Posts Tagged communication

Match.com: Singles in America

Continuing with this week’s Valentine’s theme, I want to highlight a study I had the privilege of learning about this weekend while attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition.

SinglesinAmericaMatchcom_zps167573c9107 million Americans are single, and match.com is trying to understand them. Under the guidance of Dr. Helen Fisher for the third year in-a-row, match.com has commissioned a national relationship study, Singles in America. After asking 200 questions to a perfect cross-section of the U.S., they learned fascinating new things you may or may not have heard in the news as of late.

I was shocked to learn both men and women judge each other first by their teeth, followed by grammar. It’s refreshing to know that in this day and age, communication is still important. Still, I’m surprised to see teeth topped the list (as well as proud of my pearly whites).

As a gay man who wants to one day get married, it was also refreshing to hear that commitment is back in style — 90% of those open to marriage believe they can stay married to the same person forever.

As Dr. Fisher reported the results, she was most-surprised by the increased emergence of friends with benefits. As a 28-year-old, I didn’t find this particularly surprising, having had my own FWB relationships.

In related results, virginity is no longer a core value in the dating world — If anything, it’s an obstacle. Gone are the days where the first instance of intercourse between couples occurs on the night marital consummation. I think it’s only natural that people want to test-drive the car before they buy it these days, even though women are less likely to admit it.

Sexting was a particularly interesting territory in the digital age. Although most singles believe sexting could jeopardize their careers or privacy, they still partook in this social taboo, proving love conquers all (including reason).

JustMarriedGayMenMy favorite statistic was that gay men fell in love more often than anyone else. We were more romantic, more experienced in “love at first sight” and more likely to be “deeply in love” with a long-term partner. Lastly, we had sex with the same frequency as other singles, finally proving the stereotypical perception of gay promiscuity is outdated.

I’m curious if this is due to wider acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, or if this has evolved naturally. Dr. Fisher made a point about not making a point of discussing homosexual responses as a separate entity because there are very few differences from the heterosexual responses. We’re not all that different after all.

The most shocking results were that women desired independence and men sought commitment. Single men fall in love faster and want to “move in” together sooner, while women still want to hold onto their girls’ night out.

Hear Dr. Helen Fisher’s own interpretation of the facts from Saturday’s event below:

This post was sponsored by the fine folks at match.com. Be sure to check out all the fun, fresh video clips at Singles in America.

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Lazy Saturday

Even though we had no plans, and it was a lazy Saturday, CK and I finally got motivated to make moves. Hip was on his way back to Brooklyn, and I needed to make my way back to my place at some point. I didn’t have anything with me for a Saturday afternoon or Saturday night. I hadn’t been home in a while, and I needed to get my bearings.

We got our act together and finally made our way to Hoboken. We lounged around my apartment for a little while before we were invited to a barbecue at D and K’s. I asked CK if he wanted to hit it up for dinner. Either way, we needed to eat. This would be a cost/time effective way to grab a bite. Of course we took our sweet old time and found time to cuddle and fool around a little. In the end, we wouldn’t have to cook, and I would gather some food from my fridge to take over. I had a few fillet mignons in the freezer, so I grabbed them and we made our way the few blocks.

There was a small crew already gathering. As we entered, we said hello to everyone. I was noticing how welcoming my friends were to CK as well as how integrated CK was in the group. This brought a smile across my face. He wasn’t shy and quiet and huddled in the corner. I didn’t need to hold his hand through every outing. He would strike up his own conversations. He was part of the crew.

We made our way out to the backyard, and everyone helped out in typical fashion. Some people manned the grill, others poured water, others began bringing supplies downstairs, and others over-manned the grill. D always flipped out on the people who insisted on opening the grill lid and flipping things too many times. I learned long ago, when you are at another man’s abode, he is the king of the grill. You do not touch that thing unless you are requested to. I was thrilled to not be manning the grill considering in previous years, all the barbecues were at my apartment since I was the only one with outdoor space.

When the food was ready, we all gathered around the table to eat. We poured cocktails and enjoyed the food. I looked around at all of my closest friends and my man sitting next to me, and all I could do was smile. CK turned to me and said, “What?” I told him, “I’m just so happy!” He smiled back and stroked my knee as we both leaned in for a kiss.

While we ate, everyone began chatting about their plans for the evening. CK and I had a discussion not long ago about having better lines of communication. We weren’t going to put each other on the spot to make public decisions. I was very conscious of this as they all chatted. I told them we hadn’t decided what we were going to do yet so we could talk. “We haven’t even thought about what we want to do tonight yet. We got up late this morning. We may head back into the city, but we don’t know…” I added. I wanted CK to feel this was a pressure-free decision. We would talk about it when we got back to my place. If he wanted to stay in Hoboken, we would stay. If he wanted to do something else, I was game. Obviously, I was leaning toward sticking around Hoboken for a pub night with my friends, but I’m not so sure CK was thrilled with the idea.

