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.
107 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).
My 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we had sex with the same frequency as other singles, finally proving the stereotypical perception of gay promiscuity is outdated.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:
After a very nice date Wednesday, I was pretty happy. It had been a while since I had a good first date. I spent a lot of time having strings of bad first dates or finding guys to simply have fun with and send on their way. Nothing was fulfilling, but for the first time since PR, I was hopeful.
Thursday nights are always my volleyball nights. It’s the one night of the week I get to fulfill my competitive edge and work out some of the frustrations that have built up over the week. I always look forward to it, and I almost always commence the night at my favorite watering hole, McSwiggans.
Before riding home on the motorcycle from volleyball, I checked Grindr to see if I had any messages. A few started flowing in as soon as I opened the application. Where I play volleyball is a hotbed for Hispanic Grindrs and it seems they flock to me like a moth to the flame.
When I got home, I started chatting with one guy who seemed nice enough. When I told him where I lived, he was confused why I showed up so much closer. I explained to him why I was in his neighborhood. He was disappointed to hear I’d already left the area. “We could have grabbed a drink or something.” I told him it wouldn’t have worked out since I had the motorcycle and was disgusting from playing three games.
I did, however, invite him to come to Hoboken and join my friends and I at the bar. I had already texted a few friends and told them to meet me there. Two of my friends were already in the process of getting ready to meet me.
He entertained the idea for a few minutes before finally accepting my offer and dragging his roommate along for the ride. I was going into this arrangement mainly thinking this would be a friendly drink. I made it clear I had friends with me so he wouldn’t think I was asking him out on a date.
I arrived at the bar at the same time my friends did. We grabbed beers and sat at one of the tables. I informed both my friends a guy and his roommate would be coming by to hang out. My male friend looked very leery, but I told him this was just a friendly drink thing. I think he was worried he was basically going to sit through one of my dates. After some time passed, my Hispanic Grindr friend and I started texting. He arrived and was sitting at the bar. I had walked up and ordered right next to him without noticing him there.
I immediately walked over and said hi to him and his roommate and introduced myself. I called my two friends over to introduce them as well.
It wasn’t long before my male friend’s comfort level dropped, and he decided to meet other friends at another bar. My female friend, P, was hitting it off with the guy I met through Grindr. They are both Colombian and were sharing a few stories. The other guys seemed very nice and decently cool. We started with the small talk and then got into more of a discussion. It was nice, but I wasn’t really attracted to this guy at all. This was purely going to be a friendly drink. We talked for at least another hour, and more than a few rounds later, we decided to head out.
He was a really nice guy, and we all left at the same time. P lived uptown and in the direction they were heading to go home, so they offered to give her a ride home. They were parked in the direction of my apartment, so I agreed to walk them to their car at the least before heading home. As we got closer, the convinced me to hop in and let them drop me off. I finally agreed.
When we got to my apartment, it was slightly awkward because I could tell this guy wanted a moment alone with me. Maybe he wanted a kiss out of the night. I don’t know. I reached up and tapped his shoulder and said, “Thanks for coming down here. It was fun. We should connect again sometime soon.” He smiled and agreed. It was my subtle way of letting him down easy without getting his hopes up for a “date.”
Finally, I was making gay friends without overcomplicating things with hookups or sex. I needed to do more of this. I had one local gay friend, and he was all but married with a serious boyfriend, an apartment, a shared dog and a shared car. This was something I looked forward to, but maybe I needed to find a wingman to help me find the right guy first.
Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!
Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…
I still had to bring myself back down out of the clouds to keep myself in check. This wasn’t going to last forever. I didn’t care. Right now, there was a man in my bed, and he needed to be cuddled.
I rolled over and pulled him close to me. He was still slipping in and out of sleep. As he woke up, we picked up just where we left off the night before. Everything we did was fun. We were constantly ribbing each other and joking around. When we ended laying face to face, I said to him, “I just want to climb up to the roof and shout, I love my best friend, [The Navigator]. Boop!” as I reached my finger out and tapped him on the nose (an homage to Super Bad).
We both laughed for some time. We continued to cuddle all morning. I didn’t care if I stayed in bed all day. I was happy.
We were interrupted by a call from his roommate. I’d already learned he was a really good friend, and he liked to placate his friends. While he was on the phone, I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures of him lying naked in my bed. I don’t think he realized what I was doing because he had his back to me, but I wanted some souvenirs to take home with me.
Turns out, his roommate wanted to go to the grocery store that afternoon. They share groceries, so he regrettably turned to me and told me he had to go with him that afternoon before we went hiking. I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t going to make a stink about it. I quickly hopped in the shower and got ready for the day while he packed up his things and got dressed. As we walked out the door, I pointed out the Marilyn Monroe portrait saying, “My week with Marilyn.”
