Wednesday, May 27, 2009

lookin4thatguy

And summer has arrived. In between taking extra classes and scrambling to find a job, I have extra time on my hands. This leads to the inevitable reactivation of my account on gay.com.

First of all, I have to voice my objections with the fact that gay.com won't really let you do anything unless you are a premium member. I'm not about to pay $20 a month just so that I can get rejected more comprehensively. Even so, gay.com is still better than manhunt, which has an interface that is completely nonsensical. How am I supposed to find love if I can't even navigate back to the homepage.

The first thing I always do when I'm on gay.com is check "Who's Online." There are only 56 gay people in Martha's Vineyard right now. That number is severely deflated. Lucky for me, there are 755 gay people for me to choose from in my area. Out of those 755 people, one of those guys will be blind and deaf and capable of loving me.

You can tell a lot about a guy through his profile pic. If he cuts off his face, he is still in the closet. If he is shirtless, he is confident about his body and probably doesn't want to date a fatass. If you look closely in the background, you can even tell if he lives in the residence halls of the same university you attend. You send him a message to try to start up a conversation. He does not respond. You search your heart for ways to move on. But my absolute favorite is when guys try to accomplish too many things in their profile pic. Let me clench my abs to show off my body and play the piano to show I am talented and wear only a towel to show I want sex and wear sunglasses to conceal my true identity.

Somehow though, the "About Me" always proves to be less revealing because everyone's is the same. "I'm looking for a handsome guy." Yes, and I am looking for the hunchback of Notre Dame. "I'm a nice guy." That is what they all say until they tell you they aren't into Asians and they can't deal with your emotions. "I'm looking for a masculine guy who loves sports." And after reading that, I feel like I've been thrown under the bus.

In the end, there are only two categories of guys on gay.com. First, there are the "unreachables." They have incredible bodies and incredible faces. They are so beautiful, you wonder if they are real. They are always bisexual because, let's face it, somebody this hot will inevitably leave you for a woman and really they can do whatever they want. They are the hottest guys you have ever seen until you see their "hot list" and it's populated by even hotter guys. They seem to only associate with fellow hot guys and you back away, dejected and embarassed.

Then there are the untouchables. These people are either a really skinny and awkward ethnic minority or a middle-aged and overweight man who looks like Newt Gingrich. Realistically, these are the people you get approached by. They ask you sit on their face or take a picture of yourself urinating. Sorry, I can't be bothered right now, I'm doing homework.

And so, even the internet dating scene poses certain barriers. For a guy like me who would never have the confidence to start a conversation with somebody I'm attracted to, finding love online is just as hard as it is in real life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moving Out Is Hard To Do

And I hate moving out. I try very hard in my everyday life to be an unemotional and callous, but really I am a sentimental and nostalgic. Leaving the room that I've lived in all year makes me want to cry a little and die a little.

My parents are in Taiwan right now so I had to move all of my things myself. This is actually a blessing in disguise. My parents' idea of helping is to be counterproductive, frustrating, and unaccepting of different lifestyles. So that was good. Until I had to bring my giant fridge down to my car. It was heavy and I've got the arms of a tyrannosaurus rex. I tried to lift it high and carry it fast to impress a hot guy that was watching me. I hit my car with the corner and scratched it.

Looking at the empty room is depressing. It's like all the memories are gone and the entire year never happened. I can't believe I'm never coming back. I miss living with the only guy who knows I'm gay / the only guy who I've ever hooked up with. When we lived together he cared about me and he made an effort. I miss the way we were. But he moved out halfway through the year and he moved on.

I called him this afternoon, so that I could help him move out. I did this for selfish reasons because I wanted to see him and I also wanted his parking space after he left. I invited him to my house party this weekend. He said another one of his friends was having a party this week and he would have to see. I'm pretty sure he is lying. I'm also pretty sure he is really confused that one minute I hate him and the next minute I'm inviting him to my house for parties and to my room for blowjobs. He told me I should get psychological help. Which is kind of insulting, but that might be wise.

He's moving back into the same building next year and I am moving across campus. I told him I want to work on our friendship and he said that he does too. But I just don't think he cares anymore.

I hate moving out. Because I hate moving on.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Death in the Family

My mother has a candid way of talking about death. “If I ever get sick, I hope I go quickly,” she explains one night over the dinner table. “I don’t trust any of you to take good care of me,” she snaps her chopsticks at me, my sister, and finally my father.

“And I want you to scatter my ashes over my favorite place,” she carefully instructs while we try to eat. I immediately assume she means Loehmann’s on Wisconsin Avenue, the discount-designer where she once lost me but found a pair of Versace sunglasses for seventy-five dollars. She senses my misjudgment and clarifies, “I want you to spread my ashes on the hills of Tuscany.” My mother was born in Taiwan and has never been to Tuscany, but she lives vicariously through the movies. At least she didn’t say the bridges of Madison County.