In the end, we to stayed in Hoboken. It made sense too, because K invited us to her parent’s lake-house the following morning. Everyone was headed to one of my favorite bars, Cooper’s Union. I was happy to go there since the bartender takes good care of me and my friends. CK had to borrow a teeshirt since he didn’t pack anything to go out for the night, but he looked great and totally fit the part. When we got there, no one was playing shuffleboard, so I suggested we hit that up. CK seemed to be moping a bit. While I’m sure hanging out in a pub with my friends wasn’t his ideal situation, he didn’t offer up an alternative.

As the night went on, CK began to liven up. We made our way to McSwiggans for a few drinks and to dance in “our spot.” Every time a big group of my friends and I head there, we take over the only spacious part of the bar and form our own dance circle. Nobody is bustin’ a move, but we all move around, make fun of each other and have fun while we drink. I never truly felt comfortable there being publicly affectionate with CK. I wasn’t hiding my affections for him, but I certainly wasn’t making them obvious. We were never making out on the dance-floor, but we did dance together and have our arms around each other periodically. I could feel the eyes on me from time to time, but I learned to look past them. CK taught me that. I no longer cared what others thought. I was with the man that made me happiest, and that was nothing to be ashamed of.

When a few of the girls were tired of dancing there, they suggested we head next door to the Shannon. I was adamantly opposed to this. I hadn’t been there in over two years, and for good reason. That place was never anything I enjoyed. We entered, and it was like a porthole to the Jersey Shore. Shockingly, CK was having a blast. I told him of the similarity to the bar and the Jersey Shore, and he added, “If this is what it’s like, let’s go!” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I’d had a blast at The Shore, but I never expected him to want to go. I was blown away, however I was also thrilled to see him having such a good time.

I know we weren’t out with his friends and it took a little more effort on his part to hang out at the bars I liked going to, but none of that went unnoticed. I witnessed the sacrifice and the effort, and it made me love him even more. When we were finally exhausted, we made our way home to my apartment. We were already invited to hit up the lake the following day, so we needed to get to bed at somewhat of a decent hour so we could wake up in time to go.

Both of us were hoping my roommates were away so we could have our own raucous party — In my bed. Sure, we had a hot night in his bed the night before, but we were on a roll. Great sex was inevitable, and that night, it certainly didn’t disappoint!

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Fast Forward

Sunday morning, I woke to find myself sleeping next to a gorgeous man once again. How lucky was I – Two nights in-a-row spent in the arms of Clark Kent.

The night before, CK asked me to promise to get him up and on with his day at an am hour. I agreed. When I woke, I glanced at the clock. It was 9:00am. My alarm wasn’t set for another forty-five minutes. I rolled over and pulled CK into my tight embrace, cradling his entire body with mine. We fit together like intricate puzzle pieces. We became so entangled in each other, we jokingly called it forking. I didn’t fully wake him. He let out a tiny groan of pleasure when I pulled him in tight.

This, of course, wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more. No, not sex – Body contact. I began to remove his briefs, and he willingly aided my attempt. I followed suit and removed my own boxer briefs so our bodies would be pressed against each other skin-to-skin. I enjoyed his touch so much. He felt amazing. I fell asleep in this position until my alarm woke us at 9:45. He asked me what time it was, and I told him. His only response was, “Too early.” He grabbed my arm, rolled to his other side, and pulled my arm around him fully engulfing him.

He was such a sweetheart. We cuddled for quite some time. Periodically we’d switch positions when one of our arms would lose feeling. This was always accompanied with a myriad of kisses.

I hadn’t completely fallen for him. Why was this time different? There was nothing holding me back this time. Nothing, except myself. I was protecting myself. I didn’t bring my baggage with me on this trip, but I did bring my smarts. I knew it was too early to dive in with him. I wanted to build this the right way. If you rush the foundation, the building will collapse in due time. If you take the time to build a strong base, it can last a lifetime. I wanted to take my time. I was in no rush. Sure, I’m 28, but I still had a lot of my life in front of me to love, lose, and find love once again. I was proceeding with cautious optimism.

I think my caution goes back to our early interactions in which he propositioned me to come over for sex. I knew then and there I was dealing with a different kind of animal. Maybe he could be tamed. Maybe not. Only time would tell, but until I knew he could be tamed, I would protect myself.

The cuddling and kissing continued for some time. When my alarm rang again at 10:30, we were both a little more awake. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. He began, as he did many times, orally pleasuring me. He loved worshiping me in that way. I certainly wasn’t about to complain. I also made sure to return the favor. I know I’m pretty good, but it wasn’t as easy for me – He was a definite challenge. He was well endowed, and at times more than I could handle. He would get a little overzealous with his hands and my head, and I would find the need to pause to ensure I didn’t suffocate.