I drove him home and dropped him off. I was already sad to see him go even though I knew it was a matter of hours before I’d see him again. I grabbed some lunch and made my way back to the pool. I relaxed with some light reading. I needed to finish off the Tickle My Tush book so I could write my review.
When most of the afternoon passed by and some noisy kids arrived at the pool, I texted him to see how he was progressing. He was on his way home, so I decided to go get ready to go hiking and make my way over to his place.
I pick him up, and we take a short drive to the base of the mountain. I grab my camera and we make our way up the trail. When we get to a decent height, he suggests we climb back down part way and hit up another trail that had a much better view. We were having fun just being together. On our way back down, he pointed out a shack along the trail: “I wanted to surprise you, but this is going to be where we live when we get married. :)” While he said this, he took hold of my arm. I knew he was completely kidding, but it was also a sweet gesture.
When we got to the top of the other trail, we had quite a view. We could see LA and Burbank off in the distance. He took my camera from me and took some pictures of me. Again, I thought this was a sweet gesture, as were many things he did. He was just very conscientious. You didn’t have to ask him to do things; he just anticipated it. I was falling for him more and more every minute, but I still maintained my mental state.
I then turned the camera on him and snapped a few pictures. I wanted to remember the great guy I met in LA. I hoped we’d remain friends even after I returned to New York. It would certainly be nice to have a friend on the West Coast. Maybe I could even come back to visit some time.
We climbed back down the mountain and made our way to Burbank. We joked about PDA. We both agreed we weren’t really into it, but at one point he casually reached out his hand and grabbed my junk while looking the other way. I pointed out to him that just because he wasn’t looking at it doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t see it as well. We both laughed and continued to joke about other things. We walked around for a little bit and grabbed some ice cream. He was cold, and I was trying to do my best to keep him warm without making him feel uncomfortable. That’s when he broke the bad news to me.
He’d already prepared me for the possibility he’d have to go to work that night at 1:00am. He was on call, and they hadn’t gotten back to him yet. He needed to go home and nap before that shift started.
My heart sank a little. He wouldn’t be spending the night in my bed again. I needed to be a big boy about it though. I drove him back to his apartment and said goodbye. We talked about seeing each other the following day since it was my last day there; I had a flight out at 10:00pm.
I returned to my hotel room and watched TV in my bed. I knew he was napping, but it was make or break for me to ask him if he would come with me for my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway. After debating for some time, I decided to text him: “Lonely here without you already 😦 haha. What are the chances you’d wanna ride up the PCH with me after work tom?” I really didn’t want to take that ride alone. I loved his company, but I seriously feared a disappointing answer.
The Navigator wouldn’t let me down like that: “LOL. I know. I wish I were cuddling with you!!!!! That sounds like a swell idea.” I was thrilled. I was prepared for the worst, and I got the best. I was looking forward to tomorrow’s road trip so much more now that I had my Navigator! “Marylyn Misses you too,” I added.
Shortly after that text, he requested I send him some pictures of myself. “You’re most handsome ones,” he added. “Whom are you showing me to now?” I asked. Apparently, he wanted to show off his “super long first date” to his roommate and his other friend.
I was pretty crazy about him, but reality wasn’t absent from my brain. It did, however, bring a big smile to my face to know he was showing me off to his friends. It made me feel special and gave me hope I would have a longtime friend from what started as weak Grindr banter…
Once again, today is another double post to make up for lost time. If you are just visiting for the first time today, scroll down to the previous story to keep up with the timeline. Enjoy!
Connecticut Cutie wasn’t the only guy I’d been after for quite some time. There was a man I met on ManHunt I’d been trying to lock down for a date for some time.
The night following my date with C.C., Wed, I got home from work and felt extra motivated by the mild weather. I went for a run, and I had an amazing workout. It’d been a while since I ran, and I ran hard and far. I was feeling good. Mood was good. Body was improving slowly but surely. Things were going well. Following my run, I was texting this guy. He’d sent me a text telling me to call him earlier that day, but I was working and never got a chance.
Interestingly enough, he was just getting home from work, so he started texting back. Then he picked up the phone and called. We chatted for quite a bit. I learned how close he lived to me. I was enjoying our conversation. I learned all about what he does for a living and he learned about my job.
When I told him about my upcoming work trip, he told me about his recent vacation to Paris. I was uber jealous because that is somewhere I’ve always wanted to travel. He went alone and stayed a week. he loved every minute of it. He also started telling me a tip to get better service on the plane. If you buy the flight attendants a box of chocolates, you have a good chance of being upgraded. This wasn’t the first time hearing this.
We were chatting about flight attendants when I mentioned knowing a few. My mind immediately went to the flight attendant who cooked me dinner and whom I shared a great night with. He lived a few blocks away from this guy as well. I mentioned him, but I was drawing a blank on the name. That’s when this guy blurted it out. “You know him?” I asked.
“Well, I know his husband,” he responded.
