Saturday, August 3, 2013

Seeking Gay Date (Just Don't Tell My Senator)

January 2009, Washington, D.C.

Being new to DC (having moved to Dupont from the rural Rockies), and excited to experience what it might be like to live in a "gayborhood" of sorts, I am a bit surprised by how many gay guys in this town seem ashamed, afraid and so deeply closeted. Not that I can't relate; I spent much of my life in various stages of denial, suppression and hiding. Perhaps us "came-out-late-in-life" sort of guys can be as equally sanctimonious and irritating as ex-smokers and born-agains. On the other hand, the times they are a changing, and homosexuality is hardly shocking and unacceptable to most people nowadays. Much of the internalized homophobia I've seen here seems related to the very nature of our Capital City, where many people appear overly-obsessed and concerned with image and connection to power—hence, have fears and insecurities (real and perceived) about getting shoved off the hetero-dominated achievement ladder. Here's a recent example:

I got lucky, and received two tickets to Obama's inaugural address from one of my Senators, Jon Tester of Montana (they were distributed equitably to constituents who requested them). I attempted to turn my good fortune into more luck, and placed the following ad in the "Men Seeking Men" section of Craigslist:

Looking for Date to Inauguration (I have two tickets)

My senator confirmed today that I will be receiving two tickets to Obama's inauguration. I would love to find a date for this historic event. I am fit, active, energetic, smart, passionate, fun, down-to-earth, funny and an all-round good guy. My interests are many and diverse, and include: hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, snowboarding, reading, writing, cooking, dining out, watching movies, dancing, exploring the city and good conversation. I tend to like younger, or at least youthful, intelligent, energetic, interesting, skinny/lean guys who look at the world differently, and are totally out and single. I would want to meet a few times, to see if we hit it off, before the inauguration. I'm not so bad in bed if it comes to that! Send pics and stats if interested.

I included a few pictures, one a simple mug shot and the other one of me in boarder shorts with my chocolate lab along the Blackfoot River in Montana—no more revealing, say, then photos of Obama's recent shirtless jaunt along an Hawaiian beach (though I am not as hot as our president-elect.) I was flooded with responses—most from the usual assortment of  "I want to fuck your hole," "rim your ass," "tie you up" whack-jobs that were immediately deleted. But a handful were from seemingly smart, interesting, good-looking guys. Unfortunately, most of them said they were closeted, or married, or in "committed" relationships with boyfriends who would be out of town, and required total "discretion" and "secrecy." Several wanted assurances I didn't "act" or "look" gay so nobody would know they were on a gay date. (If a guy is "straight-acting," wouldn't he be on the "Men Seeking Women" thread?) And so I (sometimes reluctantly) deleted them too. But perhaps the strangest, most irritating response came from an anonymous guy who wrote:

"man, you better pull this ad before it ends up in the press. you might get more coverage than you think or than you want -- including for your senator/senator's staffer who got the tix for you....that will burn that relationship."

I wrote him back, curious as to what he thought seemed so newsworthy, scandalous or remotely, potentially embarrassing to a senator in regards to my ad? What would the headlines read? "Gay Man Trying to Find Date to Inauguration!" I envisioned myself in a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl leaning forward, a somber look on her face, asking, "So, Mr. Stalling, you planned to take a man to the inaugural address, and potentially have sexual relations with him?" I would fidget around a bit, hesitate, and finally reply, "Uh, um, err, ah, yeah, I guess, if I found the right guy." Of course, as silly and improbable as it is, I would welcome the coverage: it would merely widen my search for a date.

And how would Senator Jon Tester reply? Well, considering he has an openly, out gay son (who he loves, accepts and is proud of, as any good dad should) and is a pretty fair and reasonable guy, I would like to think (and quite certain I am right) that he would say something along the lines of, "He received two tickets from my office, who he takes with him is his own business."

Okay, so perhaps the "not so bad in bed" comment could perceived as a tad bit inappropriate, if not narcissistic. But I can provide references. And it seems most every magazine I see on the Newsstand nowadays touts an article or two about how to improve one's sex life. I recently read one that recommended having more and better sex as one of the top ten ways to live a healthier, happier life—seems worthy of a New Year's resolution to me! I hope Sen. Tester and his wife—and Obama and Michelle, for that matter—aren't bad in bed and can mutually satisfy each other. Are we such a puritanical society that we should only read about such things but not talk about it? (I guess that's why I prefer Dr. Ruth over Dr. Laura.)

Of course, Mr. Anonymous likely would not have responded as he did if I was a heterosexual seeking a female date. Yet I assume, since he was searching through and reading ads on the "Man Seeking Man" section, that he is not so straight. So why would he be so judgmental of my ad? I didn't get to find out. His reply to my questions: "Do not email me again, I have put you on my spam filter." So the search goes on.

By the way: Any cute, smart, openly out and single guys looking for a date? I promise it won't embarrass our senators!

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