We continued to play in bed until there was a natural pause in the action. I suggested we hit the shower. I attempted to find a way to toss him over my shoulder. I knew I could pick him up, but tossing him like a sack of potatoes was a different story. I failed. I told him I was holding up my end of the bargain to get him moving before noon. He protested and said, “Not yet. Just two more minutes,” and pulled me in to cuddle more.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We started to kiss again. Finally, he said, “Shall we?” I replied, “We shall.” With that, I scooped him up and carried him to the bathroom. We hopped in the shower, and I took the bar of soap and washed his entire body. I used my own body to build up a lather as well until I found myself grinding on his backside and him bending over moaning in pleasure. Things never escalated from there to full penetration, but the didn’t need to. What we were doing was hot enough. He took the opportunity to wash me as well, and while he was crouching, he also took the opportunity to orally pleasure me. We then continued to rinse ourselves off before drying off and getting dressed for the day.

I had small plans for us that morning. I knew he’d be thrilled to take a ride on the bike. It was a gorgeous day outside, and I also knew a money saving breakfast would also be welcomed. I used all my eggs the day before, and the only real option I had left was cereal. I had a Living Social deal to use up at Sonic. What a perfect way to use it. It was a five-minute ride away, and it would be nearly free.

We hopped on the bike and off we went. We ordered our breakfast and sat. While we waited for the food to arrive, he asked if it was alright that he call his mother back. She’d been calling periodically over the weekend. They talked about his apartment search. He also mentioned me by name and told her how amazing I am, especially since I cook. I was shocked. He’d already been talking to his mother about me!? What else did he tell her about me? His mother put his nephew on the phone and they chatted for a minute. It was incredibly adorable. I was so turned on seeing his reaction to talking to his nephew.

When the food arrived, he hung up and ate. We shared our ice creams, feeding each other periodic spoonfuls. While we ate, he shared his tweeted comment on his Foursquare check-in with me: “Meal: cost-effective + tasty, but the company I keep: priceless + delicious.” He got a phone call from his friend who was just released from the hospital. After more than a few times of trying to end the conversation he was finally successful. His whole mood changed. When we finished eating, we stood, and he said, ”So I wanted to fully discuss what it was I said I wanted to chat with you about.” I was under the impression we’d already done that. Now, I was worried.

“I really enjoy spending all this time with you. You’re amazing. I really enjoy being with you. And, if I had to put a label on it, I’d say we’re dating. That being said, I think we should still be able to date other people. And, I should recognize you probably noticed I blocked you on Grindr, and that was by design. It’s a policy I have because if you try to call me, and I don’t pick up. Maybe you see me on Grindr and your mind will start to come up with scenarios.” At this point I acknowledged my awareness of this and told him how I felt about it. He continued, “I’ve done it, I’m sure other do too. And, I also should tell you, there’s a friend I’ve also been seeing since the beginning of the year. We see each other about once a month, go out to dinner, and then, well, we’ve done more than friends things.” I stood there not speaking through this whole thing. I just listened and nodded in my own confusion. “This is only going to work if we have communication and are honest with each other. I just wanted you to know,” he added.

I thanked him for his honesty, and he added, “Once again, please just be patient with me.” I assured him I was in no rush. Again, I had no idea where this was coming from.

He then pointed out how one of his loyal followers liked his comment on Twitter. He explained to me how he was kinda a hero on Twitter. He’d received comments from guys who found the confidence to change their lives based on some of the things he’s said. This was my moment. I told him I had a similar situation, and I had a secret I was waiting until the right time to tell him about it. I explained how I had a blog and received emails of a similar nature. I told him one day I’d share my alter ego with him, but it was like reading my diary, so not just yet. He seemed to be happy about the idea and accepting of my delayed full explanation.

I was still a little taken back by what he said. Part of me appreciated the honesty and part of me was confused by it all. Regardless, we hopped on the motorcycle, and I dropped him off at the PATH to head home. As I said goodbye, I told him to call me later to tell me how the search went. I didn’t think too much about what he said the rest of the day. There would be plenty of time for all that.

That night, as I was climbing into bed, I got a text from CK: “Are you awake?” Seconds after replying, the phone rang. He did call as he promised. I’d begun to think he’d forgotten. He really just called to say goodnight. He’d fallen asleep and napped most of the evening. He was tired and ready for bed as well.  I told him, “Now I will be going to bed with a smile on my face.” He replied, “Aww, baby, that’s sweet! Me too. Sweet dreams!” With that, I laid my head on the pillow with a smile across my face.

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Put Me In Coach

It was obvious things were strained between Smiles and I. For quite some time, our relationship was on the decline. He was distant, closed off, and not very engaged, and I wasn’t happy.

