Gambling Man


If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that I might get checked out more than I realize. Because I think that number is somewhere close to zero, I would probably win the bet. Or, at least I hope that I would win the bet. This is why I don’t gamble. Gambling takes a certain amount of confidence. And confidence is what makes average looking people more attractive.

If someone were to stare at me in a bar for instance, I might think that my hair was sticking up in a funny way. After I checked my reflection and was assured that everything was in place, no spinach between my teeth or stains on my shirt, I would look behind me to see if I could figure out who that person was staring at. Then I would do something goofy like forget to close my mouth after taking a sip of my drink. I guess that’s just the way I was raised. Of course I was raised as a closeted gay man in the south. Years of telling yourself
that you are not attracted to other people coupled with an unhealthy dose of self-deprecation can do wonders for your self-confidence.

None of this matters anymore because I have Paul. If you were to ask him how many times I was the object of someone’s attention he would offer an unrealistically high number. “Did you see that guy check you out?” He might say. “Who, that grey haired man with the walker, how can you tell? His eyes are crossed.” I would reply. Then he would say “No, that guy” and point out the twenty two year old jogger with six percent body fat. I guess you could say that we balance each other out.

When I created my online dating profile years ago, it was excruciating. The point is to describe yourself in a way that exudes self-confidence without seeming too boastful. You also want to appear comfortable with your attractiveness. Let me just say that there are a lot of guys out there with some very healthy egos. “Well, what can I say? Both of my parents were models, it’s a burden really, believe me!”

A lot of profiles begin with what could only be described as notations for a custom made suit: Chest 46 inches, waist 32 inches, height 6’ 2”. Except that there are some measurements that really aren't required, unless the pants are going to be extremely well tailored. I mostly breezed past these profiles, pausing just long enough to compare the photos to the text.

You also don’t want to reveal too much about yourself right up front. If the profile was more than four paragraphs, five tops, you could be certain that the emotional baggage was equally heavy. Full disclosure is rarely required or desired.

Posting no photo is the kiss of death. You are either so hideous that no amount of good lighting can compensate or you are married.

The text of  gay men's profiles reads like those legal document templates that you can buy on the Internet: Standard language that can be selected from a list to create a custom profile. “Comfortable in my own skin, Able to laugh at myself, well adjusted”. Often verbs are discarded entirely: “SWGM, D/D Free, Top, LTR optional”

When I finally felt comfortable and published my profile, it was a boost to receive some notice. A lot of that could be attributed to being fresh meat. The dating pool for a gay man is quite a bit smaller than the general population. The dating pool for a recently out, previously married forty something year old gay man with kids is somewhere closer to twenty. Half of these were of the five paragraph profile variety and the first ones to contact me. But still, it was a start: Enough to give me confidence to contact Paul.

For a long time I worried that people would think I was a six who thought he was an eight dating a ten. But eventually my confidence increased. The beauty of being with someone you love and find to be one of the most attractive people you know is that it increases your confidence. If Paul finds me irresistible, maybe that guy at the end of the bar really is checking me out.

The other night we were sitting side by side on the sofa and Paul rolled up magazine. He turned towards me with the magazine held up to his eye like a telescope and said something to the effect of “Hey there sailor”, In a flirty way. I put my eye up to the other end and his response was “Oh this close up of your eye is not a good look, I can see all of your wrinkles, it looks like your eye is 102 years old.” As my eyes narrowed he continued “It looks like a whale eye.” In my mind, I can’t turn the phrase 102 year old whale eye into any type of compliment. But I guess that’s the beauty of being in love. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that there were no other eyes that he would rather look into.

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