfriend”?
Then again, the reality is that when it comes to online dating there’s not much dating going on. You might think that I’m something of a sourpuss when it comes to those once-off steamy sex sessions that are no doubt taking place all over the world thanks to “dating” websites, but I’m not. Really. I may admittedly be a little jealous that I’m just not the ‘wham bam thank you… uhh… mam’ type, but I’m all for other people expressing themselves in whatever way makes them happy.
And here I thought that every homosexual was aware of the vital importance of good lighting!
What does grate me is the regular stream of hardcore pictures of body parts that get messaged to my profile. What part of “I’m looking for a relationship”, or “not interested in casual sex” is unclear? I’ve come to the conclusion that no-one actually bothers to read my carefully composed and oh-so-witty profile, which took me hours to complete. While I’m vaguely flattered that my photograph alone should elicit such a carnal response, I suspect that these randy guys use the shotgun approach; hoping that someone – anyone – responds. Knowing men – and I sadly know men – a guy on heat is not the most discerning of creatures.
What’s even more interesting is noting the men that choose to publish pictures of their private bits in all their upstanding glory. Now don’t get me wrong, like any gay male of the species, the image of an attractive man sans clothes will have the expected pleasing reaction. But attractive is the key word here. I still have my figure (mostly), my teeth and much of my hair, but you don’t see me sprawled naked on the Internet. So why, dear god, do ageing overweight men feel the need to expose their most-hidden spotty nooks and crannies to the rest of us – and always in amateurish, badly lit, badly composed photos. (And I thought that every homosexual was aware of the vital importance of good lighting!)
Some of my best friends are overweight and sagging, but I’d like to think they have the good sense to put their best features forward. Do you never watch What Not To Wear? It’s all about concealing the problem areas people (god knows, we all have them), not plastering our dodgy flabby bits on a virtual billboard!
It’s also clear that some men couldn’t be bothered to look at their photos with an aesthetically critical eye before they go global with them. Sure, not all of us live in designer mansions, but I’d think one would have the sense to take one’s photo in a relatively attractive setting – not with a messy bedroom – complete with scary cerise and mustard striped drapes, empty pizza boxes and a moth-eaten teddy bear – in the background. Throw a naked flabby butt, and dirty socks into the equation and I’m ready to lose my lunch.
Re-reading what I’ve written above it’s clear that online dating can be rather hard on a Virgo. (We do tend to expect a great deal from people; like common sense and freshly minted breath). Nevertheless, I’d still like to believe that I’m not the only one that ponders these questions. To me, a dating profile is the equivalent of going out in public. And in my books, unless you’re Britney Spears, you should never be seen barefoot and unwashed at the mall.