Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An open letter to local online cruisers

Dear gay and/or bisexual men of the tri-state area with online profiles,

I am a visually-oriented person.

Now, I know what you think that means. You’re assuming I’m telling you I need porn to get off. A hot movie playing on the TV, or a magazine with sticky pages sitting on the side of the bed. Maybe some good old-fashioned homemade nasty photos waiting to be flicked through on your iPhone. Yeah, that. Well, no. Not that at all.

What it really means is that my memory is shot. If you want me to keep track of who you are, I kind of need to know what you look like. That’s it.

I know you’ve got a really memorable profile name fashioned from letters and numbers that may seem random to me—like cbtg432—but make perfect sense to you. Or maybe you’ve chosen a name like nybottom123 to distinguish yourself from the hundred and twenty-two New York bottoms who boldly tread before. You’ve made a lot of effort to keep your profile cryptic, with all your Ask Mes and Not Answereds. I get it. You like that veil of mystery that lures the guys in. You really, really want them to ask you. It’s not just that you overlooked the questions. I understand.

But you know, there’s something about those profiles in which they all start really to run together, somehow. It’s not that after a while all the names start to look like a big ol’ steamin’ bowl of Campbell’s Pornographic Alphabet Soup. It’s not simply that all the Ask Mes begin to mesmerize me into a hypnotic trance. It’s the fact that you’ve left your photos blank—or that you have uploaded them, but locked them all and never offer to unlock them—that drives me around the bend.

I'm old. I'm really old. I'm practically senile. I need a little help here, and you're not giving it to me.

Case in point: the guy with the minimal profile who, by way of seductive technique, unlocks his photos for him in lieu of saying hello. It might be true that I viewed your photos and said, Hey, thanks for unlocking. You’re a handsome dude. And it might be true that I replied in the affirmative when you suggested we get together some time in the future. But when you immediately relock those photos and email me two weeks later to ask if we are ever going to get together, I’m sorry. I’m not going to remember you by your profile name of ctbottom001. I’m not going to clue in on what words we might’ve exchanged from your minimal profile. If you showed me your photos again—ah, yes. Then I would remember. If you left them displayed all the time, certainly I would. I am a visually-oriented person. I need that photo of your face to associate all your Ask Mes with a real person.

Hell, even that blurry photo of your hip that you flashed me might trigger some kind of recall. Because your sorry profile isn’t doing the trick.

Case number two: Mr. BBRT profile without an unlocked photo or description, thanks for informing me that you and I talked on Manhunt. Helpful! Except it’s not, because apparently your cryptic name on BBRT is different from whatever name you chose on Manhunt. If you’d told me the other site’s profile name, or unlocked your photo so I’d recognize it, or given me some kind of clue as to whom you might be, maybe I’d have more patience and actually reply to your emails after you didn’t seem to pick up on the hint I gave you when I responded, I have no idea what you look like. Why would I meet?

Of course, after I ignore you for a solid three weeks, when you finally unlock your photos and I discover you’re the asshole from Manhunt who stood me up not once, but twice, making me wait over an hour each time before I found out you were going to be a no-show, I can kind of understand why you were reluctant to identify yourself.

So gentlemen. Let’s recap. Want me to remember you? Have some kind of photo in your profile—something visible. Don’t make me ask you to unlock, every time. Even a picture of your fucking kneecap is going to be more memorable than a standard icon of a lock. I’m not going to meet you because of that kneecap alone, but at least instead of thinking Huh? Who dat? I’ll think, Well hey, it’s that weirdo who doesn’t show anything more than a kneecap. Howdy, stranger.

And also, if you stand me up twice, don’t be surprised I’m not all that anxious to give you a shot at doing it a third time.

But that’s ancillary to my point. Which is: I am a visually-oriented person.

Yours truly.


  1. And I thought I might go all day without reading the word "ancillary." What was I thinking?

    Jack :)

  2. Well, aside from feeling obligated to remind you to you aren't as old as you keep saying, and in fact are young and handsome and energetic, I have to agree with you fully on this post.

    I've had the problem of profiles running together to the point where I will mention something to one person only to have them reply "Um, what?" Then I realize that I'm talking to the wrong person. It isn't that I'm bad for forgetting (at least not entirely), some of the blame is on the fact that every profile with just a chest picture looks the same.


