Saturday, November 19, 2016

Flakey Men Are The Scum Of The Earth! (#9)

Ha ha… Well, not literally.  I actually don't believe the headline, but I thought it was pithier than “Don't flake out at the last minute.”  Although one could argue that this commandment is related to my second one to “Be Responsible”, [See my blog post on Thou Shalt Be Responsible], flakiness is up there in my top list, because it's my number one pet peeve; it drives me nuts.  I find flakiness to be far worse problem than any other issue with gay men in the new era of Grindr and online dating apps.  

To me, flakiness is worse than rampant promiscuity (and that’s a fucking big ass problem).  But being a slut is just a reaction in one form or another.  Slutiness starts with two people finding each other attractive.  When basic sex turns to slutiness, it’s usually an extension by people who either can’t emotionally commit or choose not to.  Sluttiness is hard-wired into men – gay or straight  We want to spread our seed, and gay men in large cities have a lot of options.  How we navigate those options is entirely different, and I’ve tried to address it here.

Distinguish a Genuine Emergency From Flakiness? 

So I hear you saying “Well, what about genuine emergencies?”  Of course!  My God yes.  There are a million reasons why you would legitimately need to cancel a date on short notice, and some of them might even stop you from communicating in a timely manner.  But most of these reasons involve a loved one being in the hospital or at death’s door somehow.  Go!  Get to the hospital.  Don’t worry about texting me.  Go be with your family! 

But 99% of the time when gay guys cancels, it is not a genuine emergency.  They just couldn’t be bothered to do anything.  Here’s how to quickly distinguish a genuine emergency from otherwise minor issues that can be dealt with: can two reasonably smart people, if thinking together in unison, solve this issue that’s arisen?  If the answer is yes, then he's just a flake.  If the answer is no, then he’s got more urgent places to be. 

Also, I should also distinguish this is entirely distinct from communicating with someone in advance that you need to postpone or reschedule a date.  Obviously, if you let someone know in advance, that you can't make it, then "no harm, no foul," because the other guy can make other plans.  But we've all had the situation -- more than once -- where a gay guy cancels on us with no notice after you've put time and energy into planning the date.  That's what this blog is addressing.  

That type of flakiness and lack of respect makes me so angry I can barely even analyze it and explain it to you guys.  Imagine that.  That’s how pissed off it makes me.  It renders me – a loud mouth lawyer – effing speechless.  If I were a super-hero, flakiness would be my arch-enemy. 

Flakiness is like Lex Luthor to my Superman.  Flakiness smiles at you, tells you all the right things, and then spends all its time trying to destroy everything you try to create.  It’s insidious like that.  Perhaps, it’s more like a virus than a super villain.  But it’s serious, because online dating apps are the new ground zero for the flakiness virus.  And it’s spreading. 

If a guy tells me online that he’s only looking for fun, then at least I know what I’m going to get.  And I know that if I try to ask more of him than one or two shags, it’s not going to end well.  (Sometimes, two sluts can find happiness from a one-off that evolves into more, so I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it has never worked out that way for me)  But at least the dirty whore on Grindr is being honest with me.  There’s integrity to what he’s pursuing, even if he’s emotionally stunted. 

Flakey people are a hundred times worse, because they will promise you more, chat to you for days, if not weeks or months, but they have no intention of living up to anything they’ve promised.  Or in the alternative, they mean it in the moment, and then they just decide you’re not important enough at the last minute and bump you.  In my opinion the latter situation is far more dangerous, but in either case, the result is the same: the flakey man leaves the normal gay man twisting out in the wind. 

Here’s the sad but honest truth:

You can NOT build any type of relationship with a flakey man! 

Nothing!  Nada!  Zilch!  Zero. It's like trying to build a house on quick sand: one person is trying to construct something great, and the other person isn't really bothered about whether it all slips away into nothing.  

Flakiness As a Cover For Lack of Interest

First, let’s deal with the flakey man who is using flakiness to avoid the fact that he didn’t want to date you to begin with.  This situation sucks.  But what can you do?  This type of flakey man never fancied you that much.  You were never going to win with him anyway.  So in a sense, he did you a favor.  You didn’t have to waste any money buying his flakey ass a drink.  And, because he was disinterested, chatting to him on a date would be a terrible experience anyway.  He’d probably be checking his Grindr while you were taking a bathroom break.  So in the long run, he did you a favor – even though you’re fuming, because you’re now stuck at home on a Friday night.  But as I said, building a relationship with that person was always going to be impossible. 

But again, the “lack of interest” flakiness is becoming far less common in the age of Grindr.  People don’t care enough to take it that far.  They just won’t give you their number.  Or they’ll just block you. 