After a long silence, she settles, “But I plan on staying around until I am eighty.” Looking at me, she confesses, “I don’t want you to be parentless.”

Although the thought of my mother fretting over my potential orphan-hood is touching, I wonder if she realizes that I will be well over forty by the time she turns eighty. With any luck, I will be grown with a family of my own, and the thought of her scrutinizing my every move until then from a rambler house across the street is terrifying.

I find myself laced with guilt whenever I consider my parents’ death. When the thought does comes up, I worry it will be the one time God is actually listening. Angered, he will find some way of punishing my lack of filial respect, perhaps by smiting my parents on my behalf or perhaps by putting me to death for my wandering thoughts. But I must admit that life after my parents seems just as intriguing and exotic as it does terrifying.

With my parents gone, nobody can tell me not to eat ice cream for breakfast. I plan on formally renouncing green vegetables. Every last one of my fantasies of frivolous disobedience can be realized without any sense of guilt. But life without mommy and daddy would represent a sense of freedom much more significant.

With my parents gone, I could get B’s and C’s in school without getting the piercing glare of disapproval and the accompanying lecture of responsibility. I could travel for the thrills, not to study abroad. I could take jobs for the adventure, not to further my career. I could be an artist, a writer, or a chef –not a doctor, lawyer, or chemical engineer.

When I was five years old, still young and na├»ve, I wanted nothing more than to be a farmer. One of my brilliant ideas was to take eggs from the refrigerator and stuff them in my blanket in the hopes that they would hatch into chicks. (In retrospect, my foray into the poultry business was an idea destined for disaster.) All the while, my mother laughed at my simple dreams, not because I had hidden eggs in a bed I would accidentally jump into later but because, “What would your grandparents think?!” They lived five-thousand miles away and I had never met them, I didn’t care what they thought.

Some years later, when I took the SATs during my junior year of high school, my mother frantically placed burning incense sticks in every corner of the house, an effort to beg my then deceased grandparents to lend a helping hand. When my scores came back, my mother was pleased. “You can thank your grandfather for that!” she clucked. Never mind the previous summer I had spent studying. Needless to say, this culture comes with a great deal of pressure. Along with my never ending quest to satisfy my parents, I am somehow expected to impress an audience that spans several hundred years.

Yet even more than my academics and my career are concerned, my parents have a hand in every facet of my identity. They tell me what I should say to sound more mature. They tell me what to wear to appear more professional. They tell me what kind of person I should marry because, ironically, they claim to “know what will make me happy.” Obviously I don’t always take what they say to heart. But their efforts affect me enough to want to lie when I do against their word. Either way, the control they have over me is suffocating. Sometimes I cannot even tell what I want anymore because I have spent so long doing what my parents want.

It’s sad to say, but I truly believe that I can only start living once my parents are gone. And although it would break their hearts to hear that I feel this way, I am thoroughly convinced that it would hurt more if they found out that I don’t actually want to be a doctor and I don’t really want to marry a Chinese girl. But even though my parents gave it to me, I should not have to owe my entire life to them.

Of course this could all be misplacement of blame on my part. I don’t have to listen to their advice. I don’t have to care what they think. Last summer at my sister’s college graduation, Oprah Winfrey told a captivated audience to do what “feels right.” My father quoted her for weeks afterwards, something I found to be strangely hypocritical. What if I had told him that it felt right to become a backup dancer for Britney Spears? My father is more of a subscriber to the school of, “Do what feels practical and fiscally responsible.” But Oprah was right, (as always). I can do as I please and throw honor out with window. After all, what’s more important to me, being a happy and true person or being a good son?

And there is always the possibility that their death would not change anything. What if I falsely assume that their physical presence is what keeps me in line? What if their constant nagging and prying has been so firmly entrenched in my psyche that I will always seek their approval, whether they are around to give it or not? If my mother had her way, she’d become omnipotent upon death and she would subtly let me know when she feels like I’m making the wrong decision by dropping boulders from the sky. Then there would truly be no escape.

I once read a scientific article that suggested our parents have very little influence over our behavior. Despite my background in science and my utter faith in the objectivity of scientific research, I view this conclusion with a certain amount of skepticism. My parents have always dictated my life, whether directly or indirectly. And when people call me neurotic, needy, insecure, and desperate for approval, I like to believe that I can blame my parents for that. But at some point, I will have to step out from their shadow, which protects me as much as it holds me back. And all I can do is hope that they will still love and support me, even though I will probably go against their will and scatter their ashes in the backyard.