  3. You can safely stop blaming it on your age.

    I thought it was age, too, until I changed my main pic to something dramatically different and got fresh, excited, emails from guys, noticeably younger than us, who seemingly had no clue that we'd already gotten together in the past and then ignored each other for the next year-or-two.

  4. Oh honey you need a secretary to keep tract of everything for you and then to sit on your lap and take dick-tation and send your

    I'm sure a lot of guys think once they have heard from you (cyberwise) that you will always know who they are because they think they are the only one who contacts you.

    Advise for people: I know a guy who when he emails (for a possible playmate) he always includes a photo, that way there is always a reference of who the sender is right in the email.

  5. I am just glad that i read that my friend. Do i need to put a photo of me next time that i write a comment, i think you alredy know me a lot my friend. I don't even know how to put my photo in there when i put a comment so. I also want to tell you that you are not old man, if you are then what am i. You are still very young, sexy and hot Rob.


  6. You're becoming a victim of your own success. I agree, you need a PA. While you're at it, add a bodyguard, driver and maybe an agent too :-D

  7. Great advice! I would also add that the single best way to earn a "block" from me is to either 1) start a conversation with me and then demand that I open my pics before you bother to open yours (rude, just rude) or 2) refuse to post pics at all but still feel entitled to demand that I show you at least 5 different face and body shots. Seriously, who ARE these people?

  8. The whole cyber gay thing has made things so much easier than before - and at the same time we tend to complicate it with limited thinking that we are the ONLY person who is communicating with another guy on line.

    My determination of who makes it to the second interview - and ultimately who I'm going to play with is a communicative - more than one line guy - who can even manage to have a conversation on other things than the pressing need to get laid.

    Flakes in this lifestyle and on-line abound in staggering numbers - but the ones who make my grade - are always worth the wait.

  9. I often wonder which site is the flakiest, and which one people would most recommend. That would make for an interesting survey! What would be your vote for the best and worst sites?

  10. LOVE your blog and this post. Best!

  11. Jack,

    Who can get through the day without hearing that?

  12. Ace,

    Yeah, there really are so many chest photos that one can absorb before they all start to look the same. Or dick shots, for that matter. At least faces have variety of expression to help them along.

  13. Kevin Shea,

    You get that, too? All I have to do is change out one photo—not even the main one—and it'll induce amnesia in former tricks.

  14. Cyberi4a,

    Yeah, I think when emailing, especially if you've originally made contact on a website, a photo is handy. Or at least a reference to a screen name. I get far too many cold emails in which I don't know who the guy is, what site he's from, or how long ago we spoke.

  15. Yves,

    It's nice to know I'll always be young to someone, my friend. :-)

  16. Carwestie,

    Are you volunteering? I will give you a notepad and everything!

  17. CXG,

    I get a lot of those guys, too. The entitlement of some people astounds me.

  18. 8:42 Anonymous,

    You make some good and valid points. It's easy to get blinders when you see a cock online (and maybe see the guy it's attached to) and want to get it, right then, right there. It's tough to remember that the guy is human and talking to other people and might not remember that you both spoke earlier. Four weeks ago. Late at night.

    Even more than a face pic, I'm likely to remember a good conversation. Keeping me engaged is likely to get you laid. It's a good thing to remember when you're wooing someone.

  19. Tom,

    I think the answers you get are going to vary pretty widely; I myself find that different services have different success rates in different parts of the country.

    Back in Michigan, for example, Manhunt and BBRT were fantastic for me. I had a relatively low flake quotient, some great hookups, and a lot of good buddies. In my new part of the country, Manhunt gets me great amounts of attention but zero actual connections. BBRT gets me zero attention and zero connections, unless I get into New York City, when it's an efficient and productive service again.

    On the other hand, Adam4Adam, which was pretty sucky back in Michigan, is actually a very good service here.

    Craigslist still sucks. But I've had great success with Craigslist in cities like Dallas and Los Angeles.

    One's geography is so important with these services—perhaps even moreso than the amenities of the service itself.

  20. Campbell’s Pornographic Alphabet Soup- Could you make me a bowl of this :-D