Monday, June 27, 2011

Looky-Loos and Disappearing Acts

They started coming last Thursday and Friday, all in a rush, without any warning. Letters from home.

My old home, that is. Not Virginia or Georgia, the homes of my youth, where I scarcely know anyone and from which all my family and friends have fled or expired. From Michigan, my chosen home for two and a half decades.

It was odd timing, too, because the day before, I’d just commented on how homesick I was. I drove out of Michigan sleepy and tired and sweating and in a car with an unhappy pet, so I didn’t really have a chance to get sentimental about saying my mental goodbyes to the area. I was basically just trying to keep the pet quiet and my eyes on the road and the air conditioner blasted on high. After that I had the issues of moving an entire house’s worth of stuff into our temporary apartment, and the challenges of getting settled in a new state.

Not until a few days ago have I had the actual leisure to reflect on what I’ve left behind. It saddens me to think of the Craftsman house I loved and left behind. Little things trigger it, like the sight of a Japanese maple that will remind me of the baby I planted in my own front yard and watched grow into a monster. The smell of a neighbor’s cut grass makes me think back to how pungent the same smell was from my own back yard, when the sun hit the yard in the late afternoon. Wednesday night I found myself staring at the cupboards in my new place, baffled at them, my hands reaching instinctively for all the spots I stored things in my old home. My hands remembered well where they wanted to go, though I tried to tell them otherwise. They were like dogs trying to find their way to an old home, out of habit and the pull of some unspeakable force.

Then these emails started coming and I thought to myself, Man, I am well out of that shit.

The first batch of emails came, you see, from a broad class of men I think of under the classification of “looky-loos.” Every time I would log onto a site like Manhunt or Adam4Adam, they’d check out my profile. I’d see it on the tracking page. A few minutes later, they’d check me out again. Then, like clockwork, every twenty minutes or so they’d peek back again. They never said anything; they never made a move or gave me any indication that they’d be interested in getting together. They just looked, and looked, and kept silent.

I don’t think there wasn’t a one of them at which I didn’t look back (at first), or winked or smiled. To most I’d send the occasional message of Hey, how’s it going? or Looking around tonight? Some of these guys were quite hot—muscular physiques, smooth young bodies or beefy bear chests. A few were, to put it gently, physically challenged. I eventually figured out that I wasn’t ever going to get any kind of response, so I just stopped trying with most.

That’s what made the emails from the looky-loos so puzzling at first. I got three of them in a row, Thursday, and then a handful more that night and the following day. You moved and I never got that hot dick, read one. Another said, I guess now we’re never going to be able to get together. They were all pretty much the same—mournful and vaguely laden with reproach.

I wanted to reply with my own initial response: what the fuck? Instead, I was kind of annoyed. You’ve been looking at my profile for the last ten years, I wrote one guy, since I joined Never did you ever make a move to get together, and I even offered at a couple of points! To another guy whose message was roughly the same I asked, And how does moving make your failure ever to talk to me my fault?

At about the same time I started getting emails from another group of guys I call the Disappearing Acts. I think we’ve all encountered these guys. They come on strong in a very, very short period of time online, telling you all the hot and nasty things they want to do with you and promising all kinds of forbidden pleasures. Or they’ll meet you in a bar, and monopolize you quite pleasantly in a hot and sexy way for the night. Or you might even hook up with them and, at the end of a good sex session, they’ll tell you all the hot things they really want to do with you, next time.

Then, just as you’re hooked, they vanish. You don’t hear from them, they don’t return your calls, they don’t show up online. Just as you’ve either decided they’re dead or forgotten about them entirely, months or even years later, they’ll show up and expect you to be just as hot for them again as you were that one afternoon in July of 2005.

It’s a little crazy-making, because usually these guys talk a really good and convincing game—but as far as follow-through, they might as well be like the Looky-Loos. I had two of my Disappearing Acts contact me at the end of last week, both surprised to see that I had a new location listed in my profile, and both contacting me with outraged emails of, Wha’ happen?

I advertised in my profiles for two months before I left that I was moving out of Michigan, I told them both. One of them protested he’d been busy for two months. You’ve been busy for two years, I pointed out to him, after a quick review of our emails. That’s the last time I heard from you.

He wrote back that he’d been in rehab for several months, and that he’d sold his house, and moved to a different city, and then moved back, and then broke up with his boyfriend, then got back together, and now they were both living with his boyfriend’s mom and he was finally ready to get together and do all those great things we’d talked about, only I’d had the effrontery to up and leave.

There’s not really much to say to that, is there?

I think the lesson to be learned here is that we never really know how much time we have left to accomplish what we want. We don’t know what’s going to happen to that hot guy we’ve had our eye on, or that pretty boy in the apartment below ours, or that sexy bartender with whom we’ve always longed just to exchange a few words. You don’t know when that guy you’ve wanted online is going to move. If you really want someone, whether for sex or for conversation or something more, nothing’s going to happen unless you act. And act today.

I can get as tongue-tied over beauty as the next guy. There are men I see who make my jaw drop and cause every insecurity to come roaring into life like tornado sirens during a severe weather situation. There are men I see whom I know, just know, that if I approach them, they’ll cut me with a word and a look.

But you know, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes that beautiful guy who makes me feel like a gawky thirteen-year-old with braces turns out to be friendly, and we’ve had a good talk and become friendly acquaintances. Sometimes they’ve turned out to be just as horny for what I have to offer as I am for what they can give me, and we’ve fucked. You won’t know unless you say something—and even if the guy cuts you down (or more likely, gently sends you on your way, because only assholes behave badly in those situations), what’ve you lost, really? Not dignity. Going after what you want never makes you lose that. Not pride, or anything important. A simple no is not going to end your life.