His what!!!?? He has a husband. “Well, not husband husband,” he added before I could say anything. “How do you know him?” he asked. I told him we were acquaintances. There was an awkward pause. I could tell he was a bit suspicious. I tried to change the subject immediately, but he continued on about him. “He just had lipo actually. He went to Brazil to his family friend to get it done,” he added. I knew he had the friend and was getting Botox from him, but had no idea he’d go as far as getting lipo. Someone had more money than they knew what to do with. He did come from a very wealthy upbringing after all.
I was still in shock. I just got my confirmation I was the “other man” that night. It all made complete sense with all the sneaking around, the guest room, etc. I wasn’t oblivious to what was going on, but it was still shocking nonetheless to get a confirmation.
Finally, we changed the subject. We started talking about his dog. He loves his dog very much and dotes on him a lot. It’s very cute. I like a man who can show a lot of love. It’s a very admirable quality I seek out.
I really liked this guy. He seemed very mature, level-headed, sweet, relaxed, etc. What’s not to like? We agreed to try to grab lunch that Saturday, and we hung up the phone.
I no sooner put the phone down before I was all over Facebook scouring the pilot’s page to see if he indeed was married. I immediately noticed a ring on his hand (however, I’m oblivious and had to google which hand a wedding ring goes on — It was on the wrong hand). I noticed it in more pix. I saw all his pictures on cruises with both sets of parents. Even if they weren’t married, things were serious. I felt so dirty. I liked him so much. I thought he was such a sweet guy. This completely changed my perception of him. Now, I just thought he was a creep. It would have been one thing if he just wanted me to come over for sex. It was a whole other thing that he romanced me so much beforehand. I realized I had sex with a married man, for all intents and purposes.
I felt guilty, but I couldn’t take the blame. I had no idea what was going on. I decided to put it from my mind and not think about it anymore. It was in the past, and there was nothing I could do to change it.
Christmas day had passed. My time home was coming to an end. I was happy to be home, but I was also anxious to get back to normal life.
The morning after Christmas, my father and I decided to do a little shopping to see if we could land any special deals to kill time. I would also finally be in cell phone service, so I could text Smiles and wish him a safe flight. When I got into service, I got an influx of text and picture messages. He’d sent me quite a few, keeping me updated on what he was up to. I really was missing him and quite anxious to get back to see him. I proposed we do dinner at my apartment since he had to postpone it before the holidays. He texted back in agreement. I was finally going to get to make us the standing rib roast. I told him I missed him, and he responded, “I miss you too! 🙂 “ I could have melted into a puddle right there. This was so unlike him to express his emotions like this, but I was eating it up!
The day after Christmas is always spent with my father’s side of the family. We all gather together for a nice potluck meal that rotates from house to house year to year. This side of the family has also shrunk significantly. My grandparents have been gone since I was quite young. My father’s brother is in rough shape these days from his battles with diabetes. His sister died a few years ago and her husband is in a nursing home. I rarely see their daughter, my cousin since she moved away and got married. That left one sister whose husband also passed away a few years ago. But as that generation was shrinking, another was growing in leaps in bounds. The living sister has 5 children, all of which are married and have become baby making machines. They now outnumber the four of us five to one.
The gathering is always a lively one with many children running about. Christmas is one of the two times I spend with this side of the family each year (the other being an annual family reunion). We also have an annual tradition of a “Yankee gift swap” or “white elephant sale” depending where you come from. The tradition has lost a lot of its allure as my cousins have adopted a new tradition of buying crap at Wal-Mart and Big Lots the day after Christmas for half price.
My sister and I had to work the Tuesday after Christmas, so around 5:00 we hopped in the car and made our way back to Hoboken. When I got back to my apartment and unloaded all my presents from home, I picked up the phone and called Smiles. Sadly, it went straight to voicemail. I was hoping to relax after a long car ride with some time talking to him, but alas, that wouldn’t be the case.
My roommate arrived home, and we swapped all our holiday stories. We plopped down on the couch and started to catch up on the programs we saved on the DVR. After some time, Smiles called. I think if you were in New Jersey when the phone rang, you may have seen a beacon of light in the sky that was my smile.
He told me about his trip home and the ordeal he went through. When he got back to the city, he’d gone out with one of his female friends for dinner. He devised a new plan to work out of her apartment going forward so he would be more productive than he was working out of his apartment. He felt if he had a place to go to every day that wasn’t in line of sight of his bed, he would get more done. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Even though they wouldn’t be coworkers, they could keep each other on task. Either that, or it would be a complete disaster, and they would be a constant distraction for each other.
I told him about my time home, my family and how the gift swap has become a sham. He laughed and told me about the rest of his time home with the family.
It wasn’t a long phone conversation, as our phone calls never are, but it certainly satisfied my hunger for Smiles. It would satiate me until I got to see him the following night when he came over for dinner.