Flakiness is a Cover for Weakness and Narcissism

This is a controversial statement, but follow me on this one and see where I'm going...

The far more dangerous type of flakiness – and the one that’s deadly to gay relationships – is the flakiness that is a smoke-screen for the gay man’s internal narcissism and overall weakness.  And it creates a lot of problems, because it is far more difficult to sniff out in initial conversations.  The flakey man will tell you one thing, but can't deliver on it.  And if you’re just getting to know the person, then you can only go on what they’re telling you at the beginning.  So you have no idea if you’ve met Mr. Right or Mr. Flakey until it’s too late… 

Here’s a non-rhetorical question:
What is really going on with a guy who says something in the moment and then later flakes out?   

Another way to think of that is:
What’s going on in the mind of the flakey man?  What’s he hiding? 

I know we’re not psychics.  But just as an exercise, think about it for a moment.  This man is partially attracted to you – if not very attracted to you.  He does like the initial first date or two – or maybe he is enjoying the conversation from chatting or texting.  And yet the flakey gay man just can’t seem to make that second or third date materialize.  What’s going on with him?  He likes you.  In theory, he wants to date you, but it just doesn’t happen. 

What’s up with that? 

[Pause to think and ponder]

So here's my theory; brace yourself!

A flakey gay man is a man who gets easily stopped by the little things in life.  When life gives him a minor speed bump, he gives up and turns around or drives in a different direction. He’ll probably console himself with excuses.  “I’ll try harder next time.”  “Maybe when the speed bump isn’t there.”  “I’ll find another path.”  But again, the result is the same.  The flakey gay man will never cross the speed bump, because he can't be bothered.  But he doesn't know he can't be bothered.  His excuses for not traversing the speed bump fool him into thinking that life has just given him a big problem, and he doesn't have the energy or wherewithal to deal with it.  To him, his little excuses matter more to him than whatever time or energy you've put into organizing the date.  In short, he's not willing to cross the speed bump for you.  

The question that never enters the flakey gay man’s head is:
If I can’t commit to a second or third date, how can I commit to a relationship? 

A flakey gay man can’t grow, because he doesn’t have enough insight into himself and into how his actions affect other people, and so as a result he doesn't see his flakiness as a problem.  To him, the world is big, he’s small, and that speed bump in the road occurs to him as Mount Everest.  And it’s just too steep for him to climb – or so he tells himself.  But to him, it’s a reasonable way to respond to a big problem that he doesn’t want to deal with in the moment.  

The problem is with relationships, they are ALWAYS hard work.  They will always have obstacles to overcome.  But many of us -- both flakey and resolute -- often have the idea that a relationship will be like a Disney fairy-tale.  Gay guys often wait around like Sleeping Beauty, refusing to move from our comfortable bed of excuses until all the stars are aligned, everything is easy and convent.  Prince Charming must present himself; he must be perfect and totally ready to commit to marriage -- but not come across as too desperate, because that would be unattractive.  Then, we, the Sleeping Beauty, will awake from our bed of excuses and reveal ourselves to be a true princesses worthy of marriage.  

Sarcastic I know, but I think you get my drift.  Gays often tell ourselves, "Once everything is perfect, then I will start working on a relationship." But if a particular moment requires some hard work or inconvenience to achieve, Sleeping Beauty ain’t getting out of that bed!  (And that’s why most hot guys stay single for forever by the way…  But that's another entry.)  But all too often, too many gay men run at the first sign of trouble.  And the situation is acutely worse for flakey people. 

Now don’t get me wrong.  Everything is relative in terms of problems we confront in life.  And on one level, I can hear you saying “Who are you to judge?”  Well, I’m the guy that has dealt with flakey people for many, many years, and this is just my opinion.  You’re free to disagree.  But keep with me, and you’ll see where I’m going. 

Yes, some people are just not as strong as others.  And we all have different levels of maturity or career goals and such. But a lot of men reading this article think they’re upstanding gay men, but the flakey virus is ravaging them like untreatable gonorrhea at a chem sex party! 

It’s fine to choose the easiest way possible when it only pertains to you.  One reason Grindr works great for a hook up app is that it makes sex very convenient.  Convenience isn’t bad.  But life is full of inconveniences.  And we’ve got more and more gay men who can never be bothered to inconvenience themselves, but simultaneously are wondering why they’re always single.  But for the record, I love things that are convenient – particularly food.  If it’s just you alone on Friday, do what you want.  I’m not judging.  If the good Thai restaurant on the other side of town is too far away, order Dominos!  It tastes like shitty cardboard but it comes straight to your door.   

