Memoir of a Gay Date


Kyle reaches across the table, gingerly plucks one French fry from my plate and coos “Oh, I really shouldn't eat this; a girl has to watch her figure.” He bats his eyelashes, which I suppose he thinks is adorable and then asks “Am I just horrible?” A mudslide that destroys an entire neighborhood is horrible.  A plane that crashes in a terrific fireball is horrible.  Stealing a single French fry from your date’s plate is not horrible. Unless you are a forty something year old man who calls himself a girl, while attempting to feign an adorable devil-may-care face. Then yes, this is horrible.

“Why don’t you take the rest?” I offer. My appetite has vanished.

“I couldn’t,” he smiles and then glances sideways at me, “Well, maybe just a few.”

In his profile picture he looked blonde, complex and devilishly impish.  On the phone, his personality was a mixture of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Katharine Hepburn.  There was a certain “je-ne-sais-quois” quality about him. 

“I just arranged a birthday brunch for my friend,” he says rolling his eyes at the word brunch, as if to say it has come to this, then continues “I simply cannot stay out all night like I used to. My friends tell me I’m a bitch. I am!”

In person, he is not a mixture of anything, he IS Katharine Hepburn. In short, he is simply not my type. He is Spencer Tracy’s type. I wish that I could just go ahead and tell him this.  But, I am new to the dating scene and have not learned how to be ruthless.

“You know, you should change your profile picture,” he says.  Kyle has learned how to be ruthless.

“Oh, what’s wrong with my picture?” I ask

“Well, there is nothing wrong with it per se. It’s just that you’re not smiling.  You look so serious in it, well like now,” he says.

That is when it strikes me how deceptive the thumbnail profile photographs are.  From a distance many men look really attractive, but when you expand them, you see all of their flaws.  The eyes are too close, or the teeth require work, or there is something just not quite right about the way all of the parts are put together. And then there are the photographs that look too good.  The lighting is soft and reminiscent of a Parisian sunset in autumn, the skin flawless and the features chiseled like Roman Gods.  These men are too beautiful to be in love with anyone other than themselves, or else they have become extremely proficient in Photoshop, in which case they are still in love with the image of themselves.  

I chose a photograph of myself that was truthful, yet flattering.  It was one that my daughter had taken of me.  In it, I am standing in a church parking lot, wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pensive look on my face. In the background, you could see the steeple surrounded by blue skies and billowing clouds. But, the photograph was less about what was behind me and more about what was in front of me. From her angle, my daughter captured someone who appeared solid, tall and ready to move forward.

We finish dinner and Kyle insists on walking me to my car. He pops a breath-mint in his mouth, puts his hand on my waist and offers “Mint?” I am in danger of becoming a human French fry. I do not mask my horror.

“You know Kyle, I just want you to know that I think I'm becoming serious with another guy,” I ruthlessly lie. Time to move forward.

Am I just horrible?


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How to Become a Blogger For The Huffington Post


As a Huffington Post blogger, I get paid in exposure, which is to say I am about one more post away from being over-exposed on the Internet. While exposure does not pay the bills, it does build an audience, and anyone who is familiar with Kim Kardashian's rise to fame will tell you, there is no such thing as bad publicity. I'd like to share my insights on how to become a Huffington Post blogger. No sex tape is needed.

Read the Huffington Post:
 This sounds so basic and simple but many people who have asked me how to become a Huffpo blogger have never done this. You need to understand the style of writing that works on the website and get to know what type of subject garners the most attention. Look for posts that have many comments, shares and likes in your specific area of interest.

Get to know the verticals:
 The Huffington Post is comprised of a multitude of special interest sections called verticals. Each of these verticals publishes content that is targeted to a specific demographic or interest. You'll find these verticals listed under the masthead. Examples include Religion, Gay Voices, Post50, Politics, Comedy and Sports. The list goes on and on. On one occasion I had a blog post published in Gay Voices, Religion, Comedy and Politics all at the same time. This may be more of a statement about our current state of affairs than it is about how The Huffington Post is organized. The key here is that you have a voice that will resonate in a specific vertical. Find it.

Get to know the editor of the vertical:
 Once you find the vertical that you would like to write for (You can write for any vertical, once the first post has been published), find out who the editor is. You can do this several ways. Many times the editor will have a blog post published on the vertical, or you can search for the vertical name and the word "editor" in the search the bar. Or you can click on this link: Editors

Write your post
: Once you have the previous steps complete, craft a post that falls somewhere between 500-700 words. Make it current, crisp and unique. While the Huffington Post employs editors, they do not have much time to perform significant editing on a piece. It should be free of spelling errors and grammatically correct. My first piece published was a post about my father, and it was submitted three days before Father's Day. Tie your piece to current events.

Email a link to the editor
: Remember the step "Get to know the editor?" You are going to submit a link to him/her and not to the general submission box. I'm pretty sure that is just a waste basket. The email address for the editor will not be listed in plain sight. This is where you will need to perform some sleuthing. Maybe it is in a post the editor wrote, or on another site, maybe on Twitter. You have the name; you can find the email address. If you have a personal blog, post your piece there and then email a link of your post to the editor with a quick message, something like:
"I am a big fan of Huffpost vertical name and have been enjoying the articles and posts. The following link is a post I wrote on my personal website that I think might be a good fit for vertical name. Thank you for any consideration. I hope you enjoy reading it."
If you don't have a personal blog, just include the post in plain text in the email. Make sure the first sentence grabs your audience.
Once your post is accepted, be ready with a quick two to three sentence bio and a headshot. When your post is published, make certain that your personal website, blog, Twitter handle, etc. are included at the bottom of the post. The whole reason for publishing here is to build your brand.

You may have noticed that I did not tell you how to write your piece. That is because there is no formula for this. You have a unique and authentic voice that no one else can match. Find a subject matter that you are passionate about. One of my proudest accomplishments was receiving a personal email from a reader of one of my posts. The writer told me I had helped him evolve on a subject matter that is very important to me. Write clearly, concisely and draw a conclusion. This worked for me and has generated a great amount of exposure -- and I never had to take off my shirt.

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