Friday, December 23, 2011

Manhunt Etiquette: 10 Online Dating Don'ts

Single black male in search of a non-gay cliche
Ah, the joys of love and lust in the 21st century! You don't even have to leave the house anymore to find the perfect man of your (wet) dreams. Thanks to Grindr, Manhunt, Gaydar, PlanetRomeo and assorted other online boy-meets-boys websites, Mr. Right might be only a mouse click away.

Well, more than likely, he'll be Mr. Right Tonight, because everybody knows that you never go online looking for a long and lasting love. But here's a newsflash: Those who do sometimes find it. I have a number of friends who've met the loves of their lives while browsing the Internet. One just told me that he's making Christmas plans with a Grindr find and his folks six weeks into their romance. Happy holidays indeed!

As for me, I stopped holding my breath ages ago. When I indulge in online dating, I do it mostly for the stories, and boy have I had quite a few to tell, many of them on this very blog.

But if you're tired of boozing it up every weekend to a soundtrack of frothy pop (gay man cannot live on Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce alone), and if you're thinking of looking for more than "fun" online (speaking of euphemisms for "sex" that should be banned from hook-up sites -- we're all {hopefully} adults here and can call it what it is), here's some friendly advice.

1. No ass close-ups -- and keep those other private parts private. Baring all online is like walking up to someone in a bar and pulling out your dick. Who would end up taking that guy home? I once had someone grab my hand and put it on his exposed penis in a crowded bar five minutes after meeting me offline for the first time. A first fondle should never come before a first kiss and neither should a sneak peek at what's going on in those nether regions.

2. No smoking! Even if the person you are trying to win over isn't allergic to cigarette smoke and smokers (as I am), unless you're Barbara Stanwyck in a 1940s film noir, no one looks good posing with a cancer stick.

3. Don't eat or drink in front of the camera. Holding a cocktail or two might give the wrong impression that you're a falling-down drunk when the camera isn't rolling. As for pigging-out photos, I hate them on Facebook and loathe them on dating websites. I'd rather not see you eating until our second or third date.

4. Keep your fantasies to yourself -- for now! I've never met a black guy who found the following flattering: "It's always been my dream to be with a black guy." As I recently responded to someone who wrote something along those lines to me, "I'm not really interested in being anyone's test-drive negro." Really, I'm not.

5. Be creative with your opening line. Would you sidle up to the hottie at the bar and ask, "Top or bottom?" or "How big is your cock?" or "What are you looking for?"? "Hello, how are you?" is a classic that always works. I understand if small talk isn't your thing, and if you're too horny to bother with pleasantries, but suck it up. Patience is a virtue, and if you use the right words, it can be rewarded.

6. Don't give away your stalker tendencies. "Didn't I see you at [insert bar name here] last night?" not only has a vague stalker ring, it begs the question: Why didn't you just approach me and say hi then? And while we're on the subject of voyeuristic tendencies, revealing personal details about someone's life before you've even met him (and when he has no idea what you even look like) is simply creepy. "Did you have a nice work out?" someone with a hyphenated first name (come on!) asked me a week or so ago. Apparently, he lives in an apartment building that gives him a perfect view of my hotel gym. Later that evening, he asked, "So you watched two movies tonight?" For a moment, I thought he'd been using a periscope to spy on me at home. He'd actually been checking out my Facebook status updates, and we aren't even "friends." Isn't "I have no life" the kind of thing that one doesn't want the stalkee to know?

7. Honor you own requirements. Don't say things like "No face pic = No reply" if you've got five cock shots in your profile and not a single photo of your face, and if you're going to bother to write "no winks," then by God, don't wink at me.

8. If you're looking for a masculine guy, say so. "Straight acting" means doing what straight guys do. It's not the opposite of "camp" or "queeny" -- that would be "masculine." Pardon my coarse language, but if you are a guy who gets off on sucking other guys' cocks, you are so not straight acting. I don't know any straight guys who act like that. Let it go.

9. Show us what's above your neck. I've heard a lot of excuses for people not posting photos of their faces -- from I don't have any on my computer to I'm in the closet and don't want anyone to know I'm gay to the dog ate my homework. None of them are acceptable. If you have a job where people can't know that you are gay, chances are I won't be interested in you. But consider this: If any of your colleagues finds your profile on Manhunt, you immediately have as much on them as they have on you. And on a more personal note, If you know what I look like, it's only fair that I know whom I'm talking to as well. Yeah, I'm talking to you, guy with the hyphenated first name!

10. No sex shots. Okay, I'm aware that I'm in the minority when it comes to not caring for porn. But seriously, how can you expect to be taken seriously if you post photos of yourself having sex with other guys? It screams, "I'M A HUGE SLUT, AND CHANCES ARE, IF YOU HOOK UP WITH ME, I'LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO REMEMBER ME BY!" I think I'll pass.
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