The problem is a flakey gay man doesn’t realize that it’s his unwillingness to inconvenience himself that is causing them – and the men that are genuinely into them – so much grief.  To the flakey gay man, his reasons are “good enough.”  But here’s how you can tell if the flakey virus is ravishing through him…  Because flakey gay men HATE to be told how their flakey behavior hurts others.  Grindr and other dating apps are contributing to a serious lack of empathy or compassion for other gay men.  And this shows up very prevalently when it comes to dating and relationships.  Grindr and other apps make it harder and harder for people to look inside themselves, see where they've messed up and take responsibility for their actions.  These apps make us treat each other like we're easily replaceable, because on one level, we are.  But we lose compassion and respect for other people, and that's giving us a community where everyone is unhappy.  

This flakiness, resulting from the broader lack of self-awareness and lack of empathy for others, is THE most insidious part of Grindr* in my opinion.  And as this blog is about online dating, it comes up repeatedly when you try to date people who say they're up for something deeper, but in reality, they just can't be bothered.  The problem is any time you try to call people out on being flakey, they refuse to take responsibility for hurting your feelings, and they really don't want to expend any energy making amends.  At best, they want to be absolved completely.  At worst, they will get angry at you for merely pointing out that their flaky behavior ruined your evening.

The flakey gay man wants to be told “It’s okay.” 
“Yes, you canceled on me at short notice but I’m fine with it.” 
“I’ll be fine – even though I had champagne waiting on ice for us.” 
“When everything is perfectly convenient for you, I’ll be here waiting…” 

**[Side note – I’m not being hyperbolic when I say flakiness may be the worst problem affecting gay men.  Yes, apps make us more superficial.  We can scream till we’re blue in the face about how gay culture puts way too much emphtaiss on appearance.  But people can’t help who they find attractive.  Yes, there are a lot of messed up things going on in the media, which influence who society deems as attractive, but that cake is baked for most of us.  We can work on the future of media and culture, but for now, people like what they like.  
**But flakiness is stopping gay men from having great relationships NOW!  Everything is there – just one person can’t get their ass in gear.  Or they are pretending and saying all the right things and not living up to their promises.  And in that instance, you can’t build anything.  So in terms of finding and building loving relationships, flakiness is far more dangerous than promiscuity, in my humble opinion.]

The Narcissism Test:

Flakey gay men want to be able to flake out on you with no consequences or push back at all.  If you dare to hold up a mirror to the flakey gay man, he scurries away like a roach from a florescent light.   This is where the flakey gay man’s utter narcissism kicks in.  Because remember, the flakey gay man just wants to take the easiest road available, since he only cares about himself.  And if you get hurt, he wants you to keep it to yourself, because to say otherwise might expose him as just another douche bag who can't be bothered (and he doesn't want to deal with that).  So the flakey gay man will despise you if you don’t tell him that you’re okay with his infuriating behavior.  Often, he'll attack you for being the jerk for not "forgiving" him for ruining your evening.  

The next time a guy flakes out on you with short notice, don’t tell him that “everything is okay.”  Tell him the truth!

Now, you don’t have to get crazy.  Don’t threaten to cut a bitch…  Don’t cuss. Don’t lose your cool.  But you can be dignified and yet let him know that you’re not okay with him being flakey.  You can say something like: 
“Well, I spent a lot of time planning this date.  That kind of hurts my feelings a bit.” 
“With such short notice, I can’t really make alternative plans with my evening. That kind of puts me in an awaked position, no?” 
“If you needed to cancel, I understand, I’m just not clear on why you’re telling me now at the last minute.” 

His response to this will immediately reveal whether he’s a lion or a mouse, so pay very careful attention.  The flakey gay man is like medusa and you’re holding up the mirror.  He will lose his shit, the instant you start pressing him on this.  If he comes back with anything like:  “Why are you trying to make me feel bad?”  Then you know he’s an instant narcissist or a mouse.  He will NEVER care about you.  He’s just pretty but vapid Sleeping Beauty who will be condemned to be single forever, because he can’t wake up from his own narcissistic dreams and pitiful excuses. 

Another variation of this line is: 

Why are you making a big deal out of this?  Well, again, as I said, don’t go mental or ape shit.  Say in a calm, collected, concise way that his behavior left you in a tough spot, and that's not okay with you.  And if his immediate reaction is NOT one of compassion and empathy, but rather one that’s all about him, then that’s a hint and a half that he really doesn’t give a damn about you.  Maybe you planned something nice.  Maybe you were really into him.  Maybe you had been looking forward to seeing this guy all week.  But he doesn’t feel the same way.  So when a gay man says “Why are you making a big deal out of this” (assuming you haven’t turned into a sniveling idiot), what he’s really saying is “YOU are not a big deal to ME.”  He wasn’t excited about a date with you.  He wasn’t that keen to spend time with you. And he certainly wasn’t going to inconvenience himself in the slightest over it.

