Don’t hold it against me, but we met on Tinder. Of course we did. Because I’m a young adult, and this is, apparently, what we do now. Anyway, it started strangely from the very beginning. He was the first guy to message me “Hey,” without it being followed by a sexual innuendo. But even then, these sorts of conversations always seemed to fizzle out for me, as the other guy could never hold up his end of the dialogue. However, this particular exchange managed to get by those first awkward, “Glad to meet you, how you been?” moments, and it kept me intrigued.
We talked. A lot. But not consecutively. We played the “Wait a bit to respond, to not sound eager or desperate” game for a while. Eventually, things took a turn and we began talking…well…about everything. We liked the same music, he wanted to be a writer like me, he liked the same things, and he didn’t take himself too seriously. One day we swapped numbers. And we talked and talked and talked some more. And then one day, nothing. It seemed odd to me that someone I had been talking to everyday for a month flipped to radio silence. I thought maybe I was just being too paranoid, too crazy. And it wasn’t until that moment of quiet, that I realized I really liked this guy. Because I actually panicked whether he was gone forever. A guy, who in my mind was perfect for myself. My head took me to really eccentric places, and an intense anxiety I had never experienced waved and overwhelmed me, and quickly too.
I missed someone I had never even met beyond the boundaries of my LCD screen. I felt like I had been dumped via text message, but the difference, here, was our whole world revolved around one long message thread in the first place. But just as soon as he was gone, he was back. I received a text a week and a half later. Apologizing. Because he would. Because I thought he was great. And because I figured I was just going nuts.
From that moment on, things continued as they had for a month prior. But now I had an aching feeling that followed my confused conscious. I feared that we would never meet. Never date. That we would just talk forever in this empty cyber world. I must admit there are further circumstances, which complicate our situation; which have always been present. Though, those issues never bothered myself before because we were always just “talking,” and never “talking” about the next phase or the right thing. But now he was whom I wanted.
Aside from the substantial distance between us (about forty miles), there is the fact that I am still closeted to all of my family, even some of my friends. He doesn’t know this. But regardless, how do you arrange to spend an evening with someone no one else even knows about. Let alone make the commitment to drive an hour on the chance that things will just be…awkward in person. I was suddenly left wondering where this all was going. What would happen next? Did he even want to meet? Sadly, this happens all too often in the gay world. Closeted men coward to the Internet to meet guys. Sometimes for sex, sometimes just to learn how to talk to other gay people. But what happens when you find a legitimate connection with someone? Do you just give up on it because you still aren’t ready to take the next step? Do you suck up the anxiety and the butterflies because you are unsure of yourself? I seem to be in that limbo of uncertainty.
Call me insane, call me clingy, call me Taylor Swift. But that does not negate my very strange, very chilling, very tingly feelings for this guy who I’ve never even had a physical interaction with on any level. And all this is keeping me from pursuing any other sort of romance in my life. Because I like him. And he makes me happy. And unfortunately, it is just a phenomenon I, and I’m sure many others, will have to continue playing out until it reaches the point of heartbreak or satisfaction. That’s the Internet age for ya.