(Photo: Cincinnati Jamie on the prowl.)
When Cincinnati Jamie pulled up in front of the Hilton one evening in October with a spent Austrian airline pilot in the passenger seat, I tried to be demure. As he got out of the car, I told Herr Pilot, “When I blog about this, I promise only to refer to you as number three.”
I had walked across my downtown Chicago neighborhood to meet Jamie for a ride up to Lincoln Square to satiate a mutual Queen City chili fix. I knew well it wasn’t the only satiating going on that day.
“My word, can you at least try to be a bit more taciturn next time?” pleaded Jamie as we pulled away down Wacker. “He didn’t know there was already a number one and two.”
“Weren’t the wet sheets a tip-off?”
“Look, Michael, let me have this. I’m a big guy; it’s not as easy for me as it is for you thin boys. And after all, it’s the only regular aerobic activity that I get…you want to try for number four?”
My late-afternoon lead-up to our chili run was no less lustful. An hour before, online acquaintance Vanity Vince recounted in great detail his similar attempt to conquer Chicago’s gay dating scene in a single day.
“They’re all lined up right now: one, two, three, four,” he said with some glee. “All over the city. Some are dinner, others are coffee. I’m giving myself an hour to run between each one.”
“What if you hit it off with one of them?” I asked.
“They can have an extra half-an-hour and then I’ll just tell the taxi to step on it.”
“Where are you starting?”
“Lakeview, then Lincoln Square, then Lincoln Park, then Uptown.”
“Why didn’t you schedule all your lakefront dates back to back?”
“Three dates in a row practically in the same neighborhood? Don’t you think that’s a little gauche?”
I’ve often wondered whether my own love life would go more smoothly if I had that speed-dating gene seemingly so common in the gay community. Line ’em all up, check their teeth, pat their rump, and trot them around for a trial run, one by one. Like race horses, only with condoms and better shoes.
I’m just not wired that way. I’m the kind of guy who finds it sexier to learn what’s in a guy’s head and heart before I find out what’s in his boxer-brief Calvins. I blame my mother, she always told me being a good boy was a virtue. Unfortunately, sex on the first date is what sells in the homosphere. And by date, I mean booty call.
Not that I’m above a good romp in the designer Egyptian cotton sheets. A listen to my first (and so far, last) podcast will learn you the details about my first (and so far, second) post-heartbreak summer of love. And by summer of love, I mean summer of booty calls.
But as any lovelorn queer will tell you, booty calls don’t tend to be followed up by follow-up calls. Experience shows if you’re looking for Mr. Right in the gay community, you’re not going to get far if you keep turning him into Mr. Right Now.
It’s not just Jamie and Vince. Most of my gay male friends seem to think mutual masturbation and simultaneous climax are the hallmarks of a good first date.
I think it’s a guy thing more than anything else. Straight or gay, let’s face it, in the timeless words of RuPaul: mens are dogs. The gay community even has a joke about it:
What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul.
What does a gay man bring on a second date? What’s a second date?
Actually, downtown friend Robert to Trot does seem to have a few of those. Probably the randiest gay man I’ve ever met, I’ve often wondered how he manages it.
“Oh, honey, I don’t expect to find a husband anymore anyway,” he confided during a recent visit to his downtown digs. “I’ve just shifted my definition of date a little further south, if you get my drift. Here let me show you…”
As Robert walked toward his bathroom, my inner pencil immediately traced an escape route to his front door.
He reached under his vanity and pulled out a box of scary. “This is my freezer bag of Nair–in three scents mind you, and this is my freezer bag of Rid, you know, in case of emergency.”
“You’re kidding.” I doubt enough air came up my windpipe for him to hear my reply.
“And this is my Cipro. There’s three guys before Monday, so I half-expect I may catch something bacterial and I just want to be prepared.”
Mom also always told me to think before I speak. That day at Robert’s, I finally took her advice. I paused and considered an appropriate response.
“Dude, I’m never using anything made out of cloth in your apartment again.”
No, the gay speed-dating life definitely isn’t for me. So I keep plugging away, online and off, trying to be flexible in my own personal husband-hunting criteria. But not overly permissive. Dogs? Kids? Expunged records? Bring ’em on. You’re 40, you live at home, and you’re still in the closet? Next!
I wish I was joking about that last one. He honestly couldn’t understand why I didn’t think he was a catch. It’s almost enough to make me consider dating women.
As if I’d share a closet.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.