Disney’s Soapbox Senorita
I am an eternal optimist; I will meet guys for dates even if they are unprepared to share a photo of themselves beforehand. I may have awkward interaction with someone but I will give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a coffee and conversation; some people are less eloquent over messages via an app than they are in person. Some ooze charisma when you meet them or are truly charming. Dating might not be a result of the encounter, neither might sex, however they can become friends or simply signposts in life. They can be people who have had an impact on you and who you gain an affinity with or care for. The world of dating , gay and straight, is full of these people. They enrich life and offer rewards simply by taking the time to meet them; this is why I enjoy dating and meeting people.
Believing in the inherent goodness and qualities of an individual allows you to open yourself up to others, to take a chance and possibly meet that one person who will change your life, cause you to give up dating and embark on a future together.
Unfortunately, we can sometimes be closed to such individuals and encounters, believing them to be worth less than they are.
Today I talked with a guy as I slowly awakened to the day. After a brief series of exchanges, he asked if I would like to meet him for a coffee. Having changed my mindset to be more open to opportunities, I accepted the offer and was pleased to share a couple of hours with someone who had a huge array of qualities. Despite almost crippling introversion, the guy was engaging to talk with and became more relaxed and more open during the course of the date. As I left him to head home, I felt grateful that I had taken the chance to meet him and that he had offered the coffee date. Unfortunately this pleasant encounter would be tainted later during an online conversation via a dating app.
I received a message in response to my online profile. ‘Jalbert’, his online persona, had an attractive torso (his picture showing nothing more) and seemed to be a catch; he was an independent marketing consultant who seemed driven and with a sense of himself. We conversed in the virtual world for over an hour and seemed to get on. As we got further into the conversation I noticed that he was repeatedly viewing my profile; things seemed very positive. Of course, that was until he decided to check out this website. I have a link on my profile, partly out of a desire to shamelessly publicise the page to others but also because I am happy to receive feedback from people, whether it be good or bad. Initially, ‘Jalbert’ seemed curious about it and began to converse about specific blogs. His summation of these few blogs was ‘they’re quite bitchy’. He questioned me about why I had chosen to write them and I explained that they were merely reflections that offered a single story, a biased view of a date. I also explained that like the stories we tell friends, about encounters with others, they were embellished to make them more engaging to read. ‘Jalbert’ seemed unimpressed, although chose to begin a character assassination of a couple of the guys who are subjects in two of the blogs. I pointed out that ‘the boomerang’ was actually a very sweet guy who probably looked more fondly on a series of dates and recalled them more favourably than they were, hence him continuing to message and attempt to reignite our dates. Seeming to be unsatisfied he moved on to another guy and another criticism and explained he disliked the bogs. I pointed out that his criticism of the guys was another form of the partial reflections the blogs represent.
Becoming increasingly angry, he began to level his criticism at me. Yes, I know that I could have blocked him but, as I previously stated, I am not worried about negative reviews; it is all about creating a dialogue to discuss these things. I am happy to use comments to reflect and perhaps change or amend blogs (both past and future). ‘Jalbert’ sent a few very opinionated messages to which I responded by explaining the nature of such writing. I reminded him that all writing is produced with an audience in mind; I was simply crafting my dating reflections to appeal to a certain audience. Dissatisfied with this, he moved on to offer a far more generalised criticism, apparently this represented all that is wrong with the gay world. ‘Jalbert’ then decided to up the anti and send a vitriolic message: ‘gay guys in the UK are in mediocre jobs having no ambition, they live for their one holiday a year, and are consumed with taking drugs. They have HiV and that’s why [‘Jalbert’ is] single. Any one decent is in a relationship or is defective.’ He went on to say that I was a ‘biter individual’ and it is because I have not been able to meet anyone. He surmised that I am unhappy. (I am paraphrasing here because my response elicited a ‘block’ from ‘Jalbert’ so I am unable to retrieve the original message).
I responded to ‘Jalbert’ telling him that I was an eternal optimist, hence being on the app we were using to communicate. I stated that his generalisations were probably the reason why he is single, since he had chosen to build a barrier to meeting anyone. I also stated that his dismissive response served only to discount so many wonderful guys. I didn’t know if this would be the last word or if ‘Jalbert’ would offer a response. He did; I was blocked.
Walking the dogs, I took time to reflect on ‘Jalbert’s’ response. He considered himself better than the plethora of guys who open themselves up to criticism on a huge array of online apps. He had deemed that people who don’t have degrees or professional jobs are somehow worth less than him and unworthy of his time. He had offered the acerbic assumption that everyone was the same. He had also presented archaic views of those who have HiV deeming them beneath him and presented a fallacy that all gay men that are single have HiV. ‘Jalbert’ had obviously missed the work of The Stigma Project in tackling such attitudes, perhaps it was while he was climbing the greasy pole of his own egocentric ambition.
I found myself becoming angry that he had expressed such views and then fled to the safety of another online interaction rather than accept a challenge to his comments. In the end, unable to discuss this further, I decided that ‘Jalbert’ is really just a Disney princess standing on a soapbox, which he leaves once he has spouted the sort of hatred one might expect of a Trump supporter. He had looked lovely, having all the appearance of something delightful and appealing however, on closer inspection the tiny waist of the princess, the caucasian features and lightened skin tone reflected a control that sought to dismiss the rich array of individuals who constitute our society. He had revealed the prejudices of a world that has begun to give rise to far right ideals and in doing so had condemned the rest of us to a waste pile of individuals who offered him nothing of value: perhaps he feels perspective and challenge are overrated?