And I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised how many answers of yes you’ll actually get.

Not all of my mail from home was annoying. I did receive from The Decorator a note that read: I miss you more than I thought possible. I’ve never had better sex with anyone, compared to you. I’d seriously pay to fly you back here to spend a few nights with me, if it’s possible.

That, my friends, is the kind of email a man likes to receive.


  1. Traveling and can't get on Blogger from my phone, but this is Ace.

    I totally got the same emails. The "why aren't you in Ohio anymore?!" ones and the vaguely mournful ones. I didn't even bother to respond. Half these guys never responded to me when I sent them an email and the other half had left me hanging. The emails to focus on are the "I'll miss you" ones. Love them.

    And for what its worth, I'll fly you to see me anytime.


  2. Dear Sir:
    I guess my big lesson today here is that "We only have TODAY, HERE AND NOW" and we should make the best out of it.
    Thanks for sharing those experiences with us. You are a great inspieration for everyone here.
    You are worth every minute I spend reading your tweets and blogs.

  3. Ace,

    I responded to all of mine because I didn't want the accusation of 'You never wrote me back!' hanging over my head. But the whole phenomenon is weird.

  4. 9:42 Anonymous,

    Thanks for that. Today, here, and now are important, basic, and simple concepts that, in the rush of life, we tend to forget. I'm writing about them again tomorrow.

  5. You only heard from some of these because you did move away. They're the guys that like to talk about 'it' but never get together to do 'it'.

    They know you moved to far away to now get together so they come out of the wood work to (just) talk about 'it' again, maybe get a wank conversation going.

    The repeat looky-loos to your profiles are either just dreaming over your photos or trying to get up the nerve to respond. Most of those may be thinking that "he'd never be interested in me".

  6. Cyberi4a,

    Thanks for summing up in three sentences what I spent an entire post writing. :-)

  7. I feel kind of bad about not responding to mine. I just went through the whole situation with a couple guys and decided that I didn't want to deal with it anymore.


  8. Hi my friend,
    Love that post cause you made me think of a lot of things about me. Well, i'm the kind of shy person when it comes to talk with somebody, i'm always having a hard time approching men and talk to them. I don't know if i'm to scared of what could happens. I know i you feel cause since i moved to a new city 15 years ago, the phone stop ringing, no message from family, everything stop right there. I'm seeing my family when i go visit my mom and even then, some of them don't want to see me. Well i was always the black sheep of the family so i was always apart from the others. Trying to save some money to go and take some time off in the states for a few days, but living alone is very tough with all the bills to pay.


  9. I guess it's easier to blame you for moving away than to acknowledge that they didn't have the self confidence to do something when they had the opportunity. That they would, in all likelihood, never have that self confidence.

  10. Yves,

    I have a hard time picturing you as any kind of black sheep. You shouldn't be shy, though. You're an attractive man.

  11. Richard,

    Your assessment is right on the money. That's exactly what's happening.

  12. Ah, but the more frequent and obnoxious 'looky-loos' are those who respond to something particularly kinky, fantasy-oriented, or taboo in your profile with this:

    Situation A): Sounds hot man, too bad you're so far away!

    So then in B):
    you reply to them and say, 'Guess what! I'll be in San Fran (only for example, but illustrative urban area) if you'd like to make any of that real. Here are my travel plans.

    But guess what? They say: Wish I could, but I live in Oakland, or in South Bay and don't make it much up to SF.

    Or lastly they say in C):
    Yeah, we could meet in (X number of months in the future--no reason given on lag of time)

    Well, to put it bluntly, uh: fuck this type of online behaviour, I won't even respond to them and delete their comments. Let's say you have a small online community interested in the same situations you are. Let's say the person they responded to or is traveling is serious about fantasy fulfillment and provides chats, pics etc to prove it.

    A) This one you see on just about every profile on BreedingZone and instantly makes me think the person is fake. I can engage with you about my truest fantasies only if X number of miles between us makes me think you'll never be able to take me up on my offer.

    B) The one guy is traveling all the way to your city for your shared kink? Travel from Sacramento, Oakland or South Bay or you too are fake. Really how many times could said perfect situation come into your life?

    C) So you gave me all sorts of sordid details to make hard-to-fulfill fantasy true and somehow your only available date is 3 months in the future when you think my wang will be cooled off and I want challenge you to be real?

    Online can be about fantasy, and I'm fine with that---but it should have its own html sign like /sarc because they all make me want to /wrists at their social ineptitude.

  13. Oh my, long comment---you touched on a nerve and quite a favorite conversation topic I have about the general self-fulfilling futility of online personal communities these days.

  14. Rob my friend,
    Just to say thank you for the kind words. I never found attractive cause growing up, all the kids at school were always picking on me , bullying me and calling me name like,"little monster" go hide moron, stupid etc... so when somebody tell me that i look good, i didn't believe them but you already told me that often so i'm starting to believe that i am and people on cam4 told me that to but in there sometimes it is to make you feel good. Thank you again for lifting my spirits very high sexy.


  15. Disappearing Acts-- ugh, I had my heart broken and smashed to teeny tiny little pieces by one. He was would say just the right things to string me along through the disappearing act. It was a hot leather thing, he called me his boy, said I was so good for him, wanted to do so many things with me. In and out in and out. Ugh.

  16. Carpe Diem, or should that be Carpe Homine? Whatever! Either type, Looky-loo's or Disappearing Acts, miss that point and don't have the self-perception or common sense to realize the failing may be their own (as relates to you, definitely their failing!).

    And the email from The Decorator - priceless. It exemplifies what a positive connection you two had/have. I'd like to think you have seen each other again, but that's a knee-jerk, Disney reaction.