A Refreshing Change
Lets admit it; we live in a digital age. We order shopping online; we stream movies and music; we communicate with friends via social media. We have wholeheartedly thrown ourselves into the digital world even allowing algorithms to determine who is a match for us – allowing love to be determined by agreed responses and interests.
If only life and humans were this formulaic, things would be far easier. Of course reading this makes it all seem rather ludicrous; how could we believe that a machine would be able to offer an informed and accurate match for us in terms of love? How can a machine understand the emotional connections that cause us to be drawn to people, the chemistry that is too ephemeral for a technology to grasp?
I have ‘chatted’ to a lot of people online. I have built the image and interactions into three-dimensional individuals and then either decided to accept or decline an offer to meet. I have dated guys I have met online, had relationships, casual sex or simply a drink. I have become a modern man; reliant on the virtual world for the future I have sought. However, I have not fully forgotten the real world, the world in which people casually meet, get to know each other and determine if there are connections that are worth exploring. Recently I was reminded of this very real communication we can access and enjoy when we actually speak with someone: a real person.
I was attending a Manchester International Festival Event: Drunk at Vogue, with a friend. The music was pumping and the stage was awash with drag queens parading in so few clothes that I was filled with awe: Where were they hiding their cocks? Standing at the edge of the dance floor, I was watching the acts parade and strut. Foot tapping, head nodding, I was immersed in the music when a voice resonated in my ear: ‘Hi’. I turned to see a suave guy in glasses who proceeded to compliment my buns whilst feeling the dough. It’s been a while since I have experienced such romance. His smile was cheeky yet open, suggesting a fun side and a confidence that only comes from a cocktail of booze and narcotics. It was enough to attract my attention. It was at that moment I began to open up to the real, the present, the guy who was stood smiling at me. After a short exchange of words I sampled the merchandise in a brief kiss that became a lingering moment: real life is pretty good. In the accompanying moment of weakness that proceeds such encounters, I found myself agreeing to a cigarette in order to spend a little longer getting to know the guy. Sitting outside on a stone seat, not even the possibility of piles could prevent me from conversing. I found myself smiling, laughing and talking at ease. Traditional encounters rock, beyond the innumerable text exchanges and interpretations of tone and meaning, life in the real world reigns superior.
Kisses followed before we left to dance the dusk into dawn. By this point, I was becoming smitten; of course he came home, like a takeout that you simply refuse to give up. Friday night became Sunday morning, where we found ourselves still enjoying getting to know one another. Beyond the sweat of moist sheets, the beach and sunshine breathed a new dimension into the encounter. We walked through pools of warm salt water, talking and listening, stealing kisses and brushing hands before a tentative hold along the golden sand. This is what spontaneity is all about. This is what it’s like to feel something beyond the transience of an erection, to be led by head and heart rather than merely the phallus. This was pretty great. I was hooked. It could have been the booze and drugs but I was certain that they had worn off long ago.
Parting is inevitable; everything that has a beginning must have an end. As I dropped him off at the station I headed home thinking of the next day and my return to work. That night, as I lay in an empty bed, I felt the absence of my recent bedfellow. The weekend had been a whirlwind of ‘him’; it was substance and matter. And unlike the shallow conversations of the digital world, I was never asked for the size of my cock, my role or availability. I was living in the here and now with a guy that was both captivating and as handsome with morning as he was in the evening of our first encounter. This was something. This was matter, a refreshing change from mundanity of predictable messages and gay stereotypes. Part 1 was over but Part 2 was already booked, built on the foundations of a weekend without expectations, rules or restrictions.