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.