Thursday, March 10, 2011

Five Degrees: Crush/Lust

This post continues the week of StevieB's Five Degree themes.

When I was slowly creeping my way out of the closet in the early '90s, the Internet was still only an embryo of what it is today. I found it fun and interesting, and I knew that someday it was going to be more than a just a hobby to me. I'm sure there were some geeks back then installing winsock and using it for sex, and I'm sure a subset of them were attractive. But for me at that time, all the boys were on AOL and private bulletin board systems.

What the...? Did I dial the right BBS?
How to explain BBSs to the kids? Let's see... Before the Internet... I give up, google it.

For anyone who as a kid ever tried publicly buying gay porn in a book store, the promise of being able to download it at home was compelling enough to drop $400 on a 1200 baud modem. Today when it's common to download entire movies on a whim, it's funny to think how it used to take minutes just to download a single photo. I remember seeing that first naked stud slowly depixelating on my Mac LC and coming before I got to his navel.

If there were any gay bars where I lived at the time, I would have been too chicken to venture anyway. So when I was finally ready to actually hook up with a guy, I started with AOL. My first crush was a nice young dentist over a hundred and fifty miles away who was so closeted he made me park down the street. I was shocked when the sex was over and, knowing how far I came to see him, he ushered me to the door. Did I mention his tiny penis?

When I moved to Atlanta in 1993 I found a local gay BBS and the bits started flying.

The pattern that established itself was making contact, exchanging stats (rarely photos), chatting and maybe a phone conversation or two. By the time we made plans to meet I was in love. Or was it just lust? On one of my first rendezvous I came in my pants in the parking lot between my car and restaurant. Try explaining that to the guy waiting at the restaurant bar matching your date's description. Then, when he finally shows up, to your date. Ugh.

Then there was the one hot guy I did click with. The sex was incredible and afterward we actually cuddled. "He's so sweet and adorable," I thought. "Oh, and sensitive too!" as a tear came to his eye. Then another. An hour-and-a-half later I had to ask him to leave. I was out of kleenex and my neighbors were asking if everything was okay.

I discovered that even though I'd be so into these guys online, when we finally met in person there wasn't chemistry. Shit, Union Carbide couldn't make enough chemicals. Or else they were so uptight about their sexual identity they could only bring themselves to meet guys on a BBS... ouch. A moment of stinging self-realization.

It hit me that my goal wasn't just sex, but to have a real relationship. I wanted a boyfriend. There was a whole gay world out there but, out of fear and shyness, I was limiting my exposure to a tiny, distorted fraction of it. Time to grow a pair, take a risk and start putting myself out there, face to face. On my second trip to a gay bar, I met Joe. (That would be Joe #1.) And the sparks started flying.


  1. I love this - the humour and the scene setting are perfect. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. When I first came out, I convinced myself that I had fallen in love with the first man I ever dated. Shows you how naive I was way back in the 90s. Of course, he didn't feel the same and told me so at a Pride festival, leaving me there to go off and get a tattoo. I was too new to the whole scene and shouldn't have believed that first one was THE one. I've since had much better luck -- with Yahoo Personals, where I met my partner of the past 6 years.

  3. I can't believe you told a random stranger that you came in your pants.

  4. I didn't say anything, CB! I almost turned around and left but I didn't think it was obvious and prayed no one would notice. (I might elaborate in a future post, if there's interest in the gory details. LOL)

    What was interesting (and typical I discovered) was that the guy looked nothing like I pictured him. It wasn't that he misrepresented himself, I guess my mind filled in the gaps with what it wanted to see. This was still before digital cameras and camera phones were common, (around '94) so unless you had access to a scanner, digital photos weren't usually included in the BBS profiles. And if they were included and they looked good, you had to be suspicious. These days you might ask, "when was this pic taken?" Back then it was, "is this really you?"

  5. Wow Greg, you got a tattoo while you were distraught over getting dumped? Sound like the basis of a "crush" story there! Please tell me it wasn't his name. ;)

  6. Okay, I need to learn punctuation. I dislike needles. He went off to get a tattoo. And I hope it was painful.

  7. LOL! Two ways to read that I jumped right to that conclusion. :)

    Is this him? It looks like it still hurts...

  8. He wasn't that classy, if I remember correctly.

  9. Great post. I just wrote a somewhat similar post about how we communicate with each other and how that's changed since the early 90s when I graduated from college.

    Interestingly, I moved to ATL in Jan. 1993 but left at the end of 1996. I was still firmly in the closet at that point and never ended up going to Back Street or any of the gay bars I had heard and read about in the local papers like Creative Loafing.