I tried to stick it out with him. I tried being patient and understanding. He was a good guy, and I could see there was a great guy under all this. But, I had reached my limit. I knew I deserved better. It was time to move on.

Wednesday passed without communication from Smiles, so I sent him a text in the middle of the afternoon. “It’s apparent you’re trying to put distance between us. Can you possibly find time to discuss things with me in person? Thanks,” I typed.

He responded ten minutes later with: “I can this weekend. I’m up at 5:30 and in bed at 12:30 and not a lot of time in between. This weekend will be a littler better but not much. I will make something work though.”

Wow! It was all I could do to restrain myself from responding, “Thanks for squeezing me in!”  How could he!? After three months of dating, he couldn’t sacrifice a gym session to take the time to talk to me like a man. What a coward! It was completely disrespectful and painted a clear picture of Smiles’ true feeling for me. I doubt he ever truly cared for me. He simply enjoyed not being lonely.

I’m no one’s lap dog. I was back in the game. In my mind, we were all but broken up. It was inevitable. There was no coming back from this, especially since the relationship wasn’t the strongest to begin with. I’d been through yet another failed relationship with a man who simply wasn’t that into me. My confidence was pretty much shot. What was it about me they couldn’t seem to embrace? I’m not pathetic enough to say what was I doing wrong, but I also knew I may be something to turn these men off.

Regardless, I was back in the game. I needed to put myself back out there. Some people would argue I needed some time to be single and to figure myself out, but I know myself well enough. I didn’t need time to heal from this one. I did need to have some fun. It’d been a long time since I had passionate active sex, and I was hungry for it.

After my last breakup, I went wild over the summer. I hooked up with a lot of guys and expanded my sexual horizons. It was both a good thing and a bad thing. I didn’t want to go back to my old ways. I already learned how unfulfilling it was. There was no need to repeat old mistakes. But I wasn’t going to completely limit myself. I was “single” for all intents and purposes.

I had been talking to a Latino on Grindr for a bit of time. He seemed like a really nice guy, and we had a lot in common. Latinos aren’t really my type, but I’m an equal opportunity dater. N was of Latino background, and we got along well enough in the beginning.

We set a date for Thursday night to grab a drink at a local Hoboken bar, Trinity. He lived in neighboring Jersey City, and I convinced him to drive over since I didn’t have a car — It was a bit cold for the motorcycle.

He arrived before me, and found a spot in the corner of the bar. It was a good spot since we could talk without a large crowd of spectators. I shook his hand and introduced myself. He did the same, and I immediately recognized an accent of some sort. I asked him where he is from.

He told me of his roots in Venezuela and asked about my upbringing. I told him about my time growing up on the farm and how I came to live in the shadow of New York City.

We’d learned about our shared interest in volleyball and talked about that for some time. He was much more of an amateur than myself, but it was nice to find someone who had an interest in it.

We somehow got on the subject of coming out and families. He told me he’d been out of the closet since he was eighteen. He asked when I came out, and I proudly told him I was fresh and new. I told him I’d only come out about a year and a half ago. The expression of shock and disappointment on his face said it all. I knew the date was a failure. We chatted a bit about it, and I could tell he was not thrilled with the idea of my being a “new gay.” I tried to explain to him I wasn’t new. On the timeline, it may seem short, but I did a lot in that short period of time. I grew in leaps and bounds and had relationships of all sorts with varied men. For the first time in my life, I was trying to vaguely paint myself as a recovering whore.

When I think back about this, it was a dumb idea. If it was something that bothered him, I should have accepted that and moved on. I didn’t need to end the date then and there, but I shouldn’t have tried so hard so early to be what he wanted. I should have just been myself. This may be why I get involved with men that aren’t truly interested in me.

Somehow our discussion morphed into the topic of sex with women. He’d never been with a woman, but I have. I was just adding water to the fire with every sentence. We talked about the local gay dating ring, Grindr and the like. It was an interesting conversation, as we the entire date, but I doubted there would be a second.

When we finished that drink, I paid the bill and offered to walk him to his car. When we got there, I went in for a kiss. It was pretty bad. We pretty much crashed into each other with a forceful peck. I’m not sure why I kissed him if I wasn’t all that interested in him. I think it’s because I’ve been out of the game for some time, and I just felt like it was what I was supposed to do.

As I walked home, I checked my phone to find out one of the guys I’d met from Grindr months ago was moving to Hoboken. We’d been in touch sporadically since we originally met. He was just coming off a really rough breakup, and I was just starting things off with Smiles. I met him in hopes of making a new gay friend. I needed those as much as I needed lovers. He’d invited me to go out a few times, but I was never able to due to other plans. Now we’d be neighbors, and hanging out would be much easier. I was just what I needed to come back into my life at that moment.

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