Remember when I used to answer reader questions on a regular basis? Yeah, me too. Good times.
Of course, sometimes it seemed like the majority of the questions were How do you keep your sexual acts secret from your wife? or How do you keep from bringing diseases home? or Why are you not dead yet?
If you have a question that’s not one of those, feel free to email me at the address on the sidebar, or send me a message on Twitter—I’ll consider using it in future editions of this feature.
One of the things I’ve admired about you since I’ve been reading you for a couple of years now is that you seem to have great success in finding good sex. I’m like you in that I’m kind of confident about myself, but when I go to meet guys, I’m always striking out. Either they’re no-shows or they flake out, or the connection isn’t there, or sometimes the sex just isn’t all that, if you know what I mean. To what do you attribute your success?—M
M, quite honestly, I usually only write about my better times. The shitty hookups don’t make the cut.
When I meet a guy who says he wants to give me an expert blowjob, but all he really wants to do is grab my dick in a vise-like grip and choke it purple while he moves his lips in the vague vicinity of my genitals and occasionally lets his tongue flick out, until my dick is chafed and sore and I finally have to force him to lay off . . . it’s probably not going to make the pages of my blog. When I make an app connection with a guy who tells me to come right over, and I do, and then I have to sit in my car for 45 minutes because he’s ‘not ready yet,’ and when I finally get into his dingy, dirty little apartment and the sex is mediocre at best and generally makes me feel as if I’ve wasted an afternoon I could’ve been—I don’t know, emptying the cat pans at home—I don’t write about it. I have plenty of sex that would my readers recoil with a muttered Oy!
And hoo boy, do I ever get stood up in spectacular fashion. Last week, in fact, I was flaked on spectacularly. At one of those sex parties I don’t go to anymore, about a year and a half ago, I met a guy. Let’s call him Michael. (Because that’s his name.) We fucked toward the end of the evening, after the more aggressive bottoms at the party had clawed at each other to get their hole on my dick. Most of the men had gone home, and I still had a little life in me; Michael and I found ourselves in our host’s bed, alone, while the few remaining guests chatted quietly in the next room.
We made love. It wasn’t mere sex party sport fucking. It was sweet, and tender, and intimate. He told me that he didn’t think he was going to have the privilege of getting my cock inside him that night, much less a load; as a more shy type, he’d hung back and watched rather than made his desires for me known. He was kind, and honest, and made a good impression. I actually spent more time with him than any other single person at the party that night.
We’d kept in touch since then, but he lived in Jersey. Finding a time to play just proved difficult. Michael liked to tell me that the sex we’d had at the party that evening had been transformative for him; I gave him confidence that carried over to later parties. I fucked him like nobody before ever had. (Well, naturally.) He would tell me he wanted my touch, my kisses, my dick, and he wanted them badly.
Then last week he told me he’d be staying the week a little closer to me—still a good hour’s drive, but closer. Did I want to meet? The ball’s in your court, he texted.
The ball’s in your court. I hate that phrase. When guys use it, it’s to signify that they want nothing more to do with the logistics of hooking up. It’s up to the other guy to make everything happen. To me it’s a passive-aggressive turnoff. The ball is never solely in anyone’s court. Hooking up, making a date—it’s a dialogue. It needs two people to happen. The ball’s in your court is a guy saying, Hey, you get to go to all the trouble to come up with a date and place and plan for our meeting, while I’ll do jack shit to help you out. But oh, wait, I get to hold absolute veto power over any details you come up with that I might not like.
Fuck that shit.
But my memory of the good evening I’d had with Michael outweighed the amount that phrase repulsed me, so I texted him back. Are you free tomorrow, Thursday? I asked.
For you, yes, he replied. Anytime Thursday except around 2 when my cleaning lady is here.
All right then. How about in the early evening?
That would be great! he answered.
What time, exactly? I wanted to know.
His messages had been coming fast and furious up until this point. I had to wait a couple of minutes for his last reply. I’ll have to let you know, he finally said.
M, I’m telling you right now, when I got that message, I knew, I knew, that I would not be hearing back from him. Every instinct honed by forty years of sex with men told me that I was never going to get that reply telling me what time I could come over.
The realization enraged me, right then and there. Here I was, accepting his passive-aggressive ball’s in your court bullshit challenge. I was telling him I was willing to carve a considerable chunk of time out of my day to drive an hour to his place so we could engage in good sex for a few hours, and then drive an hour home. Here I was, trying to make a date in good confidence. And I knew, I just knew, that I was going to get nothing but bullshit from him.
I tried to calm myself down. I let the memory of a single good night attempt to soothe me. Maybe he’d come through.
Still, I knew he wouldn’t.
I woke up Thursday to no messages on my phone. Every hour that passed, I dug in with the grim satisfaction of knowing my instincts had been correct. I didn’t cave and text Michael. Ball’s in your court now, motherfucker. I went to lunch, took in a movie afterward. Finally, around four, I sent Michael a text. You never got back to me, and my window of making this evening happen has closed. I guess it won’t be happening.
Immediately he texted back. He’d totally forgotten to get back to me! He was supposed to have dinner with a friend! Maybe we could do it another time!
Into my phone I tapped, I’m so sorry I misunderstood when you said ‘That would be great!’ that it meant you already had plans. I thought about sending it. But in the end I just deleted the snap-back, letter by letter. Michael had already heard the last from me.