By the way, I am NOT saying the flakey guy is a bad person.  He is just simply too caught up in his own world to make someone an equal partner.  That sucks, because he probably had potential.  But when a flakey gay man is asked to reflect on how his flakey behavior hurts another person, his first reaction is usually to retreat into himself, and look for cover so he doesn't take to take responsibility for his actions.  If he does all this, then you know he doesn’t care about your feelings or your time, and he doesn’t care about growing as a human being in this regard.  Again, I’m not saying he’s a bad guy.  Maybe he’d make a good friend, but he is NOT your Prince Charming. 

Text Him NOW!

Communication is always key - whether you're in a gay relationship or a straight relationship.  And how a man communicates to you that he’s in a difficult spot says a lot about his character.  If something comes up and he says nothing (hoping you won't ask him where he is), or flakes at the last minute, then you know you have the worst kind of flake.  He’s not really that into you, but he doesn’t want to feel bad about what he’s done, so he’s hoping and praying that you’ll forget about him.  That way he can completely avoid feeling bad about himself – or worse, risk having you express how his bad behavior hurt your feelings.  So if his first response is to hide and/or ignore the issue, then that’s how you know you’ve got someone who is riddled with the flakey virus, and after this blog post, if he hurts your feelings, that is entirely on you!  Buyer Beware! You Were Warned! 

But yes, genuine emergencies happen.  But on a smaller scale, yes plans can change.  Things can and do come up.  But first ask “Can this be sorted out?”  And if it can’t, get in touch with the guy IMMEDIATELY!  Don't wait until 5 minutes before your planned date.  If you forgot that you double-booked yourself, don’t hide out like scared little boy, who's hoping mommy won't notice he stole a cookie from the cooke jar.  Let the guy know ASAP.  

This may surprise you after reading this little manifesto of mine, but I am extremely gracious when someone communicates with me in advance that his plans need to change, so long as he hasn’t done it at the last minute.  I have a lot of compassion for people I date.  I want to be there for them through ups and downs.  But whether they confront changing plans head on or whether they hide out and hope you won’t call them on it reveals a lot about a man’s character. 

Even if you think you might have to cancel or change the plans, let the person know ASAP!  Better to let him know with three or four hours of notice that there’s a chance you may cancel than to risk dropping the bomb on him while he's waiting for you at the bar. 

And again, how a gay man responds to adversity gives you clues and insights into how his character and his behavior patterns.  If he can’t sort out his work schedule for your second date, how is he going to be able to be there for you when you’re going through a rough time and you need him? 


Just saying… 

But if a guy gives you advance warning and wants to reschedule, then you know you’ve got a keeper – so be gracious and understanding when he needs to reschedule.  But if he doesn’t give you any warning and he’s not keen to reschedule, then you need to trust your gut, your previous experiences and decide whether to give him another chance.  Take a moment and analyze whether this guy is making a mountain out of a molehill or is really just going through a difficult time? 

Here’s another little hint.  If the guy is really into you, and he values you as a person, he will definitely make this an easy decision for you… 

 So if you need to reschedule, then reschedule.  But let the other guy know so he can get on with his life.  Don’t hide out like a scared little boy.  And for the love of God:


Andrew Londyn is a lawyer, PR Consultant, and author of Grindr Surivr: How to Find Happiness in the Age of Hookup Apps.  He can be reached at @grindrsurvivr

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Someone Ugly Loves You (Commandment V)

Back in February, I was chatting to this super hot guy.  We had matched on Tinder for the THIRD time, and I was proposing we finally meet for a drink.  And after not responding much to our previous chats, he asked me why I am still single...  That was an odd thing to ask.  I wanted to say “Because hot guys like you are morons!”  But I held that one back. 

Anyway, we got chatting about relationships, and he told me that he's waiting for everything to be "perfect" before he goes into another relationship.  I was shocked.  "Perfect?" I asked... He doubled down on it; he said he didn't want to have any doubts in his mind about whether he should date a particular guy.  Wow.  That's incredible.  I knew my muscles had made me picky, but I've never desired perfection.  Or so I thought… 

As I said before the in the initial introduction to the Problems with Grindr in a big city, is that it makes everyone picky and superficial.   And when gay guys are fungible, there’s very little incentive to give anyone a second chance.  Any miscommunication or physical flaw is instantly fatal. 

