He was 3048 feet away from me the entire time we were talking. And it never altered, not even once. Doesn’t he pee? 3048 feet. Maybe I had seen him at one point without knowing. Maybe I had passed him on my run this morning. Well, I told him it was a run. More like slightly-faster-than-usual-pace walking (unless you count jogging at crosswalks as a “run”). What if he knew it was me and knew that I hadn’t been running at all? And what if he called me out on it?
But my imagination runs wild.
I think the first thing that drew me to him was that he was one of the first guys who: a) Did not start a conversation with a picture of his genitalia or by asking me what my “stats” were and b) did not have written in his profile, “I’m ONLY looking for friends…but I’m a bottom, if it matters. LOL!”
Latino. 21. Single. Looking for friends and chat. I’m going in.
One of the first things he said was that he was going to school to be an engineer, and he really liked kids. I told him that we had that in common (the part about kids, not the engineer part – we couldn’t be more different in that respect). He told me that he loved roller coasters, yet another thing we have in common. I told him how I used to be addicted to Roller Coaster Tycoon — though I really just found pleasure in drowning my guests and increasing the speed on certain coasters to make them crash. I reluctantly admitted this to him, to which he responded, “Dude, we were meant to be friends.”
He told me he wasn’t a fan of Taylor Swift — which was disappointing, but not necessarily a deal breaker. He had other redeeming qualities, like the fact that he had done 12 hours of volunteer work that day and he liked Chinese food.
A couple hours into our chat, I noticed that he changed his picture from a picture of him on the beach smiling in his wetsuit, hair slicked back, probably just having gone surfing as he mentioned he was into, to a picture of his not-too-well-defined-but-more-defined-than-mine abs, not showing his face at all. And instead of his name in the headline spot, he changed it to “Curious.” I didn’t inquire about the sudden changes, but soon after, he told me that he had spotted someone on the app that he knew from high school, possibly meaning that he’s not out of the closet yet, or doesn’t know if he even is gay yet and is, in fact, just…curious. Maybe he doesn’t know that he is, but I know. I know because when he asked what kind of stuff I was into, I told him things like hiking, music and keeping up with my TV shows — stuff like that.
When I reciprocated the question, he said “MUSICALS!” Now, being gay, you kind of get to sort through and pick and choose all the aspects of the “gay culture” that interest you, like woman-worshipping, drag, fashion and musicals — that kind of stuff never really interested me. But he accepted me for my love of T. Swift (and for saying YOLO on multiple occasions), so the least I could do was sit through a lousy musical every now and then after our kids went to sleep.
He told me that he loved any and all things Disney related — a kid at heart! He said that he dreamed of being an Imagineer someday. When I saw him use the word “dream,” which I feel so many people associate with childhood and see as something we grow out of, I shared with him a quote that I probably got from my Quote of the Day app, but nonetheless, one that resonated with me: “You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say ‘Why not?’”
On that note, I said goodnight. Since every other night I end up deleting my account due to frustration and disgust (toward myself and toward humanity in general), I gave him my number so we could talk like normal people, and ignore the fact that we met on one of the most sleazy internet dating sites for gays. Immediately, he texts me. We chat for a little longer, it already being 3 A.M. I couldn’t help but think that this would be perfect material for a Taylor Swift song, but I didn’t dare say that to him, knowing his feelings about the matter already.
He told me that if I ever wanted to hang out to let him know. School was starting soon for him; his senior year of college, but he said that depending on the day, he’d probably have some free time. I had never had a good night on Grindr. I’d never felt butterflies from someone I’d met on Grindr — phantom crabs sometimes, but never butterflies. I’d never been happy with Grindr.
After having resisted the urge to talk to him all day, I texted him around 7:30 P.M. the following night — not to hang out, just to see how his day was.
“Who’s this?” he asked.