I spent the rest of the day feeling as miserable about being stood up as I’d been miserable earlier about the certainty of it. But in the end, I came to a certain realization: my time is valuable. My attention is a gift. When a guy proves himself unworthy of a valuable gift—that’s it. No more chances.
M, if guys are standing you up or treating you badly, don’t fret too much. They’re doing the same to me, and to all the other men reading this blog. Tell yourself the same thing I did this week, though: don’t give them a second chance unless they really go out of their way to earn it. Your time is valuable. Your attention and presence is a gift. Give them to the men, and only to the men, who deserve them. Be patient, and be persistent. They’re out there.
What’s your personal policy on the photos you show on apps like Scruff or Grindr or on websites? I don’t think mine are doing the job they should be doing even though I’m not a troll or anything, any suggestions?
When you’re attempting to construct a profile, I suggest you play to your strengths.
I try to be as transparent as possible on cruising apps and sex sites. I have a face pic, front and center. I’ve got good teeth thanks to several thousand of my parents’ dollars in orthodontic work, so I pick photos with big smiles. They make me look friendly and approachable. I’m comfortable with the way I look, and face photos work for me, so on Grindr or Scruff, you’ll find me looking relaxed and happy and, you know . . . foxy as all get out.
I see a lot of scowling guys on these apps, though. There are some men for whom the glowering, broody look can work—but honestly, most of those guys are wearing chaps, a vest, and the same cap as the biker in the Village People. If looking like you’re about to punch someone is what gets you attention from guys (and not the FBI), though, go for it. I’m not really a fan of headless torso photos, but if you think your body is slammin' and you’re proud of it, then by all means, post that headless torso photo. Whatever you do, pick the photos that show off your best assets.
When it comes to cruising sites, where the photo restrictions are less conservative, I have a personal tendency to put everything on the line. I’ll show face, cock, face and cock, fuck shots if they’re allowed . . . and I keep them all unlocked. I’m not fond of messages from strangers consisting solely of the word UNLOCK???, so I keep them all public. No shame here.
I wouldn’t fault you, though, if you don’t feel the same. If you’re comfortable showing your dick and ass in a shot anyone can see, but you want your mug locked away . . . great. If you don’t mind guys seeing your face, but want to keep the goods hidden as a surprise for that special fellow . . . fine with me. I do advise you have at least one face shot to share, though. Many men, myself included, won’t meet without seeing someone’s face.
If you think you’ve done a good job with your photos, and the profile is still not working for you, make sure your profile and your photos are working together in a harmonious fashion. If you’re advertising yourself as a big ol’ toppy top man—I see this one all the time and it baffles me—make sure your profile isn’t a succession of extreme closeups of your pucker accompanied by shots of you bending over ready for any dick, any species. (Guys, why do so many of you do this?) If you’re saying you’re a bottom whore and you’re posting pics of your big dick that seem to invite someone to have a seat, you’re just going to confuse your potential audience . . . and probably get a lot of emails from other bottoms asking you to flip. If you claim you’re nine inches and your photo is either of a stubby dick or is at such a bad angle that your penis looks stunted, guys are going to roll their eyes and think you’re a big liar.
In other words, think of your profile on an app or website as a story about yourself and what you want. Is the story you’re telling one that will attract the men you want? Is the story showing you to your best advantage and displaying what’s most attractive about you? Do your photos illustrate that story appropriately?
Ask a friend, if you’re worried your pics aren’t doing the job. Heck, ask me. I’m willing to rifle through your X-rated noods to see which one is best.
You’ve said in the past that when a man gives you a compliment during an encounter, you should accept it gracefully. I try, I really do, but I don’t think I’m worthy of the compliments guys sometimes give me. What should I do?
You know what’s more painful and annoying, when I tell a man he’s handsome, or that he’s sexy as all get out, or that he has a beautiful body, and the man deflects the compliment or flat out says No I’m not or otherwise naysays the good vibes I’m trying to send his way? Well, an unmedicated root canal. But that’s about the only thing.
Listen. If a guy is chatting you up on Grindr and says how attractive you are, and you’re convinced that he’s only saying it to get in your pants, and he’s just seen that one shot of you that your bestie took when you were relaxed, and that shot looks better than you usually do in your everyday life, and you’re certain that if the guy saw you sitting there at home wearing sweats and yesterday’s underwear he’d probably run for his life . . . fine. Feel that way. Think what you like, privately. But still say thank you! and swallow your doubts and don’t share them with the poor fellow. He was probably being sincere, and any display of doubt on your part is ungrateful and, frankly, annoying.
But if the guy already has you naked, and in his bed, and he’s making love to you, and he’s saying sweet things? Why the fuck are you doubting him? At that point he doesn’t have to charm you. He doesn’t have to connive to make your head spin. He doesn’t have to say a damned thing he doesn’t want. He’s already got you where he wants you. In the heat of the moment, he’s speaking the truths a man speaks when his guard is down, when he’s at his most essential and primal.
To sum up: when a man compliments you, especially during an encounter, the only response you’re obligated to make is to say thank you, and maybe smile. If you can, believe him. At the very least, accept graciously. Suck it up and don’t contradict him.
Taking a compliment is easy to do. Start practicing today, and you’ll find yourself worthy of more.