I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

I was a gay man, entering a new land. A land of lower rent, less competition, and a reasonable amount of success in the sack. I had many allies before I arrived, but few who could assist me with that last basic human need. So I did what most gay men would do under this circumstance, or under any circumstance, really: I signed on to a handful of internet-based man-connectors. Some of which I was already active on, some I was rejoining, and some were brand new.

No, that’s a lie. None of them were brand new. I’ve been on all of them.

Before moving to this new land, I had reason to believe that I might be highly sought after by other gentlemen. I fondly recall a day, long before I even considered living here, when I was strolling through a park in Jamaica Plain and saw a charming cyclist nearly crash his bike into a tree because he was checking me out. It was a moment that I will cherish forever.

My first home, during my one month in Salem, had little to offer in the way of dudes. But Salem is a small town, and being a city boy through and through, I knew better than to get attached anyway.

I soon moved to an outer neighborhood of Boston, and certainly, the resources were more plentiful, but interested parties were equally rare. I found employment in a notably gay neighborhood in Boston proper, which I expected would be a homoerotic goldmine. Yet again, no such luck. Nonetheless, I continued to dig, and every now and then, I would find something shiny and appealing, But 19 times out of 20, it would slip through my fingers and disappear back into the pile. Or it would flee in disgust upon learning that my stomach was presently unchiseled.

At least wine still likes to get naked with me.

One year later, I still spend a borderline-unhealthy amount of time each day, attempting to make connections on these various websites and applications, while I can count on one hand the number of men who I have actually met in that time, and on one finger how many I’ve actually become intimate with. My self-worth has plummeted to an all-time low, and my body image has taken up residency in the gutter. I have spent more money and time on fashion and fitness than I ever have in my life, and yet I cannot think of a time when I have felt less attractive. And I am a person who gets paid to take his clothes off on stage.

I have accepted the fact that these pastimes make me miserable, so I have, for the umpteenth time in my life, begun deactivating these accounts one by one. One or two remain, with the likelihood that they too shall go, but I need to build my own sexual safety net before I pull the plug… an alternative outlet to slake The Thirst™.

Unfortunately, in a town so puritan as Boston, I don’t foresee finding sexual partners becoming any easier any time soon. It is clear that queers are not in short supply, but I’d like to believe that the majority have found other ways to connect, and simply have not yet invited me to join the club. (Sure. Fine. Be that way.) Until that, or something similar, happens, I’m seeking out ways to satisfy my own needs, rather than spending hours staring at my phone waiting for a stranger to decide that I am worth his time. I know that I am, but experiences have shown me that gay men do not always have the healthiest of priorities. (#guilty)

So…what do I do when the thirst is strong and satisfaction is nowhere in sight?
– First, of course…snag a selfie, because in times like this, moments where I feel comfortable in my skin are too rare, and ought to be captured, as reminders if nothing else.
– Take matters into my own hands sooner. In other words: don’t wait too long to jack off. Some days I wake up, feel in the mood and have all the time in the world, and end up wasting my whole day waiting for some guy finally tell me he’s down for a lay. It’s terrible for my self-esteem, and dammit, I have shit to do. Don’t cruise for more than an hour, maximum.
– On a related note: Don’t hold off on making plans because something else might happen. If he wants the D that bad, he should have said something sooner. Self-respect and all that.
– Accidentally create a Snapchat group with all of the guys I already trade naughty selfies with, thinking they can only see what I’m sharing with them, but it’s actually a giant group message and everyone can see who else I sext with. Despite my embarrassment, they love it. And now I have a place to deposit dick pics whenever I like where they will almost certainly be applauded.

It is strange how one can become so attached to things like this…things that rarely bring feelings of happiness. Typically, addiction comes from something that makes one feel good, at least for a little while. So why am I so afraid to walk away from something that makes me feel like garbage? Sure, there was a time and a place when they did prove useful and occasionally satisfying, but I’ve dealt with the downside way too long to continue calling it a “dry spell”. I may not be what most of the guys in this city may be looking for, but I refuse to believe that I am not deserving of affection, however substantial (or not) it may be.

Sound off in the comments: What do you do to show love for yourself?


One thought on “I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

  1. I don’t normally comment on, well, anything, but there’s a note of anguish here that I would feel guilty leaving unanswered, especially since I’ve grown to like the Professional Intellectual Homosexual (TM) in the however-many months it’s been since I found my way here.

    I’ve encountered that feeling of being shut out of some “scene” that’s going on without me (I’m in DC, but your description of Boston is a dead ringer for here) but over time I’ve been able to realize that the forum in which that feeling happens – those tempting but ultimately fruitless apps – is a very limited frame of reference. The people who populate the assorted apps are hardly a fair representation of the gay world at large, but because that’s what’s in front of your face as you wait in vain for attention from somebody – anybody! – it feels like the entire world has taken a look at your profile and found you wanting. So instead of letting myself feel that I have been judged unworthy by All Of Creation, I remind myself that the apps present a narrow cross-section composed primarily of, let’s face it, self-absorbed pricks. (Can I say that here?)

    Of course, expanding your frame of reference isn’t particularly satisfying when you’re craving human touch, so your suggestion to get in tune with your physical needs and how to satisfy them is a good one. But you can reject the line of reasoning that equates your self-worth with how people respond to you on an app and instead define it yourself. So, at the risk of sounding New Age-y, think about what you love about yourself. What are those shallow people missing out on – they’d been sick with envy if they only *realized* – when they pass you by for a bot’s impossibly-chiseled abs? (To be honest, I’ve never liked chiseled abs because I assume those people don’t like eating actual food, and instead subsist primarily on mud-colored protein shakes and obnoxiously expensive smoothies in all the colors of the rainbow while crunching as though the salvation of humanity depended on it.) Maybe it’s your sense of humor, your razor-sharp wit, your mastery of minute historical trivia, your crêpe suzette, or that delightful thing you do with your tongue – pity those people who missed their chance to experience you! Confidence, interestingly, is one of those things where “fake it ’till you make it” actually works – no one knows you’re paralyzed by self-doubt if you breeze into a room with a smile on your lips and twinkle in your eye. And confidence is sexy, no?

    (Also, you’re selling yourself short, which as I’m sure you know is a Time-Honored Tradition among Our People. I will readily admit that one of the several reasons I visit this blog is to see whether there’s a new post accompanied by a cute picture – perhaps not the most high-minded motivation, but I never claimed to be a saint and seriously, your eyes are to die for.)

    That may not have been particularly earth-shaking and I don’t plan to quit my day-job to become a motivational speaker, but I wanted to give you something to challenge the apps’ narrative with – because even though you may not always feel like it, you’re worth it.

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