In a large city with a large gay scene, the sad truth is, we’re looking for reasons to scratch someone off of our list rather than looking for reasons to keep them around!  That’s not unnatural given the dynamics of lots of options.  The problem is “seeking perfection” and being in a loving relationship do NOT MIX!  They are completely incompatible.  

It is NOT a coincidence that out of all of my relationship, the one that treated me the best was NOT the hottest boyfriend I ever had.  Think about the qualiites you want in a relationship: kind, caring, smart, thoughtful, funny… 

Now think about the last date you had with a super hot guy.  Did he have any of these qualities?  Even one?  

The sad thing is that personality is like a muscle.  If you don’t use it and develop it, it will atrophy.  And once a gay guy discovers he’s hot, his personality is no longer needed to get him dates, so he stops using it.  And because he has so many options, he doesn’t need to treat people nicely to get more dates.  Moreover, I’ve noticed that hot guys usually have ZERO ability to reflect or grow as people – not because they don’t have the capacity to grow, but because they are never in situations that force them to pause and think “Gee.  Maybe I shouldn’t have flaked on that guy.”  Each negative interaction can be erased with the block button, and it’s on to the next. 

But going back to my second commandment of "Being Responsible" I’m forced to ask myself – who am I being that I keep wasting time on all these ass holes. 

If I turned on my Grindr right now, I’ve got numerous messages from guys who aren’t as hot as I think I’m entitled to have.  (Yes, that sounds arrogant but you know you’ve thought it too.  You might not have thought it in such blunt terms,  but that's the effect.)  And many of these guys have read my profile or looked at my Instagran amd tried to strike up a conversation to no avail.   Even as I look at text messages on my phone, for everyone one guy that didn’t text me back, there are five that I’ve dismissed.  Yes, they had a lazy eye, dressed ridiculously, or maybe he spilled red wine on my brand new collared shirt...  But the sad truth is I know I make allowances for hot guys that I don’t give to others. 

And finding a hot guy on Grindr who’s got a good personality and a good heart and is interested in dating me  is about as likely as scientists discovering that unicorn do in fact exist.  In theory, it seems plausible.  Could nature in fact create a horse with a horn?  Yes.  We can in fact question why Mother Nature hasn’t done this already.  I can think of numerous uses a horn could have for a horse, but it’s just not there. 

There are loads of guys out there now who would, in terms of personality, would treat me exactly the way I wanted to be treated, but I won’t let them get close to me.  Why?  Because I’m looking for perfection.  And that brings me to my next commandment, which will probably seem obvious:  

Thou Shalt NOT Seek Perfection!

(I buried it towards the bottom because I feel like my blog is getting a bit too preachy, but this is probably one of the most important commandments to heed.  And considering that I’ve failed at this one so spectacularly, I couldn’t really shout it from the mountain tops from a position of wisdom and experience.  I struggle with this one all the time.) 

So first, get clear on all of the times that you dismissed people because they weren’t perfect.  Think back to the last four or five first dates you had.  Did they all go terribly wrong?  If so, I refer you back to my Second Commandment – what kind of person are you being that you’re letting these weirdos get close to you.  Or were they all just a bit of a “Meh.”  Think back and examine your indifferent attitude, were you making a mountain out of a molehill.  Were you too dismissive? 

Here’s a great way to tell whether you’re seeking perfection.  Think about the last few dates you had.  If you were stuck on a desert island with this guy?  Could you work through whatever issue came up?  Would that issue dissolve in time?  If the answer is yes, then you’re probably looking for perfection and don’t even know it.  If your answer was “If I were on a desert island with this guy, I’d probably kill him and eat him for sustenance”, then yes, you made the right choice in not texting him back.  But the key is to begin to distinguish how you’re looking for perfection and not letting good guys get to you.   

Are you really looking for love?  Or are you looking for a hot shag?  Looking for a hot shag isn’t bad or wrong.  But just get clear on what you’re actually seeking.  The hot guy – more likely than not – isn’t going to have a personality and isn’t going to be capable of meeting your emotional needs.  So in one sense it’s unfair to ask him to be more than what society has asked him to be.  Just begin to get clear on what you’re after, who you’re seeking it from, and the likelihood that you’re going to get the result you want. 

Do you have to date an ugly guy to get love?  Of course not, although I thought the title was catchy.  But we’ve got to understand that your ideal guy emotionally probably isn’t going to look like your ideal guy physically.  If you want to hold out, that’s fine.  But you may be waiting a long time.  If you’re starting to think you might be looking for perfection yet you’re unaware of it, then read my next blog entry, which will be about distinguishing what you NEED from what you WANT…