Good Rainy Friday to you all,
Before I start this post, I should say that this one isn’t teribbly HIV related, but more of a general life diary entry… now let’s begin.
I’ve been on online ‘dating’ sites for a very long time now, probably longer than I should have really, I joined a certain one when I was 13 and caused all sorts of havoc for the owners/admins – and since then the number of websites I’ve used has grown and grown until I couldn’t keep track of them.
I’d get home of an evening and check my twitter and Facebook, then I’d head onto gaydar, dudesnude, fitlads, manhunt, gayromeo, recon, and a few others which I can’t even remember. I’ve been doing this for nearly 3 years now and where has it got me? Nowhere really. I’ve dated three guys, one of which was an ass and two of which were bat crap crazy.
So last week I took the decision to leave all these sites behind, it was both therapeutic and a little scary logging onto each site one by one and deleting my profiles – some I’ve even been paying for. Shortly after I’d done away with my last profile I began to worry about what I’d just done, had I put myself at a disadvantage for finding someone special? But then I recalled the general quality of messages of I got on these sites – usually photos of people’s crotches but no faces, or elderly gentlemen offering to be “generous” to me. That’s not really the kind of attention I’m after.
During Birmingham Pride (at the weekend) I met an awesome guy, and we hit it off pretty spectacularly. This without the use of the internet, or being asked “what you upto?”, or ”what you into?” or even the less common but still awful “ASL?”. Now before you get ahead of yourself, I don’t know if anything is going to happen with this guy I met over Pride, but I’m secretly hoping it does – he’s very hot and very very lovely.
I feel for honestly and completeness I should say that I’ve retained my Grindr profile, purely because it’s a great way to chat to my mates for free, and it’s a laugh at train stations when you’re bored.
I’m not entirely sure what to use my computer for now I don’t log on to all those sites, I’m sure I’ll find a purpose though – it makes a rather handy mirror with the webcam…
Like a lot of single people of my generation, especially gay men, I use the Internet to meet other single people for dates. It fits in well with my busy life. A message here, a chat there, and once in a while it’ll turn into a drink or a meal.
There’s a dizzying array of jargon out there in the online dating world: GWM, GAM, GSOH, WLTM, LTR and VWE to name just a few. A couple that have recently entered my consciousness are DDF and “clean”.
DDF stands for ‘Drug and Disease Free’ – I resent that just because I have HIV that I should be lumped in with recreational drug takers. Drug taking is illegal and a choice, I did not choose to be HIV positive nor is it illegal.
Clean. I’ve been asked a few times lately “Are you clean?” and I’m never sure quite how to answer “Well, I had a shower this morning.” would seem a sensible reply. But apparently this is a cloaked way of asking my HIV status. So by being HIV positive this seems to infer that I’m the opposite of clean, which would be dirty.
I find both these terms inaccurate (I’m a very clean person, almost obsessively so) and offensive. I’m not stumbling through the streets with Smallpox here, killing your grandparents, nor am I lurking in some alleyway shooting drugs into my arms. I have a virus which is well managed with medication and prevented with condoms.
How about, instead of pussyfooting around the subject and ending up offending me by likening me to a plague victim or a crack-addict, you just ask me what my HIV status is? Be straight with me and I’ll be straight with you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for shower…
Love and respect,