[Start of bemoaning diatribe.]
Not long ago, in my journal, I wrote:
I’m jealous of gay men who have friends and buddies to do things with on weekends. I wish I had a gay friend to meet, go out, and do things with too.
This has been a long-time goal of mine: to have a gay best-friend(s); someone who gets me and makes me laugh, gets me, and helps me feel good about myself when I make the kind of blunders I’m known for.
In the past, I’ve had gay friends who I wish were still close to me now. In New York, I had friends who kept me company and were good confidants during difficult moments in my life. One of them, for example, helped me get a job when I was unemployed and I needed to get work because I was down to a few hundred dollars in the bank. Another proved a wonderful friend, albeit a brief one, the last couple of months I lived in the city. He let me stay with him the last three nights I had in New York, and he helped me load up the van with my stuff before the long drive back to Florida.
Here in Miami, I hoped to make friends right away when I returned in 2009. For a while I thought I met a good one, but that turned sour and he eventually showed me a side of him I’d much rather forget. After that, while in acupuncture school, the few gay men who were in school with me, while friendly, never became anything other than school acquaintances.
About a year later, it was my hope that while dating Trigger I would meet gay men and find friends of my own. Trigger, at first, seemed like a good person to know, but when our friendship turned romantic on my part, and Trigger decided he didn’t want a romantic entanglement with me, the guys I met while Trigger and I dated must have decided it was not in their interest to reach out and remain in contact with me. Since then, I’ve stayed in Miami, hardly venturing to Wilted Manners to try and start making friends again.
The dating and gay social apps have not yielded positive or lasting results either. The few people who scan my profile are either on the other side of the world, or are men who are so deep in the closet they like to cover up their shame by adding the word “discreet” to their profiles. Neither Scruff nor the MatchMaker have led me to meet anyone within a ten mile radius of the Sacred Bonfire who’s up for a movie, dinner, or day at the beach. And while Sr. Toño appears to be someone I may get to know over subsequent weeks, it remains to be seen how much staying power he has, or how our culinary preference will sort themselves out.
I’ve never had a lot of friends. I’ve always made do with two or three good ones who kept me company in school or later at work. Once I got into college, my circle of friends began to dwindle and became smaller, until I found myself with only one or two acquaintances who called or saw me when they needed something from me. The guys I dated and who became lovers tried to fill the position of friends, but that became a job so demanding no wonder those relationships didn’t last more than a few years at best.
Here in Miami, I have no real gay friends to talk about; acquaintaces, yes. When I scoured the social apps hoping to find a profile worth sending a message to, I became alarmed at the list of demands people have just to get a curt reply — if any. The few folk who do look at my profile or offer any kind of compliment are either in different cities or countries where the chance of us meeting for coffee are impossible to consider. Either that, or they are men who are in a relationship already and are only interested in sexual encounters. The same goes for men whose photos I’m drawn to and who have something interesting to say about themselves.
A few weeks ago, before being Scruffed, I woofed (roll of the eyes) at a guy who lives nearby and who seems to be someone I could be friends with. We are both about the same age, he likes to read, enjoys having friends over for dinner, and his Instagram feed showed him at cultural events I would have enjoyed attending as well. The following day I noticed that he had looked at my profile, but nary a word of thank you or acknowledgement for the bark of interest. All this made me feel discouraged and at a loss at what to do in order to connect with anyone.
There are times when I feel lonely. On nights like that, I remember my time in New York, the friends I used to have there, and the times when they were nearby to help or spend an evening talking about what was on our minds. I’m not one to hang out at a bar drinking beer until someone sidles up beside me and strikes a conversation. And more often than not, those conversations are a preamble to sex, something I’m not really interested in these days to pass the time or scratch an itch I know will return a few (hours?) days later.
Last year I took a gap year from dating. I did so hoping to meet new people, getting to know myself better, and getting off the gay-merry-go-round some men seem to be perpetually riding. Not having an acupuncture license yet has undermined my self-confidence and motivation to go out; I keep thinking that when someone learns I’m a student, their interest in me wanes until they politely excuse themselves and I find myself standing alone, looking around, watching tumbleweeds roll by. It’s a cycle I hate, of meeting people and being disappointed by their response — or lack thereof.
I should be concentrating my efforts on studying for, taking, and passing the board exam. But I would feel better, and I would enjoy, having a good buddy I could go out with at the end of a long day, after studying, to hang out with, have a good laugh, and some after study fun. You know?
[End of bemoaning diatribe.]